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Casting is a long journey in the life of any clubfoot-momma. Little E had 5 casting appointments before he was done. This is actually a bit less than average – most #clubfootcuties have 4-8 casts in the Ponseti Method.
Removing the Cast: Harder Than We Thought
Our second casting appointment with the orthopedics was scheduled for Monday early afternoon. We got up early that morning to remove his first cast. We had watched a couple videos of other people removing their baby’s cast, and were feeling confident! After filling up a large ziplock bag with warm water, we wrapped a wet washcloth around his cast, and stuck his cast in the ziplock bag. We then continued pouring water over and into his cast.
Now, it sounded like a pretty fool-proof plan. But trust me, it was much trickier than we anticipated!
It was very difficult to hold him, hold the bag, keep the washcloth in place, and pour water over his cast. Even with two people.
By the end of it, I was soaking wet, Hubby was soaking wet, Little E was crying, the water kept leaking out of the bag, and we were all frustrated.
The enemy just loves to use little things like this to turn us against each other. Have you found that to be true, too? One of the most helpful things someone told me is that when you find yourself reacting more violently to something than makes sense, it is often the Enemy trying to sneak in and take control of a situation.
We did, however, after much frustrations, some snapping, and finally some heartfelt apologies, manage to get his cast off.
Then it was back to the orthopedics department for casting #2.
Cast Number Two
Once there, I was disappointed to find out that we would no longer be seeing Dr. B, who already had a full caseload.
However, my worries were soon put to rest at meeting Dr. O. He was very knowledgeable as well, and I really appreciated how good he was with Little E.
Dr. O informed us that Little E had done great with his first cast! In fact, he was already done correcting the plantarflexion (remember, this means how his foot was curved downward) in just one casting.
Now, it was time to move on to rotating the foot outward, away from the medial line (the middle of his body).
Once again, Little E did amazing with the casting process, only fussing a tiny bit during the manipulation part of the casting procedure.
This cast seemed even bigger than the first! Little E was fussy that first day, but adjusted very quickly to it again and was back to himself by the next day.
And On and On…
This process continued on for the next three weeks.
During it, however, Hubby and I discovered a much easier way (for us) to remove our little man’s casts.
Rather than deal with the ziplock bag, the washcloth, and a pitcher of water, all three of us jumped in the shower. I nursed Little E while Hubby ran water over his cast and unwrapped it. He also used the cast scissors to help (definitely ask for these if they want you to remove your little one’s casts at home!).
If your doctor didn’t provide you with some cast scissors, you can buy them here.
While Little E still didn’t like this process very much, it was much quicker and a lot less stressful for Hubby and me.
Little E also seemed to grow less and less fond of the casting process with each cast. Starting at his third casting, he would scream as they put it on. I think, more than anything else, he just really hated having his movement constrained. It also must have been uncomfortable…I imagine it was probably similar to the feeling you have when you try to straighten your leg after sitting criss-cross applesauce for too long.
Dr. O continued to praise Little E’s progress, and by the time of his fourth casting, he said it was time to discuss the tenotomy.
A tenotomy is a small surgical procedure. Some doctors do it in an OR, but others, like Dr. O, prefer to do it in the clinic with a local anesthetic. We decided to have Little E’s procedure in the clinic to avoid the risks associated with general anesthesia.
In a tenotomy, the doctor makes a small nick in the skin on the back of the heel. Then, he inserts a tiny scalpel and cuts the Achilles tendon. He doesn’t necessarily have to cut all the way through it, just enough so that the foot is able to bend up toward the calf. (Which is why they have to do this procedure – without it, the tendon is too tight to allow the foot full range of motion.)
What Dr. O told me next was mind-blowing…thetendon would fully grow back, with little to no evidence of the cut, within just eight weeks! Isn’t God’s creation amazing?!
We agreed, as long as Little E made the desired progress with this fourth cast, to proceed with the tenotomy at his next visit.
The morning of Little E’s tenotomy, I was much more nervous than I had been for any of his casting appointments.
Unlike his previous appointments, I was not allowed in the room for this procedure (for sterilization and emotional reasons).
Waiting in the small waiting area during his procedure, I tried to distract my mind (mostly with games on my iPhone.) Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the nurse came to get me.
Dr. O handed me my little baby boy, all set to go in his new and final cast. This one was to stay on for four weeks.
He said that the procedure had gone very well. Little E definitely didn’t like the shot for the local anesthetic, but because of that anesthetic, he didn’t even seem to notice the actual procedure itself.
This last cast was a honker of a cast…making his right leg at least three times bigger than his left! The doc said this was for extra durability since it would be on for four weeks. He also said it would be much more difficult to take off at home, so he suggested just coming in and having them saw it off.
Once they did saw it off, we would move onto the boots and bar part of the Ponseti method, but more on that in Part 4 of Our Clubfoot Journey!
Experiencing your own clubfoot journey?
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