Two words can very swifty sum up our experience thus far with leg castings:
Yes, I said it. And I'm not putting a quarter in the swear jar for it either. I am really surprised at myself for being so stressed out over these casts. When we went to the orthopaedic surgeon, I was fully prepared to have his legs casted. And I thought I could handle it. I thought that with all of the things that are happening right now, and with all of the possibilities of what we could face, leg castings are really a simple solution to something that is quite a big problem for Jonah. I wasn't upset, I was just doing what I knew he needed.
Then they put the casts on. Having the casts put on was a little more emotional than I realized it would be. Jonah sat, reading his "Very Hungry Caterpillar" book, while it took three people to manipulate his feet into the correct position and get the casting into place. I watched him sit placidly, wondering how would he walk with these on? Will they be uncomfortable for him at night? Will people ask questions about them, or stare, or make assumptions when they see a baby with both legs in a cast? What in the world will this child wear on his lower half?
It had not occured to me before that his pants would no longer fit. I had to take him out of the hospital pantsless, covered by his special blankie. He didn't seem to mind, or notice what he was donning on his feet. When we got home, he played for about an hour and then everyone began trickling in from their daily events. I hadn't shared with anyone my expectations that Jonah would be getting braces or casts on this day, so our family was quite surprised.
When his grandmother picked him up, I noticed that his toes on his right foot were no longer to the edge of the casting. They were deeper into the cast. We thought maybe he had enough room to curl his toes back. He played for a little longer, and suddenly I saw him reach down to his feet and pull the right cast completely off of his foot, as if it were simply a shoe or a sock! I've never, in my life, heard of a child getting out of a cast. How does that happen?
The next morning I called the nurse at the office, and she had us come back. This was our fourth trip to the hospital within the last four days. As soon as I took Jonah out of the car, he looked around and realized where we were at. He began protesting immediately. It was so hard to drag my screaming toddler through the hospital and up to the doctors' offices.
Instead of recasting the whole foot, because Dr. M was in surgery, the nurse decided that the best option would be to saw the cast in half, and use an ace bandage to keep it secure. The original plan for these castings was to have full casts on his feet for one week, then we would go in and have them sawed in half so that I could put them on and take them off of his feet. So, this seemed to be okay, since it was somewhat the original plan anyway. The nurse showed me how to wrap the casting, and off we went to run the rest of our errands. Jonah seemed to be in a better mood now, and I needed to stop at the grocery store.
The whole time we were in the store, my sweet Jonah screamed. Nothing would calm him down. I even tried one of those carts that looks like a car. We will never be getting one of those carts again. They are huge, and hard to turn, and I just didn't need that with Jonah screaming his head off. People turned to give me "the look." I felt so guilty; I've never gotten "the look" from other parents before. That look that says "why are you out when your child is so miserable" or "please control your kid." I just started grabbing whatever I could think of, and we got out of there ASAP.
Jonah continued to scream throughout the day. He has screamed all night, and then all day the next day. In fact, there has been no end to it. constant screaming, 24/7. The plan to keep the casting on his right leg with an ace bandage has failed. It comes off within seconds of me putting it on. I called the nurse again, and she said to try to leave it on him when he's sleeping and they will recast it at our appointment this coming Monday. I could certainly leave it on when he's sleeping, except he won't sleep. No naps, no night time sleep. None.
We discovered part of the problem is that he's also getting three new teeth right in the middle of all this craziness. I feel so guilty, making him as uncomfortable as possible right when he is already miserable from his teeth. We've been giving him Tylenol, but it only mildly helps. He also has stopped putting any weight on the left foot, which is still fully casted. When he pulls himself up, he stands on one foot, and he is now refusing to walk even one or two steps.
Daryl and I are exhausted, and counting down the minutes to this Monday, when both casts become part-time casts and we won't have to keep them on his feet the whole day.