Just over a week ago a new toothbrush arrived at the castle. This one didn’t belong to a new support worker – it was for me. And for a variety of reasons (excuses) it’s taken me a while to get round to using it.
But last night there were no excuses left, so with Will’s help I tried it out for the first time.
I’ll start at the beginning. I’ve got fairly rubbish teeth, not helped by the fact that over the last few years I’ve found brushing them increasingly tricky because of my arm tics.
Up until about six years ago I used an electric toothbrush which I knew did a much better job than a normal one. But as I found it harder and harder to control my arms, using a heavy electric brush became dangerous. So I went back to a lighter, safer manual brush.
Despite the fact that I have someone who helps me every morning and every evening I’ve always insisted on brushing my own teeth, even though I’m not great at it and frequently clean my face, my forehead and my clothes in the process. Whenever I’ve had help with brushing it’s never felt quite right so I’ve clung on to doing it myself.
But a few weeks ago it stuck me that it’d be better for my teeth if I had help using an electric toothbrush, rather than using an ordinary toothbrush myself without help. Obvious I know but there you are. I checked with the dentist and they confirmed my theory.
When the new brush arrived, I kept putting off taking the plunge. In addition to its weight I knew I’d find the vibrating sensation overwhelming.
So finally, with Will’s support, I finally got stuck in this evening. He started by familiarising himself with how the toothbrush worked. The sound of it immediately overexcited me massively, so I put on my ear defenders and they helped a great deal.
I held the brush and then Will held my hand and arm firmly, absorbing every rogue movement. The vibration was intense and I struggled with this even more than I’d anticipated, but I persevered and my teeth felt a lot cleaner when I’d finished.
I’m sure it’ll get easier as I get used to it, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to do it entirely by myself. This is clearly a situation where clinging onto a specific idea of independence is a mistake. Asking for and accepting help will be much better for my teeth… and for my forehead!
Welcome to my routine, electric toothbrush.