Thursday, November 20, 2014


She's 77.  She's completely bedridden.  She has been campaigning for over a year to have all her teeth removed because she's on pureed food due to an overactive gag reflex.
She calls me 17 times a day.  Some days only 7.  I have recently put some boundaries in place, because we talk every single morning for at least half an hour, so we are working on an agreement where anything that happens after 9 am can be something we talk about the next day, unless there's an emergency.  But we define emergency differently.  I'm working on that.  Yesterday I thought maybe I could say "Are you on fire?  That would be an emergency."  But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about how we found a gentle geriatric dentist with a heart of pure gold, who looked in her mouth and said "Removing all these teeth is not a bad idea.  I could do fillings, but I'd be patching a sinking ship."
So today she went and had all her teeth removed.  They used local freezing, so she was awake and chatty the whole time, and the dentist didn't mind.  I spent the rest of the day at the nursing home with her.

She's a bit like a child now - super lucid and surprisingly bright, still, but there are some things that throw her.  She's lost a lot of her pain tolerance.  The freezing coming out was excruciating for her - not, I don't think, because it was so painful but because her reaction to new sensations is WAIT WEIRD I DON'T LIKE THIS MAKE IT STOP.  So I spent a lot of time holding her hand and singing to her and begging her to try to stop talking and go to sleep.

"Bad, bad" she'd say.  "Pain, pain."  And then, "I can't close my mouth."  It took me a really long time to figure out what she saying because every time she said the word "close" she ....closed her mouth.  I explained to her 18 times that she could, she just couldn't touch her teeth together because they were gone.  She called for her mother.  (I told her she had her mother's grand-daughter.)

And then she made me cry, because we both dozed off, and she woke up in pain, squeezing my hand so tightly my fingers went white, and said "Father God, use this pain for my good and Your glory.  Use this pain for my good and Your glory."  A mantra, over and over again, and once again, I saw it, that strong strong spine this feisty little lady has.

I'm proud to be her daughter.


Kathy Mackel said...

Poor lamb. The photo on Facebook was quite...remarkable? Ok, and a bit ghastly but now she'll have a good path forward. (Like that's any consolation? I'm trying to be brave on Mom's account.)

Carolyn said...

BIG OUCH! None of that is easy, none of it on any level. OUCH! May healing come quickly, and understanding too for this dear little lady. You are a GREAT daughter!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

And that made ME cry too.


Stephen T Berg said...

You tell it so well, and of course, it's heartbreaking. And you are, as has been said, a wonderful daughter.