Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Happy Holidays!

We hope you're enjoying the Christmas season and are still eating all you can before the New Year's goals go into effect on Monday. :-)

We haven't posted in a while, mainly because we felt like we just didn't have much to talk about. Life really seems like it's back to normal, and who wants to hear about normal life?! :-) Elias is doing great. Totally back to his usual self. For a while there the nights were pretty difficult as he woke up constantly. It seemed as though he was/is having some kind of phantom pain or sensation and just couldn't get comfortable. Meagan would rub his little leg, and that seemed to help him relax enough so that he could get back to sleep usually. We put him back on the strong meds at night, and that also made a huge difference in allowing him to get much needed rest.

The swelling in his leg has gone down considerably and the incision is healing nicely. Right now the plan is for Chase to cast his leg on Friday, then make the first test socket. That's exciting! We went and picked out some fabric with monster trucks on it (Elias is REALLY into monster trucks right now). Chase will laminate that material into the plastic that makes up the socket. It's gonna be a cool leg! And we're hoping that the monster truck factor will make Elias excited about wearing it. He's certainly going to be the only kid on the block with a monster truck leg. Well, as far as we know at least.

A lot of people ask how often he'll get a new leg. Don't worry- he won't still have a monster truck leg when he's 28. :-) It really depends on Elias' growth and activity. Most likely Elias will get a new leg every 6 months to a year. The usual standard is a year on average. But of course Chase will want to hook him up with the latest and greatest stuff.

Meagan recently joined a support group for parents of amputee children. She's learned a lot and has developed a more realistic picture of what life will be like in the future with Elias. In short, it'll be a lot of fun and not much different from an able-bodied kiddo! But there are a few day-to-day issues that will be different (like taking off the leg for diaper changing and certain play activities) and learning about those things has helped her know more about what to expect. It will take Elias some time to learn to use his leg. And most likely he won't even like it at first, although the monster trucks might actually engage him a little- for at least the first week anyway. Our prayer is that he takes to his leg quickly, and that his 2-year-old mind will be able to catch on quickly to the fact that this new contraption we're asking him to wear will allow him to walk and run alongside all his little friends.

Elias turned 2 on December 14. Here are a couple pictures from his party and him playing with his newest toys.

Playing in the new ball pit from Lulo- complete with 350 colorful balls!

Testing out the new drum set (with built in flotation devices for pounding out rythm in the tub).

Yummy Elmo cake. Elias is a very neat eater, and at first he insisted on only using his spoon to eat the cake. Finally he caught on to the idea that eating with your hands is much faster and more fun!

Monday, December 4, 2006

Almost one week ago...

Chase here. This time one week ago, Meagan and I had just drifted off to sleep in parent housing at Shriner's in Erie, PA. Elias was asleep in a pack-n-play beside the bed and oblivious to the life-changing event that would take place in less than 10 hours. I remember Meagan and I just staring at him while he slept... admiring his beautiful little face and laughing at the contorted position that he usually got himself into after drifting off. I remember thinking, we're finally here. All the preparation for the adoption, traveling to Africa and carrying my son out of an orphanage while he was sick and weak, long nights back at home trying to find a way to assure our new son that he was loved and that he could go to sleep, exploring surgical options for his leg and future prosthetic miracles... all coming down to this.

Now... we've weathered the storm. We've crossed over the impending mountains. We've passed through the gauntlet and lived to tell of it... and we came home with a stuffed Cookie Monster doll and some left over Slim Jim's - the booty of an epic adventure.

Elias continues to improve daily. Today, Nani (Meagan's mom) helped me perform a dressing change on Elias' incision and he hardly made a peep. I was able to touch his leg, test his range of motion, and generally inspect it without any problem. He even stood on his knees and put most of his weight on his amputated side! His pain is diminishing more and more, and he's starting to push the limits. He keeps doing things that make Meagan wince but I usually get a kick out of it. For example, Meagan was in the kitchen today putting away dishes and doing other various tasks at the kitchen sink. She heard Elias say something so she turned around naturally to see what he was up to. She heard his voice but couldn't see our little boy. As she looked down, she found that Elias had pushed the chairs under the kitchen table as they should be and then proceeded to climb into them and lay out over two of them (under the table) in some sort of hide-n-go seek kind of way that he thought was hilarious. I love that little boy.

We will continue to keep you all updated on the great Evil Kenevil of Ethiopia and his latest death-defying performances as they happen.


Sunday, December 3, 2006

Post Surgery- 5th day

We've been home now for four days and it almost seems as though life is back to normal. Elias is completely off of his prescribed pain medication and is only taking ibuprofen now every few hours. Everyone told us that he would heal much faster than we expected, but that was hard to imagine when we were in the midst of the tough hours in the hospital. But it really is true! His leg is still pretty swollen but even that is getting better. As soon as the incision heals (10 days or so) then Chase will put a "shrinker" or compression sleeve on Elias' leg. This will help contain the natural atrophy that occurs, reduce the swelling, and get the limb ready for a prosthetic leg. (I have to insert here that this is all new terms and vocab for me. I try hard to get it right because Chase makes sure to correct me anytime I use the wrong lingo.) :-)

Elias still doesn't move around quite like he used to. The day after we got home, he would try to get up on all fours but then start crying pretty hard- a mixture of pain and frustration. Now though he either scoots on his stomach or slides along the hardwood floors on his knees. However, he's pretty much content to just stay in one place and play with the toys around him. Whenever he's hurting, he lets us know by saying "stuck", "I sorry", or "gentle." I was bracing myself for very difficult days of recovery, but I have to say that it's quite easy to have such a sedentary, compliant child for a few days.

We're supposed to change his bandages every couple of days. I generally consider myself to have a pretty strong stomach when it comes to stuff like this, but NOT when it's my own son! I thought I was either going to vomit or pass out last time we changed it. The incision is covered with strips so it's not even exposed. I'm just a real wimp I guess and a horrible assistant to Chase. I might have to enlist Nani to take my spot next time.

Well, off to bed. Elias has been waking up a few times during the night and I'm on "night duty". (Chase will take the early a.m. shift).

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement!