In the middle of the pack out, something else monumental happened: Elise got her braces off!
Eleven months of dedicated rubberband wearing, tooth headaches, and vigilance payed off.
Here she is just moments before removal:
We wish we could report that the removal was without incidence. But, we live in a 3rd world country, and the removal was pretty archaic. Unfortunately, I didn't know what to expect (even on 1st world standards) since Elise is the first to have braces in our family.
Here's how they remove braces in Indonesia:
Step 1: Have patient bite down a piece of cotton. Hard.
(Please note that Step 1 did NOT include any anaesthetics or glue softening gel.)
Step 2: Dentist holds tooth pliers firmly on individual brace which is still cemented to the tooth.
Step 3: Pull individual brace from glue on individual tooth...without anaesthetics or glue softening.
Step 4: Repeat on every single tooth.
Needless to say, Elise only got through Steps 1-3 a few times before breaking down into tears because of the pain. I made some quick phone calls to find out if this was the "normal procedure." But I couldn't get through to anyone, and we were packing out, and we were leaving in just a few days, and three braces had already been ripped off her teeth.
We had very few choices, and in the end Elise toughened through it. She learned that if she bit REALLY hard on that piece of cotton, it seemed to lessen the pain.
I cannot describe how difficult it was to watch my child practically be tortured. All I could do was stand next to her and let her squeeze my thumb.
She took lots of breaks where she would wipe away her tears and get a quick drink of water.
Once the braces were removed, they polished off the glue on her teeth...again without administering any anaesthetics.
Can you see the exhaustion in my child's face?
Elise now has a beautiful smile and a great story about third-world dentistry to share. We just hope the event hasn't scarred her for life!
When I asked her to describe the event in three words, she said, "Painful, Horrific, and a Relief!"