On the road again…
Unlike the legendary Willie Nelson, I’m not enjoying these road trips very much, and we certainly aren’t going places that we’ve never been. But On the Road Again is our life right now, and will be for awhile longer. (Note: Nathan is using a booster, it’s just not obvious because they are integrated and Sarah Kate is sitting on a thick blanket. Y’know – before someone chastises me… 🙂 )
On Monday night, we made the 250+ mile trek up to Birmingham (again!) for the fourth time in six weeks (and the seventh time since January) for yet another visit to Children’s of Alabama. Thankfully, this time there was no anesthesia required, and even better, Papa (i.e., my dad) is always there waiting for us to arrive.
Sarah Kate’s 4-week post-op appointment was on Tuesday.
We were pretty sure Dr. Doyle was going to choose to remove the casts, but when a doctor tells you he’ll “probably” do something on the next visit, there’s always a chance it won’t happen, so we were cautiously optimistic – about the casts, anyway. He also told us he “might” go ahead with the Botox in her hips (the third and final “piece” of the three-pronged approach recommended in conjunction with Gillette), so we had that to look forward to, as well. Assuming your definition of “look forward to” is a sizable dose of fear and apprehension.
Photos lie. I promise.
Sarah Kate was stressed in advance of the appointment. She wanted the casts off, but she was afraid of the process to actually remove them, and the mere mention of Botox (not the cosmetic kind) makes my brave girl whimper. I’ve never had Botox, but I’ve been told that it’s very painful by others who’ve had it, not just Sarah Kate.
Overall, the visit was a mixed bag.
She did great with the cast removal, though the technician did have a few hiccups by way of a cast saw charging station that had been unplugged by Someone, leaving multiple cast saw batteries with not enough juice to cut. The third time was a charm, though, and he did get them off. Dr. Doyle popped in for a minute while the technician was hunting for a functional saw, then left before he began cutting again, citing his extreme dislike of the sound of a cast saw.
An orthopedic surgeon who hates cast saws?
Yes, I did mock him just a tiny bit. I think he was cool with it. 🙂 He gave me a nickel later for correctly guessing that the ancient name of benzoin, an adhesive used with steri-strips, is myrrh. The resident shadowing him guessed incorrectly (HeeHee).
Once the casts were off we finally got to see The Damage, as in what her incisions look like (although we couldn’t really see much, between the big purple marks and the steri-strips). Sarah Kate fretted that her feet looked really skinny, but I reassured that her feet have always been freakishly narrow and that I have photo evidence to prove it. The littlest left piggy nail also got to see the light of day, revealing that I did not, in fact, attempt to paint it while it was in the cast.
The other thing Sarah Kate commented on was that her burn scar from the fall is still there. I’m not quite sure what she expected to happen to it while it was in the cast, but that’s what she said. Time to get back to the Mederma regimen, I guess, and add four new battle marks to the list.
Next we saw our longtime PT friend, Lisa.
Lisa isn’t Sarah Kate’s regular PT, for obvious reasons, but she has worked with Sarah Kate on and off for over eight years. She was in charge of Sarah Kate’s care post-rhizotomy in 2006, and has been tapped to lead the charge again this time. She showed us some simple exercises and stretches to do for the next couple of weeks until she can get back on her feet.
For the most part, things have gone well and Sarah Kate’s in good shape, but we do have one issue that’s a little bit concerning.
Pressure sores on the backs of both heels.
We knew they were there two weeks ago when her casts were changed, and we’ve done what we could to keep pressure off of them, but the casts were touching them all the time, and there’s only so much that can be done when she’s sleeping and not conscious of how she’s laying in the bed. It’s also possible that the car accident exacerbated the problem a little bit.
They don’t appear to be anything to worry about, but they do complicate things because we have to be aware of them all the time and we have to throw every tool in our arsenal at them so they’ll be healed up two weeks from now when we go back for an initial “get her back up on her feet” rehab session and for Botox. She’ll need to wear shoes for rehab, and she can’t wear shoes if her feet aren’t healed. 🙁
Don’t tell the doctor, but I’m trying an unorthodox remedy on her heels: Preparation H.
My dad has used it on his horses for years to reduce swelling and encourage cell turnover for their wounds, and it’s a human medicine, so why not? It’s not an open, oozing wound – more like a severe chafe – so though it may not help, I don’t think it can hurt. (Note: YMMV. I am not advising you to try it.)
We arrived home Tuesday night around 8:30 and Mr. Andi and I spent about an hour trying to figure out what we could use to keep her heels off the bed that would stay with her no matter how she moved during the night. Mr. Andi’s brilliant solution? Stuffed animals!
On the right leg, a teddy bear wrapped in Ace bandage; on the left, a tiger about to be wrapped in Ace bandage. Worked like a charm! After a bit of digging in her room on Thursday, I found another bear that’s a better fit so the tiger has been retired.