I’m back!

Wow, that was a very long blog break.

My last post was right back at the beginning of April, that seems a lot longer ago that just 41/2 months, a lot has happened.

Katrine fell off a trampoline at the end of March and hurt her right ankle. Being kind parents, and a Sunday on a holiday weekend, we waited until the next day to pop her along to international SOS (iSOS) clinic in Baku. Given she couldn’t move her foot and was in a lot of pain they called the radiographer in on her day off to X-ray it.  No broken bones, so just home continue with RICE and she should start to walk on it within a few days.

Week later, she still couldn’t put it down so back to see the Doctor. Suspects it might be soft tissue damage but as it is causing her a lot of pain we were sent to have an MRI to check it out. We got the appointment for the next day so toddled off to the hospital, we had a guarantee of payment from iSOS, I took Turan my diver in with me to translate, which makes it a lot easier to find out way around. So an hour of lying still (very hard work for a Katrine) with me perched on the steps and the MRI was done. The result – slight swelling of the ligaments but nothing major.

So the next step is some physio. The physio was very gentle but even this caused a huge amount of pain. We came home at lunch time but Katrine was in far too much pain to make it into school. We were supposed to do some daily exercise but it just wasn’t possible, so back to the doctors.

This is now getting slightly puzzling, no breaks on the X-ray, nothing showing up on the MRI it had now been 3 weeks but still very high levels of pain and no movement of the foot at all, certainly not weight bearing. So we get referred to an orthopaedic specialist, who after examining Katrine and the X-rays and MRIs, decides that is a Salter-Harris Fracture Type I, which is a complete fracture at the growth plate, as the growth plate shows up lighter on X-rays anyway it can be very hard to see. He recommended immobilising the ankle using a medical boot.

Good news, so we go back to the iSOS clinic for them to fit the boot. Cue screaming in pain as this is obviously agony for Katrine – apologies to anyone in the waiting room that day. After making sure that she had the full dosage of paracetamol and ibuprofen and some hot chocolate and cartoon network, they tried again. Nope, same result. Which only left the option of a hard cast. Surprisingly this did not give Katrine a lot of pain, no idea why the boot was painful and the cast not but hey ho, pain doesn’t always make sense.

IMG_0702

Here she is, in her Guide uniform. She even went to Guides straight from getting her leg plastered up.

Unfortunately, having her leg in plaster did not stop her ankle from hurting, which didn’t leave the doctors with many more options available in country and we were told that we would need to be medically repatriated, fancy way of saying being sent home.

We then fly back to London so see an ankle paediatric specialist, who first thing orders a new set of MRI images. He did not this it was a Salter-Harris fracture but that she has probably over stretched the nerve and referred us to 2 new specialist – a pain consultant and a specialist pain physio. He also took the hard cast off and put a medical boot on, this time no screaming in pain! We now had a diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

And so started a very long slog of seeing the physio twice a week and the pain consultant once, she was on a cocktail of medicines to try and alleviate the pain – never successfully, this was the hardest part for me, seeing Katrine always in pain.

The exercises with the physio were to desensitise Katrine’s foot and leg (at this point the pain had spread upward so it reached the knee – something I learnt, pain spreads if it is persists!) and for Katrine to reconnect with her foot. She was saying that she only had 1 leg, that the other was an alien or robotic leg that had just been attached to her knee. This is quite common for people with chronic pain. We did a lot of mirror therapy, where she could see her left foot and its reflexion, which looked like her right foot, moving in a normal way. We also had to talk about her foot and other people’s feet, counting her toes. And we also worked on breathing and relaxation techniques as pain and stress are very closely interlinked.

After what seemed like forever but was only 2 months, Katrine moved her foot. At first it was just her big toe and then the next week she could flex her ankle a little. And then the breakthrough, she put her foot on the floor.

From then on her recovery speeded up dramatically, first one step, then 2 and in three days she was walking. So then it was re-buidling the strength and regaining her sense of balance and control. And since she has recovered so well we have been able to return to Baku.

The medical staff we have dealt with have been amazing, both here in Azerbaijan and in the UK. International SOS supported us thought our time in the UK, following up the appointments with phone calls and being available for me to call if I had any problems or concerns.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alisonrjones2014
    Aug 22, 2015 @ 00:42:52

    Crikey! Poor Katrine! And I worry about sore knees (that’s just my age!). Glad to hear she is recovering & that you are back ‘home’ in Baku.

    Reply

  2. mumat55
    Aug 22, 2015 @ 12:57:47

    well done to everyone, quite an adventure but not one to be repeated, fingers crossed.

    Reply

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