Monday, January 4, 2010

Turtle Collar

My baby has a Turtle Collar. Not really, but that's what I thought was said. It's actually called "Torticollis," which also reminds me of tortellini, but this has nothing to do with cooking.

Cletus the Used-to-be-Fetus is almost four months old. He was born with a perfectly round head. Everyone said so. Everyone. The doctor that delivered him, the nurses that checked on him, the dietary technician that brought me my gourmet I-never-want-to-leave-this-hospital-ever food. His head was like a perfectly formed grapefruit! That is, assuming grapefruits are round when perfectly formed. I'll have to look that up. Anyway, you get my point.

Big V noticed the bulging first. As Cletus grew his head just seemed, off. I passed it off as the crazy cowlics in his hair made his head seem a bit off kilter. V mentioned he only looks to one side, but that was because he likes to look at his mommy. Then V noticed there was a bump forming over one eyebrow. Boy, was V picky! But then I noticed the limp left arm. It never really moved. His little legs and right arm would be flailing around as Cletus giggled and cooed and worked himself up into a storm... but that left arm just laid at his side, kindof cockeyed. Even laying there it just looked, off.

Walking into the doctor's office was sort of a shock. The nurse noticed right away. Then the doctor. Well, I guess we weren't being the overprotective, wussy parents who brought their kid in for nothing. That afternoon we were brought upstairs for x-rays which would show that (thankfully) the bones in his skull weren't fusing together too soon, ruling out a much more serious condition called craniosynostosis. But there was still that arm... and that now misshapen head, with one ear bigger than the other, lower than the other.

So here's where we are today: Cletus the Used-to-be-Fetus is now in training!

We had our first Physical Therapy evaluation, met our wonderful Physical Therapist, Miss Heather, who comes to our home and works with us and Cletus. Big V was taught how to do some of the stretches (which kindof looks like torture) and we've been instructed to do them several times throughout the day. Cletus is officially diagnosed as having a 33% delay - what that means to me is that at nearly 4 months he's only doing what a 2 month old is doing. He's got some catching up to do!

One thing we learned is that he has a very common condition called Infant Torticollis, or "wry neck." The muscles on one side of his neck are really tight and need to be loosened, massaged, and used. That explains the tilted head, favoring the one side, lack of tracking anything past the midline to the left,the weakened left arm... we've also discovered the little guy has minimal thumb movement on his left hand. Another hurdle.

The positional plagiocephaly (goofy shaped head) will be readdressed at his 4 month appointment in ten days. The physical therapist says sometimes the strengthening of muscles and increased activity will automatically aid in bringing an infant's pliable head back into focus, but we'll still keep on it.


rachael said...

Geez, lady. That's a pill to swallow. I know this goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway - it could be worse. He's still SO young and you are being very active in correcting course. He'll have a -21% delay in no time! :)

Phoenix Rising said...

It's actually a LOT better than what we first feared. (The "possible surgery to disconnect the prematurely fused bones in the skull" was a road I did NOT want to travel down.)

The Physical Therapist mentioned "taping" ... not sure what that's about... maybe we tape his head to the weak side. "Bust out the duct tape, honey - saving us some co-pays!"