My wife and I noticed when she was a toddler that her feet were turned in. We asked the pediatrician and were told that most kids grow out of it by the time they are 8 years old. She turned 8 and her feet were still turned in. So much so that she was unable to do gymnastics, or ice skate because her feet could not turn straight. We asked the doctor again and he referred us to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
After a brief explanation that our daughter’s femurs (both of them) developed with too much rotation causing her feet to point in excessively. The surgeon just walked in, said he could fix it and told us to schedule surgery. At this point, Savanah wasn’t having any pain. It was purely cosmetic and the surgery to fix it was quite barbaric. They would cut her femurs in half, rotate them to the correct position, and then put plates and screws to hold them in place while they healed. We wanted another opinion. After a more thorough exam from a different pediatric orthopedic surgeon at St. Mark’s Hospital, he said he would absolutely NOT do the surgery even if we begged him to.
Now you can see our dilemma. Pediatrics was not my specialty so I called a friend from college who worked at Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City to ask her opinion. I told her what was going on and she asked me, “Why don’t you come to Shriner’s?”
With her help, we ended up at Shriner’s Hospital about a month later. This visit was by far the most extensive evaluation. We were at the hospital for about 6 hours running tests and meeting with doctors. In the end, a team of surgeons met with us and we agreed that since Savanah was not having any pain (yet) that we should just wait and see how it goes over the next year. There was no rush to surgery and no hurry to get it done at that point.
Over the next year she did develop pain in her knees and ankles and decided on the way to the next visit at Shriner’s that she wanted to have the surgery. Just a few weeks before the start of 4th grade she had the surgery. My wife and I spent the next 6 days taking turns spending the day with her in the hospital and then she spent the next 6 weeks in a wheelchair.
Shriner’s Hospital and their staff were amazing through the entire process. They really know how to treat children. We loved them, but didn’t expect to need them again.
A few years later, when Savanah was in Jr High School she came home with a note from the nurse saying they did a scoliosis screen and that Savanah tested positive. We felt like “parents of the year” since we never noticed. We had a follow up visit at Shriner’s Hospital in a few months so we decided to ask them when we got there.
After another thorough exam, they explained she had a good curve but not enough at that point to need surgery. They told us she was nearly done growing (her growth plates in her hips were 90% closed) so bracing her would not help and they’d recheck her in 6 months.
For the next two years we went back every 6 months. Every time Savanah’s height would be less (1/2 inch most visits) meaning the curve was getting worse, and over the last 9 months she started having pain. First just a little, but eventually more frequent and more intense.
This was a problem. Since she was done growing the only reason the curve would be getting worse is because of a connective tissue disorder and the only way to stop the progression was to do a major back surgery. So, two weeks before the end of her junior year, Savanah underwent back surgery at Shriner’s Hospital. They placed 2 rods, 15 screws, and fused her spine from mid shoulder blades to her lower back. After another week at Shriner’s we saw again how amazing their staff is.
My daughter is my Hero.
While we were there we got to see and meet many other kids and their parents and see the impact Shriner’s has had on so many. There were kids and their parents from all over the Western United States and from other countries too.
As if Shriner’s Hospital doesn’t do enough for families, all of their services are free of charge for anyone with a physical need regardless of finances. This is done through donations from people all over the world.
Shriner’s Hospital has made such an impact on my daughter’s life and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do something to give back. This is where you come in and your chance to be a HERO!
In 2018 we are changing our “refer a friend” program. Starting January, anytime you refer a friend (or enemy for that matter), family member, neighbor, spouse, bother, sister, mother, father. Rock Run Physical Therapy Clinic Roy /Syracuse will donate $20 to Shriner’s Hospital. It’s a win, win. You get to help a friend / family member AND be a HERO for a child in need!
When the person you are referring comes in for the first visit, just tell them to let the receptionist or therapist know who referred them. It’s that simple, and we will take care of the rest!