You Kinda Get Used to Weeks Like This

by Tim on February 5, 2009

I want to say this has been a crazy week, but I suppose it’s really just par for the course.

On Tuesday, the J-Man had a dentist appointment. I don’t think I need to give any more setup to this story than that; it speaks for itself. After being in the waiting room for an eternity, we finally got our turn. Both of the ‘special rooms’ – where all the frantic, special needs kids go – were taken (we learned why later) so we were out in the common area where dentist chairs basically circle the room. Sometimes I think they should call that area something like The Freak Show where kids can either scream in full view of the other patients or show their utter terror at all things dental, but since I hate dentists too, I could be showing some bias.

So here I am, at 6′ 3″ tall, reclined and parallel to the floor in a pediatric-sized dentist chair, with the J-Man (a.k.a. Captain Orally Defensive) on top of me with his back against me. In addition to that, I have wrapped my legs around his and am holding both his arms from behind. Oh, and I’m trying to make it harder for him to move his head around by using the only thing I have left – my own head. And by the way, Mary, the hygienist, the dentist, and a second hygienist were all working on (mostly in restraining) him while I was holding him like this. And in the end, I strained something in my low back because the J-Man is that strong. Yeehaw!

Consumer tip – Don’t let your kids wear chunky, heavy, new shoes to the dentist because it makes it too easy for them to kick the skin off your legs.

Consumer tip #2 for the guys – Protect yourself carefully from said chunky, heavy, new shoes. Just sayin’.

Thankfully, his teeth are in great shape. It’s their goal with each successive visit to introduce new things to get him gradually more used to the process, but I think they might be overselling a bit on how well their plan will work. Really, there’s no way to make the dentist a good experience right now. We just try to get through it without anyone getting hurt. All they do in this practice is work on kids, they’re very skilled with getting in and getting it over with quickly with special needs children, and they are calm people. All we could do is try to get through it as quickly as possible and hope he’ll forgive us for 10 minutes of trauma.

We did learn that around noon is when they schedule a lot of the special needs kids because they have more staff on hand to assist, and apparently that’s when they schedule fewer ‘regular’ kids so we don’t freak them out I guess. I understand the logic behind that, but I’d rather us not be cordoned off into Unhappy Hour at the dentist. But that’s another story.

Yesterday, we had a stupid two-hour delay from school because of the threat it might snow, which of course it never did. So, there’s nothing like a two-hour delay to completely freak out a class full of autistic kids who don’t like schedule disruptions. The J-Man did great at first, surprising us all by going to some toys and picking them out on his own initiative and playing with them ‘appropriately’ (still love that as a clinical term). This isn’t something he really does as he’s totally into his few favorite toys and doesn’t seem to acknowledge that any of the others exist.

Then after lunch he completely fell apart, though in fairness to the scheduling gods we later discovered that was due to a major tummy malfunction. So yesterday afternoon went totally to crap – OK, so not the best choice of words.

You know you’re a parent of an autistic child when your kid is upset and not feeling well and you can’t tell whether it’s an ear infection or constipation. Ah, the joys of communication difficulties. But those of you who’ve been there will appreciate the humor in getting a call from your child’s teacher during lunch saying, “He took a massive poop a while ago and is having a much better day now.” To which the only response I could think of was, “Well, I suppose that’s true for a lot of us.”

Thankfully today was much better after said intestinal issue resolved itself. The J-Man still hates the new leaving school routine (we can’t come inside and pick the kids up anymore, and I think it freaks him out that I’m not there in the lobby to meet him), but his meltdown about that is down to a couple of minutes now. So, we should have that figured out soon.

Mary’s still sick and, of course, still pregnant, so she feels like dirt. Thankfully, I’m nothing more than a bit tired. Usually when at least one of us is well, things can limp along around here. But we definitely want Mary to feel better soon!

So who knows about tomorrow. I’m afraid to jinx it, so I’ll leave it at that.

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