Monday, March 28, 2011

Words and More Words

When we were at the doctor's last week, he asked us how Angelee's speech is coming along.  She's learning new words all the time, we assured him.  He paused and looked at us sternly.  "Yes, but how many words can she say?" he asked.  "Oh, I don't know," I stammered, "I haven't really kept a tally for a while."  With a now-visible twinkle in his eye, he teased us about it, and my heart rate went back down.  For a moment there, I thought we were supposed to have been keeping track, and I felt like I was back in my old nightmare of having a math test I hadn't studied for.

So!  When I got back home, I thought I'd try to capture her current vocabulary and compare it to the just-after surgery tally and the before-accident one.  As it turns out, she has a bunch of new words, but not as many as I had expected.  The real change (as is developmentally proper for this age) has been in how she puts the words together.  She's understanding more, and stringing her thoughts along in ever-increasingly sophisticated ways.  She speaks in 5- or 6- word sentences, and uses whole phrases now, such as "I like it" (always in the same cheerful sing-song tone).

The other day I was washing her hair.  She was happily singing songs without words (she likes how her voice echoes in the shower or tub - who doesn't?) until I poured water on her head to rinse out the shampoo.  Her singing quickly changed to shrieking, just as Daddy walked in the room.  "She loves this part," I laughed.  Angelee quickly contradicted me.  "NO!" she yelled.  "NO!  Angelee no 'I like it!'"  The funny part is, she yelled the "no" and sweetly intoned the "I like it."

It's good to have something happy with which to fill our hearts.  My heart is full and grateful to have all this.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Loose Screw?

It was time to visit the neurosurgeon for our post-surgery visit.  Has it really been six weeks?  Life is never boring at our house, and the weeks seem to fly by.  We had three concerns for the doctor: pain, blue marks, and a bump.

Occasionally, Angelee complains of pain around her left ear.  Sometimes she will look concerned, and rub the area, and sometimes it seems like the pain is more acute.  She'll stop everything,  yelp, "Owee!  Right here!" and point in front of her ear.  The doctor said this is caused by the nerves regrowing.  If she were older, she would likely describe it as sudden, sharp pains, an occasional dull ache, and tingling or pins and needles.  This is quite normal, and in fact, the doctor said she was healing very quickly.  He wouldn't have expected this reaction for another month or two.  Score.

We have noticed a small but distinct dark blue line in the middle of the scar right in front of Angelee's left ear.  Another line was slightly less visible over the top of her ear.  We wondered if it had anything to do with her painful episodes, or if it was a vein regrowing there.  It turned out to be the stitches below her skin.  They are dissolvable, but sometimes the body will "spit them out" instead of absorbing the material.  The doctor described how the body moves the offending part up through the layers of skin.  We may see the ends of the stitch poking out, or just find it on her pillow one morning.  Again, normal.

Angelee has a bump on the side of her head.  It's hard and round, just behind her left temple.  At first, we  wondered if she had bonked herself, but it didn't go away.  It felt like... a screw.  Holy bananas, Batman, does our little girl have a few screws loose?  Yep, it's a screw.  It might be that one of the screws has just raised up higher than it should, or it might actually be loose.  We'll keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get any higher, or that the skin doesn't look strained over the top.  If he needs to, he'll do a same-day surgery, make a little slit there, and take the screw out.  For now, the implant feels sturdy, and he doesn't want to be taking anything out for another few months.  So this one is a "wait and see."

All in all, the doctor was pleased with her progress.  She still won't talk to him, but she looked at him this time, and even cracked a shy smile.  He's a wonderful doctor and a nice man, but I wouldn't mind if we don't see him often enough for Angelee to really get to know him!