Challenges of Life in a Spica Cast
Our 3 1/2 year old son broke his femur tripping over his Pull-up. The treatment for a toddler's broken femur is essentially a full body cast. It extends from his chest down to his pelvis (with a hole for potty), down his broken leg to the toe, and down the unbroken leg to his knee, with a titanium bar connecting his two legs. It's awesome.
- •Here's what it looks like.
- •Diapering is daunting.There is a two diaper system required because of the way the cast goes around his pelvis. His normal diaper size is 5 - we use a 3 with the tabs torn off and tucked into the opening of the cast and then a 6 on top of the whole thing.
- •Potty training is on hold.Pre-injury, he was doing OK with pee but had no interest in poo in the potty. Now we are all diapers all the time. I don't know where he will be when he's out of the cast... He likely won't be able to start preschool until January at the earliest.
- •Sleep has been a challenge.He is normally a champion sleeper. He is iffy on naps but has been sleeping through the night since about 9 months. He usually sleeps about 9 pm - 6:30 am. Not anymore. He isn't that tired because he's not moving, so he doesn't go to sleep until probably 10 and wakes up at 6. And someone needs to lie down in his room with him to help him sleep. We have an air mattress blown up in there for our comfort.
- •Bathing is tough.Obviously he can't get the cast wet, so sponge baths it is. Walgreens has a great rinse-free body wash, so that has been our jam.
- •Limited mobility.He can't walk in the cast. Some people have figured out how to crawl around or wheel around on a mechanic's cart, but that's not really our bag. We tried the two different strollers we have, but neither accommodates the width of his legs in the cast. Our best option is his Radio Flyer wagon padded with pillows and blankets. So far we've done outings to the aquarium and Target and it's been fine.
- •6 weeks of sitting around the house.He can't go to daycare. We had to hire a nanny - she is doing 3 days a week, my in-laws are doing 1 and I'm working from home 1 day a week.
- •Unlimited screen time.He has always loved his phone and iPad time but he is becoming a pro. Screen time is such a controversial mom topic, but I am actually OK with it. He seems to be learning a lot of new things.
- •Lack of activity.We had to suspend his swimming lessons (and wasted the money on his weekly athletics time at daycare). The orthopedist said that most kids take a couple of weeks to start walking again once the cast comes off.
- •Delaying his tonsillectomy.He has horribly enlarged tonsils. We originally had his tonsillectomy scheduled for 7/7. I was all about going forward since he is down already, but the ENT recommended against it because he doesn't want to compound his misery. So he will get the cast off, then 2 weeks later have tonsil surgery.
- •Keeping perspective.I have been dealt a fairly shitty hand in many ways over the last 5 or so years. In other ways I am incredibly, unbelievably blessed. It's weird to try to reconcile the two. Ultimately, this is six weeks out of our life, and we are getting the perspective that millions of families deal with every day for their entire lives. So we are lucky in that regard. We're also blessed to have such high quality medical care.
- •He's learning the art of the selfie.
- •And we're making the best of things.I can't even with how handsome these two are. 😍