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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Euro-Peds (Week 1)

Week one at Euro-Peds was exhausting.

It's not the actual therapy. No. It's the therapy trip. I've now noticed that during these therapy "trips," and I'm sure other special needs parents can feel me on this one, it is so entirely exhausting and I have no explanation for it. I'm not even the one doing the therapy!

I guess I'm dumbfounded by the level of exhaustion because we aren't doing anything we wouldn't normally do back home. I load Christian and Lola in and out of the car all the time. I think it's a mixture of emotional exhaustion, time difference, and weather maybe? I don't know. Maybe it's the amount of energy you put into the amount of hope you have for each new therapy. It's so much that it eventually comes to a head and you have to sleep it off.

I'm going to wait to compare Euro-Peds and the NAPA center until we're done with the two weeks and I can wrap my brain around everything.

For now, I'll explain what we do every day.

We start at 9 A.M. every morning. For the first two hours Christian is on a massage table. He's given a massage from head to toe with range of motion and heating pads are placed on his muscles to loosen them up. The lights are off and Baby Einstein or something equally stimulating is playing to the side. It's all very relaxing and I've caught myself falling asleep during the whole ordeal. I mean, he even gets a little facial (lucky!) and this whole process is important because it wakes up and loosens Christian's muscles, including his facial muscles. These muscles are important for things like facial expressions and smiling (hint, hint, Christian!). I look at it as Christian's mini-spa time.

Mini-spa time

At the end of mini-spa time, Christian is dressed in his suit. It's like the neurosuit or the therasuit, except for it's patented for Euro-Peds. From what I can see there isn't really anything different between the suits other than cost. And for some reason, it looks like Christian is working harder and breathing harder in the Euro-Peds suit. I can't explain why so it must be something I don't see.

After he's suited up, it's time for the gym room. This is where Christian works on the ball and specifically on head and trunk control. That's been pretty much the theme of the whole week and will probably be the theme with the whole therapy. We can put Christian in all kinds of different positions but it doesn't really mean anything unless he's got true head and trunk control - not control from tone, which is what he's previously used.

Working on head control - A trick to get a child to lift their head is to tickle the back of the neck. With Christian, it's tickling his big ol' cheeks.

Christian also gets electrode stimulation where little electrodes are placed on different muscles and electric pulses are given to the muscles to make them contract and hopefully send a message to Christian's brain that he has these muscles and he can and should use them. Don't worry, it does not hurt. Christian would let me know if it did, trust me.

Christian has also been able to ride his first bike. It's specially tailored for kids like Christian and it really works his legs. At first, as I posted before, he hated it. He cried and cried. But yesterday, he was able to hang for a little bike ride and did awesome.

Another go at the an ascot.

His leg is doing much better, by the way.

So from what I can gather, Christian did pretty well. But it's hard to make a comparison, honestly.

When we first arrived, it seemed so different. But really, Christian is different from when he went to NAPA. First, he's not throwing up multiple times a day. That caused so much pain, I'm sure, and subsequently, he would arch into extension...a lot. He also had a lot more jerks and seizure activity, so I'm not sure how that comes into the equation. And finally, he didn't have Botox in his quads or adductors. So at this point, his body is a lot more relaxed.

That's why I want to give it another week before I start making summaries and comparisons. But it's going well so far.

As for how we're doing outside of therapy, my mom flew out with us last Saturday and helped us the first week. We just took her back to the airport and my sister and her family (my brother in law, niece, and two nephews) came to help me for the second week. Then Manny will come Friday and fly us back. Let's play "How many people can we fit into a hotel room in two weeks!" Seriously, though, we are so blessed to have so much family to support us and help us. At the very least, when it exhausts this mommy, she can take a nap...or two.
Cousin Kaleb showing Christian some cool new toys.

Ready to melt?....

I'm a puddle.


ferfischer said...

Dude - I can totally understand the exhaustion, and I haven't travelled yet for a "napa-like" trip. Maybe next year though! Who knows. I do feel like this when we do any kind of trip though, so I understand! Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

From one puddle to another, I miss all of you. Love Gramma

HesterFamily said...

Love, love LOVE the picture of Lola and Christian sleeping together - priceless! Hope week 2 goes well!

Rochelle said...

I'm so glad to hear that its going well, and you're right not to worry about too much comparison right now. Just take it one step and one day at a time. The pic of your two little babies together is just so precious. You have two of the best little blessings right there! I'm glad your family is able to be there to help, too. It may be crowded but having some extra helping hands and support will be worth it. Hang in there and enjoy your next week.

Peg said...

That is the best picture of Lola snuggling up to her big brother. And Christian patiently allowing it! Thanks for the update. We just got back from SD and I was wondering how it was going! See you next week. peg

Jen said...

I really see that little sister being a motivating source for Mr. Christian!!

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