Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A man begins cutting his wisdom teeth the first time he
bites off more than he can chew. ~Herb Caen

I'm sure my mother felt she had "bitten off more than she could chew" today. She'd been worried about this date for a long time. My sisters and I had begged her to call for a dental appointment. She'd complained of tooth discomfort for some time but was terribly frightened of visiting the dentist and procrastinated for months. That fear is probably what prevented her from taking us for dental check-ups when we were kids. Sadly, we've each paid a dear price for that - in more ways than one.
Sitting in a dental chair is certainly not my idea of fun, but it's necessary from time to time. I'd promised my 86-year-old mother if she would schedule the appointment, I'd make the two-hour trip to her home and take her to the dentist myself in order to be there for moral support. Today was that day.
I kept my promise and traveled to Mom's town this morning and took her to the appointment. I don't think I'd ever seen anyone more worried about a dental visit. On the way there, Mom fretted and complained about the traffic, the distance we had to travel, the other drivers, and anything else that came to mind. It was not a pleasant trip, though the dental office was less than 10 miles from her home.
One of my sisters met us at the office, so our mom had two of us for support. Even with both of us in attendance, there was no difference in her attitude. She would rather have been anywhere else on earth but in the dental chair. She complained and found fault with everyone and everything in the office - even the picture hanging on the wall. At one point, my sister stood at her side and asked what she wanted us to do. Mom replied, "Oh I just need something to complain about". No truer words have ever fallen from my mother's lips.
The dentist was very kind and made funny comments to put Mom at ease, but she didn't find humor in anything he said. She grimmaced and fidgeted as he numbed her gum in preparation for extracting a wayward wisdom tooth. She looked at us and asked if she could be strapped into the dental chair. There were no straps. I think she was afraid she might come up out of the chair during the procedure, but numbing her gum took longer than the extraction itself.
When it was all said and done, Mom said she was glad it was over and added, "That wasn't so bad". Bless her heart.


Mayleen said...

Oh my, sounds so familiar! I sometimes wonder what I will be like when I'm older.


BLESS your mom's "pea-picking" heart!!! what a precious story thanks for sharing and for being there with your Mom!!
Hugs, Di &co

dj said...

sweet story....what a great daughter you are to run home and take her to the dentist.....:).

sometimes older folks are so much like young kids again...