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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Tale of 12 Teeth

Our poor 10-year-old boys. This week they each had to have six teeth pulled! Big ouch. Big ouch on the Tooth Fairy's pocket book, too! Four baby teeth and two permanent ones that were actually still in the gums. Blegh. The orthodontist says there's just not enough room in their mouths for all their teeth. I always dread this kind of thing, because not only is it a horrible experience for typically developing kids, when your kids have any type of special needs, these things can mean major trauma. And major drama. For a really long time.

Tooth stuff makes me want to throw up. You know, my dentist phobia and all that. So try staying strong for your kids when you yourself are fighting your phobia, trying not to grab your boys and run away with them into the sunset to lead a life free of dentists forever! (Nothing personal, dentists out there) 

The boys wanted me to go back into the anesthesia room with them at the oral surgeon's office. Daddy said apparently he's "just the chauffeur." Jonah went first so as to hopefully alleviate his panic. He did so well, I was amazed again at his courage. He got laughing gas, giggled the whole time, and was cool as a cucumber when he got his IV put in for the anesthesia. Then he was out. I was escorted back to the waiting room to wait for Ben's turn. 

Jonah's surgery went well, and Alex met him in the recovery room while I went with Ben to get started on his anesthesia. I thought he'd be a giddy, laughing, hoot on laughing gas, but apparently it brings out his serious side. He hardly uttered a guffaw. He actually wouldn't even make conversation with the doctor and nurses. I think he was just too scared and worked up, and then the tingles of the laughing gas took effect and he just didn't know how to process it all. He did fine, despite his anxiety, and was soon asleep too. 

I went to be with Jonah while they did Ben's surgery. Jonah was completely loopy, coming off the anesthesia. He had made some very interesting new friends while he was asleep- two unicorns named George and John. (Daddy's "Beatles" influence, perhaps?) Jonah had a hard time saying goodbye to these new friends, and insisted on petting them before he sent John to be with Ben in his surgery. Jonah also declared, loudly and frequently, with his mouth full of bloody gauze, how much he loved us. And the nurse who came into the room to check on him. And he also stated how pretty the nurse was. And how he wanted to see the doctor so he could say thank you and give him a hug. Jonah. Always sweet, even coming out of anesthesia. Loopy, but sweet.

Ben's surgery finished and we were all able to go be together in Ben's room. Jonah stood up for the first time, his blood pressure dropped, and he almost passed out. He felt really terrible for about an hour after that- much more pain in his mouth along with feeling nauseated. It was rough. Poor Jonah cried a lot. Ben was waking up, and although he was out of it, his main concern was consoling his brother. Ben shed tears because Jonah couldn't get off my lap to go get a hug from Ben so Ben could comfort him. Ben. Always compassionate, even coming out of anesthesia. Teary, but compassionate. 

Jonah's recovery that day was an hour ahead of Ben's. So about the same time Jonah started feeling a little more human, Ben's emotional and physical state declined. We got the boys milkshakes on the way home, but that didn't really take the edge off the pain they were in. By the time we got home, Ben was really ramped up with angst. He talked about how it hurt so bad he just wanted to take a knife and stab his head off. He got off the couch where he'd been sitting next to me several times to go wander around talking about killing himself and crying with pain. He was still out of it from the anesthesia. I would follow him and gently take him by the shoulders and lead him away from any sharp objects in the kitchen, back to the couch, where he'd collapse in tears on my lap. Bleeding all the time. Why does a mouth have to bleed so much? Blegh. 

I kept reassuring Ben that it would get better. I kept saying "Look at Jonah! He's feeling ok now, and remember how totally terrible he felt before? You'll be that way soon, because you're just a little behind Jonah, in the Feeling Better Department, because your surgery was after his. Hang in there. It's going to be ok." Ben finally said "Mom. You've been saying I'll feel better 'in a few minutes' for an hour! When is it going to really happen?!?" Sometimes all you can do as a parent is help your kid hang on. You know better times will come. You have to hold onto that single nugget of knowledge, and push your kid towards it, whether they want to come with you to those better times, or find a knife in the kitchen and stab out their eyeballs. I hope that sometimes the sound of my voice, telling them that everything will be ok, will just lull my kids into peaceful oblivion. Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. 

It's a horrible feeling to not be able to just fix life for your kids. To have to just sit and watch them be in pain and not be able to do anything is just terrible. Alex and I did what we could, but we can't take away their pain. We have just been trying to be super supportive and caring, and have driven them to their favorite ice cream shop every day for a special treat. That's the one thing, this week, that brings out two of our favorite smiles in this family. Thank you Suzy's Swirl. You offered us a respite during this wearing week. Today the owner actually gave us some free ice cream AND the kids got to pick as many songs on the jukebox as they wanted- for free!! Made my kids beam. They loaded up the playlist with Beatles music and rocked out while they soothed their sore gums with ice cream. Love that place.

Last night it was literally like a three ring circus at our house. I went upstairs for bed after everyone else. I checked in on my little angels to make sure they were all safely slumbering. Which woke Aidan up, who then needed TWO cups of water. Which woke up Jonah, who needed his back rubbed because his teeth hurt. After the two of them were back to sleep, I sprayed my perfume under Ella's pillow (new sleeping technique I'm trying- hopefully the smell of Mama will keep her in dreamland longer. I'm desperate!). Got into bed and couldn't fall asleep because of the rat race in my head. And my dear husband snoring like a Pug with a sinus infection next to me. I finally dozed off. So naturally 27 minutes later a child had to wake me. 27 minutes is my cut-off for sleep, I guess. 

Ben didn't feel well. And had had a nightmare. So I got him more medicine for his poor, swollen mouth, rubbed his back, smoothed away the wrinkles of his nightmare, and got him back to sleep. I went and woke Jonah up enough to give him more meds too so that hopefully that would stop him from waking up later to wake me up to tell me he was hurting. Got back to bed. Finally fell back to sleep. 

About two hours after that, Ella came in for her nightly appointment with me. Yesterday after talking with my wise, amazing counselor, I decided to again try the "back to bed" technique with Ella now that she's older. So I didn't say anything to her except "Back to bed, Ella" and took her back to her room. I stayed with her while she fell asleep and then went back to bed. By this point, Aidan had snuck into our bed. I woke up Alex to move him because I didn't think I could carry him back to his room, being so worn out. Alex took Aidan back to bed. 

Jonah and Ben each woke up once more, hurting and with bad dreams. The night finally ended at about 5:15 this morning with Ella returning to our room to ask if she could watch Peppa Pig on our TV. She had done it though- she slept ALL NIGHT IN HER OWN BED!!! If you consider 5:15 a successful wake-up-time. Which in this case, I did. So Peppa Pig it was. 

I don't know why I'm exhausted all the time.

Ha Ha Ha.

When my kids are sick, hurt, or healing from surgery, I don't harp on them about being clean for a couple days. It drives me insane, but I let them just be. Sometimes you just need to lay around and be comfortable, wallowing in your own filth. I get that. And my kids definitely like their filth. But after a certain amount of time, say 44 1/2 hours, Mama can't take the stinky breath and greasy hair anymore, and I declare that it's Officially Bath Time! Whether you're healed and healthy or not. 


Tonight was Officially Bath Time. Into the tub went all dirty kids. Faces were scrubbed, blood wiped from lips, hair was restored to its soft shiny state. Teeth were very very carefully brushed with a baby tooth brush. Bloody blankies were all washed clean for bedtime. I always feel better after a good scrub, once I'm done wallowing in the filthy comfort of not feeling well. I think my kids feel the same way. I hope tonight's Official Bath Time symbolizes a new state of recovery for the boys. I hope they sleep well tonight and wake up past a little bit of the discomfort and pain.

Tomorrow will be another new day. I have many hopes for the night ahead. I hope Ella sleeps in her own bed. Actually, I hope all the kids sleep in their own beds. I hope nightmares are gone. I hope pain is lessened. I hope little bodies can rest and repair what is hurt. I hope tomorrow will be a little better for my boys. I hope that when my boys are all grown up, they have just a faint memory of this week, and are simply grateful for their beautiful smiles that make them feel confident and charming and adorable. 



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