Monday, June 18, 2012

From the other side

There's a woman at work, my supervisor's supervisor, really, with whom I don't have much direct contact unless she requests it. One day I was looking for her and it was relayed to me that she had to take the day off. She had let her staff know that she had to drive her husband to the dentist because he has such a phobia of the dental work that he has to be knocked out for it. She may have rolled her eyes when she said it to her staff, or maybe my colleague rolled her eyes as her own additional commentary. I think I was supposed to find that humorous. Really, I wanted to go the next day and ask her: which dentist? Does he treat children? And was your husband always like this and how did he cope through childhood?

I think about him, that husband I've never met, every time I take E to the doctor.

I didn't tell you everything. I didn't tell you how she panicked at the pediatrician's office on Thursday for her pre-op appointment and how he shamed her for her reaction and how I'm livid; he's not my preferred doctor at that practice but sometimes you get who you get and I want to find her a new doctor, one who works with kids with anxiety instead of telling them they're too old for that kind of response. I want to tell you, but I don't have to, do I? that she's a sweet girl, respectful of authority, craving of approval, intent (too intent) on perfectionism, and who never wants to be in the spotlight; she is a girl who wouldn't be screaming in the doctor's office unless she was in full fight-or-flight panic. She doesn't want to make a scene. She's furious at herself as she's screaming. She just can't stop and the doctor who yells at her for it makes the next doctor's job a thousand times harder as her twin enemies, embarrassment and fear, somersault over each other in a neverending anxiety parade.

So when we got to the surgery center first thing this morning, we tried something new: we gave her an oral sedative.

Okay, she didn't take that willingly, either, and I had to squish up her face and force it in the side of her cheek, old-school baby-has-a-fever style, but let. me. tell. you. What a difference. My sweet girl never left me for the clenched-fist terrified one I expected to combat into surgery this morning. She didn't even cry when the anesthesia mask came down on her, and then she was asleep.

And when it was over, she slept and slept and slept, sleeping off the anesthesia as well as the sedative, and she didn't remember the chapter of her book that we had read or taking the sedative or anything about the mask. She didn't remember the surgery at all and woke up happy and I asked if I could take a vial of that sedative home with me and they laughed. But they didn't make me a doggie bag like I was hoping.

She has a follow-up appointment in a couple of weeks. This will have worked, or it won't have and we'll have to talk about (I learned a fancy new word today) a timpanoplasty. We don't know why some ears heal and some don't, my ENT told me this morning, but all we can do is take care of the ones that don't. We do our best and keep trying, she said.

I'm trying.

Thank you for all of the love yesterday. Today was a long, long day in heart-minutes and I'm so glad we're through it.


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