Friday, March 8, 2013

One Month Home

One month. I can scarcely believe that Max has been home with our family for an entire month tonight!

We didn't get a weight check done this week, but Max is up by at least two pounds. Not bad for a tiny guy to gain two pounds in a month! We have 5 more specialist appointments to do this month alone. We are getting things thoroughly checked out right away.

Yesterday was a big appointment. Max got his teeth fixed!

I knew that his teeth were in poor shape. His two upper front teeth were gray. I tapped them one time with a baby puff, causing him to FREAK out. Whenever I attempted to brush his teeth he would clamp down, and cry pitifully. I have never seen a child so orally defensive. Was he in pain? Or traumatized?

No matter, the only way to get his teeth x-rayed and examined would be for him to be sedated. I called several dentists before I found the right fit for us. They were able to get him scheduled very quickly, to my surprise.

The plan was to sedate Max, examine, make a plan and complete the work in one visit. I understood that I needed to pay for the entire visit up front, since the office is not in my insurance network. I would also need to pay for the anesthesia up front as well. I wanted the ten percent cash discount, so I came prepared with $2,000 in my wallet.

The nurse anesthetist was a real pro. He quickly and easily got an IV placed while Max yelled...more angry than in pain. I stayed with him as he became woozy and went night-night in the chair. I was called back a bit later after the exam was complete.

Simultaneously, my heart broke and panic set in as I viewed the photographs and x-rays. The two front teeth were dead with a cyst underneath them, possibly traumatized at some time in the past. The bottom front teeth were "shark"' teeth, two rows with baby teeth in the front that had failed to fall out. The back teeth were cratered, with decay on all sides. Max needed six teeth pulled, eight crowns, two nerve treatments (like a root canal), and three fillings.

The cash in my pocket would not even cover half of the estimated cost. As I looked at the photos, I could absolutely not choose a single tooth that could wait for treatment. Maybe the shark teeth could wait, but that would only save me $900 now, but I'd have to pay another $1000 to have him sedated for a 2nd procedure later. Not smart.

I set up shop in the consultation room and started making phone calls. And praying. And hitting dead ends. And crying. Nose running. Was I doing the right thing? My baby boy was in pain, I had to humble myself and keep trying.

I DID find an angel to loan me an obscene amount of money on the spot. I'm so grateful and oh, so humiliated. The only thing that makes me feel OK about this is that Max is happy today.

One day after having 19 teeth worked on, he is fully recovered, happy and giggling! I'm not sure if he is sore from the procedures or not, but he will be pain free in a day or so. For the first time in years, I imagine. All the dental work is done and we can now focus on teaching him to chew and eat real food.

See how happy he is today! And look at those shoes...Ralph's old chucks. I'm so happy to see him wearing these special shoes.


Jolene said...

Awww, he looks SO happy! Kudos to that donor and high fives to you for not giving up, but going with your mom instinct to get him the care he needs no matter the cost (or embarrassment)!

See, THAT is why God chose you for him!

Jill said...

Wow, what an ordeal. I hope he makes a complete recovery! Love the shoes!!He looks great! I can almost see some pudge around his chin. :-)

Christine said...

Bless his heart. I am so happy to hear that he will be pain free from now on. Tooth aches are no fun. Nolan needs all of his teeth worked on-- all 5 of them! That is right-- he only has 5teeth! :) Oliver has more teeth now.