Friday, 29 May 2009

The cleft palate repair

I was kind of putting this one off but it's looming. Jake's lip repair operation seems a long time ago now, back when he was still really small. Now he's got a full head of hair, happy standing up (with some help!), sort of cruising, eating loads and making 'mamamamamamama' sounds every day. This is much more like taking a little boy to have his tonsils out, only quite a bit more involved.

I must have read virtually everything the Internet has to say on clefts and their repairs but the science still does my head in. I'm a bit squeamish so anything anyone does to someone else's body in terms of making them better astounds me, I just couldn't do it. So, given that these people exist (and thank God they do), I'm just so impressed that they're so driven to doing it well and improving their skills and helping the medical community better understand in order to advance their area of expertise.

Just reading it makes my eyes hurt so please never give me a scalpel.

I researched the lip repair and because it's soft and malleable I kind of understand how they are able to unhook the bits which went in the wrong direction and sew them up but the palate repair operation seems a much more unlikely task.

I also worry that we don't know everything. Before the lip operation we were told about the success rates and how unlikely revisions would be but then we saw people in the hospital waiting for revision ops. I wonder if there is anything we should know but don't. I hope not. We're seeing Ann when we get back from holiday and she'll explain more about the process and I can hopefully blog it in plain English.

It sounds obvious but I hope it goes well, I hope he doesn't suffer too much and that the pain isn't unbearable. It is heart breaking to see anyone you love in pain let alone a 9 month old baby. He's going to have to wear gloves to stop him effectively unzipping the repair which has been know to happen. Gloves are a problem though as Jake learned how to take off his sleep mits about 10 minutes after he put them on! Apparently Gap socks secured with tape will do the trick. I can just imagine how much he's going to enjoy wearing socks on his hands in the middle of summer - talk about how to confuse someone.

So it seems further away than it is because we have a holiday to go on and enjoy before then but the second we get back it'll be our focus. He doesn't know anything about it obviously and all of a sudden we have to make that horrible journey back to hospital. I'm dreading seeing the 'why?' look in his little eyes when we have to leave in him the theatre room again but we'll have to be strong and we'll get through it because that's what people do. It's called 'manning up' or something. Personally I'd rather fast forward the next month (apart from the holiday) and wake up in the middle of July.

Here's a picture on the palate and what's going to happen to it. And if you're having trouble sleeping, this article on Craniofacial, Cleft Palate Repair is the number one organic search result when you Google 'cleft palate repair surgery'

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