Making it Work for Drew

Since Drew’s surgery, I have found that we’ve had to make a lot of adaptive devices to accomodate Drew’s new leg.  It started with a pillow to rest Drew’s leg on while on his wheelchair.  We were concerned that the metal fixator bumping against the metal foot plate would be uncomfortable.  So, I sewed up a custom pillow:

As much as Drew would like to, we can’t let Drew go out in public without pants.  The device is so big around that getting a pair of pants over it would be awkward.  So, I bought some shorts and cut up the right side of each pair.   After much trouble and fussing with a fussy sewing machine, I sewed strips of velcro down the side so it acts like a wrap:

We were told by Dr. Paley’s staff that we should get a shower seat for Drew.  The fixator, being made from strong materials, would wreak havoc on the tub:

We originally planned for Drew to use his wheelchair whenever out and about.  But after unloading the wheelchair once in this hot and humid weather, we thought we had to rethink this.  This is the process we must take to bring his wheelchair to another location:

  1. Unsnap the strap
  2. Remove two ratchet straps
  3. Remove the cotter pin
  4. Unroll the ramp and tug on it
  5. Flip it upside down.
  6. Replace cotter pin.
  7. Roll wheelchair up ramp backwards
  8. Tie down four ratchet straps to secure wheelchair in place
  9. Remove cotter pin
  10. Flip ramp over
  11. Roll ramp up
  12. Re-snap the strap
  13. Secure with two ratchet straps.

This process can easily take 10 minutes. By this time, you’ve broken a sweat.  Then, when we get to wherever we are going, we have to repeat the process AGAIN taking another 10 minutes.  Any resemblance to a presentable-to-the-public adult you were leaving the house is replace by a disheveled mess!  So, we figured that in cases where Drew’s wheelchair wasn’t absolutely necessary, such as when he goes to therapy where we go from the parking lot onto a therapy table, we could utilize a wagon:

But for trips to the zoo or the grocery store, the wheelchair will be much more efficient!

Part of Drew’s fixator is a little “shoe” that he must wear as much as possible to prevent his foot and toes from curling during the rotation.  Therapists explained that as the adjustments are made, his toes could actually curl under involuntarily creating a problem for walking later.  So, the therapist made a mold of Drew’s foot with this blue plastic square and used velcro to secure the “shoe” to hold his foot in a nuetral position.

To prevent the shoe and the velcro from rubbing blisters in his skin, we use a cutoff sock (since he has pins that go through the middle of his foot, he can’t wear a full sock.)  So we must cut the footie portion of socks to place around his toes:

I read that many kids with fixators like the privacy of covering their fixator.  I was originally planning on sewing one up myself, but as you can see, we’ve been pretty busy with other things.  So, I chose the lazy way out and Googled fixator covers and came upon this young woman’s website ( who makes customized fixator covers:

Shall receive them shortly!

Finally, every Tuesday (the week anniversary of Drew’s surgery, I shall include a picture documentary on the rotation and extension of Drew’s leg.  It’ll be fun to see how Drew’s leg changes!

Week 1


One Comment Add yours

  1. Emily says:

    You’re so awesome! I love the homemade paints and little socks. You could probably whip out that fixator cover in no time but I’d probably just buy one too. Thanks for keeping us up to speed. Thinking about yall always! Xo

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