Getting used to the palatal prosthetic

They weren’t kidding when they said Namine would gag quite a bit from the palatal prosthetic. She threw up when Jessica put it in yesterday, although the jury is still out on whether she triggered her gag reflex or if she just worked herself up too much.

I had the opportunity to join Jessica at Namine’s physical therapy session yesterday. It’s no surprise to me that Namine is acting out somewhat since getting the prosthetic. It doesn’t hurt her, but it isn’t comfortable. It took some persuasion to get Namine to cooperate in therapy, but as usual, once she stopped complaining and buckled down, she did a good job. The Fontan’s recovery has set her back some, but it looks like she’s making good progress again.

As relieved as we are that breathing is no issue for Namine while she has the prosthetic in, another big concern is eating. Only after much argument did she take two small bites of a very squishy banana, and even then she held it in her mouth, not chewing, not swallowing, for what seemed like forever. Over five minutes, at any rate. Shortly after swallowing the banana, she started crying. She was just that tired.

Having the prosthetic in, the extra saliva, the occasional gag reflex twitch when swallowing and speaking, the uncomfortable, alien feeling of it in her mouth – it’s all a lot for anyone to deal with. How much more so for a five year old who has already been through so much? No, it’s no surprise to me that she’s reacted this way. No surprise at all.

Today, though, Namine seems to be doing a little better. She still needed some persuasion to let me put the prosthetic in, but let me she did – with relatively little gagging, I might add. Hey, I didn’t make her throw up this time, so that’s good.

Namine ended up keeping the prosthetic in for about three hours again today. It would seem that that’s her limit, but I don’t actually think that’s true. I think she could go longer, but she still refuses to eat with it in. She’ll drink from a cup, but not from a straw. It’s this hurdle that proves to be the most difficult, but we’ll get there. We’re in no rush.

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