Friday, February 26, 2016

Casting off the Cast

Yesterday marked six weeks since Jacob's surgery and four weeks since the real cast went on.  While the last four weeks have been anything but blissful, they did go faster than I thought.  We were very excited for our follow-up appointment, because it meant the cast was coming off! 

The first order of business upon arrival was cutting off the cast.  At the request of the guy who put the cast on, I talked to Jacob about the saw ahead of time so he was prepared for the noise.  I snapped a quick picture of the cast before the saw got to it.  I should have gotten the other side, where most of the signatures were!

Getting the cast off went a little better this time.  Last time it led to a major meltdown, but this time he stayed calm.  However, he had a seriously hardcore look on his face while the cast was being cut and while the cotton was getting pulled off.  I wasn't sure if he was sick, or if he was just nervous about seeing the scar.  He was very uncomfortable when the top of the cast came off, so they wrapped an ace bandage around the bottom of the cast and back around the bare top of the leg to keep it stable for a trip down to x-ray.  He got wheeled down there, and then we went back to the exam room to meet with the doctor.  She said that the x-rays looked good and he needs to spend the next four weeks increasing strength in his leg.  Then we'll go back, get one more x-ray, and hopefully he will be cleared to get back to sports.  It's tough to face another month with him at less than 100%, but it's another step forward. 

Right now he's back in the boot and very tentative about putting weight on it.  But this morning his attitude seemed much better and he was talking about exercising it.  He can already bend it enough to get in the boot without unstrapping it, which is a big improvement from yesterday.  He is still crawling around a lot and using the crutches when he has to.  It's going to be a process, but we're already making progress.

Tonight I unwrapped the ace bandage that had been holding in the crud beneath the cast, and tried giving it a good cleaning.  There was a ton of skin!  On top of that, it seemed like he'd had some dermatitis under the cast, so his leg was rashy and full of little scabs.  I scrubbed his foot and leg like crazy, actively avoiding the scar and being gentle around the irritation.  There's still so much skin that needs to flake off and it's pretty gross.  I put some hydrocortisone on the rashy part, hoping it will clear up.  I'm a little worried it's infected or something, but hopefully tomorrow it will look better.  There's actually one spot on the incision that was oozing tonight, but I think it's just because it was oozing when the original cast came off, and whatever dressing was put on it stuck, and when it came off yesterday it pulled off a scab again.  I put some ointment on it and bandaged that part for the night.  Hopefully tomorrow we can air all of it out, as I think that's what it needs most. 

One of the funnier moments of tonight was that Jacob finally noticed the link to this blog on his iPad.  It's been there since it was my parents' iPad.  I've told him before that I've written about his entire life, but I don't think he really began to comprehend that until tonight.  He was shocked to see so many pictures of him and Carter, and kept scrolling through the pages watching the videos and reliving the last nine months or so through pictures.  He almost couldn't believe what he was seeing.  He was a little annoyed that he was seeing more pictures of Carter in recent posts, and assured me he would pose for pictures for me.  So, during the cleaning, he did...

Here you can see the difference between the two legs.  It's amazing how skinny the one leg is now.

It's hard to see with the flash, but the incision is on the left, and the rashy part is on the right. 
 
So, at this point I think our greatest challenge is going to be keeping him from running around once he's regained his strength.  In the meantime I'm excited to watch him improve.  One of the downsides of the big kid phase is that the milestones and changes happen much more slowly and inexactly.  Baby milestones come fast and furious and are clearer to note, but with big kids, it's a lot of general improvements that are barely perceptible over time.  But the fun part of the next month is going to be seeing him make nearly daily progress.  I like seeing his positive attitude, and I hope it sticks. 
 
For tonight I will leave you with a random shot I took of the sculpture that hangs from the ceiling of the lobby in the surgeon's office building.  It's very pretty and I just decided to snap a picture while waiting for the boys to arrive yesterday.  I just love the colors.  Hopefully one more time seeing this, and then we can get on with our lives.  I'm ready for the holding pattern to be done!

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