Don't Steal My Sunshine
January 27, 2009
His left lung, the one that collapsed, has been drained of fluid and...uh...reinflated? uncollapsed? You know. Whatever the proper technical term for WE DONE FIXED IT is. But! Now he has pneumonia in the right lung, and is hallucinating from a lack of oxygen to his brain. And not fun hallucinations that we can tease him about later. Scary dreary hallucinations about death that are making my mom cry and me stress-eat the hell out of a pan of brownies. AND THEN there are a couple heart-related things that I cannot spell but we are assured are at least somewhere in the realm of "normal" complications. So...yay for that?
Despite waiting for almost two months for yesterday's evaluation appointment, I sincerely wished I could have rescheduled. Y'all know what the past few months have been like, health-wise, over here, with the colds and sinus infections and ear infections and ear infections LEAKING OUT OF OUR EYEBALLS. So you know that I know Sick. I am an expert at Sick. And yesterday I was indeed at the level of Sick where I shouldn't have been anywhere except my bed, researching the same damn breastfeeding websites, hoping for JUST ONE that would tell me some Nyquil would be okay, because I WANT NYQUIL. MULTI-INGREDIENT, ALCOHOL-RIDDEN NYQUIL.
Anyway. Noah went back with two very young speech pathologists -- I'm not old enough to be other adults' mother yet, but I was definitely old enough to buy them booze in junior high -- and I sat in the waiting room filing out scads of paperwork, balling a tissue up by my red nose to prevent dripping snot all over a detailed account of Noah's developement. How old was he when he sat up? Walked? Moved from single words to two-word phrases? How long did he toe-walk for? How many hours was I in labor with him? APGAR SCORES, LADY. WE CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DON'T HAVE ALL OF THIS WRITTEN DOWN IN YOUR WALLET.
(I DO have it written down, of course, but my iPhone's battery was dead so I couldn't access my blog. And without access to my blog I can only tell you that I have a son named Noah. He's over there. The skinny one with the dimple.)
I coughed and sneezed and crossed stuff out because I kept misspelling complicated words like months and speech and Noah. I detailed his diet (bread and other bread-like substances) and his likes and dislikes and fears and various obsessions, like it was a online dating profile for Very Quirky People. (Do you enjoy long walks on the beach with your socks on? Do you hate fingerpaints? If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, would it be Goldfish Crackers?)
I was called back after the evaluation and tried my damnedest to seem alert and together and ADVOCATE, DAMMIT. ADVOCATE THROUGH THE SINUS PAIN! The head therapist felt that Noah's articulation actually IS very good -- he CAN say all the sounds that a child his age should be able to make. He just...doesn't, a lot of the time.
She noticed his lack of social/conversational speech and that the vast majority of what he says is simply him repeating what you've just said. ("Noah, do you want to play with the trains again?" "Yeah, I want to play with the trains again.") When he needs to build a sentence himself ("Noah, what do you want to do now?"), he struggles and comes up with something more basic and hard to understand ("Noah wan pay trains."). This might explain why he often defaults to stuff he's memorized -- canned answers and phrases, entire patches of TV dialogue -- and why he has difficulty answering complex questions about when and why and how.
When he eats, he only chews on the right side of his mouth -- something I'd never noticed, but hot damn if it isn't the truth. Put something in the left side and he'll immediately move it over before starting to chew. He still refuses to use utensils -- he'll lick stuff off them, maybe, but you'll rarely see a spoon actually enter his mouth -- and still has difficulty drinking from an open cup. And textures. Oh my hell, with the textures. His diet -- despite us doing and trying EVERYTHING that every book or expert recommends -- has never been worse or more restrictive. We essentially give him everything he needs to live mixed into liquid smoothies.
The therapist did not think that there is anything super serious or profound going on -- he's a quirky kid with a lot of little stuff going on all around the sensory spectrum who could really benefit from some extra help during a fairly critical age. You know, exactly the sort of kid who would graduate out of Early Intervention and then still struggle to really fit into a mainstream preschool classroom. Imagine that! Why I never! The more you know!
They're proposing speech therapy that will focus on his eating and oral motor skills -- getting him to use both sides of his mouth, accepting different textures and foods, and packing some pounds onto his skinny little self. (Like our ill-fated foray into EI Lunch Bunch, only not in a group setting and hopefully with a therapist with the tiniest modicum of PATIENCE for CHILDREN.) And then, a conversational/social skills session, where he'll be paired with another kid of similar needs/abilities and act out simple situations with appropriate conversation. They're also pretty sure they can work around our insurance's list of exclusions for speech therapy.
By the time I heard all of this, I was completely DONE and exhausted and achey, to the point where I hope the therapist doesn't think I approach breakthroughs in my child's developmental needs with all the excitement of a teeth cleaning. As we were driving away to pick up the baby from a friend's house, I belatedly started to process the New Plan v. 2009 and realized that wow, I think this is really going to be good. Great, even. Just what he needs.
We shall see, I guess. I need to recharge my optimism circuits, a little bit, but I think this might be a good start.