Wednesday, November 25, 2009
A few weeks ago we were happily enjoying a birthday party in Zilker park. It was a hot day and the bees were everywhere, but we were having a great time. The kids ran off to play on the playscape. If you have been to Zilker park, you know how hard it is to supervise kids there with the playscape spanning the mini-train tracks and the multiple areas. But, it wouldn't have mattered if we had been standing two feet away when Zack fell - it was just one of those falls that lands wrong. He was playing on the Firetruck and slipped, landing on his mouth on a part of the metal. Two teeth were bashed in, sitting at a 45 degree angle to his other teeth, towards the inside of his mouth. His lips and gums were bleeding and he was screaming bloody murder.
It was a Sunday (of course) so we called through the chain of doctors, nurses and dentists on call for the weekend, reaching a very flippant dentist and then finally giving up and taking him directly to the house of a friend who is a dentist and oral surgeon. Our friend was unbelievably kind and gracious and was able to show him how to gently move the teeth forward (over the course of the next 24 hours) far enough for him to close his mouth. We saw the dentist the next morning, and there was no damage (that we can see) to the adult teeth, but we really can't tell what will happen to the injured baby teeth. They might survive, might turn gray, might abscess and require a root canal, might die and have to be extracted, etc. And they could survive for now and then any of this could happen later.
I was very calm when it happened, but I've thought about it a lot. It's hard not to worry. Zack was a late teether and probably won't get his adult teeth for about two years, so we would love to have him keep his current teeth as long as possible. A root canal or extraction requires anesthesia, which always has the potential for problems. The difference in his appearance is very slight but it reminds me that I just never appreciated his perfect little teeth when he had them.
And now, after hearing the spectrum of reactions (most of them extremely caring and compassionate) from all sorts of people, something from the tiny minority of reactions stands out clearly to me right now: Something may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but when its my family, and my children, and happening now, it's a big deal to me. And when it is your child, it's a big deal to you. I hope this experience can help me remember to be compassionate to others, even (or maybe especially) in the very minor emergencies.