June 28, 2011

Tongue Tie Condition ; To intervene now or later?

My wife just messaged me and the message totally ruined my day. She said my son called her at her office from the school yesterday and complained that he had a headache. So she brought him to see our family doctor. While there, the doctor noted that Elijah couldn't extend his tongue out fully like normal people could! 

The lady doctor suggested that my wife bring him to see a specialist at KK Hospital's ENT(Ear Nose and Throat) and see whether they could "release" Elijah's tongue. She said because of Elijah's condition, he might not be able to pronounce certain words correctly. 

It's premature to assume that Elijah indeed has the condition which is also called Ankyloglossia because we haven't yet got a specialist to look at him and confirm the existence of the condition in him. However, I'm not that thrilled at the prospect of having my child under the knife the second time of his young life. 

He had his throat cut (to remove a growth) when he was about three and when he was about four, he had to have a few stitches on his left eye brow when he fell and knocked his head on the edge of a table. It was traumatic both for him and I. Two hospital orderlies, myself and my elder brother had to pinned him down on the table at the emergency room while a medical officer injected local anesthesia. 

My son screamed and cried and I had to put up a front of calm so as to assure him that everything was going to be fine when in truth, inside I was about to give in to my natural paternal instinct and I was about to lose it. I asked the medical officer in a not so patient voice, "Must you stick that needle to his open wound? Is it necessary to give him that many shots? I think he is in PAIN!". 

Where was my wife during this? She fled LOL. She couldn't stomach it, couldn't stand seeing my son in pain. So Papa Bear had to face it alone. I think the medical officer was nervous too. Maybe she had not treated injured toddlers that often but to her credit, she kept calm and did a marvelous job despite having an almost hysterical father ready to pounce on her standing nearby. 

So should we put him under the knife again? I'm really not keen on it. If Elijah has problem pronouncing words, so far it has not manifested itself. His speech is normal and he has no problem eating. My wife acknowledge this too but she is concerned that he might develop speech problem when he gets older. Is that possible? Do muscle or tissue change as a person gets older? 

And how serious the speech impediment would be? If it's mild, I don't think I would want him to be cut just for 'cosmetic' reason. He's perfect in his imperfection. He's born that way and that is his 'quirk' which makes him my special Elijah. On the other hand, am I being selfish? Let's see, the reason I don't want him to have any surgery because I want to be in my comfort zone, my comfort zone is knowing that Elijah is not suffering. Am I doing this for him or for myself? Is my comfort zone preventing him from getting corrective surgery which he might wish for in the future? What decision to take? *sigh*
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