Steve has been a busy Daddy this week and I think that all of Sasha's pre-surgery appointments are now done!
Yesterday was Sasha's assessment at with the speech therapist. Steve said that he really liked the therapist, especially because she was clearly very familiar with the specific challenges of cleft palate kids. I was hoping for some kind of rating (the perfectionist in me comes out!) so I could say that Sasha rated a 258 (not sure what that would be out of, it just sounds like a nice number), but apparently this therapist isn't going to appease my need to be graded. (Lisa Simpson: Look at me! Grade me! Evaluate and rank me! I'm good, good, good and oh so smart! [drops to her knees] Grade meeeeee!!)
The speech therapist confirmed our belief that Sasha's comprehension is progressing well. She understands simple commands and sentences and responds appropriately. The therapist didn't seem too worried about Sasha's limited vocabulary, especially since she can't physically make a lot of sounds yet. Once Sasha has fully healed (around 3 months after surgery), we'll go back to the therapist and start work in earnest. Until then the therapist gave us some materials and ideas to work on but we're not supposed to push Sash to make certain "plosive" consonant sounds (like "t" or "k") until then because the pressure apparently could mess with the sutures. Crazy, eh?
Then today Sasha met with the Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist who confirmed our suspicions that Sasha should have ear tubes. Sasha's ears aren't draining correctly, which is pretty common with her condition, and can interfere with her hearing. We haven't been able to get a really good hearing test done with Sasha, but the results of a test that they did at Primary Children's where a machine blows a puff of air into her ear to measure how the middle ear reacts was enough to convince the surgeon that she should have tubes put in. The procedure is called a tympanostomy tube surgery and you can read about it here.
Apparently Sasha's ears are draining so poorly that - get this - the doc could tell that she drinks a lot of milk because there's milk in her middle ear! Ick! Yeah, that was all the persuading I needed to go for the tubes.
They'll insert the tubes at the same time as Sasha's cleft surgery - May 13th is going to be one big day for our little girl! We've been getting a lot of great advice about the surgery fro other parents and it sounds like the first few days of recovery are going to be really hard. She'll probably stay in the hospital for a day or two until she starts drinking (in our craniofacial doctor's words, they could release her, but we'd just be back in the hospital the next day with a dehydrated kid because she's too miserable to drink) and then most families say that their kids are pretty out of it and clingy for up to a week. Depending on what our doctor thinks, she may have to wear arm restraints for up to a month to keep her fingers out of her mouth, which sounds miserable to me but certainly better than messed up stitches. So we're trying to prepare ourselves for a pretty challenging month while hoping for the best from our amazingly resilient little girl. We know this is the right thing to do... but it's going to be hard!