"The Incident" Part Two: How to survive dealing with a toddler in a Spica Cast...

IMG_1078 I know what you're thinking by seeing the picture above. You're thinking "how in the actual f*&% do you survive that on your toddler?" Well, I am here to tell you that you can and you will...if you're ever faced with this like I was.  Boo's spica cast ran from chest to toes with a big bar between his knees.  There is an open hole in the cast large enough for his "little man parts" and "toosh" to be exposed for "bathroom purposes" (I will explain diapering below.) Remember, boo's leg break was a spiral fracture of the upper femur, a pretty sever break, so the cast kept any rotating joints from moving and disrupting proper healing.  They did place him under anesthesia to put on the cast.  We had no issues with that at all, thank goodness.  After the cast was on, the most important thing is to try to keep it clean and dry. That seems like an impossible chore, but trust me it can be done (for the most part.) We had to deal with our spica cast for 10 weeks, and if that doesn't seem like enough of a nightmare, the healing after is a whole challenge in itself.  I will also explain how we recovered from cast removal and rehabbing little man in enough time for the ever important SUMMER CAMP!

**Ask for two things before leaving the hospital: A wheelchair and a specialized car seat. The hospital may have resources where these can be donated to you only for the duration of time the cast needs to be on.

First thing's first: DIAPERING!

When Boo's cast went on we were potty training. We decided to put that on the back burner.  Heres how I would diaper him to keep him clean, dry and healthy. **You may find yourself diapering a lot more than you used to before that cast, that great! Keeping the little ones hydrated and their tummies healthy is an important part of healing. Boo did not feel like eating much at all the entire time he was in the cast which is very normal.  In the future I will post a blog on smoothie recipes that keep Boo full and happy.  We lived on these for the 10 weeks during the cast.**

  1. Create a diapering area on the floor. I used his old crib mattress but you can use an old changing pad as well.  This worked better for us.  I could diaper him, sponge bathe him, "dress" him and brush his teeth all while sitting and not throwing my back out.  (These casts are heavy and you'll be carrying them everywhere when they aren't in the wheelchair so save yourself the pain of a back injury.)
  2. Supplies: 2 different size diapers: I used a size 3/4 diaper and a size 6 diaper, AquaphorHonest Soothing Bottom Wash, wipes, and Moleskin Padding
  3. Place the the moleskin padding around the edges or the opening to prevent the cast from rubbing on the skin. (Your nurse will help you in the hospital. But it's nice to have replacement moleskin for cleanliness.)
  1. Tuck the smaller diaper back to front into the hole in the cast.  Make sure the diaper is tucked in as for as it will go into the back and front to prevent any liquids from touching the cast.
  2. Place the large diaper over the other diaper and securing over the cast.  The double diaper ensures dryness also looks ridiculous, but it works.


Bathing a kiddo in a Spica Cast:

I felt like this was very important to keeping our "nighttime routine" of dinner, bath, pjs, bedtime in tact. We did this on his diapering area.

  1. Warm bowl of water
  2. Johnson's Washcloths
  3. dry hand towel

Using the bowl of warm water, wet the washcloth and beginning with the head wash kiddo and dry each area one at a time.  Face/ears, neck, chest, arms and arm-pitters, hands, then the diaper area, then…last but not least…stinky piggies.  This cast is going to get dirty (despite all of our best efforts, it does and it SUCKS) but keeping their skin clean in paramount to good health so just try your best here.  The Washcloths are also helpful in washing kiddo hair, but we didn't need to do this more than once a week, given nothing weird ended up rubbed all over his head.


Keeping kiddo entertained:

i propped Boo up on the couch with a series of pillow configurations that worked (it took a while to figure this out, but you will) and purchased a lap tray for playing Playdoh, legos, coloring, etc.  Also, we have an iPad mini that was essential.

I used the wheelchair for meals, snacks, a change of position, etc.  By placing two pillows (one to sit directly on and one to rest his back against) I created a more comfortable sitting position for him and used this travel tray to place these amazing PB Kids plates.


Like I have said.  You make it work.  My ways may not be exactly what you need to do for your situation, but trust me, I tried a many different solutions only to end up at the point where i had finally found what worked for Boo and I ran with it.

I actually took Boo to Walk Disney World while he was in the cast and it worked out pretty well.  it was a short and sweet little trip and Disney made the whole experience very special and happy for all of us.  I will eventually post a "how to" on Disney with the cast and Disney without the cast.


Healing post Spica Cast:

Don't be shocked when the cast comes off…I was.  Your child will cry so have Motrin on hand at the doctors office.  I used the special car seat on the way home.  Remember, your child will feel very strange after the cast comes off so offer lots of snuggles and prepare for a long day ahead.

My sons skin was raw and red and it looked horrible. it was very itchy!  I coated him in organic coconut oil with a drop of lavender oil added in for good measure.


Once he was home I got him into a luke warm bath to clean the areas well.  He had a hard time sitting up, just a heads up.  But he was extremely happy to be angle to get into the bath again!


Walking was very difficult at first.  I used this Pewi YBike to help him move freely and regain strength in his legs and some confidence.


The key to our rehabbing Boo was swimming.  The day after his cast came off I got him into the swimming pool.  He was intimidated at first (which was new for my little fish) but once he realized how great it felt he became more comfortable and was smiling in no time.


Just remember that before it gets better , it gets harder.  It takes a lot of physical and emotional work for these little guys to regain their full abilities.  He would walk perfectly one day and the next day be unable to stand.  You've got this! Just breathe and allow them to work at their own pace.  Our doc didn't not think we needed the physical therapy so I was left to figure it all out on my own.

I really hope that this post can help someone navigate the world of what its like to deal with a situation like this.

Good luck and much love!

-W and Boo

"The Incident"… Part One: Emergency Preparedness Like a Boss!

So long story, very short: In March of 2014 "Boo" fell at a playground and broke his leg.  To be exact it was a spiral fracture of the upper femur bone.  Why yes, that IS the biggest bone in the body.  And YES it is extremely scary to have a then 25 month old in an emergency room for 5 hours, only to be transferred to a larger hospital for surgery in the next morning.  Surgery.  That word made me want to vomit and punch someone all at the same time.  It was only until I was told no cutting would be involved that the 'punchy' feeling subsided a little.  Luckily, we have access to the best children's hospital in our area and everyone treated my little rebel like a Jedi Knight.  Largely, the hospital experience pretty much sucked.  Your stressed and tired and extremely emotional.  I have to say this, a huge shout out and lots of hugs an thanks your have to go to the incredible staff at Florida Hospital for Children. All of the docs and nurses were amazing and totally put us at ease (well, as much as they could.) IMG_1070

It just so happens we had been traveling earlier that month by car down to the Keys and I had packed an emergency roadside kit for traveling with toddlers.  It was still in my car! Needless to say, I literally always have it with me now.  It has a permeant home  in my vehicle along with an additional "go bag."  I think this really was what helped keep my sanity. Our first night in the hospital was a long one and I found the kit to be a total life saver for both of us, but looking back on the experience now I know that had I not had some forethought in packing these things the less focused I could have been on all of the commotion happening around us and keeping up with the utter chaos of having a kiddo i the hospital really is for a parent. I just cannot tell you how much my heart goes out to all of the parents that have to deal with this as their "normal." I just kept saying to myself "it's just a broken leg, its just a broken leg, thank God it's just a broken leg."

You should know this about me: I'm a research junkie.  I am totally addicted to Pinterest and I Google things constantly. So when it was time to take a 5 hour road trip with my Mom and Boo I was looking for ideas of what could make the ride feel less like hell on earth and more like a slight pain in the ass.  I am also a planner to the Nth degree and prefer to have a solid plan of action laid out before me, rather than jump into too much blindfolded and head first.  You never know whats going to happen when you have child.  I mean, really…how many times have you been caught out without a diaper and wipes or a change of clothes and then IT happens and when IT happens IT happens all over you, your child and any innocent bystander or freestanding objects within a 100 yard radius? Yeah…A LOT.  So, i really wanted to avoid this and by being over prepared i was able to turn this unmitigated disaster into a somewhat bare able situation.

So lets get to it.  Here's what i packed as an emergency kit that then turned into my hospital surveil kit.  As a bonus, I'll also throw in what I pack in my regular "go bag." Both of these things have come in handy on multiple occasions. Remember this is just for one toddler and one adult.

  1. Honest Company Hand Sanitizer
  2. Tylenol or Motrin and measuring cup
  3. Anti-"bad tummy" meds like Pepto
  5. 2 Diapers or pull on training pants and a travel pack size of wipes.
  6. 2 spare pairs of underwear for kiddo and one for grown up (better safe than sorry)
  7. Tiny Portable Humidifier
  8. Benadryl or any other allergy meds etc.
  9. A 2 day supply of any supplements you and your family may take regularly. We like Zarbee's brand.
  10. Travel pack of tissues
  11. Aquaphor has multiple uses
  12. Arnicare is great for bruises and bumps
  13. small pair of scissors
  14. wash cloth
  15. a toothbrush and toothpaste for each of us
  16. electrolyte packs for water like NUUN
  17. spare plastic bags
  18. a kitchen size trash bag
  19. Boogie Wipes
  20. Sunscreen (we LOVE MD Moms)
  21. These are really handy! Johnson's Head-to-Toe Washcloths
  22. lavender oil (great for stress relief)
  23. Kids plate, spoon, fork, and cup
  24. and some travel sized paper towels
  25. phone charger
  26. batteries (2 AA, 2 AAA)

I pack all of this into a clear plastic tub and it never leaves my car.  I cannot tell you how useful this has been.  Not only in our worst times but in some of our best, too.

Bonus: "The Go-Bag"

This idea came about AFTER "the incident" and now I swear by it.  I keep a tote bag packed and hanging somewhere easily accessible in emergencies.

  1. kiddo cotton pj's (we love Hanna Anderson)
  2. adult change of clothes (think yoga pants and a cotton t-shirt)
  3. kiddo socks
  4. adult socks
  5. umbrella
  6. phone charger
  7. non-perishable snacks
  8. brita water bottle
  9. crayons
  10. grab and go fun packs
  11. Honest 3 in 1 Facial wipes

I try to separate and pack things into gallon size baggies.  This makes it easier to use what I need and leave the rest and to repack for the next outting or emergency.

I am taking suggestions to improve the emergency kit and go-bag, but I hope you find this helpful and i really hope you never have to use it in a circumstance like we did.