I would like to update you all on Aaron's leg surgery in a couple, maybe even a few parts. I keep intending to sit down and write a post, but there just seems to be so much to share that I don't have the time to cover it all in one sitting. So my plan is to go back and cover a little bit at a time.
After applying and being accepted into Shriners Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, having an evaluation, and completing a motion lab study, Aaron's surgery on his legs was first scheduled for November 18, 2011. I canceled and postponed it. Knowing what he was going to endure, that he would be pretty immobile for a couple of months.....I just couldn't do it over Christmas. He was SOOOO much looking forward to Christmas! It seemed that it was all he talked about. Even though he can't walk unassisted, he is quite proficient at getting around by crawling. Some of his friends at preschool have challenged him to crawling races and he is still the reigning champ!! Even though he can't walk and run like other children he is around, he still has so much fun and never complains that he can't. I often wondered if I would catch him watching other kids, looking at them longingly, and wishing he could have the same fun that they are having. But he truly doesn't. When kids are playing outside, running around, kicking balls, whatever....he watches them in absolute delight. He seems to be having fun through them. Don't misunderstand me though.....if you ask him directly if he wants to learn to walk someday, he enthusiastically exclaims YES!
Ever since he could understand English, we have been talking to him about having surgery on his legs to help him learn to walk. He understood why we moved the surgery back and was perfectly okay with it. Christmas was on the horizon and he was just so excited about it. And yes, he did thoroughly enjoy celebrating Jesus' birth. After Christmas, he began talking more about the surgery and we continually explained the surgery and answered all of his questions. We still wondered how much of what we told him he could comprehend. He knows he would be asleep while the doctors "fixed" his legs. He knew that nothing would hurt while he was asleep, but that when he woke up he would be in pain. We explained that the doctors would give him medicine to help it not hurt so much. Even as we left the house for the 4 hour drive to Philadelphia, there was not an ounce of apprehension.
The surgery was Thursday, March 22. He and I drove up the day before and stayed overnight with friends that live in the city, not more than 15 minutes from the hospital. This has been such a blessing to us, as we have had to make two follow-up trips since the surgery. His surgery was at 9 am and we needed to be at the hospital by 7. He was still not the slightest bit nervous as we got out of the car and headed into Shriners. In fact, he was excited! They took us up to his room that he would stay in while he recovered. Now all of the sudden he was nervous. It was like a switch. I am still not really sure exactly what hit him at that moment, but it hit. He started crying and getting weepy and told me he wanted to go home. It was so sad, especially since I knew how difficult his immediate AND long term recovery was going to be.
Soon they were ready to take him to the pre-op room. I was able to stay with him until about 10 minutes after they had given him some oral medicine to make him relax and get sleepy. They wheeled him into surgery at 8:50. During the surgery, I kept myself busy having breakfast in the cafeteria, unloading the rest of our things from the car up to our room, praying, reading the Bible, and eating lunch. The surgery was almost exactly 4 hours like they said. The purpose of the surgery is to "lengthen" the muscles that are so severely contracted. This lengthening of these extremely tight muscles is done by cutting and/or "teasing" the muscles in different areas in order to stretch them into the position they have been unable to stretch to. The lengthening procedure was done on his abductors, hamstrings and heel cords. Then his legs were cast from his groin down to hold his legs in the correct position, which included a bar between his legs to hold his legs open. Prior to surgery, he picked to have his legs cast in two different colors. Orange on one leg, blue on the other. His two favorite colors : ) Here is a picture of him when I first saw him in recovery.