Spring means allergies. For me, that often translates into sleepless nights, or at least partial ones. As soon as I get horizontal, my head fills up. I sneeze. I create a pile of used tissue by my side of the bed.

Tonight I was just about to drift off when I heard Nic coughing. I was immediately awake, because earlier he had been complaining about a stomach-ache. With our kids, stomach-ache + coughing often equals puking. So I tensed, waiting to see if there was going to be more noise. After awhile he was whimpering, so I went to check on it. He was half awake and restless for awhile, but has settled back to sleep without any incidents.

So now my nose is running, running, running. I think it's trying to keep up with my brain.

Night hours are the best for worries. Why is that? Tonight the thing that has my head going in circles is the dentist. HUH?

Let me explain. I have a horrible dental history. I had "buck" teeth as a kid, partly because of heredity, and partly because I sucked my thumb with enough pressure to make it worse. I also had a very crowded mouth. So at the age of 8, just before I got braces, they took out 9 teeth. Five baby teeth and four permanent. (This was also around the time they discovered I had a lazy eye and needed glasses, but that's another saga.) Anyway, they took out the teeth (did you know that laughing gas often makes females cry instead of laugh?) and then they glued brackets to my teeth. I had to wear one of those nifty head-gear things. (and an eye-patch that suction-cupped to my glasses)

The orthodontist I went to had some new-fangled system where all the chairs were in a big room. So you could watch all the other patients being tortured, and you had to be brave because they were watching you. I endured tightening, sores from the wires and all sorts of other lovely experiences. This was all in Canada.

Then we moved back to Ecuador, to the jungle. We found an orthodontist in Quito. Periodically, I would skip school and Dad and I would drive to Quito for dental appointments. Sometimes the dr. would never show up. Apparently, even when he did, he did not know what he was doing. A few years later, a different orthodontist examined me and basically said that dr. #1 had almost killed all the roots to my teeth. We sort of started over with my braces.

Sometime in jr. high, I had to have my wisdom teeth out. I had five, and four were impacted. Having your mouth propped open like an alligator for so long does not do good things to the corners of your mouth.

When I was 18, the last of my braces came off. Basically the dr. had to brace his feet against the wall and pull with all his might to get those brackets off my teeth. Very pleasant.

Just before I went to England for Bible school, I spent 2 days in the dentist chair in Canada. Apparently having things glued to your teeth for 10 years causes lots of cavities. I spent the first 48 hours in England with a throbbing face. Like being homesick wasn't enough!

So, yeah, I don't like the dentist very much. It makes my stomach clench. Awhile ago I walked by a dentist office and the smell that wafted out almost gave me a heart attack.

I have always made Troy take Meaghan to the dentist, because I don't want my fear to rub off on her. She has already had her share of dental trauma (we must be dentally cursed.) When she was 4, one of her permanent teeth starting growing straight out of her upper gum because the baby tooth had not fallen out yet. So she had to have oral surgery to get it taken care of. She fell on her front tooth (permanent one) and chipped it. Later, despite regular brushing etc. she had a mouthful of cavities. Now we make her use fluoride mouthwash every night. Our kids lose their teeth at a very early age, so the teeth we spent so much money getting filled are now coming out left and right. I am one cranky tooth fairy.

Yeah, Nic has a cavity. It's not pretty, and I have let it go too long. I know it. And so I worry. I don't want to have to take him to get needles stuck in his gums and that horrible drilling. But he needs to go, and I need to take him because we live in Spain.

So tonight, while he complains about his stomach, I worried about his tooth. And felt horribly guilty about it.

I have a number of a dentist here who is supposed to be nice and not the kind that will give you a big guilt trip. I am going to call and make an appointment for Nic.

Will somebody please come with me and hold my hand?