Miss K’s new situation for her legs
After a month in a cast which covered both legs with two bars connecting them, Miss K was fed up. I was too, with all the bruises I got from knocking on the bars when carrying her. The most uncomfortable one was on the tip of my knee, so kneeling (which I do most of the day) hurt every time.
Miss K would not keep to the position she needed to adopt at this time to prevent a pressure sore from getting worse and the only way to make things better was to distract her. Mr B was a big help with this.
We went to the hospital with her legs in the cast and the first task was cutting the cast off. She coped with this, but was crying. The saw managed to catch her knee a little at one point, because there was an unexpected swelling on her leg which had really been turning in. After this, it was time for an x-ray and then back to the doctor. He had a huge queue waiting for him, so we went directly to the brace-making department to see if the brace was ready. It was not done, as there is only one worker in there, so she told us to come back in an hour while she sewed all the straps and added all the foam pieces. We went for a little walk and bought some snacks and came back to wait for the doctor.
We headed back up to the doctor and it was our turn. His assessment was that Miss K’s hip was still in the socket and that the brace was required to help the muscles and brain get the correct memory of the right position and to help this to continue to be the case. I asked him to write on the orphanage medical records when the brace had to be worn, so staff could not say they didn’t know.
He added that hamstring-lengthening surgery may be required for the left leg, which still had some tightening, but that would be reviewed later. Stretching exercises would be tried first to see if that was enough or not.
We went back to the Brace Department, where the new brace was almost ready and I got her changed into t-shirt, shirt and leggings, so she would be comfortable. I carried out a quick nappy change too and redressed the pressure sore on the sacrum. Then we put Miss K into the brace. It was a nice fit, but we were encouraged to go for food and see after that whether she had any red areas.
We went and got food in the hospital’s new food court and Miss K ate really well. She had one full plate of pumpkin and egg mixed with some of my chicken and rice and a baby pouch and a half to make the texture easier.
The Bann Feung Fah physio was kind to let her watch some cartoons on her phone, but Miss K was more amused by her silly antics. We played a game like musical statues (apart from being without music) and her becoming a statue if I saw her moving. Miss K loved the idea that she knew something that I did not. She giggled and squealed with delight over and over again.
After the food, we checked and no areas were red and all was well, with only light marks from the creases of the clothes, which faded quickly.
We called the minibus and it came right away and the children and staff at the other hospital were ready too. We were back at Bann Feung Fah at about 2.30. I gave Miss K her first full leg wash and put her back in her brace on her front to rest a while. It takes some time to get a system of carrying her, putting on her brace and holding and positioning her with it on.
I showed the staff what the doctor had written in her notes: that the brace was to be worn all the time apart from showers, changing clothes and for physio with me. They understood.
Over the week or so since the brace arrival, the sore knee is fine and the pressure sore gently improving. She started off on the first day complaining about having to wear it, but with no one willing to take it off, she gave up her futile complaint. One morning so far, I’ve found her not in her brace (frustrating to say the least) and I’ve no idea whether she is in it when I’m not there, but when she is in it, it’s doing its job. We did lose one of the screws, but another child had the same thing which was broken, so I took a screw from his and taped up the box which holds the mechanics, so no more will disappear.
While out of the ward with me, she does stretching and then sitting. Then she has some time on her front. Playing with various toys distracts her and gives her a chance to be social with the other children too.
Some days her head control and leg posture are really good when lying on her front in a prone position. However I find it’s all about not emphasising the stretching so much and getting her positioned quickly, without paying attention to the moaning, and then to praise her and play when we are right. We vary the play too, so she has little time to grump.
Prayers for her eating would be welcome, as that is the time when she is getting feisty. She lost lots of weight over the course of all this medical intervention, wants less and less and is picky about what she will bother to chew and swallow (even though it’s the food she was used to).
This contrary nature gets really irritating, especially on days when others have quite intensive needs at the same time or are behaving in a way that is getting them into trouble.
The leg posture is improving and her willingness to cooperate gets there after a bit of complaining. Please pray that the complaining and moaning will reduce and we get to an easier way of working together. Pray also that the stretching works or at least makes it clear if the hamstring lengthening is needed or not. The brace is to be worn for six weeks to start with.
Thank you all for the support and prayers.