Friday, August 28, 2009

CIT--last day

This was day.....Day 21. I was woefully inadequate in my counting. My days got mixed up.

And this was the very last day we had to get up and be at the hospital at 9 a.m.

Wild Applause!!!!

Ashley snuggled into her daddy while we waited for everything to start.




Today was a day of therapy for the first hour or so, then testing and measuring the differences in their before and after dexterity and strength. The third hour was to be the final swim of the program but was canceled due to something unmentionable happening in the pool.

Before I tell you about the day, I want to show you Mickey. He used to sit near the entrance of the hospital and when we'd come in my children would say "hello Mickey!" and when we'd leave they would say "Goodbye Mickey!" and give him a hug. He was kind of a given---a constant if you will, for us. Yes, I know it's quite sad that my children had such a relationship with a wooden figure. When they were a little older we got them real friends.

We noticed at one point that he was gone and then suddenly he reappeared. Mickey is back!



I think he shrunk. I refuse to believe my children are getting taller.

la la la la la la la I can't heaaaaaaaaar you!

So, the last day of CIT. We left the girls in the hands of the therapists and we left the hospital. I think we were both suffering a bad case of hospital burn out. We went and got a bagel, drove around a bit then came back.

No worries....we always return. Like a boomerang. Like a homing pigeon. Like the swallows of Capistrano. Like teenagers when the money runs out. We found Ashley being tested and video taped. She didn't want me in there and it will clearly show on the video taped record that she ordered me out of the room. Nicely, but still an order.



I'm not sure what she was doing here but she may have been showing the therapist "This is how my head feels when my mommy follows me around with her camera". It's just a guess.




We went to the parent resource room to play on the computers I mean to do some very important work online and then we went to the pool but found the sign saying it was not a good place to swim that day. Back upstairs we went in search of our child and found all of them in the therapy area playing some games.

Devon was bowling.



And Ashley was playing some sort of game. Oh wait, that's bowling too. I just came back to edit that and tell you that it's bowling. I know what bowling is. Honest. So, she's bowling.



When she saw us she ran to get the treat she'd made for us the day before. Much to my dismay there wasn't a broccoli floret on the plate! It was just chocolate chip cookies. You can see Peggy here, eying the plate. Later we had to wrestle her for them. You'll be glad to know that we won. :) (KIDDING!) She won! No, ok, not really. There was no wrestling. No Occupational Therapists were injured in the making of this blog post. :)



Speaking of blog posts, we told them about this blog with all the pictures of the CIT camp. They wanted to see it, so I logged on for them and they gathered around. They seemed to be gasping as they read. I hope this was in a good way, but the jury could still be out on that one. I took a picture of the Blog Stalkers. See?



All in all......a wonderful and very helpful experience. Ashley loved it and said she wants to sign on for another round. I'm not sure how that works but we can probably get on the waiting list for CIT again. At least I hope so.

Thanks for everything!



I almost forgot to say that we had lunch in the cafeteria with Devon and her mom. Such wonderful people--I'm so glad we got to know them.

Ashley and Devon discussed the after-cit-plan together. Each will be doing certain activities with their weaker hands in order to keep up their gains.




Ashley did something sweet for her sister when we left the hospital today. I'll post about that tomorrow as I'm pretty wiped out from two hours of swimming tonight.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CIT Day 18--Cast Removal!

Although we're not done with the program until tomorrow, they removed the casts today. It was amusing as we had the girls stand there in the waiting room to take a few last pictures with their casts on.

They smiled and posed.



Then I asked them to raise their casts.



Then I asked them to put them down.



Now up again!



Then I asked them to do the Hokey Pokey and they wouldn't!

It was off to find scissors and being the joyful removal. Peggy found her inner fiend as she prepared to cut. Ashley looks a bit frightened.



Peggy got hold of herself and did the cutting properly. No blood was spilled.



Look!!! I have an arm again!!



Then it was off to the bathroom to take care of Stinky Arm. A good washing was in order.



We left them to their work after that and decided to leave the hospital to get the suburban washed. I had no idea it was free car wash day at Brown Bear and was happy to take advantage of that freebie. Then we got lost on Magnolia and ended up hitting up the Essential Baking Co. for some bread with which to make sandwiches.

We went back to find the girls and followed the delicious scent of cookies. Apparently we weren't supposed to see them mixing the dough.



I was pushed from the kitchen and sent on my way.

Later I went looking for them again and found this in the kitchen.



I then found them down the hall doing this!



When I asked about the cookies I was shushed and told that they were actually making something with broccoli and we weren't allowed to see it or to have any until tomorrow. Uh huh...suuuuuure.

Oh! Before I forget, here's the picture she painted yesterday. Using only her right hand. A duckie!! It's not the duckie of comfort but it's a close relative. Didn't she do an awesome job?




And tomorrow is the very last day of Constraint Induced Therapy. It's been an awfully long month in some ways---and quite fast and short in others. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

If you've read along with me this long---thanks so much. Ashley has wonderful people in her life and I'm thankful for each and every one of you for your love and encouragement.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CIT--Day Seventeen.

Or so I believe.

I'm unbelievable tired right now so don't expect witty from me in this post. Expect the opposite with lots of spelling and grammatical errors tossed in for good measure. Lance will read this tomorrow and correct my mistakes.

Off to the hospital and waiting for the therapists to show up. Last night Ash got a pretty green addition to her cast---green duct tape!




Then it was off in the elevator with her pal and fellow CIT camper, Devon.




Hubby and I took off for the parent resource room where I'd managed to secure him a massage for his birthday after all. Well, a day late but hey. She said we could split it in half--half for me, half for him, but I said no. He needed it and I wanted him to feel good.

After things were getting near the end we went downstairs to secure a table in the cafeteria because that place is insane at noon. Lance held on to the table while I went to check on Ashley. She was painting!




I could tell they'd been drawing before that because there were drawings covering the entire room.

I'll post some of those later.

For now....here are more painting pics




And....



There are more but I can't find them. I'll get them later.

We got a table because cousin Trudy came to see us and give Lance a sweet birthday present. We all enjoyed a bit of lunch and then Ashley got comfy with her daddy.




It was wonderful to see Trudi---we need to see her more often. I feel badly that we don't spend enough time with family. Well, some parts of family.

At any rate, it was off to home, then laundry and dishes and cooking and then to Young Women's at church and meeting up with my brother to put some oil in the suburban and well...I'm tired.

G'nite.

Pea Patch Adventure

Some people would take their significant other out to a fancy restaurant for their birthday. Some might even take them to an exotic locale for a weekend getaway.

I always take the unexpected and less-thrilling options.

I took Lance to a pea patch for his birthday. AND I made him buy me a scone before we went.

I know. I know. It's life on the edge. Try not to be jealous.

Seriously though, it was an amazingly beautiful place and it was wonderful to spend the morning outside of the hospital for a change.




Oh, in my defense, I DID finally get him a massage today. See? I can be nice.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CIT--Day Sixteen...or so..

I'm losing track of time. Not surprising really. I'll get back on track when school begins next week I'm sure. Then I'll be looking at calendars all day. Obsessively.

But again...I digress.

I was not allowed to post pictures from yesterday because the laptop and the computer were both in constant use by my children and when they were done with them I was too tired to finish posting things.

So, to finish what I began yesterday.

I didn't get to see much of what they did for therapy because I wasn't with them too long. They started out on the third floor room doing some indoor ball playing with the group.




I watched for a bit then went on to do some work upstairs.

After therapy was over we met up with some dear friends from Wonderland---Marybeth and her daughter Cailie. We've been friends since our girls were babies together and it was good to spend some time together.



They looked at the fish tanks in the cafeteria while we sat and talked.



Cailie is 11 and Ash is 10.

After that we spent some time at the gift shop---because you know we can't spend too much time at that hospital. No, it's just not enough. (Can you tell I was itching to get out of there??)

At any rate....we said our goodbyes.

And on to CIT DAY 16

Today was Lance's birthday and I really really wanted him to come with us to the hospital. Not because I didn't want to be down there alone---which I really didn't want to experience again--but because I'd secretly signed him up for a massage there in the parent resource room. So we got up this morning and showered Ashley. Lance held her casted arm, now covered in a plastic garbage bag, up in the air while I washed and conditioned and scrubbed her. I'd taken my shower first but I should have just held off because when I finished with her I was sopping wet. Again.

At any rate, we got down there to Children's, checked in, dropped Ashley off with her group and we walked out to our car again. As we sat there talking, my cell phone rang. It was the parent resource center saying that there would be no massage therapist there today.

Argh.

Soooo....we went for a drive. We drove through Laurelhurst---a pretty ritzy part of town and admired things we could never have. Then we went to this delightful bakery on Sandpoint way and got some scones and went over to the old Sand Point Naval Air Station and drove around. We parked near what looked like a garden park and took a walk. It turned out to be the most extraordinary pea patch! We took many pictures (which I'll post later) and had a wonderful time.

Then it was back to the hospital to pick up Ashley. We went to the room where her CIT group was and found them doing some music therapy. Ash wasn't too keen to have us there listening and watching so I took this quick picture and we scooted out.




We went to pick her up later and she was hiding something behind her back.



It was the gift she'd been working on for her Daddy. A tool box! She'd made it and painted it all by herself.



Lance was thrilled. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

And now it's nearly midnight--I'm bushed. I'll post more about things tomorrow. Like holding a baby squirrel today, and making stuffed zucchini and...and....and...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Monday, August 24, 2009

CIT--Day....uh...what day are we on?

Oh yeah, Day 15.

Wow.

I'm here at the hospital with Ashley. It's funny when the check in people look at you and welcome you by name. I got tired of answering the same questions every day I've been here so I started off by answering all their questions before they asked them.

Today Ashley gets some pet therapy and she was excited about that part of today.

I'll post some pictures later in the day when I get home.

And now....back to working on curriculum.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Like a fly....

Trapped. Held. Stuck.

No possible way out no matter how I struggle.

I'm so tired of beating my wings against the immovable.

So exhausted, heart and soul.

Trapped.


****************************

And in other areas of my heart...
I was thinking tonight about a lot of things. I wonder if I'm doing enough or am I doing too much for Ashley? I talked to one of the moms at the hospital this week about the things she has her daughter doing. She's a right sided hemi just like Ashley and she's knitting and playing piano.

Knitting! She has made a couple of scarves and she is taking piano lessons from a teacher who has written one handed music for her to play.

I'm not doing enough. Not in those areas. I feel so inadequate. I feel like a failure. I'm failing her.

And then....am I doing too much for her in other areas? Helping her dress? Feeding her? I have had to do more in those areas since we began this difficult therapy but am I doing too much? Giving her too much help? Not making her work hard enough? Where do I draw the line?

There has been a fine line between allowing her to attempt things on her own and my desire to help her and make all things right for her.

I can never make all things right for her, no matter how hard I try, or cry or pray. I simply can't.

I can't.

How much do I push and how much do I step back and just let her struggle? Let her fight her way out of things?

I've often wished these little souls came with an instruction manual with a check list of things that I could cross off as I did them so I would know I was doing it right. And even when I think I've done it right...it's never turned out the way I hoped.

My heart just hurts tonight.

CIT weekend

I got up before the family this morning an took Cassie out for a bit of a walk and then to the garden.

I picked these beauties



I also picked some blueberries and blackberries. There are some tomatoes ready to be plucked but I'll hold off on those beauties until dinner tonight and then I'll grab them. The fresher the better!

I'm making a rice and zucchini dish (with onions, garlic and shrimp) for our old neighborhood barbecue/potluck this afternoon. We miss that neighborhood so much...wish we'd never left.

But I digress.

It's cool and overcast and that spells HEAVEN to me! And yes, I AM a born and raised Seattle girl. Bring on the rain!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CIT--Day Twelve

Friday! Yay Friday!

Lance went with us to the hospital today, which was nice. I hate being down there by myself.

The girls spent the hour of camp up in the pt/ot therapy unit and Ashley worked on something that I can't talk about because it's something for her Daddy for his birthday and he reads this blog. Hear that Daddy? You can't know! (I'll post a picture of the present next week when it's completed and he's seen it already) Just FYI, it's a FAB PRESENT!

Next they went downstairs for a rousing game of Apples to Apples.



They seem to love this game. I can tell from the giggles and laughter coming from the Teen Room where they're playing it. (I also loved the signs on the walls in there that say if a parent is not accompanied by a teen then they are to be removed and sent back to their room)

Lance and I spent some time outside in the play area. There was lots of cool stuff to play with and the ground was squishy. I love squishy ground! Lance played with the eyeball in this toy. He loves toys and he doesn't get out much so don't judge him too harshly. (Hi honey! LOL!)



After hour number two it was time to remove the casts. PEEEE--YEEEEEEW! Taking off one cast after it's been on someone is smelly enough, but imagine taking off THREE casts in one tiny room. They were all suffering from a severe case of Stinky Arm.
So of course, washing up was the first order of business.



Then it was off to the pool for some recreational therapy.



Is that a happy face or what? She swam and they played water volleyball. Ashley swam four laps down and back the length of the pool. I know it must have felt like heaven to have that heavy cast off her arm and be able to move through the water like she did.

Then it was showers all around (Yes, I did look like I'd taken a shower as well when we were done as Ashley wasn't paying attention with the hand held shower head and aimed it right at me).

After showering and removing all traces of Stinky Arm, it was time to put the casts back on and cover them with a new color. Ashley chose hot pink for her last week.



We have a CIT camp rule that on Fridays we can have lunch at the hospital cafeteria (or as Ashley called it when she was younger---The Fatateria)

Ash ate and we helped. She's getting pretty good with those French Fries. See?



So week two is done. Now we have the weekend (oh please let me sleep in tomorrow!) and then on to the final week.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

CIT--Day Eleven

Sooooo hard to get out of bed this morning. I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not move for a few more hours---but we all know I roused myself and got up.

Having hubby working the swing shift and getting home at midnight each night is not conducive to early rising. Although Ash was asleep when he got home, I was still awake and then we lay in bed talking for a few hours. Bad us. We should have just gone to sleep.

We've never been known to do the smart thing.

So, the morning was a sleepy one but we made it to the hospital in plenty of time.

Ashley and Devon, one of the girls with her in CIT camp, are becoming friends. They're close in age and in the same grade. albeit in different school districts. I'm hopeful they will maintain their friendship.

Here they are this morning playing an old computer game at the beginning of their day.



It's an old game but they enjoyed it. It involved cards that are placed in the monitor space and then they have to push buttons as they locate or label certain items.



I left them to their therapy and went up to the parent area on the 5th floor. I sat outside on their patio and filled out the reams of paperwork the school sends each year for back to school things. Entire forests are decimated for this stuff---most of it superfluous and some of it down right annoying....but I digress.

There was a lovely breeze out there and I was able to make some phone calls and even a short video of the area with the ending a shot of me thanking Lance for watering the front yard, the side yard, the back yard, the garden, the side of the house, etc. (No, I shan't be posting that video here) It takes nearly two hours to get all that watering done.

Then I went in search of a computer and spent some time doing....computer things. No, not playing Word Twist, only because Facebook was acting all wonky and wouldn't allow it.

I went down to check on the girls and they were playing Barrel of Monkeys.



This was not an easy feat and they had a new girl join them during this time. I'm not sure what her story is but Ashley said her disability was worse than the rest of them and she was learning to walk again.


As I was walking the halls again, I noticed these colorful fish they've put on some of the corridors.



I thought about how sometimes it feels as though we are doing our best to move upstream against the currents that push against us, much like the fish. We push and we struggle and we fight.

One thing we don't do is give up. Never, ever give up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

CIT--Day Ten

You know how a small child will cup your face in their hands and pull you close? Look in your eyes? Remember your little ones doing that?

Ashley never could because her hand wouldn't turn that way. She could put the back of her hand on my cheek, but not the palm.

Last night she cupped my face----and I cried.

Today is day ten. Her progress is astounding to me. Truly.

We rode the elevator down to the third floor to a new room this morning.



Once we got there, Ashley helped put up some paper so they could draw on it with markers.



She went to work on a tub with some rice and toys in it. Her job was to remove the small objects from the rice.



Peggy belongs to Ashley for the first hour of each day and Ashley is thrilled. I'm so grateful we've found Peggy.




I walk the hospital sometimes while Ashley is doing her therapy. Though Children's has changed much in the twenty years since we began this adventure that is parenthood---some things haven't changed and I can't help but remember past walks through those halls. Past terror and pain.

Walking the length of the hall from the cafeteria to the elevators this morning brought back memories of when Allison was there the summer before Ash was born. I was six months pregnant and I remember having some sharp pain during that walk. So sharp I had to stop and hold the wall until it passed.

I'd take another step heading back to Allison's room and the pain would return. I'd stop. It took me a great deal of time to make it back to Allison's room. She was just two and this was her second time in the hospital that month. When I got back to Alli's room the nurse called a doctor to look at me. I remember him telling me that they weren't set up to have me go into labor there and that I should go home and rest.

I've spent many nights at that hospital---I'm so thankful it's here and close and so amazing. It's saved the lives of my children---all of them at one time or another.

And it's given Ashley the ability to cup my face in her hands.