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This morning I took my youngest to the dentist. Because her adult teeth are coming in and her jaw is small, the dentist pulled two baby teeth to make some room so her teeth aren’t too crowded. Plus she got a filling and sealers on all her molars.

I was doing my best, but the idea of her being put under anesthesia was really worrying me. What if something went wrong? What if there were complications? Was it the right choice? (The dentist recommended it, saying it’s less scary for the child and then they could do in one appointment what would have been three otherwise.)

I put on a brave front, reassuring her all would be fine. I could see she was also pensive, but being brave. When we walked into the dental room, she saw all the monitors and equipment and started to cry, refusing to get up in the dental chair. Luckily the kind nurses had been here before and they were able to reassure her and get her to sit in a regular chair, then they put the anesthesia mask on her face while I held her hand and kissed her head. She drifted off and we moved her into the dental chair. At this point they asked me to go out to the waiting area.

After 40 long minutes, and gentle reassurances from several other sympathetic mothers who had been in my shoes before, it was done and she was awake again. No worse for wear. Luckily none of the possible side effects (nausea, shaking, crying, disorientation, etc.) occurred and as far as she was concerned, only a few seconds had passed.

I reflected how much things in dentistry had changed since I was a child. No scary huge needles, no shot, no loud drill, no bad memories. I hope she won’t have the dental phobias I do.

Every time my children go in for a routine and minor medical procedure I think how blessed I am that they are healthy, that we aren’t there for more serious matters. I cannot imagine what parents with children who are seriously or terminally ill must go through.

Like a mom and dad right now, in The United Kingdom, whose 23-month-old son’s life hangs in the balance. Alfie Evans.

Against his parent’s wishes, hospital staff and the courts have decided to take Alfie off life support, and to deny him food and water. A mysterious and undiagnosed disorder has left the child in an unresponsive state for months, with many seizures a day. The doctors have said it is hopeless.

Alfie’s parents have been desperately reaching out for help. The Pope got involved. An Italian hospital is ready and willing to take over Alfie’s care. Italy has granted him citizenship. It is what his parents want.

But the doctors and the courts have said no. The parents cannot even take their child out of the hospital that has effectively sentenced him to death. Armed guards are at the doors to prevent their departure.

For three days and nights after being taken off life support, his mother has held him, and Alfie has remained alive. How much longer without any food or water he will live, is unknown. His parents now just want to take him home, where they can be together in peace. The hospital says no, even to this.

I cannot understand how such a thing could happen. How a medical system and a government could superseded a parent’s wishes, could deny the child’s transfer to another facility who is willing to provide care, at no cost to the system. How could that be denied? And backed up by law? It boggles the mind.

I hope that Alfie somehow defies the odds, his parents succeed in their fight to get him care elsewhere, and that perhaps a miracle answer can be found. And that the madness will end, and the medical people and courts will come to their senses.

Tonight I have my child, happy and healthy and swinging in the late afternoon sun. Seemingly no worse for wear for her trip to the dentist. I count my blessings, and pray for Alfie and his family.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

 

 

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