Thursday, February 25, 2021


One day, Calder pointed at his cheek and told me "painful". "Oh, is it toothache?" I asked. "Toothache," he repeated. I shone a torchlight into his mouth but couldn't see anything amiss. Hubby suggested wisdom tooth eruption, to wait for it to grow out. When Calder complained of pain again, I bought Medijel to apply on his gum. Then I decided to bring him to the School Dental Centre. I made the appointment via Healthhub app and indicated in the comment section that Calder is autistic and cannot express himself well. 

The day of appointment arrived yesterday. The dentist had obviously read my comments, because immediately he directed the questions at me. Then he told Calder he's going to lower the dentist chair. He took a look and revealed it's not a case of wisdom tooth but gums inflamed from trapped food. He proceeded to clean Calder's teeth. 

He meticulously explained to Calder the equipment that spurts water and the straw that's going to suck out the water. When the noisy straw started operating, Calder clamped his mouth shut. The dentist gently plied his lips open and coaxed him to open his mouth a bit more. "Very good, Calder... Yes good..." The dentist kept up a litany of encouragement. A few times, Calder's hand was ready to go up to his mouth (probably to push the equipment away). Instead of a vice grip, the dental assistant repeatedly returned it to his lap. I started stroking that hand as I prayed for Calder to cooperate. I could see that Calder's body was all tensed up - it must have been a frightening experience, but he kept his mouth open. 

At the end, the dentist assured me that he had done a thorough cleaning, to make sure Calder brushes his gums when he brushes his teeth. "Finish! Very good, Calder!" Calder hopped off from the dentist chair with a grin and I got him to say "thank you" to Doctor Nicholas.

A friend had offered to send us to the dentist, so we returned in his car. Later in the afternoon, Calder was putting out the exercise mat when he nearly tripped (he accidentally stepped on the mat as he tried moving it). And he exploded. The tripping did not justify the level of agitation, so I figured he's releasing the stress he experienced at the dentist. I brought him to the bedroom and sang him a few of his favourite songs on the guitar, before we proceeded with our daily workout. Then I got him to write journal for the day. When I looked back, I'm thankful for:

1. The dentist who was sensitive to Calder's fears, yet firm enough not to give up on the treatment.

2. The friend who insisted on driving us to the dentist, who waited at the car park for an hour to drive us back. (This friend is a retiree and I feel he's doing what he would for a grandson - what a blessing to have him in our life.)

3. Calder for his courageous trust in us as he remained seated on the dentist chair.

4. God for answering my prayers for a successful dental visit, for keeping Calder calm until we're safely home. 

Quoting the verses inscribed on my sister's wall:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1‭-‬2