It has been five weeks since we were last at Greenville Shriners Hospital. Five long weeks.
To most, having five weeks off from having doctor’s appointments would sound great. Especially when you consider how many appointments and visits we’ve made in the past 3 months.
Initially, five weeks ago, we thought so anyway. Having a few weeks reprieve from the drive and the stress was a welcomed thing back then. Five weeks later and it turns out this was an appointment we needed for us.
Our last visit to Greenville had us leaving without casts, now sporting AFOs and new splints. We were happy; we were excited, and we did enjoy the break from appointments for the first three weeks.
Then little man hit a bit of a growth spurt and that’s when things started to unravel.
Growth spurts are normal occurrences. As parents, we all know our kids are going to have them. (Typically immediately after new clothes or shoes have been purchased). The thing with AMC kids and growth spurts is a bit different, however. When AMC kids hit a growth spurt, that opens up the potential for some regression or tightening up of joints. Contractures that had been worked out return and the range of motion can be affected. We experienced such things with HG in these past two weeks. Noting his torticollis seemed to get worse from where it was, or how his left knee seemed stiffer compared to his right.
When you’re having to stretch your son daily and work with him. When you have particular exercises for him that you worry about missing just one day. Not to mention the stress and concern you have constantly over his arms and hands. The smallest seed of doubt can sprout, grow and bloom in a heartbeat. The effects of HG’s growth spurt were all the fuel needed for a seed of doubt to grow into a full-blown forest.
We went to Greenville expecting to come out with a less than stellar visit. We had convinced ourselves we were doing things wrong, and that multiple joints were regressing. I’m pretty sure we were mentally preparing to leave Greenville, back in casts, wearing a helmet, and having at least 1 surgery on the calendar.
We were wrong. (Which is a common thing when it comes to overstressing/overthinking parenting.)
Rather than being scolded by the doctors and coming away with a bad report, we were again praised for our work and diligence and advancing treatment to the next phase. (Plus we gained a new “trophy” in the previous brace he slept in)
We’ve moved on from the awesome custom appliance we received the last visit, to now being in boots and a bar, along with stabilizers for his legs that he wears at night along with his wrist splints. We still maintain wearing AFOs 23 out of 24 hours.
Going back to that growth spurt I mentioned, along with his new accessories, HG was sized for the first new AFOs that he will receive on our next visit, as he’s already started growing out of the current set. So in four weeks (thankfully not five!), we’ll be back in Greenville for our next checkup, getting new AFOs, and coming home with even more trophies for the trophy wall.