Prepare to enter the wild and wooly world of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of autism characterized by intellignce, quirks, social difficulties and downright strange and oddish behaviours.

People with Aspergers generally are high functioning in everyday life but have great difficulty connecting with others due to the inability to read faces, body language and subtle verbal clues. They also tend to take words literally and have a hard time multi-tasking.

Oversensitivity to touch (clothing has to be soft and often the tags removed), light (do not leave home without the sunglasses), sound (loud noises and noisey places are avoided), taste (many Aspies have quite a limited diet and are frequently very picky eaters) and smells makes the everyday existence more of a challenge.

Fasten your seatbelts and come on in...
To find out more about what Aspergers is..please check out my earliest blog entries

Friday, May 6, 2016

Going to the Dentist...sensory overload

I'm fortunate to have one of the best dentists. He has a great, soft-speaking chairside manner and I have always been treated well there. Until yesterday. I hadn't been to the dentist in a year or two and a lot had changed.
First off, there was a new dental assistant. She was nice enough but she had a timid voice and looked just a wee bit nervous.
Second, when my dentist arrived, I could tell he wasn't in his usually really good moods. There was something different about his voice that betrayed that he wasn't having a great day. That made me nervous.
Third, the normal glaring headlight of a lamp had been replaced by a smaller, sleeker model that was attached to a microscope so the dentist could see clearer. Technology is nice but I found that the dentist didn't have as wide of a scope of vision, as his left hand kept hitting my teeth, irritating and I'd grab his wrist to tell him to move it a bit. The first time it happened, his hand was touching a part of my inner throat that was invasive, scary, triggering, I guess you could say. A little subtle panic started floating around beneath my surface.
I was having a chipped tooth bandaged. It was my first time for such a procedure so I was clueless as to the various steps they would employ. Each and every one of these points, were new and autistically troubling to me.
Fourth, I had to hold back tears as dentist explained the options and costs of having my one missing tooth replaced. I cant even smile without that space showing so I consider myself to have a broken smile. I had always wanted to not have a toothless grin. We had agreed to get it repaired a couple years ago, then the Lyme was flaring so I never got around to it. My loss. I don't know, maybe I can make some housing adjustments and sacrifices to get my toothy grin back. I don't tend to talk about things that bother me a lot cause it just makes it worse. It was majorly distressing to hear that bad news.
Fifth, the dental assistant kept having me bite on that darn bite film. Problem was, from my angle, I couldn't see when she was holding it, so I kept feeling lost and stupid. Why didn't she hold it up higher or tell me its time for the bite strip? Geez, I'm getting all stressed just writing about this. Good thing I'm drinking my laced orange juice.
Sixth, the drilling and sanding dental tools...well, they are annoying.
Seventh, the assistant wasn't good with her tools, the water sprayer and sucker. Just couldn't get it right for me.
Eighth, dentist highly recommended having a panoramic x-ray done to see if my missing tooth spot had enough bone growth and that my teeth hadn't started shifting. Yikes, darn crazy, grabbing machine. By this time I had asked and reasked the tech to give me the instructions one at a time and slowly. She complied very well. She had to have me make a bunch of minor adjustments. Then the damn machine lightly squeezed my head! Yeah, its a good thing I can keep my flaps and tics to myself for periods of time.
Nine, the whole time I saw my dentist, he had his mask on because he had a cold, hence his slightly off mood. Well, I had no idea how distressing it was to not be able to see some ones lips move while they are talking. Serious offense. It didn't sound like him and then no lips moving, I didn't know when he had finished a sentence and I could talk. To be honest, it was muchmuch harder to try and understand what he was saying, as well. Didn't know I'd be freaking out over masks.
Ten, at no charge for me, I had to have a pink gooey gross, gaggin impression done. The two most terrifying minutes of my hour long visit by far.
Eleven, just before I had the panoramic done, another way new thing, the dentist had to temporarily affix a small metal ball to the inside of my mouth behind the missing tooth spot for measurements. I asked them to explain it a couple different times but I just couldn't understand it. Once the ball was cemented in, it felt wayway weirdy.
See, I can flap and type at the same time.
Anyway, most dental visits are rather smooth "known" and not scary affairs. This one was a helluva bugger. Still destressing.


1 comment:

Deborah said...

I’m sorry the dentist was so distressing! My nephew has Asperger's Syndrome and interactions with doctors and dentists that seem so simple for others are so hard for him. Between the lights, the sounds, and the touches, it’s hard for him to stay calm. I give you so much credit for getting through it and conquering what’s most difficult for you.