January 17…the Dentist…
Well that was fun. No, really, it was. Once I got past the feeling of wanting to do physical harm to people who obviously don’t get it, it was actually fun.
Dentist appointment. Those two words alone will create a reaction in any Autism Mom. Wanna make it bigger? One hour, forty-five minute dentist appointment with no drugs…for him or for me. For the love…
Several weeks ago, we took Jakob to a cranial sacral therapist who told us that Jakob has a blocked airway. Something’s gone a little funky in his mouth and he’s not getting enough oxygen in his system and it’s likely contributing to a lot of his issues. So to fix that, we need to get a special mouthpiece. Riiight.
So today was our appointment with the specialist. I had placed a call last week to them asking what all they planned on doing to him. I needed the details of the examination, if there would be x-rays or molds, basically what that whole scene would entail. I needed a step-by-step process so I could prepare him for it. If he knows what to expect, we can get through it. The kid is a champ at blood work these days, all because we get him ready for it.
Pretty much all I got out of the phone call was there would be an x-ray and they’d do a mold. So we’ve been pretending to take pictures of his head and shove stuff in his mouth, of course making it all into a fun, silly game.
What I didn’t prepare him for was all the waiting. The ridiculous waiting. The hour and forty-five minutes we were there consisted of less than 3 minutes of actual contact with the doctor or nurse and one x-ray.
There was a pretty intense meltdown when we finally made it to the x-ray room. I was ready to pack it up and just come back another day. But all we needed was one quick picture and it didn’t involve sticking anything in his mouth. So his dad held him while I stood in front of him, held his face in my hands, looked in his eyes and did everything in my power to be calm for him. He relaxed enough for us to get it done and then we released him.
It all could have been so simple. In and out in 10 minutes. But it was another example of how the general population just doesn’t get it. We still have so far to go. Maybe that’s why there are so many of them (kids with Autism)…to speed up the process of people getting it. They’re pretty tough to ignore, especially in groups.
The whole experience was actually slightly profound for me. I did remain calm…inside and out. I would start to get a little annoyed but was able to let go pretty quickly, fully understanding that all of it was out of my control. One hour in, I told the nurse that we were pushing it with him. It didn’t seem to make anybody move any faster but that was ok. It was totally out of my control. Jakob screamed, cried and kicked and that was ok. Totally out of my control. I was able to make peace with all of it as it was happening.
I was also able to make peace with people’s reactions. I appreciate the nurses, doctors and office workers trying to act like they’ve seen it all before. And maybe they have but that doesn’t mean they get it. Or that they don’t judge it. I have a pretty good sense for other people’s discomfort and I certainly sensed some while we were there.
In the past, other people’s discomfort would cause me to change my behavior. Maybe I’d try to control Jakob or maybe I would just get nervous and uncomfortable myself. Not this time. I was “in the zone”. I moved slowly and deliberately. I was steady. I was a rock. Everybody in that room could’ve been on fire and I wouldn’t have noticed. I was so focused on being the eye in Jakob’s storm. In that x-ray room, I held his sweet little face in my hands and breathed. He sensed my calm. With huge tears in his eyes, he looked at me and I felt him relax. It was quick but we did it.
I know he has that in him, the ability to find his inner peace. And I know that’s where all healing begins. So I really believe my job every day is to help him find that place. And it was a nice reminder at the dentist that what I model, I teach.
So since we’ll be visiting that office again, it wouldn’t hurt to up yoga to 4 times per week. A little added support never hurts…