Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June Allie Update

Allie had two operations this month. The first one was oral. She had four teeth pulled and and all of her molars ground down and crowned in silver. She also had a follow up operation from last years hip operation leaving her in a swash brace.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good Morning

We play this video every on my iPhone when Allie wakes up.


I expected to have a dreadful weekend.

This past Tuesday Allie had a follow up operation on her hips. Last year she had corrective surgery on her hips that involved breaking and repositioning her right and left femurs. Hardware was installed to reinforce the new position of her bones. This week, that hardware was removed.

Allie also had her muscles lengthened as part of the hip surgery last year. Her adductors, hamstrings, and Achilles were all lengthened which involves slicing the muscles and then setting the legs in a cast in a position where the muscles would heal stretched. It's pretty radical surgery. Allie was in a cast shaped like an "A" frame for six weeks. She incurred two serious infections. Her scheduled 3 day hospital stay stretched into 8 days. And she was in more pain when the cast was cut off than she was in six weeks of wearing it. It was a brutal three month ordeal.

So we looked forward to this week with dread for quite some time. Allie's adductors (the muscles used to open her legs) once again needed to be lengthened. Once again Allie has incisions in her hips and groin. And today is her fourth birthday. We didn't schedule any festivities because we didn't think she'd be ready for it.

But we were wrong. Allie is recovering amazingly well. She is a phenomenal little kid. She has stitches where she was sliced and had screws and clamps removed. But if you were to ask her, she'd tell you it was no big deal. Three weeks ago she had outpatient oral surgery that was much more traumatic for her.

We should have scheduled a birthday party. But hospital stays always bring such a cloud of gloom into our lives that we never consider hopeful possibilities. Thankfully, Allie doesn't think that way. She's inclined to be happy regardless. I get so caught up in feeling sorry for her (and for me) that I forget to expect God to do the unexpected. But maybe Allie remembers and maybe I need to learn a lesson from her.

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Use it or lose it

This is the last picture of Allie with teeth. We spent the day at the hospital today while Allie had oral surgery. A few weeks ago we took Allie in to see the dentist. Her teeth were getting bad despite regular brushing and very, very few sweets. Or so we thought. We shared a Starbucks brownie with Allie once every two months. That's it. But she takes medicines several times daily mixed in sweet syrup. We were also giving her rice milk.

It turns out that the real culprit is her diet of puried foods. Due to brain damage sustained from shaken baby syndrome, she does not have the motor capability to chew food. The result is soft, weak and decaying teeth.

The dentist we visited a couple of weeks ago examined and cleaned her teeth. Allie needed a ton of work done. But he said that her teeth were not as bad as he expected.

Since Allie has cerebral palsey, it's not practical to do the work the conventional way a section at a time. It's better to do all the work at once. For that, we were referred to a dentist that operates on kids while under anesthesia. He gets all the work done at once in under an hour while the kid is knocked out. Today was the day Allie had the work done.

Since our examining dentist said her teeth weren't as bad as he expected, you can imagine our shock when the nurse came out of the operating room to inform us that four of Allie's top front teeth had to be pulled and eight of her teeth had to he crowned. That leaves her with a tiny row of six of her own teeth in the front on the bottom and two canines on the top. The back of her mouth is filled with silver. The front top is all gums until her permanent teeth come in.

It was heartbreaking to see her when they allowed me back into the recovery room. Her mouth and nose were bloody and she was wailing. But she stopped almost instantly when I scooped her up and held her closely to my chest.

God designed our bodies wonderfully. In our mothers' wombs he knit us together the psalmist David wrote. Using what God gives us makes us stronger, fit and correctly formed. When what we have is not used or is rendered nonfunctional, we are in danger of losing it. This is something we learned a year ago when Allie had to have hip surgery. Hip sockets are formed while the child learns to waddle then walk then run. If legs are not used, their growth is stunted; deformed.

Use it or lose it. That used to be cliche. Now it's sad reality.

Or is God using this to strengthen other things in us; areas of our minds and bodies that would be neglected if life were "normal" or easy. I can see areas of Allie's life being strong where the same areas in my life are neglected and atrophied.

Use it or lose it.

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