Chalk & Cheese

You may recall that ten days ago I wrote about a disappointing orthopaedic appointment for Joshua’s foot, well yesterday we had a similar discussion in a different hospital, with a different surgeon, about another limb, and the whole experience was so much better :

We had to wait over an hour in the busy waiting room to see this Doctor, which was challenging as Joshua was feeling very restless , so I took him for several walks down the corridor. Well I say walks, he ran down the corridor, trying to escape, and I followed him! I got him to sit still. briefly, with food, he enjoyed both a banana and a chocolate muffin. I should have brought my ipad to watch Shrek on, as my mobile phone was not interesting enough. Eventually we were called into the consulting room and there were two patient seats and the Doctors chair behind his desk. Immediately he offered up his seat so that we could all three of us be seated and he squatted on the floor in front of Joshua! He shook Joshua’s hand first, introducing himself and then ours and he had a gentle manner with him always maintaining eye contact.

He asked Joshua if he could look at his wrist and hand, to see what movement he had and when he pulled away as he moved up to his elbow, the Doctor backed off and said that he had seen enough and he apologised to Joshua for making him uncomfortable. He seemed so much more in tune with Joshua than the Orthopaedic Foot Doctor. Even though he was recommending surgery , he had won our confidence over with his approach and so my husband and I agreed there and then, once he had answered our further questions.

The Doctor wanted an X-ray of Joshua’s wrist to see the extent to which the joints are fused and fixed and given that it is so contorted and stiff, he acknowledged that was not going to be easy. But instead of making us or the radiologists feel bad, he explained that any image that they achieved, would be better than nothing. So despite having been in the hospital for two hours already, we went along to X-Ray and between us, they managed to get two images for the doctor to study. So now we are waiting for an appointment for tendon release surgery.

This has become necessary because , due to his stroke, Joshua has never had fine motor skills in his hand, but after his brian surgery in 2014, his wrist and fingers have got much tighter, so that his hand is always in a fist and his wrist is at right angles to his arm, due to the inbalance of tendons. He has had three batches of botox in his arm, which temporarily loosens those tendons and with physiotherapy and splints, his wrist and fingers open up more. But the effect of botox lasts a maximum of 6 months and then you are back to square one, as in Joshua, everything on his right side is just too tight. So we have opted for tendon release surgery which should give him a more permanent solution. He is never going to gain any fine motor skills in that right hand, but he ought to be in less pain with it and it will make life easier for dressing and for keeping his hand clean and finger nails, trimmed.

We were offered this surgery previously, but we were not ready and so we settled for the less invasive botox solution, but now we have all three of us reached a point where we are ready to embrace this surgical solution and I for one, have complete faith that this surgeon will do his best for our son, so bring it on.