Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dental Visit and the Hello Kitty Alarm Clock

Our Munchkin cat, Wiggles.

The dental appointment went well. The dentist was pleased at how well Dear Son's teeth looked. His teeth looked great under the light, plus there wasn't any plaque near the gums and his gums were healthy. One concern we had was his gum overgrowth and the thickness of the roof of his mouth. It seemed to have gotten progressively worse since he was hospitalized with the swine flu. Dear Son hasn't been on Dilantin in years, which frequently causes gum overgrowth. He said that the gum overgrowth and thickness is somewhat typical of the seizure kids he sees (The dental office is for special needs patients.) and I don't have to worry.

While the outside of his teeth looked great, I was conerned because I have not been able to clean the tops and bottoms of Dear Son's teeth (where they meet) very well since he's had the swine flu. Once he got out of the hospital at the end of November, he had these thick mucous plugs that he would cough up. His scopolamine patch dried up secretions so it essentially dried up the mucous and he'd cough it up or it would dry right on the roof of his mouth. I had to go in there with a toothbrush and dislodge it off the roof of his mouth. As a result, he got very defensive and didn't want me to go in his mouth for regular tooth brushing so I have only been able to brush the outsides of his teeth and on occasion, the inner parts even though I try every day. The dentist was able to check his teeth and Dear Son didn't have any cavities but did have some plaque on the molars however he wasn't concerned. He said it was minimal and because Dear Son feeds via a g tube, it's highly unlikely he would get a cavity.

We also talked about Dear Son's risks for sedation. In 2008, we had his teeth cleaned and sealants put on under sedation however with Dear Son's current health issues, sedation presents two huge risks: respiratory depression and aspiration. In light of this, the dentist was able to clean Dear Son's teeth while we talked. Dear Son was quiet and sat back in his wheelchair while we talked. The good news is that we don't have to come back for a year and the teeth cleaning is done!

The next day, he went to school for "Fun Friday." Last Friday he cried on the bus and the CNA asked him what was wrong then told him he was going to have a fun day and he stopped crying. He's never cried going to school. So this Friday, I had a substitute nurse for the bus. I explained what happened last week and told her if he cried, she may have to tell him he was going to have a great day and things should be fine. We had a good laugh over that.

Dear Son did have a great day. For the first time since October, he was able to sit in a rocking chair at school (they secure him in there and have someone next to him) and push his feet to rock himself. He had lost his ability to move his feet and legs after the swine flu. This was a very good thing. They also had a little action at school; some senior high school student pushed the fire alarm so they had a false alarm. Dear Son thought it was pretty fun though, when they had to run through the halls pushing him in his wheelchair. He likes a little chaos.

My Hello Kitty Alarm Clock

On a different note, our cat is confused with Dear Son's school schedule. Dear Son goes to school two half days a week, on Tuesday and on Friday. Our cat however remembers the old school schedule. Back in October, I'd get up early to start Dear Son's g tube feeding then go back to bed for a few hours until it was time to get him ready for school. The cat knew the time and if I overslept, he would wake me up by standing near my face and meowing. Well, once the cat gets wind that Dear Son is going to school, he then assumes that Dear Son will go to school every day so he now wakes me up the following day, thinking it's a school day. So every Wednesday and every Saturday he starts meowing very early to let me know that it's time to get up for school. He starts by meowing, then runs around a bit, then comes back and meows some more. Then if I don't say anything, he stands in front of my face and meows loudly. When I open my eyes, he's like two inches from my face. Today, he kept meowing even though I told him Dear Son did not have school today. Finally, he bit me and ran away. Honestly, it's just too funny. It's great that he can tell time, lol, but now I need to teach him the days of the week.

The Make a Wish Trip itinerary arrived today! Our trip is only a few weeks away!


June Cleaver said...

DM, you can actually train the cat to know which days to wake you and which days to leave you alone. First, you need to pick a signal for him to follow. it could be a scarf laid or tied on the head baord or a object left on the floor where he'd normall jump onto the bed or you could even get colored cards and affix them to the door, at his eye level, if he doesn't sleep in your room.

For this example, I'll use the colord cards...Get 2 cards (3X5 cards would work) and paint them, contrasting colors. Black and White would work well. When you have to get up early in the morning, before you go to bed, attach the "early" card to the door (designate one card "early" and one card "Sleep in"). When he jumops on the bed and starts to meow, you get up. That's the easy part.

On the days you get to sleep later, attach the "sleep in" card to the door where he will easily see it. When he comes in and starts his routine, ignore him. Don't pet him or shoo him away or give him ANY sort of attention. Negative attention is still attention and is a "reward".

it will take some time but soon he will associate the white card with getting a reaction and a black card with getting ignored.

I'm glad to hear DS had a good dentist visit and a great day at school. I check in just about every day to see how he's doing and what you all are up to.

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, June. I never thought about training him for that but I love that idea. I've trained him for other things and he's a fast learner.

Many years agoI trained him to use Dear Son's communication device. The communication device had two colored panels that you could program with two different commands. Actually, you were supposed to attach these pictures on the squares but I didn't do it for the cat, lol. On one side, I programmed my voice with a statement saying he wanted to play with a favorite cat toy of his and the other side with a toy he was so-so about. I just used positive reinforcement like you said and he quickly learned which side got him to play with his favorite toy. I was able to train him in 20 minutes or so. He loved it so much in fact that I couldn't leave it out because he wanted to play all the time. Even now, seven years later, if I bring out the communication device, he runs over to it and wants to play.

I also trained him with a cue for playing. He used to go over to my desk and find something to knock off and then when he got my attention, wanted to play. Well, I didn't want that so one night he came up and gave me a sniff on the face (kiss) so I picked up his toy and played with him right away and did that from then on out. He's been giving me a kiss ever since any time he wants to play.

I'll think of a stimulus for school days. Thank you so much for the suggestion!

Anne in NY said...

Hooray for "Fun Friday!" It must have done your heart good to know that he had a great day and could use his feet in a way he hadn't been able to do recently. All that, and a surprise fire drill, too! Thanks for the smiles.

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

That's great that your son was able to get to school for Fun Friday, and used his feet to rock himself! :) We had a dentist appointment this week as well, we only get yearly also. Evidently g-tube kids don't hardly ever get cavities. We are awaiting authorization to head to the OR for a cleaning and xrays. I'm glad you were able to get Dear Son's teeth cleaned right there in the office!

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