For as long as I can remember Jimmy has hated having his teeth brushed. Like most children when they are young, but children with disabilities don't grow out of hating it from my understanding. It’s because I think they don’t understand the concept of it, your shoving this object in their mouth and scraping at their teeth with this weird tasting stuff they don’t know how to spit out. Well, that’s what I think it would be like for Jimmy.
Now admittedly I haven’t kept on top of this over the years as some nights it was the last thing I wanted to do with him because I would literally have to sit on top of him and hold his arms between my legs and try to get the brush in his mouth and then try to brush his teeth all while he is screaming and biting the toothbrush. There were some years and times where he allowed me to brush his teeth but that was few and far between and in the last few years it was getting harder. Mainly because I think it was hurting him so much.
This year I finally made the call and we got onto the Public Health Dentist.
Our first check-up with the dentist she could not even get close to being able to see inside his mouth, he clamed it shut and we didn’t want to hold him down and pry open his mouth. She gave me a soft mouth opener so when I was at home trying to brush his teeth it would hold his mouth open so I could get to the back teeth. She also said because we could not see or know exactly how bad they were we would have to get all the x-rays done at the time of the surgery. I also agreed to take out all teeth that could not be fixed.
Moving forward a months later now in August 2019 after months of fighting, screaming and sitting on Jimmy to brush his teeth we received a call about the surgery and I was told what I needed to do to prepare him. No food or drink for at least 12hours before, this was a concern because when Jimmy is hungry or thirsty he can get very upset and he doesn’t understand why he can’t have it so I said he might be very agitated if he has to wait all day without anything. Admissions were very understanding and Jimmy was booked in first thing early morning.
The day of the surgery!
I was pretty nervous and Jimmy was his happy cheerful self having no clue about what was to happen. He was chilling, singing and laughed a lot in the waiting room.
I can’t remember what time but we were about to head into surgery I was allowed to be with Jimmy until he fell asleep. As I stood there in my purple grown holding Jimmy’s hand and he was holding mine ever so tightly I watched him close his eyes and the nurse said to me he’s out. I felt his hand release mine and I looked at his face and he was asleep. At that moment I just started crying seeing my little Jimmy laying there so vulnerable and sound asleep. I asked the nurse is he ok and she said “yes he will be fine” and explained to me what the gas the does. Then I was escorted out of the room with a face full of tears.
An hour or so later I was called into recovery and when I walked in I could hear Jimmy’s cries and when I saw him my heart broke. He was sitting up moving back n forth yelling, crying, dry reaching with a lot of blood coming out of his mouth. They said that’s the normal with the amount of blood I was seeing. He also was trying to vomit and it was just the blood from him swallowing it. This lasted for what seemed like forever and finally they gave him a needle to calm him down and stop the dry reaching and vomiting. I felt so bad! You know after the dentist your mouth in numb well Jimmy didn’t understand that he was a mess pushing his tongue out trying to feel something, I think he thought he swallowing his tongue. He was grabbing me to help him but there was nothing I could do, except talk him through it. Tell him, “It’s ok mummy is here" I felt so helpless. It took nearly 2 hours in the first part of recovery before we were allowed to the 2nd part to get ready to go home. We spent another few hours there after Jimmy finally fell asleep. Then I had to wake him and make sure he could eat and drink before we were allowed to leave. At this point, all the medication had kicked in and Jimmy ate some yogurt and had a big drink and we were ready to go.
That night Jimmy did not want to let me go there were no smiles no giggles just a blank face. Quietest I’ve ever seen him. This lasted 2 days and by the 3rd day, I started to see my happy little man coming back. Then by the 4th day, I could go back to work and Jimmy was giggling and off to care. He had a great day lapping up the extra cuddles and relaxing. I cannot get over how quick his recovery was. Jimmy is a tough cookie!
13 extractions and 4 fillings. I felt a failure as a mum that I did not take enough care of Jimmy’s teeth. But the nurse reminded me of everything else I do for Jimmy and that In itself should show I do my best.
Fast forward to today. I still have to sit on Jimmy to brush his teeth and pry his mouth open, it’s become routine. Every night we do this before bed and then he has to crawl to his bed (this is to strengthen his arms, Jimmy never learnt to crawl as a baby and you need this for balance) stand up and get himself in. Jimmy knows when it’s brushing teeth time because he says “ow” and gets my finger and makes me touch his teeth. We have mastered this, Even to the point if he’s tired during the day and wants to go to bed he says “ow ow ow” and then does the sleep sign, thinking that if he wants a day sleep he has to brush his teeth then as well.
I love that even though it’s still a fight and he hates it, he is no longer is in pain and knows that it has to be done and his reward is bedtime which is one of his favourite past times.
I hear so much of people complaining about having to pay to park at the hospital but in reality, you have just paid nothing to have what you just received. That day after leaving the Sunshine Coast University Hospital walking back to my car, I was thinking to myself how thankful I was for the support that we received and care that was given to Jimmy and all I paid was $15 to be able to park my car!
And I am forever grateful for that ♥️
His smiles may have a few teeth missing but he still shines up my world and his own 🌏💫✨