Last week, my son was *supposed* to have a molar removed and xrays of his mouth done while he was asleep. Years ago, going to the dentist was VERY stressful for him but then I discovered that bringing along his Spiderman weighted blanket really helped with his stress levels. I would also prep him by reading a social story about doing to the dentist. We were referred to a dentist in town who understands how to work with kids with Autism so his staff would also schedule the appointment for when there weren’t many other kids in the office at that time.
A few months ago, my son kept sticking his fingers into his mouth, which is odd behaviour for him. I got him to open his mouth so I could look inside…one of his molars was black, on the inside part of it. Eek! I told him we would go to the dentist and that the dentist could help. It was the easiest appointment at the dentist…forever now known as the “tooth doctor”‘ as my son says. He gave us a prescription for antibiotics (THAT was interesting to get in my son three times per day!), and referred us to a sleep dentist to have the molar removed.
We met with that dentist. He’s an elderly gentleman with a very calm voice, so my son really liked him. The molar removal was booked for a month later…which was last week. I explained what I could to my son for a few days leading up to it and every morning, he would ask “tooth doctor today?”. “No hunny, it’s on Thursday”. He was excited to go!
I had to get some patches from the pharmacy to numb the back of his hands so they could put an IV in. He was sssoooooo good at not playing with them or trying to remove them.
He was so happy to see the tooth doctor that he actually ran from the car into the building! We waited in the reception area for about 15 minutes, and he was surprisingly still with these patches on. I was so proud of him!
We went into the room and got him all set up with his Spiderman weighted blanket on his lap. All the ladies thought he was so cute in his Spiderman hat, tshirt and blanket. :)
Then they started attaching sticky things with wires coming out of them to three parts of his chest. He didn’t like these. They also put a blood pressure cuff on him to try to get his blood pressure. He did that the initial appointment and squirmed a bit but having the other items on him this time too, he wouldn’t stay still…and one of the new staff members had the guts to tell me “you know, it’ll go faster if he sits still”. By then, I’ve been wrestling with him, trying to keep him still and stopping him from pulling all the wires off of him that I snapped at her…and I won’t apologize for it. I had already reminded them all that he has Autism, so this time I looked her squarely in face and told her “if you are planning on staying in this type of a job, you are going to have to figure this one out…it’s Autism. You’re lucky he’s even sitting. You had better learn something”. I’ll admit I paid no attention to her the rest of the time.
The tooth doctor came in and although my son was stressed a bit, he calmed down and moved the tooth doctor’s hand towards his mouth. Thankfully, the tooth doctor acknowledged “yes, we’re going to pull that yucky tooth out”. My son calmed down a bit…until the tooth doctor tried putting an IV in my son’s hand. All hell broke loose! The five staff tried holding my son down, while I was literally on top of him, trying to keep him on the chair, and trying to help keep his arm still, while calmly telling him over and over again that he was ok, the tooth doctor needed to do this to pull his tooth, mommy is here, that I love him, etc. The whole time, I was thinking “please don’t knock the dentist over and break his hip!”.
The tooth doctor gave up on that hand and went to the other. Same thing. Then he tried moving towards the inside of my son’s elbow…my son freaked out even more. After that, the tooth doctor gave up. My son now has a referral to the local university, where they can give him the sleep gas first, then do the IV that’s needed. I’ll have to tell them though that it’ll have to be out of him before he wakes up, or he’ll just pull it out.
He saw the tooth doctor in the hallway when we were back at reception for me to sign some paperwork…and he ran over and gave the tooth doctor a hug! Apparently, no hard feelings! :) In the car, he said “school please” so we went home, had some breakfast (he had to fast beforehand) while I packed a lunch for him, and before taking him to school, he said “bandaid please”…Spiderman, of course. :)
When he got to school, he was a bit confused because he thought we were there to pick his sister up, not understanding that it was only 11:30. The teachers and helpers were very kind and let him have his choice of activity to help ease him into being at school…he chose the indoor swing they have. So slipped out, telling them to call me if he was too disruptive…and the next time I saw him was at the end of school.