We have again hit another rite of passage at our house this past week. Alex just entered stage II of phase I on correcting his jaw issues correlated with being born with microtia. Actually as I look at this picture of Alex, it is pretty remarkable to see his man-made ear. The first part of phase I was the palate expander that Alex has sported since August. Not only was it painful to have his mom crank his mouth apart daily but it also affected his speech (and his ability to eat cheese pizza). He hung in there though and mastered playing his trumpet and learning to say certain sounds that no longer came easy due to the palate expander.
Needless to say he was delighted to get the palate expander out this past Wednesday and get on with phase I with getting his braces. He just has four braces on the top and two brackets. The plan is to wear them for about six months and then in a couple of years phase II will start with full top and bottom braces. Alex is adjusting to the new mouth pain and had swollen cheeks all weekend. We got his wires clipped shorter yesterday and he is now feeling much better. Now he needs to re-master his trumpet playing because he has a competition in just a couple of weeks with a trio.
I think I failed to share a tender mercy that our family was blessed with this past year. To summarize...Alex was born with microtia and has since undergone five major reconstructive surgeries creating his outer ear, two creating his inner ear, and a couple of more touch-up procedures. The jaw/teeth stuff are all correlated but until recently it hasn't been the right time to do anything about those issues.
Okay, here is where the blessing comes into play. About a year and a half ago we submitted a claim to our medical insurance company to see if they would cover Alex's ortho needs since they stem from a medical issue. We were denied three times. On the last time I got really proactive and gathered together three letters from a team of craniofacial, ortho, and medical doctors all confirming that Alex is in need of ortho care due to a medical issue. I also wrote a very forthright letter and then submitted everything to the medical appeal office. Within a month we received PRE-PAYMENT for all of Alex's phase I expenses. The insurance company even paid at an in-network percentage since the ortho doctor we are using specializes in craniofacial abnormalities. The ortho office says they have never seen an insurance company pre-pay. We feel very blessed and know the Lord's hand was involved in this blessing. I wanted to share this since it seems that we hear so much negativity involving insurance companies and medical care even more importantly I wanted to make sure that our family remembers the Lord's hand in our lives.