June 10, 2013

Post 14

Once again, I have returned to the blogosphere, and so much as happened since I last posted! Gabriel hasn't had any hospitalizations since December 2012, which means he is able to continue the early head-start program. He is doing so well in it!  The schools staff and teachers have cooperated with Gabriel’s potty training schedule and he is coming along nicely. He is able to keep a dry diaper for over 3 hours at a time, and whenever I ask him if he needs to go, he can communicate yes or no. It’s usually too short a notice, but most of the time I can get his diaper off  him in time to sit his butt on the potty and we have success and no mess.
Gabriel is still not walking or crawling.  He was standing flat footed with minimal support but with his hospitalization in December, and the loss in the intense hands on therapy, I've noticed Gabriel has back tracked significantly. Because of this, the physical therapist ordered a gait trainer for him and we are excited to get it.  Despite my best efforts in continuing what I learned from the therapist and applying it, I noticed how tight his heels seemed to be. Whenever he stands, he immediately goes up on his tip toes.
I tried to stretch his heel by placing his heel to the ground with his toes pointed up toward the ceiling at a 70-80 degree angle, and then pulling his big toe back gently, holding for about 15 seconds. Ideally this should be done about five times a day, but it seems his tightness in the heel wasn't getting any better. I finally decided to take him in to see his orthopedists.
The orthopedic concluded that Gabriel has a tight Achilles tendon, and the only way to fix this would be through surgery.
Furthermore, he said that Gabriel would not learn to walk until this procedure was done.  Suffice to say I was definitely disappointed to hear this news.   The doctor also added that they would go in and release a tendon in his thumb. Gabriel has always struggled with holding objects.  He’s always had silly little fingers that are unlike any other little fingers I have ever seen.  He has learned to use his pinky the same way we use our thumb; that little pinky gets quit the workout!  At least for now, it looks like Gabriel will get some help in this area too.   We still have to get the go-ahead for this procedure from his heart doctor, and with his problematic little heart, she says we need to wait. The last time Gabriel went under anesthesia he was in the ICU for two weeks.   
In the mean time, the orthopedist had the prosthetic department create a special customized shoe insert that would fill the gap when Gabriel was on his tip toes, along with special shoes just for him.  The insert is like a boot that goes up to just under his knee with a wedge under his foot. I simply call them his “magic shoes!” Gabriel didn't like them at first, but since I gave them a more uplifting, positive name he seems to now be excited to wear them.   He wears his magic shoes about two hours a day for now and we are working our way up to most of the day.
I meet with his heart doctor next week to get her take on the prospective surgery, I’ll keep you posted about Gabriel’s progress.

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