the tooth fairy will have to come early

*note to the dentally squeamish, there's picture you might want to avoid down the page.
On Tuesday morning as I was having a cup of tea with a friend, I heard these big hurty wails from outside. Looked out the window and saw Grace was being comforted by her dad, all seemed under control, so I went back to my tea and chat. But the wails kept going. Usually it's big cry, followed by a quiet cuddle and then back to zooming around. Not today. It turned out that Grace and Gerard had been riding the scooter around the concrete paths and come a cropper. There was blood coming from her mouth. I took over cuddle duty and we got blanket and something to wipe up the blood. The front tooth looked damaged but it was hard to tell. Later Grace went frighteningly pale and listless and I ended up phoning nurse on call. We ruled out concussion but the nurse recommended getting her checked out by a dentist. I rang the community dental service but the best they could do was a week away, so I rang the dentist I go to and they said we could go up straight away. Grace started crying the minute we got there and wouldn't let the dentist examine her, even sitting in my lap. He suggested we take her to the doctor for a sedative and then come back on Thursday. Grace perked up after lunch (soft food on her back teeth), and insisted she was well enough to go to playgroup where she told Mary I falled off my stooter.



Anyway on Wednesday, the doctor wouldn't prescibe anything stronger than painstop because as he explained to Gerard, he didn't know whether the dentist was going to use an anaesthetic. So Thursday at the dentist wasn't any better.  Grace and I had talked about going and practised showing the dentist our teeth, but when it came to the crunch, I lay in the chair holding her arms and legs with mine as she screamed in terror. He still couldn't get a good enough look to suggest anything other than coming back if the tooth got infected or broke leaving a jagged edge. I went away feeling not only did we not have a plan, but that we didn't even have enough information to justify a wait and see attitude. He didn't charge us for either visit, but from what I'd seen, it was too bad to leave.

So after lunch, while Grace was napping, I rang the Children's Hospital and asked if they had a dental service we could access. I was put straight through and after talking to the nurse for a few minutes she said, I'll find a dentist for you to talk to. About five minutes later I was talking wth the lovely Amy and we went through everything and she said that she'd like us to bring Grace in for an assesment that afternoon and that if we got there before 4.30pm we wouldn't have to go through emergency. I can't tell you enough how different the approach was or just how impressed I've been with the Children's Hospital over the last two days. To examine Grace's teeth, they had her sit straddling my lap, facing me and then lean back onto the dentist's lap holding my hands. When she screamed, as they said she would, they got a really good look and it was all over very quickly. I was impressed with how they worked with the child's behaviour, there was struggle and it was still terrifying, but much less so than the regular dentist's approach.

Amy said that the tooth needed to be removed under general anaesthetic as the nerve was exposed; causing pain, bleeding into the tooth and leaving the area open to infection. Then there was a bit of waiting around with Grace alternating between saying she just wanted to go home, running up the corridors and playing happily with the books and toys. So surgery was booked for today. I didn't sleep well last night, I tried to be calm with it but all I could think of were the risks, the what if's and worry about my baby. And the dreams, I had all sorts of weird dreams in which some woman chastised me for how I bought up Grace, from what she wore, to what she ate, what she got away with and how we acted as role models. In the dream she told me you should be ashamed of yourself. Hideous. I was pretty glad to wake up.

Once the day got going, it had it's own momentum, even if a bit fraught in places. The wait was fairly long as we were last on the list. Grace didn't want to be weighed or have the hospital bracelet put on, she spat out all her pre-op panadol. And she was tired and hungry from fasting and missing her nap. But finally our turn came, the doctors were firm and friendly like before and I held her hand as she went under. Gosh it's quick. And we were there when she woke up. It's heart wrenching seeing your baby out of it on a hospital trolley with a mask on her little face, but she woke up quite quickly and after a big cuddle was walking around, choosing food from the fridge within half an hour. We were all pretty pleased to get home.

I have the tooth in a jar and Grace has been fascinated by it, but she didn't want it left by her bed for the tooth fairy. Insisting that it went back in mummy's room. I pretty sure the tooth fairy can cope with that. And I'm thinking that a gold coin might be the go for a tooth removed this way. Not that I know the going rate, this tooth fairy bizzo has come a bit early here at chez scruffnut.

17 comments:

  1. Lord, poor love. And you too, what an ordeal. Our tooth fairy delivers gold coins for teeth lost in the usual manner but I'm thinking because Grace is young that extra money would be fairly meaningless to her. You could just ask the Tooth Fairy to pay the normal amount (whatever your tooth fairy can manage, but gold does seem pretty standard at our school) and tell her Mummy and Daddy are buying her a special toy for extra bravery.

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  2. Poor Grace - that sounds traumatic at any age. I like the gold coin idea - the tooth fairy here brings a sacajewea dollar for a first tooth lost. Gold coloured and still worth a dollar...but pretty hard to get hold of.

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  3. Goodness! What a traumatic time for you all. And what fabulous service from the hospital. I'm sure your dentist tried, but practise makes perfect.

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  4. Oh Janet how awful. I'm glad there's a happy ending though, and of course it's a baby tooth so presumably there are no long term implications.
    Son #2 had surgery when he was 4 and I know all too well the gut wrench of seeing a very small person unconscious on a hospital guerney. I held it all together until the second he was under and then I fell apart, sobbing to the surgeon Please take care of my baby.
    That last photo of Grace is actually lovely not squirm inducing, because at the end of that traumatic story there's a big fat smile awaiting us.

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  5. How exciting! And scary. Una still talks fondly about the time her finger got chopped off and Daddy and Craig raced her to the hospital and there was blood and lots of doctors (she even remembers stopping at the local medical centre on the way and she was only just two). She has equally clear memories of getting the bandage off and crying about the big scissors. She recognises the turn off on the freeway.
    These are the incidents that become part of their body's map, part of their personal history. Its where body and world meet and give meaning to each other. It's all so very fascinating.

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  6. I believe the going rate is a gold coin if it falls out by itself and a $5 note if there's intervention...
    But maybe that's just the toothfairies around Canberra.

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  7. Oh my goodness - poor Grace, and poor you ( and Gerard ! ) .. nerves exposed, gee she was a good girl - that really hurts. I bet it feels much better out than in.
    No idea on tooth fairy business, we're only coming to grips that there is a Santa Claus, Virginia, and a list is already being prepared ( ??!?! )

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  8. I told you that you were a loving, wonderful mum! Hunting around for a third opinion and listening to your gut feel, all very much commendable. Happily, she will probably only be left with a dramatic memory of it all!

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  9. Thank god for the RCH indeed. On our (sadly) many trips there I have always come away with a tremendous feeling of gratitude that they get so much right at a time when as a parent all you want to do is scream. Like the night the nurse actually drove Wil and I home, or the doctor who did a bladder puncture on Amy when it was almost empty and so tiny (she was 6 months old) and was totally accurate and lightning fast. So very glad you had a good experience there. And glad the situation is over and you can recover. In our house the tooth fairy does the gold coin thing too, though we did ask Amy if she wanted to make a request for a book or toy, but she wanted what everyone else at school got.
    And I totally love Penni's take on it - so true! Amy still points out the RCH from the tram window (that's where I went when I was sick and had a operation) and the Women's (that's where I came out of mum's tummy). Her landscape is articulated by her physical experiences in it.

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  10. I'm glad you have that traumatic ordeal behind you. Go with what feels right for you re: the tooth fairy. Even if you hang on to the tooth until her other teeth start to fall out when it's their time, and then the tooth fairy can collect them together. We did that when Schnoob lost a tooth due to a trampoline mishap.
    And yes, a gold coin seems to be the general rate around here too.

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  11. the first photo hurt to see most. what an ordeal! brave you and brave grace.

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  12. Yes, gold coins seem to be the going rate for teeth.
    Poor Grace, that must have really hurt, and yay for mother's (or parent's) intuition, and the RCH, we are so lucky to live so close to it.

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  13. You poor thing - all three of you!
    Really, I have nothing but good things to say about RCH. They are brilliant!

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  14. I read it all and cringed many times in sympathy!

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  15. Poor Grace having such a painful tooth. It does look quite sore from that photo, but I am glad that it all went well for her. I wouldnt want the tooth next to my bedside either. I do remember the RCH dentist. When my son was about 2 years of age he was bouncing on the couch, fell off and knocked his tooth on the coffee table. It wouldnt stop bleeding so the local doctor told us to take him to the hospital. They said it would firm itself back into his gum but to put some sort of pink stuff on it to stop it becoming infected. I was paranoid for the next 2 weeks waiting for it to be all okay I think I made myself sick. Thankfully his tooth stayed in for another 5 years before it fell out. I can imagine how anxious you must have felt the night before she had to have it taken out too.

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  16. Poor thing- you and her! Phoning the children's hospital sounds like a very, very smart move! Glad to hear she's pulled through the experience OK.

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  17. Oh, you poor things - all of you, but especially Grace. Yes, smart move to phone the RCH. Aren't they wonderful? I've had good experiences there, too, though I'm still really impressed with your account of how they handled Grace.

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