"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." - Helen Keller
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Surprise When I Least Expect It
Now that Ashley is soon to be 19 years old, I feel like I know her extremely well. I can read almost her every mood, interpret every raise of an eyebrow, and know full well what it means when she purses her lips together in an almost straight line. But none of that means that she doesn't still surprise me from time to time.
During the Winter Break, both she and Ronnie had appointments to visit the dentist. This was a new dentist for the both of them, but it is the doctor that both Chip and I have seen for over 20 years.
Ashley had been seeing the dentist at our local Children's Hospital, but the visits never went well. Everyone working there, including the dentist herself, talked in baby talk to every patient regardless of the patient's age. And, it was a large practice, with many, many patients, most of whom had special needs, and most of whom decidely did not want to be visiting the dentist. The overstimulation factor was off the charts.
Ronnie had been seeing a different dentist, an older gentleman with a smaller practice. Everything about the practice and dental visits felt 'old' to me. And while that fact concerned me, what bothered me the most is that the dentist never understood/cared/accommodated Ronnie's deafness. Even when asked to provide an interpreter, he refused. And, when his scheduler called the house one day to remind Ronnie of his next appointment, Chip answered the phone and told the scheduler that Ronnie could not talk on the phone because he was Deaf. But what the scheduler heard was 'DEAD'. Ronnie's file at the office was marked as 'deceased', and it wasn't until I called trying to schedule an appointment did we figure all that out.
So I decided to try both Ashley and Ronnie at my dentist. My dentist does not accept Medicaid insurance, but fortunately both of them are also covered on my private insurance.
I made the appointments, explained to the dentist that although Ronnie would probably do just fine, Ashley might have a difficult time (she always has at the dentist). But the dentist assured me he was up for the challege, and I anxiously awaited what I figured would be a challenging visit.
We arrived the afternoon of New Year's Eve. I took Ashley back first, and as I suspected, she refused to get out of her wheelchair and into the dentist's chair. But the dentist said, "no problem, I can work on her in her chair." At first, Ashley was a little skeptical, but as I hugged her (held her arms in place so she wouldn't hit anyone), and whispered in her ear, she actually opened her mouth. And she let the dentist clean her teeth! And she let him stick the little mirror thing in her mouth to check things out! And she learned how to shut her mouth on the little water spraying / suction thing!
I was shocked!!
The dentist said her teeth were in pretty good shape, but that she had a little tartar on the back left molars. He suggested a referral to an oral surgeon who does accept Medicaid and who routinely anesthesizes patients who need a little extra help, and who could scrape the tartar off.
The visit with the dentist was THE BEST EVER! Some of it may be due to the dentist's gentle nature or to the quiet of his small office or to the fact that Ashley is maturing or maybe a little of all that. But it worked. I was pleasantly surprised and very, very grateful for yet another person who 'gets it'!!!