By Megan Roth
Being a parent means always taking care of your child and ensuring your offspring are both healthy and happy. Unfortunately there are times when all you can do is hope for the best.
For Crystal Remillard and Brayden Neilsen all they could want is to see their six-month-old son, Lanlee, make it through and grow up to be a healthy young boy.
Lanlee suffers from a soft cleft palate in the back of his throat. The cleft makes it so he cannot suck only swallow.
“He has to have special bottles (because he can’t suck). The nipples for the bottle alone are very expensive, they are about $8 each,” Remillard said.
Of course the special bottles are not the only thing needed to help take of the child. Lanlee and his parents travel to both Calgary and Medicine Hat on a monthly schedule.
In Calgary he is taken to the Children’s Hospital where he is seen by six different doctors and specialists.
“He has a team of six doctors … everything from plastic surgeons to nose, ear and throat doctors (Otolaryngologists) and even dieticians because he has certain feeding needs,” Remillard said.
They also have to meet with a genetics physician because there is a history of what, she called, osteo-pallet disease, according to Remillard This is a worry because if Lanlee is found to have this disorder, which commonly results in a cleft palate, there could be other problems which may occur later on, like bone deficiency.
After travelling to Calgary, Lanlee also makes the trip to Medicine Hat to visit doctors there, these he normally sees after the trip to Calgary.
These trips can be a lot of money, between food, gas, and lodging in Calgary, something Remillard is very conscious of.
“The trip to Calgary we usually leave very early in the morning and that is at least three meals and, with having to see six doctors each time that creates for a long visit,” Remillard said.
Remillard also has an ambulance bill from when Lanlee stopped breathing and was rushed to Medicine Hat. The bill for that is about $750 that still needs to be paid for, she said.
“Because of the cleft he has to sleep on a certain angle or he isn’t able to get enough air,” she explained.
Lanlee will need surgery to fix the cleft in his palate, which can’t be done until he is a year old.
The surgery, however, is only step one of an countless steps needed to take to ensure the child’s recovery and continued healthy life.
“We don’t know what will happen next, it all depends on how the surgery goes. After that we will find out what we will have to do next but until then it is all up in the air unfortunately,” Remillard said.
According to Remillard that is one of the more frustrating parts about the whole ordeal, not knowing. The doctors looking after Lanlee only explain so much to Remillard and only what is to happen immediately,.She said they will not explain possible outcomes with her when she asks.
“They won’t even talk to me about the surgery,” she said.
All of these things, of course, come at a steep price, a price at which is hard to pay with Remillard still on maternity leave, and Nielsen in school.
To help with costs the couple are facing in taking care of their child Leanne Lincoln is hosting a fundraiser for Lanlee.
The fundraiser will be at The Rockin’ Horse Cookhouse and Bar on Jan. 9 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. There will be a chicken and rib dinner provided with the ticket as well as door prizes and draws.