Yesterday’s Appointment with the Orthotists
Yesterday was a big appointment. Jian went to meet with her physical therapist, an orthotist, and another man who represents a company who creates dynamic splints. I could tell that everyone was sort of holding their breath when she came in to see how cooperative she was going to be. They wanted her to demonstrate how she walks and runs with her crutches while they took videos of her. They examined her hips and legs and measured all of the range of motion. Our sweet friend who is a female physical therapist agreed to come and help, as we knew Jian would be uncomfortable with all of the males examining her. True to herself, Jian had to test them a little bit, but was easily redirected and able to laugh off any bit of discomfort.
Everyone who sees her for the first time is both amazed and a bit dumbfounded because of her unique set of circumstances and abilities. They all believe that the brace will help her. They want to collaborate for about a week and make sure their engineers design a perfect custom splint that will be most effective for her. She will start out wearing it for about 30 minutes at home and build up to wearing it all night while she sleeps. This could be a 1-2 year process.
Just as I am typing this, I am both saddened that she has to endure this, but thankful that she has the option. I need to let it go that I know this could have been prevented with proper care when she was young. I have also been beating myself up that her contracture has actually worsened in the past year, thinking I should have been more diligent in stretching her every single day. But the orthotist tried to assure me that this happened as a result of her rapid growth spurt, and even if I had held her in a stretch for 30 minutes every day, she would have had 23 1/2 more hours that she was not being stretched. Also, he pointed out that most growth occurs during the night while we sleep, which is why it will be optimal for her to wear this brace at that time.
So, we will wait until they call us back in about a week, which will be perfect timing, as her therapist is actually leaving the country in 2 weeks for his own adoption. When we go back next time, it will potentially be pretty traumatic. They will basically make a body cast molding of her that will be used to make the brace. I had not told her this little detail until after we left yesterday. This sent her into a heartbreaking loud cry, yelling that she didn’t want to have to do all of this, but she wants her leg to get better. I just listened and tried to validate her. After about 10 minutes she was ok and came inside and was explaining to Daniel that she would have to get a cast, but that it would help her. She also asked a ton of questions last night, which is a great sign and her way of processing information. She is a little trooper. We are very thankful to everyone for your concern and prayers.