Cast off day finally came!
So today, after 15 long arse weeks, Harper finally had her hip spica cast removed. Our appointment was actually quite early in the morning at 10.40 but all the way over at Maidstone hospital. When we arrived to the clinic we were given two forms, oe for the plaster room and one for X-ray. Much to my surprise we were sent straight down and into the plaster room to have Harper’s cast removed immediately.
unfortunately I wasn’t able to film Harper’s cast being removed but I was allowed to take some pictures. First they cut into all the tape and padding around the bottom of each legs and around the nappy area
Harper was quite happy and chilled at this point. After this came the special plaster removal saw! This was about as noisy as a vacuum cleaner. Harper is fine with loud noise but she did not like the vibrations is made as they cut down the side of her legs and had a little bit of a moan before realising it wasn’t too bad and then stopping. The saw somehow cuts through fibreglass plaster cast but doesnt cut skin if it comes into contact with it.
A plaster cast surprise
A special tool was used to crack the cast open further. At this point one of them let out an ‘Oh’. It transpired that everything was ok but Harper had been double casted. This means she had a plaster of paris plaster cast underneath her fibreglass one! No wonder she was so ridiculously heavy.
The reason behind it is some consultants put plaster of paris underneath on young children as if any fluid gets into it (wee!) plaster of paris will absorb the spillage. Personally I think this is a weird idea as you’ll just end up with a paster cast that smells of urine. If she had just had a fibreglass cast you would just try your best to dry it out and then remove the wadding (which would also remove the smell!).
The plaster cast team then had to manually cut through the last of the plaster of paris using scissors. They did unfortunately pinch Harper on one side when the last section was being removed. Harper was not happy about this and let them know with 5 minutes of ear-piercing crying. One she had calmed down I was able to quickly grab a few pictures of her removed cast. I was expecting to find a box worth of Cheerios in Harper’s cast. But all there seemed to be was a little bit of dirt.
Harper’s new legs
Harper was very floppy and couldn’t even sit upright without support once the cast was removed, but extremely interested in her legs. I had read that a lot of children had very sensitive legs after hip spica removal. Harper didn’t seem to have this issue at all. Harper was happily inspecting her legs and letting me touch them. A thick coat of old dried brown coloured skin was all clumped in areas all along her leg which Harper was quite happily picking off.
Time for an X-Ray
Straight over to x-ray next to see if the hip spica had actually worked. The X-ray took place very quickly and we went back to see the specialist. Except it turns out the specialist wasn’t in. Instead we had to see a registrar. I was a tad annoyed about this as I wish I had been informed prior to the appointment that he wouldn’t be there. I had earlier noticed on her forms that they had marked her down to have a hip abduction brace applied. The last time I had spoken to the Consultant he had asked to keep Harper in hip spica longer so that we wouldn’t have to wear a hip abduction brace afterwards.
The X-ray result
When we did see the registrar he showed us the hip x-rays. Not a great amount was explained, other than telling us her hip sockets were still very shallow. I knew instantly that this means the possibility of further invasive surgery. He did confirm that her hip-joint is now at least very stable so the hip abduction brace would only be necessary at night-time. However last time Harper wore a hip abduction brace at night the brace was not well tolerated and Harper awoke every hour. After some discussion I decided it would be best to take an abduction brace and at least try it. As Harper has been accustomed to sleeping with a hip spica for the past 4 months or so I hoped sleeping with the brace may be easier this time.
Moving forward Harper will have another x-ray and her hips reviewed again in 4 months time. I’m sincerely hoping that her hip sockets find some depth to them. But at the same time I think I’m going to have to resign myself that this may not be the last time we see Harper wearing a hip spica! Harper’s physical abilities are no where as good as when she went into the hip spica. I’ll be blogging about her journey to getting back on her feet again so subscribe to the blog to make sure you don’t miss any updates. I’ll leave you with this lovely pic of her going to bed tonight in her hip abduction brace. The fact that Harper is wearing pyjamas at least feels like a little win for the day.