Sofia woke up this morning and, still wild-haired and groggy, she hooked her finger in the side of her mouth and pulled her cheek over to show me an angry, swollen lump on her upper gum. It was a little oozy and I was a little repulsed but said, "That looks like it probably hurts, Peanut. Chew your breakfast on the right side of your mouth and I'll call the dentist today." We went about our usual morning and I took all three kids to school. Later, when the dentist's office opened, I called and described what I had found in Sofia's mouth that morning. They said that it sounded like an abscess and asked to see her right away.
Wha? Right away? Fine. I cancelled a conference call and went to get Sofia from school. I packed Snowy (the stuffed dog she received for bravery after an oral surgery last year) and Hydrangea (her favorite baby doll) for security just in case she needed a procedure. I did this while clinging to the hope that just some antibiotics would do the trick.
No such luck. The dentist told us that the tooth was infected and needed to come out. With Sofia listening he told us that he could pull it today or load her up with antibiotics and get her back in, with her usual dentist, in a week. I looked at Sofia and before I could suggest that getting it over with might be the best option, she took Snowy in her arms and walked slowly, hesitantly, but bravely from the chair next to me to the dentist's exam chair. We (me, the dentist, and the hygienist) were all impressed. I was filled with pride and awe at her bravery.
The procedure began. She took in some laughing gas, and relaxed. She opened her mouth obediently, and the Novocaine went in. 70% of the way through the painful needle, she started to get agitated and began to struggle. It clearly hurt and she'd had enough. With the needle in the roof of her mouth she asked, "Is it out?" "Not yet" was the answer. She grew more agitated and impatient and then she said these exact words, with venom in her voice, "Let's do this thing!"
And if only he could have, but the Novocaine (finally in) needed time to take affect. When the dentist let Sofia sit up to wait five minutes for her mouth to numb up, she realized that he hadn't pulled the tooth yet. She went ballistic. And then nuclear. She lept off the dentist's chair and stood in the corner of the exam room, growling like a lion and shrieking in the shrill pitch of a traffic whistle. And at the same time, she was literally foaming at the mouth, so numb that she couldn't feel her drool and bubbly spittle. Her head may have spun around once or twice. There was no reasoning with her. There was no way to convince her that the hard part was over. She couldn't hear a word that anyone was saying. She was too busy raging. Everyone in the office could surely hear her because after the five minutes finally elapsed, three more nurses entered the exam room with the dentist.
We had come too far to abort the mission. She was pinned by the caring arms of five nurses and a sobbing mother. The tooth was pulled.
By the time it was over, we had both cried buckets of tears. The dentist proclaimed that he needed a shower and a beer and then he promptly left. (Who can blame him.) Two receptionists even teared up at the sight of us on our way out. Sofia was still shaking with bloody gauze in her mouth. I was choking back full blown sobs as I paid our bill.
She's sleeping now, my brave, angry fighter. And just so that I don't forget them, here are few addtional gems - things Sofia (forever talking) said during the intense extraction with 6 people holding her and the dentist trying not to lose a finger:
Imagine all of these things said maniacally, fast, and from deep in her throat:
"You're hurting me, you know."
"Wait, wait, everybody stop touching me. My finger hurts."
"I'm sweating and no one is listening to me."
"You don't listen so good."
"Something doesn't taste good. Can I have a drink."
"I want to go home. RIGHT NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW."