Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Adventures in Dental Care - A Cautionary Tale

Yesterday, after months of waiting, preparing, planning, making appointments, cancelling appointments, remaking new appointments and all of the hoopla that goes with it - Emily had her two front bottom baby teeth extracted. 

To say it went less than text book - is more than an understatement; it's a joke.  A horrific joke that I should have been prepared for.  That I thought I was prepared for.  That I was sooooo not prepared for.

I don't recommend the Oral Surgeon we used, at all, ever.  Not for kids, not for adults, not for dogs, cats, ferrets, feral rats - not for anyone.  I had heard great reviews, had done the research I could, met the office staff, the doctor and the rest of the medical team; essentially we did everything we thought necessary before the actual appointment.  Our initial consultation went great, no way could I have ever anticipated the situation we found ourselves in.

So, now that Em's appointment is over and she's back in school - I think I would like to take a moment to impart some wisdom to those who may have to go through anything similar - and also to those who would be; so without further ado:

If you're running late - exceptionally late, by the way - explain it to the parents, explain it to the child waiting.  No answer, explanation and just a ticking clock doesn't exactly help with the fear, anger and anxiety they might be feeling.  Also, have some fun things in the waiting room for the kids to do.

Tic Tac Toe - again daddy??
Don't lie to the child; especially if said child has anxiety, fear and anger.  If there's a needle involved - tell them.  Sticking it in their gums and acting surprised when it hurts them and results in further anxiety, fear and anger won't help anyone.
She is mini, but she is fierce.  And afraid, don't lie.
Explain what you are doing, what you are going to be doing and what each tool is going to be used for.  Surprising them with needles, pliers and other scary looking tools and then acting shocked when fear, anger and anxiety increase won't help anyone.
If you're running late, don't rush the second parent out of the room without a chance to give said child a hug, kiss and encouraging words.  When you do that, you put yourself further on the kids shit list, which isn't a great place to be.  Especially when fear, anxiety and anger are already large factors.
A Daddy's Girl, she needs to see him too. 

Make sure no one is standing near the feet of said child - even a seven year old with flailing feet can inflict decent damage to the head/neck/face of someone twice her size when fear, anxiety and anger kick (HA!) in.  I should note, she apologized to the dental assistant (or whatever her title is) and completely understands why she refused to re-enter the room to assist with Emily.  I wanted to leave the room and refuse to re-enter.
Listen to the parents.  When they tell you their child has high anxiety and fear with regards to the upcoming procedure - even if it's as minor as having teeth extracted - they're not just saying that because they believe their kid is a delicate little flower.  Chances are - it'll take you 2 hours to pull 2 baby teeth.   Without considering your significant delay from the first oral surgery you were conducting that caused you to run more than 30 minutes late for their appointment.
We know our kid, you don't - listen.  Please. Listen.

and finally - don't threaten said scared, anxious and angry child with a trip to the hospital instead of doing things "the easy way" in your office.  That only serves to further piss off the parent, who is currently monkey-holding said child down and trying to use calming, soothing words, tones and explanation to undo the damage you've inflicted by lying about the needle 45 minutes ago.  As we all know, threats - don't work with kids.  Especially those kids who are strong-willed and stubborn.

It kills me that this experience was as traumatizing as it was - for both of us.  All three of us, really, daddy heard every single thing that happened in that room - from two doors away, and couldn't get to her.  He couldn't fix it, make it better, make it stop or step in.  He could only listen.

Oh! I lied, one more thing ... don't let the tooth fairy flake out.  The one thing Emi looked forward to after the appointment concluded was the tooth fairy visit.  Bitch forgot.

Don't worry though, she'll make it up to Emily.   There's already a plan in place.

Thankfully, she still has an amazing smile, an infectious giggle and a killer personality.

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