Griffin’s got a brand spanking new LEFT EAR…no wait…RIGHT EAR! Wait…WHAT???
Our 3rd leg of “Griffin’s Journey to a New Set of Ears” ended up being a very nerve racking one for his mom and dad…and dad has the 27 new gray hairs to prove it. It began on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 with an early morning wake up and a 400 mile drive due west on I-10 from Phoenix, AZ to Beverly Hills, CA. (We decided at the beginning of our journey that to maximize our budget, we would fly to the ear canal surgeries up in Palo Alto, CA and drive to the Medpor ear construction surgeries in the much closer Beverly Hills, CA.) After a smooth ride into town, we checked in to our hotel roughly 3 miles from Dr. John Reinisch‘s office and Cedars Sinai Outpatient Medical center where Griffin’s LEFT EAR MEDPOR CONSTRUCTION surgery was to take place the following morning at 8am. We unpacked, relaxed for a bit and then drove to Griffin’s Pre-Op Appointment at Dr. Reinisch’s office…which is where things got a little scary for mom and dad.
At the Pre-Op appointment, Dr. Reinisch pointed out that he thought Griffin’s left ear canal looked a little small and he was worried that he might not have enough room to fold the skin graft into the opening. He also thought that he saw some fluid in the canal and was worried about an infection which would have jeopardized the entire surgery/trip. After a few VERY TENSE MOMENTS, Dr. Reinisch simply said that he would take a look at the left canal again in the morning once Griffin went under, and if it didn’t feel right to him, he would simply “do the right ear instead.” We let out a huge sigh of relief and went back to the hotel and met up with Aunt Kym for dinner. It was a long sleepless night for mom dad but Griffin slept like a log as usual. He is definitely a champion sleeper and had no trouble getting a good nights rest!
The morning of the surgery, we woke up early and headed to Cedars Sinai Outpatient Medical center for the surgery. We checked in and waited to be called into the back. Griffin played on his iPad and didn’t have a care in the world…WE LOVE THAT DUDE! After a short while, we were called back and Griffin hopped straight up onto the bed and drank the “sleepy medicine” and did awesome. (see left pic above) Dr. Reinisch walked us through the upcoming 8 hour surgery and mentioned he would call us in a bit to let us know which ear he would be doing. He also pointed out a few places that we could walk too if we wanted to get out and have some food and mentioned that his surgical staff would call us with updates on the hour. We kissed Griffin and headed into the waiting room and awaited word from Dr. Reinisch. Doc called us shortly thereafter to inform us that he was “calling an audible” and “doing the right side”. It is truly amazing to us how gifted Griffin’s doctors have both been. They really are the best in the world and it is actually very calming to us that Griffin is in such great hands.
As promised, Dr. Reinisch called every hour and gave us updates along the way. We sat in the waiting room with Griffin’s Aunt Kym, Grandma and Papa Ott, and our little gal Jillian. We passed the time by checking emails and Facebook on the iPad and also went for a few strolls outside. We grabbed lunch at a mall across the street and got updated on the hour as promised. Everything actually went very smoothly but it was still a VERY NERVE RACKING 8 hours. At the end of the surgery (around 4pm) Dr. Reinisch and his team came out to the waiting room and filled us in on the surgery and told us that everything went great. He also showed us a picture of the new right ear he took prior to putting the bandages on Griffin’s head and WOW WE BOTH ALMOST FAINTED. WE HAD BOTH NEVER BEFORE SAW SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT! We hugged Dr. Reinisch and his staff and then waited for the big man to wake up which took about an hour. It is again amazing to us that Dr. Reinisch’s Medpor surgery is an outpatient surgery! Griffin was actually back in the hotel with us about 10 hours after his surgery, eating ice cream and watching cartoons on his iPad…WITH A NEW RIGHT EAR!
We went in for a follow up appointment the next day and Dr. Reinisch told us that we would need to keep an eye on any drainage and to keep the bandages on for another week so we scheduled our 3rd follow up appointment and drove 30 miles south on the dreaded I-405 to Anaheim (which only took 1.5 hrs) to check into the Marriott at Disneyland! Doc said that Griffin could go on rides as long as his head wasn’t exposed to long periods of sun and heat. Griffin loves all things Disney and is especially fond of Cars and Lightning McQueen so we planned a trip TO PUT A BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE after this latest surgery. We woke up early on Sunday and headed out to Disney and had a blast! Griffin rode all the rides at the new Cars Land Disney California Adventure and we also purchased the park hopper and were able to go see Mickey Mouse and ride more rides in Disneyland that afternoon. Griffin loved every minute of it! (see pic above middle)
The final follow up appointment before heading back to Phoenix was on Tuesday, July 17. Dr. Reinisch took the bandages off and we got our first peek at the new right ear. We almost fell over with amazement and couldn’t believe how good it looked. (see pic above right) Dr. Reinisch cleaned up the ear and gave us cleaning instructions, sleeping instructions, and an overview of what to expect. He said it would take 3-4 months for all the swelling to go down and for the coloring to become “normal-looking.” We said our goodbyes and headed home! It was a great trip and we want to thank Dr. Reinisch for our miracle RIGHT EAR! We also want to send out a special thanks to our friend Mr. Jim Rose from Marriott who was kind enough to give us a complimentary room at Disneyland during our trip.
Thanks for keeping Griffin in your thoughts and prayers! We really appreciate your support and will keep you posted on his upcoming Left Ear Medpor Construction and Right Middle-Ear Implant surgeries. We also have a few more FUN-draisers planned for the fall to help with our medical expenses and will get you the details when we finalize everything. Griffin wanted to send you all a big hug and some knucks o()()()(). We love that guy!
Colin, Kristin, Griffin, and Jillian Oas
p.s. Sorry for the long blog. This trip was a roller-coaster in more ways than one:)
We wanted to let everyone know that Griffin’s first surgery (left ear canal construction) with Dr. Joseph Roberson WAS A SUCCESS!!! We have one surgery down and hopefully only 3 more to go (right ear canal, left medpor ear construction, right medpor ear construction) if all goes well to complete Griffin’s journey to a new set of ears.
Our left ear canal journey began with a plane ride for Griffin and myself (dad Colin) on Wednesday, March 21 from Phoenix, AZ to San Jose, CA. Griffin and dad flew up early that day for the Pre-Op appointment at the California Ear Institute with Dr. Roberson. They did a basic hearing test and gave us the timeline and information needed for the surgery scheduled at 7:30am the following morning. Kristin (mom) and Jillian (little sister) flew in later that evening with Aunt Kym Ott. For dinner that evening, Griffin requested Spaghetti, Tomato Sauce, Marshmallows, Garlic Bread, and Mint Ice Cream…WE LOVE THAT GUY!
We woke up early on Thursday, March 22 and got Griffin checked in at 6:30am. We walked into the Pre-Op area and Griffin was given some “sleepy” medicine to help his nerves (mom and dad’s too) prior to going in for surgery. Aunt Kym and Jillian arrived later in the morning and we were all anxious on word from Dr. Roberson. The surgery itself began around 8:30am and was completed around 10:30am and we were allowed to go back and see Griffin in the recovery room about 11:00am. He was still “sleeping” but looked great and had a big purple bandage wrapping his head. (See pic above) After about an hour in recovery, we were allowed to bring Griffin home! Simply amazing stuff!
We got back to the hotel and immediately had a bit of a scare as Griffin, in his groggy state, actually pushed up his bandage and managed to pull out his ear plug that was holding up the new canal and skin graft. We rushed back to Dr. Roberson’s office and he told us that if anything came loose, he may have to put Griffin back under to repair any damage. Those were a few VERY TENSE MOMENTS for mom and dad. After a few minutes of examining Griffin, Dr. Roberson smiled and informed us that he didn’t know how Griffin did it, but there was no damage and all he had to do was replace the ear plug! I am sure everyone in the waiting room heard our sigh of relief with the great news:)
Griffin had a follow up appointment on Tuesday, March 27 which went great! Dr. Roberson did a trim of the ear plug and skin graft bandage, gave us some words of encouragement that everything looked great and told us to call or email if we ever had any questions. He also said that it may take a few months for Griffin’s hearing to develop as the healing process is key to good hearing.
During our trip, we were very fortunate to have Aunt Kym fly up to help with any and everything. We were also able to stay with relatives Shane (Colin’s cousin) and Ali Malone who live in Los Gatos, CA, about 15 minutes from Palo Alto, CA. Griffin and Jillian had a REALLY GREAT TIME playing with their second-cousins Josie, Peter, and Audrey and it couldn’t have been a better weekend. We are looking forward to staying with them again on our next trip up to Silicon Valley in a few months!
We have scheduled Griffin’s right ear canal construction with Dr. Roberson for Thursday, May 17, 2012. We really appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and support and will keep you posted on Griffin’s progress. He is really doing great and wanted to send you all a BIG HUG and some KNUCKS! o()()()()
Colin, Kristin, Griffin and Jillian Oas