Sep 4, 2019

Emergency Surgery

9/04/2019 — cori

We were very lucky to see Gavin for 3 whole weeks this summer! Woohoo! When your adult kid lives in a different state than you, you treasure every second they are home. He had come home to join us on our family vacation this year. He had a few days of free time after our vacation, so I decided to schedule a dentist visit for him. Thus the drama begins...

I have to preface this by saying that we have THE BEST dentist. We all love him. It's a small little office run by him and his wife. You are always the only client there any time you go since it's a one chair office. They are super kind, down to earth, and genuine. Every time I go, they send me home with a single stem rose. He drives a 1990 Ford minivan with rust around the bottom. Zero pretense.

So Gavin dutifully goes for his teeth cleaning. That went just fine. I had also scheduled him to get his top two wisdom teeth pulled since he is long overdue and our dentist said he's done that procedure a million times. Easy peasy. You don't even need to go under since it's just like pulling any other molar.

The first one came out fine, even quickly. The second one - not so much. I was in the waiting room and heard the hygienist come out and pick up the phone and talk to another office. She mentioned something about a stuck tooth and was their surgeon available. She didn't seem panicked, so neither did I. The second time she came out to make another call, I started getting nervous. She explained to me that the Dr. doesn't have a certain tool that only oral surgeons have. It would be helpful to try to get this other tooth out that appears to have "rolled into his sinus cavity."

Hmmmm....doesn't sound good.

The third time she came out to call someone I went back there to check on him. The dentist explained what was happening and said that he should be able to get it out if one of his oral surgeon friends could give him the tool. Gavin was supposed to pick up his phone that was being fixed after this appointment, so I offered to go do it in his stead since I figured he wouldn't be in the mood to run any errands.

As I was out, the hygienist called me and said, "The Dr. is taking Gavin over to the oral surgeons right now. Here is the address." OMG! I zip over there and actually beat them there. After consulting with the surgeon, the surgeon decides that Gavin's jaw can't take anymore right now and that he will perform surgery on him first thing the next morning. I was still confused as to the what/why/how of everything.

On a side note, the other wisdom tooth the Dr. took out didn't even cause Gavin any pain that evening. He felt perfectly normal. That was how the whole thing was supposed to go down. Instead, my son is in major pain with a tooth floating aimlessly through his sinus cavity that may or may not be found tomorrow morning - the DAY BEFORE he flies back to ND. I never would have planned surgery for him the day before he flew home. This was going downhill - fast!

The oral surgeon explained the two worst case scenarios that could happen to Gavin before the surgery: 1) the tooth is completely lost and he would have to wait a month or so then go to the hospital for a CAT scan and have surgery there or 2) the tooth is somewhere in his sinus cavity, but not accessible through the original tooth hole. He explained he would then have to make an incision on the upper jaw and use that hole as another way to explore the sinus cavity to find the missing tooth. Best case scenario: he uses the special tool our dentist didn't have and is able to deftly pull the missing tooth from the sinus cavity through the original tooth hole. Guess which one happened?

Option two is what went down, I was informed, after the hour and half he was under. He ended up with 7 stitches in his upper jaw and an open hole into his sinus cavity where the tooth used to be. Thankfully, this time, he was completely sedated. I was beside myself with worry and guilt. I'm so thankful for a friend who is a dentist that spent a large chunk of time texting back and forth with me answering all my questions and assuring me Gavin was going to be okay. Mom guilt is a real thing people! I had a massive migraine for 2 days during this drama.

I was a little upset about what happened. I was never told this was a risk. Come to find out later, Gavin was the one who signed all the consent papers and it was written in there. I completely forgot that adult kids sign all the things that I used to sign. I wasn't mad at our dentist, just that the whole debacle even happened. Gavin and I went on a walk the afternoon of his surgery (he was adamant to prove to me that he is stronger than the side-effects of anesthesia) and he told me, "Don't worry mom, it's ok. I think we need to show more patience to people when they mess up."

Me - *hanging head in contrition*, "Ya, I know you're right Gavin. I'm not mad at the Dr., I know it was a complete fluke. I'm just sorry it happened at all but especially on your last day with us."

Needless to say, he was way more chill than I and even taught me a thing or two about how to handle hard things that are randomly thrown at us. We both felt super bad for our dentist. He said this was the first time it ever happened to him in 35 years of dentistry. They called and checked up on him, apologized, and even offered to pay whatever insurance didn't.

Several people were advising Gavin not to fly out the next day, the oral surgeon being the loudest voice. However, we left that decision up to our grown kid who has a good head on his shoulders and knows himself the best. He decided he could do it. He had no negative side effects just the inconvenience of only being able to eat liquid food for 5 days. He was anxious to get home and back to work and his normal routine. He's a good kid. I'm so proud of him.

Life happens. I hope I roll with it as good as Gavin did.

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