Illionson's Surgery Update

Friday morning, Illionson and I headed to the hospital for surgery for his cleft lip. From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed warmly by the smiling faces of the LEAP surgical team. As members of the LEAP team walked by, they would take the time to introduce themselves and meet the children. Their love and passion was evident in every single encounter we had with them. I can recall one specific conversation with one of the nurses who specializes in preparing children for cleft lip and/or palate surgeries in the states. She was explaining the different retainer-like devices used to help move certain parts of the face to help minimize the complexity of such surgeries. She looked at Illionson and said that God really knew what he was doing when he made him so perfect. He had enough tissue in just the right places to come together perfectly. She told him, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Illionson quickly became a favourite, or at least the team made us feel like he was the most important person there. Which I know they did with each one of the patients that weekend. Illionson was soon taken to the pre-op room where the nurses took his temperature and checked his other vital signs. He looked so small sitting on that big hospital bed. He was surprisingly in a good mood considering he hadn’t had anything to drink for nearly 3 hours.

Finally, it was time for him to go to the operating room (OR). The anaesthetist came and carried him to the back. The team was kind enough to let me scrub in to watch the entire 2 hour surgery. I have to say it was one of the most amazing things to witness. I watched as one of the plastic surgeons made him a perfect little nostril, taking the utmost of care to line up everything perfectly. Two hours later he was extubated and carried to the post anaesthia care unit. He fussed for a short period as we made sure he was awake and could drink by squirting some Gatorade into his cheeks. The nurse there gave us instructions to care for his newly formed lip and then off we went. Illionson slept the entire drive home.

After we arrived back at GLA, Illionson was placed in a car seat for the night. He has a tendency to sleep on his tummy and rub his face into the bed which is what we wanted to avoid. One of our Haitian nurses fed him a few ounces of formula with a syringe and back to sleep he went. I was at the hospital the following day but I’m told his first post-op day was uneventful.

Illionson is now back to bottling. His antibiotics are nearly finished and he’ll be going back to the hospital on Friday to have his stitches removed and a stent (small plastic tube used to prevent collapsing of his new nostril) from his nostril removed as well. Most importantly, he’s smiling again.

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