Tomorrow is our scheduled, semi-annual dentist day, which we’ll affectionately call ‘D-Day’. We discussed the saga of his last mouth invasion in a previous post. Feel free to read about how much fun that was.
Since the J-Man’s last trip to the dentist, we made an important change. We fired his now former pediatric dental practice.
Were the dentists nice? Yes. There was one doctor in particular we really liked, in no small part because his wife used to work for the doctor who diagnosed the J-Man with autism, so there was awareness and understanding all around about our situation. The problem was, there was no way apparently – at least not for us – to request which dentist we got to see. (I think their practice currently has 4.) The other dentist we saw was OK enough. I thought the hygienists pushed him pretty far, but I kinda get the philosophy behind it. It seems like we weren’t allowed to ask for the one we really liked, and that was irritating.
For us, the decision to fire them was two-fold.
1. All special needs kids are seen only during the noon hour, which not only makes scheduling a nightmare and interrupts his school day (not like we can go back to school after all that), it feels like yet another example of us being segregated from the world. That said, I do understand one of their reasons behind it. Their staff shifts overlap around noon so they have more hygienists there who can gang up on the kids – so to speak – and provide additional support. And really I could live with this if it weren’t for the crap in point #2 below.
They really stretched their luck, however, in that we were seen well over 30 minutes late for our 12:00 appointment last time. Please do not make autistic kids wait that long in a crowded, noisy, pediatric dentistry waiting room with enough noise, TVs, fish tanks, video games, and other insane stimuli to drive us all batty with nothing he could actually do except wander in and out of the chairs like some obstacle course.
So they reserve this time for special needs kids, but can’t actually see any of us anywhere near on time. Well, thanks for nothing.
However, all that alone probably wouldn’t have driven us away.
2. It was the attitude of their staff that did it. They acted like they were doing us this huge favor to schedule us in the first place. Once we got his school schedule for the fall figured out, we realized his originally scheduled appointment fell on his second day back after this long break. So we called many weeks ago to reschedule since we knew he’d need consistency at school after this long break. It’s not like we were set on getting an earlier appointment. We actually asked for an appointment during his next break two months after his original appointment. (Reminder – we called and asked to reschedule weeks ago.)
“I’m sorry. We don’t have anything available until next year.” (insert attitude here)
We know [expletive expletive] well that they have appointments. Just not for him. Before we ever went there, we got in with maybe a couple of weeks notice. Now that I’m sure his file is painted with a giant red flag – or what I’ll call “The Scarlet A” – it’s a six-month wait.
So, we asked around and found a new, smaller dentist practice. Yes our appointment is still during the noon hour, and presumably for the same reasons, which I don’t have a problem with when combined with a respectful attitude toward our kid. At least they were up front about why and were polite and welcoming, and they were able to get us in quickly with no fuss. We’ll see how this carries over into the actual appointment.
Just to be clear – no I don’t expect anyone to roll out the red carpet for us. I don’t expect sympathy or special treatment or anything. But I do expect the J-Man to be treated with respect and as a child with feelings and integrity regardless of whether he can talk to you about them or not. He is scared to death of having his mouth worked on – and we feel like crap as parents enough as it is for putting him through that – and if you’re not understanding and sensitive to that about him, you can go to hell. And if you want our business, don’t act like you’re doing us favors. Nobody is that good.
Enough ranting. Gotta go practice my restraint holds and find something to wear to protect my more sensitive bits from injury again.