The Tuesday before last Anna had another surgery. Her last two surgeries (adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy) were in preparation for this one. It is called a pharangyeal flap. Basically, part of the back of the throat is cut and flapped upward to be part of the palate. Most kids with complete cleft palates do not have long enough palates for good speech and this surgery extends their palates. It is a little bit frightening, truth be told.
She actually likes the idea of surgery each time, the attention, the popcicles. She does not remember the pain. I think this time may be different.
They tie her tongue to her cheek with a string to keep her airway open and so she had to have splints on her arms in recovery to keep her from pulling on the string. Once she was awake they cut the string and took off the splints.
She has had a crying period in the afternoon of every surgery. I think it is the anesthesia wearing off. But this surgery was coupled with difficult breathing due to swelling so she was also scared. They gave her morphine to calm her down. She had to have her oxygen levels monitored the first twenty four hours.
The next day she was in better spirits.
At home her breathing was so loud when she slept it was scary. She would whimper and try to get comfortable and I was worried that she was not getting enough air. I slept with her the first 8 days. But gradually, her breathing has improved. She seems less irritable and more rested in the mornings. We will not know for awhile whether her surgery was a complete success. Her speech is definitely better but she will have to be watched for sleep apnea for a whole year.