Saturday, January 07, 2006

Caregiving: a trip to the dentist

     Outside of Jack Nicholson’s character in the original movie version of “Little Shop of Horrors”, I don’t believe anyone “enjoys” a dentist appointment.

     Add Multiple Sclerosis to the equation and then there are the physical and mental challenges involved in simply visiting a dentist. At least 6 transfers are required within a brief period. We’ve never found a truly accessible dentist chair. I need to lift Patti in and out of her wheelchair to dentist chair and vice versa, plus the multiple vehicle/wheel chair transfers involved in transportation. 

     Once in the dentist chair spasticity, mental confusion, and attention span can create a 'symptom soup' that boggles the efforts of dental hygienists and dentists. 

     As for daily dental hygiene, eye hand coordination and mental confusion are just are too much for Patti to consistently overcome. We’ve tried electric and sonic tooth brushes, etc all with no success.  … The dentist wrote an “order” for assisted daily dental care, I believe this will help though Patti will probably hate help at first.

      We try to keep to a yin-yang daily philosophy when possible so a dental visit needed a 'treat' for balance and harmony <grin>. 

     Fortunately a Subway sandwich shop was right next door. It was a rare win-win opportunity. Patti got a tasty lunch out and simply rolling next door was two less transfers for me. Workers were more than happy to accommodate Patti by customizing her sub including cutting up into easy bite size pieces and 'patiently' and creatively repeating choices as Patti's short term memory confounded the process of ordering. Even tables designed for wheel chairs were available. Applause! Applause to Subway.


  1. What a good and devoted husband you are to Patti. She is blessed. You are indeed her angel on earth. I have several ideas on how dental care can be provided to people in homes who have limited mobility, but too long to put here. Bea

  2. I agree with the first comment. You do an excellent job in taking good care of Patti. Your devotion amazes me! Patti is blessed to have you.

  3. Thank God for Subway!!

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