Wednesday 29 September 2010

Piet Haers sign off, speech and what's next

I can't believe where the last year went. It only seems like yesterday I was writing here that Prof Haers had given the cleft palate repair the O.K and told us not to come back for a year. Since then, we've had just one trip back to the hospital for the initial speech assessment six months ago.

Clare took Jake to see Piet Haers last week for the yearly check up and then afterwards back to the speech team to see what progress has been made in the intervening six months.

Piet is pleased with how things have gone. It seems ages ago that I wrote about the 18 month period between the cleft lip repair operation and when the scar has finished settling. Anyway this is now the end of the 18 month period and to be honest I'd completely forgotten about it. So, basically his lip is now in the shape it'll always be, it'll just get bigger as the rest of him does. To my surprise Piet said that Jake will need another operation. Well he didn't say need, he said that Jake would probably want to have had another operation if he didn't. I'm fine about where his lip's ended up, but there is something Elvis-like about it. Not completely perfect but it's him now, his little thing. However it's one thing for me to think it's cute and quite another from Jake's point of view when he goes to school. There's the bigger picture to consider here, like the one where other kids will pick on even the slightest difference to gain playground kudos. Whether it's glasses, a big nose, a birthmark, having two dads etc, they'll use it to their advantage. So I guess a quick revision will be worth it. I'm also quite pleased that the main man thinks he can improve it. The day after his first operation, stitches aside, the lip was perfect. Over the last year and half the scar has retracted a bit, hence the slight curl. Obviously another trip to St. Thomas' doesn't fill us with excitement but it ought to be an in and out job, coming home the same day. Besides, he won't have it until he's four so it's all healed in time for his first day at school.

Over the last 6 months, we've obviously heard a marked improvement in Jake's speech and he has understanding of hundreds of words and will attempt to say them all too. Naturally some words come far more easily than others but I'm not sure how much of that is to do with the cleft and how much is to do with his only being 24 months old.

Either way, as predicted, he said virtually nothing at the speech session. He did make enough noise however for the therapist to seem pleased. The noises she could detect were being made with the front of the mouth and this is a good sign. 'P's, 'B's, and 'T's are the ones which cleft palate affected kids can struggle with so to hear they're pleased with how he's doing on those is great news.

After a long 7 month wait, our house renovations are almost complete. I obviously bored you with stories of the kitchen but have kept my silence as regards the rest since I swapped the mundane stuff over to the other James Fernie blog. Anyway the loft ought to be ready for habitation in another two weeks. I've said that exact line probably four times over the last two months but these things always take longer than anticipated. We were going to use the new room as our bedroom but really it's not big enough to accommodate our massive bed. It's a shame as we've suffered all the disruption, dust and endless streams of tradesman in the house for most of the year. So we've decided that it will firstly be the spare room; perfect for guests as our spare bed (currently in Jake's room) is a more modest 4 foot 6 and there's the new bathroom up there as well for their privacy. When in the future, hopefully, a little brother or sister arrives for Jake, we'll move him up there (again perfect for him to have his own bathroom) and stick the baby and spare bed back in what is currently Jake's bedroom.

There, I bet you're glad that's sorted!

Till next time....