Monday, 7 January 2019

OUR ACHILLES HEEL...


Over the years with three boys we're gradually working our way through childhood accidents and diseases like they are tick boxes in an i-spy book of raising children. In fact sometimes when I have seen the doctor in the same week with all three boys for three separate reasons (and that has happened on occassion) I worry that they think I am an awful mother or worse still they name a chair in the waiting room after us. 

We've negotiated our way through chicken pox and shingles, slap cheek, nits - that was a joy when we discovered them whilst camping with no running hot water! Then we had the joy of worms - I thought nits were bad, never, ever google 'threadworms', the images still haunt me to this day. Now as the boys are getting older it's the turn of growing pains, with the eldest suffering from Osgood Schlatters disease, which until he was diagnosed he had little sympathy from me. Who knew being hyperactive had a downside, well this joyful disease causes pain in the knee as the tendons don't stretch quick enough over the bones causing friction and pain after exercise - great if you're a sports loving boy. 

I will stop at this point and declare that I am not medically trained and my knowledge is gleaned from the internet, doctors and physiotherapists and my interpretation here may not to 100% accurate. Also although it took a while to get the diagnosis the NHS staff have been absolutely fabulous.

I digress! In September boy two started playing rugby again after taking a year off. Later in the afternoon he retreated to the sofa in pain, we teased him for being unfit! Over the next few days his heel got increasingly painful and he was unable to put any weight at all on it. We couldn't get a doctors appointment they said it was probably sport related so go straight to the Emergency Department, where we waited for three hours to be told it was plantarfaschitis. It got worse and stopped him sleeping over the next week so back we went, waiting for three hours and was advised it could be a fracture but they didn't want to Xray as he was young so issued us with crutches and told us they would refer us to physiotherapy. 

About three/four weeks passed and we heard nothing, we returned to our doctors to ask if we had been lost in the system. Yes we had, there was no referral, so we were given a number to self refer to physio (who knew you could do that!). By this time walking on both feet was painful and so we returned to the doctor for stronger pain relief, although that knocked out the 12 year old. We tried everything the physio suggested but nothing worked, but she did diagnose it as Severs disease, much like Osgood Schlatters where the tendon was rubbing against the bones of the heel which hadn't fused together fully causing pain. There's always relief when something is given a name - don't you think? 

I'm now lost as to how many weeks it was, he hadn't been able to walk around school properly and couldn't get to lessons that were upstairs, he was deemed a 'fire risk'. He was managing about half a day in school in a room in 'learning support' on his own, mainly doing computer based work, some teachers even forgetting to send him work to do and not seeing his friends. 

He also had started to crawl around at home, the pain in both legs just too much to walk on. It got too much for me when he had to play in a concert and we literally had to get him there by wheeling him in a cart. We finally managed to get into the local doctors showing how he couldn't walk not even with crutches and we were referred to an orthopaedic consultant straight away. Who said it was a severe case of Severs and put his lower legs in casts to be changed every two weeks. 

And here we are. 

I realise how lucky we've been up to this point with childhood illnesses that come and go but nothing that challenges us long term. At first it was a novelty, spirits remained high. Now it's taking its toll. If you can't walk very well, living in a hilly market town isn't good, and you realise how inaccessible everywhere is. You plan parking and try to get as close as you can to everything by turning up early. You arrange lifts to and from school for ease. You make sure there is always someone at home with him. 

Despite not being in as much pain he still can't get around school, play any sports, go to scouts and be the generally active chap he used to be. It is terribly frustrating and really getting him down. It seems really selfish of me to say that I am hating the amount of appointments we have to take him to as well. 

I don't know why I'm sharing all of this with you, maybe because I'd never heard of this before and if your child had similar symptoms don't be afraid to get it checked out. It has been 18 weeks and we've just taken one step at a time learning as we go and trusting that there is light at the end of the tunnel and his achilles heels won't turn out to be his achilles heels! 

2 comments:

  1. Oh my! This sounds incredibly tough for all of you! Hope the casts make a difference and he starts to feel better soon. Alice (thehouseof on IG) xx

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  2. Its heartbreaking seeing anyone you love or care about not being able to fulfil their full potential because of physical pain... we've had our fair share of broken legs and achilles tendons in this house... but then at the same time as our family had its problems, my friends son was run over in his first week of secondary school and had to stay in hospital until they re-grew bone in his shattered leg - that put ours in perspective. We are so, so lucky in this country to have a healthcare system that is free; both our families have been totally in awe of the amazing care and knowledge we were both offered. I hope your son is at the end of his rehabilitation but I think you're doing absolutely the right thing and sharing your experience.

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