Thursday, July 03, 2008

Graduation Is So Sweet. Drum Roll, Please!

The household rose early today. Not because we wanted to, mind you. It was because we had an 8 AM appt. with Laura's ENT and I felt I needed to leave early to deal with rush hour traffic and construction. And as the moments ticked down before we left my stomach got more and more butterflies. What would this visit bring? Would we have to schedule surgery to remove the stubborn tube that was put in long ago and didn't come out on its own within the accepted time frame? Couldn't she just let them pull it out at the office? Would she scream bloody murder again or would she be a bit more grown up about it all?

When we arrived, on time mind you, Laura's immediate need was to use the restroom. It was then I realized she shared my butterflies and knew that this wasn't Dr. Dobbs or her Ped. There would be no toys or tattoos. Just pain and frustration on her part. And neither of us were looking forward to it.

When we finally got to see the ENT, he peaked in to her ears, and then smiled a big smile (he does this very well) and said "I think her tube is out and laying in the ear canal" I didn't believe him so he had to repeat it for me. And then he plucked the sucker out just to prove he was right. And Laura only made a small whimper. She was so brave. And she was tube free! No need for surgery. No need for more tubes. She's done. The Lord did it again.

As he finished up the visit he looked at me and said "Well, you've graduated. You don't need to come back to see me unless another problem develops." I, very unprofessionally, high-fived him and we left with lots of giggles, laughter and two Nemo stickers. While we like our ENT very much and appreciate him for saving her life, it didn't bother me one bit that we just might have seen the last of him.

She graduated. It is just one more way that she's growing up. And I couldn't be more proud of her.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Passionate About Feet!

Okay, okay. I'm not talking just any feet. I'm talking about clubfeet. Ones that need the correct treatment in order to walk down that aisle someday with pain-free, straight feet. I've learned over the years that those who become well versed in whatever disease, disability, or birth defect one might have and learn to successfully treat it without invasive procedures successfully become virtual zealots, encouraging other parents to follow in their path. I think I've finally gone over the clubfoot edge. And I think that's a good thing.

For several years I've been a part of the nosurgery4clubfoot yahoo group. It is made up of dedicated Moms who are spreading the word, those in the midst of treatment, and those looking for answers for their unborn child or perhaps one who is being adopted or has relapsed at an older age. Because of that group, I have closer communication with some of the dedicated, experienced Moms and I try to do my part to help when I can.

That help has been in waves. Sometimes we are concentrating so hard on what is best for Laura, it is hard to see what might be best for others. I've always been glad that the other experienced Moms were so dedicated that they could help families, and I've looked forward to the day when I could relax and feel just as passionate as they do. I think my time has come.

Last week I came across a blog written by a Mom who has a daughter with clubfeet. I read a few posts and felt that I needed to do something to help them get on the right track. A lot of Ortho Specialists claim that they are doing the Ponseti Method to correct clubfeet, but sadly they aren't. They might have been trained by him, they might have read his books and used his handbook, and they might have a great reputation as being the best in their area, but they deviate because they think they know more than 50 years of research shows. They become lax and either increase the chances of doing something wrong to a child's foot, or they greatly increase the chances of a relapse. Big Time.

So I began praying for this family. Hoping and praying is more like it. And I realized I'd just crossed the line in to the passionate, dedicated clubfoot Mom. It amused me and caused some anguish at the same time. What would become of me? Would I turn out to be one of those Moms who didn't listen and just tried to shove the correct Ponseti method down other parents throats? Would I get a cheerleaders outfit and do my thing from the sidelines? Would I think of nothing but clubfeet???

No. I don't think so. My Mom shares with me periodically about how great it is that we have contact with so many people through this wonderful technological medium and she is constantly amazed at what can happen through email and now blogs. So I figure I won't change much on the outside. I'll just keep better track, develop simple, calm answers to questions parents post and do my best to see that they are getting the best care they can for their children. And I'll pray a lot more for families I don't even know. I'll be praying that they have ears to hear and a heart that is open to doing something different if it means their child will have greater success with their feet. I'll be praying that they will be willing to do what needs done no matter how far they have to drive or how many phone calls they'll have to make to their insurance company as a result. And I'll be praying for Dr. Ponseti. He is a wonderful, calm, healthy 94 and we need him around for a few more years. But he also needs the Lord. I'll also be praying for Dr. Dobbs. He's seeing more and more patients who need help after someone else has had their hands on those precious feet and he needs wisdom as he deals with more and more unusual cases.

Prayer. Who knew it would be a part of experienced, dedicated, zealous clubfoot parents trying to spread the word. I guess I should have known all along. Certainly Laura has had her share of prayers said over her from day one. And look at her. Who would ever know that she was supposed to be long gone by now. Prayer works. And along with Dr. Ponseti and Dr. Dobbs, who knows what might come if it? I smile when I realize I know. And I hope that I can pass on that legacy to Laura someday.