Spica Cast Must-Haves

Feel free to giggle. As if our five days earn me the right to pose as an expert on the subject. But, I am one who would check into hotels on tour, and even for a short stay, would survey the room, say with shake of my head,

“Oh, dear…this just won’t do.”

Rushing out before sound-check, I would scurry about to stock the room with candles, table cloths, pictures and other objects that would create a homey ambiance. I like routine and familiarity. Where there is lack of these, I zoom like Road Runner to every store within a 15 mile radius to rectify the situation as quickly as possible.

That said,

About an hour after my post about Zachary’s incident was written, we were brought back to his room on the pediatric floor. It was at that point that the effects of a sleepless night, and stress of the whole ordeal caused an automatic shutdown in my brain. I could not have fully been prepared for the full aspects of this type of cast and all of the adjustments in basic care it would require.

It also must be noted that I have a temper wear my heart on my sleeve.  As a child, I would stub my toe and have an immediate response of anger toward the inanimate object that dared to step into my path. My best pal from birth is LHTA (laughing her tail off) right now at memories of her spunky, awkward and brace-faced sidekick turning around and yelling at door jams.

“Stupid thing!”

Ok, so as an adult I have matured (for the most part) and have learned to temper this reaction a tad. Although the feelings are still there, most often I don’t go around hitting solid objects, thankfully.  I have not however outgrown my trait of nakedly and unabashedly offerining the world every nuance of my thought process and emotional state.   I don’t believe people often ask,

“Gee. I wonder what Emily feels about this?”

So, when the sweet doctor joined us in the room to offer blog links and tips on how to manage daily routines with a toddler in a spica cast, my thoughts on the contraption were quite clear. As I tried to change our first diaper, my son screamed in pain at the slightest touch. How on earth am I supposed to clean him if I can’t even take the diaper off? I can’t reach the tabs? I can’t turn him over. What. The. Hell?!

“There has to be a better way! Is this cumbersome tank of a contraption really necessary?”

I spouted, displacing my anger over the whole situation onto the cast and the orthopedic surgeons who came up with such an inconvenient and obnoxious solution.  As if she was going to say,

“Ha! Of course there is!  We were just messin’ with ya! Let me get the saw!”

This dear physician sympathetically held my hand and said,

“I know its overwhelming. Do you want me to go get a laptop and we can watch some tips on YouTube together?”

Feeling exhausted and ashamed of showing this lovely person the ugliest side of myself, I bit back tears and quietly said,

“No. I think we just need a minute alone. Can we just have a minute?”

“Of course. I promise you guys will adjust. I know it’s a lot to take in. I’ll be back in a few.”

After I had my over-dramatic, bratty little snit, I got on the phone with a dear friend whose two-year old had the same cast last year. With a few of her tips and a lot of her encouragement, I got off the phone, called “last call” for my pity party and took my first stab at changing Zachary’s diaper. And in case you were concerned, in true Emily Rozek fashion, I made sure to apologize to the doctor when she returned ten minutes later.  We were discharged and managed to load him into his car seat.  The first miracle of miracles.

While the remnants of anesthesia lulled him back to sleep on the way home across the George Washington Bridge, we brainstormed seats, snack trays, possible sleeping positions, and diaper changing techniques.

Its been five days and we feel like pros!  The biggest pro of all, of course is little, trooper Zach.   Here are some of the things we have found to bring ease into a not-so-easy situation.

Pillows for tummy play (baby sis optional) and tray providing hard surface for….

coloring…

…Or building Lincoln Logs
WARNING: baby sis may or may not provoke extreme aggravation in the injured while attempting this task

Infant Bouncer/Toddler Rocker – Best Purchase of All!
WARNING:baby sis may or may not find increasing devilish satisfaction in rocking the injured with each additional yell from him not to.

Bean Bag Chair – Big suggestion from other spica cast parents.
(joke playing on the object responsible for breaking the bone – optional, depending on how sick your sense of humor is)

Swivel Bed Tray – Amazing for parents who are sticklers for eating meals at the table. This tray can adjust in height and swivels in any direction. (doctor’s toys a fun touch from amazing Aunt and Uncle)

This post would be more aptly called “Our Spica Cast Must-Haves” being that we have learned that each spica cast is a bit different and what works for one may not work for another, but that’s what we have so far!

Any caregiver who stumbles upon my blog in search of spica cast tips, click on the pictures for links to the actual products.  And remember, it’s only been five days!  What do we know?

Happy Spica-ing!

Love,

The Motherfog Family

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36 responses to “Spica Cast Must-Haves

  1. Em, I can’t believe this happened…again…to your little dude. I’m so sorry to hear about Zachary’s injury. I wish I were there to help you guys. Better yet, move back here to Boston so I can reciprocate for all your wonderful care of my (not-so-little) dude. You’re a terrific Mom, and I miss you and wish I could help you and Steve through this. Here’s to a speedy recovery…for all of you!
    All My Love, Auntie Kath

  2. Amazing. Creative. You and Steve are impressive! Looks like he is doing ok. And, can I just ask… did you have to duck tape those diapers on? It looks like you are doing a great job!

    • Ha! No. The duct tape is for taping the waterproof lining to the outside of the cast. they gave us tape and told us to keep taping everyday when it came up, but the ONLY tape that actually sticks is the duct tape. I’m not even sure why they use the other. It didn’t even make it out of the OR post op!

  3. Heather Vincent Larkin

    Already 5 days???Man, that was fast! ;0) Looks like you are doing everything right, little man looks extremely happy all things considered. I’m so glad you are finding things that work well for you, and for him. Well done, Emily, well done!

    Love yas, xoxo

  4. And duct tape….don’t forget the duct tape.

  5. This reminds me of my niece who at about the same age broke her leg and was in a cast, not quite as big, just up to her knee. I remember we had this party at my folks house and she was running around playing soccer with the cast on her leg… too cute. She’s mid 20’s now. I feel bad for your little guy, but you know what, you’ll probably remember this whole thing long after he does!

  6. Em, while I was LMTO at the “stupid thing” reminder, I am NOT laughing at this post. I’m in tears for Zach, you, Steve and Isabel. I’ll call you later today…I hope you’re doing ok. I mean, it seems like you have it all under control and you’ve really figured things out but I know this has to be so hard for you. I’m so sorry. Love you. Talk soon…xoxo

  7. Zach is a trooper and lucky to be blessed with great parents like you and Steve. I hope the road to recovery remains (mostly) bump free and everyone’s spirits remain high. It’s already been almost a week, right?

  8. Since you’ve 86ed the pity party, allow me the following:
    how in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks does anyone have two children under 2 and THEN get honored with an effing cement half-body block? Holy crud, you are a caliber of rockstar they haven’t even invented. Because I would be keening every waking hour of the day. And I’d buy every developmentally inappropriate DVD, game, toy, and sugar-laden treat to get my dude through.

    All I can hope is that it makes age Three seem like cake. Because you deserve *something* really miraculous out of this, and if your only payment is a regular ol’ age Three, you’ll be binge drinking for the next two years.

    I mean…ahem…congratulations on being so resourceful! Yay for the bright side and the silver lining and the wonderful tools that make a spica only 88.7% effing horrible.

    [I’m not helping, I know. But damned if you haven’t earned some foul-mouthed sympathy.]

    • Earned, needed and SO appreciated. The pity party bar was re-opened for business a couple of days ago. This officially blows. Don’t let my “five days in, sunny, pollyanna” attitude fool you into thinking that no,w 12 days in, there has not been entirely too much developmentally inappropriate TV and oatmeal served for umpteen meals (that’s all he’ll eat and he’s losing weight.) My positive, take the bull by the horns M.O. went out the window with our summer poolside plans.

  9. Russ and Sunna

    Our 2 1/2 yr old son recently got out of a spica cast for the same injury and we have a wonderful spica cast chair from Ivy Rose Spica Chairs: http://www.ivyrosespicachairs.com/.

    It was a lifesaver. Your son probably doesn’t have too long to go now, but we’d love to pass this chair on to another family that could use it.

    • Oh my goodness! this looks amazing! And how sweet of you! Zachary only has eight days left so it should go to someone with a longer stretch. What a great idea to pass it along. It makes me think I should pass our stuff on too. How would we go about doing that? Maybe I can post something on my blog for people? let me know what you think. thanks so much for writing and glad your little guy is on the mend!

      • Russ and Sunna

        If you want to put up a post about the chair, I think that would be great. I’ll email you a picture of Esten in his spica cast chair later today. Thanks!

      • Russ and Sunna

        I’m not sure how I go about sending a photo of Esten’s spica chair.

  10. I have just found myself in Spica Cast land and I am having trouble getting a car seat. Any suggestions i live in Long Island and my husband would drive anywhere to find a car seat for my 15 mo DD.

    • Lynn!
      I’m so sorry to hear about this. So sad :(. I have been brainstorming and trying to come up with a way to help. I don’t have an extra seat. Is she too wide for it? we almost had the same problem with Zachary. How wide the does seat need to be to fit her?

  11. Well, she fits width wise in my older daughter’s Graco but the angle between the bottom on the seat and the back is to shallow for her to get in. So there is a big gap between the cast and the seat and it causes her belly to be bent over the cast. I have to find one in order to get her to the doctor or I would just keep her home. I would buy the hippo seat but it won’g get here in time.

  12. Thank you for posting this- I’m sitting in my son’s room at Children’s Hospital in Boston trying to figure out how we’re going to manage this stuff at home. These are helpful tips. And the next six weeks are going to still moderately suck anyway!! I googled half in the spirit of practicality and half in the “misery loves company” mood. Your post is useful on both fronts– in the good way. Hope your son is fully healed now?

  13. Hi, My son is in a spica cast also and has only 2 weeks to go Was wondering what happened with your son after he got the cast off? Did he get up in walk with his sister or did it take him a really long time? Thank you Cute kids BTW!!! Hope all is well

    • I shouldn’t butt in on Emily’s blog, but I wanted to answer your question, Ashley, at least from my experience with my son Calvin. (Emily was a huge, kind help to me when I commented to this same post, up there on October 22). My son took a few days to start taking steps again after his cast came off after 6 weeks. He did that “cruising” thing on the furniture, and then by the end of the week he was walking again– slowly and cautiously, but walking. By the end of week two he was absolutely fine– fast as ever. In fact, the hard part was keeping him off the jungle gym at the playground for the doctor-ordered 6 weeks. Emily had told me to expect that his skin would be very sensitive at first, and she was right– go easy on the bathing even though you’ll want to scrub at the scaly gross skin. And he actually missed the cast the first two nights; I think he was a bit scared without it, afraid he’d fall again, but he soon got over that.

      So hang in there– you’ve almost made it! And thanks again, Emily– I’m sure you never meant to become the Internet Spica-Cast Mom, but it was so helpful to talk to you back in the fall when we all fell into this weird rabbit hole. Seems like a crazy dream now. Calvin uses it to flirt now– when he’s trying to impress the ladies he tells them about when he broke his leg and was in a big, bad cast…

      • always feel free to butt in! thanks, Kris for writing this. All support from those of us who have gone through the obnoxiousness of the Spica are helpful to those new to it! I’m so glad that Calvin is doing well. Hilarious that he uses it with the ladies. I’m sure it will always be a story to tell! We just took the kids to Central Park for the first time since last July when the infamous incident occurred. At first, Zachary said he did NOT want to go, but he was fine when we got there. We even revisited the spot! 😉 So hard in the moment to realize how quickly it passes.

        Thanks for writing! I’m sure Ashley appreciates it too!

    • Ashley,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son! But at least he will be getting the cast off before the throws of summer. I am linking a post I wrote after this one about our first couple of days home. There were some things I wasn’t expecting. There is a little link with a video of Zachary walking for the first time too. You will be amazed at how fast your son will bounce back. These little ones are resilient. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have ANY questions at all. He will be great! Congrats on making it this far. You’re so close!

      emilyrozek@gmail.com

      https://motherfog.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/our-olympian/

  14. Valerie Appell

    hello Emily,
    thank you for your blog. My grandson was put in unilateral hip spica cast for a fractured femur.three days ago and now we need all the info we can get. But the one thing we cant find ..is how to actually turn him over onto his tummy from his back . His cast is very heavy and as he is only two and a half he is still afraid of any manipulation. .
    Thank you i

    • Hi Valerie,

      I’m sorry to hear about the accident. Not fun at all, but Zachary was the same age and I will tell you emphatically that we made it through and he bounced back quickly! That said, tips anywhere you can get them are helpful. I know that turning Zachary over was really hard at first too. It seems to be excruciating for him. Depending on the positioning of his legs ( they are all a bit different) I would try placing his belly on a pillow so that his legs are off and not pushed against anything. Does that make sense? I can tell you that the pain with manipulation lasted no more than a week, tops so you’re almost there. Then it’s just getting him to trust that it won’t hurt to be moved. I wrote more about this whole ordeal as we went along and updated some info as we got into different stages. I’m linking these here in case they are helpful. And absolutely feel free to email me with any questions and I will see if I can help!

      emilyrozek@gmail.com

      https://motherfog.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/spica-cast-saviors/

      https://motherfog.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/our-olympian/

      Good Luck! Please feel free to reach out!

  15. Great tips… our grandson came home today with his new lime green spica cast. I didnt even think about putting him on his belly for a different way to sit and play! Thanks for the wonderful tips. Hope your guy is doing well now!

  16. Hello! I was wondering where you got the bean bag chair… I’m a nanny and the little boy I watch fell and broke his femur and is now in a similar cast. I’m getting some things together and have been searching endlessly for a good bean bag chair! Any other advice you have? I’m full-time with him and he’s a pretty high energy two and a half year old. Also, how was the recovery process?

    • Hi! This was written 4 years ago so I can’t remember where I got it, but they aren’t hard to find. Try amazon? It wasn’t a fancy one 🙂 I’m so sorry about your little guy! So hard, but he will heal in no time. Good luck!

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