Sunday, 28 August 2016

Paige's hip dysplasia {part 7} - the rhino brace

After Paige's spica cast was removed she then had to wear a rhino brace 24/7 for another 8 weeks, taking it off only to bath and for the toilet.  And then it was estimated she would wear the rhino brace overnight for a further 4 weeks.  It was such a relief to have the cast gone and there were definitely a few positives to having the brace as opposed to the cast but overall not much really changed in our day to day life.  It was still a massive challenge having Paige in the brace and we had to adjust to yet another new "normal" for a while.  We were so happy that Paige was out of the spica cast just in time for her 4th birthday!

Playing at the park
Paige on her 4th birthday

At first the padding of the rhino brace kept coming out and it would not stay in place no matter how tight we did up the velcro!  So I hopped online to the Hip Dysplasia support groups on Facebook (which have been a life saver during this journey!) and lots of parents gave us advice on how we could alter the rhino brace to avoid the padding coming out.  We ended up cutting two slits in the padding and feeding the velcro through them to hold the padding in place - it worked a treat!

The rhino brace padding kept coming out which was super annoying!

We were told some children could walk in the rhino brace but Paige never had the desire to do so.   The surgeons, doctors and physiotherapist all told us to let Paige do whatever she was comfortable with - if she wanted to sit around and not try to move much that was fine and if she wanted to stand up and try walking that was fine too - whatever she was most comfortable with.

A few weeks into Paige wearing the rhino brace at our physio appointment the physio told us we had to start encouraging Paige to move her legs to start building the muscles up again so that when the brace was taken off for day time she could try and start walking again as soon as possible.  We tried Paige using a little trike so she could push off with her legs to get the muscles moving but she wasn't too keen on that, then I found a green bike thing at our local library which Paige loved going on and it turned out it was for hire so I snapped that up and we bought it home with us.  Paige used it so much - we took it down to the local tennis courts most days and she also used it for getting around the house in.  Paige loved being more mobile and independent, she even nicknamed the bike Chelsea!

Riding on "Chelsea" the little bike we hired from our local library


Paige riding on Chelsea

I even started taking Paige to my parents house for sleepovers which she was stoked with!  Jalen had a few sleepovers while Paige was in the spica cast and she felt like she was missing out so it was so nice to take her overnight somewhere again, she was just so excited!!

Having lunch at Nanna & Poppy's

So in summary here's my little pros & cons list of the Rhino brace vs Spica cast;

Pros;
  • wearing pants again!!
  • able to bath again- soooooooo good!
  • being more comfortable 
  • easier for us to carry Paige around as the brace is nowhere near as heavy as the cast
  • less obvious to see and we got less looks from people when we were out and about
  • easier to get Paige in and out of the car
  • Paige being able to move herself around by shuffling about 
  • being able to take Paige down to the beach to play in the sand (the brace was easier to clean than I thought)
  • Paige could crawl around and climb at the playground and start being more active and playing with other kids again

Cons;
  • sleeping was still shocking (waking every 2-3 hours as she was so uncomfortable) 
  • harder to take her to the toilet as we had to take the brace off each time which involved undoing all the velcro straps and the padding

And here's some more pics of Paige in her rhino brace :)

Having a snack in the car

Jalen taking Paige for a ride

Playing at the beach

Playing down the beach & standing up!!

Ebony, Paige & Jalen eating cookies