Sunday, September 16, 2007


Something that I've had a lot of trouble with is dad's teeth.

At first it was the problem of convincing him to go to the dentist. I managed once in the three years preceding mom's death. One morning at breakfast I was sitting down at my plate after serving both of them and there was a tooth in my plate. I said "where did this come from?" and dad said it came from mom's mouth - more or less at least. So I convinced dad that mom needed to go to the dentist and he might as well go too. I visited the dentist office personally and let them know the situation. I asked them for a wheel chair and we arranged simultaneous work in side-by-side chairs.

Dad wasn't diagnosed then so I told them that he was sometimes a little peculiar acting. While I was there I reconnoitered - as any good soldier - and planned my best strategy.

On D-Day (Dentist Day) I loaded both parents into my trusty Honda Civic and we drove the 1.2 miles to the dentist's office. I parked as close as I could get and told mom and dad to wait on me and prayed that the Lord would see to it. I went to the office and picked up the wheel chair and returned to the car. Dad helped me get mom into the wheel chair and he pushed it with me leading the way to the elevator. Once inside we were taken right to the adjacent chairs - all planned out in advance and flawlessly executed. As long as dad could see mom he was fine. I flitted between the two chairs. I remember being so nervous.

The dentist had assigned 2 hygienists to work on them simultaneously. It was pretty difficult getting mom into the dentist chair. Dad was standing there rather bewildered but his clued-in hygienist quickly ushered him to the next chair.

Then "Dr. L" did his thing. He asked dad something but I've forgotten exactly what. Dad reached into his pocket and puled out a little red coin purse with "OU" printed on it. This is, after all, Oklahoma University football country. He opened it and poured out in his hand several dental appliances. I was shocked. I did not know those existed.

Dr. L said they were useless. I don't know where that coin purse is. He also told us that there really was not much of anything he could do for dad.

But at least both of them had their teeth cleaned. I found out that it is not possible to brush someone's teeth if the person refuses to cooperate. I also found out that it is very difficult to brush someone's teeth if they are cooperative.

Then after mom died in 2001 dad was a lot more manageable for a while. His grief was just so heavy. I used that as an opportunity to get a lot of stuff done that had been impossible previously. It sounds really awful now as I write this but looking back that's what happened. That's when I was able to get my big POA and a lot of other stuff that has been really important. He was amenable to signing documents then.

That time I took him to the dentist he had been going to all along instead of the closest one. I thought that guy might be able to do a little more but the results were pretty much the same.

Dad's outlived several dentists and doctors.

The occasion of this post is that the other morning (beats me which morning) dad and I were at breakfast at the little breakfast nook table and when I sat down he handed me a crown.

That made me think of that time with mom.

Dad's much, much better this morning. Sundays are usually bad days for him but this one is starting off pretty nicely.


~Betsy said...

Your dad reminds me a bit of my mom with dental issues. When I was growing up, I remember thinking how awful my mom's teeth were. She really didn't take good care of them. Then I learned that my grandmother had toxemia when she was pregnant with my mom. I've read where toxemia treatment is with antibiotics and the antibiotics destroy the unborn baby's teeth.

I don't even want to know what goes on in my mom's mouth. I know she has partials and she takes care of them herself. I hear her in her bathroom with the water full blast, (and me worrying because we have a well) and she tells me she is doing her teeth. There are no odors and all appears well. I'll leave her to it.

I'm glad to hear your dad is better this morning. But again, the roller coaster ride continues.

nancy said...

my dad fortunately has always had strong teeth and still has most of them. with my mom that was another story. seems she was always going to the dentist.

i'm glad to hear your dad is having a relatively good morning. enjoy and cherish it. you never know when it might be his last.

Katmir said...

thanks for sharing as you do. your dad-- and wife, are blessed to have such a caring person in their lives.

Lori1955 said...

Since Helen doesn't have any teeth and didn't have them when I met her, I have never had to deal with dentist problems.

I'm so glad to hear that your dad is having a good day.

SKYGIRL said...

Flinty; You remind me of two visits, actually three or four, trying to get Mom some Peridontist work done.

One was way too far away, and I knew they wouldn't, or couldn't drive there. The other one was closer, and Mother went once by herself, the second time, I took her, because she would be having the surgery. I did the same thing as you, and rather called the tech to the side, and said I really didn't know how she would respond, and that she had Dementia, etc.

She really got through it like a champ. The sad thing was, yet another reminder that she "DOES" have very bad Dementia. I asked her what they had told her, and what they planned to do that day, the last time she was there (about a week ago?) And she said "Well, I have never been here before?"

"Rut Ro!"