Since late August, we’ve been pretty busy. Henry especially! He’s figured out pulling up, cruising, and climbing, and we’ve put up baby gates. He’s just about mastered waving, though he lacks consistency. He’s cut four more teeth, and another is poking its way through now. He’s graduated to a convertible car seat, gotten dressed up for his first school pictures, and learned to drink from a cup. He’s become even more charming and outgoing, and he seems to make friends wherever he goes. Meanwhile, we grown-ups have watched all this in wonder while trying to keep up with work and stay connected. It’s been a beautiful few months for our little family. We’re figuring out a rhythm. Together we’ve taken our first family vacation, visited with family and friends, and spent time working in our church’s pumpkin patch.
We’ve also had another visit with Henry’s orthopedist. As we’ve mentioned, Henry has fibular hemimelia, a congenital absence of the fibula. Since Henry is so far ahead of schedule mobility-milestone-wise, we’ve had to schedule his surgery sooner than we thought we might. In cases like Henry’s, most specialists consider it ideal for the child to take their first steps with their prosthetic. So, Henry’s surgery is scheduled for December 10th.
What surgery is Henry having? Where will he be?
That’s a great question. Henry’s orthopedist first told us he would perform Syme’s amputation, but at our most recent appointment said that Henry might be a good candidate for a Boyd amputation. With a Syme’s amputation, the heel pad is disarticulated from the heel bone and placed beneath the remaining tibia for cushioning. However, the heel pad can slip out of place over the course of an amputee’s life. The Boyd procedure preserves the heel bone and fuses it with the tibia, giving another weight bearing structure while keeping the heel pad in place. It requires a longer recovery time, however. Whichever happens, Henry will come through the surgery with the best leg for him.
Henry will be at CHOA-Egleston, likely for one or two nights.
What will Henry’s recovery be like?
Henry will be in a cast for between four and eight weeks following the surgery. There’s such a wide margin there because we aren’t exactly sure yet which surgery Henry will have. He’ll be about as happy about this as any mobile, curious, and independent eleven-month-old baby would be. We’re busy thinking of ways to keep him as happy as we can (and his routine as typical as possible) between the surgery and his follow-up appointment on January 6.
Meanwhile, we’ll be celebrating Henry’s first Christmas season. And soon after that, his first birthday!
When will Henry get his prosthetic? They can do so much with them these days!
Generally, kids are fitted for their prosthetics as soon as their casts come off. They receive them a few weeks later, once they’re built. He’ll go in to try it out, the prosthetist will make adjustments, and then we’ll get to bring it home.
Henry’s first prosthetics will be relatively simple. Later on he might end up with something like the ones you’ve seen in the media. It’s true, prosthetics have come a long way. But high-tech prosthetics are not always available to all amputees, and changes to Medicare guidelines for prosthetics could both (a) deny prosthetic coverage for those with Medicare and (b) influence private insurers to follow suit.
What will you need? What can I do?
We don’t know what we’ll need yet, but we’ll let you know once we do. We’re still a bit surprised at how quickly things will happen. For now, as always, we appreciate your prayers and good thoughts.