The other day my 4-year-old daughter had to undergo anesthesia to extract two molars that were causing her issues.
This certainly served as an opportunity for reflection and learning for me.
I am not the nurturer in our household. I tend to have a colder approach on things than my very caring and loving wife.
I suppose some of the difference probably boils down to our parental roles. Moms are typically known to be the softer, more loving parent and dads are usually known to be more stern.
In the days leading up to Charlie’s surgery, I hadn’t given much thought to how I would feel. I might have been still reeling from the price shock, or still trying to grapple with how a child’s teeth could have degraded to the condition hers had before her fifth birthday.
While it might be a cliche to talk about how much things have changed over the years, it certainly is the case here. When our oldest son Connor was a toddler, I was told that he didn’t need to regularly visit the dentist until he was four. So when Charlie visited the dentist for the first time, I learned that those recommendations have changed a lot, something I wish I had known earlier.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children “should see a dentist within the eruption of their first tooth or by the age of one.”
In fact, when looking at the recommendations by the AAPD, it became evident that I was poorly educated on many topics surrounding a child’s dental health. My lack of education on the matter contributed to a situation where my daughter not only suffered pain, but led to this extraction.
After the surgery to remove her bad teeth, I drove my wife and daughter back home. On my drive I had plenty of time to reflect, as well as observe the delirium the anesthesia left my daughter in.
On the drive Charlie was very confused and very scared. For most of the drive home she was crying and whining. She obviously was left with a very numb mouth, so her complaints came out mostly as incomprehensible mutters. However, after a few minutes it was clear the anesthesia made her forget that she had already been to the “dentist” and that the procedure was over. She was unable to comprehend that the procedure was over and that we were headed home.
The week before when Shannon had asked me to take the day off to help her with Charlie I didn’t understand why. I didn’t really know what either of us would be in for.
However, during the drive as Shannon sat in the back seat with Charlie helping ease her fears and concerns, I was extremely grateful that she had made the request.
It took several hours for the side effects of the anesthesia to wear off, and I am not sure if it is because she is my youngest child or because I am growing soft, but I was pretty shaken up with the whole ordeal.
I am happy to report that by the next day Charlie was back to her usual self — making my decision to work remote nearly impossible.
— Scott Nunn is the assistant editor of the Huron Daily Tribune. He is the father of four kids, three cats and two dogs who probably wouldn’t be around if not for his wife and her sound reasoning.