Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Boots

On Thursday the girls and I went to the orthotist to get Hannah casted for her braces, which I billed as "new boots that will help Hannah to walk." I was a little stressed about this appointment because it was at 3pm in a town about 45 minutes from here, which with naps and lunch and getting home in time to make dinner was a logistical challenge. I thought I had the day planned out well: put them down for an early nap, lunch when they got up, and out of the house by 2.

Best laid plans, right?

Neither of them napped.

Joy, joy.

Amazingly though, they did pretty well with the car ride and the appointment, which took over an hour. Thank God the orthotist had a lot of toys for them to check out. And Hannah was pretty occupied by walking with her walker down the long hallways and in the exam room. Isabelle got a little maniacal toward the end of the visit; when she gets overtired, she gets really ramped up and talks a million miles a minute, jumping from one topic to another and asking a ton of questions. I'm used to it so it doesn't really faze me but the poor orthotist, this woman Deb, seemed to be losing her patience.

As far as exams go, this one went really well for Hannah. Deb took a lot of time with her examination and I felt she was very thorough and knowledgeable. We talked for awhile about whether or not Hannah should get an AFO or a more low-profile SMO, the main difference being that the AFO comes up to the back of the knee and provides more support/prevents her from hyperextending at the knee. Ultimately we decided she would get an AFO with an SMO footbed, which will make it a little less bulky and cumbersome especially since Hannah's feet are so, so tiny, but will give her that extra support which I think she needs.

Deb also spoke with confidence about the fact that someday, Hannah will walk without any "gizmos" as she called her walker. I had asked her how long kids with CP typically need braces and she said someone with Hannah's degree of CP would probably still be wearing something even in middle school, but it would most likely be something just in the footbed like an SMO. Then she said, "We want to make sure we continue to support her when she progresses to walking without any gizmos." I said, "Do you think that will happen? Because that's what we've been hoping for, but we weren't sure." And she said, "Oh, I'm quite sure. Look how well she's walking with her walker, and she's only two."

This made my day, my week, my month. A part of me is afraid to get too hopeful and focused on the future. We all have a lot of work to do before we get to independent walking, and as I'm starting to realize, the challenges will not be over when that happens. But with Hannah and Isabelle racing around the house laughing hysterically, both so excited that they are up and moving about together, it's so great to dream about the future...

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