Thursday, March 23, 2006

UNC-Chapel Hill

So Melanie and I took off for Chapel Hill Sunday evening.  It's about a 2 hour drive, and all we had to do was go to bed when we got there, so I wasn't in a big hurry to leave.  She slept for a while, but when we found the hotel and settled in, she went right to bed.  I slept fitfully, worried that I would miss the TWO wake up calls that I set.  We got up, ate breakfast and set out to find the hospital.  There is a lot of construction going on there, and I got lost a couple of times.  I'm so afraid that Melanie's first audible word will be $%&*#!!!! 

Finally got there ... that day we met with a speech pathologist, social worker, audiologist and a geneticist.  We had to tromp about 10 miles among several buildings in the UNC hospitals complex to see each specialist, not to mention 20 miles from the parking garage (haven't I told you a zillion times not to exaggerate?), and the stroller was no use at all, since it was LEFT AT HOME!  It was like herding cats ... Melanie was all over the place.  I also had packed a bag of stuff to entertain her with in our down times, and it weighed a ton and a half.  Did I mention that it was HOT that day?  83 degrees! 

We were done by mid-afternoon, and after a short nap (me) and a movie (Mel) we set out to find a Target in Durham, where I bought a stroller!  (Only $9.95 mind you!)  We also found a really cool mall (Southpoint) and moseyed around there for a while.  But I was too tired to really enjoy it, and we were back at the hotel fairly early.

Tuesday we were up at the dawn of crack, and back at the hospital (much easier to find this time).  That morning it was RAINING and the umbrella was of course of no use, because it too was AT HOME with the stroller.  I am a genius at preparation.  But dammit, I did have a stroller!  Unfortunately, all our appointments were in one building this time!  Sheesh ... my middle name must be Murphy.

We saw a plastic surgeon, oral-maxillofacial surgeon (try saying that three times real fast), orthodontist, pediatric dentist, psychologist, and some other "ists" that I can't really remember right now.  The bottom line is that all these folks are a "team" that will care for Melanie over the next several years.  Right now there are no major procedures looming in the near future for her.  We still go to speech therapy a million times a week (there I go again) and actually I am seeing some progress in that department.  Yesterday when she woke up from her nap, I heard her say, "I'M AWAKE!"  She will need bone graft surgery when her permanent teeth start coming in, to close the gap in her upper jaw bone.  Some cosmetic stuff when she hits teenage years, and possibly a palate lengthening procedure if her speech doesn't develop as we hope.  I should get a long letter from the team in a couple of weeks with their long-term recommendations.  We will see the Chapel Hill team annually, unless there is anything planned in the meantime.  I was very impressed with their whole operation .. they have been doing this for a long time and are the "Go-To" folks in the Carolinas, and beyond. 

We got home Tuesday around 4, I dumped Melanie off with her dad, and went to Hopewell for a parent meeting for Colin's Japanese class.  His teacher is planning an exchange program with a high school in Nagoya next spring, and perhaps bringing some kids here.  We'll be hosting of course!  Colin now speaks more Japanese than I ever did ... I hinted to Mr. Novitt that I was willing to go along as a parent volunteer!!  Don't know if he took me seriously .. but I am!

I think I hear my wake-up call from Melanie's room ... time to make the donuts!

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