Thursday, May 13, 2010

Doctors and Dentists

As long as I am in the behavior mode, I might as well continue with doctors. From a very early age, Peter was seen by many doctors, so many, you would think they would be his BFF's. But no, somewhere along the way, Peter developed an almost phobia when it came to the medical profession. I wish I could remember when it happened, or why it happened, but it happened. It was not so much a dislike, but a fear, an all and all out right fear of the MD. Not that they did anything wrong, he just did not like to be touched by them...and after all, isn't that a part of an exam.
So going to doctors took and still takes an inordinate amount of coercion, sometimes trickery, and an extreme amount of patience on everyone's part. Something as simple as a blood pressure was considered by Pete majorly invasive, something to be feared. Taking one's clothes off, for a peak, wow, major trauma and drama. His pediatrician was an extremely patient man who took his time and was able to complete the task. However, beyond a peak and a quick look, Peter would be dressed and out the door before you could even say "Now you can get dressed."
His love for dentist probably ranked even lower than his love for doctors. Never, not once in his life, has any dentist ever convinced him to lie in that chair. Now, when he was little, we laid together, but that could only take place for awhile. After that dental exams were performed usually in a chair, sitting upright, with Peter maintaining one hand of the door for the quick bolt, I hoping that the exam would be complete before the bolting took place.
You wonder...did she consider sedation pre-dental visit. Yes, that would include Benadryl and Valium. Did you know that some individuals actually react opposite to the needed effect of some drugs. Peter, who was valiumized to the point of needing assistance to walk a straight line, once in the exam room, woke up, had a heightened sense of awareness, and no drug could keep him sedated long enough to perform the exam. It was as if the antlers arose, and he touching. Oh, yes, to complicate matters, Peter, if asked by a doctor or dentist to open his mouth, develops this amazing gag reflex that you would think that at any minute you will see his lunch in your lap. Sort of like a conditioned response sort of thing that only occurs when asked that question within the realms of a doctor's office.
So, going to doctors and dentist's office does not evoke any warm fuzzy feelings within me. Rather, pre-visits included sleepless nights, and hours of thinking of the new "how to get Peter to cooperate". Peter of course, was never informed until the last minute, the very last minutes, the very last nanosecond.
Recently, Peter at the mere age of 22, needed to switch from his pediatrician to an adult doctors. For those of you who watched friends, it was kinda like Ross still going to his pediatrician. It was me, Peter, and the 2 year olds in that waiting room. So, I looked and searched and called to try to find the new replacement.
Off we went, having to visit his office in the hospital...a major task to get Peter in the front door. However, once in, the Medical Assistant had a very laid back manner and got Peter to jump on the scale and take his blood pressure. The new Doc...not knowing what he was getting into, played along, let Peter keep his clothes on, and let him keep the door we were all involved in the physical..the secretaries, the bookkeepers, it was a family affair of sorts.
But we made it through, we made a new friend that day. I always pray that Peter will not need major anything, because it is traumatic. My hope, is next year, he will take another step in trusting. Peter will take off his clothes, shut the door, and feel more comfortable. Because as traumatic as it is for me, I know in Peter's mind, it is even more traumatic, because his fear is real to him.

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