Dental disease is one of the main health concerns for adults who have Down syndrome. In this chapter, Sherry describes how hard it is to get Charley to comply with brushing his teeth.
It’s a scene that involves crying, stomping, slamming the bedroom door, and batting at us, all while squirting the toothpaste in our hair.
Brad and I have tried it all. We’ve brushed our teeth to demonstrate, brushed our teeth while he brushes his (which involves flinging toothpaste onto the mirror or chasing the cat with the toothbrush), and brushed his teeth for him, to which he barks, “I do myself. I know how.” I’ve even attempted hand-over-hand assistance, but his toothbrush winds up in my mouth…
The whole issue of oral hygiene amounts to one basic thing: we flunked pearly whites. Taking him to the dentist rehabilitates him for about thirty seconds, and that’s only because he views the dental hygienist as flirting material. We tell them our dilemma:
“We do the best we can but he doesn’t cooperate.”
“He won’t stand still and let us help him.”
“Use caution when examining his mouth, he’s been known to deck us when we try to help him brush.” Pp. 190 -191
Does your child brush his/her teeth? Do you have to struggle to get it done? What advice would you give other parents/caregivers?
Many children/adults who have Down syndrome have gone through some kind of surgery in their lives. It can be one of the hardest things a parent has to do.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the orderlies came and took him to surgery. Brad and I walked down the hall with him, and we both gave him hugs and big kisses reminding him how much we loved him and that we would be right there when he came out. “Try not to pick up any nurses,” I said, and he smiled at me but was too groggy to talk.
And then just like that, there he went. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears as I watched him disappear around the corner, and I could have just cried buckets. Pp. 201 – 202
Has your child ever gone through surgery? How did you cope with putting your child in someone else’s hands?
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