Sunday, March 30, 2008
He has made some progress though – especially with the amount of time he can spend on all fours and with getting back into a sitting position. We have another appt with the physio tomorrow and our first visit with the occupational therapist. I’m mostly looking forward to starting another therapy but also have some mixed feelings. I know from experience that physio is hard work and that most of the time progress is very slow. It can be hard to stay focused on the long term results when you don’t see immediate progress. We celebrate every thing Bennett does with his right hand because we know that it is hard for him – and we have seen some progress as we continue to push him. However, here is where my mixed feelings come in - I also know from experience that while therapy helps it doesn’t “fix” anything. No matter how much we cheer and how hard we work, therapy will not “fix” Bennett anymore than it has “fixed” me. It has without a doubt improved the quality of my life and my ability to do some things but it hasn’t made my injuries go away – I will live with the pain and effects of the car accident forever just like Bennett will always have cerebral palsy. Even though I know that, it is so hard not to get carried away with therapy. I find myself falling into the trap of thinking that with therapy and time Bennett will somehow be “normal”. I think a lot of people think this way – not only when it comes to me but when it comes to Bennett. The truth is, he’s not going to be “normal” – he’s not going to be “fine”. He has cerebral palsy and will have it and will struggle with it for the rest of his life. That truth is hard to face and I must say I prefer to stick my head in the sand sometimes. There is such a fine line between hope and accepting reality.
This morning Jim and I were struggling with trying to tape Bennett’s hand and arm. He was not happy with us at all and just screamed and squirmed. I found myself getting very angry – angry that we have to do this to him at all, angry that every day I feel guilty about not doing enough therapy, angry that he can’t be just a normal little boy and we normal parents with normal worries, angry that my leg aches so much that it makes it difficult to do stuff with Bennett and angry that all this work won’t “fix” him. That’s a lot of anger for a Sunday morning. It’s times like these that I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and take things one day at a time. Therapy is important but it’s also important that Bennett has time to just be a little boy and I have time to just be a mom – and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that, right?
And just because I feel guilty about being a bit negative in this post, here is a short video of Bennett at his last physio appt. He's doing great isn't he?!
Friday, March 28, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Bennett was good pretty much the whole way but had a bit of a meltdown when we got to the hotel. Jim was getting ready to get the stroller out and start walking the hallways. Both boys are asleep now and I'm here in the lobby updating the blog. We had a late dinner - we had ordered a pizza but they were more than an hour late. As a result there was no charge - that has never happened to either of us before. Certainly no Great Lakes Pizza - they are always on time and remember our dipping sauces!
Grandma & Grandpa - we'll call you when we get to Ontario. Mummu & Poppa - thanks for your kind words below. Despite our few problems we had a great holiday too. Enjoy your last week!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Here are two videos of Bennett. One shows him getting from a lying position to a sitting position. He can do this mostly on his own as you can see. Parents of "typical" children will think this is no big deal but to those with kids with hemiplegia it is a big milestone. Regardless of how you sit up, you need to use the muscles on both sides of your body - this is really hard for kids with hemiplegia - hence the grunting you hear in the video (the grunting is not Jim - HA!)
The second video is just of Bennett and daddy playing ball and having fun.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Finally, Part 2 of Our Story.
It was September. Fall has always been my favourite season – the cooler temperatures, the misty mornings, the changing colours, and some quiet time in the park. Having worked in parks for 17 years, I always enjoyed this month the most after the hectic rush of July and August.
Jim and I were camping quite often – he would enjoy watching movies with the dog and sitting by the campfire – I would work. I remember one weekend, lying in our trailer, watching a movie. I don’t even remember what it was - but I do remember Jim and I being more entertained by the display of gymnastics taking place in my belly. Finally, at 5.5 months pregnant, I was beginning to believe that we might actually end up will a real live baby!
We discussed names that weekend too and had pretty much settled on Bennett. We liked the name Ben but didn’t like Benjamin. After reading a bit more about the origin and meaning we liked it even more. The Latin meaning of Bennett is “Little Blessed One”. We thought it quite appropriate considering everything we’d been through. The name is also a variant of Benjamin – which means “Right Hand Son”. Interesting how prophetic that would be!
Anyway, I was driving to work – it was Tuesday, September 19th, 2006. It was a nice morning and I was looking forward to getting to work and meeting with my boss who was returning from a well-deserved vacation. It was 7:30 am. I was listening to the news on the radio when suddenly an approaching car swerved in front of me – not a mere cross of the centre line, but a sharp turn. There was nothing I could do but slam on the brakes. I don’t remember anything from the moment the car swerved until the moment I woke up hanging upside down in the van. After that I remember everything. Like one of the police officers explained – this is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is I don’t have sudden unremembered flashbacks. The bad thing is I remember EVERYTHING.
Rather than describe everything that happened next, I’ll list a few of my “memories” from the accident.
Ø I remember not wanting to wake up.
Ø I remember it being dark and smokey in the van – mainly the result of a deployed air bag.
Ø I remember a young man named Adam who crawled inside and did his best to hold my hips up to take the pressure off my pregnant belly. I remember him holding my hand as we talked about his teaching career. I remember him being told to get out of the van when one of the many volunteer firefighters smelled gas. I remember him crawling back in a couple minutes later.
Ø I remember begging them to let me undo my seatbelt and get me out of the van.
Ø I remember people shouting about the fatalities in the other vehicle.
Ø I remember someone telling me that soon my adrenaline would wear off and then I would be in A LOT of pain. Boy was he right.
Ø I remember feeling a light mist on my face as they strapped me onto the stretcher before putting me in the ambulance.
Ø I remember the paramedic who held my hand for the drive to the hospital that seemed to take forever. I remember when we arrived and I finally let go of his hand and how he said he would have a fun time trying to explain the fingernail marks to his girlfriend. I remember telling him that it would be easier than explaining fingernail marks on his back. (Even through all this I remain a smart ass).
Ø I remember hearing screaming in the emergency room and then realizing that it was me as they tried to straighten my foot.
Ø I remember a nurse asking me if it was alright for her to call Jim and tell him that I had been in an accident and just had a broken ankle so he wouldn’t be too freaked out. (Remember what I told you before, in Part 1 of Our Story – whenever someone uses the word “just” – be very suspicious).
Ø I remember being so grateful to be alive but so scared that my baby wasn’t. I NEVER want to feel that kind of paralyzing fear again.
Ø I remember seeing our baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound and feeling such relief but still so much fear that it wouldn’t last.
So, those are some of my memories of what I thought until recently, was the worst day of my life. My injuries included a severe, open subtalar fracture/dislocation of my right ankle. My surgeon would only tell me six months later how close they were to amputating my foot. A distal femur fracture, a broken left wrist and a number of abrasions and bruises that would last for months, including the imprint of a seatbelt rounded out my most serious injuries.
After almost two weeks in the hospital, I returned home to a life that had changed forever. But at least I was still pregnant and hopeful that everything would be ok.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
She noticed a definite improvement with him taking weight on his hands and knees and in rolling back and forth into a sitting position, so I guess this week’s work has paid off. We are to continue with this exercise and the stretches.
We have been given two more exercises to do over the next couple of weeks. The first one is a modified baby sit up that consists of us laying him on outstretched legs and pulling him up slowly, letting him do most of the work. This will help strengthen the arm and trunk muscles on the right side. Bennett enjoys this as it closely resembles a favourite game. The other exercise is in the video. This one will strengthen his leg and hip muscles and help with standing. Jim will be responsible for this exercise as we cannot figure out a way for me to do it as it requires kneeling behind him.
The place Bennett goes to for physio is located in an old school. They do outpatient treatments as well as regular classroom activities for children that are not ready to join a mainstream school yet. While we were there yesterday an announcement came over the P.A. system. My first thought was “oh, oh, someone’s in trouble and getting called to the principal’s office”. However, after listening a little more carefully I quickly realized that it wasn’t that type of announcement at all. Instead this is what we heard:
“We would just like to congratulate Sophie from Mrs. Smith’s class. Sophie can now get dressed and undressed all by herself. Congratulations Sophie!”
With that announcement, we stopped to clap and could hear clapping and cheering coming from the other rooms as well. Needless, to say my eyes quickly filled with tears as I thought of how proud she must be along with her parents and therapists and how wonderful it was that we all stopped for a moment to help celebrate this wonderful accomplishment!
I think I need a Kleenex.