Thursday, January 01, 2009

Mitchell Shoes on a Dobbs Bar

For those of you who are looking for information about the Mitchell shoes on a Dobbs bar, here's what we use. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here or on the nosurgery4clubfoot group on yahoo groups.

Our setup for our Mitchell shoes on a Dobbs bar

We attached the bar upside down so it did not get in the way of her walking. Here it shows that more clearly.

Here's the bottom of our shoes and bar:

And a closer view of one shoe - note the tab to press that makes the Mitchells easily removed from whatever bar they are attached to, including the Dobbs bar:

And a closer view of the plate and how it fits on to the shoes:

Prayer Works!

On December 15th we began what we pray is the last phase of Laura's clubfoot treatment. At our Thanksgiving visit Dr. Dobbs determined that a posterior tendon transfer was worth a shot for Laura, and a last ditch effort to cure her stubborn heel varus before an osteotomy would be required. Surgery for Laura hasn't always been an easy thing. She doesn't 'do' surgery well, but then most people don't. So it wasn't as if I was looking forward to it. Well, I might have been. On the inside. Waaaaay on the inside. After all, in my heart I knew this was what we needed to do. But in my head I was not looking forward to letting her go as she headed to OR, or watching her struggle with the pain of recovery immediately after surgery and beyond.

As I packed to go to St. Louis I made sure we had plenty of tylenol, some extra tylenol with codeine, some valium for muscle spasms, plenty of syringes and lots of apple juice to help keep her stomach calm. I planned for the possibility of her nissen letting go should she have an extremely upset stomach, and I packed comfy clothes for both of us as I anticipated spending a lot of time holding and rocking her through her pain, and climbing over seats in the car to get to her when necessary on the way home. I'd been through it before. I thought I knew what to expect.

When we arrived at Shriner's Monday morning, they immediately went to work making her comfortable and catering to her every whim. Lots of stuffed animals, a large playroom well stocked with everything her little heart desired, and pbs kids helped make her feel special. She fussed a bit as the medication began to help her relax as I'm sure she felt a bit funny. But when we released her to the nurses care outside the OR, she was doing just fine. After all, she was almost asleep!

Mom and I headed to get something to eat since we didn't know when we'd have time to do so later that day, and then settled down in a very nice OR waiting room. Soon the call came that she was out and in recovery, calling for me. My stomach sank. The difficult recovery time was upon us. I said yet another silent prayer as I headed to gather her in my arms.

As soon as she was settled in with me on a rocking chair, she drifted off to sleep. No fussing, no frustrations. Just rest. As we moved from the recovery room to her hospital room, she seemed to perk up even more. No extreme pain, no anxiety. Just a smile now and then, a hug for a stuffed animal or two, and a request for some crackers and apple juice.

I knew there were many people at home and across the country praying for her and soon realized the Lord was answering our prayers. My anxiety left as we prepared to take her home to Nana's for a nights sleep before driving home the next day. I'd planned to sleep with her in the living room, but even that wasn't needed. I put her down next to Jonathan, left them watching Noggin for a little while, and headed to bed myself. Mom and I woke up the next morning and marveled at the fact that we hadn't heard from her all night. But mentally I began plotting how to get some of the nasty pain meds in her before we left for home.

It seems I plotted without reason. As I listened to weather forecasts in the bedroom, Mom sat at the kitchen table to read her Bible and pray for a bit. Soon she was greeted with "Good morning, Honey" as Laura crawled down the hall. No crying. Not a whimper of pain. Just a smile to greet us. The Lord had really blessed her. And Mom and I as well. As you can see by the pictures, she was still doing just fine an hour later. We made it home that evening with just a few doses of tylenol needed. And I'm not sure they were for pain as much as they might have been because she was whining due to boredom. But I'm happy that was all. The Lord truly is good.

The troops as we pack to head home:

Nana and Jonathan:

"Dr. Dobbs is a Gen-us!"

Around here we have what we call 'kid stories'. You know, the innocent things kids say at just the right moment that just have to be shared with other adults in their lives. Things that bring a smile to your face and are often followed by laughter that can't be helped. Sometimes your kids say things that make you think long and hard about how you are parenting. Or they say things that are so true you can't help but know you are raising a child who is truly awesome in their own right. But most often they say things that make us laugh.

The other day a package arrived addressed to Laura. It seems her Shriner's bar had finally given up to the constant pounding it takes each morning and evening, and it had sheered in a spot that couldn't be repaired so we'd been sent a new one. Along with the bar was a pamphlet about the Dobbs bar. Since we're 'old-timers' at the whole FAB thing, I didn't pay much attention to it. But Laura had other plans. Soon she was ooohing and aaahing at the very cute baby pictured inside and asking me who it was along with many other questions about her pink hair bow, how much her Mommy loved her and so on. All usual questions I often must answer about babies we see in magazines, books and so on.

And then she closed up the pamphlet and turned it over. As she spotted a picture of Dr. Dobbs she grew still. Very still. And then ever so slowly her face started to light up. Her eyes grew big, her smile spread half way across her face, and her body quivered with excitement. Then, hugging the pamphlet to her chest she proclaimed "I just LOVE Dr. Dobbs! I love Dr. Dobbs! He's a gen-us, Mommy! A gen-us! I just love Dr. Dobbs!" And in that moment there was no doubting it. She totally loved him.

And in the midst of the moment I prayed that her love with last beyond surgery the following week.

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Christmas is, well... it is Christmas! An amazing, festive time of year when our house is transformed right along with many others on the block. A time when our family manages to spend a bit more time together, and the boys don't mind my constant singing quite as much. It is a time when there are one or two things that happen that inevitably become part of our family 'legend'. It is a time when I can spend the whole month driving my rather impatient boys nuts giving obscure hints as to the contents of packages that will eventually wind up under the tree with their names on them. Sometimes we don't even put their real names since that might give the whole thing away, so we make up something instead. And this year was no different. This year was the year of the Wii...

And while Mom and Diane worked in the kitchen,

Laura and Daddy played with her new V-Smile game,

And Poppy and Murphy had their own plans...

After all of the presents, food and fun, Libby finally found herself too tired to play, too.

As the season winds down, I find it hard to take down all of the decorations, pack away the memories, and let the cold of winter seep in where holiday lights used to be. But this year I think it will be a bit easier. After all, Jonathan and I are plotting to add a new tree or two to our 'Christmas forest', and Laura is already getting excited for next year. And I can always break out a Christmas song or two. After all, I know all of the words to those! :)