I made my daughter fill out her own paperwork and go back by herself at her dentist appointment since she’s eighteen now. We’re in a testing period of her doing things on her own.
I wondered whether we should put some kind of warning under “Other medical history” like:
- “Can’t sit still.”
- “Doesn’t like being touched.”
- “May or may not have functional autism.”
- “Enjoys horror stories so you’d think the dentist would be a piece of cake, but you’d be wrong.”
It was a new office, so they didn’t know her. I figured that was to our advantage. I told her to leave “Other” blank.
After a few minutes, I began to enjoy some reading and basking in the “my kids are becoming adults” phase of parenthood when the dentist came out into the lobby.
The dentist. Have you ever seen a dentist come into the waiting room?
He gruffly asked if I was her mother. I reluctantly replied that I was and gathered my things to follow him back. He explained that he wanted to go over the x-rays. Yay! Normal parent stuff.
We get to the room and THEN it occurs to him to ask my daughter how old she is. He sort of mumbles something about not realizing she was eighteen. (Yeah, we get that a lot. She looks a lot younger.)
After saying everything looked good, he literally brushed his hand at me, “You can go back to the waiting room since she’s not a minor.”
I was trying to figure out if he was a jerk or if she had inadvertently given them trouble during the x-ray portion of the visit. Maybe he didn’t like being duped – she really does look about fourteen.* He was probably pissed that she had admitted she doesn’t floss. Could have been a bad day. Or he was a jerk.
(*Side Note related to the last post I made: Does ANYONE look at patient charts nowadays?)
I almost stayed in the room since the inevitable cleaning was next, but made my way back to the lobby instead. Someone in that exam room had some lessons to learn. I smiled and hoped it was Doctor Grumpy Molars.
I resumed my reading posture and several minutes passed. I thought we were home free. Then the hygienist poked her head around a door and found me in the lobby. She sat down in a chair next to me and said hesitantly, “I’m mostly finished, but every time I go back in she’s jerking away. Do you want me to continue?”
I couldn’t tell if she wanted me to say, “Yes, we’re done here” or if it was a plea for assistance. The front office hadn’t been very nice either, so instead I said brightly, “Whatever she wants.”
“I already asked her that and she said she’d didn’t care…”
I sighed. A plea for help. I entered the room and said, “You have to sit still. If you’re jerking away you’re going to get stabbed with something. And, you’re scaring people. Do you want me to hold your hand?”
Holding hands would be the LAST thing my daughter wanted to do so it was more of a threat than an offer. She smirked and shook her head. She’s not afraid of the process of the processes of denistry. She’s afraid of being touched.
I told the hygienist the issue. She seemed relieved and I felt a little bad for her. SHE seemed to be nice. (On the other hand, if she’s going to be in this business she should probably get used to people being a little skittish and uncooperative.)
After that, my daughter sat still,or at least her head was still. She twisted her shirt sleeve between her fingers until it was over. No big deal. I’ve seen plenty of people without anything (presumably) odd under “Other” medical history do that.
Lesson learned: I think she should warn people from now on that she’s uncomfortable being touched because of her (probable) Asperger’s. It will probably make everyone more comfortable.