One foot, two feet, all in!

As many of you know Oscar is due to have surgery on his left leg/foot/ankle at some stage in the first quarter of next year.

We’ve known this surgery was coming since he was about three I think. Maybe even earlier.

Part of me is all whooaahh that we’re here already. I mean, MAN, where did that decade go!

There are a few other things happening in the early months of 2010 which have made me hope against hope that he would not be operated on until around April. Things like Mum having a hip replacement and the annual week-long school camp which he would be devastated to miss let alone miss because he’s got a cast on his leg and can’t walk and OMG what is that on my leg!

Yesterday we had an appointment with our cerebral palsy specialist Dr L who is one of those remarkable medical professionals you simply can not heap enough praise on. The man changes many many lives on a daily basis. What can I say.

He agreed with me that over the course of this year Oscar has got a lot stiffer through his joints. Getting up even off the lounge let alone the floor takes quite an effort on his part. Getting in and particularly out of the car can sometimes be challenging. Challenging. (cue that face of maternal concern and bereft-ness) He also agreed with me that his right foot has worsened a lot this year.

Which brings me to the initial surgery discussion we had back in April with Dr L and the surgeon Dr S. The left foot is a given, the right foot back then was one big question mark. The surgery is going to be a massive, MASSIVE trauma for Oscar. Do we do both feet at the one time simply to get it all over and done with in one hit. But that right foot is really not that bad and there’s no way we want to put him through a surgery that has an extended recovery period and significant post-operative pain management issues. And so on and so forth.

This surgery is dealing with the fact the muscles in his feet don’t do what they should and as a result his foot is being pulled up on itself. Put your foot flat on the floor then scrinch your toes up. See how that pulls your arch up and puts all the weight onto the outside of your foot? Yeah, well that’s what’s happening to Oscar in a significant way. Couple that with the fact that the bones in his heel/ankle have not formed correctly and you have a red hot mess waiting to happen. By the time you’re an adult if this situation is left untreated then it becomes painful to walk and you end up in a wheelchair. Score!

So they’ll cut  tendons from his calf and put them in his foot, they’ll saw through the ankle bone/heel and reposition it and then stitch him up nice and good, whack a cast on him and send him home in what I know will basically be a catatonic state of pure post-operative trauma. Awesome.

Then we get six weeks (at least) of that cast and absolutely no weight bearing on the foot whatsoever. Then, THEN!, because of the nature of the procedure and the length of time not walking he will need intensive physio to r.e.l.e.a.r.n. (Let’s just take me to the back paddock now and get it over with.)

Following the appointment yesterday I had a raft of phone calls to make to ascertain where Oscar is on the wait-list and to see the surgeon to revisit the one foot or two debate and to get a letter for the school indicating just how horrendous this is going to be so can we please access the emergency fund for additional funding.

The first was to the physio at the hospital who works with this surgeon and well, let’s just give her a round of applause. She informed me the tentative date for Oscar is in mid-April. She is writing the letter. She gave me a heads up that I could most definitely see Dr S in the clinics to avoid the costs of seeing him in his rooms. She gave me tips on how to get that appointment at the clinic.

So then I rang outpatients and even though tomorrow‘s clinic is chockers it let her add Oscar to the list. So tomorrow morning, at the crack of dawn, he and I will head back over the other side of the city to see the surgeon.

The operation is inevitable. The worry about when, one or two and all the rest does not need to hang over us for the next few months. A victory of sorts.

*** UPDATE ***
So, Oscar and I left home at around 6.40 this morning, getting to the hopsital around an hour later. Sometimes being a seasoned hospital visitor comes in handy – knowing how outpatient clinics work is an absolute boon (basically ignore the time given to you, turn up way before the clinic you’re attending opens, get your name marked off and be first, or near first (there are many of us SHVs) off the mark. Oscar’s appointment was at 8.45 but as we were first there we waited about 20 minutes (as the clinic wasn’t even open yet) and as the surgeon was early we were out of there by 8.20, by which time there were at least 10 people waiting. Hideous.

Anyway, yes, the surgery will be on both feet. This is, believe it or not, a huge relief. The idea of having to go through the whole ordeal on two separate occasions was doing little for my already anxious state of mind about the whole thing. The right won’t need to part of the operation called STRAP, which is where they take the tendon from the leg and put it in the foot but will require the bone breaking part. Apparently this is no biggy (!!! I KNOW!!!) as the bone down there is super strong and heals super fast. Go figure.

We then called in to the physio’s department to say hi to the C our physio for this whole shebang so we could both put a face to a name – she’s young and fun and vibrant and awesome. As so many if not all of the staff who work at the Children’s Hospital are.

Elimar – you will be on call during this whole ordeal next year and may be required to bring me (and Oscar) serious comfort eating supplies during his hospital stay!

So at least one part of next year feels a little bit more contained