We hope that this story from Tuck’s brave mother, Jessie, can provide hope to future parents.
Our Sweet Baby Tuck was born with unforeseen complications. He was sent straight to Riley Children’s Hospital 2.5 hours away for further assessment. At 4:30 AM I received a phone call from a specialist at Riley, asking for permission to take my newborn into the operating room and telling me that he was most definitely going to lose part of his arm. Tuck’s arm was amputated just above his elbow.
There is nothing that can prepare a parent for a moment like this. What I want all parents to know, is that it’s absolutely acceptable to grieve. Life for your little one is not what you expected. You didn’t picture these moments being traumatic. You are fearful of the hurdles your child will encounter in their future. But the most important fact I want to share with you is this: It will not always hurt like this. Your heart will heal in beautiful and miraculous ways, and most importantly, so will your child.
We reluctantly learned to insert Tuck’s NG Tube and to dress his wound in the hospital. These were emotionally exhausting feats. His wound looked angry, in my opinion. The plastic surgeons assured us that the antibiotics were working just as they’d hoped and at 3 weeks old Tuck was discharged from the hospital.
Coming home and having our family sleeping under the same roof was my focal point during those weary weeks we had spent in the NICU. After our homecoming and the countless trips back to Riley Children’s Hospital for check ups we were emotionally spent. As it goes with parenting though, life keeps coming at you and it was time for us to take a deep breath and move on to our next step. The thought of finding a prosthesis company caused much anxiety on my part. Our situation was a rare one. In our small town we found there were no parents to relate to. We found that a lot of loving and caring acquaintances were eager to offer solutions and viral videos of “unbelievable operational prosthetics made in a back yard shed”. While we appreciated the efforts, we felt immense pressure and maybe even a little more perplexed after these encounters.
This is when God intervened. It seemed that the name SRT kept finding us. Over and over. In our face, we could not ignore it. And now we know why God’s plan for Tuck was not going away.
Much to my surprise, SRT’s headquarters is located two tiny towns away from us. I must admit, I thought our surgeon was pulling my leg when he told me this fact. Upon my first call, I knew SRT was the company for Tuck. Brooke O’Steen (SRT’s Upper Extremity Clinical & Education Specialist) knew what my heart needed. That very first conversation with her reassured me that she cared about Tucks future and that SRT was there to support us on this journey. There was no pressure, only concern and heart. And for the first time I felt hope and relief when I pictured my son’s future. The sentence that I will forever cherish is her promise that “we don’t look at our interaction with Tuck as a one prosthesis occasion. It’s a marriage. We want to be here to assist him for the rest of his life”. This was our turning point as parents. We were finally emotionally prepared to launch this voyage.
We scheduled a “meet and greet” appointment with Sam Santa-Rita, Brooke and our Technician, Mike. They traveled all the way to our tiny town, which in itself, spoke volumes. They wanted to be sure that we felt comfortable and that all our questions were answered. Together we determined our goals for Tuck and decided to welcome SRT to be a cornerstone in his physical achievements.
Walking into our SRT office feels like coming home. No matter the day, we are always greeted with smiles and hugs when needed. The staff of SRT are driven and put heart into the work they do. There is an irreplaceable comfort that comes with knowing your child’s prosthesis provider is not only equipped to handle things from a technical stance, but that they are also sensitive to the emotional and mental aspects that accompany the need for a prosthetic limb.
Our technician Mike has gone above and beyond for us countless times. He makes sure Tuck has all the materials and alterations he needs to keep our active boy moving. He has accommodated our busy schedule to boot. And our OTR Brooke is in regular contact with us to be sure that Tuck has everything he needs and that his prosthesis is aiding in helping him meet all his milestones. I treasure her support, encouragement and advice!
Tuck is turning 2 in September and thanks to the help of SRT Orthotics and Prosthetics he is balanced and talented at preforming tasks with one arm and one prosthetic. He loves his prosthesis and if mom and dad are not fast enough at getting him dressed, he will put his arm on himself. My husband and I are enthusiastic about Tucks future, which will no doubt be adorned with visits to our local SRT office.