My first two years
I was born 2nd of two children in a fast delivery in the breech position. There were no problems and I was sent home with my parents when I was four days old. I fed well and thrived, crawling at 4 months old. I was able to pull myself up to a stand position when I was 7 months old.
When I was 8 months old I experienced a sudden onset of deterioration in motor skills over a three day period. I could no longer hold my head up, crawl, or stand. I was admitted to he local hospital where several tests were performed. When space became available I was moved to a larger hospital in the city. Several conditions were ruled out with testing and I was released after about two weeks. My recovery was slow and my parents observed that I was a different person slower movements and personality. Re-examination seven months later confirmed that my condition had not progressed. I had a scissor gait and both legs were stiff. The working diagnosis at this time was Cerebral Palsy.
When I was 22 months old I saw Dr. Steve, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon in the city. He noted that I was a cheerful child although slightly lethargic. His examination showed an increase in muscle tone in my upper and lower extremities. The left side was tighter than the right in both upper and lower extremities. When I was held suspended I immediately went into the tip toe extension pattern. Dr. Steve concluded that I had an upper motor neuron problem with slow improvement rather than slow deterioration. With tight heel cords limiting my ability to stand/walk at 22 months of age he determined that a heel cord lengthening should be done.
My third and fourth years
Three days after my second birthday Dr. Steve performed my first surgery. It was a heel cord lengthening on both feet that would allow me to start standing and walking. With my impaired balance it was important that I have adequate surface area on the floor. The heel cord lengthening allowed me to have both feet flatly positioned on the floor rather than the tip-toe pattern that my tight heel cords had been causing.
At my follow up appointment with Dr. Steve he observed a recurrence of the tightening. I was vaulting as I walked and hyper-extending my knee. He ordered a manipulation followed by a below the knee brace. A manipulation was basically a non-surgical heel cord lengthening. They put me under anaesthesia and forced my heels into the same position they would be had a surgical heel cord lengthening been performed. I was then casted in this position for 6 weeks to give the tendons time to stretch.
Braces and splints would be the worst thing, in my mind, that I had to endure throughout my childhood. I hated them passionately. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been for my parents to face my constant resistance to wearing them. The worst was wearing them to bed, unable to wiggle my toes between the sheets.