Thursday, April 14, 2011
After taking a panoramic x-ray of Jack's mouth, our dentist walked into the waiting area, where I was sitting.
"Heidi, I need you to come with me," he said. "I found something on Jack's x-ray."
My heart skipped a beat. Doctors and dentists don't bring you into their offices to chat about nothing, and Dr. Lee's tone was serious.
"You found something?"
"Come. I'll show you. Let's talk."
Fear washed over me as all sorts of thoughts flashed through my head. Once you've had a child diagnosed with a condition like type 1 diabetes, you know just how easily, how suddenly, how surprisingly a diagnosis can strike.
Of course, we will deal with whatever comes our way, but Jack deals with enough already. He doesn't need anything else piled onto his seven-year-old plate.
As we walked into his office, Dr. Lee must have sensed my fear.
"It's nothing to worry about," he assured me. "Jack's fine."
He plunked a print-out of Jack's x-ray on the counter.
"Look here," he said, pointing to some areas, "Jack is missing permanent teeth."
Just as he said that, Jack poked me, interrupting the conversation with "Mom, I feel low."
"Keep talking, please," I said to Dr. Lee. I wasn't going to let a low get in the way of his explanation. I needed to hear more and I needed to hear it then.
I opened Jack's D kit, took out testing supplies, checked Jack's blood, gave a quick glance at the 49 on the meter, whipped out a juice, unscrewed the top, ripped off the seal, handed it to Jack and watched him chug, as Dr. Lee and his office manager watched our diabetic dance and continued to explain that it's not life-threatening, or even problematic, to be missing a permanent tooth or two.
Tears stung my eyes, as I multi-tasked, listening and learning about one condition while treating another, the other which is often problematic and which holds the potential to be life-threatening.
"Man, you guzzled that, Jack!" Dr. Lee exclaimed, bringing a little levity to the conversation. "How'd you drink that so fast?"
"I'm used to it," Jack said matter-of-factly.
"Well, you know what?" Dr. Lee asked. "You and I have something in common. We're both missing permanent teeth."
Jack looked perplexed. "We are?" he asked.
"We are, and you know what else?"
"It's not a big deal. It just means that we need to take extra special care of those baby teeth, because we want them to last, and when and if you need orthodontic work, your orthodontist will need to take them into consideration."
We talked some more with Dr. Lee and then left to head home. During the drive, as I thought about the news we'd just received, I felt immense relief and gratitude. Tears stung my eyes again. This time, they were tears of joy, because this new finding is "not a big deal." If only all findings were "not a big deal"...