Monday, September 28, 2015

Well, That Changes Everything

We went into the doctor's appointment without a bit of anxiety or foreboding. Sure, Oona had taken a lot longer than her siblings to learn to walk, and she still struggled a bit with keeping up with the kids due to a little limp, but she was walking - and running and jumping and all the other things 18 month old girls can do.  Her pediatrician told us it might be a "hip issue" and referred us to an orthopedic doctor with Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids. I was born with hip dysplasia, which was easily corrected with 9 months in a harness, so I assumed if Oona had a hip issue, she also would be put in a harness or a brace, or perhaps since she was already so mobile she would just undergo physical therapy...

Therefore, when the doctor brought her x-rays in for us to look at and told us Oona would need immediate hip surgery, including a possible a femoral osteotomy, followed by three months in a full body cast, followed by up to a year in a restrictive brace, well...perhaps you can imagine how Matt and I felt. It was like someone had kicked the air out of us.

I walked around in shocked kind of stupor for a week. How were we going to do this? How was Oona going to get through this? My mind couldn't stop racing ahead, imagining prematurely the awfulness of what surely lies ahead - saying goodbye to my baby as she's rolled back to a 3 hour surgery with strangers, watching her wake up to the shock and horror of not being able to move, watching her deal with post-op pain and drugs, watching her come home and deal with the frustration of being bound to a heavy, fully encompassing cast, and worst of all - watching her grieve not being able to do what she loves best: running, climbing, dancing and jumping. Googling other people's stories about toddlers in Spica casts hasn't helped the dread very much - lots of stories of depressed babies, sleepless nights due to painful muscle spasms, and lots of horror stories about the difficulty of keeping the casts dry and clean due to difficulty of diaper changes with the cast.

I'll be honest - this whole thing, it's a nightmare, and we're still in a weird state of grieving while simultaneously trying to be positive. Three months is a long time, but it will come and go. There's comfort in knowing there's a definite start and end to the treatment, if that makes any sense. We can plan around it, and make adjustments for it. And we're so thankful that the dysplasia was caught NOW and not when she was older and at higher risk of needing more surgeries and intervention. I'm thankful that when Oona is ready for school, she'll be able to run and jump with her friends without a limp. I'm thankful that she's healthy and strong and feisty. I don't know how we're going to do the next three months but I know we will do it, and it will all work out for the best.

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