This week started out ordinary, so there wasn’t much to tell. But it quickly evolved, as life often does with kids, into an insane example of simple gratitude & why even the best childproofing methods sometimes just aren’t enough.
Intrigued? Ok, here we go!
Monday began with a dull ache in my lower right jaw. By Wednesday, it was not so much a “dull ache” as a “throbbing pain that makes me want to curl into a fetal ball & cry” sort of feeling. Although I’m meticulous about brushing/flossing, etc, I tend to neglect my regular dental cleanings & treatment. BIG MISTAKE.
But here’s the rub: ironically enough, we had been COBRA-ing our dental insurance from The Captain’s previous employer, b/c it was way cheaper than the plan at his current job. The prior dental insurance had ended its 18-month period -you guessed it- about four days before the pain erupted.
Thankfully, The Captain sprang into action, and after hours of research, he signed us up for a payment plan option which allowed me to make an immediate appointment.
And the dentist was a very kind man, who after examining the X-ray, kindly told me that my back molar needed a root canal, which usually he’d do himself, BUT (isn’t there always a BUT??) this was a complicated tooth, with odd twisted roots, & his office kindly helped me find an endodontist that accepted our plan.
I thought having a root canal would be the day’s biggest issue.
I was WRONG.
Within the hour, I was reclined in another dental chair, as the endodontist finished up the root canal. Then the receptionist informed me that since this was considered an “emergency” appointment, that fact plus the actual root canal resulted in a bill of…. ready??….
Turns out, the dental plan offered a reasonable rate for root canals…. if it is done in a dentist’s office. Since I was referred to an endodontist, however, this policy no longer applied.
(It’s not like the tooth was dipped in GOLD. It’s not like anyone would ever SEE the repaired tooth, since it’s all the way in the back. For $1500, I want my tooth encased in a platinum setting. NO. For $1500…
I just want my $1500 back, really.)
So I went home, feeling utterly defeated, depressed, & discouraged. For a family that struggles to maintain a very lean budget, $1500 might as well be $15,000.
The Captain & I talked briefly about it, & when I say “talked”, I mean that he consoled me while I wailed about how stressful the money situation is & how oppressive it can feel sometimes.
And he said the words (which after I tell you the rest of the story, make SO much sense):
“I know, but it could always be worse.”
Which is true.
Because an hour later, it was worse.
#6 was napping when I had gotten home. The Captain went about helping the little guys with homework while I lay down on our bed, my jaw throbbing & my soul weary. I began to feel a little relaxed, & heard #6 wake up. As I opened the door to our little ray of sunshine, he smiled at me & said, “I ate a screw, Mommy!”
When I said just that to him, he pointed to #3’s desk chair, which now had two empty holes on the underside of the chair.
Me: “Where are the screws??”
#6: “Well, I had two, & one is missing, and one went into my belly.”
#6 said that he had pried both screws out & played with them, then put one into his mouth (for fun?!) but accidentally swallowed it.
Now while 3 year olds have a tendency to be less than truthful on occasion, #6 seemed quite earnest in his story.
So I called The Captain in to tell him, & we looked for the missing second screw… which The Captain found underneath the bed. He held it up with a stricken expression, because it looked like THIS:
Now with six kids, we’ve done the “object swallowing crisis” before. We’ve had a dime consumed, the plastic corner of a remote, & even a scary Flintstone vitamin picnic.
But THIS… this was terrifying.
So The Captain began bundling up #6 to take him to the ER while I waited for the babysitter to arrive. As I tried to hide my own tears,
#6 cried because he wanted pizza.
#4 cried because she was sure #6 would die.
#5 cried because this incident ruined her planned trip to the dollar store.
#3 didn’t cry, but wanted to because not only was his chair broken, but his only brother might be broken, too.
These are those moments that you can’t prepare for as a parent.
No matter how much you childproof your home, how experienced you are in child management, how rational you are in a crisis, there are inevitably those times when your kids do things that not only make you question how children even survive long enough to enter adulthood, but how you will also manage to survive until that time without the stress of it all killing YOU dead.
As I drove to the hospital, The Captain texted me the X-ray picture. Thank God there was no ditch near the road, because after seeing this, I surely would have driven off into it.
But thankfully, after the ER staff measured the remaining screw, they were certain he’d pass it, um, naturally, because it was “only” 3cm. Anything over 5cm is concerning, but since the sharp tip was facing the RIGHT(?!) way, it would likely be ok.
Good to know, huh?
Needless to say, the entire family was thankful to have #6 return home, still perky. And the screw did pass, naturally & without incident, two days later.
So a root canal AND an impromptu ER trip will be costing us more $ than I can fathom right now, but I could care less b/c my boy is safe & healthy.
It’s all about perspective. While an expensive root canal plunged me into the depths of despair, the fear of my son dying or being injured from a silly childhood accident made the root canal expense seem like small potatoes indeed.
ROOT CANAL + EMERGENCY VISIT= $1500
EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT= …$10,000??? Bajillion, maybe?
GRATITUDE= PRICELESS© Copyright 2017 Six Pack Mom, All rights Reserved. Written For: Six Pack Mom