Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Physical Therapy

If you reach far, far, far back into your memory, you may remember that Elliott was a very late walker.  He was still within the realm of "normal" but just barely so.  He started walking on Mother's Day when he was almost 17 months old. 

This is what he looked like independent walking for the first time.
Fast forward almost 2 years to just after Christmas.  We were becoming more and more aware that Elliott fell a lot.  A whole lot.  He was falling every day and sometimes multiple times a day.  There was something about the combination of him turning 3 and the frequency that he was falling that made me decide it wasn't right.  It wasn't OK.  There was something wrong.  I could no longer blame it on him being a toddler or being clumsy.  I was also growing increasingly concerned that he was going to break his wrist during a fall.  And his knees and elbows were always scabbed over.  

So at the end of February, after he fell at story time 6 times in about 20 feet, I called to get a Physical Therapy evaluation appointment for him.  Phoenix Children's Hospital was totally booked (we're still technically on the waiting list for an eval) but Cardon Children's Hospital only had a month long wait.

We went for the evaluation on March 31st.  I was worried that the physical therapist wasn't going to see any of the things that I saw and that I was worried about.  I really didn't want to be told that he was just a little clumsy because I knew it was much more than that.

What I wasn't prepared to hear was that not only does she see everything I see (and more) but that she believes that most of his issues relate back to his liver disorder.  Which relates back to the sepsis.  Which relates back to him being premature and not having an immune system.  Which relates back to my doctor being an absolute moron and ignoring every single warning sign (including me begging him to do specific things that he refused to do) that I was at 100% risk to have a premature baby.  And that makes me very, very angry.

So basically Elliott has a combination of a weak core, poor body awareness/proprioception and habitual fixing patterns in his pelvis and shoulders.  The fixing patterns are compensatory methods/habits he has developed to deal with the other issues.  The PT said that it is pretty common to see kids that had very early gastrointestinal problems end up with these very same issues as preschoolers and older kids.  Basically, he had liver problems, he was in pain and uncomfortable because of those liver problems, so as his proprioception was developing and his core muscles were developing, he shut those systems down so he wouldn't have to be uncomfortable.

And ta-dah!  He's a 3 year old who falls all the time.  

There are also some issues with his visual tracking and vestibular processing, which could be related to proprioception as well.  

The whole report is 4 pages long, so I won't bore you with all of it, but these are several of the parts I found interesting/informative. 

(You might have to maximize them to make the print bid enough to actually read anything.)

This was during the evaluation.  The PT had him take his shirt off so she could watch his core and back muscles moving.  That was when she pointed out to me how much he lifts his shoulders to compensate for his weak core.  I had never noticed.

It took a few weeks for insurance to approve therapy and get us on the schedule, but we started attending an hour session last week.

The actual PT has tons of experience.  So much experience, in fact, that she has a graduate student, Ms. Emily, interning with her.  Ms. Emily is the one actually providing the therapy until her internship ends in early June.   And I'm totally cool with that.  I was a graduate student once too and I know she is totally capable of doing the job.  Plus Ms. Emily is young and energetic.  

Elliott has a really, really hard time walking up and down steps with a right foot, left foot pattern.  He puts both feet on one step before moving up to the next.

After the first session we decided, spur of the moment, to go have lunch with daddy.  It seemed like the day called for a celebration.

Session number 2 ended with a spin on the therapy trike.  Elliott pretty much loved it.

So far I've been really happy with our sessions.  I have a ton of activities to work on at home and he really likes going because it just seems like play time. 

Now that we've started I'm going to get him in for a developmental vision exam.  We'll see how long the waiting list is for that. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A ladies Saturday

My ladies group had a really fun day together on Saturday, April 18th.  It was Brenda's month to plan and it also happened to be Brenda's birthday.  I also happened to be alone that weekend because Michael took the kids to Tucson so I could stain the bathroom cabinets in peace.

First I picked up Maryellen and we went to Starbucks so we could enjoy coffee and conversation.  I meant to take a picture while we were there, but the coffee and conversation were just so enjoyable that I forgot.  After Starbucks we met up with Lauren and Brenda and wandered around a little parking lot craft fair.  Then we went to the actual event for the day.  A free cooking class.

The teacher was a real spitfire.  I want to have that kind of energy and vibrancy when I'm of a certain age.

There was a large, angled mirror above the work space so you could see what she was doing.  

The theme of the class was cooking with whole grains, so I ate exactly 0 bites of the samples.
Since it was our first time at the class we all got a free loaf of bread.  My kids polished off this thing in less than a day.  It was a mini loaf, but still.  They inhaled it.
The cooking class itself was free, but it was held at a kitchen supply store, so they totally get you when you can't help but buy stuff after the class.

I ended up buying a cheese grater (that is exactly like this),

and a jar spatula scoop (that is similar to this, but more spoony at each end). 
Here's a funny story about the cheese grater.  We have a box cheese grater.  We've always had a box grater. We've never had a flat one though.  My parents do.  One time Michael was looking for the cheese grater and I got out the box one.  He looked at it and said, "No.  Not this one.  The flat one in the drawer."  I gave him a look and said "You mean the one at my parent's house?"

Then we just laughed for 20 minutes.

After the cooking class we met up with Joni and Shireen for lunch.  But first we had to wait for a table so we moseyed around a furniture store where Joni may or may not have wandered into a wardrobe and gotten stuck inside of Narnia.  We eventually found this huge couch and all sat down to relax a bit.  I said that we should take our picture for the day on the couch so we asked the next person to walk by to take our picture.  It turned out to be Joni's daughter's preschool teacher.  They hadn't seen each other in 3 years.  That was miracle #1 of the day.

Our table was finally ready so Brenda got presents before we ate.

After lunch I took Maryellen home, then I came home and worked out and stained cabinets.  Then, after several difficult hours apart, she came over and we had a glass of wine before we went out to dinner.

We were seated out on the patio and about a minute later our waiter came over.  Maryellen immediately recognized him as the host from the restaurant where we ate lunch.  That was miracle #2 of the day.  I mean, what are the chances that we would see the same person twice in one day at two different restaurants in two different cities?  And that he worked at both?  And that we decided to eat at both in one day?  It's just not possible.  We ended up chatting to him for a long time and his mom works at the restaurant too, so we ended up chatting with her as well.  And now we're totally facebook friends.  And it just so happens that his sister and I share the same birthday.  Month and day, not year, because she is young and I am ooooooold. That is miracle #3 of the day.

And yes, we made this 19 year old take a selfie with us, because it was just too good of a story to pass up a selfie opportunity.

And then, the fun day was over.  And the next day I just stained cabinets and went grocery shopping.  It was lonely and not nearly as fun. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spencer's Surgery

We took Spencer to see an ENT over his spring break in March.  I thought for sure the ENT would recommend that Spencer get his tonsils and adenoids taken out, but the final recommendation was an adenoidectomy and a bilateral resection of turbinates.  

Now, I don't know everything there is to know about anatomy and physiology, but I do know more than the average person because of what I do for a living.  Not so much about the rest of the body, but certainly the nose and the throat.  And I had never, in all my life, even heard of turbinates.  But apparently, when you have allergies, they get all junked up and cause all sorts of problems.  And, yes, all junked up is the official medical terminology.

I read up on both procedures and both of them are quite simple.  My only concern was that Spencer needed general anesthesia and needed to be intubated during the procedure.

We went in to the surgery center on April 16th at just after 8 am.  I thought for sure that they would need to start an IV in Spencer while he was awake and that it was going to be the most awful thing ever.  Thankfully, this surgery center is staffed by awesome people who know how to work with children and they gas the kids first, knock them out and then start the IV.

I filled out about a bajillion pieces of paperwork and Spencer just chilled.  He was allowed to bring 1 stuffed animal with him.  He picked Yoshi.  Only 1 nurse (and not the ENT or the anesthesiologist) knew who Yoshi was.  Apparently they spent their childhoods prepping for a career in medicine and not playing Nintendo.  OR, they were already too old when Nintendo came out.  Discuss.

I thought the bruise on his leg looked terrible, so I made him cover it.

All prepped and ready to go.

I had just barely updated my facebook status and gotten comfy in my chair in the waiting room when the doctor came out to tell me Spencer was done.  I think the whole thing took about 25 minutes.  It was another 20 minutes before they let me come back to see him though. 

And then the fun began.

Apparently kids react very differently to anesthesia compared to adults.  This is what Spencer looked like when I first went back.

And then suddenly, out of no where, he sat up, flipped around a few times, violently scratched his head, flipped and rolled a few more times and then crashed again.
This happened over and over and over.  I kept asking the nurse if it was OK and she assured me that all kids come out of anesthesia like that.  The nurses even call it the crocodile roll.  It was slightly horrifying and slightly hilarious.

After about 30 minutes he really started coming back and was awake enough to have some water and some otter pops.  He didn't complain about any pain other than his throat, which was from the intubation. 

After about an hour we were allowed to go home.  The whole shebang took just over three hours.  Spencer went to bed when we got home and slept for about an hour.  Then he woke up and was hungry.  He requested donuts.

He was tired all day and went to bed early that night but seriously, by the next day he was pretty much fine.  
He had headaches for the next 3 days, which I think was probably due to the swelling in his nose, but by the 4th day he didn't even have those headaches anymore.  He has been using saline spray 5 times a day to keep his nose moist and to keep it from crusting so much, but even at about day 7 there wasn't any blood or crust left.  He did get a huge amount of mucus out after about 9 days.  It was almost comical how much crap came out of his nose.  And after that was all out I have never, in his life, heard him breathe more clearly.  He has a follow up appointment on Wednesday but I am confident in saying that he has recovered just fine and will hopefully have some long term breathing benefits because of this.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Just a little this and that

I was going to write the post about Spencer's surgery, but when I sat down at the computer it seemed like to much. Too much typing. Too many pictures. Just too much.  So then I thought I would throw together a tid-bits post with a bunch of random stuff.  And honestly, it has ended up being way more work than the surgery post.

I am looking for a very specific piece for a home rejuvenation make-over project.  Elliott and I went to Kirkland's last week.  This would have been perfect (without the wreath) but it is 5 inches too wide. 

The kids made my heart melt and blow up walking home from the bus stop last week.
Elliott was 3 years-4 months on Thursday.  We're a third of the way through the year.  Can you believe it?
Didn't 2015 just start, like 10 days ago?


Super cheeser
Michael took the kids to Tucson on Friday.  I stayed home and worked on home projects.  Michael and his dad worked on his car and the kids stayed with his parents while he stayed at my parents house.  It was a nice weekend for everyone.

I stopped to get gas on my way home from work and decided I should get a car wash because I was going to be driving Maryellen around the next day.  I took this picture specifically for blogging purposes.
After I got home I worked out and then prepped everything to stain the bathroom cabinets.  I got everything ready and was 2 seconds away from starting when I discovered the can of stain (that is honestly almost 2 years old) had dried up to a concrete-like consistency.  I originally bought the can from amazon, so I had a little panic attack thinking about how far behind this put me.  Then I did a quick google search and found a retail store a few miles away where I could buy a new can.
Thanks for saving the day, random woodworking store that I made it to 20 minutes before they closed for the day.

The first coat always looks terrible.

I am very, very tempted to get started on the kitchen next month.  I'm going to start with the island.
There is going to be a whole post about Saturday, but until I get to that point I will just show you this. For months we have assumed that Elliott does this with the pillows.  Nope.  It's Ginger.  She also opens up the same strip of shutters every time.

And finally, Elliott took a very zen, yoga inspired nap yesterday.

He was a BEAST when he woke up.  Probably because he was no longer in his modified lotus pose.