As soon as we got to the car I started looking at the picture. I couldn't wrap my brain around what I was seeing and Liam's newly uncasted legs were giving him fits so I had to care for him all the way home. Once we got home I started to dig a bit further into the weird picture and the obvious metal plates shining back at me that I had never before seen nor even knew existed.
It's quite shocking to be looking at your child's 4 week post op x-rays and come to the horrifying realization that they cut his thighs in half and braced them back together with titanium brackets and you had no idea it had been done. I was just sick to my stomach. I was physically ill all weekend. I messaged friends in the field trying to figure out what had happened.
Liam had been in a lot of pain during recovery and we assumed it was just a lot of discomfort from the tendon lengthening and the heavy casts with his legs spread 16" apart along with the hip correction. Apparently, there was a whole lot more to his surgery than the doctor initially let on.
|Bulge on the outside of his hip from the hardware.
He never stated he was going to cut both of his femurs mid thigh, realign them, and brace them. If he had, I never, ever, would have consented to having his right leg done. There was nothing severely wrong with that leg. The right leg didn't have an issue that needed such significant surgical correction. I would never have allowed both of his legs to essential be broken and casted at the same time, when the one wasn't even an issue.
We were in the middle of the school year when we scheduled the surgery, having been told Liam would only need a week to recover. I would have known Liam needed more time to recover than a week and wouldn't have scheduled it when we did if I'd known everything involved. He ended up missing an entire month of school, because who wants to go to school with two broken legs in casts that are separated with a bar? And all along we just thought he was just miserably uncomfortable, not recovering from two broken legs.
|Another angle of the bulging hardware. Looks comfy, no?
When he admitted to not telling me all of the details, he stated that maybe the parents who are fully invested in their kids should see an x-ray of what their child's legs would look like after surgery so they know what to expect. I told him that was an excellent idea as I didn't get a say so before hand on what was coming. When I told him I never would have consented to the surgery on the right leg he tried to tell me that it would have had to eventually be done anyway, "because you see that happen all the time in these kids". Which frustrated me all the more because, as the parent, I get the final say so in how my son is medically treated. I should have been given the option to say no. I should have been told so I could have lessened Liam's suffering and prevented an unnecessary procedure from happening. It was not the doctor's decision to make in this instance. It was entirely mine.
|Recovery from hardware removal.
After a full year, if proper bone growth has taken place, you can opt to have the hardware removed. Which is exactly what we did. I couldn't wait to get those stupid plates out of his body and scheduled to have it done right at the one year mark. It couldn't come fast enough.
|The curved top is what was sticking out from his upper thigh above.
He already has more movement back in his legs and I'm looking forward to the day when he can cuddle with me again. We haven't been able to do that in over a year.
I am always learning on this journey we are on. I thought I had asked all the right questions, I thought I knew exactly what was taking place during the surgery, and I thought I was well informed of the recovery. I wasn't. I can't beat myself up over it when he admitted to not telling me all the details, but it just goes to show that you can think you know what you are getting into when you suddenly find yourself thrown from your high horse into the ditch, trying to pick yourself back up, and wondering what the heck just happened. So, we saddle right back on up, and keep on keeping on. :)