Saturday, August 11, 2012

Wisdom (Teeth) Out of the Mouths of Babes

My baby (yes, he's 16 & almost a foot taller than me - doesn't matter) had his wisdom teeth out this week. Picture this:

Where - Maxillofacial Surgery Post-Op Recovery Room (a grey cubby sort of room, with disconcertingly placed windows and just enough room for a padded bench and a stacking chair.)

When - 20 minutes after his jaw operation

Who - Concerned Loving Mother and Groggy Anesthetized Son 


Well, that was the question. WHAT was the boy trying to say to me, with his combination of vowel sounds and gestures? I mean, we can't blame him for his inarticulateness. He's still numb, and he has the bandages. Just look at him. (Poor baby!) But he is persistent. He has a message, and he WILL convey it. That is, he will if he can get me to grasp his meaning. 

D comes up with the universal gesture for 'writing stuff down' so i hand over pen and paper. It probably seemed like a great idea to him, but, well. Recumbent and drugged out handwriting isn't exactly his forte. I get him to rewrite it a few times, while trying to get it through his fuzzy head that I understand the "I just want to say" part. It's the rest I can't figure out. (He wants to say... oh, thank you. To me, I ask? No. To - arm circling gesture. The universe, you mean? Oh, right, just everyone here. You just want to say thank you to everyone at the Maxillofacial Surgery Center. Okay, good. But wait, there's more! He wants to say thank you - yes, we have that part - and it was... wait, has he gone back to sleep? Oh, no, he means dream. It was like a dream. So what he wrote there is, "I want to say thank you and it was like a dream." Yes. Obviously.

I pass the message along to the nurses and the surgeon. (D is so polite! He can barely grasp that I'm being given post-op instructions, but when the surgeon stands to leave, D reaches up for a handshake. Someone should praise whoever taught that boy manners.)

So now we have another 20 minutes or so to wait before he's alert enough to go home. D mentions that he'd been dreaming of The Beatles and some other stuff (the Beatles medley over the stereo competed with the Olympics on the t.v. and the very chatty old guy in the corner for most prominent sound in the waiting room.) He repeats himself about the dreaming, the thanks, the fact that his chin is numb. He tries to write more, but can't control the pen well, so he resorts to charades.

D: (holds up 3 fingers.)
Me: Three words
D: (thumbs up. holds up 1 finger.)
Me: First word.
D: (shakes head. holds up 3 fingers.)
Me: Three words.
D: (holds up 3 fingers again.)
Me: Third word.
D: (thumbs up. points to me.)
Me: Me?
D: (thumbs up. holds up 2 fingers.)
Me: Second word.
D: (nods. reaches up a finger and air-draws a big letter...)
Me: P?
     (Does he need to pee? Do I?)
D: (shakes head. draws the letter again.)
Me: R? Oh, are! Okay, something are me... are you.
D: (nods, holds up 1 finger.)
Me: First word. We got this.
D: (points at head)
Me: Ice pack? Head? Jaw?
D: (rolls eyes. taps head again.)
Me: Does it hurt?
D: (rolls eyes harder. leans forward and tugs on my hair.)
Me: Hair? Hair are me?
D: (frustrated grunt. leans forward and tugs on my hair, then taps my chair.)
Me: Oh, rhymes with hair and chair! Okay, where? Where are you? Where am I? I'm right here, we're at the oral surgeon's office.
     (Wow, he's still pretty confused. I thought he'd be more with it by now. Should I alert the staff?)
D: (frustrated grunt. points to hair, chair, his head, exaggeratedly hums) ooounn iiii....
Me: Sounds like...
D: (thumbs up plus eye roll. holds up 1 finger, taps head where his ear would be if I could see his ear beneath the thing holding on his ice packs.)
Me: First word, sounds like.
D: Ooooooo
Me: Sounds like moo!
D: (thumbs up.)
Me: Moo are you. Who are you? D, I'm your mom.
     (Oh, that's scary. He really ought to know his mommy, right? Where is that nurse??)
D: (biggest eye roll yet, negating hand waves. repeat of ear tap) Oooo, oow!
Me: Moo, moo cow?
D: (nodding) ow! (taps ear area) oow
Me: First word is how?
D: (thumbs up.)
Me: How are you?
D: (nods)
Me: Um... I'm fine. Thanks. Thank you, sweetie, I'm doing just fine.
     (Now that I know you know who I am, and where we are, and also that you think 'moo' and 'how' rhyme and that I get to enjoy that fact forever.)


  1. Great story, Mom. D is a truly special kid.

  2. Aw, he is such a sweetheart! Laying there like that, and concerned how is mom is taking everything! That is a good kid you raised.

    (Now ask me if my 16yo, who has been gone for 12 DAYS at camp, asked me this morning, when I FINALLY talked to him, how *I* am. No? Too obvious??)

    1. Yes, but yours wasn't drugged out when you talked to him. I believe it helps him access that deeply buried well of emotion, lol.