Wow, will I ever be a regular blogger? I seem to start every post with "It's been a long time..." There are so many things I want to share, but so far I remain too bogged down in the LIVING of life to spend any time WRITING about it. I hope to change that one day soon, but for now another recap of the last couple of months will have to do.
So back in June, I wrote about Bella's hip surgery. While her recovery went well overall, and she was discharged from the hospital a week later, the ordeal definitely took a physical and emotional toll.
I've touched on the condition of her hips in earlier posts, but just want to elaborate a little about what they were like pre-surgery. Years of living in a laying room, never bearing any weight, never being stretched or moved around, surviving on a very poor diet - all of these factors worked together to nearly destroy her hips and legs. When she broke her hip in January, her surgeon was so surprised by how soft her bones were, by how "transparent" they looked on x-ray. The fracture couldn't even be repaired in the conventional way. Speaking of x-rays, they also showed that her left femur actually curved to the right as it grew, due to the fact that it was always draped over her right leg. Her muscles were so tight that I could barely get clothing to fit between her knees when I dressed her - her legs literally would not abduct (open) at all. You can imagine the problems this caused with regard to toileting and hygiene. She was permanently rotated to the right, as you can see in the photos below:
This is the only way she was able to sit in a chair - with the entire lower half of her body rotated to the right.
After hospital discharge, the next four weeks were spent at home in the spica cast. It was June and July...in Hawaii...in a house with no air conditioning...in a half inch thick waist-to-toe fiberglass contraption. She sweated constantly. She couldn't have showers...or use the toilet...or sit upright. She lost every bit of strength she'd gained and every new physical skill she'd acquired during the previous months of therapy. But she took it all in stride - she was such a trooper.
We spent most of our summer at home because it was hard to take her places in the car with the cast. We made the best of it though. We did celebrate Bella's first Independence Day by going to our town's parade, which she really enjoyed.
We actually expected the spica cast to remain on for six weeks, so imagine our surprise when we went in for the four-week follow-up and her surgeon decided to go ahead and remove it! That was a happy day. Here she is with her sister, moments before they cut it off.
I doubt that Bella has EVER been held like this. Even back when it would have been possible - before all the damage was done to her legs - no one would have carried and cradled her. Not in the orphanages.
Look how aligned, how anatomically correct, and how HEALTHY her legs are compared to the wheelchair photo at the top!