The first thing she saw walking into the buiding was the fountain. She was mesmerized by it. I was fascinated by the turtle statue, perfectly positioned so the water flowed over it and around it, while never getting the turtle wet. It reminded me of the two of us. Me and Sarah that is. I want her to experience all there is to life, yet in a way that she never gets wet. Protected in a way that she never has to suffer or feel pain. But I can't do that. Not really. These darn wisdom teeth prove it.
We entered the waiting room. It was full. With mostly teens and a parent. After all, the removal of wisdom teeth is like a rite of passage in the teenage years. I caught a glimpse of a few staring at us. They eye Sarah up and down and then look at me. After twenty one years, I'm just used to it. Except today. For some reason, I just wanted to yell out, "Stop staring." I'm sure it was because I was nervous. But what was I afraid of? Truthfully, that these teeth are so close to Sarah's airway. Sarah's very damaged airway. If I let myself, I could visualize all sorts of things going wrong. Horribly wrong. Instead, I concentrated on getting all the paper work completed.
Until I turned the sheet over and got to the medical information...
- heart disease - check
- asthma - check
- thyroid issues - check
- airway issues - check
- ever experienced trouble coming out of anthesia - check
- other issues we should be aware of - subglotic stenosis - check
The fear set back in. All of a sudden I felt hot. Burning hot. Then my heart started racing. "Oh c'mon Joyce, we are just talking teeth here," I said to myself. Then they called her name. She hopped up and followed the receptionist back into the treatment room. I quickly scanned the area. My urge was to run. Run fast. The other direction. The counter was cluttered. An oxygen tank was covered with thick plastic. It had not been used in sometime. The floor was not very clean. Old manuals lined a shelf. And then...next to my chair was an IV pump...with a used line and connector still attached. I was horrified.
My nervous state turned to an adrenaline rush. But before I could develop an action plan the doctor came in. He asked Sarah some questions. He put a glove on and examined her mouth. I started to feel panic. C'mon Joyce think. What can I say? I need to get her out of here. He started to ask me a question. I did not immediately hear him. He repeated the question. "Does she take medicine well?" "No. NO. " That's it. My escape clause. "No, she refuses to take medicine orally. She needs an IV line." And then I heard sweet music to my ears, "So sorry, we will not be able to complete this procedure here in the office. She will need to be in the hospital with a full team to support her." "Oh, I could not agree more," I readily replied.
The doctor left the room. Sarah leaned over to me and said she hated the taste of the exam glove in her mouth. I wanted to tell her I hated the taste of the entire experience.As we got on the elevator, I decided to push the button for the top floor. When we got to the bottom, Sarah decided she wanted to do it again. So we road that elevator like we were in an amusement park. Not much different than our life really. Up and down, up and down, up and down. The funny thing though, it's like the rush of a thrill ride. Your voice is hoarse. Your knees are shaking. Yet, you run back for more...