Okay, so it's Thursday, and I'm just now getting a chance to talk about Monday's appointment at Shriners. I'm feeling a little behind.
Starting at the very beginning, Katie has a clubbed foot. This means that her foot looks different from a typical foot, kind of twisted around. Club foot is more common with kids who have Amniotic Banding, which Katie also has, and the combination of the two means that treating Katie's club foot may be a little trickier than a "typical" case.
To read more about Amniotic Banding and/or Club Foot, visit here: http://www.nohandsbutours.com/special-needs/
Here are my lovely little ladies ready to go in. My step mom, who watched the kids while we were in China, was able to get Hannah an appointment the same day that Katie's was set up for. So we went upstairs first, and had Mr. Rick check to see how much of an adjustment Hannah needed (1/4"). We left her leg there with him and went downstairs to Katie's first appointment. Hence the double stroller.
The nurse that took us back spoke Cantonese! I thought that was very cool. Katie wouldn't talk to her, but she clearly understood her. The nurse gave the girls suckers, which got her some smiles from Miss Katie.
Hannah was a little trooper for our 3 hour visit. She handled all the sitting and waiting and not being the center of attention well.
The doctor sent us over to radiology for some x-rays. Katie did awesome, laying perfectly still where she was placed. She even held her hand still sideways for the hand x-rays. (We're probably looking at a surgery on one hand at some point.)
Hannah behind the shield during the x-rays.
After x-ray, we went to The Casting Room. Sounds very Hollywood, doesn't it? No agents here, just docs and techs. There are 4 casting beds, 2 techs, and a cart of supplies in the center of it all.
It's actually pretty interesting, at least to me. The tech asks what color you want. We chose purple for the first week. Then the doctor stretches the foot in the direction they want it to move, and the tech works around the doctor, wrapping first cotton, then fiberglass (I think?) cast wrap around the foot and ankle, then from the thigh down to join the two sections. Whatever it is dries much faster than plaster casting material, and she was good to go almost before we knew it.
Katie was perfectly fine with the process, and calmly munched her Puffs. We should have bought stock in those things. Luke can eat them, and Katie and Hannah like them, which makes them a hot commodity.
Now we come to the fun part of learning to live with a cast: Choosing outfits that don't clash, and learning to wash hair outside the bathtub.
Katie will get her cast changed (and foot stretched more and more into the correct position) each week for several weeks. No swimming this summer. When the doctor feels she's made sufficient progress, Katie will have a surgical procedure to lengthen the heel tendon. Some docs will just clip and hope it regenerates, but Katie's doc feels that at her age, the other option is better. Most club kids start casting as infants, so she's considered an "older child" in treatment terms.
After surgery, Katie will wear a final cast for 3 weeks. Typically at this point, kids go into "boots and bar" bracing, at least at night time, to hold the foot in correct position. Since Katie doesn't have her other foot, that's not going to be an option for her. It's not clear at this point, but Katie may have to wear a brace on just that foot. Probably most of the time at first, tapering off to nights only later on, but it's too soon to tell.
Whatever the treatment specifics, I'm delighted to report that we'll be working on her prosthetic for the OTHER leg at the same time. So right about the time her foot is in the correct position, she'll have a new leg/foot on her other foot and can start the very exciting phase of learning to walk! Hannah (who wears a full prosthetic leg, as opposed to Katie's which will be below knee only) took her first steps at age 4 and now gets around just fine. I have every confidence Katie will do likewise. We may be looking at a little physical therapy at first, but we'll see if she needs it or not. Hannah was released from therapy quite quickly.
So there you have it. Katie's very manageable special needs in a nutshell. I'm sure we'll have people asking, "What happened?" but I wanted to put it out there so people would know to expect the casts for the next couple of months.
Thanks for clicking for us!