Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Hardware

Anyone recall this post?

The one in which I share the news that (according to Joseph's orthodontist) my son will likely need major corrective surgery on his jaw at around age twenty.


After having detailed records taken -- x-rays, photos, molds of his teeth -- and meeting with two orthodontists, we discovered there's a good chance Joseph will not need surgery down the road.

(Thank. God.)


Joseph does need some (rather expensive) orthodontic work.

And he needs this work to begin ASAP.

Starting with this:

It's called a "palate expander."

(Though to me it looks more like some sort of medieval torture device.)

What does this thing do?

Exactly what the name implies-- it expands the upper jaw.

And it does so via the turning of a metal "key" (my job, once the hardware has been installed in my son's mouth).


After turning said key once a day for approximately four weeks, the expander simply stays put for another three to six months-- and is then replaced by a retainer that will be "cemented" to the roof of Joseph's mouth for another eight months.

Did I mention the head gear?

Oh yes, there will be head gear.

This hockey-mask-like thing will have to be worn every night (for at least 10 hours)-- attached via rubber bands to the expander, and then eventually to the retainer.

Needless to say, Joseph is not pleased.

And he hasn't even heard details about Phase II.

You see, the orthodontists tell us that our son is "an interesting case": he has a pronounced cross bite; a bit too much space between several teeth; and top molars that line up a full tooth behind the corresponding bottom ones-- yet "surprisingly, he doesn't have that 'Jay Leno' profile."

As a result of these anomalies, braces will follow.

And -- to avoid creating more/larger gaps -- so-called "mini screws" will likely be drilled into the bones above his eye teeth (by an oral surgeon) in order to anchor the braces.

Joseph will need to wear this apparatus for at least two years.

(And I was worried about the invasiveness of a CGMS.)

Oh, and my God-- the cost.

We're talking all told, over $6,000.

To be honest, when I first saw this figure I thought the whole thing was hopeless.

However, we do have a dental insurance lifetime benefit of $1,000 (I know-- seems like a drop in the bucket, but it helps), and the orthodontist offers a no-interest payment plan.

Also, by the time we reach the more costly Phase II, Evan will be in elementary school-- so I'll be in a position to work at least part time.

I just have to believe the money part will be OK.

And hope to high heaven that the actual wearing of all this new hardware will be OK for Joseph as well.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Long (Cold) Silence

For nearly three weeks, we've hunkered down.

First there was the thaw that transformed our local sled hills into slush hills-- and came darn close to leveling our backyard "luge."

Immediately following the thaw came a blast of arctic air-- bringing with it many days of brutal, sub-zero temperatures.

And more snow.

A lot more snow.

But sadly, it's been too dang cold to sled.

Too cold to do anything outside.

Except maybe shovel the now useless (as in "non-packing, no good for making snow forts, snow balls or snowmen") powder.

Oh, and it's snowing again-- right now, as I type.

So yes, we're still here-- shivering a good deal of the time, but here.

Hanging onto the weatherman's promise of double-digit temps this weekend...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Belated Post

Happy New Year!

(And a very late Merry Christmas!)

And to the many folks who commented on my previous entry:

Thank you.

Your kind thoughts and wonderful suggestions meant a great deal to all of us.

Just looking across the street, at that empty house, still hurts.

But the holidays -- along with record snow fall -- have given us some wonderful distractions.

There's been much visiting with friends-- and playing with some really cool Christmas gifts (Joseph's big surprise was a PS2 from Gramma; Evan's was a "Plasma Car" from one of my sisters).

Oh yes, and there's been sledding.

A lot of sledding.

In fact, not only did we hit the big sled hill in our neighborhood almost every day last week-- but, because Ryan got the (inspired) idea to build a mini sled hill in our backyard, we're having more winter fun than a family has a right to.

See for yourselves...