The Dentist Who Made the Dream Come True

This is the second time I’ve ever cried tears of gratitude for a dentist. And I’m pretty sure it’s the first time a dentist has ever hugged me. And I know it’s the first time I ever saw a dentist make a home visit.

About six months ago I brought Mom and Dad in for their dental check-ups. It was exhausting! It was a battle getting Mom in and out of the car. It was a job to get her to sit in the waiting room and a challenge to get her to walk down the hall. And then, though everyone was very kind and patient, Mom hollered and yelled and swore. It was traumatic for all of us.

Before I left, Mom’s dentist came out to the waiting room and told me that she would make a home visit for her next check-up. I couldn’t believe it at the time. It sounded like a dream. I thanked her and teared up with relief at the time. But I wondered if the dream would ever come true.

Six months went by. I called to make Dad’s appointment and asked the receptionist.if it was still a possibility to get a home visit for Mom. Dr. B. called me back later and made the appointment with me herself.

And today she came.

Mom laid back in her own recliner. I covered her with a blanket. Dr. B. brought a bag of supplies and cheerfully started brushing and cleaning and flossing Mom’s teeth as I held Mom’s hands down and tried to comfort her.

Mama still hollered. She yelled at Dr. B. “I hate you!”

And Dr. B. answered, “That’s too bad. I like you.”

Mama yelled, “Go home!”

And Dr. B. calmly said, “I will pretty soon.”

Dr. B. kindly and patiently cleaned Mama’s teeth the best she could. When she finished she said, “I think this was much better than at the office. I could clean her teeth better. I’ll do this every time.”

This is where I started choking up. Dr. B. said, “My grandma and grandpa both had dementia and they just didn’t get dental care. But why shouldn’t people with dementia get their teeth checked? They should.”

And then she saw my shiny, misty eyes and said, “Oh-hh!” and came and gave me a hug.

And I am feeling so blessed that Mom has Dr. B. for a dentist. And I’m wondering if it’s appropriate to bring cookies or cake to a dental office. And I’m so grateful for a dentist that makes me cry and gives me hugs.


The Grace Gift

In the midst of Mama’s angry dementia, God sent me a sign of His tender mercies…

Mom shouts so much these days. And she frequently shouts, “I hate you! I hate you, Mama!”

I don’t believe she hates anyone, and certainly not her mama. It’s just the name that flows out without thought. Probably the first word she ever said. The name she hollers out in her distress.

The other day I was changing Mom and cleaning her up and she was shouting in a loud, rough voice, “I hate you! I hate you, Mama!”

And then suddenly she turned and looked at me. And in a soft, reassuring tone she said, “I don’t hate you.”

She sounded normal, like her old self. Like somehow in the midst of her dementia she had a moment of clarity, and wanted to make sure I knew she wasn’t yelling hate at me.

I think it was a grace gift from God.

It warmed my heart and I smiled and said, “Thank you for telling me that, Mama.”

And it brought back sweet thoughts of the caring person Mama is. And it reminded me to look for the grace gifts.

Alzheimer’s is hard. It continues to get more difficult. But… “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV)

Alzheimer’s will not consume us. Because God will not fail us. His mercies surround and protect and comfort His children. His compassions are new every morning. I will look for His grace gifts each day. i will pray for eyes to see Him at work and for a grateful heart.

And I will sing of His faithfulness. Forever.