Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Helmet Update

The appointment was rough. Really rough. But it's over now, and the helmet is in the process of being created. Here's a recap...

We woke up on Wednesday at 5:15am to start feeding the boys and getting ready to leave. We were on the road by 6:15. After stopping at Dunkin Donuts (there had to be at least ONE silver lining to the day!) we arrived at the office at 8:00. That's right, more than an hour and a half away. By the time we got there, both boys needed to be fed again... so that put us back 25 minutes. The first thing they did was take picture of Owen from the front, back, left, right, top and bottom to get the 'before' shots. They turned out really cute (though I know that isn't AT ALL the purpose of the pictures!) After that, the doctor came in to the room to evaluate him. She did measurements, which he hated, and then determined that he is absolutely a candidate for a helmet. The good news: because he's so young, he'll probably only need the helmet for 4-6 weeks (hurray!). The BAD news: because he's so young, he might need a second helmet if he outgrows the first. The reason this is bad news is because the helmet cost us $3300... for ONE. Multiply that by two if he outgrows the first one. And by the way, there's nothing we can do to stop that from happening.

So we decide to go ahead with the steps needed to create the helmet (because really, what choice do we have?) The first method is by far easier (for most babies) and less medieval (for lack of a better word). It required the baby to be in just a diaper, propped up on a stool, surrounded by cameras, looking straight ahead, with their head off their chest. The problems arise when a) they put an ivory colored kneehigh stocking over his head and face (that's right, like a bank robber) and expect him to remain calm and b) when they forget that the whole reason we're in this helmet predicament is partly because he CAN'T hold his head straight and off his chest! They must have tried 25 times, which took more than 45 minutes. He was in hysterics by the end. The doctor wanted me to keep picking him up to console him and every time he did he passed out on my shoulder. Sleepy little man! So 30 minutes after the 45 minutes of trying, the doctor came in after looking at the pathetic results of each attempt to inform us that she 'didn't think this was going to work.' Reeeeaalllly? So I ask the next logical question... what do we do now?

I almost wish I hadn't asked. The only other option is to take a plaster mold of his head. In order to do this, they had to put another full head covering on him that, this time, was the thickness of an ace bandage. I'm sure he couldn't see through this one to see what was going on. It took three of us to hold him still on the table while the doctor dipped strips of material into plaster and attached them to his head. I think she put on four pieces, then slapped Vaseline all over the back of his head and continued with about six more strips. He was hyperventilating at this point from crying so hard. After it hardened, they had to remove the back (hence the Vaseline) and cut off the ace bandage so the front would come off. It honestly looked like he was the Man in the Iron Mask. Once the bandage was off, he had a waffle print of plaster all over his hair, face and neck, and the rest of him was covered in plaster-water drippings. Luckily, they have facilities there to give him a bath.

We go back on the 30th to get the helmet. The cast is a 10 day fitting and, because of Christmas, we aren't getting it until day 13, so we're praying now that it'll still fit and we won't have to go through all that again! We were still picking plaster off his scalp for the next two days, but he seems fully recovered from the trauma now. I wonder how he'll react to wearing the helmet for 23 hours a day?!

The good news is that they used the word 'miraculous' when describing how quickly we'll notice a change in his head. I guess that's one thing to look forward to! Pictures, I'm sure, will come soon enough.


Kelly said...

OH BETH! I never thought a post could make me laugh and cry all at once! Silly visual learner I am, when you said 'bank robber' and 'man in the iron mask' it made me think of little Owen as both. But cry, because it must have been so sad to see your little guy go through that. Poor thing. I am praying for you. And of course for little Owen. And for God's provision financially--will insurance cover any of this? LOVE YOU!

suzannah said...

beth, i totally feel for you! awful medical procedures on babies who can't understand are heartbreaking!

hope everything heals/grows just right and all the insurance/financial stuff works out. God is providing--i know it!

suzannah said...

oh yeah--wanted to send you this link about cloth diapers multiples: