Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Update on the patient patient

Today was a bit of a wild one, featuring a happy surprise, a measure of good news, and some...well, not "bad news", exactly...let's call it "less-terrific tidings". But let's start at the beginning, shall we? You might recall that 2 weeks ago, this happened:
So since then, our little trouper's been keeping a stiff upper lip, while facing a Summer vacation on crutches. As you would imagine, he's done a TON of reading. We've pieced together one new and two old jigsaw puzzles. He hangs out with his brother when the older teenager isn't off with his posse. And his own friends--who have been wonderful and supportive during this ordeal, I've gotta say--have stopped by for visits or invited him over to their houses for some bonding time. (Fortunately the card game Riley and I picked out from the cool toy store in Carrboro has turned out to be a HUGE hit amongst the 12-and-13-year olds....yay, us!)

Of course, we've also tried to get him out of the house every day for a change of scenery...even if this is only to, you know, the super-exciting world of...Target. But mostly, however many times a day he needs to, he clomps down the stairs for meals, then he clatters back up to relax, elevate his leg, inspect the color and circulation of his toes (which he keeps a close eye on, as it worries him when the digits turn purple and swell...I can't imagine why...) and ice his cast.

The orthopedist wanted to see him back after 2 weeks to gauge his progress, and that appointment was this afternoon. Husband happened to have time in his work schedule to take him, so he offered to kill two birds with one stone: letting Derek get in some practice by chauffeuring the male trio to the doctor's office. This being our first broken bone and cast situation, we didn't really know what to expect at the checkup. We thought it was likely that she'd ask questions about how the leg has been feeling and how he's been getting around...she'd probably poke around a little bit...maybe take some x-rays...tell us the next steps in the treatment plan. So Husband texts me this from the examination room (with the ever-so-clever caption "Look, it's a foot!"):

My response was naturally intelligent and thoughtful, something along the lines of "Whaaaaat?" Evidently Dr. C was both A) extremely pleased by the evidence to date of the bone knitting itself back together and B) equally concerned about the lack of flexibility she was able to coax out of his ankle after its 2-week confinement. Thus she decided to put him back in the boot and prescribe some exercises that he can start doing immediately, to promote movement and minimize atrophy.

Obviously, that's some positive stuff, right there--he can take the device off for showering, resting with his leg propped up on a pillow, and (best of all) sleeping. However...he still isn't allowed to put any weight on it, so the crutches stay with him. Next, he goes back in 3-1/2 more weeks, at which point she may (hopefully) allow him to begin using the boot for walking. We're keeping our fingers firmly crossed for this, as the date falls literally right before Team WestEnders goes to Atlanta for a long weekend o'fun...and being able to stroll--however slowly--will make the experience easier and more enjoyable for sure.

After that, if all is still moving along in the right direction, it'll still be 2 MORE weeks in the fabulous footwear before he's cleared to go free and unfettered once and for all. Then there'll be physical therapy, which they told us is a program specially tailored for "preparing to return to sports" and includes supervised running and such. It isn't until all that is completed to the doctor's satisfaction that Riley will be able to join his new team (already in full swing) on the soccer field....in late August, at the very earliest. (Siiiighhhh...)

So there you have it: the unexpected reward of cast removal...heaps of glowing praise from the physician about how he's recovering...tempered by the unpleasant reality of how loooooong it's actually going to take to completely return to normal function and activity. I think I'll leave the parting words to Riley, who very succinctly stated, "The moral is: DON'T BREAK YOUR TIBIA!" You heard it here first, folks....let's all be careful out there!

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