Knee Immobilizers

 When we began to  look at different options to help with Nina's spasticity, one of the first things that we considered were knee immobilizers. These knee immobilizers are supposed to be worn at night while sleeping. However, as we looked at how spastic, or "tight" Nina was, we quickly realized that the knee immobilizers would be too difficult for her to handle. If you remember from the video I posted before her rhizotomy, stretching her leg to make it straight was very painful for her, and there was no way she could have worn these and tolerated them.

The day of her rhizotomy, Nina got her knee immobilizers delivered to the hospital room. Now that the tightness was gone, it was time to start breaking her in into these fancy contraptions.

We began putting them on just for short stretches of time during the day, but the best results are when they are worn all night long. A few days after the rhizotomy, we tried to have Nina wear them at night. She could not sleep.
Every hour she was up crying and winning. It was quite the ordeal. And since our family appreciates sleep, and we were living in the hospital room with her, we usually would take them off after having her wear them 3 to 4 hours at night.

As we talked to her therapists they encouraged us to have her wear these braces at least 3 to 4 hours every day. Having her take rest time or play with the iPad while she was wearing them. With our move and the business of life, getting the knee immobilizers on was only happening about 3 times a week.
Four days ago I was having one of those days where I was frustrated. Frustrated that Nina is able to physically do so much but emotionally and mentally she is stuck. So I did what some of us mommies of kids with special needs do, I asked another mommy whose son has had a rhizotomy if what Nina was doing (or not doing) was normal. Natalie then asked if we had tried knee immobilizers, to which I quickly responded yes but we were not doing those, because we appreciate sleep too much. She encouraged me and said it had taken her son a week to get used to them. Andy and I talked about this, and decided to give it a week.
We talked to Nina about the "bedtime braces" and why it was important for her to wear them. We said she was going to have to wear them every night until her body started to work better. Nina went to bed with the braces no problem, but just an hour after going to bed, she was up and crying. We did the crying and crying until about midnight, where we knew we had to make a choice. Do we keep doing this, or do we stay with it.

I took Nina to my room and explained that she was going to have to sleep with the braces. And that from now on she really was going to have to wear them and it was unacceptable to cry because she was waking everyone up. I gave her a choice: go to your room with your sisters and sleep on your bed, or have to sleep by yourself because you are crying. Of course she chose to go back. It was half an hour later that I heard a little whimper, and just as it came it stopped...she remembered the warning. And then she slept all night long! And for the last 4 days, Nina has been wearing her knee braces all night long! She has not cried, complained, or even woken up. That little stinker! She figured out we had given up before and she was going to try again! But she realized we were serious and that was that!

As you can see from the pictures, the knee immobilizers are big and probably not very comfy. Nina is a trooper! She is doing so well and she is taking it better than I ever could. Because to be honest I would be crying and whining not wanting to wear those and I would not care if I had to go have my own room for as long as I could tell you I was mad I had to wear these big bulky things!