Tim’s back home, and without casts!! We started about 0800 this (Friday) morning in St Louis. His casts were removed and they sent us for a couple of x-rays. Dr. Shoenecker checked his wounds and pronounced him healed! They even decided to work him in to take out the two small pins that were put in back in January in the original surgery. It was a little tough on him, waiting until almost noon for surgery, because he couldn’t have anything to eat or drink, but the alternative was to come back next week, so we decided to go ahead and do it today. Originally, they were saying it would be late this afternoon before they got to him, and I just couldn’t see making him (or me!) go that long without food, not to mention getting home after midnight! But they worked him into the middle of the day’s schedule.
He has been fitted with AFOs; plastic fitted braces that help hold his feet in their corrected place. Having been off his feet for more than two months, he will now have to learn to walk all over again! Geocaching as therapy, how does that grab you?! Can I deduct my GPS?
This trip went much smoother than the last one I made with him! On 6 February, he and I went up for an appointment first thing the morning of the 7th. His surgery in mid-January had gone well, and the first follow-up visit in late January was uneventful. [my now-ex-wife] had done her time with him, so I offered to go up this time. He gets combative when he comes out of anesthesia, and he’s almost as big as she is, so she kind of takes a beating. I’m big enough to stop him from hitting me or himself!
When they came out of the cast change, they told me he had developed an infection in the incisions along the arch of both feet, and we’d have to be there for “a couple of days.” His casts would be changed and the wounds cleaned each morning. Meanwhile, he’d be on IV antibiotics. Now remember, Tim has CP, he doesn’t understand what’s going on, but he knows how to pull an IV out! So virtually 24 hours a day, he had to be supervised, or he’d yank his tube out. Even with me and the nurses watching him, he managed to do it twice! He’s a fast little bugger! Of course, we had only packed for a day and a half trip, so [my now-ex-wife] had to hop in the van and bring me clothes and other essentials for an extended stay in the hospital. Now, the Shriner’s perform the surgery and follow-up care at no cost to us, which is an amazing blessing, but that trip, its hotel stay, and his services at the local Children’s Hospital, plus 9 days worth of hospital food for me, came out of our pockets! The hospital has laundry facilities, so I had to do several loads over the next 9 days to keep us in clean clothes! During that time, I left his room for only an hour or two each day. I had [my now-ex-wife]’s laptop with me, but to get internet access, I had to walk two blocks to the public library and use their wireless access point! Fortunately, there was a Starbucks a couple of doors down from the library, so I multi-tasked those trips! Halfway through the stay, though, St. Louis got 6 inches of snow!! So a couple of those trips were walking in ankle deep snow in 15 degree temps! Thank God, I had worn my boots that first day, and not my sneakers!
After 6 days, they cut “windows” in the casts to change the sterile dressings each day, and I got my first look at the wounds. Three inches long, and inch wide, and half an inch deep! Squeamish? Look away for a second: picture a hot dog left in the microwave too long…how they split open…got it? That’s what they looked like. Finally after nine days, they let us come home, albeit with a $118 antibiotic, and sterile dressing changes twice a day for a month! The dressing changes were to allow the wounds to heal naturally, growing from the inside out, while peeling away the dead top layer each time. The self-repairing capabilities of the human body are amazing! We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
So to say that this trip was less eventful is truly an understatement! We go back in two months, if nothing goes wrong. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for and encouraged us through this whole ordeal. Once he’s able to walk again, without pain, it will all be worth it!