Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Visit To The Dentist

"Kuya puwede mo ba samahan si Lenin sa Saturday morning sa dentist niya?" It was a text message from my sister. "May raket kasi nun si [insert name of husband] ako may report." Since I have no plans on that day, and bringing my nephew to the dentist would not get in the way of work, I replied "ok" to her request without asking the details of the visit. 

Come Saturday and I had to get up early. We have to be at the dental clinic before 10 and at 8:30 in the morning, I was still defying the calls to leave the bed. It will take me an hour to get ready. Meanwhile, Lenin was already done taking a bath. I checked him in the master's bedroom hoping the little tyke woke up late. 

"Bilisan mo at baka mahuli kayo," my mom warned. I barely paid attention to what she had said. Instead of going to the bathroom, I returned to my room to water the house plants.

The morning rituals didn't take long to finish. I was even able to have my breakfast while the nanny changed into casual wear. But despite the whirlwind preparation, we would still leave late. The driver slept elsewhere the night before, and she hasn't returned home yet.

Instead of waiting for her to arrive, we took a cab to get to the hospital.

The dentist was a charming, middle-aged woman who seem to have a way with kids. She didn't get mad even when we were 30 minutes late. She also kept on saying that my nephew is a "behaved patient," which I bought without question. After all, I was not around during Lenin's first visit. I have no idea what trouble, trauma and inconvenience he gave when he went there with his dad.

The procedure immediately started after the brief exchange of pleasantries. You could see in Lenin's eyes the growing fear as the dentist's chair begins to recline. She wrapped her arms around the panicking kid as he was trying to get up. It was her way of keeping him from being frightened. Meanwhile, I positioned myself near my nephew's feet to make sure a familiar presence is there should he starts crying.

He is up for some unpleasant dental experience.

"Open your mouth Lenin," the dentist instructed.

"Aaaaaaaaaaahhh!!" I opened my mouth to show my nephew what to do.

The friendly dentist showed us the places on his teeth where cavity starts building. She also told us the proper way of brushing, and the food my nephew should avoid eating before going to bed.

"Try to teach him to get used to drinking in glass," she told us. My nephew's nanny listened while Lenin tried to shield his eyes from the glaring light. "Plaque builds up kasi kapag natutulog ang bata."

I know that tooth preparation for Dental Filling is quite unpleasant even for adults like me. The jolt sometimes result in nasty pain when the sickle probe hits a rather large tooth decay. I know some people would rather receive analgesic to spare themselves from the sting. How much more, if one has to go through such procedure without any pain reliever at all.

Soon, my nephew began to wiggle as the procedure went on. Twice, thrice, a couple more times the Dentist assured that the fixing is almost done. But the truth is, her words delayed the inevitable. Lenin would soon squirm in pain.

Knowing that I could do little, I held his hand tight. 

"I'm here," I said. He calmed a bit, even for just a moment. But the filling had to go on, and as the composite resin begins to cover the exposed cavities, you would know that my nephew had just enough. The occasional whimpering became a loud bawl.

"Tapos naaaa!!!" At last, the procedure was over. Everyone felt relieved, including the lady dentist who suffered bite marks on her gloved fingers.

As a consolation - for all the troubles my nephew had to go through, he received a rubber balloon - shaped into a dog by the dentist herself. Personal touches were made - including drawing the eyes and mouth - to make the balloon resemble a real-life canine. After instructions were said, and my nephew allowed to leave, the attendant went to the desk to account for the dental services they did.

"Sir, bale may P1,000 pa kayong balance from Lenin's last visit." 

"Yeah," My mom told me about this balance before we left. She even gave a thousand pesos to pay for it.

"Nilagyan po natin ng tatlong pasta yung ngipin niya ngayon, so the total amount you have to settle is P1,500." I smiled sheepishly. I didn't bring any money.

"O sige, okay lang ba if I give you another one thousand tapos i-balance mo na lang yung natitirang P500?" The attendant gasped before agreeing to my suggestion. When the deal was sealed, I went to the nearest bank to withdraw the cash - and an extra crisp P100 bill for my nephew's meal.

The visit to the dentist was over in just an hour. But the experience was enough to bring back old dreams of me - and him - and once, my ex-partner of finding the three of us at Toy Kingdom, and buying Lenin the toy he desires. It was the first time I was given full confidence to look after our brood. And it felt like my responsibilities over him - and his little brother will expand as the two tykes grow older.  

As we walked towards the exit, I told the nanny that my last dental check up was half a decade ago. It was when I had a tooth extraction since I could not afford having a Root Canal.

"Ang mahal pala magpa-dentista ngayon." I said, while thinking of going to Centro Escolar University to avail their free dental check-up. 

The nanny nodded to affirm my observation.

Folding the receipt before sliding it inside the flap of my bag, I suddenly figured why I was asked to accompany my nephew. Like putting together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the cash out my mom and I did these past few days hint of financial difficulties. This reality became clearer as my nephew, the nanny and I neared home.

"Wais talaga..." I smiled.

Since no one at home could afford it, my sister lured me to committing to the appointment knowing that I have no choice but to pay - once the dental procedure is perfectly and flawlessly complete.



ZaiZai said...

Sweet tito! And yes, wais ng mommy ni Lenin, naka lusot sa dental fee :)

Zion said...

Pinagplanuhan lahat ni mommy Lenin! This shows that your sister knows you pretty well. hahaha!