Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The one about many toothaches

Drew & Uncle Jim

Drew's teeth, as I've mentioned before, have had major problems the last six months or so. They're the reason we were in Couer d'Alane, Idaho last month. Also why I've been a wreck, on more than one occasion. Now that a little time has passed and we are *hopefully* nearing the end of it all, I am finally OK enough to talk about what has happened.

So, here's the story:

When Drew turned 3, I took him to his first dentist appointment. The dentist did what he called a "happy visit." Basically all he did was sit in the chair and have a good experience with the dentist. At the time I thought "I wish they'd at least take an xray to make sure there's no problems". However, being the not-as-experienced-mother that I was thought, "They know what they're doing. I won't worry about it."

If I could only go back in time, knowing what I know now. . . .

Anyways. The next visit, six months later, Halle had some work done and was AN ABSOLUTE TERROR the whole visit. Drew, sitting in the room watching the entire episode, refused to even consider sitting in the chair, let alone have Xrays done.
"We'll take xrays at his next visit" they said.
"Alright," I-the-not-so-brilliant-mom thought again. "They're the professionals. They know what they're doing."
At his four-year-old visit last fall we finally got those xrays done, but with a different dentist who seemed more confidant working with kids. There we learned that Drew had a cavity in nearly every tooth. They were even worse because they should have been taken care of a year earlier. Lovely, eh?
Six of his teeth, the dentist said, were "urgent." Drew was sedated, and those six teeth were "fixed." Then I set up the next appointment to have the others done.
However, before we had a chance to fix the remaining teeth, Drew started hurting. Bad. Within a few days he was in tons and TONS of pain. He had boils and infection in 3 of the teeth that the dentist had done pulpotomy's (root canals for baby teeth) on. All 3 of those teeth had to be pulled and that was an AWFUL day. I wrote about it here.
So, we got through that experience and I hesitantly set up another appointment (now with a pediatric dentist) to have the remaining work done. I was SOOOO nervous, since half the work that had been done already had infected.
We went to the appointment anyway and things went well - for the first part of the visit. Drew was very cooperative etc. But when the dentist gave me the plan for what still needed to be done, I was surprised by 1) he was planning on doing a pulpotomy in ALMOST EVERY TOOTH and 2) the few he wasn't planning on working on, were the teeth I was most concerned about. Specifically, there were two teeth I knew had cavities, because I could see discolored holes. Really obviously. 3) I was floored by how much the treatments were going to cost- even after the insurance. I'm talking WAY different plan and cost of what the other dentist had put together. AND this wasn't even including the sedation they wanted to do... which was another $350/hour.

The appointment was over and I was about to leave, but then I decided to talk to the lady at the front desk. I told her I would like to see if Drew would cooperate enough to be able to do the work without sedation. Especially since he had been so great at the appointment that day. (I know money's not the most important thing in this situation, yet I wanted to only pay for what was necessary- and I wasn't sold on the sedation part yet) The lady was nice, but I could tell she thought I was crazy to think we might not have to sedate him.

Oh well.
After talking with her, I went back and talked to the dentist's assistant about the two teeth I was concerned about.
"Oh, you think we missed some?" she asked. "Let me see your teeth, Buddy."
But Drew didn't want to show her because she had barely promised him he was done and she wouldn't poke him anymore.
"C'mon, Bud. I promise I won't poke you. Just open wide."

So he hesitantly opened his mouth. She then took the "poker" and hurriedly jabbed it into the decayed tooth. Like, right where there was the obvious miscolored hole. Drew screamed - and while he had his mouth open screaming, she jabbed the second one. I mean not just touched, she really JABBED it down into the nerve. I was flippin' furious.
"You are right," she said, "there are cavities there. Let me go get Dr. _______."
I picked up Drew who was still upset, and was trying to calm him down when the lady at the front desk walked by:
"You REALLY think he's going to let us work on him without sedation?" she huffed, then pointed to Drew, "THAT kid won't let us touch him."

I then shouted some not-so-nice things to her. . . In my head, of course. But only because my son was listening.

The dentist came back in and said, "Yes, we may have missed some for the treatment plan. But when we sedate him, I'll make sure that every tooth is taken care of."

So, basically, the "treatment plan" was not even the plan. Who knows what cost we would have after all was said and done? I can understand that sometimes there's no way to see all the work that you need until you start drilling, but he hadn't even included very obvious work . . I was frustrated.

I then told him about how a previous dentist had given me an antibiotic before I'd had some fillings done, since I also have a history of infections and serious soreness following dental work. The times a dentist has worked on me with the antibiotic, I was totally fine. So I asked him, since I'm EXTREMELY concerned about the work done in Drew's mouth again becoming infected, if he would consider prescribing the same antibiotic before he did the work?

"No, I won't prescribe unless it is absolutely necessary. If he had a fever or a real reason to have an antibiotic, I would. But my job is to look out for what's best for his little body. So, no, that's not an option here."
"You're job? To look out for his little body? You're job?" I wanted to yell at him. As if I am not concerned about my Drewbie? And losing 3 teeth already via infection wasn't a real reason? By now the Mother Bear in me was really freaking out.
"What you have to realize," he continued, "is it isn't such a big deal to do a tooth extraction. Especially on children. I had a boy in here a few days ago that had 10 teeth pulled and he's over 100 pounds. He can eat anything he wants. Kids are just amazing with how they can adapt and survive. So while it's not ideal that we pull out teeth, if it does happen further with Drew, he will be fine. . . "

(Now we know where the Crocodile's dentist ended up)

I understand what he was trying to say, but I sure as heck wasn't about to let a dentist who thought extractions were "no big deal" work on my son. I was very frustrated and unsure of what to do next.

And then things got really bad. . .

The tooth the nurse had jabbed (which btw, was also the 4th of the 6 teeth the previous dentist "fixed") started to hurt. I knew Emergency Dental would just get him out of pain by pulling the tooth (which I was NOT ok with) but I didn't know what else to do.

I called another dentist and set up an appointment. The first appointment they had available wasn't until the 18th of May. (This was the end of April) I didn't know if Drew could wait that long but set it up anyway, just in case it was the best we could do.

The next morning, Drew woke up in tons of pain and with another swollen face. My poor little guy. Every time I looked at his puffy little face I about had a panic attack. (Yes, I was still very hormonal from having a baby)

Drew's swollen face

I didn't want to continue trying out dentist after dentist until I found one that worked out. I wasn't willing to experiment any further on Drew's teeth. He didn't have any more to spare, and had been in way too much pain for a four year old. In desperation, I called my Uncle Jim, (who is a dentist) who lives in North Idaho for advice.

"If you want to bring him up here, I will work on him," he told me.

So I immediatly packed our bags and drove 14 hours to Couer d'Alane.

Call me crazy for driving that far with 3 kids; one missing school, another in pain, and a newborn baby. But I needed someone that cared about Drew. Someone we could trust. So there we went.

Thank Heaven for Uncle Jim and Aunt Paula.

Jim worked on Drew any spare minute that he could for an entire week. I stayed at there house on call, ready to go over if there were any cancellations. Then we'd go to the clinic after hours as well.

Drew was sooo freaked out at first. He was terrified of the "poker" (can you blame him?) and wouldn't even wear the napkin around his neck (it was a girly pink . . .lol). I was super duper worried that we weren't going to be able to calm him down enough to be able to get anything done.

Drew wears the pink napkin


But Jim worked extremely patiently with him, assuring him every teeny step of the way that he wasn't going to hurt him, that he loved him, that he was there to make him better. He was braver when we talked about his best friend Cache, told him about how proud his Daddy was going to be of him, and about how he could get some handcuffs he wanted after we were done.

Being Cool for Cache

I stayed at the end of the chair and said a lot of prayers that we'd be able to do what we'd drove all that way to do. Kev was praying back at home. Aunt Paula assisted Uncle Jim, comforted Drew, and kept me company. By the end of the week we were able to almost everything done, and Drew was out of pain WITH NO EXTRACTION!!! Now Drew is a pro at going to the dentist. During that week, Drew was never sedated - but Jim was gentle and patient enough that the last two days, Drew slept through the entire appointments! During the shots, drilling and everything!!


Drew sleeping through a shot


Drew earns his handcuffs!!

I am so grateful for Jim & Paula. To Jim for being a good dentist who gets the job done right and puts his patients well-being FIRST. To Paula for opening up their home to me and the 3 kids; putting up with their noisiness and messes. Both of them for spending so much time. They are what family should be about - and I'll never forget it.

We were gone eight days, and though it wasn't a nice reason to go, it did end up being really nice to get away. I loved being with my "Auntie P" and I've really missed her company since. I got to spend time with cousins, and even go cheer for Sam at his track meet. It was a nice break from the hectic life we live down here.

Plus, I came home (on Mother's Day) to a clean-wonderful-smelling home, groceries bought, a garden planted, roses on the table, and a turkey dinner in the oven.

Kev. You're so nice to me, it's almost ridiculous. ;)

So, things are ALMOST better. I hope. I had a little bit of a melt down, when a few days after we got home, Drew started to complain about the FIFTH of the previous "fixed" teeth hurting. AHHHHH! I took him to another dentist, (again, Drew was 100% cooperative & relaxed!!) where I had them do full teeth xrays, plus a panoramic xray, to see exactly how each tooth is etc. He has one more small appointment next week to put in a spacer for the extracted teeth, and one little filling.

Hopefully, then we will be set for another six months. *praying*

So that's the story.
Except I should mention in ending this novel of a blogpost, that Halle has been complaining about the teeth which were "fixed" in her mouth are hurting (from the same dentist that "fixed" Drew's) . . .
AND one of those fillings fell out today. . .
*sigh*

4 comments:

Tucker & Tiffany said...

Oh my goodness, I knew the dentist was a punk but I didn't realize he was that horrible! Sheesh!
I'm so glad your uncle was able to help little Drew! What a nightmare! I'll be praying his teeth stay healthy! And Halls too...

Shell said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that. I hate to hear horrible dentist stories especially since that is what I do for my job. I'm so glad your Uncle was able to get him feeling better.

Bambi said...

Man lots has been happening. Goodness!!!! Drew is such a sport. Tennis misses him. He prayed for him last night. It was so random. You have a good hubbie. Tell him thanks from me for taking such good care of the most awesome girl ever.

Di said...

Ugh...totally cringing here, way to look out for your kiddo though- he's lucky to have you!!!