The biggest and most exciting news to tell Lucy's friends and family that transpired during month number two is that LUCY IS WALKING! I was telling Lucy's orthopedic specialist, Dr. vanBosse how my Dad created a swing for Lucy. Having already observed the "toe protector" that Pop Pop put on Lucy's ex. fix.shortly after the external fixator was put on, Dr. vB.knew we had an extremely talented and creative Pop. At the end of the visit, he mentioned that possibly our MacGuyver could create an orthotic that could be attached to her external fixator so as to not put any pressure on the front of Lucy's foot (Lucy has a wire inside her foot from one side of her foot through to the other and if her toes get bumped, Lucy is subjected to intense pain). While my non-mechanical mind didn't fully understand what our dr. was explaining, I came home and re-explained to the best of my ability what was said to our Pop-Pop. And apparently between Merle and I's gibberish, it made total sense to Pop. I saw the light bulb moment as Pop shook his head and said "yep, I get what he's saying, I can do that!". Really? Cause even as I'm faltering with my explanation, I don't understand the "how to" part one.single.iota! And not long after this conversation..... the fancy (perhaps "rustic" is better word?) footwear you see above was crafted. We call the black one (below) the stream lined version or her "Sunday" shoe!
Those special crafted orthotics is what is needed to allow our girl to walk, while there is no pressure or weight put on her right foot. Each morning we need to put on her orthotic and tighten all five wing nuts before she can even take a step and each night we remove it for a more comfortable sleeping situation. Not only do these hand crafted orthotics allow her to walk but being mobile again has strengthened her non affected leg and most likely made it stronger then pre-surgery. This will mean less time in physical therapy post ex. fix. rebuilding strength in her left leg.
Afraid she might fall, trip or stumble, I got out her walker(from after her spinal cord surgery last April) to lean on for for support and added security. At our next visit with Dr. vB., he was intrigued with the new orthotic and very happy to see her walking. He also noted she didn't seem to really need the walker for assistance with her walking. I was quick to reply with my concerns (what if she falls, what if....) , to which he said - "she's probably more likely to rip up and hurt your floor with the ex. fix. then hurt herself". Skeptical, I wasn't ready to let go of the security of the little red walker that seemed a much safer and wiser option.
But daddy. Yep, Lucy's daddy heard each word of this same conversation and Lucy's daddy is much less apprehensive than her Mama! (to Lucy's delight!)
I think it was less than 48 hours later the little red walker was once again returned to the shed. I was soon "ok" with her walking around the house without the aid of her walker but...... as our Daddy likes to do...he pushes it (ummm, I mean he loves seeing his children be children and play.....)
If you'd like to see a glimpse of how a five year old in an external fixator maneuvers the sliding board at the park, you can click on the link: (clip is less than a minute long)
|She's got the bend over and balance|
After enjoying the freedom enabled by walking, sliding and even twirling in place, putting Lucy back into a wheelchair was a "no go." On the few occasions that we've needed Lucy to be in a wheelchair (because of logistics, practicality or being more safe) it's been hard to see the sad face reappear.
While obviously her external fixator garners many stares and unwanted attention, Lucy has done remarkably well with this. Although sometimes her coping mechanism in such situations resembles that of the very sad little girl we met in China twenty months ago. She will tune out, ignore or wear her flat affect face when she's in such a situation that she doesn't want attention or is possibly feeling lonely, sad and/or perhaps frustrated by this unwanted staring and attention. Totally understandable.
Seeing lots of metal wrapped around and drilled into a child's leg is certainly NOT the norm. An automatic response upon first seeing this is to stare or do a double take. Understandable and natural reaction. The power a smile has in those times is also truly incredible! We know this truth because with the many stares our girl has received in the past two months, the encounters that are followed by smiles have definitely made the situation more comfortable.
|B.F.F.'s that are "same/same"|
What we couldn't prepare for was the ripple effect her sadness and hurting heart does to her parents hearts! And we're still working through it all and sharing a little of what we've experienced
in our journey thus far ......
"SMILE" it can make an awkward situation better!