Do you remember?

At least you are having these surgeries at a young age so you don’t remember them.  Right?  Isn’t that what people say?

This is probably true for the most part – as an adult, I don’t remember my cleft lip surgery when I was 6 months old.  I do remember a surgery when I was 3 or 4 – it was for placement of ear tubes, so I probably had no pain afterwards, but I do remember the anethesia, and the feeling of the loss of control.  I can still vividly picture all of the people in the surgery room dressed in blue – doctors, nurses, all towering over me in my operating bed – turning into black monsters as the anethesia took affect.  Actually, this vision was my main recurring nightmare when I was a child.

And then there is the general perception that a 10 month old baby, certainly can’t remember things from when they were 5 months old.  Right?  It’s not like they remember being in the womb before being born.  Right?  But then you hear those stories, about twins complaining about how the other used to kick them when they were in the warm, dark, place.  So maybe they might remember something of it.

So, what does this mean for your surgeries?  Do you remember your lip surgery, at 5 months old?  At ten months old, you have now developed some significant length of memory – you remember me, obviously, even if I have to travel away from you for a couple of days. So your memory lasts somewhere between a couple of weeks and ten months.

As you get older and have more control over your movements, it’s become very obvious that you dislike anything (other than a spoon or bottle) being forced to touch your mouth.  Serious protests, kicks, and arms pushing away things, like washcloths when we try to wipe your mouth, or a toothbrush for your two little bottom teeth.  I think your brother did this a little bit.  But you do it every time.  So, I think you do remember the pain from your surgeries.  I wonder how long it hurt for.  I’ve got to imagine it hurt pretty badly for at least 2 or 3 weeks, possibly longer.  And my poor little baby had to figure out how to eat through that pain.  It must have hurt longer than this, though.  We didn’t start touching or massaging the scars until about a month after the surgery.  So I wonder if this hurt you, too?  And I wonder how long it will take you to forget the pain?  As we come up on your palate surgery, fast, I’m hoping we can keep your pain managed and under control after the surgery so that you don’t have to worry your sweet little head over your hurting mouth.  Reason #1548 why I am grateful for modern medicine.

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