Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Value of the Bands (Post-Surgery Update)

Another title could have been a quote from Anna today:  "It all works out in the end.  It always does."  This after a follow-up visit to the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic this morning.  We ended up being there a lot longer than we thought we would be.  Last week Anna was discouraged about her teeth being banded shut, making eating a real challenge.  She was wishing she could have the bands off.  Today, she discovered the value of the bands that hold everything in place for now.

Somehow, someway, Anna's teeth had shifted.  Could have been during those first twelve hours or so after surgery, which weren't pretty or fun.  (If you are anticipating jaw surgery, you can message me or something if you really want more details.  I won't go into it here.)  That night, Anna said she felt like the bands had stretched and things had shifted.  The nurse attending to Anna did call the residents down, and they assured Anna that the bands were meant to have some "give" to them.  (She had a lot of surgical tape on at the time--I'm not really sure how well any of us really saw Anna's teeth with the restrictions of the tape.) Bottom line is that for the past week, Anna's teeth have been bound in such a way that the lower teeth were not centered, and they were protruding slightly in front of the upper teeth.  I wasn't sure that was right, but figured that the orthodontist would never let Anna's teeth like that and would fix the issue before we are totally done.

Herein lies the true value (what a blessing!) of working with a team of doctors which includes an orthodontist, and they schedule appointments at the Clinic and have members of the team there.

The orthodontist's assistant was the first to really take a good look at Anna's teeth.  She didn't say much, but asked some questions, and went out to talk to the doctors.  After much consultation, she came back and told Anna that she had been told to take Anna's bands off.   She said that she had never removed anyone's bands this early, but the doctors were adamant that Anna could not continue to heal from surgery with her teeth in this position.  As she gently and carefully began removing the bands, Anna was in no way prepared for the waves of extreme pain that she experienced as her teeth were loosened from their restrictions.  The bands were left off while the doctors attended to her (so very compassionate---but we were scrambling for any kind of pain relief at that point.  I had not thought to bring any--wasn't expecting to need any!--, and the office only had liquid Tyenlol for infants---we resorted to using some of that) and then they rebanded her teeth in the correct position.  That brought relief.  We stayed a little, so that the doctors were certain that Anna was okay.  They will see her again in two weeks, and decide then how much longer she needs to keep the bands on.

So even though Anna is not fond of a liquid diet, those restrictions are preferable to the pain she experienced.  (I was thinking that this is a good metaphor for life---how many of us think we want to live without any restrictions at all, not realizing that some of those restrictions are for our good?  That the mess and the pain are extreme?)

I am amazed at the difference that today's adjustments made to Anna's face on the outside.  There is still more swelling to recede, but we can really see some of the differences that this surgery has made.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  Each day has some ups and downs.

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