Thursday, August 2, 2012

Post Procedure Confirmation

I didn't talk about the trip to the dentist for over a week. To anyone.  Daddy and I didn't even talk about it, and spent the week fighting nasty fights spurred by guilt and anxiety.

The revision site for Big Sis does not go between her teeth, and the muscle is still very obvious there.  I was worried that the surgery did not release enough of her lip, and that the surgery was incomplete.  The photos included in Dr. Kotlow's literature show revision between the teeth with severe lip tie.  How was I to find out if the surgery was complete or not?

Big Sis Before
Big Sis After
As for Ellie, obviously hers was not complete.  Now what?  Could I seriously take her anywhere except for someone who would put her under general anesthesia? We can't mess around. She will now need to see either Dr. James Jesse in L.A., or Dr. Kotlow in NY, but neither of them use general anesthesia.  We can NOT allow another event like this.  Will we ever get her into a dentist chair again?

Ellie Before
Ellie After
Over a week later I began to process things with a friend.  She suggested emailing Dr. Kotlow about the procedures, and ask him the questions directly.  Was Big Sis' procedure complete?  Would he recommend just doing a general anesthesia with Ellie considering her history and this experience?  So I did.  I sent the before and after pictures, along with a very brief email.  I purposefully left out the name of the dentist who we saw. I have no desire to bash him publically or appear as if that was my motive.  And at one point the receptionist had said she knew Dr. Kotlow personally, so I really did not want to bring that up.

The following morning my phone rang, and when I answered it I heard "Hello, this is Dr. Larry Kotlow in Albany, New York." Say WHAT? That caught me off guard. WOW!  We chatted. Actually, I mostly just listened.

Confirmed: Dr. Kotlow would have cut between her teeth and saved her the complication of additional orthodontics in the future.  Not all dentists do this.  He is not concerned about her lip which looks resolved; he is concerned about her teeth. She needs a palate spacer immediately.  It's not too late to go back and finish the procedure.

Confirmed:  The experience with Ellie was set up to fail.  She would have been in the chair for 90 seconds in his office.  He does not recommend nitrous oxide.  He does not recommend valium.  Obviously she still needs the procedure.

I can not explain how grateful I am for that phone call.  The top tongue and lip tie specialist in the world  took the time to call and answer my questions.  This confirmed his rock star status for us.  A doctor who cares about what he does.  Who takes the extra time out of his day incredibly busy day to phone a very upset mama.

Big Sis has recovered nicely.  She still has a little residual anxiety, but the revision site is almost entirely healed and thanks to some homeopathic remedies she had almost no swelling or pain.

Two weeks later and we still have one angry, angry little Ellie on our hands.  I prayed for three days that she would not turn inward like she normally does. On day three she started yelling. And screaming.  And hitting.  And yelling a lot more.  I have spent at least three times every day watching her escalate in frustration over anything or nothing.  Screaming which becomes banging her head, hitting herself, and then rocking her on my lap until her yelling stops and she cries.  And in the middle of it all God is gracious.  I have prayed for two weeks straight - I have begged - that she wouldn't refuse food other than her bottle and clamp her mouth shut permanently, and those prayers were answered.  Instead of regressing she has decided she wants to eat.  For the first time in her life she shows signs of understanding the difference between 'liquid' full and 'solid' full, and is asking to eat bites.  She is eating puree for the first time since she was 10 months old!

As for our next steps, we are looking for a functional orthopedic for Big Sis' palate spacer. And I have no idea how, but it looks like we may need to go to New York.

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