Spica Week 5: Pooptastrophe
Let me begin by explaining how all of our previous illnesses led to little Londyn coming down with a terrible cough and an ear infection. Treatment for those things is a standard 10 day antibiotic, which we were thankful for and thought it was perfect timing, as we anticipated she would just be over this in time for her scheduled cast change at 6 weeks. Well, what I didn’t anticipate was opening her diaper to a side effect of that antibiotic: diarrhea. Absolute water-consistency poop. And as we all learn in elementary science, water will follow the path of least resistance. And apparently the side of that tucked-in pampers diaper didn’t provide enough resistance because lordy. Poop inside every crevice of that poor spica cast. As I’m trying to clean it out with wipe upon wipe upon wipe shoved into the cast as far as my little hands can go, I realize the problem is much worse than I could imagine. I cry, as all rational mothers whose child is casted on top of poop would do. Kyle tells me it’s okay, and that we just have to clean it out as best as we can. We did our best but I knew it was still everywhere in the places impossible to reach. I’m panicking imagining skin breakdown leading to infection leading to death. So I call the orthopedist on call, and of course it was a Sunday so he tells me to call my regular ortho in the morning. So I have to let my child sleep all night covered in poop.
Long story short, in the morning I ended up taking Londyn up to our ortho’s office for a cast room visit. A very nice cast tech spent an inordinate amount of time cleaning poop out of my daughter’s cast. I learned that because of the breathable material the cast is lined with, the poop had dried overnight on her skin. This sounds gross but is actually a good sign, as skin breakdown occurs in areas of moisture. Our ortho came in and spoke to me calmly and apologetically about how if he cut the cast off, we’d have to wait until she wasn’t sick to put her under anesthesia to place a new one. In the meantime we would go backwards in our hip progress. The cast tech asked if it would make me feel better if she cut a window in the cast for us to assess the poop damage and her skin. I was thrilled about this option. I pointed to where I believed would be best and she used the scary cast saw to cut a square window in the cast. We couldn’t even lift up the liner because it was adhered to Londyn’s thigh with dried poop, but she eventually worked a hole into the liner and opened it up so we could clean in there. She taught me some tricks like wrapping wipes around long Q-tips and gently probing down the legs of the cast, using rubbing alcohol to clean the liner and help eliminate odor, and blow drying on the cool setting to dry the cast. She generously gave me a huge bag of supplies to help and sent us on our way.
This story may be funnier if it was an isolated incident. Maybe even if it happened twice. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts of diapering plus gauze pads shoved in the opening of the cast to prevent it, we had multiple pooptastrophes… per day… this week. The good news is I’m very proficient at cleaning diarrhea out of a spica cast now! Mark that one down on my resume. Londyn’s cast is looking war torn and battle scarred now with poop stains, ripped liner, all kinds of duct and medical tape on it, and we are all just hanging on until our cast change!
Despite the trials of this week, we had the blessing of one of my dearest friends come to stay with us with her baby for a few days. When her baby was napping or content, she cooked, baked, cleaned up, rocked Londyn, wore Buzz Lightyear wings for Grayson and we even had time for plenty of much needed girl talk. Friends like that, I mean, wow. I’m keeping her! Then at the end of this week, nature defied Wisconsin and the glorious sun came out and I’m seeing birds make nests while they sing and green grass growing. We’re going to be okay.
PS) In my poop-desperation I posted on a DDH moms support group and a lot of moms were awesome to commiserate with me and give some suggestions. This one mom almost made me cry laughing with her spica poop story and with her permission I’m sharing the link here for you.
PPS) While the sun was shining we found out Londyn fits on Grayson’s bicycle which is perfect because he likes to stand now on the back! Kyle added a strap to make her more secure and she was thrilled to be riding on her big brother’s bike! Her happiness is contagious. She’s an inspiration.
Click here for more of Londyn's story.