17 February, 2010
By Pratibha Masand
SECOND SHOT: KEM Hospital has a separate lab to research and treat cases where botulinum toxin may help relieve spasticityWith his thick glasses and dimpled smile, four–year–old Ayan Patel goes about collecting the toys from his room. His parents have to remind him to walk without a limp, something he can now do with minimal difficulty, after countless physiotherapy sessions and a shot of botulinum toxin that was administered to him two years ago.
“It’s more out of habit,” said his parents. “At times, he forgets to put pressure on his entire foot.”
When he started taking his first tentative steps, Ayan’s parents noticed that their boy walked on the toes of his left foot. That is because he had mild cerebral palsy due to which the muscles of his left ankle suffered spasticity. When his mother Anisa was five–months–pregnant, she was diagnosed gestational diabetes. A neo–natal stress test, done in the 29th week of her pregnancy, revealed that the baby was dying, and doctors had to perform an emergency operation. “With so many complications, I thought I would lose my baby,” recalls Anisa.
By the time Ayan turned two, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and his doctors decided to give him a shot of botulinum toxin.
“From infancy, his ankle muscles were tight. But two months after he received the shot, he started walking, running, climbing banisters and playing with other children in school,” said Rustom Patel, Ayan’s father.
Anisa and Rustom take turns to oversee their son’s daily physiotherapy sessions. “Initially, Ayan had to wear splints while walking. Today, he wears pediwraps while sleeping at night. They help keep his foot perpendicular to his leg,” said Anisa.
The Patels, who live in Pedder Road, are filled with pride when they see their son play with other kids. “Our son even plays football. We pay attention to every detail of his growth. We don’t let him realise that he is different from other children,” said Rustom.