Our son had his very first surgery on Wednesday, to have all four wisdom teeth removed. I’d been planning this for over a year now because the one gift we old people have (besides the ability to wake up at 5am) is the gift of foresight. After what hubby and I went through when we had ours removed in our mid-twenties, I knew we had to get these stupid wisdom teeth taken care of now before they became a huge issue for him later.
Back in my day (i.e. the Dark Ages), they gave laughing gas for the purpose of wisdom teeth removal. I still remember them trying to yank out my brain through my mouth (at least that’s what it felt like). I have visions of them straddling the dental chair and pulling with both hands, but I’m sure that’s just the laughing gas talking.
I also remember them talking about me in the third person even though I could hear every word they were saying. I even spoke up at one point because it was annoying me that they acted like I was comatose. I told them, “I hear everything you’re saying,” but it came out as “I [5-second pause] heeeaaaaar [5-second pause] everrrryyy [5-second pause] thiiiiinnnngggg [5-second pause] yoooouuuu’rrrrreeee [5-second pause] saaaaayyyiiiinnnngg.” They got a good laugh out of that and they weren’t even the ones on laughing gas (I hope).
Anyway, these days they put kids out completely using general anesthesia. This really scared me at first. I mean, it seems a little overkill to put kids OUT for something that is not completely medically necessary. I also don’t feel comfortable with the idea of general anesthesia being used anywhere besides in a hospital.
This brings me to a very important point: One thing I’ve learned over the 17 years I’ve spent as a mother is that when you’re overly worried about some upcoming event in your child’s life, the best way to help your child through said event is to not be there. I speak in generalities, but now that I think about it maybe this statement only applies to me. I can easily take a visit to the emergency room for a sprained ankle and turn it into something so astronomical in my mind that even a tranquilizer probably wouldn’t take the edge off. (My apologies to all you calm, cool and collected mothers out there who do not do this — if there are any of you). So I went to work while my husband had “take the kid to the oral surgeon” duty.
I was told later that they put him in the room, knocked him out, pulled the teeth, and voila! All done in only a half hour. No bad memories, no stress, no trauma. Then, once the “hard part” was over, the recovery consists of lying in bed or on the couch while watching TV and eating ice cream, pudding, jello, and Italian ice. Hmmmm, it’s too bad wisdom teeth don’t grow back.
So now that it’s all over and went so well, I’m thinking, can’t we apply this “general anesthesia” principle in other areas of our lives? What about when I have to go to the DMV — can you put me out for that, too? Or what about when I have to get my hair permed and colored? Or when my mother-in-law comes to visit? (HA! Just kidding!) There are so many uses I can think of for general anesthesia now; I’m surprised no one thought of this before.