Sunday, October 5, 2014

Side Effects From Surgery, Two Broken Legs, and Nearly Two Months of Casts

Mason has had his casts off for just over a week now so I thought a quick update post was due.  Life is returning to normal, or what passes for normal around here.  The coming week is full to the brim with medical appointments (20, fourteen of which are for Mason).  By Friday afternoon Mason will have had a renal ultrasound, bone density testing, and check-ins with every specialist he has other than his eye doctor.  The majority of those will be done in Myelo Clinic on Friday but the renal ultrasound and bone density scan are Monday morning. 

We have noticed a few unplanned side effects stemming from Mason's hip and heel surgery and subsequent two broken legs.  For nearly two months Mason was very limited in his movement, much of the time not allowed to crawl around at all. Changes are not that surprising when you remember that.

Side effect #1:  Mason's body is weaker.  He is no longer able to climb our flight of steps to go play upstairs.  He struggles with the one and two steps to get up onto the couch or landing.  It is hard to watch because he is getting frustrated and asks us to carry him upstairs.  I'm grateful that he has the words to ask for what he needs or wants.

Side effect #2: Mason has to learn to control his right leg all over again.  His right leg now flexes wonderfully at the hip which means he cannot use it in the same way.  The only voluntary movement he has is pulling up at the hip, not straightening it out.  Before surgery it would only flex so far which made it easy to wedge his leg under himself in the climbing process to get higher.  It didn't usually flop out from under him.  Now he needs to learn an entirely new pattern for climbing!  This is what we are working on together right now, in addition to some other general PT moves like push ups in his wheelchair and Mommy stretching his legs and feet at least 5 times each day while we wait for leg braces to be made.

Side effect #3:  Mason asks to watch cartoons often.  He could only do so much when stuck sitting or laying down for weeks on end and got into the habit of watching several cartoons on and off all day in between playing games, drawing, playdoh, and looking at books.  Now that he is mobile we've cut out the extra tv time.  The first day or two he was upset when his requests for a favorite show were met with "No."  Now he usually accepts it and moves off to play again. 

Side effect #4:  Mason's legs are different sizes.  This is a result of the large callus formed around the broken femur.  You can see it very well in this picture:

The difference is huge!  We have to pay attention to the pants we put him in to be sure they are loose enough for the large left thigh. There is also a difference in the size of his lower legs, with the larger one being the opposite leg where the broken tibia was.  That one formed a callus over the bone as well, just not quite so large a one.

As you can see, Mason still crawls using mainly his upper body strength and dragging his legs along behind him.  We have seen him begin to play around with getting his knees under him in a traditional crawling position and just sit like that, on hands and knees.  It's quite a workout and the least bit of movement causes one or both legs to slip out from under him. 

Mason is still our happy, slightly bossy, talkative boy.  He is 2 years and 8 months old and amazes me every day!  He is learning to share, to set boundaries ("Stop pushing my wheelchair!"), and to ask with his nice words ("please").  Life is good!


  1. Just a thought, we had one of those blow up tubes for babies to straddle over on their tummy. Maybe if u found one or had a back support. Exercise ball, then maybe it would help him practice with his knees under him untill he got stronger.


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