Well, it’s been a week and a half since Drew’s femur fracture and a new cast and I’m surprised to say it hasn’t been as bad as we anticipated. It’s still an adjustment, but I haven’t been at the verge of pulling my hair out like I expected. Drew needs a little more pain medicine than before, but only 1-2 more doses a day. And, other than the fact that Drew keeps sliding down on the sleeping bag and off his pillows he uses to sit up, the cast hasn’t been that big of an annoyance. Because Drew is unable to sit up, he sits upon a sleeping bag in the middle of the living room floor and 2-3 pillows for him to rest his head. He’s constantly sliding and every five to ten minutes, we have to replace him back in a semi-sitting up position. We jokingly discussed welding a bar into the floor for him to straddle and discussed tying a rope to his casted foot to the coffee table behind him after the non-stop slipping was starting to drive us crazy. Instead of damaging our floor or hog-tying Drew to the coffee table, we went with a more logical solution of sitting him on top of a non-slip shower mat. Hopefully that will keep his butt in position!
Now that both of Drew’s legs are out of commission, we haven’t been going to physical therapy. There’s nothing we can do with his casted leg. We can do massage and hip exercises on the fixator leg which doesn’t take an hour to do so we do the 20-30 minutes of exercise at home. But, I’m anxious to begin physical therapy again.
I suppose we could place a trashbag over Drew’s cast and give him a traditional shower, but since his cast is a spica cast which includes a thick “belt” around the abdomen, we figure it’s just too complex. So, we just give him a sponge bath on the living room floor. We do what we can, but it just doesn’t seem as effective as a real shower.
We do not take Drew anywhere in the truck unless it’s absolutely necessary. He’s just so difficult moving around. But, I did manage to take him for a couple of walks in his wagon with a pillow bed for fresh air.
However, he did have his two-week follow-up with his surgeon on Monday. After Drew’s x-rays we visited the fixator maintainance folks and did about 6-7 strut changes that were due or were coming up on being due so we could avoid another trip. The office must have been really efficient that day because instead of the 2-3 hour wait that we typically experience during these appointments, the doctors were ready to see us even before we were done with all of the strut changes.
But, Drew had to have additional x-rays because they also wanted to see how Drew’s casted leg was holding up since the surgery. While Daddy went with Drew, I nosed around a little bit in Drew’s medical records that happened to be present on the screen. There was a list of all of the x-rays that Drew had been performed on Drew since our very first appointment with Dr. Paley in November 2011 and there were 58 records! And, that was just at this hospital in Florida. Drew has probably had an equal number of x-rays at almost a half-dozen other hospitals in the US. I wonder how many x-rays is too many?
Soon after, Hot Doctor returned to discuss Drew’s right leg. Apparently, Drew has moved around in his cast somehow and while it’s not a big deal now, he was concerned and even said that if Drew’s leg gets too out-of-place, they would need to remove the cast and fix it, and then replace a new cast. Oy! And, Dr. Paley said he would place a rod in Drew’s left femur during the surgery to remove the fixator to avoid any further complications with possible femur fractures when we start doing physical therapy on that leg. This was a huge relief because I was really anxious about having to watch a physical therapist bend Drew’s left leg in the same fashion as what fractured his right leg. It would have been a nightmare to watch. But, I still have the worry about his right leg because after the cast is removed the knee bends must re-commence. And, yes, it’s necessary. The fact that his leg has been held straight for so long means he loses the ability to bend the knee and physical therapy must work the knee to regain that function.
They did extend Drew’s adjustment schedule. Drew’s leg still has some correction required and our current schedule ended on the 20th (for the bottom half) and the 28th (for the top half) which wasn’t going to be long enough to achieve a perfect leg. So, we have new adjustments, but luckily they were only extended to February 5th. Not too bad, especially since we have to stay until the cast has to be removed anyway which will be sometime mid-February so the adjustment schedule didn’t throw off any plans of coming home early February.
So, assuming that Drew’s adjustments are completely done on February 5th, I’m anticipating cast removal about mid-February. It is said that he should be able to go back to his old brace, but there is potential that he may need a new one fitted. Hopefully, he just goes back to his old brace and then I’m pretty sure we’ll be released to go home (with the left fixator on while the bones heal after the adjustment period.) If he needs a new brace, we’ll have to wait a week or two while a new one is molded and fitted. Then, we estimate that he’ll wear his left fixator until early June (the fixator stays on for about as long as it took to make the correction.) And, in June, or whenever that is, he’ll have the fixator removed.
The interesting thing about a possible fixator removal in June (well, other than the fact that surgeries are done and he’ll shortly after walk!) is that I’m due to deliver June 13th so Nathan and I are pretty anxious about conflicts between surgeries. Since my delivery has to be cesarean, it will be scheduled so at least we can do our best to plan around both of the two events. But, believe me, we are nervous about going into labor while at the hospital for Drew (but, I guess if you want to go into spontaneous labor, it would be while you are already at a hospital) or having a days old newborn while shuffling Drew through pre-op, surgery and post-op! It will be a challenge, that’s for sure!