Thursday, February 24, 2005

Ups and Downs

Melanie continues to mend.  She has trouble breathing through her nose, either because of swelling or the splint in her nose.  We see Dr. Matthews this afternoon for a check-up, maybe he can shed a little light.  I continue to torture her several times a day with saline irrigation and aspiration.  Amazing how forgiving she is.  One minute she's madder than heck at me, and the next she is clinging to my neck.  Maybe she thinks the "bad" lady who squirts stuff up her nose is different from the "good" lady who holds her afterwards.  I have noticed that her temper tantrums have increased in intensity since last week; the slightest thing will set her off.  For heaven's sake, do you blame her?  She has been sleeping well, in spite of her breathing difficulties.  Last night it was after 10 before she finally dropped off, but then treated me this morning to sleeping in until 9:40.  After I got the kids off to school, I ran back to bed and got in my necessary REM sleep.  Aaaahhhh.

We've booked a house on the Outer Banks for spring break.  We've never been before, although Colin went last year for his 8th grade trip.  He'll be the appointed tour guide.  I know it won't be tropical warm, but I kinda like the beach in cooler weather, and I won't be forced to cram my winter body into a bathing suit.  Perfect!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Mending Quite Well, Thank You

Melanie continues to amaze.  Last night she slept from about 10-2, took some motrin, then continued to sleep until 8:30 this morning.  David and I feel refreshed and recharged.  Today she's eating applesauce and some chicken soup.  I have to irrigate and suction her nose several times a day, which she hates me for, but seems to forgive and forget pretty easily.  Has to be done.  When she is medicated she is as active as ever, but every few hours or so she'll start acting whiney, so we'll pop in the analgesics and she's right as rain.  I can only imagine an adult having had what she has had done.  Heck, I'd still be in bed moaning and milking it for all I've got! 

I am still amazed at what Dr. Matthews has done.  She looks so different with a perky little nose.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Best Care Anywhere...

We're home ... I'm too tired to be witty and glib ... so I'll just leave you with some pictures from today.  No sleep last night so I'm pretty wiped out.  Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!!

I will say that when Dr. Matthews came in this morning, we all got a look inside Melanie's mouth.  AMAZING!  She has a perfectly formed, beautiful palate!  I asked him, "How did you do that?" and he smiled, and said, "That's why you came back to me!"  Heh heh.  After all this, I really like him a lot. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Did You Get the Number of the Bus that Hit You?

Just a very short note to say all went well with Melanie.  Here is the text of a note I sent out.

Melanie was in surgery for almost 3 hours.  Dr. Matthews fixed her palate and also did a little realignment work on her nose.  She woke up with something called a "tongue stitch" which is what it sounds like, so they can pull her tongue forward if her airway gets obstructed.  So I jokingly said that at the ripe old age of two, Melanie has had a nose job and a tongue piercing!!  Ha ha!

  Seriously though ... She was thrashing around a good bit when we first saw her in recovery, but overall hasn't been too agitated.  She also has something called a nasal retainer, which is a splint of sorts inside her nose to keep the cartilage straight.  It will be in for about a month.  Her face is pretty bruised and swollen, but she's been drinking apple juice and eating yogurt.  When I left David at the hospital this afternoon to meet the other kids after school, she was snoozing on his lap comfortably.  They are very attentive with the meds, so she doesn't seem to be in too much pain.  It's amazing how different she looks, already!!  She has a cute little pug nose and perfectly round little nostrils ... Dr. Matthews is a magician.   Thanks again for all the prayers.  We should be coming home tomorrow!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Finally ...

Melanie's surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday, the 16th of Feb.  While I'm glad it's finally on the calendar, I was a little taken aback at how soon it is!  Guess that's the best way ... no sitting around worrying week after week; just full speed ahead.  I just worry about how this will change our little routine, and how it will affect Melanie the Happy Child.  We'll just have to wait and see, and take the challenges as they come!

It's supposed to take a couple of hours, then an overnight in the hospital.  He says that he doesn't see a lot of patients with a lot of pain; I'm hoping that's the case with us. 

Not much other news, other than I have the granddaddy of all colds right now and feel miserable.  Kids have been out of school yesterday and today and I've been shuttling them to playdates and various places.  I'm tired ... want to find a hot water bottle and go to bed.  C'est la vie!

Saturday, February 5, 2005

The Big Bang Theory

I write the "Big Bang Theory" because I imagine that's what happened.  There was a wonderful galaxial convergence, all was well, and then KAPOW everything was reduced to cosmic dust.  Right at the apex of my joy over everything at University Oral Surgery ... and in the middle of putting 5 kids to bed Thursday night, the phone rings, and it's Dr. Rider.  (Dr. Rider is the orthodontist who works with Dr. M.)  I had called his office and Dr. M's to tell them we would be using a different practice because of everything that has been going on.  Dr. Rider proceeded to tell me I was doing Melanie a big disservice; that Dr. M. was the best at what he does, world renowned, etc., etc., even implying that they might do her more harm than good (imagine!)  Of course I was completely hit from left field with this, and, like the girl I am, was in tears before the conversation was over.  He told me that Dr. M. does hundreds of palate repairs every year, and people come to him from South America, etc. and University maybe does 1-2 palates a year.

At first I was angry at being put on the spot, and outraged at the arrogance ... but now I see that what Dr. Rider said is true.  Dr. M. actually called me the next day and I laid it all out for him.  I told him about the messages that were not returned, the lack of information, the delays ... and he apologized profusely.  He told me he never got my messages, was angry that his staff never called me back.  He is in the process of moving to a new office, and things are just in turmoil.  Sooo ....

I suppose we are back to square one.  I know it sounds crazy ... I never asked University how many palate repairs they actually do yearly ... as wonderful as they all were, my conscience just won't let me give Melanie anything but the best.  I'm just so angry and embarrassed.  Of course.  And feeling awkward.  I never thought that this would play out so crazily.  It's awful.  The actual surgery will be easier than this was.

David is in New Orleans, so there were several cell phone calls between here and there ... one from the plane that had just landed in N.O.  I never heard so much hooping & hollering on a plane!  Apparently it was filled with college kids heading to Mardi Gras ... wahoo!

Then I woke up this morning to a freezing cold downstairs .. the heater has gone out in the night!  Wait... was that an iceberg?  When it rains it pours.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Full Court Press

Here is a link to the guys at University Oral Surgery ... they are awesome, awesome, awesome.  I am way past pumped:

Dr. Spagnoli sat down with us for almost an hour, telling me about their philosophy in approaching cleft palate repairs: the bottom line is there are no prima donnas in their practice, and the child is the star.  The parent is part of the team, and will sit in on any meetings the team has. 

After looking at Melanie and talking about her history, he sped out the door to the appointments desk, and in a few short minutes I had dates with a speech pathologist, ENT (to check her hearing and to determine if she will need PE tubes), orthodontist (to take the barbaric metal bar out of her mouth) and we were put on the schedule for the Feb. 18 cleft team meeting at their office.  He said time is of the essence, as 15 months is the cut-off for beginning speech therapy for optimum results.  But it's not too late for Melanie .. we just need to get it done.  THIS is the concern and understanding that I have been looking for.

The ENT is the same one who did Lisa's surgery back in September.  And who did David's nose surgery back a few years.  Great guy.

I walked into the office for the appointment, and their receptionist used to work for our dentists here in Huntersville.  I almost gave her a hug in my euphoria about the "signs" that I have been getting about this being the right place for us.

So .. we have a busy couple of weeks ahead of us!  In the meantime, Melanie has come down with her first cold ... she is running like a faucet, combined with the drooling from the appliance in her mouth ... well, I don't have to paint you a picture.  Quentin has been sick all week too with a flu-like thing, and Lisa is hacking her head off.  I made an executive decision to cancel our trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and David is flying down there solo.  I think it's best for everyone ... including me.  I had nightmare visions of needing a doctor in the middle of New Orleans ... not going there.