We knew that the surgery would be quick and
painful without a long recovery

The ENT doctor was professional
and anticipated no problems

The drive there was harrowing
Put a toddler in a car
drive in rush hour traffic
only to get stuck
one exit before the destination

It took thirty minutes to get to our exit
Had there been a warning that there was
some calamity somewhere on the path to Cleveland
I would have taken the local roads instead of the highway

Somehow, my mother arrived before us at the hospital
She no longer likes highways so she takes the long way
which was actually the shorter way

She called asking if she had the time wrong
I whined complained frothed at the mouth
panicked that if we were late we would get cancelled
and my Girly would have to live for one more month
with her tongue tie intact

The tiny child was eager and friendly to
have her adventure with the doctor
She was prepped by the doctor, nurses, anesthesiologist
I was more nervous than she was

I didn’t tell her what to expect

The way she tells it:
“I blowing the balloon
it goes whoosh, whoosh
then I wake up and it hurt,
‘Wah, wah, wah’ I cry tears
Balloon pop
I have boo-boo on my tongue!”

She was breathing through the
anesthesia machine mask while
the reservoir balloon
was inflating and deflating
with each breath,
the nurses encouraged
her to try to
pop the balloon
by blowing out deep breaths.

By the fifth set of breaths
she was unconscious and
I was whisked out of the room
to sit in the waiting room with my mom

I had a cup of tea

The doctor came to the waiting room
then I began to panic
(what if I didn’t catch her eating a treat that morning
what if she vomited purple treats while unconscious
what if I could keep my anxiety in check
during this simple procedure of
one cut with three dissolving stitches)

She was done

He removed her tongue tie
by cutting her frenulum that
was attached too far forward
on the underside of her tongue
and stitching the underside closed

The tip of her tongue had a heart shape to it
when she tried to stick her tongue straight out
She could stick her tongue out and down pretty far
but couldn’t reach her tongue to the roof of her mouth
when her mouth was wide open

We played lots of tongue and mouth games
curled our tongues, flipped them over,
curled the sides up to make
the tongue shaped like a straw

She learned to make the
difficult dental stop sounds of
“t”, “d” and “n”
by closing her jaw and
decreasing the distance
her tongue had to travel
to reach her upper teeth:

Yeyow instead of yellow
Heyow instead of hello
Dahyee instead of daddy
Duh instead of the
Yaff instead of laugh
Eyaphan instead of elephant
Kiddee instead of kitty

She learned to work hard to talk
so that she could be understood
she was so patient with us

I had to learn to translate
“Girly speech”
to family and friends
since she spoke like
she had a mouth full marbles.

Why force her to work that hard
to overcome her speech impediment
when a simple fifteen minute procedure
could change her life

When it became clear to me that
she had a strange partial tongue tie
I had to don my SuperMom cape again
to speak on behalf of my child
who is happy smiling and unscarred
from her speech deficit and delay

The first pediatrician examined her tongue
and declared that because
she could stick her tongue out
she did not have a tongue tie

The second pediatricians didn’t catch it at first
and acknowledged the condition only after I insisted
that she could not touch her tongue to the roof of her mouth

and pointed out the heart shape
that illustrated her tight frenulum
pulling in the center of her tongue

Her speech therapist agreed
with my observations and
sent me back to get a referral for
an Ear Nose and Throat doc.

After surgery she was disoriented
wanted her mommy and was
upset that her tongue hurt
The nurses handed her to me
and instructed me to sit in
a recovery recliner

I held her sobbing
as they removed the
oxygen meter from her finger
unwrapped the gauze from her wrist
pulled out the IV and
put on a silver glittery bandaid
They said she was a good patient

After they gave her two orange popsicles
she was completely awake and
just wanted to grip me as tight
as a baby koala
while refusing to pick a toy
from the patient treasure chest

We picked a purple fleece covered flower

I wiped her tears
inspected her wounds
and gave her skin to skin contact
That warm smooth cheek on my cheek

It has been one week since the surgery
her tongue is still sore
but she is proud of her boo boo
that was made by a balloon


Before


After Surgery

2 thoughts on “Girly

  1. Wow! That made a huge difference, didn’t it… Have you noticed a change in her speech yet at all? You are a very wise woman to go to bat for your child. I have gotten to the point where I almost feel you need to or three opinions on things these days as no two doctors usually agree!!! Keep us posted as to how Girly is doing, k?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not yet, her tongue is still sore, but she has been vocalizing again. In some ways she has to practice strengthening the muscle again now that it is sore. Maybe it’s like a sprained stomach muscle. Little by little she’ll be able to laugh again without restraint. I’ll definitely post how she is doing.

      Liked by 1 person

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