Charlie’s extra finger!
Looking at Charlie now, you’d never guess that he’s been through so much in his short life. When I first laid eyes on him, my first thought was, “wow, he’s beautiful!” After just a few minutes of having Charlie on my chest, something did catch my eye, though. He had two thumbs on his right hand! There was a little extra thumb branching off of his little baby thumb in a Y-shape. Thankfully the specialists at Dell Children’s Medical Center did an incredible job doing his surgery when he was 18 months old, and you can barely tell now that he was born with 11 fingers!
Reassurance before surgery
I remember being so anxious before Charlie’s surgery. It’s nerve-wracking to have to hand your baby over to strangers, knowing he’ll be put to sleep. Everyone at Dell Children’s was so sweet and reassuring. They put our mind at ease, and took the time to answer all of our questions. As Charlie was being wheeled off to surgery, I was still scared but I knew he was in good hands.
Since then, Charlie’s had to see a few more specialists. When he was three, our developmental pediatrician wanted to make sure that Charlie’s loss of language was only due to his severe autism and not a neurological disorder so we spent a night at Dell Children’s for a sleep study to rule out Landau-Kleffner syndrome.
Charlie also went through an ABR and an MRI all while under general anesthesia yet again. I was a little less anxious this time because of my first positive experience at Dell Children’s. During our stay, we were able to use the game room, and it made things a bit more tolerable for everyone. The neurologist was knowledgeable and explained everything in a manner that made it easy for us to understand.
The specialists at Seton Medical Center in Austin
More recently, we saw Dr. Stacey Clark, ENT specialist at Dell Children’s Medical Group. Charlie had been having issues with sleeping and breathing. He had sleep apnea and it was getting worse: he snored at night and snored when he was awake! I didn’t expect an instant solution from this appointment, maybe just some suggestions for how to help clear his nasal passages in some way. To my surprise, the specialist knew within a minute what was causing Charlie’s issues. Indeed, his tonsils were so big that they were touching. Charlie had what they called “level 4 tonsils” and needed a tonsillectomy.
One more time, the surgery took place at Dell Children’s where everyone was kind, reassuring, patient, and professional. They called to check on Charlie after his surgery was over and were always available to answer questions. When you have a child with special needs, and even when you don’t, it feels so reassuring to know that there are awesome people taking care of your child. During hard times it makes a world of a difference!
In Austin, Ascension operates Seton Healthcare Family, which includes Dell Children’s Medical Center, the region’s only comprehensive children’s hospital and pediatric Level I trauma center, and Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, the region’s only Level I trauma center for adults.
- If you are a parent of a child with special needs, go to for helpful resources.
- Parents of children with special-need, you’re not alone.