Well, it’s not really a trip. More of a two-block walk. Today was the day Adriana had to have two baby teeth extracted because the adult tooth had come up behind them and wasn’t pushing them out. My sweet innocent was laughing and making jokes as we dropped her brother off to school. She frolicked when we got to the clinic. She bubbled over when the dentist signed in the five patients including a girl her age. She kind of paid attention as the dentist presented the lesson of the day, how the comfort derived from a baby’s bottle leads to chewing pencils in school and opening bottles with the teeth thereby fracturing to some degree the teeth.
We were to be the second patient so we sat outside the dentist’s door to wait. I enjoy watching the toddlers as they escape their gossiping mothers’ view to investigate everyone’s aches and pains or “help” the nurses and clerks at their stations and in their offices. Adriana shared her wisdom with Margarita and I bid buenos días to a couple of nurses I know.
When it was our turn, we entered smiling. Adriana climbed into the reclined chair and Margarita removed the elastic holding her pony tail so she could be more comfortable. The dentist began to explain Novocaine and Adri’s face changed to one of doubt. She required two syringes of pain-provoking pain-killer. The side effects included tears and a strange sound in her throat that would have been crying were she able to move her mouth. Margarita gripped her arm and I kissed the top of her head. That was part one.
We went back out to wait while the dentist took the third patient. When she came out we went back into the now chamber of horrors. The dentist was assured the jaw was numb and went to work. I’d never looked into a mouth during an extraction before, but this was my precious daughter.
The dentist, a good Christian woman who has great concern for the dental habits of kids in a country where good health practices are scarce, began with a tool that looked like a Phillips head screwdriver. She dug between the first tooth and the gum with a prying motion. Then she took the forceps and with a couple of twists removed the overdue tooth. She repeated the procedure with the second tooth which came out a bit easier. There was blood, sweat and tears. Not that much sweat due to the air-conditioner that had me in polar heaven.
We walked home with a packet of Ibuprofen 400 mg and a little girl with her mouth stuffed with a bloody cotton pad. Adriana climbed into our bed and was comforted by Duke the Wonder Dog and her papi who worships her and felt her pain. I don’t know if she planned her next move with her cunning Salvadoran brain or if it just worked out to her benefit, but she decided to repair to my recliner. I was sitting at the computer in the living room and just looking at her sad little face with the pink cotton roll between her lips looking like a tongue. I got the TV controls and handed them to her. She smiled and accepted a kiss and a gentle hug. We spent the morning watching Disney and Nickelodeon together. Margarita had made flan last night for today knowing that Adri wasn’t going to be chewing for a while. Adri happily accepted a small bowl of the sweet pudding and slowly sucked it off her spoon. I came to her chair and gave her my hungry begging look. She filled her spoon and offered it to me. It was all the sweeter because she shared with me. I never seem to have the words to describe how much her love means to me. I think somehow she knows how much of my heart she occupies. I pray for many years together so that I may watch her grow to adulthood and be happy that she finally had a father who loves her.