Saturday, February 18, 2012

dental health Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis does not make dental care easy.

Long story made short Patti was less than cooperative at her last failedcheckup. Fortunately there is a positive end to this story.

Believe it or not there’s at least one dentist who prefers thefreedom of not having an office practice, traveling between care facilities andnursing homes.

Rather than just leave it alone he called me with a plan.

What if … he revisited after Patti had been given a dosage ofAtivan/Lorazepam beforehand, the proverbial “chill pill”. Adding me to the mixcould improve success because in the care facility era “no means no” forprofessionals, only family/POA can ‘persuade’ a patient.

Arriving I transferred Patti to a geri-chair, a recliner on wheels. I was blown away by the mobile dentistoffice set up, it had everything except musak. (Rummaging about I found a boom box and a CD of new age music and fixedthat.)

Patti (under the influence of Ativan) was a model patient and thedentist was a godsend. Patti’s dentist prefers the life of mobile dentistry. Heloves its freedom and its focus on patients.

Patti’s teeth were cleaned, polished, and cavities filled. Only thehigh speed drill which sprayed water seemed to agitate her. I quipped it wasjust the tooth fairies waterboarding her. “Little bastards” she mumbled and witha smile her calm returned.

Afterwards, we talked about new solutions because status quo is notworking. Apparently an electric toothbrush is a win-win because in a pinch itcan be used simply with water, eliminating the whole rinse and spit challenge. Regardlessof MS and all its challenges, dental care cannot be trivialized. Brushing teethis social behavior. Visiting or outings should include teeth brushing ratherthan depend on staff, remember staff can be told ‘no I don’t want to’. Thinkingoutside the box is a must.

Since it was 60˚F (15.6˚C) afternoonin February, and the geri-chair fit in our wheelchair accessible van, I tookPatti to the park in her rolling recliner for a reward before a well-deservedafternoon nap.  

Related previousentries:

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer