Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cast Removal After Pelvic Osteotomy

Dear Angel,

     Today while your mother and I sat patiently once again, in the waiting room of a hospital, this time for your brother to have his tonsils removed, I found myself captured by a quote I read on the back page of an issue of Time magazine.  The quote simply read, "Sometimes we find a single journey can change the course of our lives."  As I pondered this simple message, I discovered, these few words had summed up the past year and a half of our lives.  This simple quote had captured the essence of the activities, memories, and tear filled moments as we find ourselves continuing our journey with battling this defect, hip dysplasia.  So much of who we are today is a direct result of this single journey.
     Over the course of the last six weeks, we struggled through another spica cast, took your baby sister to the ER following a tumble down the stairs, and had the tonsils of your older brother removed.  This last cast presented it's unique challenges from day one of installation.  Immediately following casting, every night you cried to have your legs scratched with a toothbrush set aside for such an occasion.  Unlike other casts, this six weeks had the added challenge of keeping you from walking on your feet.  Unique to your pelvic osteotomy, your surgeon prefers not to use the metal pins to hold the donor bone in place.  Instead, she has told us the pelvis of a young child has enough spring to it, so when the bone is positioned correctly the tension of the cut pelvis will hold the bone in place.  The only difficult part of this method is it requires us to keep you off your feet until the bone has a chance to bond with the incision of your cut pelvis.  If it means one less surgery to remove pins, we are open to the idea.
     After, yet another six weeks in a cast, we took you to the hospital yesterday to have your cast removed.  As a result of your failed epidural during your surgery, the thought of the cast cutter has brought the complication of a terrified toddler.  If any of us mention the words, cast removal, we are reminded immediately of your desire to, "keep it on forever!"  No bribes would work this time.  As we took you back to the cast removal room, you were crying as we walked through the door.  Each nurse we passed received  your lecture, "you don't touch my cast...leave it alone....I want it to stay on forever"  Each incision into the fiberglass was met with tears as you pleaded to have it stay on.  Finally, as the final cuts were made, you offered your consent stating, "You are right, Daddy.  It does tickle."
     The drive home brought a renewed sense of cheer, as the entire drive we where beckoned to watch as you bent your legs, demonstrating your flexibility and range of motion.  Even your surgeon was pleasantly surprise how quickly you could bend your legs and move your hip joints with the cast removed.  Over the next four weeks we have been instructed to keep you placed in an abduction brace every night and only during the day for the next two weeks.  Now, we count the days until your next picture of your developing bones combined with follow up x-rays of your baby sister's hips as we seek to discover if there is ever an end to this journey of battling hip dysplasia.

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