Yesterday, Eric had his dental operation. The poor tyke is only six. But he had five teeth removed and four fillings put in.
I’m sharing this experience because the consequences of having cavities that do not get treated in a timely way have never been fully explained to me. Otherwise I would have acted differently with a small child who is rather stubborn and refused, until very recently, to brush his teeth or behave at his dental check-ups.
You may be asking yourself why I managed to allow Eric’s teeth to reach this state. Let’s just say that in these past years, I simply haven’t had the time or mental agility to focus on apparently non-urgent extraordinary events for my children in a timely fashion. It’s not an excuse. It’s a fact of my life circumstances up to this point.
By the time I did get around to making an appointment at the hospital, Eric’s state of tooth decay was irreparable. I was beside myself with guilt and the anguish that only a parent can feel on seeing her small child wheeled off unconscious to the operating theatre, happily oblivious to the fact that he will wake up in a little while, feeling very awful, bloodstained and in pain, and face a reasonably certain future of a few years of orthodontic treatment to get teeth that will hopefully last him for the majority of his remaining years on earth. Oh why oh why didn’t I get his teeth seen to when they could have been fixed and not removed??
In Eric’s case, because he has lost teeth many years before they were due to fall out naturally, the adult teeth will very likely need realigning once they do finally appear because there are not enough teeth left in his mouth to fix them correctly into place as they develop in his jaw.
Society conditions us to think that unless we are continuously fully employed with a blemish-free career track, there’s something ‘not quite right’ about us. It takes courage to detach and swim off in a new direction that is right and healthy for the individual concerned. Since I have given up full-time work to be the mum I have always wanted to be, and focus on developing a career around my passion for knitting and yarn, life has developed a much happier and more balanced kilter. Both for me and, very importantly, Eric. I’m just sorry I didn’t do this sooner.
I decided to take along a small project to keep my mind still while I waited for him to come out of the theatre. I started to knit my niece a long-promised pair of slippers. Not a hard pattern at all – it’s just a garter rectangle in a chunky yarn with a rib toe. Nothing to it. But in my anxious state, I managed to make them too narrow. And after ripping that back and starting again, then forgot that one starting edge makes the heel once it’s sewn together, and knitted way too much length into the foot. Whatever. It was just good to have something to keep my mind off what was happening to Eric and the terror and guilt that I was feeling.
Now I have my sizing model conveniently to hand, I think we’ll be done by the weekend – Eric and his cousin are a very handy same age and approximate same size. Although Eric might say this is a mighty inconvenience when asked to model his girl cousin’s knitted garments for fit!
It is a great relief to me that Eric has bounced back from his op incredibly well. After an initial grizzle upon waking, he came home, ate a mountain of soft food, slept soundly all night and as he was such a box of birds this morning, I sent him to school. A small mercy!
But we shall be extremely diligent about tooth brushing from this day forward…