Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taking kids to the dentist

Alternately titled: Why I blog and Recognizing when you need a little help - Part 1

I've been blogging here for a little over a year now. It started out slowly and I'm trying to blog more regularly. It's good for me and hopefully, as time goes, by, it will be good for others. Do you know why I blog?

A little over a year ago, my kids had a dental cleaning. These are things I take seriously. I'm not the best housekeeper, but I take health and hygiene very seriously. I don't know why I put such an emphasis on preventative health, but I do. But I'm not the kind of mom who runs to the doctor for any little thing. Things I don't know about, like this, yes. A low-grade fever, no. Mine have all had weak enamel and many cavities, so I think it's important to have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined. So, they had their dental cleaning and it. was. awful. Not just for me taking them, but for my middle daughter, Child B. Here's how it went:

The day before the appointment, Child A looked at the calendar. Child B had her clothes ready to get dressed. Child C was being her cheerful little self. Child A made an announcement that they all had a dentist appointment the next day. What came next took me totally by surprise. My normally sensitive yet active Child B shut down. She couldn't bring herself to get dressed. She rolled on the floor, wringing her hands, worrying about the appointment the next day. She asked if we could reschedule it. She asked if she could not go. She wondered, aloud, how she was ever going to get through it. She didn't get dressed at all that day and I don't think she ate.

The day of the appointment I was also watching the neighbor's little boy. All the kids piled into the van, loveys in arms as they always do for dentist appointments, and off we went. Half an hour to our pediatric dentist who we searched long and hard for 4 years ago after Child A's traumatic appointments with another one closer. Child B worried the whole way there. She told me she wasn't going in. A and I had an arrangement that when we got there, she would take C and the neighbor in while I helped B. B walked in just fine, but hid as soon as we walked in the lobby. After I signed the kids in, I asked if anyone needed to go to the bathroom, have a snack or a drink... Before I knew it, B had walked up to the reception desk, signed herself out and was out the door. Yes, out. the. door. Just the other side of the parking lot is a very busy set of railroad tracks. I chased after her to stop her before she reached them. I'm sure she didn't even know where she was going. Halfway across the parking lot, I wrestled her to the ground and held her tightly. She was so panicked. We made it back in the office and I had to hold on to her.

(Now, let me back up here for just a minute. B has always had a sensory disorder that causes her to not feel things the same way most of us do. For example, she seeks deep pressure on her muscles and loves to be squeezed. She can spin all day long and not get dizzy. Yes, she could pass a field sobriety test and walk a straight line after being spun to the point where most people would get vomit. In fact, I found out that 9 times in a row on the Tilt-a-whirl is my threshold, but B kept going until two more chaperons thoughts they, too, would be sick. Mosquito bites don't make her itch, but she will climb to great heights in attempt to escape her own body. So, knowing this about her, we have tools to help her. We have been using the Wilbarger Protocol Brushing Technique off and on since she was 3. It helps calm her. Now she asks for it when she's overwhelmed or over-stimulated.)

At this point, I was holding her in the lobby and got out her brush. She calmed a little bit, so I pulled out her hand-held massager that she will hold on top of her head for stimulation. We talked about how she can hold that to counteract the vibrations from the dental cleaning. It was soon time to bring her back to the cleaning room, so I went with her. A stayed with her sister and the neighbor. Once in the room, B was very uneasy so I was holding her tightly. It occurred to me, that maybe if I read to her she would calm down, so I reached for a book on the counter. Wrong. She bolted. I loosened my grip and she was gone. I chased after her, reaching her as she reached the door to the lobby. I carried her while she reached for anything that might be solid. She grabbed at mirror on the wall and it crashed down. When I got her back to the room, I was crying, she was wrestling to get away, and I sat on her to keep her there. She wiggled so much that her hair got spun around the cleaning tool. I had to keep sitting on her until she was untangled or she would have taken off with it and whatever it was connected to. The dentist decided to use nitrous oxide (with my eager permission at this point) to finish the cleaning.

When she was done, she was fine. Instant calm. The other kids did fine. I was a wreck.

I called my husband from the lobby and cried. I called the pediatrician and cried.. Why would she behave like this? What could be happening? He gave me some names and numbers to call. I cried all the way home.

I realized then that whatever road we were headed down with her, I felt very alone. I was frustrated and angry. I was tired of the judgemental looks from others who had kids who could easily be around large groups of people and not wander off or need to be in a quieter place. And then I realized that there are other moms just like me with kids just like her who feel the same way. Other parents laugh at the things their kids say and do. Other parents take it in stride. God never intended for us to do this alone. I reached out and grasped my Father who made my child in His image, and He did not make a mistake when He made her different!

It was in that moment that I accepted my daughter for who she is, realized some of her limitations, and chose to find out what to do to help her. If going to the dentist caused her that much anxiety and inability to function, then we need to find ways to teach her to get through those moments or don't put her in that situation until she can handle it. I also decided to switch to this blog, from our homeschool blog where I eluded to the dentist appointment (along with the more humorous event of her taking apart the cash register at Wal-mart), but it was too recent to think about without crying again. If there are other parents like me, with children like B, then we need not be alone. First and foremost, God will never leave us nor forsake us. Second, He is perfect and does not make mistakes; therefore, B is made within His divine plan. Third, I will blog about those crazy, stressful moments that bring me to tears and, hopefully, there will be tears of laughter, too.

That day changed our life. Really, it did. To be continued...

Come back Thursday to read about what B has accomplished in the past year, the progress she has made, and how we've made it through the next two cleanings since the one mentioned here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it's a small world! I wish I could be here this weekend to say "hello" in person, but we will be leaving for vacation.

    Have a wonderful stay in OK!