My son works on the barges that travel up and down the river. He is one of the lucky ones. His schedule allows him to be home a week and on the boat a week. Although there are many instances where that schedule can and has been tweaked due to various problems. Boats can be docked for repairs, flooding on the rivers have resulted in temporary shutdowns, illness, just to name a few things.
Kelsey Baxter, there’s that namesake, is not only training to become a boat pilot, he is also a professional archer. When he was in junior high, he took an archery project while in 4-H which began his journey into this field.
He was taken under the wing of the president of the local archery club and his skill and love of the sport became apparent very quickly. We have traveled to many archery events over the course of his career. He has competed at local, state, and national levels. Kelsey has won the state championship several times when he was younger. He’s been working at this for close to 20 years now. His children are also involved in shooting bows.
The biggest problem he encountered during this time was a problem in his foot. I have seen him crawl from 1 room to another before a shoot because he was in so much pain.
Kelsey was in grade school when this problem first arose. At that time the pediatrician attributed the pain to tendinitis and put him in a foot brace. Then he had to have a special device made to wear in his shoes, but none of this helped with the pain.
He was finally referred to the local orthopedic doctor who put a cast on his foot. He wore this for six weeks with no noticeable results. The doctor immediately reapplied the cast for another six weeks. During this time, the podiatrist I was seeing had expressed concern over Kelsey being in a cast for so long.
When the second cast was removed, Kelsey started therapy, which lasted for about six weeks before the therapist referred him back to the orthopedic doctor. His foot was not getting any better and she told me that she had never seen anything like it.
It was at this orthopedic appointment that I began to feel very irritated. The doctor examined my son’s foot and indicated that he thought it was getting better and he should continue with the physical therapy. The man had not seen him in six weeks whereas the therapist had been seeing him at least twice a week for the last six weeks. I was not happy with his response.
Within the week I had an appointment with my podiatrist. He took additional x-rays and gave him a steroid injection in his foot which lessened the pain and gave him full range of motion….for a whole 20 minutes. Then the problem returned.
We returned the following week, reported the results of the injection and this doctor admitted that he was stumped. He referred Kelsey to a pediatric orthopedic doctor at a larger hospital an hour away.
At this point, we had been seeking help for his foot for about a year. We still had no idea what was wrong, only that he was always in a lot of pain.
We arrived at the appointment approximately 15 minutes early as instructed. Of course, I had to fill out all of those information papers.
Kelsey was called back without a long waiting period and we explained to another doctor what had been happening for the last year. This was doctor number five.
At this point Kelsey was around 14 years old. The doctor said he thought what was going on was called a tarsal coalition, although this typically occurs when the patient is a little younger. To accurately diagnose this problem, x-rays needed to be taken while the patient was in a standing position.
It only took a few minutes from getting the proper x-rays to confirming that his speculations were correct. We finally had a diagnosis.
From this doctor, we went to see a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Since Kelsey had already went though all the steps that they would have suggested to correct this problem, he was scheduled for surgery. During this out-patient surgery, two bones were removed from his foot. And he was free from pain…for another year.
To read more on Kelsey’s journey through this continuing ailment, click here. (This link should be posted within another week.)
More on my son’s family is coming soon Stayed tuned.