Monday, 30 May 2016

Paige's hip dysplasia {part 1} - how it all began

It started one day a few months ago just after Easter when we noticed Paige was limping, she hadn't had a fall or bumped it from what we could recall so we thought we’d get her to rest as much as possible and give it a few days and see how she went.  A few days passed and even after resting Paige was still limping pretty obviously.  However she was still walking and even jumping around on the trampoline so we thought it mustn't have been bothering her too much!

The GP appt
We decided to take her to the doctor to get it checked out just to be on the safe side.  Our GP identified that Paige’s legs were different lengths and suggested that her femur bone was shorter on one side, they estimated around 5-8cm!!  I was told this was unusual and instantly burst into tears, I had no idea what to think!  I quickly calmed myself as I didn't want Paige seeing me upset and wondering if something was wrong.  We were given a form to get an X-ray done and a referral to see a specialist at Womens and Childrens Hospital.  This all happened on a Friday arvo and we couldn’t get in for X-rays till the next week and I hated that we had to wait the whole weekend.

Trying the natural approach first
That night I called my bestie who works for a chiropractor and she was able to get us an appt on Saturday morning to get another opinion.  We went in and was assessed and told that it looked like Paige had a tilted pelvis which in turn made one leg appear shorter than the other.  The difference in length was thought to only be 1-2cm after taking into account the pelvis tilt, and I was relieved to hear this as it was a much smaller difference than the GP suggested.  Paige was given an initial treatment to help with this and we then booked in 4 weeks of appointments to continue down this path.  I called and cancelled our booking for the X-ray as we decided to try out chiro first and wanted to avoid Paige being exposed to radiation if it wasn't necessary. 

The GP called later the next week and asked if we had the X-ray done yet, I told her we had seen a chiro and were going to try that out first for a few weeks and see if there was any improvement before getting the X-ray done.  She pleaded with me to get the X-ray done just for peace of mind and I told her we would.  Then a day later I got a call from the specialist at WCH to give us a date for an appt (which was that week!) so I took that appt and then booked in to get the X-rays done.

After the diagnosis it started to become quite obvious that Paige's legs weren't
symmetrical and she rarely stood with her left foot flat on the ground

The X-Ray
We got the X-rays done, and was going to go back to pick them up the next day.  But before we got to pick them up I received a phone call from the GP with the findings of the report from the X-ray.  She told me that there was a problem and Paige has congenital hip dysplasia in her left hip, I immediately started to get emotional as I had no idea what this was.  (It’s probably worthy to note here that this GP doesn't have the best bedside manner and has told me things before in the past that have instantly freaked me out when it turns out it wasn’t such a big deal).  The GP then explained to me that hip dysplasia is when the hip is dislocated - in Paige’s case the ball of the femur bone doesn’t fit into the cup of the joint and is sitting just outside of it.  The cup itself also hasn’t formed properly, this is due to ball not sitting inside the joint which is what stimulates the growth in the first place.  I wasn’t too sure what was to happen from here but my husband and I did some good old fashioned googling and came to the conclusion that it was likely Paige would need surgery to fix her hip.  Thankfully we had our specialist appt the next day so we didn't have to wait long to find out for sure.  That one day wait though was crazy and our minds were going into overdrive thinking about what it could all be!

The Specialist appt
We arrived at the specialist at WCH and met with Dr Derfel Williams who confirmed everything we had thought after doing our own research the day before.  In technical terms we were told Paige would need an open reduction, salter osteotomy and hip spica cast applied for 12 weeks.  Dr Williams explained everything in detail and answered every question we had.  He never rushed through anything and made us feel like we were the only patient he had.  After he had been through it all with us he called Dr Nicole Williams in, she was another orthopaedic surgeon who would be performing Paige’s operation.  She was a kind and caring woman who also made us feel like we were the only patient she had.  She took the time to chat with us, always asking if we had any questions and how we felt about it all.  She spoke to Paige and made her feel calm and comfortable before examining her hips and legs.  Through the shock of all this happening to our little girl it was so nice to know we were in good hands and the people performing the surgery were both able to meet with us and made us feel at ease and as comfortable as we could be with what we were about to go through over the next several months.

We were given a date for the surgery (8 weeks away) and told we didn’t need to stop Paige from doing any activities as long as she was happy & comfortable to do so.  The surgery itself was a reasonably straightforward procedure, although it was the cast and recovery that bothered us the most.  The hip spica cast was to go from her waist to both ankles, this is to ensure the hip and pelvis stays symmetrical to give the hip the best chance the heal correctly and rest while healing after the surgery.  And we were told she would have to wear the cast for 12 weeks, yep THREE whole months!  This was such a shock, how on earth would be do this?  How would Paige cope not being able to walk or move for three months?  

After the diagnosis
A couple of weeks later after a big day out at a family picnic then kids birthday party, Paige was really complaining of her leg being sore and struggling to walk. I emailed Dr Nicole Williams letting her know of this and asked what we could do and if there was any possibility of the surgery being brought forward.  I couldn’t bear having to wait another 6 weeks to have her leg fixed, especially as it was now impacting our normal activities and we were finding we had to stay home a lot just so she could rest after a morning out or a playdate with friends.  Dr Williams assured she would have a look and see what she could do and get back to me, but it was unlikely of getting in any earlier as they needed a whole afternoon to do Paige's surgery and both herself and Dr Derfel Williams were both pretty booked up.  To my surprise she emailed me back the next day with a date a bit closer and we were thrilled.  We got sent out the paperwork for this new date.  Then a couple of days after we received the updated paperwork I got a phone call from Dr William's receptionist asking if we were free and able to come in the next week, turns out there was a surgeon away from another area so there was a theatre free and both the Dr Williams’ were available and able to do Paige’s surgery.  We were absolutely stoked!

But then the nerves set in, I was in the mindset that surgery was still many weeks away and I had a while to mentally prepare myself and Paige, and then all of a sudden we found out it was the next week!  I was so so happy we could get in earlier but could not control the nerves and anxiety, it really got a good hold on me.  I had 5 nights of next to no sleep and felt like I was back in the newborn days where I was just operating on autopilot.  I was constantly nervous, feeling like I was about to give a speech in public or something, my heart rate would not slow no matter what I did, making it so hard to drift off to sleep, yet I was so fatigued from being in such a worked up and anxious state.  On top of that both our kids were up several times each night so when I would finally drift off to sleep it wasn’t long before I got woken up, and then the cycle continued of struggling to fall asleep again.  

A couple of days before the surgery the nerves started to ease, it was like I had gotten most of it out of my system and now the count down was on, I had to be calm for Paige’s sake...