Swings, goldfish, and stories. Speech has become a big highlight for Z every week. How can you not like swings and goldfish? The chosen book: 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. She learned a few more buttons on the device today too.
On Monday we had a final follow-up for Z’s eye surgery. I went alone with both kids, so pictures were not really an option. She did a great job of jumping straight in the big chair and doing her best to follow directions. Zoey is completely healed at this point, and we are now waiting to see how her eyes adjust to all the changes. She has been showing some nearsightedness. We have another visit in 4 months, which will help us decide if glasses are a good option for her. The appointment is scheduled for the week after my due date for #3.
If you have not had a chance to watch this video where I try to explain what craniosynostosis is in such a way that many more could understand, please give it a view! I am working on some follow up videos where I will tackle other aspects of cranio so any feedback that I can get now would go a long way in making the other videos even better.
Last Monday we took a family trip to a VCUHS satellite location that is dedicated to children’s therapy. This was the day before the eye surgery, and I mentally set it aside afterward to focus on the procedure. At the therapy center, Zoey was evaluated by an OT, a speech pathologist, and a training therapist for an assisted learning device. It’s essentially a tablet that is specifically designed to assist kids who have trouble with speech. It’s programmed with a system that provides spoken phrases using finger muscle memory in a series of keypads, much like typing on a keyboard. I was almost teary-eyed watching Zoey get so excited about her sudden, new-found vocabulary. As I worked on paperwork for the purchase order, she was eagerly searching for the words for all the zoo animals that were on the puzzle in front of her. Meanwhile, Cranio Dad was on David duty, and got his full workout as a jungle gym and tag partner. Unfortunately we won’t get a home device for ourselves for a long time. The full process of paperwork traveling from therapist to doctor to insurance to device provider, before the device is finally shipped to us, is estimated to take 3-4 months. Slightly longer than ideal, but I am so excited for Zoey to have some new encouragement in expressing herself. Personally, I can also only say the same word so many times anymore before my patience goes out the window. If Zoey can carry around a device that helps her develop her words more consistently while also communicating with others, score for all of us!
A little redness, a little swelling, and a lot more focus. After sleeping for practically 24 hours straight, Z woke up in a much better mood. Her post-op appointment was late this morning, and the doctor is very impressed with the results. We are supposed to keep her eyes clean and dry as much as possible for the first week. The swelling and black eye might take up to three weeks to completely heal, but rarely does Zoey take as long as doctors estimate. We are so glad to be on the other side of this one, and we are ecstatic over Zoey’s already improved vision.
Tuesday morning Zoey had her ninth procedure, which corrected a few eye muscles to encourage her eyes to realign and work together more often. We left the house shortly after 6am and the anesthesiologist began his job around 7:30. We couldn’t believe it when we saw Zoey again before 9:30. So rarely do these procedures end this quickly for us. Even with the best of specialists, Z has some pretty unique anatomy and there tends to be a few surprises once they start working. This time the eyes muscles were in a little bit of an unusual position, however, Dr Wortham seemed very pleased with the outcome when he talked to us immediately following the surgery. We are excited to see how Zoey is affected as she recovers. For now she is sleeping on the couch while the rest of us finally grab some breakfast.
I have just posted a video on my channel where I try to explain Craniosynostosis. Give it a watch and let me know what you think.
On Tuesday afternoon we headed downtown to visit our pediatrician. Zoey had her 4-year check up and clearance sign-off for her pending eye surgery next week. David was his usual smiley handful of screaming energy. They each colored, had two snacks, took off their shoes, weighed each other, and attempted a few tries at the computer password in the exam room during the waiting time. Zoey also re-examined her own ears, blood pressure, and temp. Just in case, I guess. Overall, she is doing really well. She put up an admirable fight for her two vaccines, which took two nurses at her legs while I held down her arms. I believe the phrase “strong as an ox” was used. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have weaker kids, and I’m so grateful that they can each hold their own…even if it means I’m the one needing to fight back most often. As soon as Z saw the pink band-aids with little bows, all was good again. They lasted the entire day, and the first thing she had to show Daddy when he came home was her pink battle band-aids still on her thighs.
Every trip is an adventure and another ten memories that provide me with an exhausted smile at the end of the day. After 3 initial years of fighting for a feeling of normalcy in parenting, these really are the best days for me so far. Even the bad days hold so much joy when I look for it. My kids are eating, sleeping, playing, and growing right in front of me. Life is good.