If you follow Andrea and I on FB, you would have seen a post earlier this week showing Jacob in dual casts. My posts about “Becoming/Being Jacob’s Dad” are still back at age 3, so I haven’t covered yet the topic of serial casting and stuff, but I’ll give the highlights. Basically, Jacob legs are super tight, particularly his heel cord (behind the calf). Which means he walks on his tiptoes on his right foot. He can consciously put his foot flat, but eventually it will rise.
When he was four, we did something called serial casting. Basically they put an inclined plane / wedge under his foot at say 18 degrees. Cast it for a week, which prevents any other movement, and thus his heel cord stretches. Take it off, put another wedge in, 15 degrees. Another week, 12. Etc. Until it is down flat. It worked GREAT. Now he’s turning 8 and we need to do it again. There’s more to the story than that but that’s the basic overview.
We did the casting on Monday, and it was way different than what I was expecting. When we did it at age 4, they only did one leg. This time they were doing two, which we knew, but the casts are gigantic on him. Cast plus wedge, plus a support area. It’s like he’s wearing platform shoes. We bought him overshoes to keep them dry — Men’s size 13!
Transport was a question from school. I drop him in the morning, no problem there, but how would he get up the stairs on the bus? Could he? Turns out he can. Crisis averted, as I thought I was going to have to leave work every day at 3:00 to get him. Or they were considering a special medical van.
Everything’s fine in the end, but we were running around town buying extra cast shoes, and overshoes, and this and that, way more stressful than I was expecting.
On top of the fact that we are PUTTING OUR SON in casts for SIX WEEKS.
Sure, it’s the right call. I know that. But it STILL sucks. And when it is done, he’s going to need a second ankle-foot orthotic. He has been able to get along pretty well with just one, but his left foot has been compensating so long, that it is turning inward too much. We’ll need to straighten it. So he needs the second one.
And he already feels different having one. But to him, at least it was only one. And it takes him longer to get ready each day at school, so he’s always last. Which others have noticed too. Not in a bad bullying way, just they noticed. Which made him feel self-conscious, and he is not really happy getting two now.
But as he put it, “I don’t have a choice.”
No, he really doesn’t.
And even when everything goes right, as it did in the end, I was still kind of weepy during the day. Emotional. Some of it stress, some of it just that I wish he didn’t have to deal with it. Even if he’s awesome. He even made a little presentation to his class to tell him that he had them, would get new ones, etc. Yet, when I’ve tried to get him to maybe get his class to sign it, he doesn’t want the attention.
I’ve got him focused on “40 days to go”, just like my countdown for PolySpring. I don’t know if that is the right approach or not. He doesn’t want to do anything to decorate it or play with it in any way. It’s just functional to him, and something he had no choice about.
Except we did talk about the fact that he did sort of have a choice. It wasn’t mandatory or life-threatening, there was a choice. But Mommy and Daddy had kind of made it for him, cuz it was the right thing to do. Which he understands.
And which he is handling great. I wish I was.