Posted by: suek2001 | August 24, 2015

Dr. John Bruno is the cat’s meow….

The older I get, the more names from the past have meaning for me…

I heard one yesterday that made me smile…Dr. John Bruno….a plastic surgeon donated his office space to the Gulf Coast Humane Society…

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2015/08/23/gulf-coast-human-societys-new-veterinary-clinic-opens/32230733/

Dr. Bruno was a plastic surgeon for over 30 years in the Fort Myers, FL area….and his impact through this gift lives on..He retired a few years ago…and because I live in NE Minnesota , I didn’t get my chance to thank him…

I have written of some of my medical struggles before and I will touch on it again..so you can understand why Dr. John Bruno means so much to me…

I was born with a clef pallate…If you look at my face, you really can’t tell but I have an unusually high roof in my mouth…which led to speech problems and just plain social awkwardness..

In the late 70’s, at the University of Minnesota Children’s hospital, I received a speech bulb to insert into my mouth…It looked like a turtle..It was plastic and gave me a lower roof..had hooks on the side…that had to be linked to two  braces on either side of my mouth…and then the best part was the thing had a tail that curled upwards in back…to my nasal passages…so air could flow through my mouth properly and I could talk…

I hated it..at age nine I hated it..I had to learn to put it in myself..and I still didn’t do a great job..the braces and wire hooks rubbed my cheeks raw…and the BEST part was the tail would hit my gag reflect almost every time…

If I didn’t vomit while putting it on in ten minutes or less, I considered it a success…It worked for the most part..I still went to speech therapy..for a few years…I wore it during the day and took it off when I slept…I still hated that thing..and the mere memory of it now makes me shudder…

So, enter a move to Florida..and more speech therapy in 1981..someone said that I would be a perfect candidate for some new experimental surgery by Dr. John Bruno..Mom was up for anything..as she knew the time would come to grow out of that speech bulb..and she didn’t want to me to get another…

Dr. Bruno took one look at my mouth and had a solution…He saw that I needed a false roof in my mouth and grafted skin from the highest part of my mouth(I think) and molded it into a lower roof…So, in essence, I can say I had plastic surgery at age 11…

Dr. Bruno was paitent with me..and gave me all the assurances that it would work out..Mom and I loved him..the surgery was quick and my recovery lasted a couple of days..I did develop a small infection that was handled well..and while I was recovering, Dr. Bruno came over to see me..late one night…all on his own..Mom never forgot that…

After the surgery, I went in for a follow-up and he noticed the stiches weren’t holding that well..as my tongue had taken to playing with the flap of skin that remained..

He wanted to fix that problem so we booked an appointment in his operating suite…He asked me if there was anything I wanted to listen to as the surgery was taking place…He and I talked Neil Diamond..and he brought in a greatest hits tape and piped that into the operating room…

Mom was nervous and waiting outside in the waiting area..When she heard Neil Diamond play over the speakers, she knew Dr. Bruno was taking great care of me..

I recall having my mouth open..and Dr. Bruno’s calm voice talking to me through the whole thing..as “Play Me” and “America” filled the room…

When the surgery was over, Dr. Bruno realized our adventure was complete…and gave my mom the speech bulb in a container with the date of the surgery to remind us what we had been through…

I never saw him again…I grew up..I grew confident in my speaking voice..I grew into adulthood..pursued radio broadcasting for while..where the false roof gave my voice a resonance….

I now work in customer service delivering meals to paitents all day..and my voice is used every day…so that false roof really gets a work out..

God has seen fit to bless me in so many ways..and in those early years, He sent me to Dr. Bruno….a man I have never forgotten…

This is my way of thanking him….and to think that now, that he’s retired, his office will give comfort to so many pets and their owners is amazing.. Pets are an intregal part of our lives and his gift will go on…

From the community of Fort Myers…thank you..for all pet owners, thank you..and for one scared little girl going through a very scary operation 30 years ago…a BIG THANK YOU TO DR. JOHN BRUNO!!!!

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