Monday, February 23, 2009

Nightmares and Halcyon

I'll post no pictures again today, just a few reflections on events of the last 24 hours.

Last night, Rhonda screamed and woke me from my sleep. Still half-slumbered, I rested my hand on her arm to offer some comfort, but within her nightmare state, she lashed out and threw blind punches into the air. Her fist collided with my hand and jammed my index finger up to my first knuckle. I winced from the pain and hollered, “Wake up!” The throbbing in my hand diminished any remaining sympathy. As soon as the shrieking faded, I rolled over, cradled my wounded finger with my good hand, and went back to sleep.

By morning, she apologized for punching me, but my finger still hurts.

Later this morning, I took my eleven year old daughter to the dentist to get a filling in her back molar. She doesn’t handle trips to the dentist, especially if they require even the slightest degree of pain or discomfort. The nurse approached me with half a halcyon tablet in a small paper cup. “Have her put this under her tongue until it dissolves. She should relax within fifteen minutes.”

The terror began sooner than expected. My poor daughter clutched both hands over her mouth and shook her head in small quick jerks.

The nurse spoke in reassuring, practical tones, “This will make it easier for you,” but the longer my daughter resisted, the more the nurse sharpened her persuasive edge. “It’s better to take the pill on your own…” her voice trailed before she completed the ultimatum.

I want my daughter to feel as comfortable as possible. I certainly don’t want her to suffer, and yet I didn’t realize that tiny half tablet would cause so much worry. We couldn’t just walk away; the cavity would only worsen and eventually require more painful treatments, but I hate forcing her to do anything. I hate to cause her any fear. The dilemma tortured both her and me. Then as I held the pill between my fingertips, I had a crazy mental picture of me as a parent pressuring my child to take a drug. It isn’t supposed to work that way. Am I not supposed to protect her from drugs?

We must have argued the point for ten or fifteen minutes, until my daughter finally snatched the pill from my hand and placed it under her tongue. The nurse sighed and said, “I’ll be back for you in fifteen minutes.”

We can only guess if the halcyon had any effect at all. Every new procedure required another round of cajoling and persuasion. Even the cotton candy-scented “happy air” did nothing to alleviate my daughter’s panic. She gripped my hand as a giant teardrop dribbled down her cheek. She finally consented to the filling, but it felt like humiliation.

I know she needed that filling, but I left feeling like a horrible parent.


jenx67 said...

Poor Rhonda! (You're finger, too!) Those things happen. This post reminded me of a Mary Chapin Carpenter song called Jubilee, which mentions Halcyon days.

Here are the lyrics -

It has a beautiful tune, but I couldn't find it on You Tube. Maybe Playlist? She's always been one of my favorites.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

Thanks for the link; I will look for the song. I also like Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Chelle said...

Remember our dentist? The one in Seattle you guys said beat us? I don't remember him being bad at all.

I in fact have a dentist appointment tomorrow. They are going to numb my upper jaw so they can do a deep cleaning. I have always enjoyed the dentist. I love my teeth feeling clean afterwards.

But I know many people fear the dentist. I heard somewhere that dentist have the highest suicide rate. I guess because everyone hates them.

I feel that this phenomena should be researched. I have been encouraging my instructors to do research with the dental hygienist.

Many people find deep pressure relaxing. They in fact will use leaded vest on children with autism because it can help them to relax and organize their environment.

When I go to the dentist, my favorite part is having the lead vest placed on me. I instantly become very relaxed.

My theory is that if they kept the lead vest on people, people would become relaxed and the dentist could be not as torturous.

Barry Moses (Sulustu) said...

I don't ever remember having a mean dentist. In fact, I remember our dentist in Spokane was kind of funny. Do you remember the receptionist with the beehive harido? And then there was the really pleasant, but eccentric woman with white eye-liner...

It is a good memory for me.


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