One in a Million


Anything and everything that is “not normal”, is the norm for me and my family.  If it is something that rarely happens or it’s 1 out of 1,000… we are that 1. I have been blessed with Tora, a rare bone formation in the bottom of my mouth, and Granuloma Annulare - a skin condition that comes on with stress.  Hearing, “this never happens” has become something that I am accustomed to.


I think that most parents can agree that one of their biggest fears is something happening to a child.  It is our job to raise and protect them. Kids fall and bump their heads, or scrape their legs falling off a bike, sometimes break an arm when playing a sport, or jumping on a trampoline.  These are all things you expect or can foresee in the future. It is the unforeseen that you don’t want to experience. You never want to see your child hurt or suffer.


I inherited my bad teeth from my mom, and have passed this onto my oldest child - Kyle.  Close together teeth, making it hard to floss and as much as he brushes, his teeth are prone to cavities.  When Kyle was in 1st grade, we learned from his dentist that he had a really bad cavity and the tooth needed to be pulled.  I immediately flashed back to when I was 7, getting my front tooth pulled out from my dentist, Dr. Mommery. I had walked into a post when I was 2, and killed all the nerves in my baby tooth.  The tooth was dead and needed to be taken out. We didn’t have laughing gas or movies to watch to help us relax… no, I was given my shot of novocaine and watched pliers being plunged straight at me. I remember being so scared and although in the end it didn’t hurt, the fear and adrenaline that made my heart race, I will never forget.    

December 26th:

We arrived at the dental surgeons office. It was cold and very formal, definitely a “doctors office”.  This was the extreme opposite of Kyles dentists office, with rocks for walls and monkeys hanging from the ceilings.  I tried to remain calm, not wanting to alert Kyle in anyway. If I didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t affect me.

We sat in the dentist chair.  Kyle had a cavity before so he was familiar with the procedure.  

The nurse came in and pulled the tray of 20 shinny sharp metal tools right in front of Kyle’s face.  I thought, holy shit you idiot, the kid is 7, why don’t you just tell him you are going to torture him for the next hour.  I sat back thinking they must know what they were doing. As I sat behind Kyle, I read the latest People Magazine - the shootings in     Probably not the best thing to be reading. The nurse and Dr. came in and started Kyle on the nitrous. He seemed content. About 15 minutes passed and they were back, ready for the Novocaine injection.  I always hate this part, both as a patient and a parent. They did the injection, and instantly, Kyle sat up and threw up all over the Dr. I was mortified. So embarrassed. I didn’t even look at Kyle to see if he was ok...just started dabbing the Dr. with a towel, apologizing over and over.  As I was about to sit back down, Kyle threw up again. I asked…”Is this normal? What is going on? … We are not going to do this today… something is not right.” As those words came out of my mouth, I got my first glimpse at my son. He was pale and looked dead, unresponsive and completely passed out.  

My heart started racing…  I was texting my husband and my dad on my last 10% remaining battery.  I felt alone and scared and I seemed to be the only one there that was worried.  Again, I asked if this was normal, and the response I got… “not really”... was all I needed to hear.  They immediately turned off the nitrous and started pumping oxygen into his body. Still no movement, still no response.   That was all I could take… running into the front office yelling call 911! Yep.. full ambulance, the whole shabang. At this point my dad had arrived.  The second he walked through the door, I lost it… crying and so scared. I had held it together until my dad got there. He always knows what to do and because he was a Police Officer for years, he was good with trama.  Growing up in this same town, I knew 3 of the 4 paramedics. As soon as they got there, 40 minutes later, Kyle was slowly starting to move and come to. The ride to the hospital,I had asked my friends what the hell they thought happened.  They said that sometimes if you have too much nitrice, you can pass out, however the oxygen should reverse that immediately, which did not happen. All I cared about in that moment was that Kyle had his eyes open and was responding.

We spent the next several hours in the ER.  The doctors wanted to run immediate tests to make sure his time passed out was not heart or brain related.  While we were there, the oral surgeon who had seen Kyle showed up. He was a dad also, and this scared him… something he had not experienced.  There were no conclusive results, but the doctors felt Kyle was in a condition we could take him home.


Over the next year, Kyle had to go through several different medical tests.  With his rotting tooth still in place, the doctors did not want to move forward with removing it until they were sure his heart and brain were ok.  He spent days seeing a Neuropsychologist, whom I did not care for. She would ask him a series of questions everytime we came in. Kyle had to wear a heart monitor for 24 hrs at a time, not something a 7 year old wants to do.  He endured tests that involved lights being flashed at him, like a strobe, trying to induce a seizure. He spent 24 hours at the Children’s Hospital where they did brain scans. None of this thank god was harmful physically, but it was a really long drawn out year, and I spent a ton of money on lego sets for bribes and rewards.  


In the end, the doctors concluded that this was a fluke, an unexplainable accident, something that just happened, a ONE IN A MILLION.  Although unsettling to think we don’t know what caused this, it was also a relief.  We all went through a year of stress and a lot of scared moments. Kyle is healthy and happy, but still with anxiety.  Everytime we go to the dentist, we are on edge, and I have to hold my breath during any cavity or procedure. But I am thankful and grateful for each day and I try to remind myself things could be a lot worse in any circumstance, and that I am truly blessed.  

Angela Wingard