When our daughter, Maddie, first started to walk
at 16 months old we noticed that she had a limp. At first we thought
nothing of it, assuming that she was just learning to walk and that it
would work its way out over time. Over the next couple of months we
watched her struggle with it. She would literally walk in circles while
trying to keep up with the other kids at daycare, often laying there and
crying in frustration. It slowly dawned on us that this wasn't normal,
and it wasn't going away. When we brought it up with her doctor he
diagnosed her with hip dysplasia. Her hip was completely dislocated
making one leg a whole 2 inches different in length. Maddie’s treatment
would include surgery and being in a spica (chest to toes) cast for
three or more months. This would be the first of what could be multiple
surgeries throughout her growing years. The hardest part of this was
knowing that, since she could not talk yet, we had no way to tell her
what was going to happen or that it would be alright. Shortly after her
diagnosis a relative saw a flyer advertising a screening clinic for
Shriners Hospitals for Children. At the time we knew nothing about
Shriners or the work that they do, but because of that flyer our lives
would never be the same. Maddie was accepted as a patient and she was
put into traction one month later with surgery shortly after that.
After her first surgery she spent three months in a spica cast and
smiled the whole way through.
The experience with
Shriners Hospitals for Children was much different from what could be
expected at any other hospital. The hospital’s entire focus is on the
patient and their family. Because of insurance purposes, most hospitals
would have kicked us out shortly after surgery. In contrast to this,
however, we were allowed to stay at the hospital until we were confident
we could take care of a 19 month old in a huge cast. By taking the
financial worry out of the situation my wife and I were freed to focus
on Maddie and just be parents, and this was one of the most healing
things possible for her in a confusing and frightening new situation.
This intense medical experience has the potential to pull a family apart
due to financial, emotional, and physical stress, but it actually
brought our family closer together because of the support of Shriners.
The Shriners Hospitals have the best doctors in the fields they
represent. Their research and discoveries often become the standard for
the rest of the field.
Maddie is now five
years old and walks very well. She spent the three years after her
first surgery sleeping in a brace and had a second round of surgery and
casting this past summer. There is a good chance she will have more
surgeries in the future. Even so, we find comfort in knowing that until
she is 21 The Shriners Hospitals will take care of her with the highest
quality of care, allowing our family to focus on being just that: a
family full of laughter, adventure, and love
2900 Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607