Monday, June 27, 2011

High Five!

            Last week I wrote a post about reading the ER report about an injury my son James sustained when he was eleven months old. I had picked up the report in preparation of an appointment we made with specialist to look at his hand. This past Friday James and I ventured into Boston for our appointment at Children’s Hospital to see if anything could be done to correct the damage that was done to his fifth finger.
            First of all, you may have heard of Children’s Hospital—people come from all over the world to be treated there. Believe the hype. Everyone we spoke to—from the lady who sold us breakfast, to the parking garage cashier, to the two physicians, to the x-ray technician, was kind, friendly, patient and professional. Most importantly, they’re all used to working with kids. If James asked a question, he was treated with as much respect as any adult. 

X-ray from Wikepedia. Posted by Jason Hickey
            I thought the ER doctors had missed something when he was seen back in 2005. James’ fifth finger is very crooked. I always assumed it was a break that didn’t heal properly. It turns out that wasn’t quite the case. Look at the x-ray (it's not James' x-ray). See those little bones in between the three main finger bones (or phalanges)? Those are called growth plates. In a child of 11 months those plates are made of cartilage so they don’t show up on an x-ray. Apparently, James’s growth plate was pushed out from between his phalanges. Since the growth plate is still connected to nerve endings and blood vessels it has continued to grow and formed into bone. That’s why his finger appears to be crooked. Instead of being between two of his phalanges, it’s off to the side. Fortunately, since he was so young the finger has compensated for the displaced growth plate and the joint functions pretty well without it. 

            The doctor recommended day surgery to remove the growth plate. James will wear a cast for a couple of weeks and have physical therapy afterward. We can have it done before school starts in the fall. I’m very relieved. I was sure his finger would need to be broken, re-set, and in a cast for six weeks of so. Once in a while, I LOVE being wrong.
            I’ve been parenting these little boys for nine years now and I know being in a cast for the last two weeks of summer is going to be brutal. But at least he’ll be ready for school in the fall. Besides, James thinks it’s really “cool” to be wearing a cast. He and Owen have already discussed what Owen can draw on it. Boys!