This morning I got out of the shower and heard Jonah stirring in his room (newly adorned with blood-free blue-striped bedding and clear Plexiglas panels screwed into the frames over all the windows). Then, inexplicably, he called: Mississippi!
I laughed softly and shook my head. Jonah is a word-generator, emitting jabberwocky, fun-filled phrases, and other random silly stuff. Ten minutes ago he snuggled into Andy on the couch, patted his chest, and said: one boobie.
Yup. One boobie. Probably in Mississippi.
Andy spent the day with Jonah, at the hospital again – this time a scheduled visit. Jonah needed one tooth pulled, a cleaning, and some cavities filled; when he was under general anesthesia, the dental surgeon went to town. One might think this kind of thing could be accomplished with a visit to our local kid-friendly dentist, but that didn’t work out so well last time, even though they’d prescribed him medicine to make him groggy (which didn’t work at all). If anything it keyed him up even more – like that small percentage of children who, instead of becoming sleepy on Benadryl, get all ape shit hyper.
They’d had to papoose him in this horrible straight-jacket device; I held his head, Andy held his feet, and Jonah just screamed and screamed, tears in a constant course down his bright red face of fear, the dentist doing the best she could as he fought her every second – all for a teeth cleaning. We said fuck this. Never again.
So today they knocked him out for all the dental fun. He’s a little swollen, the poor boo, and tired – and he puked in the car on the way home from the hospital. But at least he wasn’t (as) traumatized as that day he unwittingly starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
I don’t know how often we’re going to be able to bring ourselves to go through this so he can have good teeth. We brush his teeth twice or three times a day and try to teach him how to do it himself, brushing right along with him, facing him, aping and exaggerating all the motions, singing this is the way we brush our teeth, brush our teeth, brush our teeth…but he’s just not on board with the whole oral hygiene program, no matter how much we attempt to turn it into musical theatre. Despite our best efforts, he’s not really getting super-clean teeth with our lame brushings.
Healthy teeth I care about; perfect, not so much. But no wonder a lot of disabled and mentally ill folk have bad teeth.
It’s not worth a straight smile if they’ve scared all the smiles out of you.