Forrest Di Gumpio

We were out of our minds. Asher had been limping for weeks, and no one knew why. No scratches or bruises or fevers or ticks. We waited to see if his limp would improve, but it had only become more serious. Tiny Tim without the accent-we left England before he could pick it up. We waited for a few days and watched anxiously for improvement.

One morning, Asher complained that his leg hurt which was the last straw. He hadn’t complained about pain until then. Gabriella took Asher to the emergency room where they waited all day long for a doctor. I stayed home with Levi and waited for news. After a 10 minute exam and x-rays, the doctor could find nothing. They came home well after I had put Levi to bed with some stickers, a blown up doctor’s glove, and a couple of doses of motrin should he complain of pain. Gabriella was told that if symptoms persisted, we could take him to an orthopedic.

That night, Gabriella and I reviewed all the instances since birth where Asher displayed some sort of issues with his legs and/or feet in order to determine whether or not were neglectful parents. When Asher was born, one of his feet was slightly pigeon-toed from being shmushed inside the womb. That would be the medical term, of course. We were to do some basic physical therapy at home and bring him to see a specialist a week later. The weather had been disgusting, and we were still nervous new parents. We had only been out of the house with Asher a few times. Taking our baby out into the cold was nerve wracking enough let alone the fact that we were worried about his foot. We had to see the specialist to make sure that everything was fine. She was a lovely woman who tried to put us at ease. She told us stories about a friend of hers named Asher she knew and liked. Most people familiar with the name Asher are Jewish, so we figured she was a member of the tribe. I don’t recall her surname, but I’m sure it was something as telling as Goldstein. Our specialist also wore a scarf over her head, so I asked her if she was Orthodox. She responded that she was not, in fact, Orthodox but a cancer patient who had recently undergone chemo. We left with Asher’s foot in tact and mine wedged entirely inside of my mouth.

He didn’t walk until he was 19 months old. No crawling, no scooting, no nothing until 19 months. Is that related? Is it significant that when he did start walking, the ONLY place he would walk unassisted was on our dining room table? He could do laps up and down the table, but when he was on the floor – nothing. Future runway model?

Then there was the period of time a few months ago when Asher would take a step with his left food and drag the right food behind him. He would take a number of steps like that and then resume a normal gait. We did mention it to our pediatrician during his check up, but Dr. Lubin was not concerned at all. He didn’t complain of pain, so we ignored it. It was his Monty Python silly-walk period.

On Monday, I made an appointment with the orthopedic. I picked Asher up from camp at 12pm. I had mentioned to the counsellors that Asher had this limp and that we were taking him to an orthopedic that afternoon so they shouldn’t be alarmed. The kid was seriously limping when I collected him from camp. His counsellors, Judith & Louise, brought Asher to the door and handed him to me. “Good luck today!” they said looking completely horrified. It’s true that Asher was absolutely pathetic. He slowly limped towards me with his giant backpack on his back, and I escorted young Forrest Gump to the car.

Gabriella came home in the afternoon to take Asher to see Dr. Liggio, and Levi and I waited at home again. Once again, Asher was prodded and poked for a few minutes, and the diagnosis was “You got nothing”. That’s medical terminology for “I have no idea what it is.” The fact is, it isn’t nothing! If it were nothing, he wouldn’t be limping. We were to monitor it for the next few days and medicate the pain if need be.

Slowly, the situation has improved. He is still limping weeks later but less so and not complaining of pain. Still, we felt unsatisfied with the care to date, so we took him Dr. Rosen, Integrative Pediatrician (google it). He walked us through all the possibilities, and together we discounted all of them. Asher is most likely experiencing growing pains. The prognosis was no different, but he was understanding and helpful and we left feeling secure in Asher’s limp. I apologize for the not-so-entertaining blog, but this has been on the brain for some time now, and I needed to get it off my chest.

I will sign off with a completely unrelated question. Why on earth would it be necessary to position one of those “Baby On Board” signs in the back window…of your mini van?! If you’re driving one of these things, I should hope you’ve got a kid or two in there.

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