Legg-Calve-Perthes and a Case of Mother Guilt

Last week when I took Aidan to get a referral for his eye exam in September, I mention to our family doctor that we should start to look into Aidan’s walk and make sure that it wasn’t a hip problem. We (Aidan, Dr. I. and me) talked about the physical changes in Aidan’s walk over the last year and problems with gross motor skills. I then got Aidan to walk for Dr. I. and she got us to go upstairs and get a set of x-rays for both hips and both knees.

I admit that while Aidan’s gait has gotten worse over the last year, that I wasn’t particularly surprised, and both Anthony and I didn’t figure there was much that could be done. This is coloured by Anthony’s experience with problems with his hips and gait. So, because of this, and the fact that Aidan hasn’t had any pain, I put off bringing him in to get checked.

I really wanted to have ammunition to use on gym teacher at Aidan’s school. This year is the first that has Aidan worrying about gym class. It has him upset after gym days. This is the year that his inability to kick a soccer goal, or pass the ball with precision, or run fast to actually get the ball from other kids became a problem. His gym teacher should have taken a look at how Aidan was moving and maybe had the sense not to make his gym classes so competitive. I knew that if I wanted to have an IEP in Gym for Aidan that I would need the ammunition.

The x-ray should have been simple, and with another child it might have been. My child almost had a panic attack because all he remembered was the x-rays and bone scans and ultrasounds when he was in the hospital when he turned seven. I calmed him down and we got the images we needed. The x-ray tech knew there was a problem, and asked about Aidan’s gait even before we took the scans. I knew that in all likelihood we would be back at the doctor’s office soon.

Yesterday I got a call from the doctor’s office. We got in today and since I had both boys with me, we started to discuss the results. Aidan started to panic a bit so, the boys waited in the waiting room and Dr. I. and I discussed what the scans showed. It turns out that Aidan has Legg-Calves_Perthes disease. This is a rare disorder (1 in 1200) that for some unknown reason cuts off the normal blood supply to the femoral head and then causes some deformity. In most cases this only happens in one of the hip joints, Aidan has problems in both hips which happens in less than 10% of cases.

I wasn’t surprised. I know that my father-in-law won’t be surprised. Anthony, wasn’t really surprised. Aidan is a little worried because from here on in we are not quite sure where this process will take us. Aidan will be going to an orthopaedic surgeon and hopefully there is something we can do to help with any damage already done and prevent more from happening.

On the other hand, Aidan was really happy to know that being a slow runner, and one who can’t kick a soccer ball is not because he doesn’t try hard enough and that he isn’t fit. He was tremendously relieved. I have the ammunition I need to get Aidan an IEP in gym.

I, on the other hand, am feeling a wee bit guilty. I knew Aidan was getting worse. I constantly tell him to hurry up. I didn’t take the time in January to take him to the doctor. Maybe we would already be through the unknowns and on our way to making things better for him if I had taken the time. But he is active, he runs, he plays, he wanted to keep up with cross-country. But, but, but . . . So, yes, I feel guilty.


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4 Responses to Legg-Calve-Perthes and a Case of Mother Guilt

  1. libby says:

    Oh,Gwen! Please don’t feel guilty! You do the best you can and are now doing what needs to be done. That is what counts. If we had a dollar for all the things we moms think we should be guilty for I could pay to restore class size and composition in this province with my share! I have had some guilt of late myself, and it doesn’t do anything for our kiddies or ourselves. Focus on what you can do now and try to let the rest go. I hope that the orthopedic surgeon can come up with a good plan of attack and I am glad that Aidan is feeling better about himself as a result of the news.

    • Gwen says:

      Thanks Libby, I know in my head that I shouldn’t feel guilty and that I should just get on with what needs to be done now. Mostly my head wins. It actually helps that I have a place where I can get things off my chest and not bother Aidan with the guilt. I am also happy that he feels relief about his running and he was determined to go back to cross country in the fall. I had to break it to him that he needs to avoid running sports for now, but at least he feels better about it.

  2. Lorraine Otto says:

    Oh, my poor babies, both of you! Aidan certainly has a few hardships but remember that it was your persistence that got his last problem sorted as well as it was. You did not let that go and you did not let this go as long as many would have. The fact of Anthony’s walk disarmed you as well, as he is so like his dad and there is nothing to be done for him. Aidan will now be able to take pride in his bike riding stamina and swimming without letting the things he cannot do rob him of that sense of accomplishment. Give him a hug for me and tell him that I am proud of him.

    Love you all.


  3. No guilt, Gwen! You’re doing your best. So many positives here–you’ve got a diagnosis & will know soon what treatment is needed. Not to mention we’re lucky enough to have a great children’s hospital so close to home. I’m glad that knowing what’s going on with his hips has helped A feel better about himself too. Xox

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