Monday, March 3, 2014

Serial Casting- another update!

Casts off, legs washed, waiting to do some walking and get measured.

Done with PT and measuring, wrapped in cotton and ready to be casted.

Getting the plaster cast on one side...it takes 3-4 people to do each cast...this is only half the team that crowds into the room.  She is pretty good about holding still!

The casts are drying.  This is her least favorite part- the chemical reaction that hardens the plaster makes them get very hot and she hates that feeling.  The pouty lip is quite justified!

Here are a series of pictures to take you through the general casting process.  What I didn't photograph was the part after the casts dry where the orthotists and physical therapists (yes plural...there are usually three to four working together) try different levels of lifts and inserts in her cast boots to get her walking just how they want, and then she goes through and does another session of PT in the casts to make sure that everything looks good and that we know the exercises for the week.  Sometimes this takes 30-45 minutes to get just the right combination!

We got HAPPY NEWS this week...these are probably the last casts!  Funny enough, they are also the last two colors she has not had yet (orange and white....now I am craving dreamsicles!), so she can say that she had every color.  She was SUPER patient today while they took molds of each leg twice...once for her daytime AFOs (ankle foot orthotics...aka leg braces) and again for her nighttime AFOs.  To make the molds, they put on a long cast sock and then wrap her legs in just the fiberglass cast material (the colors) with a strip of plastic down the inside.  Then they take out a utility knife and slice them open along the plastic strip (Be still my mom-heart...a utility knife...and I thought the saw was bad!)  They peel out the sock layer and voila...fiberglass legs!  They will use the molds to make her AFOs (she chose to have a picture of a horse on them, and purple straps- no surprise there!).

So we get next week off (woot!) and then we go back the next week to fit the AFOs...we have some shoe shopping to do before then.  She will wear "regular" shoes, but about 2 sizes bigger than her usual shoes, in wide.  She will need knee-socks to go under the braces as well.  They said to plan on it being a long appointment because fitting the braces can take a long time.  After seeing how long it takes just to fit the cast boots, I believe it...but I am grateful that they know what they are doing.  I am continuously impressed with how knowledgeable the staff are- they pioneered this process and it shows!

I talked with another mom today (we were swapping casting woes and cover patterns) and she said that they did serial casting last Spring at a small office near their home...it was just casts, no measurement, no physical therapy program...and it was a complete failure.  That made me good that it really is worth the drive in to the children's hospital to get this done by experts.  And she drives THREE hours in each week, so I guess we don't have it so bad!


Sooo...I think that is the story for now.  Hooray for progress and moving on to the next stage of this process!



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