Sunday, June 20, 2010

In Case You'd Like to Know About Last Week

Last week was crazy. I knew it would be, it being the last week of school and all. Of course, I should have expected life to throw in a few more kinks as it is prone to do. This was the week of Finals, with a capital F. Finals for me, Finals for Lyndsay. There was some intense studying going on, and some short tempers too. (mostly mine) But Wednesday morning, we took a break to attend Caitlin's 8th grade promotion. Yes, I cried. Graduations make me cry. And she's getting so grown up and so gorgeous!

Caitlin and her dad after promotion

I took my Anatomy and Physiology final exam on Thursday morning, experiencing a fairly peaceful heart after a night of studying and prayers to remember. I can't even adequately describe my fatigue over that class. The subject matter is so interesting/fascinating/miraculous/amazing, and if I didn't have to be tested on every cell of every tissue of every organ and know how it all works, I would love it. But this entire year I've been immersed in the human body at a level I honestly didn't know existed. It felt like running a marathon towards the end, knowing the finish line was in sight and really having to push myself to cross it. I just couldn't do it anymore. I think the exam went okay. I had an A going into that last exam, so unless I screwed up abominably, I should do well. It's a class that I really need to have an A in to be accepted into the nursing program. I can hardly believe that it's over, those two classes, and that I don't have to study Anatomy and Physiology anymore! What a relief!

After my exam, and coming home to teach piano lessons, taking Lyns and Aiden to their piano lessons (yes, I bailed and got them their own teacher--one less flaky than I), we hurried over to the church for Aiden's Webelos Raingutter Regatta. Kind of like the Pinewood Derby, except with boats that they blow down a raingutter river.

Conor just used every spare moment to play in the water. At one point when I couldn't see him, I found him running through the church lawn sprinklers. I figured, "Let him. I'm tired; he's happy." Five minutes later, I peeked and he was still playing, without shorts this time. Two minutes past that, his shoes were off. I sent Adam over to rescue the situation before things got really weird.

Aiden came in third place, and had a lot of fun.

The next morning at breakfast, however, he asked me when he could go to the dentist. Not a normal question, and I'm so overwhelmed financially, that it wasn't high on my priority list, even though the kids are due this month to go. I asked him why and he told me he had a tooth that was really bothering him. In fact, he said, he'd been up most of the night and had brushed and flossed over and over again trying to kill the pain. He never woke me up, bless his heart. I took a look in his mouth, and about fainted.

That's a huge hole! I don't know if it's a new fast-acting cavity, a chipped area, or if a filling fell out, but it was very obvious that the kid was in excruciating pain. Knowing what I knew about money and our lack of insurance, my heart sank. I gave him some ibuprofen and sent him off to his last day of school, and I called his dentist. I explained it was an emergency, but they couldn't see him until Tuesday. I made the appointment, but I knew it wasn't good enough. When Aiden came home from school he was in worse shape, but we had to go to Dylan's 8th grade culmination, so I gave him more ibuprofen, and off he and Conor and I went. Conor, who should have been taking a nap.

The graduation was at 2pm in the blazing sun. We had to get there early to get a seat, and Adam was working, so I was on my own. Besides the moments when Dylan entered, and crossed the stage to accept his diploma and I cried thinking back on how quickly he is growing up and how much I love him (he finished junior high with a 4.0GPA!), besides those moments? I hated it. It was so bloody hot. Seriously. Conor cried and whined the entire time. It was a constant whiny monologue that went something like this:

"It's hot."
"I hate hot."
"I hate it here."
"My hair is melting."
"I want to go home."
"I'm hot."
"I hate hot."
"I hate this song."
"I hate Dylan."

It was miserable. I tried to make a makeshift bed with a t-shirt on the grass under my legs so he could lie down and be a bit shaded, but then I heard:

"This grass is itchy."
"It's not shady enough."
"I'm hot."
"My back itches."
"I hate this."
"I hate this grass."
"I hate Dylan."

To make it worse, poor Aiden was next to me, holding his face, groaning periodically in pain, but being such a champ. He was hot too. We all got sunburned. It was a horrible two hours, besides those moments when I was filled with maternal pride and love for my boy. But after we took some pictures, we split. My heart was so concerned about Aiden. And it was so hot, did I mention that?

When we got home, I got out my super-duper First Aid kit and tried my best to help Aiden, thinking that we had to somehow make it to Tuesday. I cleaned the tooth, numbed it with an oral medication, and filled it with temporary dental filling putty. That worked for all of 30 minutes. We put ice on the side of his face and he stayed on the couch in pain. I cried. I didn't know what to do to help him. I could not find another dentist who could see him, and here it was Friday afternoon, and we would need special help because of financial circumstances. I already had a system with my dentist where he allowed us to make payments. Or I thought I did.

Late that afternoon they called me, and I thought, "Oh! Something's opened up! We can get in!" But no, they were concerned about our lack of insurance and the lady who had always worked with us no longer worked there. The new woman couldn't guarantee anything. I was so upset. She could see that we didn't owe anything currently. She could see that our six children have been patients there for five years and that we have paid thousands of dollars with or without insurance. (Dental insurance isn't that impressive.) She said we'd have to come in on Tuesday and speak with the dentist to see if he'd be willing to accept payments. I couldn't believe they would turn away a kid in so much pain and it scared me.

Not knowing what to do, I called Adam, who was working on set for a commercial for Pedialyte (not acting this time, darn it.) I was in tears, asking if he knew anyone in our Stake who was a dentist. He only knew one, the bishop of one of the wards, but we didn't have his office number, didn't have the proper phone book, and our internet had been shut off because we hadn't paid the bill. It was almost 5pm when offices would be closing and I was desperate. He told me to try to track down the phone number and he'd see if he could get a hold of him. Nobody that I called, to help me find his number, was home. Thinking about what I should do, I had this impression to call a woman in our ward to ask her to look up the number on her internet. It was not a person I would normally call, but I just obeyed, and she was so kind and gracious. But her internet was slower than a snail, and as I sat there waiting and waiting, and wondering why in the world I'd felt to call this woman when her internet was still back in the Dark Ages, we began to chat. I didn't want to give her my sob story, but I just said I had a dental emergency.

"For a child or adult?" she asked.

"Child. My dentist can't see him till Tuesday, but he is in so much pain, so we're going to call Bishop Garrett and see if there's anything he can do to help."

"Oh, I have a great pediatric dentist," she offered.

"Really? But, see, I don't have insurance right now, and with how bad his tooth is, I probably won't be able to pay for the whole thing and will need to make payments."

"Oh, my dentist offers a discount for cash paying patients, and they allow making payments," she said. So I asked for the name of her dentist, and wrote it down just in case. Finally her internet gave me the number for Dr. Garrett, and we said goodbye. I hurriedly called Adam and gave him the number. He knew Dr. Garrett, I didn't, so I thought we'd have better luck if he called. Turns out, he was out of town for the weekend with the youth. Fantastic.

Aiden's face was starting to swell. The ice helped a bit, as did the ibuprofen, but he was in a bad way, and I was trying to study for my early morning Nutrition final, with only my poor suffering boy on my mind.

I cried myself to sleep, feeling so helpless. I got up with him a few times in the night to switch his ice, give him more medicine, rub his back. I knew he was in agony. I was in a different kind of agony, as the night wore on.

I left early to take my final, and I thought to take my laptop with me to use the wireless service at the school. I kept thinking about the dental office that the woman had told me about, so I called them. "Bring him in," they said. I told them I didn't have insurance, and barely any money, and still, "Bring him in. We'll work it out."

I sped home and scooped him up and raced out to Eagle Rock. A miracle! He was feeling some hope and so was I. I cried as I thanked the office staff for getting us in. He had his x-rays, and sure enough, the infection was too advanced and the tooth had to be pulled. I was afraid of this, and the ensuing cost of an implant. The dentist laughed, "No, it's only a baby tooth!" It is? Another miracle! They would pull it and put a spacer in and it would be over. I cried again, so, so grateful. The billing specialist allowed me to make a partial payment, which made me cry again with gratitude. I couldn't thank them enough!

On the way home, Aiden was in real pain, but we got him some medication and ice and he has steadily improved. I know that Heavenly Father put that thought into my mind to call that woman. Here, I had thought it was to use her internet connection, but it was really because of what she would tell me in our conversation. I thanked her today in church and she said it was funny, that she almost hadn't said anything about her dentist, but felt that she should. Tender mercies! Thank you!

What a burden was lifted from my shoulders now that Aiden was taken care of and would be okay, and that my classes were now behind me. I was so exhausted! I fell asleep and rested for a good while.

When I woke, I went out to the garden and pulled up all the bolting lettuce. It's time to plant new vegetables, and I'm probably a little behind in that, but I've been so busy. I decided to pull up some carrots and blanch and freeze them to make room for more carrots.

We gave all the carrot runts to the bunny, Chadwick, who loved the greens the best. Good ol' Chadwick.

Then it was time for summer haircuts for the boys who had gotten quite shaggy. I took them to a $7 hair cut place and had them shorn. They look so clean cut now and ready for summer!

Here's Aiden, feeling so much better.

And the Dylan-boy, who won Best Hair at his school, but really needed a change. He wanted it, though I warned him the change would be shocking at first. He's going through some transition at the moment, but public reaction has been encouraging, and I think he's going to make it.

Of course, try to get a decent picture of him. I dare you. He's such a ham. And my goodness, he looks like his dad with this haircut! But he gets his blue eyes (which I haven't seen in years behind all that hair) from me. He said he thinks his eyes and ears are allergic to oxygen, now that everything is exposed.

And Lyndsay. I didn't mention Lyndsay too much in this post, did I? Well, she's still amazing and gloriously beautiful. She made it through her sophomore year with a 4.0GPA as well and has the whole world at her feet.

Next week? Our household doubles. My friend Sara is bringing her five children for the week to do some beach! It's gonna be crazy. But good crazy. Apparently, I do crazy. Crazy's what I do.

Yay, summer break!

p.s.--I'm DONE with Anatomy and Physiology!


isshou ni said...

Wow! You made it! Take a deep breath! I know I was breathing for you as I read your post, and I cried with you as I read about those helpless feelings of a child in pain and no where to turn for help! I also smiled as I saw the Lord reach in and SAVE as He always does with His tender mercies! Wow! Thanks for sharing! P.s you kids look great with the new doos!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Oh those tender heart was just aching for you as I read this post and the relief I felt when you finally got a reprieve from the sorrow was so intense. Hope all the crazy in your near future is the good kind.

And that boy of yours is one good lookin' kid, especially with the new do. Nice!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

p.s. I was brushing my teeth thinking about the agony of that infected tooth and the sweet grace that you and the lady you called following promptings turned out to be. And it occurred to me that that is just the sort of story that could (should?) be shared in The Ensign. Faith affirming and a sweet reminder of our Heavenly Father's love, care, and concern for us. Just a thought. =)

Missy said...

Been there and done that with the teeth and insurance and low cash reserve (more like none)!! I tell ya it sure can make you feel helpless. If it should ever happen again apply pure vanilla extract with a cotton ball or swab to the tooth. It really helps with the pain. Brings it to a tolerable level at least. Sounds crazy I know but it works. I chipped a tooth and neglected it and found that as a crazy home remedy online and sure enough it helped. (Although with that advanced infection it may not have.)Happy summer vacation! Oh, and sorry to burst your bubble, but just wait until your nursing classes....A&P returns ;)

Lara Neves said...

Wow! What a crazy time for you.

I loved your story about the dentist though. I love how Heavenly Father works. And I so understand how hard it must be for you right now. We have to somehow get through this summer with no paychecks and it's tough, but I have already felt and seen so many blessings from the Lord.

Saint Holiday said...

I love your family! Congratulations to each of you for your many grand accomplishments. I love you to the highest degree.

The Ancient of Weeks

Misty said...

ok. dare i say it's only monday morning and I am now completely exhausted. my goodness girl, that's a lot... PTL about the dentist though!

Hannah said...

My sweet sweet sister. What a week! I wish I had a million dollars to send to you so you wouldn't have to be burdened like that ever again. But man am I ever glad it all got worked out. God loves us, huh?

I gasped when I saw Dylan. That is totally Adam!! I think I even remember Adam in those exact poses! Too cute.

Stephanie Cozzens said...

I stumbled onto your blog a few months ago through a BlogHer link, and have been hooked ever since, so I thought I would let you know instead of just continuing to lurk.
Thanks for your honesty - you put it all out there without excuse or self-pity.
Thanks for writing so well. It's clear, articulate, and you don't fall prey to the cutesy style that so many bloggers do (I know because I'm a new blogger myself and it's easy to substitute style for content).
Hang in there. It sounds like you have great kids, so regardless of whatever other balls get dropped, you're doing the right things.

Abby said...

Dylan looks like his dad, true..but I also see a lot of Van Sciver in him..namely, Jonah.

I hate that Aiden had such a sad mouth for a few days there! That's terrible. I remember those days of pain and just waiting for the root to die. Yup. Gangsta. But I'm SO glad you called that woman and she thought to give you that number and then all of the other happies that made it not as bad as it could have been. :)

Yay for graduations and congratulations to everyone!

Conor cracks me up with his melting hair. Hahahaha! <3 you!

YogaNana said...

Haven't been reading the blogs lately. I kind of forgot about them! But I echo everything Abby said here -- and yeah, with the new haircut, Dylan looks like Jonah. Amazingly!