It was a painful conversation.
When your fifth grade son came home from school one of the fist days of the new year, he was devastated. He painfully explained how he had been so excited to go visit the music room that day. Excited, that it, until he received the bad news. The band instrument exploration day was something that many students looked forward to. Being sent into the room alphabetically though meant that by the time your son arrived, all of the most popular percussion spots had been snatched up. In fact, by the time your son arrived the only real choices left were for flute or trumpet.
Flutes were for girls, according to your son, and when the visiting band director looked at your son it became pretty evident that the instructor already knew that the trumpet would not work. although your son had learned to live with his cleft palate pretty well, there were still times when it was difficult.
Although the band director let your son try out the trumpet mouthpiece, your son simply could not create the correct embouchure. Try as he might, his cleft palate prevented him from adjusting his mouth into the correct position to get a single sound from the mouthpiece. He was so frustrated at one point that he was even willing to try the flute, that instrument that moments earlier he was certain was only for girls.
Plagued by both the shape of his mouth and the first letter in his last name, your son did not enter the instrument selection room to get a spot with the future percussionists, and as a result, would not be able to leave class a couple of times a week and take lessons with the rest of the kids. He would not, at the end of the year, be one of the performers on stage at the band contest.
It did not seem fair, and you would start him on private percussion lessons so that he could try again for a spot in the middle school band, but for now he was devastated. At the end of the painful conversation, you and your husband again talked about whether or not you had done everything possible to compensate for the cleft palate condition. Was there one more doctor who might have been able to help when you first scheduled the surgery? Was there another specialist you should have visited? Another hospital that could have provided better services?
Childhood Illnesses, Injuries, and Conditions Are Always Difficult to Handle
When you are the parent of a child who is ill, or injured, or has been diagnosed with a medical condition, your heart struggles to handle what your brain is forced to process. You can only hope that you can find the right doctor, the right medicine, the best hospital. From cleft palate repair to common ENT problems, it can seem as if the world stands still when you are worried about your child. Being prepared with all of the right questions, however, can help you more confidently talk to doctors, schedule appointments, and search for the care and the solution that you need.
Sometimes it is comforting to know that you are not facing a battle that others have fought before. This realization that you are following in the footsteps of other parents advocating for their children can help lessen the load.
- The Centers for Disease Control recently estimated that approximately 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate in the U.S. each year. Additionally, 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate.
- Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life. In fact, most doctors recommend that the procedure take place within the first 12 months of life.
- Children with enlarged tonsils are 3.7 times as likely to experience symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing. These children might benefit from adenoiditis and adenoid hypertrophy, or airway reconstruction procedures.
- According to the recent government numbers available, 300 thousand to 400 thousand tonsillectomies are performed every year in children and adolescents. In almost all cases, these procedures are easier when the procedure is done at an early age.