After working full time in social media for the past five months, there’s many things I’ve learned. One of the most important is that statistics (snore) matter. In business, bosses don’t care about the emotion of an article. They, themselves, get emotional over hits! And memes that go viral! And… all that stuff I don’t really care about.
I’m an old fashioned girl. I like blogs. I like conversations. I like sitting on the porch with my cup of Yuban and chatting with the neighbors who happen to come by walking their new dog.
That said, I also care about you folk. And… taking a hint from the hand that feeds me these days… I decided to check out what blogs did best on my site. Lo and behold, the posts that spoke to tic suppressants, cures and fix-its (like this post on mouth pieces – the Land Slide Winner by far) do best!
And so, while I know you are all grateful to have a mama bear in your court, fighting tics one day at a time, here is another post that speaks to answers. A lovely dad, Alan, was gracious enough to write me. Subsequently, he agreed to answer some of my questions. Please feel free to ask him more! He will answer as many as he can. (Here is another article he wrote over at Latitudes.)
1. How old was your son when he saw Dr. Sims? (Spelling to be double checked)
My son was 11 when he saw Dr. Lockerman. Dr. Lockerman is based in Worcester, MA. Wyatt was Dr. Lockerman’s first Tourette’s patient. We had been in touch with Dr. Sims and Dr. Stack. I had emailed Dr. Stack when Dr. Lockerman was there learning about the appliance.
2. What were his symptoms?
We first noticed tics when he was about 6. Eye blinking was the first tic.
3. On a scale of 1 – 10, how severe were they?
Of course, they waxed and waned. In general, his tics were a 2-3. But occasionally they could be an 8. Those periods would last about two weeks. Those were hard for us.
4. How much did tics impact him socially and academically?
Not much of a social or academic impact. Children would ask questions when he tics were bad. He was not open to talking about it. There was some occasional mild teasing. Except for a day or two, it did not effect his academics.
5. What did you try before the mouthpiece?
Fish oil, eliminated gluten, diary, eggs, and other food items, Guanfacine (still takes), another pharmaceutical (don’t remember what), and above all else Brain Balance.
6.Were you skeptical of the mouthpiece working?
I was optimistic.
7. Were you concerned with paying a consulting fee before going to see the doctor? (Or maybe you didn’t. Dr. Stack wanted to charge me $150 or something for a half hour phone deal.)
I’m not sure that there was a fee. I would have paid it in a heartbeat. I was desperate.
8. Did you have to travel?
Only about an hour
9. If you were traveling to see the doctor, how did you do the adjustments?
10. You said your son’s tics didn’t go down right away. Were you nervous about that?
Yes, I was a little nervous. But I was optimistic. There was at least a small immediate improvement. And Wyatt was clear that it made him feel better. He said he wasn’t suppressing tics as much.
11. What’s the difference between the tongue depressors and the appliance?
The tongue depressors serve as an indicator that the treatment will be effective. If you put tongue depressors in yours’ or your child’s mouth and the tics improve, then that is a strong indication that the therapy will work. It is worth noting though, that when I put tongue depressors in Wyatt’s mouth, they did not help. When Dr. Lockerman put them in Wyatt’s mouth and instructed him on how to bite down, it did help. So people shouldn’t rule out the treatment just because the tongue depressors don’t work. It’s not that simple. Luckily, a mother whose son benefits from a mouthpiece made by Dr. Demersian (sp?) impressed that point upon me.
12. Will he ever NOT have to wear the appliance? I hear the appliance is cumbersome.
The appliance is somewhat cumbersome. But Wyatt did get used to it. His speech adjusted. But he can’t eat with it. That makes him more prone to losing it. I’ve had to search through garbage cans a couple of time. He lost it once and we had to get a replacement.
He is now done with the mouthpiece. He is moving on to braces. I am anxious about what will happen now. The mouthpiece broke about a week ago. When it broke before, Dr. Lockerman made a replacement. Two days ago, Dr. Lockerman told us that he can’t fix it because Wyatt mouth has grown. He could see that in how it affected the mouthpiece. The mold would no longer fit him. We could start over again. But all along, Dr. Lockerman had been telling us that braces will be the next stage. I could get another mouthpiece, but Wyatt is ready for braces. In fact, he needs them. So we’ve had to select the right orthodontist. Ideally, you would use a “functional” orthodontist. Those are hard to find. There don’t seem to be any in my area. I have hired a highly regarded orthodontist who is intellectually curious and wants to help. He will consult with Dr. Stack on Wyatt’s case.
13. Do the tics go away now without the appliance?
Wyatt can go a few weeks without the mouthpiece without a major increase in tics. He’s been without it now for a week. I’ve seen him tic about three or four times.
* Photo of my son eating Chili Cheese fries from the Frosty Queen while my daughter has ballet practice. Yes, the fries have dairy. Yes, the potatoes are not GMO free and are likely loaded with arsenic. I blame Frosty Queen for my son’s spikes in tics. In fact, let’s just blame Frosty Queen for Tourettes in general!
And yet, I also must give Frosty Queen a lot of credit for the joy my kid gets during our occasional jaunts there. And, well, I get quite a bit of joy myself. As we sit under the “Magic Forest” – a canopy of trees – we lean the seats back and chat back and forth about Pokemon, Bey Blades, difficult teachers, loyal friends and rehabilitated pit bull puppies. Occasionally he slips it in that I’m still his best llama mama. As his feet and afro threaten to take over the universe, I’m still honored to take his paws in mine and know that this kid is mine.