Monday, June 27, 2011
And He Rides AGAIN and AGAIN!!!!!!
A while back, actually last summer, many of you may have remembered this video of Sam learning to ride his bike.
Little did we know that at that time Sam's hip was slowly breaking down as Perthes ran it's course. Last summer while Sam hiked, swam, climbed a mountain and learned to ride his bike the ball of his hip was slowly breaking down and his hip was beginning to pull out of his hip socket. We didn't know...because Sam never expressed pain and it wasn't until he began to limp that we saw any symptom or suggestion that something may be wrong with his hip.
Since that time Sam has undergone surgery to correct his hip dysplasia and to rebuild his hip. He endured a tough surgery, 7 weeks in a body brace and months of rehab to regain his ability to walk and we are currently waiting patiently for the ball of his femur to grow back.
As difficult as this twist in our journey has been...Sam is still resilient and amazing. When he jumped into the pool after getting out of his body brace he not only regained his ability to move but he has since mastered swimming completely on his own up to 20 feet with no flotation devices or assistance. During that time he places his face underwater and comes up to breath at least twice. He has learned to swim underwater and float on his back.
Sam had done hippotherapy, therapy on horse-back, when he was younger to assist with his walking. This week Sam rode a horse again.
I have watched Sam have good days and bad days, relatively pain free days and painful days but none of those can prepare you for Sam's overall drive and persistence. It is still difficult for me to watch Sam limp as he walks and to see his gait so affected by this diagnosis. It is still difficult for me to see Sam struggle with steps and uneven ground. It is still difficult for me to see Sam want to play basketball but be unable to chase the ball or bend each time to pick up the ball. But what really broke my heart was to see him run his hand over his bike and look at it with a longing to jump on, feel the breeze against his face and feel independent. He tried his bike a few times but the seat caused him pain in his hip and he could no longer bring his left knee up high enough to pedal. These are the moments when I hate Perthes.
After doing some research and talking with Sam's doctors I decided to help Sam regain this dream. Perthes often causes a stiffness in the hip and the motion of pedaling is a good exercise to release and strengthen muscles. The difficulty comes in the upper momentum of pedalling, along with bicycle seats being uncomfortable for a hip that has hardware. After talking with the experts at Industrial Bicycles we decided on the EZ Roll Regal.
It is a 3 wheel bike to accommodate Sam's balance issues and make his surgeon feel more comfortable about the chances of him not falling off. It is low enough for Sam to get his leg over the center. It has the perfect seat for Sam's hip hardware. The seat can be moved up and down and tilted. The handlebars are adjustable and the frame has two settings which allows the bike to grow with Sam. We also changed out the pedals to a smaller circumference and added weighted and strapped pedals to assist Sam with the pedaling process. The bike is a 3 speed and has a hand brake and basket in the back to carry important items...in Sam's case that would be food and water, but especially food.
When we went to pick up the bike Sam didn't seem to make much of it. I think he worried that he would have the same issues as his other bike. But then he strapped on his helmet and this is what happened...
For Sam it was freedom, for Mom it was yet another time when Sam made my eyes fill with tears of joy and my heart skipped a beat. Now each day I am thrilled to hear Sam say,
"Mom, my bike."
I turn to him, smile, remind him to put on his helmet and be careful...and he rides!!!!