The verses texted to me in the last two days have been beautiful. All prefaced by “I know you said you didn’t want to talk about it BUT….”
Friends, y’all are killin’ me.
Go ahead, sing that for the rest of the day.
So, the sun is shining and I’ve had several “snap out of it” conversations with myself and a dose or two of therapeutic red curry from Champa Thai and my head was generally on straight this morning when we walked into the surgeon’s office.
And I had cute shoes.
Never underestimate the emotional power of good footwear.
I thought the appointment was going to be a disaster because for some reason, Travis freaked out once we got into the exam room. He didn’t want to sit on the exam table and even though I sat with him, he would not release his death grip from my neck. He was sweating profusely and shaking so hard that I was honestly starting to get nervous that we wouldn’t be able to get a decent x-ray. I sent a quick text to a couple of friends asking for specific prayer for his fear and literally within MINUTES his attitude completely changed and he was cheerful and even excited to show the doctor what he could do.
Answered prayer right before my eyes.
You can only imagine the encouragement that gave me.
The x-rays showed that his left hip hasn’t changed much since we last looked at it but his right hip has deteriorated some. Fortunately, it is not causing any pain or functional gait impairment, so the huge praise coming out of today is that he will not need hip surgery. He will, however, need leg surgery.
There are various contributors to his gait problem but they are concentrated in the left leg so surgery will be confined to that leg. This is a praise because it offers a better chance at recovery because he’ll still have one strong leg to stand on while doing therapy to bring the other one back to strength.
We spent a good bit of time talking about what life would look like post-surgery. The doctor had specific questions about T’s internal motivation to walk and how willing we thought he’d be to participate in his recovery because those will be key factors in whether or not he gets back up on his feet. And, honestly, we have to guess at the answers based on how we’ve seen him recover from previous surgeries. We really don’t know. I am hopeful that he’ll work hard and I feel somewhat comfortable that he will try (and try harder if I have Jelly Bellys) to participate in his therapy but the only thing I can do in that case is pray, encourage, and bribe.
So that’s what I’ll do.
For those who like details about what will be done, I have a few. The doctor threw around big words like osteotomy and torsion and a bunch of words that made me wish I’d paid more attention in Anatomy class, but for the sake of clarity we’re going to call them “the upper leg thing”, “the lower leg thing”, “the tendon thing” and “the hamstring thing.” They’ll cut the bone in his upper leg and remove a bit of length and rotate it so that his knee is better aligned with his hips and put it back together with a metal plate and screws. They’ll also lengthen the hamstring while they’re at it.
His lower leg bone is showing evidence of torsion or bone twisting and, yes, we can all get the heebie jeebies about that. They will cut the two lower bones just above the ankle and twist them so that they properly align with the knee and will put in some staples to hold them together until they heal. While they’re working on the lower part of his leg, the doctor will also lengthen the tendon that runs along the outside of his foot so that it doesn’t continue to pull it outward.
These are all surgeries that many kids with cerebral palsy have as they grow and we’ve known he might have to have all or some of them. We did one hamstring surgery three years ago so that’s a known quantity and we’re comfortable with what that looks like. We feel fortunate that he can have all four procedures done at once and have one period of recovery. (There was a 5th procedure we specifically elected NOT to do so he wouldn’t have pain in his foot to contend with once he’s cleared to start weight bearing. We wanted to remove that obstacle because we want him to have the clearest shot at recovery he can have.)
The surgery itself will take three hours, he’ll be hospitalized for a couple of days afterwards, and he’ll come home in a long-leg cast for 4-6 weeks and then we’ll start PT. We don’t have a surgery date yet but they will call us and let us know when the doctor’s schedule is free.
Judging by his heavy sigh and exaggerated eye roll, we’re not the only parents who have requested the third week in June for their kid’s surgery date.
So we left with not-as-heavy hearts as when we went in. The fact that we’re not going to touch his hips gives me hope and even if it’s a sliver of it, I’ll take it with a drizzle of caramel sauce and dollop of whipped cream.
And a side of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream which is now available at a Triangle Walmart near you and yes, that is your public service announcement for the day.
Which, by the way, is where Travis wanted to go after his appointment because he spent all of his allowance at Target last week and he was living under the delusion that he might get a fresh start at a different establishment and he was also hoping Mom would spring for large fries at the in-store McDonalds.
I was glad to oblige.
As we were dipping fries into honey mustard sauce, I asked him what he thought about his appointment this morning and he said that the doctor needed to fix his funny bone. When I told him that was the case and that he would need to have an operation he wasn’t concerned in the least and only asked two things: Can I watch movies in bed at the hospital? Can I drink my sick soda?
Assured that the remote would be his and he’d have Sprite on demand, he had one parting question: Can we go tomorrow?
Oh, sweet boy, thanks for letting me know it’s all going to be okay.
Have a nice day.