Surgical Scars


Everything is admittedly bittersweet lately, less than two months after the sudden death of my mom, but my older daughter’s oral surgery, scheduled for this Thursday at Children’s Hospital, is especially so.

Ruby, who inherited many of my good qualities, unfortunately also inherited my anxiety disorder and my messed-up teeth. While I had braces for almost seven years, I at least had all of my permanent teeth erupt, albeit many sideways, crowded and crooked. Ruby, poor baby, has two permanent teeth entirely below the gumline. One has to be removed entirely, a baby tooth left in the place it was supposed to come in. The other one has to undergo a procedure that sounds horrifying – “expose and bond” – but supposedly isn’t terrible: The oral surgeon will cut away the gums to expose the tooth and then put an orthodontic bracket and chain on it by which the tooth will slowly be pulled up into its proper position.

We originally had this surgery scheduled for February, and my mom was ready, willing, and able to help during Ruby’s recovery. But Ruby had a bad reaction to the twilight sedation, and so we had to scrap the whole thing and reschedule it at Children’s Hospital to be done under general.

“Don’t stress,” my mom said at the time. “I hate twilight sedation. It will be so much easier with her completely under, and I’ll still be able to help you afterward.”

Well. So much for that. It’s a painful reminder of how much I relied on her and how giving she always was of her time and her care.

It also brings back memories of having my wisdom teeth out my senior year in high school and how my mom doted on me as I recovered. When I asked for ginger ale, my dad brought over Sprite because they didn’t have ginger ale at the gas station nearest to his house. My mom rolled her eyes as soon as he left and drove off to the grocery store to bring back my requested beverage.

I will summon her strength to get through Ruby’s surgery and recovery this week, though, and will make her famous chicken-and-lemon soup to feed us all afterward. It won’t be the same as having her here to mother me as I mother Ruby, but she’s given me all the skills I need to navigate it.

And of course, I will have plenty of ginger ale on hand.



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