Elvie is not impressed with the results of today's appointments.
At Elvie's appointment today, the orthopedic surgeon asked, "So has it been twelve weeks yet? And have you been to physical therapy yet to work on walking?" And I was all, "Uhhhhhh....what?" I may be wrong about this, but it seems like details outside the operating room are not her thing. Prior to the surgery, when we asked how long Elvie would be in the brace, we were told six to eight weeks. We also discussed returning to physical therapy after Elvie is done with the brace. It turns out that neither of those plans were the right plan for Elvie, and I have to admit that I was confused through much of the appointment today.
What we were told today is that, because Elvie is older than twelve months, her bones heal more slowly, so twelve weeks in the brace is standard for a child her age. I'm not sure why we were quoted a different time frame before, and I'll be honest that I was more than a little bit disappointed that the actual time period Elvie is expected to be in the brace is a full four weeks longer than we were originally told.
On the upside, we know that Elvie can begin physical therapy, and for that time period she will not have to have the big brace on. She will be fitted with derotation straps to keep her in the right position, and we will be able to use those at home as well when we practice. I'm hoping to have the same setup as last time with physical therapy, where we come in every week or two weeks and do most of our work ourselves, at home.
The second bit of good news is that we got the top portion of Elvie's brace cut down a bit, and I can tell that it is much easier for her to pull herself around the floor with more freedom of movement for her shoulder blades. We also confirmed with the orthotist that we can put shoes on her and still have the brace work the same way, so she can push off a bit better with the toes of her shoes. Though she is still in the brace, she will be able to increase her mobility quite a bit, and that is very good news.
Now that we know we have six more weeks in the brace, I've decided to return to doing some things that make Elvie more comfortable. First, we are returning to cloth diapering when we are at home, or if we are not going to be out for long. Within the past three days, we were able to switch from changing her diaper from the back, with her on her tummy, to changing her while she is lying on her back. This allows me a bit more room to maneuver to get a cloth diaper in place. It's a bit tricky, but I can manage it, and I did it for the first time this evening. She's had a rash this past week, and I know that with soft cloth on my side, I can get rid of it and help her feel more comfortable in the meantime.
Second, I am putting her back in footie pajamas at bedtime. It's a bit more complicated to get her all set for the night, but she is much more comfortable in them than in our kimono snap shirt/leggings/socks combo. Tonight she is wearing puppy pajamas. She was quite happy when I got them out, and I am so glad that we can make this work for her.
We are also looking at how to modify the way she sits in our umbrella stroller so that we can use that when we need to go out. It will make it infinitely easier for me than using the big stroller, especially on our longer jaunts out. I want to be able to go more places and do more things, and I want Elvie to be able to see what's going on. We're going to give it a go tomorrow. I'll let you know how it works out.
Thanks to all of you for keeping Elvie in your thoughts. It is disappointing to know we're only half done with brace life, but it is heartwarming to know how many of you are thinking of Elvie and pulling for her. Let's hope these next six weeks fly right by.