X is for X-ray

Sam Bowen's avatar

by Sam Bowen

I can count on perhaps one hand how many X-rays I have had in my life.

Once when I jumped off the back of a truck as a teenager and got a hairline fracture in the centre of my heel (that really hurt). 

Once when I fell all the way down the steep stairs in our Victorian terrace house (how on earth they coped in Crinolines I don’t know). I broke my Coccyx that time, which really hurt too!

Then a few dentist X-rays which I think they do now and again just to charge you more money!

Lucy on the other hand should glow in the dark with all the X-rays she’s had in her short years.

Hips feet, hands, head and even throat. There’s precious little of her that I’ve not seen on a screen in one way or other.

Lucy was born with Hip Dysplasia, a condition that affects one in every 300 babies born. We were ‘lucky’ in that it was detected relatively early at six weeks.

One would have thought that months in utero in extended breach and then being born with her left leg bent behind her head like some impressive Yogic master, would have given some clue. However, the Doctors had more important issues to deal with when she was born, so the diagnosis had to wait. 

Early treatment in a Pavlik harness didn’t work so she needed surgery to correct the dislocated hip.

This involved breaking and resetting (with pins) her little thigh bone. And as my history shows above, any breaks equal X-rays!

She had plenty of X-rays just for the hips.

I remember once asking if she could have a metal guard to put over her groin. I know they do this for babies as I saw the different sizes of them on the shelf in the X-Ray room.

I had a horrible feeling from then on (as it’s never been offered & I always ask) that they just assumed Lucy will never reproduce so they don’t need to protect her tiny ovaries, which is what the guards do. This thought makes me very sad.

Although we had the ‘all clear’ on Lucy’s hips when she was two years old, we still have to see the consultant every year which involves a trip to the X-ray department beforehand.

Her hands were X-rayed once on the order of her Endocrinologist to gauge Lucy’s growth age (which my husband joked “You’d have thought they’d cut her in two and counted the rings to age her!” Silly man.)

Her feet were X-rayed following a suspected break which turned out to be a nasty sprain sustained at school by too much standing and not enough understanding of her MOVE programme!

Lucy’s head was X-rayed to see if she had any teeth growing. Because at 24 months she still had yet to show any!

The leading Dentist in Paediatric care in our county diagnosed Lucy as having Hypodontia (no teeth) but a warning to any of you out there with the same condition, please don’t Google “No teeth in Head” or you’ll be in for a nasty shock!

To cut a long story short she got her first tooth at 26 months and she now has a full set of lovely gnashers which she regularly flashes in her Hollywood smile!

Lucy has also had two MRI brain scans which were fascinating but apparently ‘unremarkable’ showing ‘typical evidence of developmental delay’ including reduced white matter, which does matter actually!

Most recently, she had another Video Fluoroscopy to look at her swallow as she has a problem with it.

Radioactive Barium meal is mixed into food samples and drink which I then have to feed her whilst they X-Ray in live time and film.

It’s fascinating to watch, even though my job is to feed, I find it morbidly absorbing!

So that’s it for now, we are due another hip X-ray later this month and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they are still ok.

I’m also hoping that that will be it for a long while and we can have a little X-Ray break, that is unless we win the lottery and go on an amazing holiday abroad.

You can get the same amount of radiation as 20 dental X-rays just travelling to and from Disney you know. Smile!

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