My mother’s teeth look terrible. I knew she had not been brushing them. I hated to think for how long! She complained for a long time that, “I can’t brush my teeth. Someone is using my toothbrush.” When I ask “How do you know?” she replies,”Because it’s wet.” When I bought her the twenty pack of toothbrushes from Costco I thought the problem would be solved. The next time she complained I checked under the sink. The pack had not even been opened. Maybe, I thought, it is hard for her to brush. It may be too much effort to move her hand up and down. I came up with, what I thought, was the perfect solution. I would buy her an electric toothbrush. I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond armed with my 20% off coupon. After looking at all the options I decided on a simple battery run model without a stand. I didn’t know if she would use it so I didn’t want to invest too much money into it.
I took the toothbrush to her and she seemed pleased with it. She assured me she would use it. After I opened the package and installed the two batteries, I handed it to her. “Just press this button down,” I said as we watched it vibrate. She made several valiant attempts to start it, but could not press it hard enough. I needed to take her to a dental hygienist. An understanding one. Soon.
When I called to make the appointment to have her teeth cleaned I was told, “She will have to see the dentist first to see if there are any problems.” When I asked for my dentist, he was booked for a month. “We have a new dentist, Dr. Cartter. He has earlier openings. I can fit her in in two weeks.”
“Perfect,” I said, thinking she would probably like to see a young face. We agreed on a date, and I decided to wait on the hygienist appointment. One thing at a time, I thought.
The week before her appointment I called Atria to make sure they could take her to and from her appointment. If I tried to do it, not only would I wrench my back lifting the wheelchair, but I would probably drop her when I tried to get her in the car. I would meet her at the dentist’s office for her appointment.
When the Atria driver wheeled her in that day she was confused, as I knew she would be, even though I had told her the day before that she had the appointment. “Why am I here? You didn’t tell me I had an appointment,” she asked over and over, followed by, “I have my own dentist, why would I come here?” She also told me it did feel like she had a cavity on one of her back teeth.
My decision to go with a new dentist for my mother was a good choice. Not only was the dentist young, he was also very good looking, friendly, and patient. After he checked her teeth over and they took X-rays he told us the reason for her “cavity” pain. She had a loose tooth that needed to come out. And it had to come out that day. . . . to be continued