Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rose #1's Hand

Rose #1 has a limb difference. Her left hand did not fully form in utero. Aside from utter, utter shock on the delivery table (after a truly horrific 48 hours of induced labor), when the not-so-sensitive obstetrician said, "Your baby has a birth defect," we have not really worried all that much about her hand. Rose #1 had surgery when she was seven months old - it was reconstructive surgery to change around her bones so they were best positioned for growth - but ever since then it has been just part of our everyday lives.

They do not make prosthetic hands for limb differences like hers. She has a functioning thumb and a fused fourth and fifth digit, so she has a pincer grasp. We actually feel lucky that she has so much function in her hand. We went to OT a couple of times when she was a baby, but even the occupational therapist pretty much sent us on our way.

Until today. H took Rose #1 to her annual appointment with Dr. Ann VanHeest, the orthopedist in town that every kid with an upper extremity limb difference sees. Believe me, I know who everyone sees, because we are in a great group for families who happen to have a kid with limb differences. All the kids at Little Fins see Dr. VanHeest. We have been seeing her at the University, but today she told H that she wants to start seeing Rose #1 at Shriner's.

Here's why. Shriner's has good resources for adaptive things - an insert in Rose #1's baseball glove, a special handle for her bicycle when the time comes for her to have hand brakes, etc.

I feel like the worst mom. I just haven't worried about Rose #1's hand all that much in, oh, the last year. I've never seen her be unable to do something that she wanted to do, and that's the standard I have used for whether she is all right. It never occurred to me until today that yes, maybe she can put a baseball glove on her left hand and use it, but out there somewhere someone has a device that will make it easier for her to use and make it work better.

So tomorrow we get the application form for her to be seen at Shriner's. There is a wait, apparently, to get in there, largely because the care is free. A long, long time ago the Roses' Aunt Tonya's father (Grandpa Tom!) offered to sponsor Rose #1 at Shriner's and, true to form, I thanked him but largely ignored his offer. I thought we didn't need to go there. I guess I was wrong. We'll get there as soon as we can, Rose #1, and maybe we can start making things a little bit easier for you.

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