Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New "Teeth" and a Hair Permanent...

Friday, I was eating a sandwich about 12:45 and the phone rang - it was my grandmother. When I answered, she said, "Can you take me to the dentist if I can get in? My teeth are killing me." I told her I guessed I could, but I didn't think the dentist worked on Friday. "Well I'll find out!" she said promptly. I told her IF the dentist was working and could see her, then yes, I would make arrangements to take her.

A few minutes later, she called again - "Either he's not there or he's not answering." I told her I felt sure he was not there. "You'll just have to try on Monday," I told her. She said, "Well, your mother and Lee are coming home this weekend,and they are supposed to take me to lunch on Sunday, and I can hardly chew." My grandmother has dentures, and at age 96 (and a HALF, as she immediately adds), her jaw bones are wearing so that the dentures keep loosening and wearing blisters on her gums. The dentist has had to re-line the dentures several times already. The last time this happened, she did a little "surgery" on the dentures herself and cancelled an appointment she had made to have them fixed.

On Sunday, my mother and her husband did indeed take Mam-ma to lunch after church. That evening she called me to see what I knew about my niece, who had not been feeling well. She said her teeth still hurt and she still wanted to try to see the dentist. She said, "if he's a workin' tomorrow." I told her I felt sure he would be working on Monday, but after being off Friday, he might be swamped, so don't expect to get right in. Then she went into her little dance about the money and how she really couldn't afford a new liner for her teeth, and also she needs a new permanent. Honestly, I thought she got one back in February, but she insists it was April and that it hasn't lasted. Doesn't matter, as I told her - if she needs another, she just does... and she can afford it - make the appointment! She said, "Well I just hate for you to have to do these things," and I told her, "If you will make appointments and let me know, it's no problem to work it into my schedule. When you call and say we need to be somewhere in 30 minutes, sometimes THAT's a problem!" So I told her to go to bed and get a good night's rest and call the dentist and the hairdresser the next morning to get on their calendars, and to let me know what she worked out!

Monday morning, I noticed it was almost 11:00, and I had not heard from Mam-ma. So I tried to call her. No answer. I tried several times, and around 12:30, she answered. I asked what she was doing, and she said, rather pitifully, "Well I was a tryin' to eat some lunch." I said, "I've been trying to call you." She replied, "Well, me and Ruby went to Alp's (a local discount grocery) to get corn. They got in some real good corn this morning, and we both got some." I asked about her teeth,and she said, "I haven't even called yet." I told her I really needed her to get an appointment - and to call about her hair, too, so that I could plan my week. She agreed to call right away. Meanwhile, I'm thinking that she felt well enough to buy fresh CORN, so how bad can her teeth be?

In a few minutes, she called back and said, "Do you want to go at 8:00 in the mornin'?" "Is that when your appointment is?" I asked. "Well, yes, she said that was all they had." "Then I guess we are going at 8:00," I told her... "is that tomorrow morning?" "No," she answered, "it's Wednesday morning." I told her that was fine and asked about her hair. As it happens, her hairdresser doesn't work on Mondays, so she said she would call again on Tuesday. Tuesday afternoon, I was outside watering plants, and when I came in, I heard Mam-ma leaving a telephone message, "The hairdresser isn't sure if my hair is long enough yet for a permanent, so we will just have to see on Thursday - if it is, we'll do it, and if not, we'll have to wait." Now, that means her appointment MAY take two hours, and it MAY take one hour. It would have made sense to say, "I'll just wait another week and be sure," but of course, that would have made too much sense. So I told Mam-ma, I guess I will just plan on two hours, knowing it might only be one. Her response? "That's just all we can do."

Today, I hurried through my morning routine and pulled into my grandmother's driveway at 7:50 for the 5-minute drive to the dentist's. The first thing I saw was her walker on the driveway. She was puttering around in her garage. She announced, "I'd rather still be in bed." That was my thought exactly, but I didn't voice it! Her new liner took about an hour, and bless our dear Dr. Eades' heart, he would not charge her for it. He charged her for a mouth rinse, but the liner was done because, as his nurse put it, "he wants to take care of her." He is one in a million, and he truly does love Mam-ma... and I am grateful for that!

Mam-ma said that the dentist mentioned she had not been there in awhile (bet she didn't tell him she'd done surgery on his last liner herself!). She said, "He told me he wants to see me more often - ever once in awhile - to check on these teeth!" We'll see how that goes! At least he has GREAT magazines in his waiting area!

Meanwhile, Mom told me that my grandmother's friends - the ones who brought her about 150 pounds (NOT an exaggeration!) of sweet potatoes last fall - brought her a half bushel of fresh squash in the last few days! What do they think a 96.5-year-old woman will do with that much squash?! Anyway, Mam-ma sent home an ear of corn for my husband - she had shucked and cleaned it all - probably a dozen or so ears... and today she was going to cut it off the cob and put it in the freezer. She will can or freeze something until she draws her last breath!

Tomorrow we will go see if her hair is long enough for that permanent! Stay tuned....


Mark said...

Another well-penned post. You're proving here that the presentation matters as much as the subject matter.

That's neat that your Mam-ma goes to Dr. Eades -- he bought my Dad's dental practice. Must me my dad used to work on Mam-ma's teeth, which in turn means Mam-ma helped send me to college. Thanks!

Debbie Robus said...

Thanks, Mark... actually, Mam-ma was NOT your dad's patient (although I was as a teenager - he took care of both Greg AND me in recent years before he retired!).

Mam-ma was the dental assistant for Dr. Joe Robbins for 18 years (he was Mrs. Irwin's dad). She "cooked" teeth in the evenings in a big kettle on her stove at home and helped him with every aspect of his dental practice. This endeared her to Dr. Eades in recent years... he has great respect for older folks and all they endured... and he loves her stories of how things were done for dentistry "in the old days!"

Since Mam-ma has had dentures as long as I can remember, she really didn't need any care until recent years when osteoporosis did a number her jaw bones. Dr. Eades says they are "crumbling," so he just keeps adjusting the liners in her dentures to fit them.

Always good to hear from you! Glad you are safe from the storms last week!