When we named Eddie, we realized that “Edward George” had a very English royalty ring to it. In fact, many close friends referred to him as “King Edward” for the first few months of his chaotic life. However, it wasn’t until Friday that he was officially crowned. Actually he was crowned four times, on four different teeth.
Dental work with a special needs child is turning out to be an unexpected complication in a life that is never ordinary. With small kids, usually a trip to the dentist includes a quick cleaning with possibly a filling that provides little trauma and then a new toothbrush and a token prize on the way out the door. Of course, not with Eddie; why would anything be so simple? He has never sat still for x-rays, so the cavity we knew he had was due to its sheer size, but I had no idea he needed so much dental attention.
Friday, we checked into our local hospital for some general anesthesia and at most an hour of dental work. I thought, in at eight-thirty and out by noon. Why was I so naïve? Has that ever happened in a hospital? I think the rule is you must stay at least eight hours so you can get your money’s worth. We arrived on time, his dentist promptly visited with me, and then we didn’t see another doctor for three more hours.
Here I am sitting in a hospital bed with Eddie, who hasn’t eaten in over 12 hours, hasn’t had water in over five hours, and who is bored out of his mind. For the most part, his demeanor was superb. He was enjoying quality time with mom, and inside I wanted to scream out for someone to get the ball rolling. In fact, I’d say my behavior was worse than his. Yes, I caught myself excessively checking the clock, looking directly at nurses, and even pacing a bit. Finally, the anesthesiologist came out to talk to me.
My goal was to matter-of-factly tell him about Eddie, with the smallest amount of niceness, to get things moving. I felt like our time had been wasted and that Eddie was being ignored. However, after spouting facts about Eddie and his meds, that doctor had the nerve to compliment me. He said I was an inspiration to him because I was such a good advocate, knew my son so well, and that I seemed to be well adjusted to Eddie and the conditions he was born with. He said that I had “made his day” and that I was an “inspiration to all mothers”.
Huh. That wasn’t what I expected. Ok, I guess three hours isn’t too long to wait for somebody to make my day. I often go through life doing things for Eddie because I think it is right; because I feel it is my job as his mom. Rarely does a stranger recognize that I put a lot of time and effort into it. Even though the day ended with Eddie getting four crowns, three fillings, and a tooth pulled (medications wreaking havoc with teeth) it wasn’t the worst day ever. Eddie slept the next 18 hours and happily woke up pain-free; and I got a nice big pat on the back. So, thank you Dr. Anesthesiologist, for recognizing me, and more importantly, for taking such good care of my son.