When Hopper was born, she squeaked. She squeaked when she breathed in. She squeaked when she breathed out. It wasn't a soft little squeak like a mouse would make. It was much louder. Like a squeaky door hinge. She was diagnosed with a Stridor that was the result of Laryngomalacia. And by the time we were in the doctor's office in Norfolk 2.5 years later, The Hubster and I didn't hear it anymore. Well, we could hear it when she cried, but there was such a huge improvement that we really didn't hear it.
So when the pediatric cardiac surgeon came through the door and asked who was squeaking, The Hubster and I didn't even know what to say. He said that he could hear it through the closed door of the exam room across the hall in his office with the door closed. We were in shock. We honestly had gotten so used to it that we didn't even notice it anymore. Mom was shocked that we didn't hear it, because she said that she was surprised at how loud it still was after all these years.
The surgeon was unwilling to operate until we saw an ear, nose and throat doctor to find out what was causing the squeak. Because Hopper should have outgrown it by the age she was at the time. So we went to the ENT the next morning.
We were told that Hopper not only had the Laryngomalacia, which she had mostly outgrown, but also had paralyzed vocal cords. They could still vibrate, but they didn't open and close like they should, and that's why she squeaked. We were told that she should have had a tracheotomy tube at birth, and that we were lucky she was alive and doing as well as she was.
Boy, did that explain a lot! Like how she would turn blue and pass out when she cried when she was tiny. I took her to the pediatrician about it when she was little, and he said she was holding her breath to get attention and had a bit of a temper. That didn't sound quite right to me, but what did I know? I was overwhelmed with therapy and doctor appointments and dealing with The Hubster's 15 month deployment, so I didn't question it. I didn't insist on more testing to make sure, like I would now. I had to trust that the doctor knew what he was talking about. I thank the Good Lord that He protected Hopper. Things could have been so much worse.
The ENT told us that although we had been lucky up until that point that we still needed to be on guard. We had to make sure Hopper never got overheated or cried too hard, because her vocal cords could swell shut. If her vocal cords did swell shut, she would need to have an emergency tracheotomy.
So much for being able to breathe.
It was bad enough that she had a seizure once when she turned blue and passed out. The fact that we could have lost her shook us to the core. So when we went back to the surgeon later that day with the results, we were relieved to find out that he would not be performing heart surgery on Hopper. He said the risk of intubation far outweighed the risk of the heart defect that needed repaired. She would eventually need to have the surgery, but it could wait until her vocal cords grew enough there was no danger of intubation.
We felt like we could breathe again.
At least for a time.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.