Sunday, July 7, 2013

Seeing Red

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A few weeks ago at the dental office, Curlytop looked up from her book and said, “Mom, tomorrow is my last day of first grade… Do second graders get to eat Red Dye?”

“Not you, Sweetie – you’re allergic, and so is Snugglebug.”

The color drained from the dental assistant’s face. She’d just finished cleaning Snugglebug’s teeth, a small tub of RED cleansing paste still in hand. “You didn’t use that on my daughter, did you?” I asked, stupidly. Of course, she had.

At that moment, our dentist popped his head in. “How’s it going, here?” he asked.

“To tell you the truth, Doc, I’m a bit alarmed and concerned, since Snugglebug was just treated with red paste.”

He blinked. “But, she’s allergic to Red Dye.”

“Yeah. I know.” I’ve come to believe some medical professionals have hair-trigger backpedalling devices installed during their schooling which activate in response to potential liability, and our dentist didn’t disappoint.

“Well, I know you SAY she’s allergic to Red Dye, but – you know – is it REALLY an allergy? I mean, is it a documented allergy?”

“Well, it’s well-documented with our pediatrician, school nutritionist, neurologist, developmental specialist, five different therapists, and YOUR OWN RECORDS, as evidenced by the all-caps words on that screen.” I pointed to the screen next to him. “Do you need more documentation? I’m sure I can dig it up.”

I could tell our doc was getting a little nervous. “What sort of allergy is it? Do they break out in hives, or what?”

“It’s pretty much straight neurotoxicity. Curlytop has seizures.” I paused, letting that sink in a bit. “Oh, and they do this self-injurious behavior thing where they tear and bite their skin open. It’s a fairly awesome spectacle.”

“Uh-huh… Well, that sounds pretty serious, so, uh… well… erm…”

I took the time to text Mr. Wright: I think you’d better head to the dental office. I’m about to lose my sh*t with our dentist.

Then, I returned my attention to the stammering dentist. “I want a printout of the ingredients in that paste. Like, now.”

The dentist hustled off to find the data, and I was left with the wilting hygenist. “I actually don’t think it has Red Dye in it,” she said, hopefully.

“Really? What do you think makes it bright red?” As it turned out, there were two Red Dye ingredients, according to the emergency hotline for the manufacturer.

Most of the hubbub had died down by the time Mr. Wright arrived, and I informed him we had a rough night ahead of us, following Snugglebug’s exposure.

“I didn’t know whether to contact our attorney, or not,” he said.

“Oh, I’m sure we can document this and ensure it doesn’t happen again on our own,” I assured him.

“I meant for YOU. Where’s the bloodbath? I was looking forward to seeing you in action. I even have popcorn out in the car!”

Is it any wonder I love him so?

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