Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daily Peep: Tooth Day

Today was Peeper's big tooth-restoration adventure, and it started way too damn early in the morning. Shrike and I got up around 5 am, dressed quickly and quietly without showering, and had some breakfast, all in about fifteen minutes. Then I got Peeper up and nursed her pretty much right up until our 5:30 am cutoff, changed her diaper in my lap, and put her jammy pants right back on.

We ran into a little more traffic than I expected at that hour of the morning (which was dumb of me, because the route we took is pretty much the commute-to-DC road) but we got there just a few minutes after our appointed time of 7:30 am.

We got all checked in and they took us back to a holding tank, where Peeper (and we) got prepared for the procedure. First we got her out of her jammies, and thoroughly labelled for safe handling.

Then she got all dolled up in her hospital gear. Her gown had doggies on it, so that was a big plus! The socks were awful baggy, and they didn't last long. We did find another use for them later, though.

I was going back to the OR with her, so I had to get dolled up, too. After taking her vitals and answering a bunch of questions, she got a dose of Versed, to chill her out, and make her not remember this part of the process later. Which is a shame, because she was having a good ol' time.

First, we watched some TV.

Then the anesthesiologist and the dentist came in to talk with us, and go over everything that they were planning to do.

I asked the dentist if she would be taking xrays, because the that we saw in the office said that they might. She told me that she usually doesn't, if the teeth aren't touching yet, because she can generally see what's going on pretty well.

I asked her, if she did do them, if she would mind checking on Peeper's lower right lateral incisor, which hasn't come in yet and, you know, just make sure it's down there somewhere.

"Oh," she said, "Well that's a good reason to do an xray, then. We'll check that out."

She then explained that, "because of evolution," since we don't really require all our teeth these days, more and more people are being born with less than the full compliment of thirty-two.

About that time, the Versed was really kicking in, and although I hate to admit it, we were rather enjoying the show. I know this photo looks like she's sleeping peacefully, but I really just caught her in the middle of her rolling, lolling, rubber-boned staggering around the gurney.

Good thing it had such nice, high, cushy sides. At one point, I had to sort of prop her up in the corner, because she kept tipping over and having to reach out and catch herself.

She wanted Baby to wear one of her socks, so I shoved her little plastic legs into it. Then she wanted her to wear the other one. I started to put in on top of the first sock, but Shrike said, "No! Don't you know it goes like this!"

Peeper thought that was HI-larious, and was happy to show her off for the camera.

Then it was time to kiss Mommy good by, and head down to the operating room. As you can see, her hat was a little big. As we were putting her in the gurney, it was falling down all over her face, but she wasn't bothered by it at all.

She wasn't bothered by much at that point, actually. I really wanted to carry her to the OR, but realized that she would probably enjoy getting a ride. Boy, did she. When it started moving, she said, "Eeeee!" and she was rolling and crawling and flopping all around in it. At one point, she said, "Uppa!" but I told her there was no way she was going to be standing any kind of up!

When we got to the OR, I put her on the table, and talked to her while they got the blood pressure cuff and EKG leads all set up. Then the anesthesiologist put the mask on her, and a nurse and I held her hands still while she fought just a bit against the funny smelling air.

At one point, I leaned over to hug her, and got a whiff of the gas coming out around the edge of the mask. I figured I'd better stand up at that point, because I didn't think they really needed me to be passed out on top of her!

When the doctor declared her fully asleep, I gave her a kiss and told her that I'd see her when she woke up, then went back to Shrike.

I was holding up okay, until the nurse who was walking me out told me that, "You look like you've done that before," and I told her that, actually, no when Peeper had her open-heart surgery, we had to hand her off at the door, and that it was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life.

I pulled myself together from that, and we got some breakfast, then poked around in the gift shop a bit, because we realized that we are like the worst parents ever, because we didn't even think about having some sort of prize for her when she got done with this. And we didn't find anything appropriate in there, either. What dumbasses.

Then we went back to the waiting area, and I sent a few texts, while Shrike thumbed through a UK Good Housekeeping from, I kid you not, March 2001.

It occured to me that the hour-and-a-half time frame they gave us was probably a maximum, and it probably wouldn't really take that long. Just as I started to say that to Shrike, I saw the dentist coming out to talk to us.

She said that she was all done with the procedure, and that we could go back and be with Peeper in a few minutes, then she went over what she did.

"It was a good thing we took the xray," she told us, "because we found out the decay was more extensive than we thought."

Not only were the two cavities that we knew about deeper than they'd expected, by the tooth in between them had some decay, too. Since it's hard to do much drilling on tiny little baby teeth, instead of doing fillings, she just capped all three of them. She assured us that the caps are tooth-colored and only a dentist would know that they are there.

I've not really had a chance to fully inspect them, but I can tell that while the capped lateral incisor seems to pretty well match the natural one, the two central ones are much bigger, and stick out below them significantly. Or at least it's significant to me.

Shrike says it doesn't look funny, and it doesn't make her buck-toothed, but I don't know.

I wasn't able to get a photo showing that, but I will try again tomorrow, and will post a before-and-after comparison.

Maybe I just have to get used to it, or maybe it's my imagination and they are exactly the same size as her real teeth, but they just look really big to me right now.

She said that we'll treat and care for the capped teeth just like all the others, but that they are now protected, so you can bet that if I'm only going to get a quick pass at those top teeth at brushing time before she escapes, that I'll be concentrating on the one naked incisor and the canines.

All four molars have been sealed, so they should be in good shape, too.

She also cleaned all her teeth, since the other dentist wasn't able to do that at the first exam.

Then she confirmed my suspicions that the late-arriving tooth is actually missing in action. The xray showed that neither the baby tooth or the permanent tooth is there!

She said that the other teeth should move to fill in the gap (I was already wondering if there was room there for it to come it) and that just looking, it didn't even jump out at her that it was missing, until she actually counted them.

The same thing should happen with the permanent teeth and, especially since it's on the bottom, it probably won't be noticable at all. If it is, and if it bothers her, we can consider an implant.

So, for now, it just is what it is, and we'll make a decision about whether anything needs to be done when we're dealing with orthodontics down the road (because you know we will be).

It wasn't long before someone else came and got us to go back and see Peeper. As we walked through the doors, directly in front of us was another mom, cuddling her recovering toddler who. . . Hey wait! That's my kid! 

As she handed her to me, the nurse told us that she'd woken up calling for us. Later they said something about her having "not gotten any sleep" because she was already waking and crying when she was moved from the OR to recovery. 

Shrike and I talked about it later and agreed that while we were very disappointed that she'd woken without us there (although I can't imagine she remembers that), we were also very pleased that when she did, a nurse took her out of bed and cuddled her in the rocker until we arrived. 

Of course, as soon as she realized that I had her, Peeper signed *milk* so I asked if it was okay for her to nurse. They wanted her to get a little more awake and, as badly as I wanted to nurse her right then, she was mighty dopey, so I agreed that was probably not a bad idea. 

At that point, she was opening her eyes a smidge, crying and signing *milk* then going right back to sleep, so I also didn't feel too awful about putting her off for just a tiny while. A few minutes later, though, she became more insistent and while I technically did wait for permission, I had my bra unhooked and was pretty much pulling the boob out by the time I got it. 

She nursed and dozed for a while, then they moved us to the next "phase" of the recovery area, where she, well, nursed and dozed some more. 

After her IV was removed and we had our discharge orders, we were free to go, but she was still not a happy camper. I had her nurse the other side while we got her dressed and then we had to figure out how to get her to the car. 

At that point, everytime she unlatched, she started crying - a pathetic, miserable cry - and I didn't think I could handle that all the way out to the parking lot.

I told Shrike that I wished I had the (not an) Ergo, because she can nurse in it pretty easily, and she said, "Well, what about the ring sling?" - which I'd thrown into the diaper bag on the way out the door this morning, almost on a whim.

It took a bit of maneuvering, but I got her in it (she wasn't too happy about the idea) and then got her latched on, and between my shirt and the tail of the sling, I think I actually kept myself covered, and that's how we walked out of the recovery area, through the surgery waiting area, across the whole front of the hospital and out to the car.

I'd like to say ". . . an nobody batted an eye," but we both felt like everyone (there were lots of people waiting on surgeries) was looking at us as we went by.

I don't know if it was "Hey, dykes! With a kid!" or "Awwww, poor baby," or "What's that contraption she's got that kid in?" or "OhMyGod! Does she have her tit out?!" or just "Oh look, people walking by. They are more interesting than this ten-year-old magazine," but at least one woman did - I swear - cheer for us, arms pumping, saying,"Yay! It's over!" as we passed her.

Once we got on the road, of course, she Peeper (and Shrike) conked right out and slept all the way home.

She had a couple of naps before finally going down for the night, and she was quite the crankapotamus in between them, nursing, whining, playing for a bit, whining more then nursing again.
She may be a fun drunk, but she does not handle a hangover well at all.

There was a bit of this.

But mostly, a lot of this.

But you do what you gotta do, and we made it through.

Our discharge instructions were pretty straight-forward: Tylenol and Motrin as often as allowed, soft foods for the day and nothing "greasy, spicy or heavy," and follow up with the dentist in about ten days.

We got the first dose of Tylenol in on schedule, and then she napped until about an hour after she was due for both more Tylenol, and a dose of Motrin. So much for "staying on top of it."

She ate cheerios with milk, chocolate ice cream, some soft and crispy fruit and cereal bars, a chocolate chip cookie dough Atkins bar (it was a free sample, and we didn't mind giving it up for her; it was pretty gross), plain cheerios and dog food. After the first couple of things went okay, we figured she would know better than we would what she could tolerate and if it hurt, she wouldn't eat it.

As luck would have it, all signs point to tomorrow being cycle day one for Shrike, and she's supposed to do the mock transfer sometime between day five and day ten. We will be returning from the beach next Wednesday (day eight) and she's got an early meeting at work on Thursday, so we're going to try to schedule her mock and Peeper's follow-up appointment both for next Friday, since they are in the same town.

And now, two hours after Peeper finally went to sleep (confession: It's actually well after midnight; I'm pre-dating this to Tuesday) I am going to have another ice cream bar (since Peeper ate half of my last one!) and go join my family in Dreamland.

Thank you all for your encouraging words and good mojo today!


  1. Cryey face - awwww.

    Glad it all went well. As to her waking up without you, while you would have preferred to be there, it probably means she had less anesthesia than if she had been totally out for longer and I suppose that is a good thing.

    In that last pic is Peeper sitting in the middle of the dining table with a humongous jar of peanut butter?

  2. Whew. Rough, but I wonder if this experience helped heal a little bit of the leftover trauma from her heart surgery for you? My daughter has hand surgery coming up near the end of the year, and though I'm certainly not looking forward to it, I'm hoping it will close over some of the wounds from The Big One.

  3. LadyKay - Good point about the anesthesia, and I really doubt she was very aware of what was going on at that point.

    Someone from the hospital called a few minutes ago to check up on us, and I told her how much we appreciated that they had picked her up and cuddled her, and "if you know who that was, could you please thank her."

    She said, "Well, that was me!" so I thanked her again!

    And, yes, she did crawl (from my lap) onto the table, and was banging on the top of the peanut butter, like a bongo drum.

    Melody - Our heart surgery experience went much more smoothly and uneventfully than yours did, but I think you're right that it never does quite leave you.

    One of the worst parts of the day yesterday was actually when we were just sitting around watching the Versed kick in and waiting to meet the dentist, when suddenly and alarm went off and the PA system alerted the medical staff to a "Code Blue in Peds, Room 7."

    My kid was fine, but I kind of lost it, worrying about that kid and the family.

    I have to assume that everything came out okay.

    It just had to.

  4. awww, what a little trooper! so glad it's all done with and turned out well!!!


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