Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Suction Machine Update & Dental Visit Tomorrow
The home healthcare agency came out today and replaced the suction machine. The one I had was defective. I did have it set up properly though so that was good. The new machine works great.
Prior to coming, I told Dear Son that they were coming out to fix his machine. I told him that when he was choking I could take the tube and go "bzzt" and get the saliva out for him. He smiled when I told him that. I have to try to create some excitement when we get new equipment so he'll let me use it on him.
After the tech left, I tried it out on Dear Son. He was a little startled by the noise however he did let me in his mouth enough to get out some saliva.
We'll see if he is as eager to let me in his mouth after I take him for his dental check up tomorrow. He seems to have a lot more gum overgrowth, along with extensive growth on the roof of his mouth since his hospitalization last November. He is not on any medication that should cause this, so we'll see what they say.
We see a dental group that is affiliated with a big city hospital. They take care of mostly Medicaid children and poor adults with multiple mental and physical disabilities. It took a while to find a dentist who could see a child like Dear Son but I found this group over ten years ago. I had tried three other dentists but none were able to care for Dear Son. It is amazing to go there. Every patient has significant impairments and that is the only type of patient the dentists see all day. Can you imagine that? It's quite impressive. They have dental students there as well since it's a dental school. What's great too is that it's right across the street from the hospital. This is important since if the patient ran into issues during a procedure, they could wheel him across the street for an emergency. Something to think about when you have a special needs patient.
The dental school is very well run however. They group their days by visit type so one day a week they do all cleanings, another day all fillings, etc. Some special needs patients have to wait several months to get a cavity filled because this is one of the few places that know how to take care of people with severe disabilities. The average dentist can't manage a patient like Dear Son even if they say they take children:) It's also tough because many of these patients don't have dental coverage or their families or caregivers never took them to a dentist. Unfortunately, dental health falls to the wayside for some families in light of the patient's more pressing issues.
We go for a visit tomorrow and then after that, they'll set up a teeth cleaning for Dear Son. To get a teeth cleaning, there is typically a six month waiting list and they won't see the patient until they have a preliminary appointment like we do tomorrow.
To clean Dear Son's teeth, they typically put him under a bit. It's very challenging because they clamp the mouth open and won't allow the patient to close their mouth until they are done. It's pretty uncomfortable and I don't know that he can do that anymore. The last time he was crying out while they did it and it was very hard on me to sit in the waiting room and listen to him cry. (They also typically tie the patients hands down and I don't allow that. After all, I wouldn't want it done for me and I don't allow people to do any procedure to a special needs child that they wouldn't do to a normal child.) When you or I go to the dentist for a cleaning, they don't clamp our mouth open. When we go, they'll take out the suction device and allow us to swallow or to reposition ourselves but for the special needs kids, they keep them clamped open since it's too hard to get them re-clamped again. I don't like that part really and find it enormously stressful. Dear Son's never had a cavity in eighteen years though. We had an appointment last year and had to cancel due to his hospitalizations.
Aside from the clamp, they do a great job cleaning the teeth. The anesthesiologist is pretty good too. I felt really confident when I met him since he wasn't fazed at all by the number of medications Dear Son was on. After all, most of their special needs patients are on a lot of meds. I was able to have his teeth cleaned previously and had sealants put on all his teeth.
Thank you for all of your comments on the suction post. I really appreciated your support.
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