THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF HAND SURGERIES: BEGINNING
TO GIVE ANDREW FINGERS
AND TUBES TO HELP HIS EARS HEAL AND HEAR
the time we got into the year 2000, "y2k" meant the calendar for
the year was to be filled with a litany of surgeries for Andrew.
Although none of this year's operations were to be of the critical
magnitude of the skull reconstruction of the year before, we needed
to pursue these operations to:
May day for surgeries dawned with separating the index and pinky
fingers from the morass of joined tissue. Dr. Bentz, a new hand
specialist who had relocated from Pennsylvania was, like Dr. Hardy
before him, both technically quite skilled and outstanding in
his demeanor with both parents and their child patient.
To limit Andrew's exposure to anesthesia, Dr. Heatley would step
in during a breather in the three-hour hand procedure to insert
tubes in both of Andrew's ears.
With Apert Syndrome, it is not uncommon for the drainage canals
in the inner ear to lay nearly horizontal, thereby preventing
fluid and infection from draining out of it. No wonder Andrew
had nonstop ear infections during his first year and why he had
been failing his hearing tests.
Both procedures went as scheduled and Andrew spent one day and
one night in the hospital before being sent home for us to attend
to his significant brace and bandaging ‹ a wrap from the tip of
his new fingers, encompassing his entire hand, up the wrist and
around the arm and secured at his left shoulder. He also displayed
an incision across his abdomen where skin was removed to graft
onto what would be the inner surfaces of his newly separated outer
Weeks to follow would include a trips back to the clinic, both
scheduled and unscheduled, to replace the wrappings which could
(and did) fall off on at last one occasion.
By week three following the surgery date, Ma and Pa would inherit
the duty of removing the now-shorter wrap around the hand and
wrist each day, cleansing and medicating the affected fingers,
and then rewrapping and taping it all.
A new skill set to add to our resume, one which would be refined
over the course of subsequent surgeries.