Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Will the Champ

I think the post title says it all. My boy was so brave and strong today, and he was amazing through his Botox injections. Collective sigh of relief before I continue with the story. 1-2-3... deep breath. OK. Better? I finally do!

I picked Will up from school in the middle of the day to get to his appointment. He was having a great day. I felt bad to be messing with that! We drove to UNC and arrived right on time for the appointment. I was full of anxiety, mostly just because this was a new experience for us. Will seemed a little anxious too. Normally I would have fed him while we waited to be called back, but I thought it was a bad idea to feed him right before he got several shots. I didn't want to have him vomit on top of all the needles and pain.

When we got into the room, Will's mood plummeted and he was very loud and unhappy. I am pretty sure that he sensed that something 'not so pleasant' was about to happen. Thank goodness I recently learned about the beauty of YouTube Mobile. I found a couple of Elmo's World shows and Will was as happy as could be.

The doctor came in with three assistants. This was serious. They walked me through the plan - basically based on Will's weight and measurements of his muscle size, they injected a very calculated, therapeutic dosage of Botox into the center of each hamstring and hip adductor. They said the whole thing would be over in less than 2 minutes.

They did one last check of Will's muscle tone to ensure that he needed the Botox. His hamstrings were so tight that the doctor could barely lift Will's legs. This was the right course of action, without a doubt.

One assistant held Will's right leg, another his left, and the third readied all the syringes. I sat by Will's head, diverted my eyes from the doctor's penetrating needles, and focused on laughing with Will over Elmo and Mr. Noodle. As the assistants held his legs tight, he knew something was up and tried to tense up. Thankfully I had taught them how to roll Will's foot into the middle so he couldn't push out and hurt himself with the needles in his legs!

When Luke and Will were little, we took them into the pediatrician once per month during flu season for a shot of Synagis, to prevent RSV. Between that and standard immunizations, I am used to the crying that accompanies them. But today was a little different in that there were 4 shots, back to back. With the pediatrician, they try to inject all at once. Because the Botox is so calculated and exact, this was not possible.

The first needle penetration shocked Will at first and he did not cry. He tried to focus on Elmo. I think that if that were the only shot, we would have gotten through the whole thing with no tears. With the second needle, Will's volume went through the roof. Elmo was no help. The Wheels on the Bus couldn't move that mood. Will definitely was hurting. I kept singing and hugging his head, wiping away tears, and counting down with the doctor as they released the Botox into his muscles one by one.

Finally, the last needle was out. They put 4 very cute, very special Sesame Street bandaids on the 4 puncture marks. I kept hearing comments like "Will did so well!" and "What a brave boy!" I couldn't agree more. Will cried for another minute after the needles were out. I think he just wanted to be sure they were done before he stopped. I got him up on my lap, and together we watched the last Elmo's World episode. Will was attentive and laughing. He was good. I was forgiven.

The Botox is supposed to take about 1 week for results to be noticeable. The peak effect is reached around 1 month after injection, and after that time, the effects slowly fade until 4-5 months from now, when Will returns to being stiff. During this time, we need to really push Will to stretch more because his muscles are not tight and we can make headway with stretching them out. If he is limber enough, then Botox isn't necessary anymore. Not sure if this is possible with Will, but it is at least the goal.

As I was putting Will's shoes on, I could already feel a slight improvement in his tone. Maybe I was making this up because I WANTED there to be an improvement. Who knows. We stopped at Oma's house on the way home to see how their unpacking was going. Will sat comfortably on Opa's recliner and Oma fed him Cheetos. His legs were all tangled up in each other, completely relaxed. Completely abnormal. When we got home and I laid him on the floor, Will kicked like he used to back when he was 2. He hasn't done that in years. Perhaps his muscles have just been too tight. I wish he could tell me.

There appears to be no further pain from the shots, except when I removed the Sesame Street bandaids. Will was definitely not a fan of that! But it is over, it is done for now. For the next couple of months, we will have an easier time of stretching Will and are looking forward to seeing his progress and excitement as he is able to move his muscles with less difficulty. Thanks for keeping him in your thoughts and prayers today!!

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