He has had an expander before when he was about 4, but part had sunken back in. He does not like the expander, his mouth hurts after I crank it, but I don't remember it bothering him when he was little, so hopefully as his surgery heals it will hurt less. Not sure how long he needs to wear it, hopefully only a few weeks, but he has quite a few teeth that need to fit in there that are currently wrapped inside along his former cleft at the roof of his mouth.
|Sorry for the gory bloody teeth, but this was when he was waking up and wanted a picture of the inside of his mouth.|
Cooper's anesthesiologist was a hoot. He made sure that there was no one in the hallway so that he could race Cooper's bed down the hall like it was an emergency. He also heard that Cooper had asked if I could video his falling asleep. I told him no because I wasn't allowed in the OR, but this guy said, well, we can video it for you. So, I handed over my cell phone. The anesthesiologist gives the thumbs up at the end. They gave it back as soon as they were done and it made me happy to see how excited Cooper was for the whole deal. (Little did he know...)
So, I think this was his 10th surgery. By my count:
Lip repair at 3 months
Plate to cover cleft placed at 6 mos
Plate Re-inserted after Cooper swallowed the nails that held it in, 7 mos. (They gave up when he swallowed the nails a second time and just left it open and pushed up his cleft repair)
Cleft repair 10? mos.
Ear tubes replaced.
Rib graft/rhinoplasty (nose job) age 6
Bone graft from hip to fill in bone in his cleft age 7
Heavy duty eartubes plus adenoidectomy age 7 (the adenoids were pushing on his ears all this time, so hopefully that's the end of that. This surgery prompted Luke's tonsil/adenoidectomy. Awesome.)
Cheekbone-chotomy buttress expander age 9
He also had stitches at the back of his head this year from being hit with a broomstick-swinging-brother, but didn't go under for that one. Has also broken his arm and sprained his ankle. Bring on the football! As he says, why should he care about a little pain?
Since I got the kids' new pictures, we took out the old pictures from the frames and washed the glass. Here is Cooper's progression. (The baby shots are in a different frame.)
While at the hospital, I saw this framed on the wall:
It is not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy!
I totally agree, so as a family this month we are keeping a gratitude journal, but I started a little early for Cooper to help him focus on the positive. One of his favorite blessings of note was that his buddy Ethan came to "visit" him, fairly formally, after church on Sunday with a half gallon of vanilla ice cream tucked under his arm like a box of chocolates and a board game in his other arm. His mom warned me he was coming, but he was so serious and sincere at the door that it brought a little tear to my eye.
Cooper only had to miss one day of school, and very serendipitous timing, got a football helmet to wear for Halloween. That helmet is basically his ticket to outside recess because it is protecting his swollen cheek, so he has been wearing it all week. He has also been getting medicine (antibiotics) visits from his mom at school and also packing soup in a thermos because he's supposed to be on liquids for a while. Thank goodness for the best clam chowder recipe ever. Seriously.
While we were at the hospital one of our friends was also there with round five of chemo with her teenage daughter. I also had a doctor ask me if I was nervous and I said, "I have a heart baby. This surgery is like a bubble bath for me." We are so grateful for this very little trial that we have and so proud of Cooper's patience and strength. Hopefully ten is our lucky number!