Category Archives: Landon

2 and a 1/2 years old

When the twins were 2 and a half I did a tutu mini session event at a local shop.  At the end of the shooting time I took a few images of Blake and Maddie in front of the store with the white columns and brick buildings in the background.  Those images ended up being so fun and become 16×24 prints on our wall.  Our temporary town house between homes is right by that shop.

Here are my cuties back at the end of September 2010…



Since we are so close to the shopping center, it got me thinking how wonderful it would be to have a shot of Landon to match the twins.  Life, however, has gotten in the way.  It has rained or been cold each and every time I wanted to take him over there.   Warm weather was important so they could match in feel.   We hit Thanksgiving and I thought all was lost!

Then last week we were hit with an 80 degree day!  No joke.  The day before was a 70 degree day.  Ummm, I already packed up the kids summer clothes for our move.  Oooops.   It turns out one shirt of Landon’s was out which is the same or close to it as the one Blake is wearing.  Too bad it got trashed with food stains.  lol

I just decided it was going to happen and not become a missed opportunity so I grabbed the only short sleeve shirt of Blake’s not packed, put it on Landon and headed over there.  Maybe looking at the images for a minute first could have helped me take some with the same angles, but it is matched enough for me.  :-) They have been packed up since May.  :-(

Landon gave me a wonderfully fun 6 minutes of cooperation.  I think he was thoroughly enjoying the one on one time with me.

Enjoy some of my favorites!  Feel free to give me your vote on which image to hang with the twins.  There are numbers above each image.  Keep in mind that most of them are being shared for entertainment value and not what we are debating putting on the wall.  Also, I will crop in appropriately on the final image.  :-)

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Syndactyly



By now most people know Landon was born with his ring and middle fingers together to the tip and had surgery just before his 2nd birthday to have them separated.  

Warning!!   Some of these images can be graphic for people.  They aren’t bloody or anything just raw looking skin and stitches.


You can check out a bunch of pictures of Landon before the surgery Here on Facebook.

And Here is where I blogged about Landon’s actual surgery.

So what is this post about?  


Healing and recovery.



Just after surgery my little chicken looked like this:



For the first week we had this massive dressing.  As you can see, Landon was out being a kid within a day of his surgery.  Kids are awesome!  This isn’t to say he wasn’t in pain and he definitely wanted a lot more cuddles then normal.



But he adjusted to his new normal quite well. 



When we needed to do our own daily dressing changes it included aprox 10 minutes of soaking daily.  In comes the iPad to the rescue!!    The soak was two parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide.



His fingers were very swollen and pretty red along the zig zag incision line and skin graft area.  This one is a bit hard to see with all the water drips.  We would just shake his hand a little to get all the water off.



The most raw part was right down in the web where his skin graft was used {taken from the front inner hip}. He also had this bulb area around one knuckle and by his cuticles.  Landon is very pain tolerant so the dressing change did not bother him after the first two times when he didn’t like to look at it.  



The back view of his newly separated fingers.  His was called a complete simple syndactyly meaning his fingers were completely together to the tip and only affected his skin with no other soft tissue, nerve, cuticle, nails or bone involved.  It is a good kind of sydactyly to have if you have to have one.  :-)



We went to a whole hand covering for the 2nd week.   {No, he doesn’t always have an iPad.  I was taking pictures at the kids school and needed to keep him occupied.}



Do you ever reach that age where you think you don’t need extra clothes?  Yep, peed out so just wore a diaper.  Back to the hand..  He adjusted to his new dressing pretty well only pulling it off occasionally. 


We tried to go to an only finger dressing, but that came off super quickly every time.  After this we wrapped the fingers the most with a few wraps coming down over the palm and wrist to keep it all on.  Throughout this process we used a yellow gauze that was presoaked/covered in a petroleum jelly placed along the incision line then used white gauze to wrap the area and hand.  Over the gauze we either used tape or the stretchy stuff like they use when you give blood.  This was our favorite as it stayed well and went on easy.  It was pricier though.   The yellow guase kept his incision areas very moist for optimal healing.






We did get a bit of a scolding from the doc at our final appointment that we needed be putting lotion on his fingers each day to prevent the scars from getting to stiff and limiting his movement.   We have been doing this some.  Not as well as we should be.

Also, the doctor was in love with the good job he did and rightly so.  What a great doctor.  If you need any pediatric plastic surgery in the Raleigh Durham area definitely choose Doctor Jeffery Marcus.  He is wonderful.   As a word of warning, the first office visit will suck and be really late.  Just plan on it and you won’t be frustrated by a 2.5 hour wait and visit.



Saved by a friend while throwing feed to the ducks!  This kid used his hand with the bandages on and without as if his fingers were fine.



From the top it is already looking fab even back in late May just over a month post op.  The fingers are still pretty swollen here.



Then we also did a boo boo and didn’t put sunscreen on his hand when we went to Disney in May.  His fingers got a little sunburned.  Luckily it was minor and we learned our lesson.



Hi used his fingers independently as soon as those bandages came off.  He actually likes to stretch them apart quite often which is great for the healing process.  This means we don’t have to make him do it!!!



By the first of June the swelling is already down a lot.



This shot on the 4th of July shows how the scars are looking.  I’m very impressed.  As the overall redness went away we could clearly see the zig zag cut.  Each month the redness on the cut lines is getting less red.



Just a couple weeks after the top image his redness along the zig zag lines is even less.  The skin graft area in the web doesn’t show at all other then where the stitches were.



His fingers are also back to a normal size now at the 3 month post surgery mark.  YAY!



So from fingers that look like this just prior to surgery….  To 



Fingers that look like this in three months.   The road was not to bad even with a very active barely 2 year old who is definitely trying to exert his will whenever possible.   He is much more stubborn, opinionated and strong willed then the twins were combined!   This one and I will definitely have our battles as he grows and develops.  Yep Yep!!  But dang he is soooooo adorable and lovable.  It will all be worth it.   Wonder what he was thinking here?

What are you running from?



Seriously?  Oh, he kills me…  That face looking at me is crazy!






Wouldn’t you just love to know what’s going on in his head?  I would!   



Some descriptive words include:

Cheeky.


Competitive.


Crybaby.


Cuddly.




Capable.

Strong Willed.


Sweet.


Great Napper.



Tall.  {duh}


Hungry.


Monkey.



Sneaky.


Independent.


Funny.


Passionate.


My sweet miracle baby boy.  It’s amazing how amazing he is.

It is strange having an almost mini me!  He has his dad’s eye color and eye inside shape.  He also has many of his mannerisms.  Other then that he looks Just Like Me.  So, I guess I looked like a boy as a kid.  he he  :-)

1 week after surgery

Our Landon is showing all signs of being pain tolerant like his mama.  YAY!!  He’s only taking alternating doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen three times a day.

He had the big partial cast dressing up almost to his armpit for the first 6 days.  Yesterday we went in for his first dressing change.  Since I went by myself there are no images.  Guy was pretty bummed I didn’t at least get one of his hand completely free of bandages.  Guy really wanted to see what it looked like.

First off.  I’m going to complain a little.  The hospital wants a 5 out of 5 rating at every visit.  Hmmmmm.  Not gonna happen from me.  The waiting room and check in is ridiculously long.  I arrived just before my appointment time to find a 20 minute line.  There were two receptionists and a trainee who was only observing {no one spoke to her that I could see}.  It took them 20 minutes to check in the 6 people in front of me.  Wow, that is beyond slow.  You do have the option to check in online, but you still have to tell them your there waiting in the same line.  The first time we went there the check in was faster, but the doctor was over an hour and a half behind.  It is Duke hospital.   Ok  complaints over.  I’m perfectly willing to go through all this mess and drama for a doctor recommended by all the health professionals I know.  :-)

There were several adorable babies in line with us.  One little girl just turned 10 months.  She was a micro premie born at 1 pound.  This little girl was small, but she was on track with any 10 month old in skills and had no eye sight or other issues from being born so premature.  That is sooooo rare.  What a blessing for that family!!  The other little boy was two weeks older then Landon.  Of course, that meant we had the obligatory ‘size’ conversation.  People without little ones his age or who aren’t around kids his age generally take his age and it makes no impression on them.  For those who are around little ones his age they are usually utterly amazed and in disbelief.  It is funny to watch and then we go on to talk about where his height could possibly come from in our families.  :-)

Landon started demanding my iPad the moment we sat down in the waiting room.  We got called back surprisingly quickly.  He followed the iPad to the scale and then into his room.  We waited there for about 10 minutes.  The first step of the process was to unwrap the big bandage and take off the  partial cast giving it the hard structure.    He then soaked his hand in a bath of water and hydrogen peroxide.  I was informed later we would be buying many of those for our daily dressing changes coming up.  He soaked his hand for 25 minutes.

The doctor came in and pealed it off while Landon was doing his flighty iPad wanderings {the kid has a super short attention span sometimes often}.   His fingers didn’t look nearly as bad as I thought they would!  It was scabby around all the edges.  It was so incredibly strange to see two separate fingers!!!  It made my tummy flutter in excitement.  I wasn’t expecting that reaction at all.  So weird.  And it caused a dumb mom moment…

I told Landon to look at his fingers!  He looked and did not like!  Dr. Marcus nicely told me he didn’t like looking at it and to distract him.  lol  Dur….  Do I really highlight my hair now a days or is it really still blond?!!

He got a strip of yellow loose woven fabric around the incision lines then some padding between the fingers to keep them apart so the web heals properly.  Then there was some gauze wrapped around to the wrist and a piece of tape to hold it together.  Nice and simple.  Landon did not like it at first.  He was quite grumpy for several hours and also took a nap during the long drive back in addition to a normal afternoon nap.   He didn’t try to mess with it much yesterday.

We did get woken up at 4:00 am to him having taken every little bit of the dressing off!  Well, at least Guy got to see what it looked like.  He held Landon’s arm while I put his dressing back together with a new piece of stuffing gauze and a more robust piece of tape almost like a hard shell around his dressing.  He hasn’t tried to take it off again.

Here’s a phone pic of Landon this morning after dropping the twins off at school.

Surgery for sweet Landon



Guy did a fantastic job of first remembering to start preparing the kids for Landon’s surgery and then by talking to them several times in the days leading up to it.  We woke the morning of surgery with all three kids coming into our bedroom about the normal time.  After a few hugs, kisses, cuddles and mandatory potty breaks the kids all jumped into the big bathtub together.  I went from room to room gathering clothes, a fresh diaper, lotion and towels for after bath.  About the time I finished putting the last bit of lotion on Landon my brain kicked in to with the realization lotion probably was somewhere on a list of what not to do just prior to surgery.  Too late.  At least it was a more natural shea butter  lotion.



The next part of the plan in keeping Landon occupied until we left was the iPad.  He got to navigate willy nilly to briefly view many programs for about  8 minutes before Miss Maddie was interfering with his happy place.  I was trying to shove down some cereal at breakneck speed before he saw me.  Luckily, he did stay in our bedroom long enough for me to finish.  With about 15 minutes left before we headed out he started going back and forth between being distracted by iPad adventures and demanding milk.  This kid is a milk junkie and would love to drink a minimum of a 1/2 gallon a day if we let him.  Usually, he has 1 10-12 oz serving and sometimes two a day.  It’s what he asks for in lieu of food most of the time.

 




After some mini melt downs we loaded into the car with snacks {for me and my friend Denise while we waited}, a cup of apple juice, a travel mug of Gatorade, the diaper bag, his bear, my camera, phone and iPad.  Denise met us by the freeway and off we went to be delayed 20 minutes by stop & go traffic.  At the hospital Landon and I headed to check in while she parked the car.  Unfortunately for her, I forgot to give her the lowdown on our hybrid car.  She called Guy who walked her through our ‘fancy’ car.  lol  Sorry girl!!



The receptionist at check in was a bit stern looking {I eventually won her over}, and matter of factly checked us in.  We didn’t make it 4 steps away towards the waiting area when Landon started scream crying with his failed attempts at removing his wrist band.  A nurse made eye contact with me and I talk/hollered at her asking if he could get a new band on his ankle.  We got one about two minutes later from a less stern receptionist whom Landon thanked when she put a new band on his ankle.  Maybe he was reminded of his cruise safety band {tolerated on his ankle} used in the case of emergency.  I’m sure he would have rather been eating all that yummy food in awesome locations!




Ten or fifteen minutes later we headed back to pre-op.  Landon did a fantastic job getting on the scale for his weight.  He gave me trouble getting him undressed and really pitched a fit about the smelly rough polyester tigger gown.  Why did someone pick a Tigger like character on a greyish-beige gown.  We saw a bed being pushed by later that looked like it had nasty blood and fluids all over wadded up dressings.  YUK!  After wrestling my little hungry man into his Tigger gown I tried the hospital socks.  Nope.  No chance.  A nurse or tech and the nurse anesthetist came in almost together.  They were both asking me Q’s so I gave Landon my phone.  He called daddy twice, my friend Wendy twice and the hospital once.  Hmmmm, wish I had thought to bring in the backpack with the iPad in it.  lol  Guy said Landon actually had a conversation with him too.  The poor nurse/tech was all confused and apologized for asking questions twice as it was just too much confusion for her with the nurse anesthetist and Landon also taking bits of my attention.  It was comical and I just ran interference with Landon while answering questions from both of them.  It was like a doubles tennis match with three balls.  :-)









Denise was allowed in just after Doctor Marcus {Dr. Jeffery Marcus with Duke for anyone needing a pediatric plastic surgeon in the Raleigh area} visited with me.  Yay, we had an iPad to keep Landon happy and save everyone on my list from potentially being called!  The doctor went over the surgery again along with some of the post follow up care.  When asking him about what kind of dressing we would have at a certain stage of his healing because we would be at Disney World he commented we could do a follow up at Disney.  lol  We’ll be there at the same time.  He asked for a few tips and I’ll be putting together a little something for him to look at when we meet on Monday.   It’s always cool to make personal connections.  Oh and the anesthesiologist also came in somewhere during all those other visits.




Our anesthesia team let me know we made a boo boo.  The nurse anesthetist who talked to me the day before mentioned we could give him clear liquid like apple juice before arriving to the hospital.  She mentioned it was ok to have it right up to arrival time.  I questioned her since I thought he could have nothing for 6 hours prior.  She confirmed again he could have them up to arrival time.  Never believe something that isn’t true.  Not too big a deal as we only had to wait an additional 45 minutes, but I like to be a model patient who gets everything right.  More importantly it totally sucks to know you are delaying all those people there now just waiting to do the surgery and get on with their day!  Landon was a happy happy camper through all this as he played with the iPad.







Our nurse anesthetist  came in to take him away.  I took a few pictures of him engrossed in the iPad and Not wanting the blanket on him.  Landon barely consented to leaving the iPad alone long enough to hug and kiss me.  The guy was great with Landon.  By the time they were 5 feet out of our stall he had Landon paying attention to him and the route they were taking to surgery.  Landon eagerly got up on his knees to push the door button at the end of the hall.  He slightly smiled in response to my vigorous waiving as they rounded the corner out of sight.









My friend Denise is a cryer.  She pops out her tears over most things.  I think it is an outward reflection of her amazing heart full of compassion and warmth.  She was totally amazed at my tear free goodbye as my precious little toddler was wheeled away to surgery.  I knew it was nervous time as the next 1.5-3 hours ticked by slowly, but as per my usual the outward show was calm and somewhat happy.  My first order of business during the wait was to go get food.  The more exciting my life is, the more my body burns through calories {hmmm, more excitement not surgical might not be so bad… Weight loss!!}.  We headed down to the little cafe.  Just after paying for the food my pager goes off.  Slight panic.  I headed quickly off to find out what that was about assuring Denise it was to give back the iPad.  Inside I wasn’t 100% sure.




Thankfully it was for the iPad.  Our stern receptionist broke away from checking in other patients to give me the iPad with a smile.  She also reset the pager.  Those pagers are amazing.  It’s the same type of system you see in a busy busy chain restaurant.   Denise and I munched on some really tasty turkey and smoked gouda grilled panini’s down in the lobby.  YUM.



Just as we were on the last few bites the pager goes off again.  This time I was totally feeling panicky!  We hopped up and headed up to the receptionist.  She let us know that the surgery officially started so we’d know about how long the next wait would be.  I told her, with a smile, that page was not expected and totally had me a little scared.   She let me know I might also get a mid surgery update page.



We didn’t.  I’m so grateful for an awesome friend to talk about all sorts of interesting, special and not so special moments with while waiting.  It really helped the time go by much faster then it would have had I been alone.  Guy was taking care of getting Blake and Maddie to school and back.  The surgery into the initial recovery went almost 3 hours instead of the 1.5-2 estimated.  Once we got into the recovery room Dr. Marcus gave us a rundown of the surgery as well as post op care.  Landon woke up almost immediately upon our arrival.  After being really grumpy and fighting us quite a bit he settled into my chest where his whole body sighed in relief.  He was so much more comfortable snuggled up to me.  Boy did that make me feel about 10000% important.  :-)




He didn’t really want anything to eat or drink and only took a tiny sip of the apple juice.  We all talked around the milk word so as not to set him off.  They pretty much cleared him and us to get the heck out of there in what felt like 10 minutes after walking in there.  It was probably more like 30 minutes from walking in to walking into the car park.  I carried Landon’s precious and sweet 40 pound dead weight to the car.  Denise was sure we would have to wander the whole car park before finding the car and encouraged me to stay behind while she got it.  Nah, I had faith and if we walked a while it would have been ok too.  We walked right up to the car.



Landon was super quite and mellow the whole ride home.  After we left Denise at her car we got to an intersection within a mile from home.  Landon excitedly exclaimed from the back seat “go there” pointing in the direction of our home.  He saw Maddie first calling out “Mia” with a big wave.  He was so happy to be home.  He instantly snuggled on the couch with daddy.  He also downed two 12 ounce sippy cups of milk then proceeded to snack on some chips and queso with Maddie.



The rest of the evening he wanted to watch TV or play with an electronic {big surprise!} and alternated between quite and dancing around the room to a Wiggles song.  He went right down for bed hanging tightly to his teddy like he had most of the day.  Oh, I forgot to mention our doctor is also in love with Australia and New Zealand and got excited over seeing Landon’s teddy from the Royal Hobart Hospital.  I get the impression he would love to live there if they would let him in.  But both Australia and New Zealand have wicked immigration laws that allow very few people into their countries.



Back to Landon.  He’ll have some sort of bandage on his hand for around 6 weeks.  Right now it is almost up to his armpit.  Depending on how well he tolerates it, the new bandages will work their way down until it is just his palm and fingers.  We’ll also be responsible for daily dressing changes starting in two weeks.



Day two has been a mix of no sleep, sleep, happy, angry, frustrated, cuddly, and definitely obsessed with electronics again.  In many ways he has adapted to using his bandaged arm as one together appendage.   In other ways he has certain ideas of how things should be.  If those certain ideas need two hands he gets very frustrated and refuses to do whatever it is he wanted to do with a modification outside his certain way of doing it.  Landon, Guy and I didn’t sleep much after 3:15 am, but tonight is a different opportunity to get some great sleep.  :-) As with all things, he will heal with time, and we’ll all be back to normal in short order.