In the last year T. has been to his primary care physician five times, a pulmonoligist once, a D. O. for osteopathic treatments five times, a nutritionist three times, a geneticists twice, the eye doctor twice, a urologist once and the emergency room three times including an overnight stay by all three of us.
During all of that, I screamed twice. My husband instructed me to leave the room once. We have yelled at each other three times. And, T. didn’t cry.
My dad had an expression of praised he used for someone deemed to have extraordinary strength – it was “One tough monkey.” T. is one tough monkey.
Our most recent experience is what I refer to as “the pulling of the teeth”. T. had three root canals before he came to us. He has two capped teeth and his front two teeth were deteriorated. I took him to the dentist again because we were worried. They cleaned his teeth and told me not to worry about it. The next day his two front teeth broke off. When we called the dentist at her home on that Saturday she was nonplussed and said, “That happened sooner than we thought.” I don’t think that makes her “one tough monkey” as much as I think it makes her a “douche”.
Two days later I went with him to the dentist’s office to have the teeth pulled. Before we went I told T. “We were going to the doctor. They are going to take your two front teeth out and it will hurt and then we will go home.”
When we went in to the room where they were going to do it T. signed that he wanted the TV on, got in the chair himself and settled down to watch Sponge Bob. After the dentist pulled the second tooth T. sat up and made the sign for “done” and started to get out of the chair.
We have heard from numerous reliable sources that people with Down syndrome have a high tolerance for pain. But, can that really account for his almost freakish ability to withstand all that has happened to him? It’s almost like he can’t take credit for how he handles life if you look at it that way. I mean he kicks ass at handling life. As his mother, I am in awe. As his mother, I look forward to him crying more in the future – he’s due.