Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Journey's hand doctor

We met Journey's hand surgeon today, the #2 in the country! When we first called this office, we were told that he couldn't see us until mid July. Then we found out that we have a connection through a family friend and were able to get in sooner! To recap, Journey was born with fused fingers on her left hand (stuck together with pieces of skin-not completely joined, you can see that she has all of her fingers, but they don't all work independently because of the skin) and on her right hand, she has a thumb, ring and pinky fingers, and then sort of a bulge where her other fingers should have been. It seemed to me that there was bone in there but I'm no doctor.

We got to the office early, like we were supposed to, and got checked in and sat in the waiting room just in time for the Casey Anthony verdict. I didn't follow closely, but I was pretty surprised when they kept saying 'not guilty'. I understand that a lot of people are upset about that, but the jury couldn't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did it, which is how our justice system works. They aren't saying she's innocent, just that they can't prove she did it. It's what we get for having a fair legal system, and I'm glad that you can't just be executed because everyone is 'pretty sure' you killed someone. I have other thoughts about justice but I'll save those for another post :)

Anyway! We were taken into a room pretty quickly, and an intern for the surgeon came in first and checked out her hands and took some notes, then the dr. himself came in, talked to us, checked out her hands, and said he was going to order x-rays for her right hand only since the left is just skin, and come up with a plan that would work best. I asked if he could just snip the one piece of skin that is keeping her left pinky bent and causing her pain as her finger is growing, and he said "that would be cruel." I hope he didn't think I meant just lop it off! I was hoping they could use just a light anesthetic to numb the area, but he said he'll do it all in the operating room. Another guy came in with a digital camera and got some pictures of both hands.

We went down for x-rays, which she was surprisingly cooperative for. They weren't able to put the tag on the x-ray sheet because she kept grabbing for it, but they took 3 pictures and they all were clear enough that we didn't have to do any re-takes.

We walked back to our exam room and within a few minutes, they came back in and told us that she does in fact have bones in her right hand, up to the first knuckle. She will have 2 surgeries, the first one to take off the extra skin on her left hand and to separate 2 of her fingers on her right hand, and the 2nd surgery to separate the other 2 fingers on her right hand. They are outpatient surgeries, her left hand will just have the dressing on it while it heals, but her right hand, being more of a surgery and possibly requiring a skin graft, will have a cast that starts above her elbow and go down past her fingers. The second surgery will depend on how the first surgery and healing goes and will probably be a couple of months later. Her first surgery will be September 12th. I'm so glad we got in for this consult so quickly and they have an opening for surgery so soon! God is really taking care of us :)

I'm not looking forward to her first couple of days with the cast, she is a pretty stubborn little lady and if you try to tell her she can't do something, she gets pretty angry. It will be hard to get used to. Maybe she'll be walking by then though and it won't slow her down as much...the other thing I'm dreading is not being able to feed her the morning of the surgery. We won't find out until a couple of days before, and they start with the youngest patient, so hopefully there aren't too many babies ahead of us. She is a hungry bear when she wakes up and doesn't like to wait for her breakfast.

However, this is the best case scenario for her. She will have 10 working fingers, although some will be shorter than others. He will also take care of some cosmetic issues with her hands, so her hands will look pretty close to normal, and will all move independently! They said they will refer her to a physical therapist, but that she probably won't need it since she's already so good with her hands the way they are,  they think she'll adjust fine. I think so too, she's a quick learner and a smart cookie :)

We did have an offer to be sponsored through the Shriner's for free surgery, but since it is so minor and an outpatient procedure, we decided to stay here. We are so grateful for the opportunity to go to Shriner's but our insurance won't require us to pay much, and we'd have to go to Chicago for the Shriner's surgery, which would mean Eric would have to take more time off to travel. Not to mention the possibility that he could be in Ethiopia getting Little Boy, so being close to home would be wayy more convenient. Our lives are never boring!

1 comment:

  1. I'm really glad that the consult went so well!