I never knew not having a feeding tube had a down side until we took Jackson to the dentist. Before we went I thought, “He’s only 3 1/2 years old. How bad can it be?” Well, five cavities are bad.
The Children’s Hospital dentist has been the hardest specialist for us to get in to see. I called in mid-January to make an appointment and got this response: Our April calendar opens on February 1. You need to call back on February 1. When you call, you will have a 20-30 minute wait time, but don’t hang up, because if you don’t make an appointment on February 1, the April calendar will fill up and then you will have to call back on March 1 to get an appointment for May.
So, like the helicopter parent I am, I called back on February 1 at 8:05 am, waited for 20ish minutes, and scheduled the first available appointment for April.
The Children’s Hospital dentist was intimidating. The waiting room was packed. When we were called back, we walked down a long hallway, past a bunch of exam rooms with glass doors. Most everyone had on disposable nose and mouth masks and there were lots of creepy dentist tool noises.
As the dental assistant and the doctor gave us the 411 about pediatric special needs dentistry we were repeatedly informed that we “ask really good questions.” The exam took a whole 45 seconds and then the bad news…Jackson has five cavities! Five cavities!
Pediasure is Jackson’s primary diet and contains a lot of sugar, as we are now very much aware. We were not diligent about brushing Jackson’s teeth after he ate because we didn’t want to make him throw up. He has a sensitive gag reflex, which can be set off by teeth brushing. However, after getting the news, we now brush his teeth four times a day, after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and his bedtime snack.
What’s the worst part about cavities? Jackson is special, which means they just can’t fill the cavities; they have to put him under general anesthesia, take x-rays, then fix the problems. We have bad memories of general anesthesia. The only time he’s ever been under was to get an MRI, which was how he got the diagnosis and before he was on any anti-seizure meds. About an hour after waking up, Jackson had a “Hollywood” type seizure. This was a horrible experience, especially because we had just been told that Jackson would never talk, walk, or live independently.
Let me give you more insight into being a special needs parent. When your child first gets diagnosed, you dread going to the doctor. There are so many specialist appointments to go to and everyone gives you bad news: “Your kid is different.” “Your kid needs (insert almost anything) [braces] [glasses] [to gain weight] [more medicine] [to see another doctor].” However, the doctors eventually get used to your family and your situation, you get used to the diagnosis, and the appointments become bearable. But it always sucks to get unexpected news. Case in point: your child has five cavities and he needs to be put under general anesthesia to fill them; we’ll get with neurology first to see if he can go under before we schedule the procedure.
We’ll get through this not because God never gives you more than you can handle but because we have no other choice. Okay, enough complaining. As you can see from the pictures below, we’ve been having a good time and we’re glad baseball season has started.