Saturday, February 11, 2012

This week at Shriners

Steven had two appointments this week at Shriners--one with Sonya for physical therapy and the other with Scott, his prosthetist. Both appointments went really well--Dr. Jones even came down to meet with the prosthetist with us. Talk about going the extra mile! I am feeling really good about this new leg--that it will really get Steven walking.

When Sonya first saw Steven and had him do some exercises, she was amazed at how good he looked. She felt like he was better off now than he was before his break, with maybe a few minor exceptions. She had him standing in his brace and he was holding himself up just fine. Scott was also impressed with how straight Steven can get his leg. Of course, this new position is going to require a new prosthesis, so we have now officially started that process. It will be almost four weeks until he gets his leg and get started walking with it.

All in all, it was a hopeful feeling. When Steven first broke his leg, I never would have guessed that it would end up benefiting him in the long run. I suppose time will tell if that is true, but so far it looks like it is so. Either way, I have been feeling much more laid back about the whole walking thing. Every time I go to Shriners and see other kids with a variety of problems, it makes me realize that no matter what the child's ability is, they find ways to compensate and do just fine. One little girl at therapy didn't seem to have any use of her legs. She was scooting around on her hands and getting around well. I thought about Steven and all his crawling and scooting and how he has really made do, and really, I am feeling like he will be just fine, even if he can't run around like a normal kid. For example, he was thrilled to report that the activity in PE this week involved hopping on one foot--and he is a hopping pro!

There is something really special about Shriners and I am so grateful for this amazing hospital and that we have one so close by. Where else can I carry around a prosthetic leg and not even get a second glance from the people around? Many people have asked me about Shriners, and I don't know if I have made it clear on my blog about how their services work. Shriners is a charitable hospital for children. It specializes in orthopedic condintions, but I believe there are some other conditions that they treat--very specific conditions, I don't remember what they are. To qualify, the child must be under 18 years old and have an orthopedic condition. Then, the hospital will treat free of charge to its patients. If you have insurance, they will bill insurance (that is a new thing--just a few years ago, they didn't even bill insurance), but the patients families don't ever have to pay. It is the charitable branch of the Masons--and I don't really get all that, but hence the masonic hats in their logo.

I just think it is an amazing thing--I knew nothing about Shiners before this experience, although I think I had heard the name. Never would I have anticipated being so indebted to them. We are blessed to have health insurance and I'm sure we could do this without Shriners, but when I was reasearching prosthetics and rotationplasty prosthetics in Utah, I really felt like this was the place where Steven would get the best leg. And then the physical therapy there is so much better for him, simply because it is a pediatric environment and the therapist works directly with the prosthetist to get what Steven needs. But then, I don't have to pay any copays to go, or pay for the part of Steven's leg that insurance won't cover. So, really, it has been a huge blessing. If any of you need a worthy organization to donate money, consider Shriners hospitals. I'm sure you won't be surprised if I do some fundraising for them when we get back on our feet (pardon the pun!).


  1. This post makes me happy! I can't wait to see Steven up and walking around. That'll be so awesome.

  2. What a great place. I'm so happy Steven is getting care there, and I'm so happy that his tragic break had some benefits. Things are looking up!

  3. Our friend, Lindy, who is a double amputee, has long sung the praises of Shriners. They were a blessing in his life as well. I'm so glad to hear that things are going well.

  4. It is so funny to me how little we know about what goes on in the world around us until we are touched personally by something. There is so much good in the world! There are so many generous people and amazing organizations. Shriner's is a wonderful example. For us, it was Easter Seals--they changed our lives with the therapy they offered Sydney on a sliding fee scale. I had a friend (mentally ill) who ended up homeless and I have such love and appreciation for a local homeless shelter that took her in and helped her get back into an apartment (not a simple thing!) President Packer gave a talk about caring for those with handicaps called, "The Moving of the Water." In his talk he said,

    "Think of this: Unless we die prematurely, every one of us may end up both physically and mentally handicapped. We would do well to make advance payments of service and compassion on which we may draw when that time comes.

    "Why not help the parents who have extra things to do and extra expenses and are confined because of a handicapped family member. Encourage the teachers and social workers who show such devotion to them. And it wouldn’t hurt you to donate a few dollars or a few hours to one of the many organizations which help the handicapped. If we do this, without the slightest idea of selfishness, it will remain in our account against that time when we may need help. And the works of God will be made manifest in our lives."

    I wonder what that means exactly, "The works of God will be made manifest in our lives?" I can think of a hundred ways it may have come true already in my life. My hope is that someday all the people who gave generously to those organizations will be given a window of insight into the joy, healing and hope that their dollars or hours provided. It is one thing to hear about it and think, "Oh wow, that is neat!" and another thing entirely to be the mother who goes in with a "broken" child and a broken heart, and comes out with a heart full of hope and a degree or healing.

    Someday you will be so glad you have this blog/journal. Hang onto those days you feel hopeful and optimistic about the future. I am convinced those are the spirit-filled days. The days come when you feel like, "How in the world will this child ever be able to survive in this world?" and I feel that is not from the Lord. But oh how loudly it calls sometimes!

    I love and miss you Sonja. Hurray for today.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Becky. I was reading through my post and realized that I didn't quite do justice to my feelings, but your comment expresses them well. I really am so grateful to all the people who have lifted our burden a bit. And just inpired by all the goodness around.

  5. I've only heard good things about Shriners. I love the hopping in gym class story. Steven is the best.

  6. Good news posts are so fun to read!