Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Thumb II - The Sequel

Finally, as promised, pictures of Elijah's new thumb. To recap: The first thumb operation on the right hand needed only the relocation of a few tendons from one side of the hand to the other, but the left hand's first digit had much less in common with a thumb (number of muscles and bones) than on the right hand. So we did a true pollicization, which meant moving the entire first digit further down on the plane of the hand and turning it about 90 degrees. Melissa and I are very, very pleased with the results. These pictures were taken just before we replaced the plaster splint with a fiberglass cast. Take a look:

And now for something completely different...

Sophia and a friend at the Tulsa Zoo. A day of high class adventure and elegant discovery.

Signed, Dad

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eli is Houdini

David and Eli arrived safely home about 4 p.m. on Tuesday. I met the two of them at the QT down the road for drop off from the Shriner's van after a 6 hour trip. I saw Eli and commented "that cast isn't going to stay on." Little did I know that he'd have it off by 6 p.m. (Houdini has nothing on Eli) and we'd be on the phone to Shreveport figuring out what had to be done. By 9 p.m., we were back in the car headed to Shreveport...we stopped in Paris, Texas at midnight to sleep and then finished the remaining 3 hour drive the next morning...had a new cast applied and headed home making it about 9 p.m. Miserable for all of us, but especially Eli. The new cast, designed solely to keep his new thumb immovable for about 5 more weeks, will not be coming off!
  • Tubes in ears surgery moved to April 5. That one is in Tulsa.
  • Back to Shreveport April 19 for cast removal and thumb check on April 20.
  • We get May off.
  • To OKC on June 19 for a cleft palate clinic where they will determine if he needs anything else done in his mouth.
  • To Shreveport on July 19 to prepare for leg straightening surgery on July 21.
Nothing scheduled after that. Ya Hoo! We know we'll have follow up in Shreveport 4-6 weeks after July 21 surgery and then we'll have to return for prosthetics and prosthetics checks and prosthetics adjustments, etc. Clearly, we should find a prosthetic person in Tulsa to work with us too. Shouldn't be a problem.

We have pictures of the new thumb. They will be posted soon.

We are waiting on snow today...maybe EIGHT INCHES. Yes, it is March 20 and Spring has taken a last-minute nap before her grand entrance. Old Man Winter has seized the opportunity for a final farewell. WAKE UP SPRING!!!

Love you all,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

To Shreveport...again

Tomorrow, Eli and David will be heading to Shreveport on the Shriner's van. We expect the docs in Shreveport to remove Elijah's splint to review his surgical outcome on his thumb. Then, I think they will recast it for a while. I plan to send the camera with David so we are sure to get a first look at the new thumb. I am hopeful that we can get the new cast removed in Tulsa rather than another trip to Shreveport in four weeks.

Eli is scheduled for his next surgery on April 12...that's for new tubes in his ears. We can tell that his hearing is impaired. His set of tubes placed 15 months ago are either falling out or out. They are no longer draining the fluid in his ears. They tell us it's like he's under water listening to what we say. So, it's mumbled and directionless. We knew it was an issue when we opted to have his thumb made rather than tubes placed the first week of March, which meant the ears would have to be 6 weeks later due to general anesthesia not being allowed that closely together.

Love you all,

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Eli's first visit to the CIRCUS

Thank you Wally and Louise for the circus tickets. Eli had a great time!
For the rest of you, we went to the Shriner's Circus that raises money for the transportation department, which we use frequently. The circus was the weekend before Eli's surgery last week. He really enjoyed himself. He's getting to the point where we can take him to events like this. So much fun for all of us.

And, today, we enjoyed the nice temperatures. Eli has grown to LOVE his outside swing.
As you can see, this arm-in-a-cast thing is hardly even a bother to Eli. He just lugs it around like a normal thing. Of course, Clifford was along for the swing.

Love you all,

Friday, March 5, 2010

Eli eating gravy

We have a favorite spot between Shreveport and Sapulpa where we like to eat. We hit it for dinner on the way there and Eli enjoyed gravy. I will share more magical moments from this trip soon.

Love you all,

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Elijah's surgery finished yesterday right on time. He came back to me with a little nausea, which he overcame shortly. He slept with one eye on me making sure I was bedside. He progressively came around and even gave me a few laughs as we watched Dora together.

The procedure yesterday was far more invasive than what he had done on the other hand. It is called Pollicization. Here's a definition:
Pollicization is a plastic surgery technique in which a thumb is created from an existing finger. Typically this consists of surgically migrating the index finger to the position of the thumb in patients who are either born without a functional thumb (most common) or in patients who have lost their thumb traumatically.

During pollicization the index finger metacarpal bone is cut and the finger is rotated approximately 120 to 160 degrees and replaced at the base of the hand at the usual position of the thumb. The arteries and veins are left attached.. If the thumb is congenitally absent other tendons from the migrated index finger may be shortened and rerouted to provide good movement.
The surgeon said this is a very difficult procedure, but one with a lot of satisfaction. We are expecting greater functionality from his new THUMB!
I'm amazed at how EVERY employee at this wonderful hospital has high spirits. No one wakes up on the wrong side of the bed or brings personal baggage that impacts their attitude. I'm amazed at how they not only treat us (and especially Eli) with extreme respect and compassion, but also each other. This is a great place to be (if you have to be here that is).

I told Eli upon his arrival "every time you leave this place, you are better." It is true. What would we have done without this place where the experts gather to help children with unique issues? I'm glad I didn't have to find out. Thank you Shriners.
Hopefully we will go home today.
Love you all,

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Surgery

Eli is in surgery. They took him back about 7 a.m. and just called to tell me it will be one more hour. He was a little anxious this morning.

David is back at the hotel getting his sleep before we are needed bedside.

Love you all,

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Checked In

Eli is checked into the Shriner's Hospital and ready to be the first surgical patient in the morning. He has done really well today considering the stressful situation of being poked on.

Thanks for your prayers.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Ready for Check In

We are in Shreveport this evening after a long day of visiting Eli's doc, packing and driving.

Best news of the day, I am an aunt, again! My brother's baby was born today about 1:40 p.m. Her name is Sawyer and I cannot wait to meet her in person. I was disappointed to miss the excitement today at the hospital. I am overflowing with gratitude for no surprises. My brother's birthday was yesterday. What a fabulous day-after-b-day gift. Congratulations Greg and Somer. Welcome Sawyer!

Tomorrow, we'll check Eli into the all-too-familiar hospital. Our routine will begin with Elijah's tummy tying up in knots. He won't be able to keep food down most of the day. I hate it that Eli experiences stress at 3 years old. Surgery will be Wednesday. This one will be on his right hand to give him more strength in his thumb.

Love you all,