Tuesday, May 17, 2016


For most of his short almost 8 years, B's sensory issues have involved his mouth.  He slept in the same crib that his two brother before him slept in.  And I promise you, when he grew out of it, it looked like we had boarded a dog in that bed.  The cherry wood finish is gnawed off in lots of places up and down the wood fennel's.  
I have a pair of 6 month size, brown, cotton pants in a box in my closet.  There's a big chunk out of the knee.  His babysitter strapped him into his rear facing car seat one day to drive through the bank.  When they returned home and she got him out, his pants were not just ripped.  There was a silver dollar sized hole in them.  And B-man was grinning like a possum.  

The incident that set his autism diagnosis in motion also involved his mouth.  One Thursday afternoon, he started throwing up.  We had an appointment the next day with his primary care physician to talk about his gnawing and chewing.  He loved those cheapy flannel receiving blanket.  He would put them in his mouth and pull on them.  Picture a dog fighting you for a blanket.  So, Friday morning we head off the doctor.  I tell Dr. Jane about all the chewing and gnawing and about how he was throwing up yesterday.  She's concerned he's swallowed something that's causing problems.  She takes x-rays and sends us off to the ER at Children's in Plano.  Ryan meets us there.  We're freaked out, of course.

The doctor there barely glances at the x-rays and pronounces "there's a stomach bug going around".  They give him some medicine and tell us that if he can keep it and some gatorade down, we can go home.  He keeps it down. We are so relieved.  Our boy seems to be feeling better so we stop for burgers on the way home.  

B starts feeling better.  He plays, he eats and is happy.  But, right before the 24 hour without puking mark (the magic milestone that means he can go back to school), he throws up again.  I wouldn't give you all the particulars but the food looks eerily similar as when it went in - undigested.  We give him the anti-nausea medicine the ER doc prescribed and keep rolling.  

This continues throughout the week.  Happy, eating, playing, waking up in the middle of the night to give back his undigested food.  Monday brings some tests.  Tuesday brings some more tests.  As does Wednesday.  And every night the same thing, waking up from a dead sleep to give back everything he ate that day.  Finally, on Thursday a wonderful pediatric GI doctor says, "This is not normal.  If kids are going to thrown up, they are going to do it within the first 15 minutes of laying down.  Let's do a scope to see what's going on".  Friday morning we're at the hospital and B gets scoped.  The doctor comes out and asks us if he could have eaten a candle, there's some white waxy stuff in his belly.  No sir, we don't have any candles.  

The doctor pushes through most of the white waxy stuff, pulls some out for testings and biopsies all up his digestive track to make sure his body isn't producing it.  The tests came back as inorganic.  I walk his pre-k room with the teacher, principal and academic administer the next week.  We find an empty glue stick.  

My boy had been nibbling on glue stick for who knows how long.  The first Thursday he probably did have a little virus but it caused the glue to move and cover the exit to his stomach. HIs food couldn’t move through.  He just kept eating until he was literally full then he gave it all back.  Once it was out of the way, he was good to go.  

I say this incident started use towards his diagnosis because every day we went some place new for testing they would always say, with one eye brown higher than the other, "Does he have any other diagnoses?".  I'd always say no but by Tuesday I knew this was code for "Are you sure he's not autistic or something?" We were referred to the autism clinic at Children’s at some point in the process.  So with his autism diagnosis also came PICA, eating things that are not food.

In the years since, he successfully completed feeding therapy at Baylor's Our Children's House.  He's stopped eating things that aren't food.  But we have to watch him.  He's likely to put Legos in his mouth while he's figuring out where they go.  

My people do not have good teeth.  I can't remember losing a tooth on it's own.  All my baby teeth were pulled to make room for other teeth crowding in behind it.  Z's had extensive dental work done.  SB is the only boy to escape it so far.  

I'm very thankful for the autism dental clinic at Children's.  The doctors and dental assistants there are so patient and kind to B.  In the fall, they put him out under general anesthesia so they could do A LOT of dental work.  And the refrain to me is always the same, "Make sure he's brushing those teeth really well."

If only it were that easy.  It took FOR-EVER to find a toothpaste that tastes good.  Most of them were "too hot" (minty).  We finally found Tom's of Maine who makes a non-minty Orange-Mango flavor.  But still brushing was not easy.  He didn't like it and couldn't do it on his own.  He'd rather just chew on the toothbrush.  

We've tried singing songs. We've tried apps that sing to you while you brush. He loved the app and watched it all the time. Just not ever while brushing his teeth.

Last Friday I was at my sink getting ready for work. B waltzes in with his tablet and proceeds to start brushing his teeth.  He put the toothpaste on the brush himself.  He brushed them himself without fan fair.  I did have to help him rinse but mostly I just stood there in awe.  

My boy was brushing his teeth on his own, of his own accord for the first time in his almost 8 years.  

Because I'm a modern momma, I snapped a pic and posted. As you can see from the picture, it wasn't an easy task. He's concentrating.  It was so awesome to see my friends cheering B on.  Brushing hasn't become a regular on his own thing yet but he's getting there.  

I learn something new from B every day.  Last Friday, I was reminded of a recurring lesson from him.  He's going to get there in his own way on his own schedule.

1 comment :

Paul R. Wood said...

"B" You da man! I love reading and hearing stories about B and the rest of the family. Thank you for sharing.