Tuesday, 10 June 2014

My Son Jack, AKA, the Charmer

Everywhere we go....well almost everywhere anyway, Jack makes friends.  The only other person I know like this is....my husband.  When we were dating we would be doing something mundane like walking through Macy's, and some random person would just come up and start a conversation with him.  Now that we are married of course, he doesn't come to Macy's anymore (I guess he was trying to reel me in, hahaha) so it's not an issue.  It still happens when we go out though, he is easy to talk to, and people like him.

Anyway, like father like son.  Today was Jack's same day surgery for his dental issues, and Jack now has a fan club at AAMC.  It started right when we went to check in, the chairs in the lobby had dragonflies embroidered on them.  Seriously??  Jack's current favorite insect! So he schooled the intake coordinator on dragonflies- and also informed her that he was a common green darner, I am sure she walked away with quite a few fun new facts.  When they took us back to preop his first tactic was to fake being asleep and snoring (while simultaneously saying- see I don't need the mask, I am already asleep).  I was sitting there thinking, trust me buddy, you want the mask.  The tech couldn't stop laughing at him, and said to me, I haven't seen a kid this cute in a loooong time.  When his nurse came in to check him out, he casually started a conversation with her..."hey, have you ever been to the the Sonoran desert??"  Because isn't that how all 7 year olds speak?  And the good news- she had!  Jack had an involved discussion with her about the different animals- rattlesnakes, gila monsters (which he corrected her pronunciation of), you know, the usual.  Dr K, his dentist tried to join in the conversation, but really her knowledge was quite limited- I like to think she has been busy focusing on teeth.

The anesthesiologist also loved Mr. Jack, although, the two of them had to have a long discussion about what she would be doing, and he tried to convince her also that he didn't need "the mask".  Things moved along nicely, he was the first case of the day, and before I knew it, I had my little OR suit on, and was walking back with Jack.  Jack refused an OR hat, as they are only for girl hair.  If you are a parent who is lucky enough to have never taken your little one to the OR, you may not know that they have the parents actually go into the operating room to help the child get situated and feel more comfortable.  Or that they have YOU hold the anesthesia mask on your child's face, and if they start to struggle, they take over and have you hold your child's arms down.  It is traumatic for all, but apparently, less traumatic than without mom.  My favorite is when they tell me Jack won't remember any of it.  I call bull____!  Because the first thing he said when I told him he had to go to the hospital was "I don't want the mask!"  Hmmm....if he doesn't remember, then, where did he come up with that?  Either way, he did ok, and I didn't cry, which is a big accomplishment.  

The procedure lasted over 3 hours.  The nurse came out and talked to me midway, because they had to do x-rays while he was out, and until they did that, they weren't positive what needed to be done.  For those of you with neurotypical kiddos who you "think" have trouble with the dentist- oh no, I promise you, we are in a different stratosphere!  No awake x-rays, fillings, anything.  He is too sensitive- and he is the easy one.  Nate is much much worse with oral stuff.  When she told me exactly what was going on, I will admit it, I did cry.  They had to extract 4 teeth.  Now one of the teeth is a little one to the right of his two front teeth- all I can say about that one is that it had literal lines in it when it came in- it is right in the front, and has always been brushed well, even when his oral guarding has been bad, this has nothing to do with oral care whatsoever, and frankly I am surprised it lasted this long.  But the other 3....well this made me really REALLY angry.  They were all teeth that were filled when he went to the OR last time, at age 4.  They were filled (with mercury anagrams- and yes they knew he had autism) and then had crowns put on them, thus "protecting" them from further decay, right?  Apparently not.  They all three had abscesses under the crowns.  There are two possible reasons for this- either bacteria was left in the tooth when the crown was placed or the crown was not sealed properly or the seal somehow broke.  I have my own theories- I think it was done in a rush and not as thoroughly as it should have been.  This is based on the fact that in about 2.5 years, one of the crowns had already fallen off of a tooth on it's own (they stuck it back on), and another tooth with a crown spontaneously fell out way early about 2 weeks ago.  Neither of these things should have ever happened.  I can't go back and change what was done, all we can do is move forward- they sealed all of Jack's remaining baby teeth and all of his new permanent teeth, did a fluoride treatment, and took care of the affected teeth, as well as gave him IV antibiotics.  He had some trouble with bleeding where the extractions were done, likely due to the infection, and ended up with some serious stitches.  This prolonged his recovery room time of course, but better he have the issue there than after I brought him home.  

So even after all of that, when they brought me back to the recovery room, they were already all in love with him (a completely new team mind you).  The nurse said he just told them exactly what he needed- turn that light off, make that noise stop, etc etc.  She said to ME "you just don't know how hard it is when they can't communicate with you!".  Smile, nod, smile, nod.  She didn't know anything about Nate, and hey, she is right, it is hard.  I was struck by how grown up Jack was acting in many ways, answering questions appropriately about how he was feeling (ie pain rating), telling us that he felt nauseated and needed medicine....he never would have done this the last time we were there.  Jack was also really drowsy, which is so different than the other two times he has had to be put under.  Both of those times, he woke up violently and didn't sleep a wink for nearly 24 hours after (this is likely because they jinxed me by telling me he would probably nap all day).  Today was more of a typical response- he was cute, and saying some kind of nonsensical stuff.  He insisted on looking in the mirror to see what was going on in his mouth, and calls his stitches "stitchies".  The recovery room was just one big open room, and no curtains were pulled since he was the first case for the day.  At one point he looked at me, serious as can be and said "mom, am I dead?".  The nurses almost fell over from laughing so hard.  Oh my sweet boy!  But I know what he was talking about- waking up from anesthesia is such a weird feeling, losing time is so disconcerting, I get it.  But the way he expresses himself.....just love him.


  1. I can relate somewhat. My son is also autistic. He is non-verbal so unfortunately not much communication there. He has had to have anesthesia three times now. First was for a set of tubes, he did okay but was very cranky when waking up. I was told that was normal. Second time was for an MRI which he was cranky again and had a very difficult time waking up. His stats also fell very low. This last time he had it to get tonsils and adenoids removed. He stopped breathing and had to bag him. His o2 levels stayed pretty low so he had to have oxygen blowing on his face for a good while. We did stay almost two nights in the hospital. I only went back with him once. Then they masked him themselves. I never touched him then they left with him to do the procedures. How is your sons recovery?

  2. Going to the dentist is extremely difficult, but a great deal depends on the dentist and the method used.
    A US dentist who specializes in kids with autism created a method to teach kids to be able to have dental work without full anesthetic. There is a training DVD produced by a charity.


    My son is aged 10 and similar to your younger son. After extensive dental work under anesthetic at age 5, we were about to head back more of the same, having failed at numerous other dentists. But I found a great lady dentist who has her own method, just like in the film above. It was non-stop fun, as soon as he entered the room; she even was blowing up surgical gloves, like balloons. It took several visits, but the result was amazing, a compliant boy with classic autism and all the sensory issues that go with it.

    She took it as a personal challenge that she could do the work, without general anesthetic.

  3. My oldest who is 11 is HORRIFIC to take to the dentist (he isn't diagnosed but there is no doubt in my mind he has Asperger's). Even now, we have to put him under and wrestle with him prior... Awful. Sophie was put under and I did cry. Something about their body going limp like that.
    Jack and my Jake would get along well. Now at 11 his interests are dr.who and deep space. With some military history mixed in. Something to look forward to ;)