Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When The Shoe Comes Off, You Know He Means Business

My son has some challenges in the sensory department. As he grows, some of these, like noise tolerance have improved, but one that remains in full force is his intolerance for unpleasant touch sensations. This would include things like, say, going to the dentist. As a three year old, Will became a legend at the ENT for his complete and terrible beat down he put on the recovery room after having his tonsils out. To be fair, I gave them warning that he was going to wake up fast, and he was going to also be temporarily possessed by a demon, but I don't think they took me seriously. Big mistake.

As I was sitting in the waiting room, the door flies open and a very excited staff member calls out, "Mrs. Connelly! Can you please come back?!" I hurried through the door and was momentarily stopped in my tracks by the scene. Will had ripped out his IV, was fighting the nurse tooth and nail, screaming bloody murder and had also kicked one of his shoes across the room. Inconsolable is a nice way of putting it. In need of an exorcism is probably more accurate. He was given some pain medicine in his nose (OUCH) and settled down a little bit once he cursed everyone out in toddler language.

A few minutes later, the nurse needed to use suction in his mouth so that he didn't have to swallow or spit saliva with his raw now tonsil-less throat. "Open wide and let's use Mr. Thirsty", she says, placing the suction in his mouth. "HOOOOWWWWLLLL!!! RAAAWWWWERRRRRRR!!!!!!! I HATE MR THIRSTY!!!" he shrieks at her in reply and then proceeds to bite the tube so hard it breaks. Next, the other shoe flies across the room and it is at that moment that I realize that the shoe is his tell. A tell is a poker term - it means a clue, based on behavior or demeanor. Will apparently likes to take off his shoes before he goes to the mattresses.

Yesterday, Will had to have a tooth extracted. He has had multiple procedures because he doesn't have the best teeth in the world so even though his dentist is one of my best friends who babies him shamelessly and happens to be a well regarded and experienced pediatric specialist, he still goes buck wild. There was screaming, crying, telling everyone off, flailing, grabbing and so forth. The worst part about this is that he has the metabolism of an ox, so sedation meds are somewhat negligible. We have tried all kinds of combinations of things to help him be comfortable and relaxed, but to not much avail. He just goes nuts. And just like at the ENT, I knew things were about get crazy when, yep, you guessed it - the shoes came off.

It's frustrating and upsetting because it is so hard to know what he can or cannot help. At one point yesterday, I did pop him on the hand because he was starting to swat at my friend and her assistant, and I was absolutely not going to tolerate that. I feel so bad for him, but then I'm really aggravated too. I think to myself, "you are too old to be acting like this!" but then he softly says things like "I hated today. It was terrible." while I'm tucking him into bed last night and my heart breaks for him. All I could do is tell him that I hated it too, that I was so sorry he was that upset and that I hoped he understood that even though it was really unpleasant, we were doing what we had to in order to help him have a healthy mouth.
I don't know if anyone else who might read this has a child with similar issues, but if so, I'd love to hear from you. I hate how we both feel after one of these ordeals, and I'm worried he is not going to be manageable for a whole lot longer. I mean, the odds of me being able to wrangle a teen aged boy who is flailing at the dentist is pretty unlikely. It would be great to get some suggestions for medical/dental procedures if anyone has any. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep an eye on those shoes and hope for the best.

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Alison from Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Scottish Folk Music said...

I don't have a specific suggestion, but I do have a thought. In some people, kids especially, medications that are supposed to be sedating can cause a paradoxical reaction. Like, benadryl makes most people sleepy, but in some children it can make them hyper. Do you think it's possible that whatever meds you give him (or in the case of his surgery, the anesthetic drugs) might actually be making things worse? Just a thought.

Robin Hillyer Miles said...

Bless your heart. I don't have a child with those issues but I can totally understand what you are worried about, to a point. It's difficult to watch your child experience challenges that are beyond your control. My child is now ten and he's got like zero body fat, he's all muscle. There are times when he is playing with me that I get a little scared because he's so strong. I'm only 5'2" and weigh 108 pounds and he's six inches shorter than me and 25 pounds less but he can take me down. We are having talks about when you can use physical force and when you need to stand down. Pretty soon there will be no more wrestling with mom at all. :)
I wish you luck.

bereccah5 said...

It really is incredible how strong they are. And it's just awful to see him be so upset and freaking out like that. BUT I happen to be over 5'8" and about 150, so at the very worst, I can sit on him. For now. Gotta laugh at yourself, right? Thanks so much for stopping by!