Thursday 9 October 2014

Check up

A few weeks ago we took Jake back to St. Thomas' hospital for his grand check up.

The difference between a regular doctor or hospital appointment and one of these days is pretty big; as we had 7 people or groups of people to see there were obviously going to be periods of waiting but we never waited more than 5 minutes and there were some gaps between appointments when we didn't even get to sit down. Impressive.

Firstly we saw the speech guy, then the psychology team, next we saw the hearing specialist, then lunch then the orthodontist, then the research team and finally we saw them all together. There's not much to say other than he aced the lot and they were all very happy with his progress and see nothing to worry about. The update is really that Jake's teeth about a year ahead of schedule in terms of development; that's not a good or a bad thing, it's just a thing but it means that his bone graft op is potentially next year. NEXT YEAR! I can remember writing on here years ago about how we could forget about the next op as it was so far off in the future and all of sudden it's within sight. Whilst it won't be very nice for any of us, it needs to happen and will mark the next stage of Jake's transition from being born with a cleft to having no gaps left at all.

The thing about the day which was most impressive was that, after seeing all of the professionals separately, we then saw them immediately as a group. It was them showing us that this was a team who all know and communicate with each other because they're here for our son. They genuinely care about seeing a child through its development to ensure that the thing it was born with through no fault of its (or our) own affects it as little as possible. And that's why the NHS is so brilliant, especially when it comes to children. We really had nothing to say to them (other than 'thanks') as the cleft or repaired cleft just doesn't affect us; the day before last this post went viral on facebook showing a baby with a bilateral (both sides) cleft lip and it was posted by a proud aunty who was saying she didn't care what people said or thought but she was proud of her beautiful nephew. As you'd expect, given that most humans are good people, the empathy and support was all positive but some of the comments showed pictures of teenagers with clefts and how they were fine and had had good lives, and there was one which showed a kid (maybe 9 or 10 years old) in a Clapa tshirt at a Clapa event. Really, I don't get it. Let me clarify, they're obviously an excellent charity and if I ever get round to running a marathon, they'll be a beneficiary but these events serve several different purposes but one unintended I'm sure, will be to show all the kids that they're different from other kids. By definition, they're there because they were born with the one thing everyone says won't be a problem and yet we group them all together to show how it's not a problem. I'm prone to over thinking things and maybe they get together because the parents got into Clapa at the beginning and made friends but it's not for me. The other thing could be of course, that we've not encountered any of the psychology side yet; I'm told kids start making fun of each other based on differences to appearance around the age of eight so maybe this blog will report differently in two years' time.

For now, all I can tell you is that when I tuck Jake in at night, I tell him he's my best friend and he tells me I'm his and that's completely brilliant.

I tell Freddie that too and sometimes he says it back. We're working on it.