We have had a lot of people who have been asking “what’s going on?” And we understand that many of you are curious about Mike and his progress with the club foot treatment.
Our last post (way back on New Year’s Eve!) we told everyone how we were excited about the transition from the casts to the brace. And indeed, we were excited! Certainly the brace could not be any more difficult than the casts – right? The brace might even be easier than the casts – right?
Ahhhh – the naive notions of new parents. So – let’s go back and add some more observations about the casts. They certainly were not an absolute pleasure. They rubbed and pinched and chaffed the top of his thigh. It was impossible to keep the poop off of them. And each time we got a new cast, Mike insisted on peeing on it at some point within the next four hours regardless of our best efforts! And the sponge baths were starting to get pretty old too…
However, they were pretty much “get it and forget it”. We would go to the orthopedic doctor on Thursday’s and he would cut off the old cast and put on a new one. For the rest of the week, there was nothing to do other than wipe them off occasionally.
And the braces sound so NICE! We can take them off every once in a while. We could give him REAL baths. They would be considerably harder to pee on (and virtually impossible to get poop on!). The chaffed spots on Mike’s thigh could finally heal. And they were so SIMPLE – two baby shoes with a bar between them holding the feet in position.
But oh how quickly we learned. First thing, the casting moves the feet to the proper position, but the tendons have not yet had a chance to stretch. The biggest problem is the Achilles tendon – it wants to pull the heel up and point the toes down (which is just the opposite of the position we are shooting for). So the single most important rule of the brace (other than actually wearing it) is to make sure that the heel is ALL THE WAY DOWN in the shoe. Of course, you can’t see through the shoe (it looks just like a normal, open-toed baby shoe with a solid heel) so it is very hard to tell if you are doing it correctly. And you simply obsess over it after you hear the doctor say, “it’s imperative that you get the heal all the way down – you MUST get it down – the foot will revert back if you don’t get it down – you MUST get it down”.
So now we are obsessed. Is it down? Are his toes curled? Did we get the strap tight enough? Are the laces tight enough? And on and on and on. And the other things that we didn’t think of until we got home – how are the outfits with feet in them going to work? How are we going to get pants off to change his diaper when there is a bar connecting his feet? And on and on and on…
And Mike certainly wasn’t shy about voicing his dislike of his new situation. And while his cries certainly were tugging on the heartstrings – we knew that in a couple of days he would become accustomed to his new brace and be happy again.
Then this past Tuesday night, we took his brace off and noticed a small (bb sized) dark purple pressure point on the back of his left heel. So we went back to the Hangers (the orthotics place) on Wednesday and they added some additional padding to the shoe. Thursday morning, the spot was still there – so we went to the orthopedic doctor Thursday. He believes that the pressure point is a result of not have the heel down all the way (GREAT! We were trying so hard!). Friday morning, the spot was STILL there, so we went back back to Hangers and they gave us a new pair of shoes.
Today, the spot is still there and we are trying a multitude of “heel padding techniques” to help (after several calls to the on call orthopedic P.A.) and we believe that the pressure point is improving. And as we are getting ready to go to bed – we are really hoping that the padding is making Mike more comfortable. He is already asleep, and that is a good sign. He didn’t go to sleep until 4am last night!
So – we promise to keep you posted! And here is hoping that we get some sleep tonight…