One of my favorite chapters of ZigZagStraight has to do with Wylie's first dental visit. A couple weeks ago, Wylie and I had dueling dental appointments. Mine--a routine crown replacement--was on Monday, Wylie's was on Tuesday. (I have to shout out, I go to one of the most respected dentists in the Loma Linda & Redlands areas. He is the dentist of dentists. Seriously. I highly recommend him). My dentist drew first: "Hmmm...well, uh...Jill...there's just not enough good tooth left for me to build a crown..." Next came words like "peridontist", "root canal", and then finaly "implant". And, with that last shot, I was down for oral surgery in two days. Until then, a steady diet of nothing--the temporary crown was hanging on through sheer force of my will--and motrin 24 hours a day. (I did receive excellent care under the careful precision of Dr. Zalsman in Redlands). Yes, #19 is no longer. And, in its place some bone from a dearly departed. My titanium root will be installed in a couple months. I am robot.
That was all on the Monday before Wylie's visit the next day to his dentist.
Now, if you didn't link to the previous post part deux of the duel will not really resonate with you, but for those of you who recall...
I pick up Wylie from school and begin the drive to Dr. Jiminez . We had a very positive experience there for the boys' cleanings. Wylie knew about the appointment so there was no surprises here. However, as we drove over anxiety began to leak out of Wylie like Niagra Falls.
"I'm not getting a shot, right?"
"It's not going to hurt me, right?"
"They're not going to make me smell anything, right?"
"Um...well, " I had to be honest. The doctor and I had agreed to use nitrous to help Wylie relax for the appointment. This revelation sends Wylie into full-panic mode. Campbell does his best to encourage him. This only increases the water pressure. I keep saying "You'll have to ask Dr. Jiminez, Wylie, do you trust him?" More water.
By the time we got to the office, the falls had dried up and Wylie presented himself stoically. The capable assistant invited "mom" to come back with Wylie, but I deferred to him. He said he was fine with just he and the doctor.
Out in the waiting room, Campbell did his homework sitting in the stump of an old tree and I immersed myself in a short novel under the watchful eyes of forest critters (Dr. Jiminez's office is fashioned after the 100 Acre wood). I tried to avoid all references to time so as to remain calm, cool, collected, detached.
A very short 45 mintues later, the capable assistant comes out with a briefing:
"He did great, Mom. Four fillings done and he did just fine. No tears or resistance. We had The Secret of Nimh playing on the screen and he was completely engrossed. Even told Doctor to move out of the way one time. He didn't want to get up because the movie wasn't over. Just so you know...he did tell us after that it was incredibly painful for him and that he was screaming in his mind." Because the staff had only seen Wylie once before, she didn't know how to take this declaration. I assured her it was quite normal for Wylie and they had succeeded where others had failed.
Soon after, Wylie comes out with a triumphant, yet somewhat nitrous-y grin. He never heard a word the assistant said about the visit. We all walk out to the car.
Campbell asks: "So, Wylie how did you do?"
Wylie: "It was so painful. I was screaming in my mind. But, The Secret of Nimh was on and the doctor couldn't hear it. I can eat in 30 minutes. Can we go to Blockbuster and rent Secret of Nimh and then to McDonalds, Mom? It will be 30 minutes then."
We drove into the sunset. Campbell looked at me through the rearview mirror, shook his head and rolled his eyes. Wylie was lost somewhere between his first and tenth nugget only 29 minutes away. As for me? I shook my head, too, except that made my mouth hurt and reminded me of my impending dental drama. With the entire left side of my bite shut down, 800 mg of motrin coursing through my veins and an empty stomach, I was pretty close to those Niagra Falls myself. But, looking over at my brave son, I decided to smile in my mind instead.