Whatever it takes: A day on the brink

By Laura Smith|December 15, 2017|Apraxia, apraxia blog, Childhood Apraxia of Speech, developmental coordination disorder, dyspraxia, global apraxia, Sensory Processing Disorder, special needs parenting, specific language impairment|

Ashlynn had oral surgery today to fix a ridiculously thick upper labial frenulum that was impacting her front teeth.  I have anxiety.  That’s no secret.  I was pretty nervous.  I had like every prayer warrior I could think of praying for her.

It’s not that serious of a surgery in the grand scheme of things; but she was going to have to take a valium the night before, and then one and hour before and one right before surgery.

I gave her the valium pill  (meaning I watched wringing my hands while my husband gave her the pill) and waited.  The surgeon said the pharmacist may fuss at the prescription, especially since she is tiny, but not to worry.  Um……telling a worrier not to worry is like telling the sun not to come up.  Actually it might be worse.  It made me freak out more than had he said nothing and just prescribed the pill.

I immediately decided she would sleep with me, because if I woke up I needed to hear her breathing. That was basically a joke because the valium made her hyper and crazy emotional.  She would laugh hysterically and then just start balling uncontrollably.  Every emotion was magnified and out of her control.  She talked incessantly and didn’t get to bed until 10!!  Despite this, I kept her home from school because I figured she would feel pretty tired.


She woke up on the right side of the bed happy and ready.  In hindsight, I should have just sent her to school and then taken her out when it was time for the procedure.  She was also (and she told me multiple times) very MAD I was not letting her go to school. It’s amazing right?  She has no close friends, struggles in every subject, and was just bullied recently…..but she’s mad I didn’t send her.  Her internal resolve and determination is incredible.

Anyway, I digress.  I let her graze on food all day since she would only be able to eat soft foods after the surgery.  I gave her the second valium an hour before and it made her hyper again.  She was talking incessantly, and at the doctor’s office she was literally jumping and running in the lobby.  If you know my child, she is pretty much the opposite of a sensory seeker, so seeing her do this on a drug that’s supposed to make you sleepy was crazy town.

The doctor made the decision in light of her behavior not to give her the third valium. The procedure went amazing.  The surgeon and his team were amazing and awesome with kids.  Ashlynn though was awesome too.  High tolerance for pain means she didn’t even flinch when the needle went in for the anesthetic.  He asked her to close her eyes, but I explained she wasn’t going to be able to do that on demand because of her motor planning issues, but seeing a needle wasn’t going to freak her out.  She gave blood for her genetic testing last summer staring at the needle and joking with the flabotomist that she was “taking a lot of blood wasn’t she?”  The flabotomist remarked in her whole career Ashlynn was the only person who smiled giving blood. LOL

So that’s the good part.  Everything else was pretty much a shit show.  I’m sorry to cuss, but sometimes it’s the only words that cut it. The doctor’s orders were clear.  Relax, take it easy, eat soft foods, do medicated mouthwash rinses (which turned into salt water rinses since Ashlynn can’t spit), alternate ibuprofen and tylenol, and keep lips closed and ice the outside. Sounds basic.  I got in my car and turned on Imagine Dragons “Whatever it Takes.”  I told Ashlynn it was our song.  We do whatever it takes to help her.  We never give up. We do what it takes.  I was feeling pretty good.

However, Ashlynn apparently thought it was opposite day.  She immediately and incessantly kept talking.  I kept telling her to keep her lips closed and then she would burst into tears that I was being mean to her and not letting her talk.  I calmed her down with the promise of a present.  That was short lived because she kept biting the ice pack (hello SPD).  If I corrected her to not bite it, she became hysterical.  Hysterical = bad because she could rip out the sutures.

“Fine just give me the ice pack and talk.  Throwing a tantrum will rip out the sutures.”

We picked up her brother, and he was trying to be helpful and told her (nicely) to stop talking so she doesn’t bleed.  That was code for “Let’s go to War” in Ashlynn’s world and they started fighting on the way home.  My stress was at a 10.

Once home, she decides she’s famished.  Not hungry…FAMISHED.  She can only eat soft foods.  I feed her two bowls of noodles, 5 yes FIVE pieces of bread, countless squares of cheese, a banana, and then an ensure calorie drink I had my husband pick up on the way home.  After dishes I go downstairs and find her eating gummies she got out of the storage room!!

“What the hell are you doing??”  You can’t eat gummies!!!”

Not my finest moment I know.  She burst into tears I was yelling at her.  Told me again how mean I was being.  Again, she is supposed to be resting.  Most kids who took valium would be asleep.  Nope.  Not my kid.  I go downstairs again to find her bouncing on our big yoga ball.

“Ashlynn….you’re supposed to be taking it EASY!!  Get up upstairs and watch a movie!!”

Ashlynn hates movies.  She is 8 years old and due to a visual processing motor problem and language processing issues, she cannot follow the story line of an entire movie and therefore has never watched one completely through.  She bursts into tears again, throws a tantrum and guess what?  Her suture finally decided it had enough stress and started bleeding.

I got a washrag and applied pressure just like the doctor said to do.  She seemed to realize it was somewhat serious now.  My son was majorly freaking out trying to help me out.  Ashlynn was still mad I had been mean to her.

Bedtime came and I had to try and do a salt water rinse.  She still can’t spit.  She has one motor plan.  Swallow.  She can’t chew gum either for this reason.  First sip.  She swallows.  Second sip.  She swallows.  Third sip, she somewhat spits all over my mirror but I praise her.  Fourth sip, she swallows.  Fifth sip, spits all over my mirrors.  I have NO idea if any reached her suture, but we tried.

She’s finally in bed. I have the song “Whatever it takes” on again.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Dang parenting his hard, but I can’t give up.

Whatever it takes.

Playing on snapchat trying to get her to be quiet and keep her lips closed!

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