Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Liliana's Dental Surgery

As soon as we returned to El Salvador, my first priority was to get Liliana's teeth worked on. We arrived on Monday and met with the dentist on Wednesday. Lucky for us she is only 3 blocks from our house! She sat us down in the chair and examined her teeth. She said straight off that she thought she could save all 4! That we wouldn't have to have them all pulled like the other dentist wanted. Also, she said that she does not recommend doing root canals on children so yound because they usually don't stick and are very painful. I was so happy to hear this because both my mom and I had very bad feelings about the whole root canal thing. The dentist said what she would do is go in and remove all the decay and "rebuild" the teeth. This sounded like a much better plan! And, she said we could put Liliana to sleep! Yay. Not that I wanted my child put to sleep, but it seemed like the best option for the extent of the work that needed to be done. The icing on the cake was that her fees were only $130 and the fees for the specialists to come from San Salvador to put her to sleep were $200. Only $330 total!! Crazy. I was jumping for joy. Now I'm sure you must be thinking there is some kind of catch, but there's not. She has all the latest up to date equipment and everything. And she is the nicest person ever! I totally loved her. So we obviously made the appointment and it would be for Saturday at 9am.

We were ready on Saturday, though I was feeling very sad about what Liliana was about to go through. Dentists aren't fun for anyone, especially a 21-month old. We arrived at 9am, but unfortunately the specialists from San Salvador were running on El Salvador time and were going to be late. We went back home with instructions not to feed Liliana anything until the appointment. This proved more difficult than I thought because I was starving, but didn't want to eat in front of her. She also was very tired, but I was told not even to nurse her so she wouldn't go to sleep. They didn't want her to throw up from the anesthesia. We finally went back at 11am.

I sat down on the chair with Liliana on my lap. She cried the minute we walked in the room. She wasn't so thrilled the first time we were there and must have remembered. They gave me the gas mask to put over her face. That was very difficult to do when she was scared and crying. Poor thing. I held it over her face and asked how long it would take to kick in. They replied "2 minutes". Soon after she fell limp in my arms. It was actually very sad to see her in that state. The assistants helped me lay her down on the chair. They then put an IV in her arm. They traded off pumping the bag with air to keep her lungs breathing normally. It was crazy to think her life layed in their hands. We could also monitor her heartbeat and I was reassured by that. Eduardo then told me I should leave the room because I wouldn't want to see what happened next. They needed to put a tube down her throat to keep anything from going down. I didn't know at the time, but they also taped her eyes shut to keep them from opening and drying out and her nose to keep her from inhaling any toxic stuff. I left the room and sat in the little waiting room crying.

About 10 minutes later Eduardo asked if I wanted to come back in the room. He had stayed in the whole time. We were given the option, which was great. The dentist had taken a look at everything and said she could save 3 of the front teeth, but would have to pull 1. I was as okay as I could be with the idea, especially since I was glad it wasn't more than 1 tooth. She said she would rebuild the other front teeth as well as 4 or 5 more that had been decaying. She said it was a good thing we took her in because another month and it would have been a bad situation.

I caught a glimpse of Liliana at one point and couldn't handle to look again. The sight of her taped up was way too disturbing. I was so glad Eduardo was there with us. There's no way I could have gone through all that alone. At one point, I saw Liliana's body start to shake violently. Apparently it is very common for them to start to wake up. That's why they insert the IV in the beginning so they can add to it to put her back to sleep. Again, I started crying when this happened. Everyone was so sweet. They told me it was good to cry, that it helps to release the stress. What doctor in the States would tell you that?!

After all was done, it was time to wake Liliana back up. She was bleeding from where the tooth had been pulled, but would stop soon. She was very groggy upon waking and she tried to cry, but couldn't because her throat was too dry. It was so sad. She finally woke enough to be scared and one of the assistants told me to come close to her and put my face next to hers so she can smell me. She immediately calmed down and started to fall back asleep. I then sat there for a while with her until she fully woke up and was very upset at this point. she had gauze in her mouth trying to catch the blood that couldn't have tasted very good. We went out into the waiting room and then we paid and left. She calmed down and fell asleep in the car. We got home and she was very groggy. I nursed her and put her in the hammock and she slept for 2 1/2 hours. The doctor called while she was sleeping to see how she was and then called again later in the evening. I thought that was super sweet of her. She woke up later and was still bleeding a bit, but mostly was just mixed with saliva. Her other teeth looked bright white though. The dentist had done such a great job. Liliana was then showing off her "new teeth" and I was so glad she didn't seem too traumatized.

She has been a little fussy since then, but mostly back to normal. I think it's just all the medication being flushed out of her. This is a baby that has never had even one medication or immunization in her life, so who knows what side effects the anesthesia had on her. She is well on her way to recovery though and did so great!! I am very grateful to everyone that helped and to Eduardo for being there :)


Esmerelda777 said...

Hi, I'm glad you found a dentist that knew what to do for your daughter, the poor dear. In El Salvador, there are some good doctors and professionals, but I find you really have to look. Many doctors here follow very outdated practices and techniques, and make mistakes for lack of experience. After learning the hard way, I now research things on the web by authoritative medical journals before taking meds, or doing procedures. - from another Gringa in El Salvador, also in the immigration 'holding pool'.

Kelsey said...

Hey Jennifer! I'm hoping to have a get together this year of gringas in El Salvador. Let me know if you are interested in getting together!!