Friday, May 25, 2012

Statistically speaking...

A post from Rush...

Admittedly math and I have never mixed real well.  Growing up if it didn't involve a hitter's batting average or a quarterback's completion percentage I didn't give it much thought.  I trudged through math classes each year praying that the solar panel in my TI-81 calculator didn't somehow malfunction and leave me stranded in a crowded classroom to do long division in my head.   And can you really trust numbers?  They can be manipulated and twisted just like words.  All you have to do is look at any political poll during this election cycle to see why I don't like statistics outside of the world of sports.  When I completed my Linear Algebra (Algebra in a line? What's does that even mean?) final exam in college it seemed like the sun was a little brighter, the sky a little bluer and the world a little sweeter.  I was officially done with math forever.  Well at least I thought I was until my son started bringing home second grade math homework and the nightmare began all over again.

Earlier this week we ran into some of that nasty mathematics stuff again.  We spent the morning at what is commonly referred to as the Cleft Clinic at MCV.  Basically it's a round-robin style doctor's visit where they shuffle you from one doctor the to next while poking and prodding at your child's palate, checking on their speech and social development, examining their teeth and a host of other items on a checklist.  It's a rather exhausting process but better than the alternative of having to bounce around multiple doctor and dentist offices across Richmond.  We are beyond blessed to have the talented and caring team from MCV to care for our kids.  We visit the clinic every 6 months or so and this was our first trip with both Rylie and Jude.  Doubling the cleft palates in the house certainly creates more questions, more tests, more surgeries, but overall it was a pretty non-eventful day at the clinic.

All but for the math.

Rylie's speech isn't coming along nearly as quickly as we had hoped.  She is incredibly hard working during speech therapy and she wants to talk like it's her job.  It's rare to find a 3 year old work with as much determination and with the kind of spunk that Rylie has.  However, despite her efforts in weekly therapy and the reconstruction of her palate, things just don't seem to be progressing.  It's frustrating for her and for everyone who loves her.

While meeting with the surgeon she informed us that it appeared that Rylie's palate isn't working.  And then she threw some math right in our face.  Stuff we already knew, but didn't want to hear.  About 50% of palate reconstructions don't work.  Of the 50% that don't work about 50% of those kids can "figure out" how to speak pretty clearly in spite of their disability.  More surgeries could help, but they may not.  More speech therapy could help, but it may not.  50% of 50% figure it out? What about the other 50% of that 50%?  What about them? And why must there be math? 

It's still early in the game.  Rylie has a long way to go and there are plenty of options and strategies that we will be pursuing to help her find her voice in the coming years.  The reality is that God did not bring Rylie to us so we could repair her palate or "fix" her speech.  He matched us together so we could love her.  So we could marvel at His creation and His love for us.  So our eyes would be opened to His truth that family is not defined by blood alone.

I still really hate math.  I still don't like percentages.  But no matter what my little girl's words sound like today or in ten years, the only numbers that really matter are that I am 100% her dad.  She is 100% my girl.  And together as a family we will love her 100% of her days. 

And those are statistics that don't lie.

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