Monday, March 16, 2009

Who gets to brush their own teeth?

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of taking one of the guys to a dental appointment. No big deal to most of us, but for people who throw televisions and rip rearview mirrors off of windshields, the person drilling in their mouth most likely would qualify for one of those "World's Toughest Jobs" tv shows. And this did not go unnoticed for the dentist, who scheduled a block of time at a local outpatient surgery center, so that the teeth cleaning and other dental work could be completed under full sedation.

Before we left, we slipped him a couple of valium (which were prescribed for the procedure of course) and thought that would take care of things. However, we soon learned that even though valium is strong, one's will can often beat it out if so desired. This was the case. The valium made him tired, but the orders not to eat or drink anything before the "surgery" made him cranky. He was HUNGRY! And he let everybody know it. He was like a drunk in a bar. Too loopy to really do anything to damage any one or anything (as he couldn't really walk), but too irritated to be at all rational (which he actually can be on good days). To top things off, of course we had to wait once we got there. We kept telling the staff that we were quickly losing the "valium window" and once that had worn off, it would be all over.

Once a few completely inappropriate comments were made to others waiting, they amazingly got him in a room relatively quickly. There were three of us with him and they only let two people go back at a time. Since I am the newest one, I got to stay in the waiting room. Even from the waiting room, I knew (along with everyone else in the room), when a nurse walked in his room to give him medications or put in an IV. He was loud and unappreciative and said a few choice words to relay his feelings. It didn't take long at all before the rules were bent and they let all three of us be with him until it was time to take him away.

We went and got lunch and then waited for the three hours that it took to complete the procedure. I guess if I were having three hours of dental work done, I'd want someone to knock me out too. Finally the dentist came out and told us that he was finished and in recovery and should be there for a couple of hours.

The nurses had other plans though. It was three o'clock on Friday afternoon and he was the last patient, so you can guess that they were ready for him to wake up and get moving (and honestly we were too). This was one of the most comical experiences I've ever had. It reminded me of the movie "Weekend at Bernie's" where the guys are hanging out with a dead guy. Seriously, he was not moving. Nurses tried to get him up and as soon as they would prop him, he would fall straight back down. At one point, they tried to move him to a wheelchair and got him to a standing position. However, he quickly began to snore, although his body was stiff as a board and rapidly falling backward. They finally got him in the chair, while I was being completely unprofessional and laughing at the whole scene. It was good that we had a bit of a drive home to give him time to come to a little bit.

On the way home, while he was sleeping, the rest of us finally began to discuss the funniest scene of the day - what the dentist said when he came out. He was nice enough, but his bedside manner did not scream that he was a pediatric dentist. He was very direct and to the point. However, I couldn't help but wonder what world he lived in when he got on a little soapbox and gave the following instructions. He said that clearly our guy needed some help brushing - we interjected that he loves to brush his teeth but really isn't too keen on someone helping, and we've yet to find staff keen on sticking their hands in his mouth. We've all gotten a little too used to our fingers. He then said, "Well I'll tell you what I tell all of the parents in my office. Until your child can write a paragraph, in cursive, take it to the local QuikShop (gas station), give it to the guy behind the counter and the guy can not only read it easily, but also comprehend what it says, then your child has no business brushing his own teeth." I can't tell you how tempted I was to ask him who brushed his teeth (no offense to my friends in the medical field, but really, who can read your writing??)

So, if the guy behind the counter at your local gas station can't read and comprehend a paragraph that you write (in cursive), even if it's because the guy at the local station can't read, you really shouldn't be brushing your own teeth.

1 comment:

Kitty Smith said...

I just found your page through Lori Davidson's. I love the dentist story! As the mother of four, I barely have time to brush my own teeth! By the time my kids write their paragraph in cursive, and I find a convenience store clerk who can read it, their teeth will all have fallen out of their heads if I have to do it! As far as I'm concerned, if they get a little toothpaste and toothbrush moving in there, that's good enough for me!!