I remember walking in the back yard of our old house on Durham Road when I was a very small girl, holding my mom’s hand as she pointed out the new things that were coming up. I vividly remember the deep purple velvet of the crocus buds. When I glimpse the first of the year’s crocuses, I always feel a shadow of that early thrill of discovery and, as I’ve grown older, an attendant sense of relief that the hardest days of winter are truly drawing to a close.
Jack’s spring is coming, and today I saw the first crocus.
Jack’s laryngoscopy was today. His room was full, with two large monitors, an RT, two pulmonologists, a nurse, two speech therapists and me. The team threaded a small scope down Jack’s nose and we saw something amazing.
The best case scenario, given that Jack’s vegus nerve was sacrificed, resulting in paralysis of much of the throat, would be that one of his vocal cords would still function, leading to some possibility of natural (as opposed to computer assisted) speech. We were also looking to see if the paralyzed side was stuck in the center of the voice box, or resting along the side, as this too would have implications for future therapies.
What we saw were TWO working vocal cords, opening and closing symmetrically, exactly as they are supposed to do. It was a powerful, visual affirmation that Jack is rewiring. Everyone in the room said it was incredible. Except me. I said, “I’m so proud of you, Jack!” And then I cried. If there is a chance, even an uncertain chance, that we might hear him laugh again (or cry, for that matter), my world just became a whole lot brighter. A voice is a small thing to lose compared to all that was at stake a month ago, and there are so many other joys that this world has to offer. But as a mother, I long to hear his voice again regardless.
Despite this unbelievable development, there is still a lot of uncertainty. Jack clearly is unable to swallow, so his ability to use a Passey-Muir valve to speak despite his tracheostomy is still in question. But what we know is that one piece that was expected not to work is working. Something that was supposed to be frozen has thawed and is growing again. Its a miracle. Spring always is.
PS- Jack did not have his central line removed today. The surgery team has decided that it would be best in Jack’s case to make this an OR, rather than a bedside procedure, so this has been pushed off until Wednesday or Thursday. I’ll update then.