As some of my regular readers (and friends) know, our youngest daughter has a "special need," a congenital condition called microtia. Her right ear is malformed, and the canal is closed off. She has some hearing on that side, but not quite enough at the moment...we'll be repairing that with hearing aids and eventually surgery down the line.
One of the biggest debates among parents who have children with this condition is what to do cosmetically for it. You can have surgery, multi-step procedures that build a new ear out of a piece of rib or a synthetic medical material. Or you can get a prosthetic ear created.
We did a lot of research and talking about this, and we are plan-B people. Basically, I'm not convinced that the reconstructions are good enough to warrant the amount of pain and suffering that would be brought about by that...especially because these surgeries are often done when the kids are young (like 5). Getting a prosthetic won't keep her from getting the surgery eventually, once the state of the art is better, and she's more able to actively participate in the decision and able to give her permission for the amount of suffering she'll endure for the surgeries.
On top of that, the prosthetics are pretty effin cool. I just heard back from Bob Barron, the nation's preeminent prosthetics guy, who we're hoping to have re-create her ear when she's old enough (he waits until the kids are 5). Here's how he builds a new ear for another child with microtia.The coolest part? He started this business after he retired from building disguises for spies at the CIA. How cool will it be for our daughter to have an ear crafted by a variation on M? You know that man has some pretty cool stories he can tell us while we're waiting for that ear to be fitted.