It's Five Minute Friday, again, the day when writers 'just write', on a one-word prompt, for five minutes. No time to edit, no time to revise, no time to rethink. Just. Write. So, once again, much as I try, I can't seem to bring it all in under the five-minute mark. But I'm getting closer. This week's prompt, appropriately, is TRY,
We drive home from the clinic with the radio on. At first it is simply background noise because we talk about my daughter's appointment. This appointment was to start the process of a referral for a second opinion for a possible upcoming procedure. Sounds kind of wishy-washy, doesn't it? But the possible procedure is a big deal.
And now I have to digress. From the time she was in grade school, my daughter participated in Special Olympics in some form -- she's competed in cheerleading, and basketball, bowling, and track-and-field. It was during her high school years in track-and-field that we started noticing a more pronounced hitch in her step. A definite limp. Not that we ever really cared about her times, we noticed a distinct slow-down and kick-out. She still told us she was 'fast as a rocket', but it was becoming obvious that her orbit was on a slow decay.
So started the process of finding out what was going on with our joy-in-the-running girl. The first orthopedic doctor had her walk on her toes, then try to walk on her heels, then he measured the lengths of her legs. He told us that this hitch-step we observed was related to the low-muscle tone which was related to her Down syndrome. He told us it would probably get worse as she aged, but that there was really not much to be done. We let her keep running; after all, who can stop a rocket?
We saw him a second time, the following year; the hitch-step was worse; she was throwing her leg to the side as she labored down the track. Smile as wide as the stadium, dead last every time. My husband didn't accept his opinion this time, and we asked our insurance company to send us to someone else. Much has been said about military insurance - our experience has been very good. Within a month, we were seeing another orthopedic specialist.
This one took an x-ray. And showed us that Sierra's hip was not completely in its socket, showed us that her socket wasn't quite as round and deep as it should be, showed us that there was much more going on with our daughter than mere low-muscle tone. Then came an explanation of a possible surgery that could correct the joint. In involves breaking the bone around the socket and pinning it back in a new position - a deeper, rounder position that will better cradle the head of the femur. It possibly involved breaking the ball off of the head of the femur and repositioning it so it would better nestle into the newly-formed socket. This doctor suggested the procedure might need to be done in the future; it was not imminent because my daughter was not experiencing any pain. He also let us know that complete hip replacement was also an option -- but that we would want to hold off for a time -- the life span of hip replacement is around 10 years and Sierra was only 20 at this point.
My brain whirled. I memorized the name of the complicated surgery - periacetabular osteotomy, with a possible femoral osteotomy. And I went home and started looking it up online. It is a very specialized procedure and not really done by many orthopedists. Our instructions after this visit, were to keep an eye on Sierra's joint; watch for further movement out of socket, and watch for arthritis (a new character in the saga -- and not a very nice one).
So - long story short - four years, two military moves, and four orthopedists later - we are looking at a more imminent procedure. And the clinic visit yesterday was to request a second opinion and if-we-have-to-have-it-done request that Sierra be seen by the hip specialists at Boston Children's Hospital.
So, my daughter and I are on our way home from the clinic where I requested the referral to send us 330 miles away to see these specialists, and we are talking about how friendly her primary care manager is, and my mind is whirling again because this process is a bit daunting - and remember, the radio is playing... It's one of my favorite songs - upbeat and catchy. I look at my daughter and tell her I love this song, and her actions show me that she has shifted from the conversation to the music. First, she starts clapping. Then the clapping widens to include an on-the-beat shoulder swing. Then she gives me an eyebrows-raised, wide-eyed grin of recognition. "It's SHAKE, Mom, look!", accompanied by a shimmy and a hair flip. And finally, the statement that practically makes it impossible for me to drive, I'm laughing so hard...
"It's SHAKE, I wrote it."
Oh God! Help me to look at life through my daughter's eyes. Help me to enjoy each moment. Help me to push away the whirling worry of things I can't control, and help me to put into place, the things I can. Help me to laugh more, dance more, sing more.