Today was the BIG DAY. And now I'm going to tell you all exactly how it went, just in case anyone else has a child who is about to get a tooth pulled.
1. No food or drink after midnight.
Mina had a small cup of icewater when she got out of bed. She was well prepared for this. Yesterday she even said, "It'll be kind of nice to not have to eat," HA! This from the girl who has to eat something every five minutes... Anyway, I told her she could sleep in as late as she wanted and she could wear her pajamas all day. She was pretty happy about that, however, couldn't stay in bed later than about 7:15am.
2. Check in at 10:30am.
It can take 25 minutes to get to Meriter, and then you have to consider the time it takes to park, get inside and to the right floor... I like to leave a generous margin of... error? I guess I just hate being late. So I left home at 9:45. I mean we were pulling out of the driveway at 9:45, not getting ready to leave, because we did that at 9:30, because you know it takes 15 minutes to get ready to leave.
Anyway... In we went to patient registration where they confirmed all of our information, gave us some paperwork and then sent us on our merry way to the pediatric ward.
We rode the elevator up to the sixth floor and just as we were told, there was a sign on the wall for pediatrics and an arrow pointing to the left. We went down the hallway to the left and just as we were told, stopped at the second nurses station to check in. They led us to a room where Mina was checked out and answered questions--particularly reguarding her cough--many times. While we were in there another little girl was wheeled in and had apparently just finished the same thing Mina was about to do. She was still out and snoring. We decided to wait in the play area. Mina played half-heartedly with a few things before standing in the middle of the room, rotating nervously and saying, "I think we should GET OUT OF HERE. I really think we should leave. NOW."
"Why?" I asked, thinking she must be getting nervous about the procedure.
"Because I think that every kid who comes in here to play is SICK," she replied. God, she was right, but I had to be all, "NO... No... See, they just have teeth pulled and things like that, like you..."
Then, a nice man in scrubs came along with a bed and had Mina hop on for a ride!
4. The Operating Room (henceforth known as the OR)
Mina loved the bed ride, down hallways, in the elevator down to the 4th floor, through the door to the OR. I felt a little funny being in there because I saw lots of signs saying I needed to not be in there. They wheeled her into a big room with other people in beds and privacy curtains where she was parked at the end on the left.
I talked to a couple of uh... nurse people (I don't know. They all just wear scrubs. It's so hard to tell who is who...even though they all wear identification around their necks). Dr. DentistDude came in to go over the treatment plan and answer any questions. (Pull tooth. Fill other fillings.) Then the anesthesiologist came in, which was really what I was most concerned about. She explained that I would walk out with them but then they would take Mina back to the OR without me. Then they would put a mask on her which smells of bubble gum, and have her take some deep breaths. She would relax and fall asleep. They would put tubes in her nose and down her throat. They would give her an IV, heart monitor, and she (the anesthesiologist) would be there watching and monitoring everything the whole time. That made me feel a little better.
So, then we wheeled Mina out, and they explained to her that mom had to stand behind the red line because only people with special clothes could come into the OR, and so I stood behind the red line and waved as they took her on a fun ride. Weeeeee!
The other OR people coached me to wait until Mina turned the corner and then I should go out the door and down to the end of the hall, where I would see a woman with a clip board, and she would take care of me.
I did just that and there she was. She walked me into the OR waiting room, looked on her sheet and then wrote a number on a post-it. She then showed me the TV screen "grease board" which showed the status of everyone by number. Since it was noon, she encouraged me to go down to the cafeteria and get myself a discounted lunch. I'm glad I did. I had the greek chicken salad and it was delicious and huge and about four dollars. I saw that lots of doctors were getting that so I figured it must be decent.
I got back to the waiting area at 12:30 and spent the next hour staring at the "grease board", guzzling free coffee and writing in my sketchbook. I felt a little sad and scared and wished I had a familiar face to just... be around.
Dr. DentistDude came in and snagged me for the post-op talk. He explained that the tooth next to the tooth they pulled was worse than they expected. They had to put a crown on that one. He also said they didn't need to use a spacer because her top teeth had good contact with her bottom teeth and he didn't expect them to shift, and a spacer would just be a food trap. He filled her other cavities with the white stuff and billed for the silver stuff (nice. way nice.) because sometimes insurance co's will only cover the silver, and if you do the white they'll cover for the cost of silver and you pay the difference, but often they won't cover it at all.
Dr. DentistDude led me to the chair just outside the OR and said a nurse would come to tell me when I could come back. A few minutes later he came out to get me. He brought me over to Mina and I thanked him profusely. She was kind of half asleep still. They gave me her disgusting tooth in a box with a dollar coin attached to it. They told me the drugs she was on which included Zofran for nausea and Tylenol. She went for another ride back up to her room on the 6th floor where we were required to recover for at least an hour. Our roommate was still there! She'd had hers done at 9am and it was 1:45! I was afraid we would be there all day. However, just 20 minutes later, Mina was flipping through the channels on the TV, sighing heavily and complaining that she wanted to go home. That's my girl! The nurse told her if she drank half of her cup of water we could go. Well, once she realized it was half empty, she sat up and said, "I want to put my shoes on."
"I don't even know if you can stand..."
"I want to try," she said, and she stood just fine, and put her shoes on and was ready to go. They came back in to check her vitals and I signed out. We were home a little after 3pm.
Today and tomorrow it's nothing but soft foods, no straws. This info is from the nurses and the handouts they gave me. The doctor said she could eat whatever she wanted. I will err on the side of caution though, and not just because I bought all that soft food last night.
Mina's tooth is under her pillow but she still isn't asleep. She came out a little while ago to show me some gauze she got out of her mouth. She just came out again to tell me she doesn't really feel like laying down.
If you read that whole thing you deserve a prize.