Hand surgery

Published June 5, 2012 by swanfreddie

We received a letter on Friday from the hospital telling us the date of Freddies hand op. We had been expecting this letter for months now so it came as no surprise.

This will be Freddies 4th operation. So far hes had a hernia op at a week old, a gastrostomy op at 7 months & another gastro op at 13 months. It will be the 6th time Freddies had a general anaesthetic. It doesn’t get any easier. Sending your child down to theatre & watching them be put to sleep is heart breaking. Watching their eyes slowly close, giving them a big kiss & saying goodbye, praying that there are no complications & you will see then again very soon is a horrible experience.
You then sit & wait. Every second feels like an hour, you pace the room, the longer & longer they take the more & more you panic. They said he would only be an hour….it’s an hour and 10 miunutes now…something must of gone wrong…oh god please don’t say it’s gone wrong…

Freddie was born with an adducted thumb, which means his thumb doesn’t open properly & he holds it across the palm of his hand. We have been under hand specilists since Freddie was born. When he was a baby we tried doing some simple physio stretches on it to try & help it open. It became clear that these weren’t going to help so the next thing we tried were hand splints.
We originally got fitted for a plastic splint but due to Freddie having tiny hands it didn’t stay on very well & left red marks on his hand where it was digging into his skin. So our hand therapist custom made some splints for Freddie.

He had two different types that opened the thumb up in different ways. One is a soft splint that loops around the thumb and fastens around his wrists and pulls the thumb off the palm of the hand.
The other splint is hard and fits between the thumb and index finger and is taped in place with micropore.

Getting the splints on Freddie is tricky. He doesn’t like his limbs being held. It’s even harder once they are on to stop them falling off.

We have received very mixed opinions over Freddie’s thumb. Our occupational therapist is keen to carry on trying to stretch it out, our paediatrician doesn’t think the thumb is important enough to operate on due to Freddie having so many other health issues, one hand surgeon said they wouldn’t operate before he was 5, another hand surgeon said if they don’t operate before hes 2 it will never get any better & the hand therapist think the operation is required as she says the stretches and splints won’t work.
How one surgeon can say they don’t operate before 5 and the other say it won’t work if they don’t do it before hes 2 seems crazy! Very different opinions.

The operation is booked in for 2nd July. It is a very simple procedure & we will only be day patients. Freddie will require splints and extra physio after the operation to try and help him gain use of his thumb.

There are no guarantees that releasing the thumb will give him any movement in it. His adducted thumb is on his left hand and this is his weak arm. He seems to favour the right alot & forgets he has a left arm. The reason for this could be due to him having limited movement in his left hand that it’s just easier for him to use the right. Hopefully if all goes to plan he may be able to gain some use in it & begin to use both arms equally.

Even though this will be our 4th operation and hospital appointments are very normal to us it doesn’t make them any easier. I will still dread the day, still worry about the procedure and still panic while hes in theatre.
At the end of the day i’m still a mum who loves her son, just because we’ve been here before doesn’t make the prospect of surgery any less terrifying.

I have written this post as part of the #definenormal blogging challenge at http://www.justbringthechocolate.com/category/define-normal/

4 comments on “Hand surgery

  • I can understand how worrying this must be for you even though it is a simple operation and to be given two different opinions is just crazy. Will be thinking of you on the 2nd, please keep us updated on Freddie’s progress xx

  • I really hope the op is complication free and you see some benefit for Freddie in the long run. It’s made especially hard when the medical profession isn’t in agreement, if I was in the same situation I would have the op now too though x

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