Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Great Orthodontic Rubber Band Search

As you may recall Jack broke his jaw and his mouth is closed and held together with rubber bands.  So the Thursday before Christmas we were leaving town.  I could not find our bag of extra bands.  Several had already broken or fallen out and we replaced them as needed.

How bad could it be for a few days without backup?  Worse than you can imagine!  Jack had a small gap in the front of his mouth by Friday.  This meant he kept shoving small pieces of soft food through the gap to eat real food.  The small bites got bigger and bigger.  His mouth opened wider.  The gap got bigger.  More bands broke....  It was a downward spiral.  Saturday we called an "emergency" dental clinic.  They did not have and bands.  It was Saturday...clearly there were not any orthodontists with their offices open.  We called several pharmacies but nobody had any bands.  After an Internet search we discovered that nobody really sells them.  Great!

By Saturday evening he was down to just two bands.  He was shoving food in left and right.  He certainly enjoyed his grilled cheese for dinner.  He knew to stop if it hurt chewing.  Ideally I would have preferred he did not chew, however, I gave up the battle.  He already snuck some chocolate his grandparents gave him in the middle of the night.  The best I could hope for was to make sure everything was very soft.

Sunday rolled around and we called hospitals for the bands.  By my third call we discovered that the UK children's hospital had some.  Josh took Jack.  It was a bust.  They insisted on signing Jack in.  We may have been desperate, but not enough to pay for an ER visit!  So after we checked out of the hotel and hung out in the lobby Josh asked a girl in the lobby with braces if she had any extra bands.  No such luck.  Talk about desperate!!  The hotel was full of teenage girls for a basketball tournament, but when we needed to find one of the girls with braces they were suddenly nowhere to be seen (the boys did have fun flirting with them all weekend).

Sunday during dinner he finally lost his last two.  What a disaster.  On the road home Monday I called his surgeon.  I knew he was out of the country, but at least another surgeon could help us.  Boy was I wrong.

It took forever for the doctor to call us.  The answering service called me several times to see if he called us.  They gave him the message several times.  He FINALLY called as we pulled off the interstate to get home!

I tried to explain the situation.  He kept interrupting me.  I was trying to explain that pharmacies do not sell them.  He kept trying to tell me to call pharmacies.  I was not getting anywhere.  When I finally managed to mention that Jack was five years old he said "That is easy.  He does not have a driver's license or credit card.  You control what he eats."  Hello....have you ever had a five year old????  I would have to handcuff Jack to my body to guarantee he did not get any food.  At least a teenager could understand that if they ate they might have to be shut longer.  Try explaining that to a five year old.  Anyway, his final thoughts were to call pharmacies or call any teenagers we knew that I have braces.  Big help he was!

We did finally find our bag of bands after searching the house and got 8 in his mouth.  We made it through Christmas and on Wednesday I got the nurse at our surgeon's office.  Unfortunately they do not keep the bands in stock either.  Why not???  Apparently they only get them for the OR I guess.

So by Thursday I called an orthodontist and explained the situation.  They needed to know what size I needed.  I called our nurse again.  She did not know exact size so said how about medium.  So finally I get the medium bands from the orthodontist (they left them in their mailbox for me.  Not sure why they did not want me to come in).

Needless to say the medium bands are too big and loose.  We put as many in as we could.  They pop out easily and/or Jack pulls them out.  I give up!!!  He sees the surgeon in two days and we will see how it goes.  What a mess it has been.....making smoothies and milkshakes, constantly cleaning the blender, making baby type food, the great rubber band search, keeping Jack out of food.  I am so over it!!!

One lesson learned......there is a definite need for a black market for orthodontic rubber bands (though  I am not sure mist people need them as much as we did)!!

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