Graham was just a small embryo the last time I stepped foot in a dentist’s office. I still felt nauseous in the mornings but the constant yuckiness was slowly disappearing as he grew larger and stronger within me. I waited my turn in the lobby, my stomach slowly churning in response to the dental odors wafting through the air. I wished I had thought to postpone the routine appointment altogether – I wasn’t sure I’d make it through without ralphing. Despite my queasy stomach, I did have fun chit-chatting about the small little joy within me and I remember declining the x-rays with a sense of happiness and pride.
When I stopped by the reception desk on my way out, the kind woman behind the counter encouraged me to schedule my next appointment. I wavered, knowing 6 months later life would surely be more hectic, but the future seemed so far away, so unreal yet… I scheduled my next dentist appointment for March 8th 2013.
To be honest, it didn’t cross my mind again until the moments between the puffy breaths and deeps moans of child-birth. I have a fuzzy memory of the cell phone ringing and Evan stepping away from the action of labor to answer it. “Um, no. She won’t be making her dentist appointment today… she’s, well.. indisposed at the moment.”
I laughed then, and I cant help but chuckle now. Indisposed.
The thing is, I never rescheduled. I never went back.
Suddenly I had a squirmy newborn, a goofy toddler, and a rambunctious preschooler. I had a full-time job and endless loads of laundry… as the months tumbled by, I just didn’t find the time to get my teeth cleaned. Another day, I figured – I’d make it back when life wasn’t so full!
And then of course, Graham died and a place that was never really about him was suddenly all about him. I just couldn’t stomach the thought. I couldn’t imagine going through the motions… the waiting room and the polishing paste… the x-rays.
After three years, I finally made an appointment to see a dentist. Much like waves of nausea, I can feel the rolling power of grief off-center me. The churning may indeed be subsiding to manageable levels… but even so, I think I might throw up.