Friday, June 27, 2008

Having a Ball

Charlie in a pool full of balls to encourage sensory imput of his surroundings and how his body can affect things.
I have been getting some requests to update again. Sorry it took so long. We have had two very busy weekends with each of our families. First a reunion/engagement party with the Christensens then a reuinion with the Barlows. I find it difficult to complete a task without an interruption but Rob is home today so I have locked myself in the computer room to complete this. .
SO here’s what has happened at our house lately.
Charlie is now set up with 7 different therapists (3 through IHC Rehab, 2 from Early Intervention and 2 from the School of the Deaf and Blind). He also has 6 different doctors to follow up with right now. I think this will decrease as he continues to improve but I’m glad to have access to their cumulative knowledge in the early stages as to not miss anything. I want to get as many therapists as possible involved to give him the best shot at improvement. However, that leads to a busy life for him and me. A typical schedule is as follows

Typical Schedule for COOP
8:00-Meds, bath, dressed
8:30- Exercises with Aunt Dierdre
9:30- Stander/nap
10:30- get ready and drive to therapy
11:00- therapy
12:30- get back home and settled
1:00- Eating exercises-taste a little pudding
2:00- medicine, nap
3:00- Exercises with Aunt Dierdre
3:30- nap
4:30- therapy in house
5:30-eating exercises-chew on things
6:30-8- agitated, likes to be held until falls asleep
8:00- meds, put on ankle braces, good night Sweet Boy
in between we are supposed to stimulate his brain by exposing him to different textures, sounds, finger play games, temperatures, patterns, lights etc.
Then add in Britt's summer recreation (soccer and tumbling) and craft day and swim lessons. I truly feel like a taxi service but love being a part of it.
We went to see Coop’s pediatrician last week and he said things are going well. He is right on schedule for his weight, height and head circumference. A growth spurt in his head measurement could mean that the shunt is not working so it’s important to keep monitoring that. Dr. Lam was very current on Charlie’s situation and gave us some good advice for handicapped kids. Since Coop was in the hospital during his 9 month and 12 month check up times he didn’t get any vaccinations so he is a little behind. Dr. Lam didn’t feel like he wanted to overwhelm his system so he only gave him 2 and we are supposed to follow up with him in 2 months for more. When Sherry the nurse gave him his shots he let out a real boy cry instead of his normal moaning cry. I thought it was pretty cute.
Lisa from IHC Rehab was able to score us this stander for Char to use. It is awesome! She fit it to him during therapy. I am supposed to work him up to 45-minute sessions 3 times a day but it’s a little hard to find that much time. So far I have been able to do it at least once a day for an hour. Surprisingly he doesn’t seem to mind it and even falls asleep. It also puts him at a great position to work on eating and visual stimulation exercises. I’m really excited about it.

I tried to increase his feeding rate from 55cc/hr to 60cc/hr and he threw up so we went back to 55. Then he continued to throw up throughout the day so I’m not sure if it was the increase or just some stomach upset/reflux. Maybe in a few days I will try again.

Wednesday I took him back to Primary Children’s for two more appointments. First was the Dr. Dries, the ophthalmologist. He spun black and white drum like this oneand Coop’s eyes fluctuated up and down (nystagmsus) so he said, “Yes Charlie can see!” We had suspected that but it was nice to have it verified by a doctor. However, there is some mild damage to the optic nerve (the wiring between the eye and the brain) and presumably brain atrophy in the vision area. In meningitis it is common to see improvement in vision for several years after the injury, but Dr. Dries feels that Coop will have severe vision loss the rest of his life.
From that appointment we went to follow up with Dr. Warren, the ENT surgeon. He checked out Charlie’s implant scar and the magnet site. He said everything looked good and we only need to come back if there is a problem. Then we met my dad at Liberty Park with Britt and Max before we had to head home for Charlie's food and meds. After swim lessons Ry joined us for a Boys Only (except for MOM) Slumber Party4 boys in a bed and the little one said "roll over I'm tired"RyRy thinks Char's lips need some tasty lip smackers
Things that have improved since we have been home:
Fewer medicines
Doesn’t need as much patting-mostly just in the evenings
Tolerates position changes and movement better-
His hands/fingers are more relaxed-not clenched constantly
Moving his head side to side on his own
Moving his arms at the shoulder on his own instead of only at the elbow
Eyes seem to be more active-still not focusing on anything and still dilated
Swallowing small amounts of pudding/food everyday
Only needs stomach venting occasionally
Tolerating his feedings through his g-tube better

Of course I would like to see quicker progress but I am learning patience.

Britts favorite way to watch TV and relax after soccer-holding Coop's hand

A highlight of our week was finally meeting Megan and Alyvia. I know it's hard to believe but Alyvia is even cuter in person (and her mom too). She knew just how to pat Charlie, Britt loved showing off for her and she has the cutest giggle ever. Rob would have given her anything when she smiled. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit-you will never know how much it means to us.