Monday, 25 March 2013

3 Teeth Out, 9 Fillings later…

So it was a couple of weeks ago now that the big day arrived, one I had been dreading for a long time, but it had to be done. Madison had to have some major dental work done at Caloundra hospital under a general anaesthetic and sitting in a dental chair in an office was not an option for us.
Since she was a little itty bitty thing brushing teeth has always been the biggest drama, well one of the many dramas. For Madison it is a sensory thing, bit of overload happening with the feel of the brush the feeling of the toothpaste not to mention the taste and smell all very intense. Which to you and I, usually brushing our teeth we don’t even think twice about.

                                       Madison at 5 Years of Age

Its just one of the many daily things that can get kids on the spectrum unstuck fairly easily, well our kid I should say. Everyone is different!! I seem to be finding that a lot of parents with children on the Autism Spectrum run in to trouble when it comes to teeth. Everyone has at least one horror story to share about the dentist. It’s comforting to know we are not the only family though.

We had been to dentists in the past and always I had gotten the wrap over the knuckles and a not so nice ear bashing as I wasn’t doing it right. I was destroying my child’s teeth and so on. Those kinds of remarks are a bit hard to let go when they make you feel like a terrible parent. Some people certainly have no clue or empathy as to what it is like living with Autism or even how hard it is just to get to the bloody dentist surgery in the first place. Best thing I ever did was go through the school dental system!!

So the time finally arrived after many appointments and the pre-op. A fair bit of planning usually goes into these kinds of events, picture cards, role playing etc. We were so fortunate and grateful that Madisons teacher last year, Miss Vanessa, had helped us prep Madison for all the dental visits leading up to the big hospital day.

Madison was amazing. She had to fast from midnight and be there by 7.00am, about a 35 min drive from our place. So it was a very early start for the girl. Then we waited in the waiting room for an hour till we got to go through to the next waiting room and get ready. Waiting is not one of Madison’s strong points! I forgot to mention I had a big bag of diversion equipment, little dvd player, plenty of movies, Ds game & games, little figurines toys that she likes, drawing books and pens, story books and the list goes on…

Then it was on.

We played dress ups, put on cool hats and doctor outfits and the nurse put some soft squishy gel on the tops of her hands which she really loved to squish, pre-anaesthetic. We had talked again about the mask going over her face and lying down on the special bed.


The nurse had mentioned how the gas smells like bubble gum, first big mistake. Madison hates bubble gum and people blowing bubbles, it’s way too unpredictable. Some how we managed to divert a disaster when the nurse changed her mind and now it was strawberries and of course Madison said “can I have some strawberries, I love strawberries”.

We had two nurses to come and assist me with getting Madison to the theatre. They were great, letting her do the hand wavy thing in front of all the doors to open them. All the while Madison carried her dvd player and was wearing her head phones.

Right, so about now my heart is starting to race a lot faster, I’m feeling anxious and I’m thinking to myself this is going to be so crap all with my happy face on. Madison was about to open the doors to the theatre room when she could see through the windows of the doors on her tipee toes, a lot of people all playing dress ups. I’m not sure but there would have been 8 or 9 (it’s a teaching hospital) plus us, hearts flipping out now but the voice in my head is saying stay calm and stay on task.


The kid is too funny, we finally get in the room after some prompting and she says “I’m here doctors” still holding the little t.v like she is the star of the show, and she was!! She still had her long socks on and sneakers and the staff are all giving her space and time to take it all in.

She checked out the bed and it was nice and toasty and warm but they had the wrong type of pillow, it was a weird gel looking thing they covered up so Madison made them get her a real pillow. Once the real pillow arrived she was happy with that and one of the nurses was holding her little tv up so she could see it as we are trying to get her onto the bed. Wait! The shoes and socks, had to get those off.

Now here is where it went a little bit pear shaped.

As Madison is just about to put her head down everyone moved in very close and fast, too fast. The mask happened at the same time. It didn’t matter anymore about the strawberries, stuff the strawberries, the anaesthetist had grabbed her head and was trying to hold the mask down on her face rather firmly, but she wasn’t having a bar of it.

My little girl put on the biggest fight ever, legs kicking, arms punching everywhere and anyone in the way. With all of them and me trying to hold her down we struggled to keep her still. I’m saying “mummies here its ok” over and over, not to sure what my voice sounded like. There was a nurse behind me saying, it’s ok, she won’t remember any of this and the more she screams the quicker the anaesthetic will work. It wasn’t quick and it seemed like for ever, one nurse coped a kick to the stomach and I heard someone say do you need to leave. I’m thinking, Oh Shit Shit Shit!

It was the hardest thing to watch, Madison was looking in to my eyes terrified, screaming mummy mummy and I was letting this happen to her. I had that awful feeling of dread wash over me. Then she was knocked out and so very quiet. It must have only been a minute and a half to two minute but that felt like a life time.

The nurse who got kicked came over and said in a gentle voice you can give her a kiss, so I did and I told Madison how brave she was. I must have looked a little fragile at that point everyone was giving me nice smiles and nods. The nurse walked me out and I apologised for the kick, she was ok about it and said not to worry.

Ad was in the waiting room and as I walked to him carrying the little tv, long sock and sneakers, he could tell it hadn’t gone all marshmallows and lollypops. Then the waiting begins. Way to much time to think. Again it felt like forever.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, arrgghh!!

Finally the dental surgeon came out and said she was starting to wake. So Ad and I were in there like a flash. I caught a bit of what she was telling me, 3 teeth out, 2 were all ready wobbly and they had put injections into her gums to numb the site, blah blah blah. Just wanted to see her!

My baby was off her face and freaking out, still fighting off the bad guys when we got to her. The nurse was great and grabbed a big arm chair for us. Adam lifted her up and put her in my lap so I could snuggle her up. Poor little darling had blood all over her face and kept making sure we where there in between dozing.

When she woke it must have felt like the bottom part of her jaw wasn’t attached because she kept checking it to make sure it was there. Telling us free teeth out, she couldn’t say three because of her mouth and her face was all droopy. We had to try and explain that the feeling will go away. Don’t think she believed us, I’m sure it would have been sensory hell!!

An hour later we were walking out the door and going home. I was nervous going so soon but by the next day she was almost herself again. She is one tough cookie though; the kid won’t take any pain relief.

My greatest fear was that she would remember everything and be one of those patients who can be knocked out but can still hear and feel things. My grandfather was like that.

She did remember! Bother it! She talks about the talking while she was dreaming at the hospital and makes drilling sounds while point at her mouth. What do I do? This freaks me out so much. All I can do is smother her in reassurance that it’s all finished now and mummy and daddy love her so much and we are really really proud of our beautiful brave girl.

You know the tooth fairy came, 3 teeth that’s a lot a loot! We had an abundance of prizes to make the recovery just that tiny bit easier for Miss Madison as well as having the week off school. Madison loves it when there is no school. So there was a happy ending and we got through it.

                                          Look at my teeth out!

The best thing though is that she is much happier and feeling a lot better in herself.

Till next time



P.s  She is getting really really good at brushing now!!








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