The Root of Things

I sat in a medical chair equipped with an oh-so-generous half-size seat, cramped into a corner, wincing and nauseous at the sights, smells, and sounds.

“You’re doing better than 99% of my adult patients, man, I’m not even kidding!”

These are words I never imagined hearing out of a dentist’s mouth, hell, I never dreamed of being able to keep A in the chair at all!

But he did it! The kid had a root canal (courtesy of years of me losing the tooth-brushing battle). A ROOT CANAL. I don’t even want a root canal – a couple years ago I had a molar pulled just to avoid one!

Just a few years ago it was a major production to even wrangle him in for a cleaning. We didn’t dare try any drilling because he simply could not bear the sounds, the feels, none of it. Yet here he was lying perfectly still, asking his bucketful of questions, but fully cooperative (and made much more comfortable with the ordeal thanks to the *fantastic* Dr. John and his amazing staff).

It’s progress like this, in these little areas where you don’t expect to see such a drastic change, that keeps you going, that gives you hope on those days when nothing is going right.

It’s just dental work, yes, but for me, it’s earth shattering. It’s like when they try a new food and you just want to jump up and down and shout to the world – he did it!!!

This experience reinforced in me a determination to hang onto the small victories, especially when I worry for his future and how he will function in the world. If he can handle a root canal, just maybe he can handle whatever else comes his way.

What are your victories? When have you been able say to yourself “Yeah, that’s big progress!”?