Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Today's Topic: The $3.000 Fit

Now, doesn't he look like an angel in the dentist's chair? He was scared but bravely opened his mouth and let the hygienist look in. He grudgingly and only with a small amount of physical force sat still for the x-rays. He gladly opened his mouth for the dentist.
And this is what he got. See how proudly he holds it?! We were leaving the dentist's office and he saw the dentist down the hallway. Loudly he called out to him, "THAAANK YOOOU!" and waved vigorously.

Now, you know the middle of the story. Would you like to hear the rest? Keep reading...

So, all the boys will likely have tooth problems. This is what we expected; this is what we found.

Vitali's teeth look good, actually, but, who knows? Max, on the other hand has a couple of teeth that are just shells and the gums have grown right into the middle of the tooth. His dental appointment a month or two ago was no surprise: four crowns, four extractions and a filling. He's eight. Needless to say, he will have this much work done in the hospital. We have figured that the cost of this is about $3,000 after all the insurances and deductibles. OK. We expected that.

Just this week we took Misha in for a check up. He also has a tooth where, if you look, you can see the gums in the hole in the tooth. This tooth bothers him (Max claims his don't hurt) mostly when he eats.

You've seen the middle of the story. Moving on...

At first, the dentist was saying we might as well do his in the hospital too. He has eight teeth that need work, two of them crowns; the rest, small fillings. I asked if there were any way to do it in the office to save money. He said we could give it a try.

Our chance came the next morning where we were able to fit into a cancellation spot. The plan was to do the two crowns. Misha was doing great though actively complaining about the laughing gas. Then, the doctor numbed his mouth. He did not like that and said it hurt, though it was just the numbness he didn't like. Then came the drill-like thing that spins and sprays a mist of water and it was all downhill from there. In the end, Steve and I laid across his arms and legs and the dentist held his head in the crook of his arm like a foot ball and we all were sweating and trying to alternate between being firm but soothing though it all was to no avail!

When that crown was finished, of course we realized that we couldn't expect the doctor to work on him like that for 7 more teeth! So, we are going to have to have the rest done under sedation in the hospital. And it should be noted that he is very proud of his silver crown and still likes the dentist. He seems to know we were helping him--so he wasn't mad at all. Once he was done--he was fine.

Now. Why do I call that the $3,000 fit? Well, because he wasn't entirely scared. Yes, somewhat, but it was mostly his way of refusing to be uncomfortable. He didn't like the cold water or the buzzing, He didn't like the numbness and he didn't like the laughing gas mask which served only to calm him down enough to keep it on without fussing about it. Frustrating for us because it is a pattern with him.

The sight of a worm is enough to send him into hysterics as well as are puppies or chickens--including the baby ones. If he is nervous; he goes bananas! Aaaarrggghhh!

I wonder if anyone else has seen anything similar? He seems not to know how to process being uncomfortable with anything but to call it pain. The numbness of his cheek, if give him a friendly back scratching, being cold getting out of the tub, Hair clippings on his neck during a haircut...
He whines and writhes and cries out about these kinds of things. At the same time, he can fall and skin his knee, check for blood and not give it a second thought!

Anyway, I admit to being perplexed! Fortunately, while it is frustrating, it isn't something we deal with every day. And most the time we find his "freaking out" a bit humorous (although we don't let him know); that is, until it turns into $3,000! Eeek!

Even so, we love him to death! All of them. What blessings. Who'd have known that in our attempt to help three orphans that we would be so blessed in the process? It almost makes me feel selfish!



John and Amy said...

Oh Melissa...
It takes me back a few years - but my oldest son from Ukraine had a TON of dental work done the first 3 months we were home. We used a really good pediatric dentist. They do all their sedation in the office - WHAT A LIFESAVER!
Anyways - we have found over the years that our son has alot of sensory issues that little things set him off... like he'll work on a hangnail until his finger is bloody - he could have a one inch sliver in his hand that that would not bug him one bit! A good suggestion might be to just keep a notebook of some of the things that seem to really bug him - aka freak him out - and if things continue or get worse - you can have somewhat of a history or pattern to show an OT who might be able to give you some ideas to help desensitize some of the "stuff".
BTW - ALL your kiddos are beautiful! You guys are truly blessed!

DoveFamily said...

Your guys are adorable!!

After all the reading I've done pre- and post-adoption, my initial guess would be a sensory issue. An OT professional would be able to tell for sure and could give you some tips on things to do to help him deal with these issues.

Hope the dental surgery goes well :)

Nataliya said...

Oh, poor Misha! He looks very happy after the visit, so I'm very glad he understood that you were helping him and wasn't mad at you after the procedure. It looks like he has sensory issues - though I'm definitely not an expert.

Good luck with the dental surgeries, it's not fun at all, but something that needs to be done...

Christine said...

Wow! That's alot of work. He looks okay though! :)

christie said...

Steven and Melissa,
Ever hear of "Sensory Issues"? LOL.

He sounds very sensory. A child will not flinch at SERIOUS pain, but something like sleeves that don't feel right, or a hair cut, or even some noises will send them spinning.

We dealt with some of this with Sarah.
Making concerted efforts to "expose" him to the thing he hates while comforting him will help to desensitize him. If it was long sleeves, wear this shirt for 1/2 hour then we'll change.
Or if it is a sound, work up to it, keep it there for a moment and then turn it down. etc.

The dental thing however.....
Sarah had extensive dental work, as did Erika and Anna. However, our dentist refused to work on Sarah because when they went to use the drill she said it hurt. The dentist said, no way it can hurt.
We found another dentist and low and behold the same thing happened.
But this dentist said, some kids have an extra nerve that needs to be deadened. She gave her more novacaine in a different location and she responded with an ow... the dentist said, if she felt that, what I was doing hurt her.
Erika is the same. They have a note of their charts for novacaine to be administered in several areas.

A lot of the sensor issues are fear based, which is why he acts fearful.
Remember your doggy cage with the dollar? That is great therapy!

You might try letting him walk in beans in bare feet. Letting him rub pop paper on his arms and stomp on it to hear the bang.

Try squirting with the hose in hot weather during fun, to get him distracted.....

Sarah has Improved GREATLY, at first all she'd eat was soup! couldn't stand certain chewy foods.

She'd probably be happiest running around naked so nothing touched her skin. LOL
But we have worked with soothing lotions and back rubs etc. and she has come a LONG way.

Anna still is soothed by squeezing her arms up and down while she is relaxing. (I wouldn't find it relaxing, but she needs it to relax) (sort of like rocking back and forth)

you are SO blessed and we too feel spoiled. :)

David and Sarah said...

Our daughter from China had food sensitivities that caused body sensitivities. She would always say that we were hurting her when we picked her up under her arms. She was also EXTREMELY emotionsal. We put her on the Feingold diet (no artificial colors, preservatives, etc.) and the sensitivities completely went away. We already ate a mostly organic diet, but she was getting enough of those things to affect her. We had to be very strict about the diet, but now, five years later, she can eat most things, as long as she doesn't overdo the amounts. You might check into it.
Blessings to you and your beautiful family!
mom to one homegrown cutie, a Ukrainian sweetheart, and two blessings from China (with one more on the way!)

Nancy said...

Our younger daughter (adopted from Russia) had a lot of the same issues that you mentioned. It was diagnosed as a sensory issue and she went to occupational therapy 1-2x a week for about 5 months. They gave us things to do at home with her as well and she greatly improved after that. You will probably want to look into some help for him. It will ultimately make your life (and his) much smoother and more comfortable.

I can really relate to your dental bill. Our eldest daughter (also adopted from Russia) had horrible teeth issues when she came home. In fact, she needed emergency surgery about 4 days after coming home. She had 8 teeth pulled and the remaining teeth have crowns. She was only 4 at the time. Some of her teeth were so rotten that they had splintered off into her gums. She was in immense pain but after living with it for so many years she just thought that was normal. Her surgery cost thousands of dollars and insurance didn't cover much of it. But she is a totally different little girl after having that procedure done. Just beware of the post-surgery's awful! I'm so glad they can do it while the children are sleeping though.

christie said...

Some ideas for going to the hospital for surgery.

Request that IV's be placed AFTER child is asleep. This is a regular practice where we have our surgeries done, and it is MUCH less traumatizing.
Ask to BE IN RECOVERY BEFORE they wake the children up. Otherwise, they will wake up and be in a total panic and you won't be there. It doesn't matter that they call you in later, you need to be there before.
PRESS this and insist it happen.

They will tell you the kids don't remember. It doesn't matter. Don't buy it. We have one that does.

christie said...

Some ideas for going to the hospital for surgery.

Request that IV's be placed AFTER child is asleep. This is a regular practice where we have our surgeries done, and it is MUCH less traumatizing.
Ask to BE IN RECOVERY BEFORE they wake the children up. Otherwise, they will wake up and be in a total panic and you won't be there. It doesn't matter that they call you in later, you need to be there before.
PRESS this and insist it happen.

They will tell you the kids don't remember. It doesn't matter. Don't buy it. We have one that does.

Anonymous said...

Get the book Sensational kids. It will give you lots of insight into sensory issues. Brushing might be a good idea for you.


Michelle said...

Hello, I've been reading your blog with great interest. We are just beginning this journey (in fact our first home study appt is today). I have been going through the archives trying to figure out, did you take your 3 girls with you to Ukraine or did they stay behind? We also have 3 biological children and, while this part of the journey is FAR OFF, that is the most challenging question facing me. Believing God can supply tens of thousands of dollars, not so hard, for some reason!
thanks for any help, feel free to email me at teachermommy at mi-connection dot com
or visit our blog at


Kikilia said...

Please check into Sensory Integration Disorder for Misha. He sounds very much like a sensory kid.

I have a few sensory issues and wish treatment would have been around for me as a kid.

anonymous said...

We adopted a 5 year old from Ukraine 2 years ago. Our son was the same as you describe. Some is sensory. You may also want to consider that this is a control issue based in attachment issues. A typical child trusts their parents when they say "this will only hurt a little" or "I won't let them hurt you". My son for example would scream that it hurt real bad when I cut his finger nails. If he was in control and did it himself it didn't hurt. Once he had an IV and he threw a massive screaming fit when the nurse tried to take it out. The nurse let him take it out himself and that didn't hurt at all...why because he was in control. He could not mentally handle it if someone else was in control of his discomfort.

Tami said...

Everybody has filled you in already on the sensory stuff, so I'll just add my two cents and tell you that Q-ball had some pretty serious sensory issues when we first came nine years later he's doing great. If you can learn how to help him, he'll be fine. We did a lot of holding, rocking, jumping on trampolines, massage really did the trick. Like everyone else, though, I would suggest talking to a OT to get more specific on how you can help him.
We'll be praying for the dental surgery! :)