Sunday we headed out a little later than we normally do - around 7:30 am. We made our normal stop for gas, and only had to stop once for a potty break in Illinois. The kids were troopers. There was no complaining (of course, DVDs on the laptop, coloring, and snacks helped quite a bit!).
We made it to the Ronald McDonald House at 2:30 CST (that's only eight hours total!). This was a record for us! The house is the same as last year, but they instituted a couple changes.
- When we arrived, the kids were each given a business card for their toy store. A traveling motorcycle group (I believe it was the Golden Wings) donated a roomful of toys, clothes, books, and other items for the kids. Little Lou chose a giant stuffed bunny. She has taken very good care of the bunny, he is lucky to be so well-loved! X-Man was having a hard time deciding what to choose until he saw a 96 pack of crayons. He said "Ninety six crayons?! That's so many!" - then, his decision was an obvious one! Everywhere we go, he tells people that he has a box of ninety six crayons. He loves them! So many thanks to the wonderful people who donated these items to put a smile on a child's face!
- They now give you a parking pass. You can use the pass to park in the lots adjacent to the house (before, you could only park there on weekends and before 7:30 am, then, move your car to a far off lot). You can also use the pass in the parking garage at the hospital. I'm not sure if it gives you a discount or if it makes your parking free (we were there for less than an hour and had free parking), but it's going o be a big help for many families.
The next day, we had our appointment at 8:15am CST. We got there a few minutes early because they have you fill out a survey before you go back.
When Dr. Morcuende came back, X-Man was being very shy. He told us on Sunday night that he was afraid to go because he hadn't seen the staff in a year but that "it felt like five years ago". Right away, Dr. M started goofing around with him, and within a couple minutes, X-Man was excited to be there. Dr. M checked X-Man's feet and had him walk a few times up and down the halls. I told him about our concerns, and he talked with us about some long term case studies by Dr. Ponseti. One thing that I really like is that Dr. M gives us a lot of information so that we can make an educated decision about X-Man's treatment.
He agreed that X-Man's right foot was pretty stiff. He said it could be the result of a growth spurt, which would mean that it may loosen up in the next month or so. He said they like for the kids to have dorsiflexion of around five degrees or better. X-Man's left foot is five to six, so that one is good. His right is at zero. So, he told us that if we wanted to have him casted (right foot only), that we could do that, but, if he has a growth spurt in the next couple months, it may not be very effective. Or, we could wait until April (he said that he doesn't want to wait until summer because he doesn't want him to have a cast in the summer) and come back. He'll recheck him, and if he's still at zero or less, then we'll have one or two casts put on his right foot to get some extra flexibility. Luckily, this time around, he would only need one cast and it could be a short leg cast.
He told us that if we keep on stretching (we currently stretch for around 15-20 minutes each night), that we may be able to gain some flexion. We told him that X-Man is still wearing his magic shoes at bedtime. He told us that he only has three other patients that still wear the shoes at his age, and that it's wonderful that he is still tolerating them! He did suggest that if X-Man is still having pain in his right foot, that we may want to remove the stops from his shoes.
Our favorite nurse, Maria, also came in to the room to talk with us. We joked about the Iowa vs. OSU game, and asked X-Man how he was doing. I love that even though they must see hundreds or thousands of patients, that they still remember us when we come.
They both thanked us for coming back - which cracks me up! They're so appreciative of us coming, but we're the ones that are benefiting from them! And, of course, we're so appreciative and thankful for them. Ben and I talk often about how going to Iowa was the best decision we could have made regarding X-Man's treatment.
We had a great visit with great news (we also got to visit with my sister in Indy for a little while, and my mother-in-law who graciously agreed to watch our dog). Thank you all for your prayers, well-wishes, calls, and text messages. We're so blessed!