Life is not easy. Especially when you are in a family of invisible illnesses and disabilities. It can be serious, funny and downright hard! But we make it. Just like everyone else. We just do it in a different style.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ankles, Schmankles, Part 1

This has to be Part 1 because we don't see the orthopedic doctor for another week.

But, just to fill some of you in, this weekend, my young son "twisted/sprained" his ankles yet again. I say "yet, again" because we have lost count. Somewhere back in 2004, he began to fall, trip and twist his ankles.

First it was the right side, and then, as if by some strange decision, he only began to have problems on the left side. We have been to the two hospitals in our area. The second one knows us by sight now. We know the drill. I even call to make sure their Patient Fast-Trak is open. We don't need to sit there five hours just for someone to tell us it's not broke.

Not that it hasn't been broke. At some point between September 2004 and June 2005, he fractured the inside and outside ankle bones in that left foot. No one to this day, including doctors knows how he did that. He mumbled something about balancing on a ball. I told him he wasn't a seal as they put the metal Robo-boot on.

But it didn't stop.

A year later, running hurdles, he chipped a bone of the same foot. Wrapped up again, and afraid for further damage, I started hiding the skateboard, rollerblades and bicycle. Then, I listened as other Moms of athletic kids complained of broken bones, and I started to relax and feel a little better.

Until the bone didn't heal and nearly a year after that, the chip had to be surgically removed. He had been in almost constant pain, and I felt like a guilty criminal for making him walk on it.

By this time, I started to get worried. Everyone assured me, it was just childhood and he would be fine.

Except it happened again, and again. After awhile, whenever he walked, he said, his foot "cricked" and the pain would start. Sometimes, he could crick it back. Sometimes, he couldn't. When he couldn't, the pain was hardly bearable and nothing helped. No painkillers, ice, heat, pain patches; nothing. Except if he could crick it back.

Off we went to see more doctors. One orthopedist blew us off. "Kid is just accident-prone." Onward to the podiatrist. He thought that arthritis was setting in the area near the surgery, but had no clues on the ankles, since all the x-rays looked fine. He put my son on Glucosamine/Chondroitin and MSM, but the insurance balked at paying for prescription strength pain patches and orthotics.

This was where I was last week, when it happened again. This time, all he did was walk from the kitchen into the dining room, and "Aaaarrgghh!!!"

I knew the sound by now. I didn't even break a sweat. "See if you can crick it, honey," I called out from the dining room.

It wouldn't crick. Not then, not all night, not the next morning.

Off to the ER we went. X-rays are fine, but this time, the diagnosis was tendonitis.

Wait a minute. Not a sprain or twisted ankle?

No, he has tendonitis or tenosynovitis.

"From walking!?!" I shouted, not realizing my voice was rising.

I mean, since the dysautonomia diagnosis, he hasn't been the athlete. We just completed physical therapy for 2 months, so I know he's not deconditioned.

To make this saga short, we now have to see yet another orthopedist to see if someone can tell us something.

In the meantime, he continues to have sharp pains, feels better with the brace on and pops Naproxen when it gets unbearable.

I no longer know what we are dealing with here. Just last month, he began to complain of sharp pains near his hip whenever he twisted in the shower or bent over and didn't come straight back up. The complaints about all his joints have increased.

And as usual, I am on the Internet, looking, asking and searching for answers. Just pray that this doctor will bring this five year ordeal to a close.