Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Frankenbaby

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Frankenbaby


As promised, here is my report of how things went at the orthotist...

Last night I took a sleep aid but still had horrible nightmares about hardware and Erik's legs. I was furious at the poor orthotist when I awoke for reasons that I could not recall. These days when I sleep, every muscle in my body is tense, and when I wake up, I am already tired and sore. I threw Erik in the bathtub and got some breakfast in him before heading off to the fancy-schmancy orthopedic center in town. When I tried to walk him across the parking lot to the front door, he was up on his toes like Baryshnikov and fell flat on his pint-sized bottom. One of the problems with my little toe-walker is that he is getting heavier and heavier, and it is necessary to carry him most of the time when he is distracted because he falls every few steps. I ended up hauling him across the parking lot, into the building, and into the elevator. Once we came out of the elevator, it appeared he remembered where we were. We were the first patients of the day, and the orthotist himself greeted us in the waiting room and ushered us into the room where Erik was casted a couple weeks ago. On the table was a clear plastic bag containing two plastic braces that looked a lot like Erik's tiny gams. I sat Erik on my lap and removed his shoes. When the orthotist came close to us with the braces and ripped apart the Velcro, Erik's bottom lip stuck out, and tears started to squirt from his scrunched-up eyes. The orthotist said he could take just about any kid crying without a second thought but hated making my son cry. In fact, he hated it so much that he didn't place the braces on Erik's leg for the trip home and decided to leave that to the therapists. He admitted he had been on the Internet for two hours after we were there last time researching Williams. Erik, in the midst of his crying, decided the orthotist's nearly bald head looked interesting and ran his freakishly huge baby hands all over it. I laughed and muttered, "Awwwwkward..." The orthotist said, "Hey, anything to stop him from crying." He explained to me what shoes I would need (cheap, flimsy, low, and preferably closed with Velcro) and that I could rip the insole out of them to give him more room. Erik and I next went to Shopko to locate some shoes. I brought the braces in with me and practiced cramming them into various toddler shoes. Truthfully, they wouldn't come close to fitting in most, and I started to get frustrated. Uh oh. I selected two pair that might work and headed home to get as much work done as I could before Bev came for Erik's home visit. When she arrived, we sat Erik on the couch and distracted him while we put his braces on. He cried a few tears but seemed to tolerate it eventually. I had a pile of shoes next to me from my shopping trip and Erik's closet to try. None of them worked except for one of the pairs I had purchased today. They didn't come close to fastening, though, so they have to flop open. His reaction to moving around in the braces and new shoes was the complete opposite of what I expected. He seemed to almost like them! He stomped around in them like a tiny Frankenstein. The orthotist said nobody would be able to notice the braces with long pants, but it was pretty apparent to me. The dorky shoes left open and stomping gait are kind of a dead giveaway. Bev said that most parents have a lot of trouble finding shoes to fit over the braces. I think I'll quit my job and start making attractive shoes for kids in braces!

My day ended peacefully with me kicking my feet up at my folks' house. Erik entertained us and made us laugh until we hurt. When we got home and took the braces off, there was minimal redness, which faded immediately. The photo I took this evening showcases Erik atop an awesome birthday present from Baby Tatum, sister Emma, and mom and dad Lisa and Chris. Tatum underwent a heart catheterization this week but is out of surgery and is doing well (see link in "related blogs"). Every single one of these families is truly family to me. As tough as life has been lately, I know I am not alone.

Erik's birthday is Saturday, but because of football, we are celebrating it Sunday with family. I'm sure there will be more photos in the following week. Erik is also going to be a bee (non-Africanized) for Halloween, so I'll share that with you, too.

6 Comments:

Blogger Kerry said...

What a great orthotist you have! He sounds fabulous, very kid oriented. And he likes them so far is a kick. Kids can really adapt to anything. :)

BTW, my OT said for kids who walk on their toes the best shoes to wear are sandals because it's harder for them to tiptoe. You've probably already heard that.

Have a great birthday, Erik!!!

Love -K

6:31 AM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

I love the truck he looks so cute. Looks like i have a new pic for Tatums room :)....Tatum is amazed whith Chris' balding head too it is weird, but it workes LOL

7:55 AM  
Blogger Aspen said...

I am happy to hear that everything went fairly well. I love the picture and that giant truck! You were in my thoughts all day yesterday. I remember how getting the brace fittend for Daven was one of my many "melt down" days.

I just want to run to Erik and squeeze him tight. Give him hugs and kisses from us.

8:29 AM  
Blogger John A. Frye said...

The braces look really good, I smiled to hear his first walk with them. Glad to hear things are going well.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Gramma said...

It takes this old lady quite a while to get the dang things on him.. and he's really on the edge all the while. I tossed him on the futon and yelled, "Ka-boom!" He screwed up his little face and whispered, "Ka-boo-oo-oo-m," over and over while we struggled figuring out all the hardware, and we laughed/cried. He's so good about it, sometimes I think that makes it harder. But when he's up and at 'em he doesn't seem to mind. He chased me around the house without any trouble! Is it possible that walking feels better with the braces on???!! Seeing him heel-toe-heel-toe is really beautiful. Another huge step. I love that little guy so....

Love, Mom

4:48 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

What a wonderful orthotist!

And if it helps even a tiny bit...I didn't even notice the braces when I first looked at the pic. Had to go back and look after i started reading and realized he was wearing them in the pic.

8:04 PM  

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