Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Courage, Cavities and Kidneys

In the past week, I have been to 7 doctor appointments.  That is over $120 in co-pays, $20 in parking, $20 in prescriptions, $300 at the optometrist and $600 in dental work,  not to mention money spent for gas, going out to lunch, entertaining my children while tests are being run and rewards for being so brave.    I need a part-time job just to support that!

Thank goodness we have good health insurance.   I am also thankful for doctors that are attentive, passionate and informed.  It means a lot to me that they spend time answering questions and taking time with my kids to make sure they feel comfortable.

No, this is not a post on the healthcare initiative, although I have my opinions on the matter, you most likely will not hear them here.   But let's just say that I like having control over my healthcare dollars.  I'm just sayin'.

This post is about watching my little ones be brave.   It's hard enough to be an adult and have to get blood drawn or shots.  And the dentist - don't even get me started.  I once had dental experience that took me over a month to recover from.  It was awful awful awful.  I choose them carefully now.  Very carefully.

Kids just have no idea what to expect.  We try to reassure them everything will be fine and that pain will be minimal.  The truth is that the pain stinks!  I try so hard to be honest with my kids about what to expect without scaring them, though.     

I remember the first time I didn't tell my daughter at age 5 she was going to get immunizations.  The nurse came in with the shots and my baby girl looked at me with big shocked eyes welling up with tears before the needle even touched her skin.   She seemed genuinely hurt that I did not warn her.   But had I told her before the appointment, I doubt we would have even gotten in the door. 

Last week, she had to have a shot that would basically inject a radioactive fluid straight to her kidneys.  The procedure is to get this shot in the morning and then wait six hours for the fluid to do it's thing.  Then you come back and have an x-ray that shows just the kidneys.    So, she knew she had to have the shot.

The nurse came in to give my B the shot but forgot to pull it out of the package before hand.   What B saw was a tube about the width of a candlestick.  And she thought that was the size of her shot.   Nobody bothered to explain to her differently and it was not until after the procedure while we were at lunch that I even knew she perceived this. 

Anyway, let me tell you, one would have thought they were about to cut the girl's arm off with the hollering and carrying on that my soon to be 9 year old daughter projected prior to giving her this shot.  I almost had to hold her down so they could give her the shot which ended up being the smallest shot I have ever seen in my life.  The packaging was about 6 times bigger than the actual shot.    

Fail for the nurse/tech - I think she should have prepared us better.   That was not the last procedure of the day that we were not adequately prepared for - in the children unit of UNC Hospitals.  And yes, I shared my concerns with the head nurse.  It's a big hospital, y'all and they should know better. 

All in all, I was very happy with UNC, especially the doctor - you can't let a few bad apples spoil the whole bushel.    We finished up with her test and it has been recommended she have some surgery.  Right now we are weeding through some information and working on getting a second opinion.

As if watching one child go through shots and discomfort would be bad enough for a mama in one week,  I had to do it again with my 5 year old son.   While brushing his teeth last week, I noticed a cavity.   Not a big deal for someone who is not TERRIFIED to even sit in the dentist's chair.   I mean, the kid has never sat in the chair.  The dentist has to examine his mouth while Bubby is standing and even then, he will not allow the dentist to clean his teeth.    So, when I saw the cavity, I knew we were in for quite an ordeal.

I promised a trip to the toystore after if he would just give the dentist a chance.   So, he did.  I'm down with bribing my kids - whatever works!  Our hygenist and dentist were awesome with him.   They showed him all the instruments and named them silly names that he could understand - Blew air in his face, water in his mouth, suctioned the water out, gave him cool glasses to wear and gave him a ride in the chair.

The dentist found two cavities. Ugh.   X-rays were needed.   My son was a champ.  He let them do the x-rays.  
Next came numbing the gums for the shots.  He did awesome.  Then the shots which Bubby did not even realize they were giving him.  He felt a pinch and cried a little but sat still as the dentist numbed both sides of his mouth.   I had prepared Bubby for the weird  feeling and we laughed as he tried to talk and kiss me with his now numb lips.

The dentist had to leave and take care of another patient before he finished Bubby.  When he finally came back, it was during the process of cleaning out the cavity,  that my little guy started to express some discomfort.   Okay, now this is where I just felt his pain so much.  Who out there has had the numbness wear off while in the dentist chair?  Holy pain.

But the doc could not give him any more anesthetic per his size so he tried to work quickly.    By the time he finished filling and filing the second cavity, my sweet son was crying so hard and reaching out to me.    They wanted to do even more filing so that the tooth was super smooth on the side.   But my 5 year old son, who has never sat in that chair before, had now been there for 1 and 1/2 hours and he was just done.

And so was I.   I declared he had had enough and that we would just have to catch it next time.    My heart was breaking and I just could not watch another minute of him trying to control himself while he was obviously uncomfortable.

I talked with the dentist afterward to find out that the numbness wears off faster for some patients and apparently, that was the case with my son.   Or maybe it was that the dentist had a packed office and was trying to work on too many patients at once.  Just maybe.

So, yeah - I'm kinda done with this for a couple weeks.  I guess I need to prepare myself for B's upcoming surgery.  I doubt a second opinion will tell us that we won't still need some kind of procedure done.

By the way, she has reflux of the kidney and they have found some scarring on one of the kidneys from infections.  The surgery would help to keep her from getting more infections.   If any of you have had experience with this in your own child, I'd love to hear from you.  Prayers would be awesome, too.

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
--Nelson Mandela

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GladMom24 said...

so sorry Janel, that is a tough week. I too dread the dentist b/c childhood memories...thankfully my girls love our female dentist.
sorry about the shot thing too. pediatric nurses should know better! unfortunately things like that happen everywhere, but the staff at Duke childrens always treat us so special, sometimes I feel guilty b/c our problems are so minor compared to some of the kids we see.
anyway I shared w/ Camille B's situation and she is so sad for her! I guess b/c she remembers all the testing & meds she went thru.
she prayed for her last night.
will keep you all in our prayers.

Stefani said...

Praying for you an B...

The Mom Jen said...

Prayers and positive thoughts, what a tough few weeks!

Kellie said...


I'm sorry! It is so hard to see our kiddos struggle, but the good news is that they are learning and growing in these times too.Not that that makes it any easier.

Also, back before I had kids (but thought I knew everything about parenting) I was "never going to bribe my children".

Of course I had not yet hauled my children into a doctors/dentists office when that said child was to face the needle.

Of course, I know am a bribing believer!

Praying for B and for you and your husband: Wisdom and Courage!

The Fritz Facts said...

The poor guy! So brave, even with the pain. I only hope that next time goes better for him.

I hope everything turns out for your daughter too. Any surgery is scary, especially at a young age. I will keep her in my prayers!

Tania said...

If there is anything I can do to help when she goes in for her surgery just let me know!

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