ManNi was less than one month old when she was sent to the China Care Home for medical assistance for her club feet. She was chubby and looked healthy, except for her feet which looked as if they had been rotated internally at the ankle. We were happy that ManNi came for treatment at such a young age because without early treatment children with club feet often appear to walk on their ankles or on the sides of their feet.
Last summer, the day after her arrival, ManNi was sent to Jishuitan Hospital. After her medical checkups, the doctor made casts for her legs. Usually children require four casts, each one in use for one week. But the number of casts varies depending on an individual child’s special need and because ManNi’s Achilles tendon was particularly tight, she had nine casts. Though it hurts to have casts removed, every time ManNi’s old casts were removed, she didn’t cry. She would lie quietly and cooperate with the nurse who kept praising her by saying, “Good girl.” What a little fighter!
At the China Care Home, ManNi has a regular routine: she eats and sleeps well. She likes small stuffed animals and stares at them. When a toy makes sounds, she listens carefully and stares curiously. She is happy if her nanny is around and talking to her. She babble “en, en” or speaks her own words as if she is chatting with her nanny. When she lies on her back, she can lift her legs and rock them up and down. Even when her legs had casts, she could lift them.
ManNi finished serial casting at the end of last year and then had tenotomy surgery to release her Achilles tendon. After a checkup, the doctor said the outcome of the surgery was quite good andbraces that would help hold her feet in the desired position could be made for her. ManNi started to wear braces in the middle of December and her nanny massaged her feet three times every day according to the doctor’s instructions. She seldom cried. When she was tickled, she kept giggling and two dimples showed on her cheeks.
ManNi is now ten months old. She can hold toys in her hands and shake them. It seems that she is using toys to attract other children, “It’s funny! Come to play with me.” When she feels bored, she looks around and watches what other children are doing. She can make a response when one calls her name. Her sweet smiles can make adults forget all their unhappiness.
The condition of ManNi’s feet has improved greatly with all the treatment and care. Everyone who cares for her feels grateful for her progress. She will have another checkup at the hospital this spring. We all hope that when she grow up, she will be able to walk just like other children.