Miss Arabella has always had a mouth full of drama. In primary school she had an expander and then braces followed by an operation to remove a ‘super-numery’. In high school she had braces but the result wasn’t good so she then had an extraction to create some necessary room and then braces for another 18-months.
It’s been relatively plain sailing since then but just before Christmas she had a dental appointment and x-rays were taken. Now the wisdom teeth were an issue. And the dentist said that unlike Archie, Arabella’s were lying treacherously close to the nerves so needed to be removed by an oral surgeon.
We beetled into Macquarie Street (think dollar signs) for our appointment with the surgeon who confirmed there were three wisdom teeth that needed to come out before they caused all sorts of issues like rearranging the teeth that had been put into alignment by no less than three rounds of braces.
So it was into hospital for the procedure. Now as Archie had sailed through having his removed in the dental chair with IV sedation, Arabella wasn’t at all concerned and was certain by that evening she would be chewing into toffees.
But then at some shocking hour of the morning we arrived at the hospital and the surgeon was already running two hours behind. It gave time for Arabella to become nervous. And exaggerate the proceedings. And complain about being ‘Nil by Mouth’.
Finally, stripped of her jewellery and dressed in a white gown with a shower cap covering her hair, she was wheeled off to theatre.
I was told she would be discharged at around 3pm so I went home to get on with my day. It seemed it was only a few hours later when a nurse from the ward phoned and asked if I could come in straight away. ‘Why?’ I asked.
‘She isn’t eating or drinking and until she does she can’t be discharged. Could you come in and encourage her?’ She’s 20-years old. I should have asked that nurse why she couldn’t have been that person of encouragement but instead, I dusted off my old nurse’s uniform and drove back to the hospital.
Arabella wasn’t looking too good at all. There was a girl in the bed beside her who’d had the same procedure and she had already been discharged. Had danced out of the ward completely fine. But Arabella’s procedure had taken a lot longer than expected as her teeth were 15mms deeper down than usual and so the gums had to be cut open to assist in the removal of the teeth.
Arabella had a bowl of melted jelly and ice cream sitting beside her completely untouched that didn’t look very appetising at all. I asked the nurse for a can of lemonade. Arabella drank that so her IV could then be removed and she could be discharged. Sorted.
Then Arabella told me what she did in Recovery. When she arrived in Recovery she started sobbing and crying hysterically. The nurse came over and asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ Arabella said, ‘I’m in so much pain’.
The nurse said, ‘Your whole mouth has been numbed with anaesthetic; you are not in pain’.
Arabella said, ‘Oh; so I’m not in pain then?’
‘You’re fine. Do you feel like crying?’ asked the nurse.
‘Yes’, said Arabella.
‘Well go ahead and cry then’. So that’s what Arabella did and she cried for about 15-minutes. And I suppose that’s a better reaction to an anaesthetic than the one I have which is vomiting.
We came home from the hospital on Friday afternoon, passing by the supermarket for all things soft and mushy. On the Saturday night Arabella was again in tears. She said to me, ‘My face is so swollen I think it’s going to explode’.
‘If that happens you’ll make the headlines because you’ll be the first person to ever have a face explode from excessive swelling’, is what I said. But her face did look terrible; not that I said that because I was already dealing with someone prone to hysterics.
On Sunday morning her face was huge; I’d never seen swelling like it. And she went to work serving breakfast in a cafe. Her father did offer to do the shift for her (I didn’t), but she insisted she was right for work.
Can you believe, the dentist walked in with his wife. What were the odds? He looked at Arabella all alarmed and said she needed an emergency appointment in his rooms. His wife phoned me and said, ‘Look, from one mother to another, she shouldn’t be at work and she should be lying down and resting. If she doesn’t do that she’ll end up back in hospital on a drip of IV antibiotics’. I didn’t dare tell her, from one mother to another, I had already gone out for the day and wouldn’t be back until nightfall.
Anyway, the dentist gave Arabella some new antibiotics and said she needed an emergency appointment with the oral surgeon. A few days ago we saw the surgeon and he said, ‘What dreadful thing have I done to you?’ He calmed the situation by saying Arabella’s wisdom teeth were some of the most difficult to extract he’s seen and that the swelling is absolutely to be expected. She did not have a queried infection and didn’t need to go into hospital on IV antibiotics. Excellent.
So the situation is under control but Arabella still looks terrible. But I’m not allowed to tell you that. And she’s not the slightest bit upset about it because she’s lost so much weight from not eating that she’s fitting into that other 75% of her wardrobe she hasn’t been able to wear because everything was so tight. There’s always an upside.
I’m thinking that’s it for Arabella’s teeth. I can’t think of any procedures we haven’t touched on. And that’s just as well because as for the little guy, he seems to be taking after his big sister.