Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Casting

Monday, September 18, 2006


Erik and I got our act together early this morning and drove to the new orthopedic center in town to see the orthotist about leg braces. At 8 a.m., we were the first patients of the day, and when we located the little office upstairs in this massive, new building, the orthotist was just unlocking the door. He invited us in to fill out a form and took us into an exam room. He was probably around my age and made us feel comfortable fairly quickly, even though it was obvious not many children frequent the place. He got out a collection of light blue, footprint-shaped cups and had me take Erik's shoes and socks off. He found a pair that fit Erik nicely but would still allow his feet to grow. Next, we pushed Erik's pants legs up, and he wrapped one of Erik's lower legs with strips of a casting material that hardened over a stretchy tube protecting Erik's skin. He placed some surgical tubing down Erik's leg before he started this process that I held in place. When the cast hardened, he pulled the tubing out and had a place to insert shears and cut the cast apart. Well, in theory, this was how it was supposed to work. He got the scissors down most of the cast, successfully cutting through it, but at the top of the foot, he was pressing pretty firmly on Erik with the shears, and Erik's bottom lip began to stick out and quiver. He next mentioned the dreaded power saw. I gave him a crash course on Williams syndrome and explained that Erik does not do well with loud noise. I requested he avoid the saw if at all possible. Finally, after he struggled with the shears and was obviously hurting Erik, I told him to go ahead. He plugged the saw into the wall and cut through the remaining cast while I covered Erik's ears. Erik immediately started trembling and screaming like we were cutting right into him, tears squirting from his eyes. Once the cast was removed, the orthotist chose a softer casting material for the opposite leg that would not require the saw. By that time, Erik was pretty much in tears for the remainder of the visit, saw or no saw. We looked through a collection of colored Velcro and pads for the brace (I picked black for both) and then colorful designs for the straps (I picked trucks and construction equipment).

Since the orthotist told me he has yet to obtain the special plastic required to make children's orthotics, he has to send them out, which takes a couple additional weeks. We will likely wait three to six weeks to receive the braces. He did note that Erik walked on his toes and asked me if he tripped frequently, which he does. Since the medical offices in town are not far from our house and the office was so efficient, I was home with Erik in less than an hour, even though it was really hard to hold my screaming boy for even a short time. I gave Erik some crackers, peanut butter, and some cold milk and water, and he is lounging in his crib listening to a CD. I am praying that these braces will correct the problem with Erik's gait and not create any new ones with pressure points or muscle tone.

I am going to check on my little man now and see if he is awake enough for a ride to yet more medical offices to pick up my work for the day. Poor baby.


Blogger Aspen said...

Reading this made me tear up! I remember all too well holding Daven down so he wouldn't move for his casting process. He didn't however have to bring out a saw...which I am so very thankful for!

Maybe now, half of the hard part is over. I have faith in the bracing business and will be praying that it works for Erik.

It was great to hear your voice this weekend. Love you dearly!

12:45 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I pouted when I read your entry... poor Erik! It seems they moved quickly on this, which is good. I hope it all goes rather quickly.

What a way to start the week! It can only get better, right? Here's to a better Tuesday... I wish I lived down the street so we could go out and drown our sympathies in a cocktail. :)
love -K

6:12 PM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

Oh I hate those screaming apointments they just break my heart, poor little Erik. I hope his legs braces work also and do not cause more problems. I hope tomorrow is better :)

6:38 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Poor Erik! I hope he forgets this appointment soon!!!
I cross my fingers to him, that the braces would be perfect for him and he won't have to use them just for a few months!
Love, Kati

4:35 AM  

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