Upon earning his final token to get a reward he had been working for, one with high value, he got what I like to call "flappy happy". He jumped out of his seat and started bouncing up and down like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. This is kind of a common thing to see with folks with autism. When they feel an emotion, they feel it right now to their toes. Sometimes it's a sign to me that the Kiddo is starting to get a bit overstimulated by a situation but more often than not it's just him expressing how he feels and it's usually when he feels AWESOME!!!
However, what was not awesome is what happened next. In his flaps and jumps he tripped over an area rug in the room and his face slammed into a locker in the classroom. BOOM! Top teeth cracked. As horrible as that was, Kiddo was less concerned about his physical well being and more concerned about missing the upcoming "water day" event that was happening at school that day. Because that's just how his autistic mind works. He was patched up by the school nurse and given the clearance to go. They called me at home to tell me what happened and honest to God I wanted to cry. Mostly because he was hurt but I will be selfish but real here. Dental work and the Kiddo? It's a fecking hot mess. Just awful. Absolutely awful.
You see, he's done this move once before. While laying on his back in bed he dropped the iPad and it's very heavy case on his face and chipped one of his front teeth. So this was not our first rodeo with major dental stuff. In fact, it only happened about a year and some change ago. So not only did he just knock out ALL the dental work from last time, he cracked another one too to boot! Skillz! My Kiddo has 'em!
And while I was on the phone arranging for an emergency appointment to get him seen by his dentist group I was really feeling sorry for myself. In order to fix this the last time, we had to do sedated dentistry and that took, no lie, FOUR MONTHS to set up. It is a giant pain in the ass. One look at my Kiddo and his new and improved hockey goalie smile he was sporting made me want to just crawl under a rock and hide. (If you want to read about that adventure, you can check it out here. "Talk is Cheap"
I kind of figured that was what would have to happen again but there was no way on earth this Kiddo of mine could live like this for a couple of months. It was bad. Like really bad. I got the confirmation of this when the dentist called his partner in to consult on what to do with him. When they have to call for backup, you know it ain't good. Kiddo managed to crack them both well enough that they HAD to do something for him today. No complaints from me but how the HELL were they going to do in the office? They're both looking at me like "Well Mom, you know him best. Think he'd let us get in there if we used some Nitrous Oxide aka Laughing Gas?"
Ummmm, your guess is as good as mine? I really had no idea. That was never offered to us as an option before. It was "Your kid cannot do a basic cleaning without four adults holding him down. Sedation. ALL OF IT." At this point though he is in a crap ton of pain that he's actually admitting to,(He's got a crazy high tolerance for pain. He once dropped a bowling ball on his foot and kept bowling.) his jagged teeth are slicing up his lips and tongue repeatedly, and I'll admit it, it was kind of shocking/icky to look at this busted looking smile. So we had to at least try.
This is when this dental group really rocked. Though they typically close early on Fridays in the summer, they stayed open late for the Kiddo. This is the power of the Kiddo. He can frequently charm folks into doing stuff like this. Or maybe they just felt really bad for us. I'm not sure but I'm just glad they did. I just had to keep him entertained for the next three hours, we could come back when they were closed and they would attempt it. We had nothing to lose. So I juggled because what else could I do at this point? It gave me time to try and explain what was about to happen to him. Oh and I got the EXTRA fun of not letting him eat for the next couple hours because of the work they were about to do.
Kiddo was pretty anxious before they started but there was something about the situation where he actually seemed to understand that this was a thing that they had to do. He got in the chair and allowed the dentist to put the Laughing Gas mask on him and HOLY COW, now I know what my Kiddo would look like if he was stoned. If there was any silver lining in this, it was the entertainment of this Kiddo on Laughing Gas. He could not stop giggling and singing the whole entire time. Including the time she had to take the big needle of Novocaine which made me feel woozy just looking at her do it. I thought this would be the moment he would lose his collective shit. Nope, just went along with it. I WAS IN SHOCK!
This is when the dentist said "Okay, this is what we're gonna do." and she rattled off a very basic check list for him about what work was going to be done so he could "check it off". I loved her for that. She kept the X-ray bib on him to act as a weighted blanket. I gave him one of his favorite fidgets to hold and we just went for it.
Now it wasn't perfect. He had moments here and there of trying to grab her hand but I was able to take his hand and hold it down without much of a fuss on his part. His aim was pretty punch drunk so he really couldn't grab her. We did LOTS of singing and at one point three grown women were serenading the Kiddo the best of Thomas the Tank Engine songs. There was a point towards the end where I almost started crying because I couldn't believe that we were actually almost done and that he had done it without needing full sedation. I was so stinking proud of him. I was practically beaming. I couldn't wait to tell all of you Fries because I knew you were going to get why this was such a huge deal.
Then we were done. I don't know how on earth we pulled it off but we did. From two cracked teeth to two brand new perfectly formed ones. I could tell even Kiddo was pretty damn proud of himself. Not gonna lie, I was also beyond grateful in my wallet as doing it without sedation was so much cheaper.
It was only later at night when I started feeling very guilty that I had just spent the past twenty four hours blaming autism. I started thinking how it was the flapping from being overstimulated part of autism that caused him to get hurt in the first place. It was the sensory issues from autism that made getting even a simple teeth cleaning an ordeal. I spent hours through all of this being pissed off that a behavior through autism had hurt him and it was autism again that would make treating the injury even more difficult. I blamed the communication issues that come with it because I was convinced he wouldn't understand what needed to be done and he wouldn't really be able to tell us what was scary to him.
Sometimes I blame autism and then I blame myself for placing blame on a part of my son that he has no control or say about. I might as well place the blame on his left elbow or the freckles on his nose. Autism is just part of the package. You would think I'd be used to this stuff by now. Maybe I should have asked for a hit of that Laughing Gas. ;-)
Kiddo celebrated being a brave boy in a #TeamQuirky way. Tackling dental drama and getting my stairs cleaned? Is this Heaven? I think it is!