Last Thursday we had an appointment with Amaya's orthopedic surgeon. It's hard to believe that four weeks have passed by. They removed her cast; boy what a stressful and draining process that was! Amaya was so afraid of the "saw thing" that they use to remove the cast. No matter how much you tell a child that a saw wont hurt them, they just don't seem to believe you. It was very loud and we prepared her as much as we could. But, after waiting for over two hours in the waiting room for our appointment and then being sent to the cast room with a toddler who screamed and squirmed the entire time, she panicked a bit. She cried and screamed, and it took her a while to calm herself and gather her nerves. After the cast was removed she was able to see her incisions for the first time, this freaked her out a bit too. And to be honest, they made me feel a bit uneasy too. There are a total of three incisions. The smallest is about one inch long, then there is one about five inches long in her upper thigh and then the one by her knee, which is about eight inches or so. They look much larger than we had expected. And since they still had some dry blood on there that bother her as well. They say out of sight out of mind, well the opposite is also true. Once she was able to see them, they began to "hurt" her, even though she had been off of pain meds for weeks. But, honestly I can't say that I blame her, they're a bit unnerving to look at, at first, and especially with the blood on them. They also have a clear bandage type material on them to protect them. It pulls the skin when she moves. It took her about an hour or so to calm down. She was very nervous and afraid to move her leg or touch it.
The surgeon said that the incisions looked great. He wants her to do physical therapy three times a week for four weeks and then come see him in a month. During physical therapy they will work on developing the range of motion in the knee; first from 0-60 degrees then to full range of motion. He said she could use her wheel chair to transition as she starts walking and doing physical therapy. He also said she should wear her old knee brace, for a bout a month, to help protect the knee. He also said she could bend her knee and begin walking. He said that children recover much quicker than adults, and are pretty resilient.
Later that night she took a warm bath and that helped soften the glue on the bandages. Even now almost a week later two of the three bandages are still on. The next day she was still uneasy about using the leg and resistant to any suggestions to step on in or bend her knee. I dressed her in jeans so she wouldn't see her incisions and allow that to intimidate or frighten her anymore. Although I didn't want to push her too much, part of me was saddened and frustrated to see her so defeated, and scared. We've always told Amaya that she could do anything and watching her tell us that she couldn't, broke my heart.
But, my Amaya is amazing, later that day she decided she wanted to stand. And then a moment later she wanted to walk. And she did! She was surprised that it didn't hurt. She did say it felt kinda funny and weird. But she was excited to do it again. The next day at school she got out of her wheelchair for awhile and walked around the room. She wasn't (and still isn't) bending her left knee, but they will help her work on that during physical therapy. Each day she tried walking more and more and going up and down stairs. Today, one day shy of a week, she decided to not use her wheelchair at all. And she did! She did great. She's determined to get herself around and move independently; she gets herself dressed, in and out of bed, the toilet, and pretty much what ever else she needs. We are encouraging her and reminding her that she can do anything, even bend her knee, and are watching as she leads her self thru her recovery.
I'm excited to see how she will progress once she starts physical therapy. Unfortunately it takes a long process to get the referrals from one place to another, then another, then back to another, then signed and then approved so that, then you can finally make an appointment. It's quite frustrating! But, along the process I have found some people who are kind and helpful and willing to get things done. So, hopefully we won't have to wait too much longer for her first appointment.