I know it's been a couple of weeks since I last wrote in my blog however I can say my only reason is "wind down" time. Last month we decided to ask Hunter's Early Intervention therapist what we could do to help Hunter with his "walk". Even though Hunter has been walking very proficiently since he was 17 months old, I have been finding that he is sometimes "tripping" over his won feet for lack of a more scientific term. With hypotonia, ligaments and tendons are loose at the best of times and it's something that Hunter wont really grow out of but rather have to "manage" all his life. Jennifer mentioned that we should have Hunter's feet viewed by a specialist through a "gait" clinic. We took Hunter to see walking specialist Maureen Luther from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Hospital who made it possible for Toronto Orthopedic Doctors to assess and then make a prognosis for Hunter's feet. It was decided that Hunter would require a special casted brace (orthopedic appliance) that would help Hunter achieve normal stability in his ankles and arches. These special orthotic shoes (more like a foot brace) fit on his feet and then slip into shoes for a perfect fit. The process however while simple and painless was daunting for poor Hunter who attended during a critical nap period of the day. Imagine having your poor tootsies wrapped in casting materials, dunked in water and held firmly by unfamiliar hands. Quite upesetting for a 2 year old. A few thousand tears later, we were done and waiting one month for the perfectly custom "Hunter" moulded feet to be ready.
Yesterday was the day. We returned to Sunnybrook, with a fresher happier Hunter (who didn't have to be pooked or prodded) to be fitted with his brand spanking new orthopedic appliances. Did I mention that they allowed me to submit images (any one I chose) to be branded right into the material which made his custom feet? Yes, being the photographer that I am, official "Mammarazzi" I supplied them with only the cutest "Hunter' photo I had which could be plastered all over his neat new feet.
We met with Maureen and Chris (the doctor who originally casted his feet) and Hunter diligently allowed Chris to "fit" his new fancy feet. I guess seeing his own photo on his new "threads" was helpful and partially responsible for his good-nature'd smiles. We test drove "our" new feet up and down the halls with serious gusto. (Sorry, I didn't manage to take any 'test walking' photos despite having my camera on hand.) We were then instructed to purchase a new set of shoes to accomodate these new braces since his old (new) shoes would not accomodate the extra width and length of the braces. That kind of sucked since I had just bought these great recommended shoes called Baby Botes from a store called Three Little Pigs. (Those shoes, for the record are around $100 and are great if you can not get assistance to pay for these kinds of orthotic devices). I know many of you might be gasping at the sound of $100 for baby/toddler shoes, but let met tell you why that isn't so bad.... The appliances we picked up today are not cheap. While we get a 75% brake from the Canadian Government (called Assistive Devices Program) the 25% that we parents are left to pay up, is to a rude tune of $441.50. Yes you read right, that is the 25% we must pay after Government discount - if you can call it that. According to the bill, the devices cost $1766.00 Canadian Dollars. No joke. So, currently I am out this money until I submit it to my own personal work insurance plan. Even then I am sure they only pay a mere 60% or some ridiculous menial amount. Don't get me wrong, funding is available, if you qualify. That though, is another story and includes a long waiting list.... Another post for another day.
But back to Hunter's new feet. Immediately (once wearing his new orthotic braces) I noticed a difference in Hunter's walking. He was picking up his feet, striding much better and definitely much more stable. I didn't think it would be "that" noticeable, but it was. A lot can be said for those loose ligaments. What I want to mention is that clearly, it is imperative that young feet get this kind of attention early. The longer a parent waits to get "help" for their child's feet/walking, the more damage (permanent loosening) could potentially be done to ligaments and tendons that is or can be irreversible. Here are a few photos of his new shoes and custom braces. I guess the good (but hardly evening) point is that all future shoes that we buy to fit the orthotics (or accommodate them) we were told to buy from Walmart or PayLess Shoes. There is (now) no need to invest in costly shoe "shells" to hold the braces.
These are the (what should have been dipped in 24k gold) orthotics!
|Pretty snazzy, huh!|
|A closer up look at the nearly two thousand dollar braces....|
|Hunter is all over the orthotics - with some obvious "L" & "R" directions.|
|This is how we insert the inserts - only Hunter is in them first.|
And a photo shoot of the new "Champion" shoes we picked out from PayLess Shoes.
|Hunter loves his new shoes!|
I always manage to say, 'watch for my next post' most times with the intent to post missing elements - such as a photo of Hunter running in his new orthotic apppliances but life often gets in the way. So, I think I will aim for a general photo collage of the kids in my next post - since there are some really neat "mommarazzi" photos that I really would love for you all to see! Think of this image, a cute Hunter wearing his new Christmas present (A toddler super cape) and a sweet Hayleigh asleep on Mommy after a long night.... To come.