Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Talk

Robert and I had “The Talk.” I was Mean Mommy for a few minutes and it so happened that our talk was the same day he saw the dentist. Might as well get all the icky stuff done in one day!

I’ll admit it. Robert hasn’t seen a dentist in several years.

(I’ll wait a minute for the outcry to die down. . .).

Sorry, okay? I didn’t take Robert to the dentist. It was on my list of things to do but it never got done. Now that Robert is in this new “system” he sees a doctor once a month for a check-up, has his eyes and hearing checked at least annually and will see a dentist quarterly. Thank goodness! Things I can cross off my list!

Robert had to go to the hospital to the see the dentist. This dentist uses anesthesia on his patients so he is able to do a very deep cleaning and also take care of any extractions at the same time. I found this to be a little bit of overkill but cleared it with Robert’s neurologist and gave my consent.

Because I hadn’t taken him to see the dentist (yes, the guilt is creeping in) I was expecting the worst at this appointment (seizure medications are known to rot a person’s teeth). I thought there was a very real possibility of extractions. A lot of them.

Because I had something at work that couldn’t be changed, the Sister House Manager brought Robert to the appointment and would stay with Robert for the entire appointment. I could only stay for a portion of it. This was very upsetting to me but the dentist is so busy that a change in the appointment time was out of the question (and after neglecting his teeth for so long, I didn’t want Robert to have to wait another six months).

See how responsible I am?

Sometimes it’s very difficult for me to accept help (um, don’t talk to my Hubby about that one). Oh, fine. It’s always difficult for me. In this case, I had no choice. Reluctantly, I relied on Sister House Manager to help me with this appointment. She turned out to be a fabulous, sweet, caring woman who was very patient with Robert. I felt comfortable leaving Robert in her care.

While we waited for Robert to be called back and prepped for the appointment, Sister House Manager stepped away to get coffee which left me a perfect opportunity to have a private conversation with Robert. I spoke to him about his recent behavior (the yelling and the refusal to let people help clean him up). I was firm in my instructions to him (you have to be nice and you have to let people help you get cleaned up). I told him I understood it was embarrassing but the workers were there to help him and he had to be nice to them.


Do you understand, Robert?

“I understand.”

Are you going to yell anymore?


Are you going to let them help you get cleaned up?


Thank you, hon.

When Sister House Manager returned and Robert had dozed off, I talked to her about Robert’s behavior. I told her that I had a talk with him and there shouldn’t be any more problems (for a while anyway). I also told her I was afraid they would evict him or the Day Program would evict him and she assured me that would not happen. She was so convincing that I actually believed her and felt such relief that tears welled up in my eyes (either that or it got very dusty in the hospital lobby all of a sudden).

I also talked to her about the stool softener Robert was on and asked if that might be part of the problem. WARNING! WARNING! – GROSS DISCUSSION AHEAD. (Oops, too late?)

Robert has been on Colace for more than two years and if this is making his stool too super soft then that has to be contributing to his problem of keeping himself clean. She agreed that might be part of the problem and promised to discuss the issue with the nurse. I explained that Robert was first put on this medication when he was hospitalized two years ago and the “order” followed him to the Skilled Nursing facility to the Assisted Living facility to this facility. No one (including me) had reviewed whether or not he actually still needed to be on it. I think it’s time for a review!

The dentist was running late but I was able to stay until Robert was taken to the prep room. He had four nurses helping him get comfortable and taking his blood pressure and doing a quick EKG. I joked about how he had so many women working on him and he slowly looked around at each of them letting a grin spread across his face. “They’re all good looking too.”

The nurses went wild! Who knew Robert was such a flirt? The nurses were in love and I knew he was in good hands. Sister House Manager was laughing and assured me he would be fine.

I left to take care of my stressful task at work knowing that Robert’s behavior problem had been addressed, that his hygiene problem may be resolved with a simple change in medication, that he was having his teeth checked and that he was enjoying himself and entertaining the nurses. I felt a little bit of relief when I left there. (Although I still expected Robert to wake up with far fewer teeth than when he went in).

A few hours later, Sister House Manager called to say Robert was awake and doing great. They would be returning to the New Home soon.

What about his teeth? Does he need dentures now?

Nope, Robert didn’t have any cavities or extractions or any other problems with his teeth!

“Feel guilty about not taking Robert to the Dentist sooner.”

I’m crossing that one off my list.

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