Friday, August 6, 2010

Sorry, I Don't Speak A Foreign Language Called Sympathy

I, like most other people (including my husband), had braces on my teeth when I was a teenager. But unlike most of my friends, I didn't get to participate in the usual consultation/impressions/two years of metal mouth/retainer routine. Since I was lucky enough to possess a jaw sized for a smallish person that contained teeth sized for a lumberjack, I started my orthodontic treatment in 2nd grade with the extraction of four permanent teeth and then the most dreaded contraption of all -- the headgear. For four aching years. Then braces for the next two years. And in addition to all of this orthodontia, I was cursed with bad enamel, which meant that no matter how much I brushed or how little candy I ate, I always ended up with cavities, which meant that in addition to the orthodontist's office, I also spent a lot of time with a drill in my mouth.

So if you're wondering, the answer is yes. Yes, I hate the fucking dentist. The smell of the office, the sounds of scrape scrape scrape-ity scrape, the sight of the appointment written on my calendar, the sound that the chair makes when I sit in it, the blinding light. I hate all of it.

And although I was spared the humiliation of having to wear the headgear/torture device to school or anywhere else in public, having to wear it at home and at night and endure the teasing from my brothers was bad enough. The damn thing made me snore, it left gouges in my cheeks that lasted until almost lunch time, and every time the piece of shit got adjusted, it made me sore from the top of my head to somewhere around my belly button. Were my brothers sympathetic? Well, yeah, of course they were -- if sympathetic is defined as "let's eat popcorn, granola bars, licorice, pizza, gummy bears, and everything else that Jody loves to eat in front of Jody because right now Jody can't eat it and it makes Jody mad." Gotta love big brothers.

When I finally got to throw the headgear into a bonfire and had my braces put on, they quit teasing me about the snoring, but then started in on accusing me of blinding them with the light reflecting off my metal mouth, having the worst breath imaginable because little bits of food tended to get stuck in the infinite crevices, suddenly sucking at playing the flute because the shape of my mouth had completely changed, and pretty much just looking weird in general.

What I remember even more than the teasing, though, is the pain. At that point in orthodontic history, I had to go in for monthly adjustments, which meant that for a few days each month, I couldn't eat anything harder than JellO (which, conveniently, I loathe), went through enough wax to make a dozen candles, and took aspirin until my nose bled (apparently Advil didn't exist in those days). So, you'd think that all of this suffering from pain and emotional trauma would make me a really sympathetic person for the day when my own kids got their braces, right?

Wrong. Oh, so very, very wrong.

Charlie got his braces on Tuesday and I'm pretty sure that they made a mistake and actually glued a bunch of barbed wire to his teeth. From what I understand, his pain is worse than any pain endured in the history of braces, his tongue is nothing but a useless, bloody mass just taking up space in his mouth, it hurts to swallow, it hurts to breathe, it hurts to drink from a glass, it hurts to close his mouth, it hurts to suck on things, and in general, it really, really hurts. OH MY GOD THE PAIN!

Of course I attempted to prepare for his inevitable discomfort and stocked up on smoothie ingredients, applesauce, JellO (ick ick ick), Gogurt and vodka (for me, duh), but there's one thing that I forgot to get: pain tolerance for my kid.

I keep reminding him that a lot of his friends have braces -- friends that are obviously higher on the wuss chart than even Charlie is. I am trying to keep him optimistic, telling him that the pain won't last forever and he'll be able to eat something besides mush in a few days. I remind him that although he may lose a pound or two, no one has actually died from getting their braces on, unless of course, their mother's killed them after listening to them moan and groan and complain for seven hours in a row.

And now is where the story gets even more interesting.

Because I'm a slightly selfish person (and apparently don't like to possess large amounts of cash), I put off getting braces for Zach until Charlie was ready to get his too. To simplify the appointment process, I picked an orthodontist that has an office within walking distance of the junior high so that they could walk to their appointments together. I thought I was being so smart, thinking that since I already had to tolerate one kid in pain and complaining, I might as well have both of them complaining at the same time.

I am a stupid, stupid girl.

Right now, Zach has spacers in his teeth and he gets his braces and palate expander stuck in his face in one week. Needless to say, I am obviously going to have to start drinking more or Zoe may end up being an only child after all.

1 comment:

sylvia said...

oh may I forgot how bad you snored - I guess I just remembered your Dad snored alot in those years. But yes the boys definately heard you in the basement *with your and their doors shut and pillows over their heads. thanks for the memories - MOM