About 7 months ago, we took a chance on taking Isaac’s AFOs (otherwise known as “fire trucks” because of the fire truck we had on the back of them for him) off because he had outgrown them, and we wanted to see if he could maintain a normal gait pattern on his own. Plus they were giving him all sorts of rotten proprioceptive input that he didn’t need and his body was misinterpreting. He was doing ok for a bit, but was back up on his toes pretty quick.
So, a few weeks ago, I got a note from the PT, asking if we could think about AFO’s again, and I immediately went to the phone to call the insurance to prevent a debacle like we’re still dealing with. I got the name of the places that our insurance covers, and the one that the school likes to deal with isn’t covered by my insurance. Go figure.
So, we went to the one that my insurance covered. I made the first phone call and got an appointment. I was told that it would be a long appointment…and that it would involve casting of Isaac’s legs to make the AFO’s.
Now, last time this happened, it was an ordeal. The people came to Isaac’s school and then they casted a screaming child (mine) and used a cast cutter to take off the molds. yeah. Those suckers are loud and scary. Not to mention that it was not a fun time for any of us involved. I was not looking forward to this time. Doesn’t matter that it was 2 years down the road…doesn’t matter with all of the other details. I just know it wasn’t on my list of fun things to do wtih Isaac! It was something that I just never, ever wanted to repeat. Listenng to my child scream in terror as they started up the cast cutter was NOT fun at all.
So, we get to the local orthopedic lab, and the prosthetitician comes in, and he had a sort of odd gait to his walk…and of course, I noticed that he was walking wtih a prosthetic leg! Holy Cow! The reasons people do what they do for a living…but I digress.
So, he brought a sample AFO in for Isaac to see. He had no idea that Isaac had already had a pair of them before and outgrew them. So, as he was asking me the questions and I was answering, my small monkey decides he’s going to try and put the afo on and get his sneaker on. He had it about halfway on, when he realized it didn’t fit him at all and that he couldn’t fit the entire thing into his shoe. The prosthetician thought it was hilarious, and that was when I dropped the “he’s had these before” bomb. It just never came up until that point. Seriously. I wasn’t hiding anything, but it just never came up…between asking about skin sensitivities, how long he’s been on his toes and all of his PT/OT history.
Then, the casting began. I was planning on taking photos, but with a wriggly almost 5 year old on my lap, it wasn’t really in the cards. The casting is just what you would find if you had broken a limb or needed a regular cast for any number of reasons. They broke out the sock, the fiberglass and did the whole wrap around thing. Isaac sat and whimpered a smidge, but the carabeener full of designs kept him busy, as he decided what he wanted on his AFOs this time around. This prosthetic lab didn’t have single designs, they had an assortment of all over designs. We flipped through the ring as the first cast set. We saw rainbows (not interested), camo (mildly interested…) space aliens and rockets (oooh…want that!) and then, we flipped over to what would be the official choice for Isaac. A pattern called Fly n drive. This has cars, airplanes, traffic signs and checkered flags all over it, and to boot, he got the choice of a white or blue fly n drive. He picked blue. Blue and cars. Shocking? Not in the slightest coming out of my kid.
We then came to the time I dreaded…the take off of the first cast. I braced myself and took a deep breath. Then, out came a pair of bandage cutters and a carpet knife! Holy macaroons! No cast cutter! HOORAY! The prosthetician said that he never used cast cutters unless it was 100% unavoidable, as the cast cutter tends to scare the kids (no shock there) and can make the child pull back and ruin the casting.
So, one perfect cast down…and one to go. How’d we get the second one done? We did what we do in times of stress in this family-we talk NASCAR.
We began having a conversation about Isaac’s favorite, Jimmie Johnson, and then we went on to the entire Hendrick Motorsports stable, as well as a few other things. I know, odd line of conversation, but considering the prosthetitican was into it, and knew just as much as we did, it wasn’t bad. It helped us get the second cast on and off…and shoes and socks back on.
We go week after next to pick them up and get the tweaking done. Can I tell you I’m glad we have insurance, as we found out the same day as the casting what our portion would be…and it’s not pretty. Seriously not pretty. I don’t know what we’d do if the insurance didn’t cover 80% of these. I’m not going to list what our portion is, because it makes me sick just thinking about it all. I’ve had people’s jaws hit the floor when they realize that our portion is only 20% of what the total bill is. ARGH.
But next Tuesday-photos to follow of the new AFOs…and Isaac proudly displaying the pattern he picked.