More Than Just Two Front Teeth

The two front teeth had to go. At the age of seven, Marcus’ set of teeth had been all strong, almost perfect, with no sign of degrading until one day my wife found one new tooth coming out behind his upper front teeth. So yesterday, the two front milk teeth finally got extracted to let the new one take its normal place.

Just like his first trip to the same dentist, no tear whatsoever was shed on his first teeth extraction. Props to the pediatric dentist who took time to explain to Marcus on what to expect during the whole process—that’s on top of our similar discussion while on our way to the dentist’s clinic inside the SM mall. It would have been a better if his cashier gave us PWD discount.

Missing teeth, yes. Charm, no.

The experience was more awkward than painful for Marcus as he wouldn’t want to be seen toothless in school. The good news, or bad news, he won’t be inside a classroom together with his classmates anymore.

It was Monday, last week of October, when he asked us if he could stop going to school. We saw it coming as we observed lately that he finds it more difficult to wake up, let alone rise on his own but we decided to wait until he tells us about it because we can see back then that he still likes being in school despite his condition. While his request made it official that there will be no more sleepy trips to school, for both of us, his teacher and the school’s principal were kind enough to allow him continue studying at home if he wants to. Last week he took his last exam and said goodbye to his classmates. Most of them cried, yes, including the boys and his teachers.

Look ma, no hands! (He was Batman last Halloween but unfortunately we arrived late and did not catch the villains, I mean, his classmates.)

With the absence of worries about grades, something easily took over his study period. Minecraft. Other than his XBox, Marcus now has his Minecraft PC. This PC version of the sandbox game is actually a whole lot better than its XBox 360 counterpart as there are free maps and mods that can be downloaded and installed. Surprisingly, in a matter of weeks since I purchased this game as a reward for his good grades in school, he can already install the mods and maps by himself. He was quick to learn to remember and type the path AppData.minecraftsaves (and mods where he can extract his mods) to install his maps. Well, it lasted until he broke the HP laptop keyboard’s S key, and X, and A, and a couple of other frequently used game keys. So just like his two front teeth, he lost his HP laptop. The latter should teach him a lesson to control his emotions, to take good care of his prized–in this case, pricey–possessions.

To be honest, parenting Marcus is now tougher. A whole lot tougher, trust me. We figured that ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ approach is now out of the question. Disciplining him has to be done the other way and sometimes it gets frustrating. The heart and muscles of kids with DMD are sensitive and are degrading faster over time. This means that we are doing our best not to upset Marcus. We do our very best not to make him trip or fall, we don’t want him to stress nor hurt his muscles and even his heart and especially his emotions. So how do you parent a child with such condition, one whose body is frail but with a personality so strong? Sometimes I wish it’s the other way around.

If the tooth extraction went well, as if nothing happened, the recent blood extraction result was the complete opposite. While he seem able to take the pain of the pierce of a needle, we soon found out that Marcus’ dystrophin is leaking wildly relative to normal level, and it is worse than before. In April this year we were looking at 15,000 U/L and in October it has elevated to 30,000 U/L. The normal level is 150-150 units per liter (U/L). It’s that bad and the current dosage of CoQ10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements seem to be of no help. If only there’s a way to patch up this one. This Christmas we all want more than just his two front teeth.

***

We just learned that our version of Mrs. Wilson is sick and in the hospital. Get well soon, from Marcus a.k.a your Dennis The Menace.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (I don’t know if I should be happy to once again skip the opportunity to watch this Everyday I love You movie with wifey.)

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Author: crisn

I'm Cris Nacionales from the Philippines.

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