So last week was a bit of a feel good story involving my two children.
Today, not so much. You see, last Friday I really did have to take both kids to the dentist’s office for their annual cleaning and exam.
We scheduled the session for a Friday on Fall Break so both Mom and I could attend. Due to COVID restrictions, the dentist’s office told us prior to coming that only one parent would be allowed in the exam area with the kids.
“Fuck that,” my wife said in a far more polite manner, “our daughter is special needs.” When my wife gets that kind of attitude about our kids, a certain special “mama bear” vibe, you don’t mess with her. It’s like provoking a truck full of diesel fuel with a flamethrower.
The appointment was set at 10 am, which gave everyone enough time to sleep in, brush their collective teeth, and look like we weren’t a family on Fall Break. Which meant yours truly had to put on actual clothes. No hoodies, sweats, or pro wresting T-shirts allowed. I had to look like an actual adult, which was rather stupid.
Last time the kids had a cleaning at this dentist they had to wait in the car with Mom until we were ushered into their “limited seating, socially distanced waiting room.” If you have kids, you know the whole idea of social distancing is pointless with them. They don’t understand personal space of any kind, and if determined enough, they’ll make seating of their own whether you paper over it or not.
This time we were lucky. No waiting in the car. The kids came in, and everyone had to submit to the new ritual of taking temperatures and keeping masks on for the dirty adults in the building.
As a helpful aside, if you’re being subjected to those “no-contact” thermometers for temperature checks, make sure you haven’t been running your car’s heater for very long before the check. It should be common knowledge by now that fucks with the thermometer’s readings, but it’s apparently not.
Which is why the “wrist” check on me failed and I was placed in an isolated area while my temperature was re-checked rectally, a PCR test administered, and I was interrogated over my medical history.
That last paragraph might have been me stretching the truth a bit for comedic exaggeration. You, the reader, get to decide.
(Mental note: I should look into whether the line “We Satire. You decide.” would piss off the folks at Fox News or if I can steal that gimmick for some of these posts.)
After all the hoopla around temperature checks and signing in was finished, we got to sit with the kids for a few minutes and watch “ZooTopia” on the waiting room TV. If you’ve never seen the film, it’s a cute animated adventure about a bunny becoming a cop in the big city, solving crimes with the help of a fox that lives on the gray side of the law.
Yeah, it’s a bit more adult than you’d expect for a kid’s film, but Shakira was good in it. But I digress.
On being called back to the exam area, we were met with a meek “You shall not pass” from one dental tech, attempting in a last ditch effort to enforce their COVID restrictions.
My wife gave her the thousand yard stare, said “Our daughter is special needs. We’re both going back.”
Instantly we were admitted without another word. I told you my wife doesn’t fuck around when it comes to her Mama Bear side.
The exam area at the kids’ dentist is a large open air room with tables in two rows for dental techs to sit at. Each table has a TV above it so the kid on the table can theoretically watch TV while their teeth are cleaned.
In practice, all the noise completely upset and distracted my daughter to where she refused to let the poor dental technician touch her mouth. Between asking for a spare glove to hold, a balloon, and turning off the exam light, nothing was getting done with her.
Do you know how to get an autistic eight-year-old girl to comply at a dentist’s office? If you do, leave a note in the comments, because I’m stumped right now.
As for the boy child, he only fared marginally better. Using his sister’s behavior as a guide on how to act, I had to hold his head while he sat in a seated position grimacing at every poke and prod the dental technician made in his mouth. Which wasn’t much at all, but his continued insistence on flinching and acting like he was half his age didn’t help.
Which culminated in the technician’s attempt to “paint” his teeth with a fluoride swab causing him to cry for five minutes straight.
Fortunately, my son walked away with only minor plaque near the gum line. Because the dentist didn’t want to accidentally cut him with a scraping tool, we nixed removing the plaque that day in hopes he’d do much better later down the road.
My daughter didn’t fare so well. Two cavities we know of. The dentist recommended she get anesthesia at Children’s Hospital to deal with the cavities, because you can’t get an autistic child to hold still for that kind of thing.
In short, we know where our tax refund is going now, and it’s not pretty.
Coming home was enough of an ordeal where my daughter fell asleep on the couch in the study about two hours after bringing her home. She slept through the night from the sheer “stress” the dentist’s office brought on her.
As for her mother and I, we’re still coping with the stress and probably will be until next April.
Here’s to the doctors and dentists for children all over the world: Saving kids’ lives and promoting good health on Fridays. Until noon, then they have to close because reasons, I guess.
That’s all for this week, folks! Happy Friday, and remember come scotch-o-clock: no matter how bad your week’s been, you’re not looking at selling a kidney for your kid’s dental bill!
We’ll see you next week!