Yesterday Henry had another surgery, a relatively easy round number five in what may eventually turn out to be at least a ten-round contest. Although it went well it seemed like a longer day than anticipated, starting at the hospital at around 6 am. As usual we doubled up: our oral surgeon removed five misplaced upper teeth and laid in several rows of dental crowns; then another pediatric specialist closed a fairly large abdominal hernia. Between procedures, the cranial facial surgeon who heads our cleft team came in to look over the inside of Henry's repaired palate and nasal area, and plan for the next revisions to his lip and nose. The whole thing took about 4 hours in the operating room.
Henry still looks so little coming out of surgery in post op, still our baby boy. But now when he wakes up he talks, which is both an indicator of how incredibly far he has progressed and a new important voice in the process. Yesterday he opened his eyes, winced as he looked at the big painful intravenous needle sticking into the top of his hand, and said, "Hey, take that out."
We would have been cleared to go home in mid-afternoon but our brave little guy needed just a few extra hours to meet the release requirement of holding down 4 ounces of liquid (probably due to a small amount of blood and mucus that drained to his tummy during the oral surgery). We headed home at around 5 pm. His sisters had a sleepover with friends the night before and they are back home too. Today he is somewhat tender but seemingly none the worse for wear, glad to get back to his little toy trains.
Like Henry's cleft issues, his hernia (a hole in the muscle wall of his lower abdomen) had been a genetic anomaly. The teeth that were pulled had formed in unusual places at the front edge of his homemade hard palate and had rooted abnormally. The teeth themselves were darkened and oddly shaped.
The oral surgeon said with some concern that none of Henry's first teeth have a normal enamel covering, something she said she had never seen to such a degree. Fully formed, they poked through his lower gum line like little stubs. She guessed first that the cause for this might also be genetic but then asked, "Could there possibly have been some nutrition issues in his background?"