Friday, September 28, 2007

They don't get it . . .

Today I was reading one of my first reads of everyday, Thoughts Preserved, and I Kari's newest post about the trip to the dentist office yesterday. She has 2 children with FAS and one particularly is very much like Dustin at her age. The dentist wanted to count her teeth and instead of letting them count them all, Anna finally had had enough after counting 17 of 20 teeth. To the dentist that wasn't successful and she didn't get her prize they were trying to bribe her with. Kari says this:

"So they put the toothbrush back in the drawer and told her that maybe next time she could get one and they took her bib off. No toothbrush, no prize. Now I'm supposed to reschedule her appointment so they can try again. I'm hoping she forgets what happened today because her previous dental appointments have been much better than this one.

What would have been the harm in giving a little girl with brain damage a new toothbrush for allowing them to look at 17 of her teeth? The more I think about it the madder I get."

I get mad also. That toothbrush probably cost that dentist 20 cents or less. It wasn't about the money it was a power trip. He didn't get what he wanted and thought it would be a good plan to "punish" the child with "no toothbrush today missy". How in the world is that okay?

This reminded me of an issue I had a couple weeks ago when Robert was in D.C. I took Dustin to have his weekly blood work done. We go to the same hospital, the same day of the week and about the same time of day. Robert and I used to share the burden, but we realized he is horrific when I go and pretty darn good when Robert goes. So it's Robert's job now. Well, I went in the morning before school which was my first problem. I didn't even think about it until I walked into the hospital that it would be different techs. But, I saw one tech who had done his work before so I decided to stay. I informed the check in nurse that we don't ever wait, due to his anxiety about the blood draw they always put us in front of the line. She rolled her eyes, but then did call him back right away.

The tech that we kinda knew called Dustin by name and I was pleased to see that she did remember him and his issues. We shut the door and I braced him against the seat. (Robert doesn't have to hold him at all, but I have to brace him.) He was talking loudly saying, "Wait a minute I have to get ready" when an unfamiliar tech walked into the room and began putting gloves on to hold him down. I politely said, "Ma'am my son is special needs and if you hold him we will never get the blood drawn. We do this weekly and we have a system." She shrugged me off, turned to Dustin and said, "Son you have to sit still; I will hold your arm" and grabbed his forearm. He shot out of the seat and began screaming. I forcefully said, "Ma'am, I apologize, but I need you to stop holding him you are going to make it worse. Please give him a chance." The other tech, was echoing my pleas and she was refusing to listen. Then "it" came. "Do you want a prize? You need to stop acting like this." To which I rebutted, "You're not listening to me. You need to step out of this room NOW. Please go."

Finally we got the blood drawn with a heck of a lot more difficulty that could've been avoided. The woman in charge of the lab came in and said "Dustin, you're here early! They didn't tell me you were here!" and totally subdued the situation. I apologized to her for irritating the tech (who by the way was talking rotten about me right in front of our room's door) and explained that she didn't even give me a chance to talk to her before brushing me off. She assured me that the tech was out of line and she would deal with it and explain that I was not simply being rude.

We walked out of the room and the "nasty tech" said, "I guess there's no prize for you today." Dustin wheels around and says to her "I don't get a prize. I come here every week and I save the prizes for other children who need them. You were mean."

Chalk one up to Dustin.


FAScinated said...

Anna's brother who also has Fetal Alcohol disorders gave his little sister his toothbrush after they were done with their dentist appointments that day. He and Dustin, who both would have had an excuse to act childish and like they have brain damage, responded more appropriately than some of the adults in these situations. Sad.

Hug Dustin for me. And you should get a prize for being such a great mom! ~Kari

Patty said...

I am sitting here with my mouth hanging open, wanting to comment but in too much shock to form a response.

I am sorry there is so much insensitivity, and so much self involvement in the world hurting the innocent. These two people are prime examples of someone with a self-serving attitude, unable to connect on a love level.

God bless you for standing up for Dustin, and I think I might be shopping around for a more compassionate dentist...Ya! If I wasn't so busy taking care of the two kids and fighting a variety of battles every day. Right? My heart goes out to both of your fantastic moms.

Sheri said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm not a great mom, just one trying to the best I can and get by dealing with this horrendous disorder.

Great to see you commenting again. How's the hand? Thanks for your encouragement, you always come through with something kind to say! :)

Carol said...

Hi Sheri,

I just read this. I read about people - especially in the medical field - treating others this way so often. It's sad that we can live long enough to get big bodies, but our psyche's don't necessarily grow big to match. I enjoyed how you handled the situation and stood up for your son. I also was impressed with Dustin's beautiful reply at the end.