Autism Watch: 2007

Posts Tagged ‘dentist

I just realized I didn’t share this with you, this gem, this dentastic visit to the dentist for a filling. It’s an epic story, from start to finish.

Start: I pick him up from school, he’s on a tear and starts to cry within seconds because the teacher reprimanded for something that she’d seen while outside of school on a weekend. (I am biting my tongue from sharing my feelings on that, it would take a whole new blog entry.) I promise him we’ll handle it, put on a calm face and secretly think that this may have seriously messed up our dental appointment.

We make the 25-minute drive in pouring rain, with BB talking to Dad on the phone about the injustices of his day. Dad agrees with me that we need to fix it, but top priority was relaxing him to get through the dentist appointment. Ha. I’ll get right on that.

He gets in the chair. Whew, we’re psyched up and ready to go. Oops, 9-year-old girl across the hallway had a meltdown and had to leave — now she’s back and they are going to finish her work. Dentist leaves our room, chair comes back up straight and out comes the DSi XL to keep him busy. Ten minutes later, dentist is back. BB is nervous. I’ll spare the details, but the dentist’s hand got novocained. It was bitten. The mechanical tray over BB’s lap went flying. BB had to be caught before he fell out of the chair onto the floor. Five of us were in the room. Door was shut. Door was opened. Dentist tried three times before he admitted defeat. I was sent on my merry way with a puffy-faced, red-eyed child apologizing profusely for not being able to stay still in the chair due to having a bad day at school. I did the same, while wondering if indeed we could return. Would their patience be any better next time? Did they really want him to return? Would the dentist wear leather gloves??

Finish: It.was.a.disaster. Dad seems to think he can get him to go back to the same dentist and try once again. Hmmph. I’m not going again. I think we need to try a special needs dentist about an hour away. We’re undecided right now, but we will be making a decision by Monday — the filling has to be done soon, but we have a few days to be sure we don’t put him through anything else unnecessarily.

Special needs dentists are a rare breed, and if you are one, kudos. I’ll try to warn you if my son bites, but I imagine it won’t be your first time. Or at least I hope. I’ve had enough of being the unique situation.

Today little dude had what is hopefully his last ‘work’ appointment…you know, where work outside of the normal cleaning and checkup gets done. I had to do this one on my own, since I “HAD THE DAY OFF.” Notice those words in caps –  apparently they mean that today is just a fun day, you know, where you have fun all day long and nothing makes you tired or keeps you busy. But anyway, dh didn’t have the day off and we figured since this wasn’t a root canal, I was good to go handling it on my own. Sounds good in theory, right?

Happily, this is a situation where the theory was in keeping with the reality. Barnacle Boy laid down, let the nitrous do its thing, and cracked us all up, even throughout the novocaine shots around the two teeth that were being filled. He even told the dental assistant she was sort of pretty, then said “I can’t believe I just said that.” His speech went really quick, he was thinking fast and the filter was entirely 100% off. SO cute.

(If you don’t believe in using nitrous on your autistic child, I respect that decision but understand that we chose to use the nitrous for our own reasons, so please respect your decision as well, without the assumption that we aren’t educated or didn’t research. Thank you. And if you don’t care what I do, kudos, and I apologize for the off-topic interruption!)

Once we got home, BB laid around for all of an hour, devoured a big bowl of vanilla ice cream, then literally ran off to make animated cartoons on his computer. He just finished dinner with us, where he ate an entire turkey bratwurst and a handful of tater tots. Now he’s back upstairs animating. A new hobby!

In a few months, when we move, we’ll have to choose a new dentist. Not necessarily looking forward to it, though our current dentist has offered to refer us to dentists in our new area and fwd on records. We’ve learned that when you choose a dentist, ask a lot of questions. Decide what you’re comfortable with and what you can’t live with. Check out not only if they accept your insurance, but try to gauge how willing they are to work with them on your behalf. Add in autism and you have to find out what accommodations they’ll make, how quiet/loud the office is, how trained the staff is to work with us, and even things like wait time. I’m tired just thinking about it..and I have to do this with a pediatrician, a neurologist, a family practitioner and the dentist.

 

This last week, my husband and I have been on vacation. In a word? Bliss. I don’t care if every minute is filled with mundane errands and getting up early to get ds to school; just having the time off together, during our own thing, our own schedule, is fantastic. But, the week has flown by and next Monday will come all too quickly.

During this past week, we’ve been away more than we’ve been home. We’ve gotten 80% of our shopping done, with another 15% tomorrow, leaving the last 5% for next week. We, or shall I say I, have gotten most of the baking for this Saturday’s open house done. Meanwhile, my house smells heavenly. (But I’ll leave out the part where I’ll be up all night baking the doughs we put together….all five MORE of them. I already have three bundt cakes of various kinds, and 15 loaves of fancy breads in the freezer.) It’s been a very busy week.

So, getting down to business…ds has had a busy week, too. First, a birthday party update. SUCCESS! Five kids from his class showed, some who hadn’t RSVP’d, but whatever, they were there. Two other kids showed up, and so did our friends we invited, and away we went. Games went well, we played mini-golf, and he had so much fun, presents took a backseat. Expensive, eh, $300 including cake, but we didn’t have to clean our house before or after, and ds had the party he wanted. Add that to the convenience level and we’re happy. (And no meltdowns at the party!)

We spent a day at Disneyland. Accommodations there were, again, amazing. We used our special assistance pass and got on every ride ds wanted within a very reasonable wait time. (And I still kicked everyone’s butt on Toy Story Mania. Ha.) Towards the end of the day, ds was getting a bit overwhelmed and when I expressed my negative opinion about getting knocked down when he pushed his stroller backwards into me as I was crouched on the ground tying my shoe, he refused to talk to me for almost an hour — even though I was the one who ended up on the ground. It happened again later when he refused to stop pinching his sister, but dh stepped in each time and lightened the mood. We visited the Tiki room, and while we sat in the back..in the corner…it was still enjoyable. A shout-out to Rainforest Cafe for their birthday party recognition! Ds has wanted the volcano cake for his birthday for months now, and he was excited for it to finally happen. We attempted to go back to Disney <quickly> to visit Woody’s Roundup, a yearly tradition, but the monorail held us hostage. First, the new cars only hold 15 a person, so one train, which only comes every 10 minutes, only can take about 40 people. Translation: you wait forever. Walk. It’s quicker. We wait though, as by then, we’d already invested so much time, we figured ‘how much longer can it really be?’ Ha. They had more in mind. Little did we know, after they squeeze 16 in our car (did you hear that, Disney? They put 16 in a car made for 15. Isn’t that against some safety regs??) that they were putting a second train on the line, and we’d have to wait while they got it on-line. Sure. Why didn’t you tell us that, or do it, BEFORE you load us into a small little tube? Then, we get 9/10 of the way to the station, 15-20 minutes later, only to hear that the second car had some issues with its windows, so we’d need to wait. AGAIN. Same little tube. Same claustrophobic help-we-have-been-kidnapped-and-are-being-held-hostage feeling.  After a 30-minute ‘quick ride’ to the Tomorrowland station, we got off. It wasn’t without some commentary, where those perfect people who were still in ‘happiest place on earth’ mode weren’t approving of comments of those of us who feel a $90 ticket shouldn’t include being detained. Oh well.

However, the day was completed without further incident. Disneyland’s special assistance pass saved the day. We enjoyed the beautiful Christmas castle and music and were glad to have gotten in our annual Christmas visit.

We also squeezed in a dentist visit. After losing the two teeth (mentioned in a prior blog entry) ds ended up with two shapes on his palate, shapes that looked like teeth coming in. He’d also complained his teeth were painful to brush in some areas. While I could have done without the hygienist smiling at us like we were paranoid craziacs when the xray confirmed it was just his palate being shaped funny, I felt redeemed  (the words “neener-neener” came to mind) when the dentist confirmed that we were right to bring him in just to be safe, as sometimes losing teeth can cause swelling like he had, and apparently infection. One point for the parents who pay high rates for good insurance and want to be sure their child’s mouth is safe. And ds didn’t freak, but that’s due mostly to an excellent dentist who knows how to ease his fears by explaining everything to him, addressing him appropriately, and letting him touch/feel all the tools prior to their use.

Then, today. Awards ceremony at school. Ds got a certificate for his grades, one for turning in homework regularly, and one for passing his health/P.E. requirements. He came into the ceremony SO excited. Smiling, dancing, and chatty. Trouble came when halfway through, a teacher reminded his table to be quiet. Poof. Magic words. That was the end of it. When it came time for his second award, he went to the front with his hood over his face. Our Assistant Principal, an amazing V.P., acknowledged it and tried to help, as did both dh and I, but to no avail. He stood for pictures with no face showing. When his name was called for his third award, he refused to move. He sat at his table, head down, while everyone else went on stage. Prompting from us made no difference. He was so upset by then, he was agitated and we had to leave him alone for fear of a full-out meltdown. (And to the lady who went  “Look!” and pointed at him like he was a rare parading zoo monkey eating a banana while hanging upside down and pottying, I really hope you realized that the child’s parents heard you and watched you. We wish no ill upon your child(ren) but you could stand to learn some manners and compassion.) We picked him up shortly after, and after sticking to the ‘no more negative talk once we get to the car’ credo, the day wasn’t so bad after all.

Tomorrow, we finish our shopping. Then, we take ds and a the girls (other ds won’t be along) to see the infamous Christmas lights a city away. It’s a big event every year, where we walk the entire show (after parking a mile away) and drink coffee purchased from a resident we find along the way. We sing carols along with the music pumped from the fancy homes, and talk with our friends, same homes we see every year but we’re nevertheless amazed. It’s going to get down to 37 degrees tonight. 37. I am jazzed. Christmas weather at last. Now, if I could just figure out how to get ds to wear a jammy top, we’d be golden; good thing he likes to wrap himself up in a special blue blanket every night because it’s soft. Tomorrow night will be cold as well, so Amen to getting Christmas weather on target.

Ds stayed in his bed last night — the WHOLE night. I heard him having a bad dream, but he got back to sleep and stayed there. Good thing, I stayed up late reading the last of the Twilight books. Yes, I am one of “those” moms. So what if a few people think they’re mindless drivel. We don’t all need to read enlightening award-winning literary prizewinners. Some of us like fictional books that don’t take a lot of thought, and these books fit the bill while allowing you to pretend you’re somewhere else for a while, because believe me, these books do put you in a whole new environment. Get a grip if you’re anti-Twilight, and go back to your Pulitzer material, Stephenie Meyer’s raking in the bucks so she’s got my vote.

Now I’m off to get more cookies in the oven, and watch a Nascar race on ds’s new Nascar toy race track the girls got him for his birthday. I can hear him giggling from here, and I need to watch his smile light up his eyes. Merry Christmas, everyone. I got my gift already.

A few days ago, while we were camping, ds lost the first of three currently loose teeth. He was really anxious about it, asking us daily if today was the day, is it loose enough, and other similar worries. In the end, we found out he was very worried about it coming out while he was asleep, where he would either swallow it or choke on it. We assured him this was unlikely, but were relieved when it came out while playing cards with dad in the RV. One tooth down.

Tonight, his second loose tooth came out. He was eating pizza, a favorite, and the tooth started to bleed. While rinsing his mouth out in the sink, with the drain plug in, the tooth fell out into the water. I rescued the tooth, so he could let the reddish water drain, and he continued to rinse. Trauma over, right?

He disappeared right after. I found him curled up on his bed, in a little ball way in the back. No whimpers, nothing. A little prodding later, he tells me that his smile is broken. <Insert appropriate mom “awwwwww” here. Now you know what I did.> I thought I had him calmed and realizing that his beautiful, unique smile was perfectly as it should be…and that the bottom and top matched because the two missing teeth were in the same spot on each. Turns out, I didn’t quite alleviate all his concerns, but it got better. I caught him staring at his teeth in the mirror frequently the duration of the evening, but no more tears and hiding. Let’s hope tomorrow morning is as successful. He already has a dentist appointment next week because the upper adult teeth appear to be coming in in very weird places, but I’m no dentist.

For those of you who have autistic kids, you know Autism. You know how it goes with you wherever you are, usually even when your children aren’t with you. It’s an entity, with its own personality, requirements, and mood. Autism is sometimes hiding under the rug, other times it’s right there and can’t be slightly partially ignored, even by those who wish it’d climb back under the rug. Sometimes Autism is noisy, other times it’s quiet. (And the capital A in Autism isn’t a grammatical error — when referring to an entity, it needs to have a name, and we all know names are capitalized.)

Today, Autism went to the dentist. So did our son. Our son was there to have sealants put on two teeth; he’d had reflux very bad as a child, and it wore off some of the enamel on those back teeth. He’s already had four root canals, because Autism decided it didn’t like its teeth brushed and gagged every time we tried. Our son sat down in the chair, and I followed in to sit with him, with dad relegated to the waiting room due to space issues. (We use an office that specializes in special needs children, so it’s a small price to pay that we can’t both be in with ds.) The hygienist explained the process to him, how they’d clean those two teeth first, then do the sealants, but then she had to step out for a few minutes, and the waiting got to him. Big time. Before she returned, he’d thrown the stuffed puppy (used to cuddle or boost a little one up in the chair) and was starting to get out of the chair to make a run for it when she returned. On went the fancy glasses he requests so the bright light doesn’t hurt his eyes. Oops, wrong color, he wants the white ones. You know, the same ones as the last appointment. We weren’t two minutes into the cleaning when I had to swap with dh because ds started to squirm, whine, cry, and then yell. Dh came in, then there ensued an argument over putting vaseline on ds’s lips. He’s got a lip-licking stim that causes major clown rashes when it gets windy, cold, or just because. Meanwhile, I’d already gotten out two tight knots out of his hair from his hair twirling stim, which worsens with anxiety, and he was definitely anxious. Vaseline applied, and dh left the room. The cleaning was done, and then the dentist arrived to apply the sealants. She patiently showed him every piece of equipment she was going to use, and explained that touching the gloves was a no-no, and that his job was to leave his hands laying on his tummy. That worked for about two minutes…and I am probably being really generous. It got worse before it got better, but after the dentist got the pillow that holds his jaw open (instead of him having to hold it open himself), he was good, as long as they suctioned out his mouth frequently. He forgot the movie playing on the ceiling or the cute bugs on the walls and the puppy that was back in his seat, but soon enough, it was over. I give kudos to the staff for their patience and willingness to work with him, and I hope they get paid well. They seem to appreciate his unique personality, which is a big deal in itself. And when the receptionist commented what a different child he looked to be from two years ago, ahhhh, what an affirmation. To us, he looks better, but we’re with him each day so getting an unbiased opinion from someone else is always a blessing.

So you can understand how Autism indeed went with us. It went home with us, but stayed in a separate room for a few minutes of homework time…even if that was when ds ran to the livingroom to do his homework on the floor because he couldn’t focus with anyone else breathing at an audible level. He knocked out his spelling work, and we headed to his favorite restaurant, Logan’s Roadhouse. (Shout-out to them for peanuts on the table, a great O.T. exercise, where ds can smash, squish and mash peanuts until they scream, then drop it all on the floor and start over again.) He and I enjoyed our ‘date’ night, and for the most part, Autism was quiet. That was probably because ds ordered steak tips, medium well, so ds had to work a bit to eat them, and that too is a sensory experience. A whole bowl of cinnamon apples and half a glass of root beer and we were good to go. To Target. The latest Indiana Jones movie was released today, and not only does ds really want to watch it, but it’ll give him something to do with older dd when we take younger dd to her choral performance tomorrow night. Oh, and I’m cheap, I like to buy the movies we want the week they come out because they’re on sale. He even let me shop for a few miscellaneous items (Halloween candy…18 pounds, to be exact..and that’s just a drop in the bucket..office supplies, a shirt) before he started bugging for an Icee that I had no way in heck intentions of getting. Moosetracks mint chip ice cream was waiting at home, already paid for, as healthy an ice cream as we can buy, and it wasn’t about to hype him out in my car or give him something to spill on the leather seats. (I know, I know, leather seats…but we bought the SUV a few weeks before A-day…autism diagnosis day. I’ll never forget getting lost in the midst of nowhere on the way to our new neurologist, having to call and get directions, explain why I’m late, deal with dh on the phone giving me no help whatsoever with directions because he was in denial and refusing to work with me or participate in the process, while having to perfect driving the Tank, a vehicle I’d laughed at for years because it’s a Road Barge, yet was suddenly necessary due to family size and the need to tow a trailer. Anyway, I digress….)

Autism’s getting ready for bed now. So is ds. We had our very one-sided conversation about Pokemon, while he was doing his required reading log minutes, and ds announced that he got the best fundraiser results out of his class. (Go us, go us…we worked so hard for that, he has no idea.) Not sure what time Autism will wake up tomorrow, but hopefully it’ll be in a good mood. It’s windy here, fires on the news but none nearby. Fires cause a regression that’s hard to explain, but even the wind can cause some explosions out of the blue, so it’s just one more reason I hate the wind.

And now it’s time to go give ds hugs before he falls asleep. Dentist appointment is over until March, when it starts all over again, hopefully minus any work beyond a cleaning and check-up. Phew.

Phew. Done. Started at 8am, and by 8:40, dh was on the phone, updating me as he headed home. And this is big, as dh hates to talk on the phone as he’s driving. (Why aren’t there more people like that? My drive-time home could be cut in half if I didn’t have to sit behind 10-20 people a day who don’t want their call interrupted by measly green lights and turn signals.) Ds was unhappy, he’d been crying, but he was talking. Another phew. He had a roll of gauze in his mouth, preventing him from speaking too clearly and racking up drool points, but he was talking. We’d chosen to use nitrous, despite the concerns with problems with it, because the problems with general anesthesia really aren’t necessarily better. And no medication isn’t an option. He arrived home shortly afterwards, red-faced and pale at the same time, unhappy yet happy that it was over with. Bag of prizes/rewards from the dentist balled up in his hand, along with the purple nitrous nose-piece.

Apparently he had cried some during the visit, and dh spent the time trying to calm him. The dentist was wonderful as always, very attentive to ds’s needs and fears, yet hurrying through the work to get it done as fast as safely possible. Thank God for that. Not all dentists have the patience she does, and I’d recommend her in a heartbeat. (And her experience with a son on the spectrum really helps, too.) He had to deal with the nose-piece, the brace to hold his mouth open, and two strangers in his face. Bravery. He can be so easily overstimulated, yet despite it all, he gets through it.

A few hours later, hours where we’d cuddled, he’d played Wii, and we didn’t get more than three feet away from him, he decided that the ice cream we’d mentioned the day before sounded good. Off we go, the three of us, into the car. I sat in the backseat next to him, leaning into him, arm around his little neck. He cried on the way there, pain from his tooth as the numbness wore off. He cried as we ordered, as I held him up to see the ice cream choices, and he cried as we walked to the car, carrying our cups of root beer float ice cream, while daddy paid the nice man who really didn’t know ice cream from the scoop from the register, though he at least smiled throughout the cluelessness that made it take twice as long as it should have. He cried the ride home, in between bites of his ice cream, because the tooth pain increased. We gave him Tylenol meltaways, and he seemed to feel better as time went on. Today, you wouldn’t know it had happened — regression? Not like the last times! There’s more stimming going on — his left hand is flapping and sitting oddly, and he’s grabbing himself and his hair way more than usual, but he’s talking more than he’s yelling, and he isn’t obsessing with talking about the horrible visit. Many, many reasons to be thankful as we go into the New Year.

As I type this, my little guy is laying next to me, sound asleep. Almost snoring. All things considered, he’s done really, really well this week…despite the dietary infractions (blue and red dye, yeast-y foods, way too much sugar, forgotten supplements) and serious change in schedule and social events. But the stims? Out of control, with pulling his eyelashes being the most common. The only time he’s not doing it is when he’s playing Wii boxing! (My personal recommendation: buy a Wii. Sure, it can be isolating but with multi-player games, many that require working together, you get practice in cooperation, frustration, and motor skills. And low-muscle tone? Lots of good exercise!)

In a couple of weeks, we’re ramping up the biomedical therapies — casein-free, adding in some more supplements (starting with biotin) and more dietary changes. I’m spending hours reading about removing more and more toxins (cleaning products, toothpaste with unnecessary additives, etc.) from the house. New Year’s resolutions? Heck no, who has time?

In the past week, we’ve gone to more parties than I can count on my hands. We’ve gone to our Christmas Eve church service, where we lit the Christ candle, which required quiet standing at the podium for a few minutes. Score. He handled it fine, with only some minor squirmage going on. We took ds shopping. We took him to the infamous karate class. We also expected him to handle all this on less sleep, as we were up later at night yet not necessarily sleeping late in the morning. Through it all, we’ve had sporadic serious wind gusts. Busy-ness + less sleep + more transitions + shopping + lack of routine + WIND = recipe for disaster. And what do I hear outside my window right now? More wind. (We have yet to clean up the wreck that is our backyard. At least we won’t hear the crash as the 300 lb barbecue blows over again. And the Christmas decorations it ruined or came close to ruining? Still in the garage. All I can say about them is poor Snoopy.) Winds mean more irritability and less sleep. Then he gets to look forward to the root canal and crown on Friday morning.

Holidays and children with autism are never boring at least.

And, while I’ve got you — if you’ve got some excellent GFCF or just healthy cooking or green home websites that you love, please comment and share them! I will keep adding them to my blogroll, too. Merry Christmas!


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