Born in 1989, Ron’s daughter Caitlin,was diagnosed with chromosome damage resulting in severe developmental delay.
One of her many issues was an under developed right hip joint socket, needing treatment to re-align the ball and socket and immobilise hip movement until growth would allow proper ball and socket placement.
The first step in her treatment started at the age of three months and involved her being suspended by her feet upside down on a “scaffold” to draw the leg out of an incorrect position. This resulted in her going into a cramp spasm, screaming in pain and being given morphine to dull the pain. After enduring three days of this torture she was taken to theatre and fixed in a Spica plaster cast with a wooden bar between her legs to prevent movement.
To allow for growth she had to go back into theatre every six weeks during the six-month treatment to have the cast cut away and a new cast and bar fitted.
Each time was an emotional roller coaster as Caitlin was acutely aware of visits to the hospital and her distress at seeing the corridor lights as she was wheeled to theatre was heart breaking.
Eventually the six months were over and x-rays confirmed that the socket was sufficiently developed and the hip joint was intact; however it was to be another two years before she would take those first wonderful tentative steps that most children achieve before their first birthday. The grin of delight on Caitlin’s face as she tottered across the living room between two sofas, to huge yells of encouragement, was utterly priceless.
Each parent’s story of Hip Dysplasia is different, but one common theme is the extreme distress at having your precious bundle go into theatre, usually under anaesthesia, for Spica cast replacement.