Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spica Cast Removal Extravaganza

The day Eli got his cast removed was the happiest day of his parents lives.

But no, seriously.  We were beyond excited to have this torture contraption removed.  However, we couldn't get Eli to grasp the concept and he was NOT excited.  Any trip to that doctor's office is BAD NEWS for him.  He started whimpering before we even went into the door.  The only way to soothe him was to watch Curious George in the waiting room.
Most admittedly, the removal process was very scary.  It started with an x-ray (bad memories from his diagnosis), seeing the terrifying doctor again, and then some stranger came into the room wheeling creepy looking machinery.  She made him wear enormous sound canceling headphones and then brandished what looked like a vibrating pizza cutter at him.   To top it all off, the pizza cutter made the same noise as his nemesis, the vacuum cleaner.

Eli endured pure torture as his parents (the betrayers) held him down and the stranger made his whole shell vibrate.  But three minutes later, it was all off.

We realize this picture is gross.  And trust me, it smelled worse than it looks.  But we look at that cast as a fallen foe and we are proud to memorialize the defeat here.

Eli wasn't happy about anything until we got him out of that evil office, but once we got outside he became euphoric and insisted on walking (with help) down the long hall.

As for me, I was surprised that there didn't seem to be any deformity in his broken leg.  Both legs weren't as chubby as they used to be, but I was gearing up for something disturbing looking.  The only gross thing was the all the dead, not-so-clean skin that started just falling off, but one glorious bath later and that was all taken care of.

We had a wonderful weekend after the removal.  We were finally able to take Eli to the pool again, finally bathe him, finally have him sit upright by himself and play with his toys, and finally get back to walking.

Two weeks later, Eli is pretty much back to normal.  He's running, "jumping", and learning to go up and down the stairs like a grown-up.  Our home life has improved so much.  I feel, for this brief time, that mothering this kid is a breeze and I love it.

Thank you to all the friends and family that loved our stinky-casted son and supported us all through this.  We could not have done it without you.

While we were visiting the Judkins we had Zach's professional picture taken by the talented Randy for Kmart's wall.  While he had the camera set up we snapped some shots of Eli too.  Feel free to feast your eyes on the cuteness below.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Survive a Spica Cast Apocalypse

I must admit, when they first let us see Eli in the spica cast, it felt like the end of the world.  Six weeks seemed to stretch out like eternity in front of us and I knew we were in for some tough times.  But lo and behold, we have survived and taken away these nuggets of knowledge:

Make Stations- and get your hands on a bean bag
I really did not want to have to carry my heavy and rigid child around all day.  To avoid this we made little stations around the house that we could transfer him to as needed.  There was a pillow nest on our bed, a bouncer in the kitchen, a bean bag in the family room, and as he got better, a blanket on the floor in the living room.  With two weeks to go we figured out that if we removed the center leg divider from his high chair tray we could squeeze him in there.  Being vertical and strapped in made life easier for everybody. 

Pray for a deadened sense of smell
On our first checkup a week after the incident the doctor told us that the smell should plateau after a week or two.  Sadly, this was not the case.  When it spikes up to the unbearable level, we found changing out the mole skin really helps.  We also tried lavender oil and (out of desperation) Febreeze, but those only last for a few hours.  This is great if you need to go somewhere, but soon it just smells like old urine mixed with lavendar which is somehow worse than the original stench.

Accept your DIY Disaster
All the duct tape on the cast made it look like a Pinterest Fail, but it was the only thing that kept the mole skin from peeling up.  In my experience, Gorilla Tape worked best and looked cleaner.
Feminine napkins are the way to go
It took us a few weeks to figure it out, but a pad on each end of the diaper with one along the top ridge of the cast really helped with the pee-outs at night.  And bonus, they smell good.

Be prepared to look pregnant again
Unless you have some serious core muscles, in order to compensate for the bulky heavy weight that is now your child, you're forced to thrust your hips out forward and lean your shoulders way back, creating a funky S shape.  Avoid wearing baggy shirts or maxi dresses that hang straight down in the back, or you too may be on the receiving end of one of those awkward "Oh, I didn't know you were expecting" comments at church.  From recent experience, there is no graceful way to make that right.

Ex-nay on the grocery cart
It just doesn't work.  However, if you're lucky you might be able to prop them up in the cart with the little car attached.  Otherwise its back to the college days of shopping in the darkened grocery store at 11 at night. 

Just try it
I wasn't sure if Eli would fit in the stroller, but with some judicious stretching of the harness we got him in and it made a big difference to be able to get him (and me) outside and out of the house.  He also managed to sit on a bike (with help) and a few swings at the park.  Any change from the norm is awesome.

Find distractions
Because we live in the Middle of Nowhere, NV we had to make three trips to Salt Lake for Eli's treatments. However we decided to still go ahead with the planned Cabinoference trip we had set up before the apocalypse.  The trips made time go faster and it helped to have family and friends share some of the load.  You guys rock.
Bean Museum
Fourwheeling was barely tolerated

Drawing with Jax and Rod
Duck Duck Goose with his trusty steed, Dad
Sand box with the Rogers- approach with caution. 
River trail swing- probably his favorite thing ever.

Don't give up on tummy time
There were toys that I thought Eli wouldn't be able to use until he got his cast off, but by the end he could really scoot around on the floor and was much easier to entertain.  It gave him a little more freedom to adjust his own positioning as needed and play with his beloved cars and trains again.

Don't flip out when they pull themselves up
It's the weirdest little stance you've ever seen, but its a good thing.  Eli was walking along the couch by the last week and I think it helped the transition a lot when the cast was removed.

Don't make a paper chain
At least not at first.  I made that mistake and was terribly disheartened to see it trailing down on the floor.  It was a great source of excitement when it got shorter though, and Eli absolutely loved pulling off the links at night.

 This too shall pass
 Not since my wedding have I anticipated a date so much, and the last week before the cast removal felt like the longest of my life.  But the time passed, the day came, and now its all behind us.  Forever with any luck.

Eli at the doctor's office before cast removal.  Clearly stoked.