Rene, Jessica’s support coordinator was talking to me as I held the phone against my ear listening to his reassurances. I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. The crying was about to begin for the fifth time that day.
“I just want her to be okay and when I took her to my new dentist, she told me Jessica had three cavities and needs a deep cleaning. And she said I needed to take Jessica to a specialist! I thought I’d been taking care of her! I’d been taking her to my old dentist, and they never said anything like this. Then I find this out! ”
My first thought was I was the most awful mother in the world to have neglected her. I swallowed, choking back tears. Rene must have sensed I was about to cry, I was having a hard time talking.
“No, don’t worry, please Cathy. We’re here to help you. And remember if you ever have a problem, you can call us.”
Sniffing, I wiped my nose on the back of my hand. Jessica came into the living room and sat next to me.
“Don’t cry MuhMee, I okay. I fine. Don’t cry.”
Looking at her, with her crooked smile, I stared at the front tooth she chipped last year. My sweet thirty-five-year-old child was trying to reassure me. On the verge of another crying fit, she smiled again and said, “Don’t wuh wee.”
It made me laugh.
“Jessica, I’m just worried about taking care of you. ”
It turned out the specialist was someone all my friends had used for years! Years! Everyone in the special needs community knows who he is. Why hadn’t I ever asked anyone? This just gave me another reason to feel guilty and reminded me of the struggles I’ve had to deal with. I tried to tell myself it was okay, at least I found him. Actually, thank goodness I found him. When we got there, Jessica became really nervous. Then we met him. He kept telling Jessica, “you’re such a pretty girl.” He started talking to her, and they seemed to hit it off. Next thing you know, she was opening her mouth and letting him examine all of her teeth. It was like watching a movie and I was awestruck by what was happening. Pure magic.
In all the years I’ve taken her to the dentist, I’ve never once seen her willingly open her mouth. Before we go, I have to give her Xanax or Valium and even then she won’t open her mouth. I think of Rene, telling me I shouldn’t have to struggle and I’m grateful.
I expect I will post something about this amazing dentist when we go back. He was a miracle worker. He loved Jessica. I love him.