DDH

Amelias DDH journey, life in a cast

It’s another long one folks, to read the beginning of Amelia’s DDH journey click here.

After a nights stay in hospital, Amelia was discharged and we were so relieved to be able to get home. Amelia was so happy as soon as we got outside the hospital doors she was smiling again. The journey home was a smooth and comfy ride, we were so excited to be home again. But, yep there’s a but… When we got home, we didn’t know what to do with Amelia. That’s when the realness really hit. She couldn’t sit on the sofa without having pillows to support her, pillows which we didn’t think about getting ready for returning home. Luckily, we took hubbys old beanbag chair out of the loft so that was downstairs ready to use.
Amelia was grouchy, the morphine that the hospital had been giving her had really knocked her about! We had an early bedtime that night and I’m so glad we did. The muscle spasms that no-one had warned us about started. Amelia woke every time she fell asleep for a good few hours before she settled properly, it was so hard to see.

A few days later the spasms had settled, now our main focus was trying to keep Amelia as comfortable as possible. My brother had sent Amelia a present of some Lego Duplo, which she absolutely loved! We used a portable booster seat at the dining table so Amelia could sit upright to play with it! This kept her happy for a good few weeks, in between playing with play dough too. Another thing she really enjoyed was to draw with Crayola Colour Wonder, aswell as painting!

We did manage some planned outings, but aside from going to the supermarket, we didn’t get out too much as Amelia didn’t fit in our double pushchair, so we had to take 2 single pushchairs which was a bit of a faff and let me tell you, it made us both even more grateful that we only had to deal with 6 weeks.

Changing Amelia’s nappies.. I wasn’t sure whether to make this into a separate post for itself. But as I want to keep as much information together in one place for ease of reading, I’ll keep this here.
Changing Amelia’s nappies was a bit of a task to begin with. I say ‘to begin with’ because it does get easier, you get used to how to position your child when changing, and more confident with it in general. Before surgery Amelia was using size 5 nappies. To begin with, in the spica cast, we used a size 2 inside and a size 6 over the top and around the cast.
The way we positioned Amelia to change her was to gently roll her onto the unaffected side, remove the current nappies, wipe, dry inside with a cloth and check inside to make sure it was dry, tuck a size 2 nappy inside, and before lowering her back onto her back, we’d place the size 6 outer nappy down so we lowered her onto it.
After a week or so, I noticed when changing Amelia, that her cast was wet on the inside, ew. I had a chat with people on the Facebook group and they’d suggested using a hair dryer on the cool setting to dry it out. It took forever, Amelia hated it, but it worked. Overnight I also used night time sanitary towels inside. What I did was get two towels and stick them together (sticky sides together) and managed to slide them up the back of the cast – waterproof bed pads were good for this too (the ones like puppy training pads), with the absorbent side facing her back. They were easily taken out in the morning and cheap than sanitary towels!
When it started to get smelly, and it did get quite smelly, I’d read that people used a few drops of essential oils just inside the cast, this masked it a bit, but I only had lavender which I hate the smell of, haha.
I think it was week 4 or 5 that we actually took Amelia to the plaster room to have her cast checked over. She’d had an appointment at 3 weeks and they said her cast was ok – smell and all. But a week or so later, I got the touch out and saw that it wasn’t. Not at all. There’s only so much we could’ve done to try to keep it dry, smaller sized nappies just weren’t absorbent enough for Amelia, we were getting through so many too, changing her as soon as she needed it, it just couldn’t be helped. I also noticed her eczema had flared up, we were so worried.
Hubby took Amelia to the plaster room and they said it was fine. Luckily he didn’t just leave, he hates hospitals but he was adamant to get them to check properly. He showed them the photos, which I won’t put up here, and they started to listen. They opened up the cast to see that Amelia’s skin had potentially become infected. It was to be expected as her legs often flare up and without being able to wash or air them, we couldn’t prevent it!
They took swabs to see if they were infected, they were, but they didn’t tell us until she had her cast off. We had some creams and a skin wash prescribed too.
Anyway, the team in the plaster room were brilliant! They’re so down to earth which is so settling for anxious parents, but they’re fantastic with the little ones too! They’d managed to make Amelia’s cast into a hinged cast which they put velcro straps on to close.

By this point Amelia was much happier. Her legs could breathe a little every day (only when we washed and creamed them), we’d even sound some clothes that hid her cast a bit too. She didn’t like seeing it all the time, her mood changed so much when it was hidden!

Next comes cast off day! Hubby took Amelia as we knew it would be pretty straight forward because the cast could be opened up by undoing the velcro. Amelia had an x-ray before or after having it off, which showed her hip was where it should be, and fingers crossed it still is! I’ll be posting soon with the next chapter of the journey.

Read the follow on post here.

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