I say Haven, for at Shriners, acceptance into the program is based on two criteria - age and diagnosis. Any child under the age of 18 years old is eligible to benefit from the gift of free care providing the child's condition is within the scope of services offered. Yes, you have read correctly! It is free. I feel blessed that Zoé will benefit from their services regarding her cavus foot deformity and her Achilles tendon tightness. David and I have both decided that we would from now one, donate money to Shriners, for as they say in the brochure:"Each patient's path to success is fueled by private donations and driven by excellence in treatment, teaching and research."
We had an appointment there last Friday and Zoé was greeted like a queen. It was actually our pre-operation visit and we also met with a very knowledgeable doctor specializing in neuro-muscular diseases, such as Steinert.
The first nurse we saw asked us to undress Zoé and have her wear a gown, and our little patient looked quite cute in it. The nurse who did the pre-op asked Zoé to be her little helper, checking the stethoscope, putting the little cap on the instrument used to check ears, holding her little hammer for reflexes, etc.
The doctor then came and carefully examined Zoé corroborating what the surgeon had mentioned regarding Zoé's need for the following treatment plan: "For the right side, given the extent of the deformity and the fact that she has previously undergone serial casting, [they] recommend that a surgical, likely in the form of a plantar release for a cavus deformity be performed.As well as a heel cord lengthening for her equinus." As you can see I now fully understand the jargon, thanks to my little research in "Orthopedics for Dummies, or my self-taught course in Orthopedics 101."
It's funny how we, mothers of children with special needs, often claim loud and strong that we are our children's specialized providers. Providers of care, support, love, and above all, medical needs. Believe it or not, but we often know more than some of the doctors who see them.
It adds to the pride that we have knowing the ins and outs of our children. Sometimes it can be tiring and discouraging to have to explain Zoé's condition, but who else would do it better than me? I will give myself credit on this one.
Anyway, to go back to Shriners, after lunch we took Zoé to have her left foot casted for the new bright and flowery AFO she will be fitted with right after surgery. The right foot will be casted for 5 weeks, and after that, he too will have the flowers-and-lady-bugs design we had Zoé choose for the leg. We chose not to revisit butterflies...bringing back painful memories of the helmet.
We left Shriners with much confidence and hope that all will go smoothly on June 2nd. Of course, that doesn't mean that we won't be a pair of nervous wrecks on that day.
Zoé will stay as an inpatient for one night, just so they can monitor her closely.
We've already reserved Zoé a big surprise for the week after surgery, a live show of Elmo and his friends at the Oakland Arena, I think she will go crazy when she sees her friends dancing and singing onstage. I will have to film some of it to post on the blog.