Monday, October 4, 2010

Finally an UPDATE 6 months after surgery


Sorry for the long lapse of writing on Simon's recovery! Right when he was starting to get around and I had some time to write - summer vacation was here and I had both boys home most of the time. Now they are back in school and some free time is here again as I am only working part time now.

Simon is doing very well. He is actually running ALOT - and FAST especially the last few weeks. Most of the summer he seemed like a very normal child and most people did not notice anything wrong with him. He did have a chronic limp all summer that really only we could see, and his stamina was lower than usual (he is usually very energetic so to most people his stamina seemed fine). We didn't let him go to camp - but I think he probably could have and he got stir crazy being home with mom. The picture here is at the beach end of summer and he did great on the sand - which can be hard to walk on!

I would say it took longer than I expected for him to start walking normally again post surgery. I think you are so glad the cast is off and you feel you are moving forward. It actually takes even longer than the cast was on for them to be safely walking on their own and there is a constant worry about them falling or getting hurt. You have to worry about the normal things kids do - like wrestling with friends or his brother, someone falling on him (and kids do this all the time! I guess it's fun!).

His surgery leg is 1/2 - 3/4 inch shorter than the other leg. We are debating whether he needs a lift. The PT did not think so, but he did have some back/pelvic pain end of summer and we wonder if it's from the leg discrepency and will be looking into that futher. He doesn't complain about it anymore, but he could just be accepting it as normal now and he rarely complains about physical pain anyway.

We saw the surgeon at Shriners at the 6 month mark and they did an xray and all the dead bone seems to have absorbed and there is alittle new growth starting. This is good! He did have full involvement of the head of the femur and it was totally lost.

Now we don't go back until end of January. The 3 inch metal plate may come out in the Spring depending on how much growth has come back and the shape of the head.

In the meantime he is on mild precautions - he can run and jump - but just not off things. He was invited to a bounce house party in a few weeks and we are debating if he should go.... he probably shouldn't but it's hard to keep denying him of all the fun things - but once he is better he should be able to do everything!

Here is his xray with the plate and screws (ugh! those long screws!). I'm glad I didn't see this xray until long after his surgery and recovery!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Cast is OFF!

Well, I still have a lot of writing to do about our Spica cast experience as I did not post alot the last several weeks.... been alittle busy! However, it is worthy to post that Simon's cast has come off!

yeah!

He was admitted to Shriner's hospital for Rehab 4 days ago, but had a very short stay and actually got to go home on pass overnight and we never spent the night. That was nice since I need to pack most of his food because of his allergies, and he would have been bored and stir crazy (and made everyone else crazy too!).

Unexpected events.... alot of pain when the cast came off. I didn't really expect this. Someone moved him - very carefully, but his knee did bend and that could have been what started the pain. He was "frozen" and afraid to move for over an hour. He was given Loritab (vicodin). He calmed somewhat and we coaxed him to get into the big tub (which was GREAT!). Once he was in the warm water and his leg moved on it's own - he realized he was OK! After that he did great. He went down for rehab and actually walked about 15 feet! That was the second shocker! I didn't even think he'd be able to sit up on his own let alone walk the first day. That was great.

However, we did get alittle too excited I think because that night at home, he wanted to walk all the time and although I was right behind him ALL THE TIME, I turned my head for a second to talk to someone and he ended up falling. He tried to make a 180 degree turn and could turn his leg fast enough. Luckily he was not hurt - just surprised and scared for a minute, but did get up a few minutes later and walked more.

video

Since that first night he is alittle more resistant to walking. I think he is sore and the novelty has worn off. He is moving ALOT more though and that is progress. He moves all around on the couch or in bed and we have been swimming twice and he is getting some good range of motion in the water. I bribe him to walk from the living room to the kitchen for treats and he can do it without alot of pain. I'm going to start getting creative next week with "where" we go walking to make it more interesting and not just "rehab" or "practice" - because to a 4 year old you know "that's boring"! I did get out his tricycle and was surprised that he could ride it! And at a pretty good clip in the garage. So that's definately doing some good.

Sleep got alittle harder with the cast off. He had been sleeping fine through the night with the cast on - could flip all around and didn't need me after the first 3 weeks. But with the cast off - he is more exposed to pain and it is not as easy to move and he gets stiff. What really helps is we put a small camping pillow between his legs and he is much more comfortable. The therapist at the hospital told us too that if their knees are touching, it can be painful.

Here are some pics of the cast coming off!




Here is the cool "bath tub" they put him in which completely relaxed him and allowed him to start moving. They used this gurney to load him up in from the room and wheeled it right to the bath tub. They then put the gurney over the bathtub and the bathtub actually raised up to make him go under the water very slowly. The bar he held onto gave him the security he needed as he was very nervous at first. But then loved it.




He liked going to "the gym" for rehab.


Keeping busy the last few weeks was not easy. We were both bored and some days quite lazy (at least Mom was!) But we tried to find things to do and we made it through. Here are some pics of things we did:

1. Having a beanbag handy was very helpful. You can bring it almost anywhere and plop them down in it. We brought it downstairs to our playroom as well as outside as pictured below playing with the bubble machine by the swing set. He could also play on his stomach on the bean bag.





He played constantly on this homemade roller board which was his main way to get around the house. The wheelchair was quite large due to the cast and not nearly as fun as this zippy toy.

He painted on the floor (sometimes literally!) as well as helped bake things that were done floor level so he could help.


Though it was a bit of a pain for the "grown-ups" (rather mom I should say), Simon helped with some planting and watering in his wheelchair and got alittle "rare" bit of Oregon March sun.

We went to the mall a few times which was fun, but could get into some power struggles with a 4 year old at the controls of a wheelchair! We tried not to run anyone over! His favorite store was the remote control car store and it was very quite so he got to play


Stay tuned for more info on Rehab! I also plan to write a long article on the Spica cast experience, tips, and things to do while in a spica cast.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Best Thing Ever....



I never realize how wonderful the disabled parking cards were.... until now. I feel more guilty than ever for that annoying feeling I would occasionally get in the past when all the parking spots were full at Target lets say - except there would be several empty disabled parking spots free. I'd have to park more than a block away... in the rain... two small kids.... seemed like a pain.

But now I realize how much these parking spots allow people to get out and about. I don't know if I would go out with Simon as much as I do if I did not have a temporary disabled parking permit. Today we went to Ben and Jerry's ice cream in a very trendy part of town with very little parking and we were allowed to park right in front of the shop! We usually have to walk blocks and blocks. We have made several quick trips to the grocery store as well because I knew I could easily find parking and get in and out without a hassle (especially now when it's raining so bad and I can't get his cast wet!)

The nice thing about parking in these spaces is that there is usually a space next to the spot for loading into a wheelchair (or stroller) where you are not in risk of getting hit by another parking car.

How do you get one? It's easy. Go online to your state DMV and see if you can download the forms. They are fairly easy to fill out - though you do need a doctor's signature. In Oregon, we needed to bring the signed doctor form to any DMV office and we got the disability plaque immediately. Be sure you have your doctor put their license number on the form! I've heard that some DMV's won't accept it without. Ours is good for 6 months.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pics and more

Well, Simon is downstairs on the beanbag watching his brother practice pitching with grandparent supervision so I thought I'd run to the computer and post some more pictures!

Here we go!

This is obviously a picture in the hospital the day of surgery. He had a foley catheter in as long as the epideral was in (2 1/2 days). The entire cast was green at this time - which he loved! But when they had to secure the gortex before leaving, they only had blue fiberglass.... so now he is multi-colored!





Below is Simon enjoying the high life! This was the first days home from the hospital, he spent more time in bed. No such luck now! Look at that stack of movies! We rented the hospital tray - but don't really need it now, so are returning it before we incur another month's rent on it ($40). He does still watch the portable DVD player before going to bed at night.








Below is a closer look at the carseat situation. It's the one in the forefront. I added the back to the seat and then built it up with those neck rests that you use on a plane to make it pretty firm and flat. We then use the regular seat belt. They do have harnesses and special car seats for different kid's sizes but this is what they said would work for us. I've thought of removing one of the arm rests which I can do with a screwdriver, but Simon had a fit at the mention of it for some reason. So he barely fits inbetween the armrests with his leg spread.





We put an extra twin mattress we happen to have in the shed on the floor in our den - which is kind of out of the way of the main living area. This has been great for him to lay on his stomach and lean over and play with toys. I then brought down the computer screen which happen to be right near by and he is currently obsessed with nickjr.com free games and videos....






I was quite proud of myself for thinking of this one.... how is he going to poop? Well, at the hospital they mentioned a "bed pan". Knowing my son, I thought he would NOT go for that very easily AT ALL! So I started thinking. We rented a commode and unscrewed the backrest. We put it at the highest leg setting (they are adjustable) and it was almost even with the bed. Perfect! since he is almost flat. We put the pillow and rolled up towel so he is slightly raised and he has been perfectly fine going potty in this chair. We also line it with a garbage bag so we can easily just take it out to the garbage! No mess to clean up! He is also easy to wipe right while he is on the commode (for those who need to know!) and we always kept a box of babywipes nearby. I do sleep with Simon because he has to be repositioned every few hours at least. Luckily shortly after his diagnosis just before age 3, he needed a new bed and I went with a full size and I'm so glad because when he needs a parent to be with him at night - we can also fit and get some sleep unlike on those little twin beds!

At first when we got home from the hospital I just went to bed when he did. But then I never had time to do anything! So I bought these extra long, extra tall bed rails from babies R Us and they are great. They actually slide underneath the bed when not in use. I put my side down when I go to bed and it doesn't even wake him up. These were a good investment - alittle spendy at $35 each - but well worth the break I get when he goes to bed at night. We keep a baby monitor we never got rid of in his room and the living room when we aren't in there so we can hear him stir. He is starting to turn himself from side to side and on his stomach at night by himself! Last night was the first time I think I didn't have to reposition him! But he gets cold, or hot, or tangled in the covers.... so you are awake many times a night - but it's getting alittle better. The first week or so is the worse because they needs meds through the night for pain control (and they don't always want to take it when they are half asleep - but are constantly moaning in pain - so they need it!) Luckily we are past that now.



Successful Surgery - UPDATE





I'm sorry for the long delay in updating the blog! I just can't seem to stay at my computer for more than a second before Simon needs me for something!

The surgery seems to have been successful. He does not have any pain now and the swelling is completely gone and he is moving around like crazy in the spica cast. So that sounds to me like the leg is healing. Three more weeks from yesterday the cast comes off - yeah! A day to party for sure. Though there will still be work to be done. He will not be able to walk - or even sit up for several days as he has lost those muscles from being in the cast. It took him about 2 weeks to walk fairly good after only being in the petrie casts for 3 1/2 weeks. We have a Rehab admission scheduled for April 14th for the cast to come off and to start rehab.

So, as far as the experience so far..... The first several days were hairy - mostly for pain control issues. He did have an epideral (which numbs him for the most part from the waist down) for 2 1/2 days - but it did not work completely. He had a lot of break through pain which was hard to manage. The best drug he was on was IV Toradol - which is like a very strong ibprofen. Nothing else worked as good as this drug - he felt very comfortable shortly after getting it. However, he could only have it every 6 hours and it started to wear off after about 4. He was given Morphine at first for breakthough pain, but it gave him a type of spasm which happens when a child tries to go to sleep. It then "shakes" them awake, causes pain and they can't sleep. He couldn't sleep for 18 hours because of this and that was the roughest part. Finally, valium worked for this (the only thing that worked!) and the morphine finally wore off. He was switched to Oxycodone for breakthrough pain and that worked well.
We went home on day 4 because I was not sleeping at night and I thought it may be easier at home and it was. I was able to give him his medicine exactly on time instead of waiting for staff to come and make decisions and he was fairly comfortable at home in his own bed and surroundings. We went home with Loritab (similar to Vicodin) and oxycodone, and also had on hand Valium for any ongoing spasms. He also used children's Motrin around the clock once home which kind of replaced the very loved Toridol. From about day 6 onward he has had very little pain and from day 7-8 onward he has barely even needed Motrin and we only give him Motrin before bed.

I have so much to write about our experience and tips that are helping us with his care tremendously at home! But I can only do it in segments. Here is some tidbits:

Carseat: This is a bit cumbersome. If your seat goes back all the way flat - you are in luck! If it doesn't then it takes some finageling and it's not perfect. We basically had to build up the middle part of the carseat to raise it up to make it fairly flat. We were lucky that the seat back did go back flat. Af first we only used the seat bottom and that was not as comfortable. Here's a pic on the way home from the hospital. He was in a good mood - thanks to Oxycodone!



For getting around the house he uses a W/C that is reclined. It's alittle bulky - but luckily we have a lot of space in the house. I saw this caster roller on Youtube many months back and thought it would be a great fun toy for Simon to play on. Well, it was a HUGE hit! It's not only a great toy, it gets him around everywhere lickity split and gives him some independence. Here's a pic and video






Simon chasing his brother (they are having fun - really!)


video

I"ll will be writing more soon on pottying, sleeping, eating and other fun things!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Surgery Day

Well today is it. We are at Shriners for Simon's surgery and he is currently in surgery and we are waiting.... He seemed to do really well and did not seem nervous before surgery. I guess it's the age and a blessing! He chose a green spica cast - so that will be fun. We have a wonderful room and the staff at Shriner's is exceptional as usual. I think I even want to work here myself!

I actually have internet access on my laptop in his room so I can keep things updated on how he is doing if he will let me leave his side for a second. I will be staying overnight the entire hospitalization and he will be here 3-4 days.

stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tentative Surgery Date March 8th, on call list....

Simon's osteotomy surgery at Shriner's hospital in Portland, Oregon is tentatively scheduled for March 8th. We are on a "call" list if a cancellation comes up, and apparantly this does happen frequently. So we are a bit on pins and needles waiting for the call. However, we haven't gone as far to pack a bag yet, but we are thinking we need to get prepared (I have started collecting 'finger' puppets that we can play with in bed as he likes this sort of thing!) .

Simon will be in the hospital for 3-4 days and then possibly in a spica cast for 6 weeks. Luckily we do have some experience (not necessarily good though!) of the petrie cast last April, so we know alittle of what to expect with a cast. However, the spica cast is quite a bit more extensive, plus he will have had surgery, so there will be some pain involved.

After the Spica cast comes off, he will go back into the hospital for a few days of rehab, then it will take a few weeks to learn to walk again, and then a few more to get his leg strength back.

He seems to be hanging in there. He limps pretty regularly now, and is a bit more hyper the last month or two, so I'm thinking he is having some chronic pain. We do give him motrin nightly now so he can try to get through the night. Without the motrin, he usually wakes up crying at some point (though he rarely complains it's his leg). He occasionally says (in a matter of fact way) that his leg hurts. He is a tough cookie. That is good for him in dealing with his health issues.... not always so good for mom who has to maintain some sort of order at home with 2 VERY active and head strong boys!

I plan to journal his progress once he has surgery as often as I can, so please check back!