Whistle, baby!

I’ve been a bit late in posting, but in the words of rock-clown David Lee Roth in “Hot for Teacher,” one of my high-school anthems: “I don’t feel tardy!”

The reason for the delay is I wanted to report on our visit to Dr. Atkins, who is a (tongue twister) Neurotolologist, a doctor that studies and treats neurological disorders of the ear. He deals with balance but also the particular surgery I mentioned in a previous post. In said surgery, a nerve would be peeled away from the tongue (ouch) and reattached to the facial nerve. If you think of that nerve as a bundle, it’s actually split down the middle, with half the bundle being redirected and thus controlling the face. (In evil nemesis speak, his moniker would be Tongue Face.) This would give the face more tone and movement as every flick of his tongue would contract the muscles of his face.

However, we’re not convinced it would be an improvement. The downside is that the entire face will move when just one piece needs to move. So if Shade wanted to blink that eye, his mouth would screw up. And if he smiled on that side, his eye would squeeze shut. And if he stuck his tongue out, the right side of his face would wrinkle up so bad, it would look like my dad’s knees.  If he got the hiccups, every girl in school would think he was being fresh. “Quit winking at me!”

It’s basically the reverse problem of what he has now. Do we want no movement or total movement for half his face?

According to Dr. Atkins, the surgery is a very quick outpatient situation and recovery time is minimal but once it’s done, there’s no turning back. However, we’re in no rush. The surgery can take place any time in his life. And the good doc was quick to point out that the advances in this field are coming quickly. Five years from now, they might develop a method to restart that part of the brain stem, which is the root of the problem. So we’re going to wait it out for now.

On other fronts, Shade is doing decently in school, passing many of his tests. Homework is a lengthy trial, but we are managing. He’s also been enjoying eating outside on the school patio with one of his friends, Iman, whose mom does acupuncture on Shade. The outside area is like the green room at a big show. You have to have connections to get out there. Being a celeb in a wheelchair has its advantages.

Finally, Shade has been practicing his whistling. It’s faint, but it’s there. This is fantastic because it forces him to round his mouth. He was whistling the Flo Rida song the other day. But even better, it means Shade is doing something on his own to improve his situation.  I’m convinced that if he can take control of his own rehab and healing, he will suddenly make terrific and noticeable breakthroughs. And if we do decide to get the surgery and he learns to wolf whistle, at least he can utilize his uncontrollable winking whilst harassing passing ladies. Then all I have to do is teach him how to yell “Yo, hot mama!” loudly in a Brooklyn accent and maybe buy him a medallion to wear under his unbuttoned shirt. Yes, that’s right. I’m going to train my son to be a cheesy macho jerk. Whatchu gonna do about it!

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