Saturday, August 13, 2011

Giving the Dog a Bone

Every spring, after the snow melts and the pollen settles, Kevin and I venture outdoors again.  And every year, Kevin freezes at the sight of a dog.  But sometime during the summer, he eventually warms up to them and will pass them on the sidewalk and even get close to some of his favorites.  Last year...before the snow hit and we were back indoors...Kevin had begun taking a dog treat and throwing it on the ground for the Louise (our next door dog-neighbor) to eat.  Well this year he has taken it a step further and is actually letting Louise take the treat or bone right out of his hand!!!  I am hoping that if I post a video of him doing this and we watch it during the winter it will help him remember to not be scared of the dogs when it's time to go outside again. 


So the day after I found Kevin across the street, we were again sitting on the porch...but you could be sure I wasn't letting him out of my sight.  So while we were on the porch Kevin would sneakily try to back his way off the porch and make a bee-line down the driveway.  I would quickly catch up to him and explain that if he wanted to leave the yard I would have to go with which time he would take my hand and lead me back up to the porch...and then attempt to sneakily make a bee-line down the driveway again.  I'm not sure if he is trying to run away or just get a date with the girl across the street.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crossing the Street

Yesterday, Kevin and I were sitting out on the porch after a day of program.  Some girls, from across the street came over to say hello.  After our visit with them, Kevin and I came inside the house to warm up dinner and take it back outside to eat.  I took his meal out of the fridge, popped it in the microwave for 1 minute (literally) and prepared his vitamins and tray to carry everything outside onto the porch.  As I was standing at the front door balancing the tray to step outside the door...who did I see across the street walking his way up our friends driveway...MY KID!!!  In the short amount of time that it took me to warm up his meal and get back to the front door, he had exited the front door, down the porch steps, down the driveway, CROSSED THE STREET, and was proceeding up the neighbor's driveway.  How many times have my neighbors seen me practically dragging him across that same street to go for his walk??!!  Thankfully, when I looked out and saw him across the street there were no cars...definitely a blessing considering that it was about 5:15 pm when our street traffic picks up with people getting home from work.  When Jon got home from work and I told him this story, he told me to call a friend and go out for a drink.  CHEERS!  Well, Kevin is definitely showing signs of more independence...we just have to work on safety too.

Left Foot Problems & Concerns

We have been very concerned about Kevin’s left foot.  It has always been a source of concern for us even before he was walking.  He has an internal rotation and tends to sprain it recurrently with his latest sprain at the beginning of July.  Ever since this latest sprain his walking has really declined, despite the fact that we saw a slight improvement with the new orthotics in May.  His left foot at times is turned in all the way when walking which could easily result in a twist and another sprain.  I have been communicating my concerns to Matthew at FHC and recently sent a video for him to view Kevin walking.  The staff at FHC are actually in Denmark (thank goodness for advanced technology) and Matthew and Dr. Joe (foot & orthotics) were able to watch the video together.  Dr. Joe has since returned to his practice in New Jersey and wanted to see us as soon as possible to examine Kevin more closely.  They believe that it is muscular problem - pulling with muscles on the inside of leg. So we will be trained to use a muscle stimulator on the opposite side to train him not to use his muscles and walk that way. We should see progress by our next visit in October.

Here is a recap of our visit to NJ regarding Kevin’s left foot problems and concerns.
We drove to NJ on Monday and had a very pleasant 8 hour drive on route 80 through the mountains and lunch at a rest area. Kevin was so funny when we got to the hotel. Staying in hotels is not a new thing for him of course but usually we stay in a suite when we go to Philly but since we were just going to be there for one night we just got a regular room (which was free with our Marriott rewards card).  But I think the excitement had more to do with Kevin watching how his cousins played in the hotel rooms on vacation this summer.  Kevin was getting Jon to wrestle with him and throw him on the bed and at one point he was trying to stand up on the bed (to jump was his goal I’m sure)...this was really fun to watch.  We found another good authentic local Italian restaurant for dinner. We found out that it was BYOB but they had a couple bottles of wine and offered us a glass each which they couldn’t charge us that was lucky for us. After dinner we came back to the hotel and went swimming. Kevin had lots of fun there too, even though his lips were shivering most of the time he was in there, he didn’t seem to mind much, plus we let him warm up a bit in the hot tub afterwards.

On Tuesday, our appointment with Dr. Joe was at 9:30, the GPS said it would take us 30 minutes but it actually took us an hour to get there so we were a little late. We weren’t at his office long. He basically checked his structure and said no worries regarding his bones, hips, and knees all looked good. He watched Kevin walk a bit too. Then he asked us to follow him to a Physical Therapy office down the road. There we met Mark who began the muscle stimulation on Kevin. Dr. Joe left at this time and made plans for us to meet back up with him later after lunch. So the muscle stimulator is basically a hand held device that has 2 electrode sticky pads that he stuck on a two different muscles on the outside of his leg. It gives a little shock or stimulation for 5 seconds and then 5 seconds off. This would cause his foot to reflexively turn out. Now he was also stimulating another muscle that was supposed to cause his foot to turn up but Kevin was “fighting” it and turning it down. He spent a lot of time trying to get this right and I was a bit worried about this because I felt like how am I going to get it right if he can’t and I don’t want to make things worse for Kevin’s foot either. But when we met back with Dr. Joe he said not to worry about it because we basically are just worried about his foot turning out, which was working during the stimulation. Mark is ordering the muscle stimulator for us and Dr. Joe is making another pair of orthotics for Kevin all to help this left foot.

I’m not totally convinced that this couldn’t have been done with someone here at home. But Dr. Joe was somehow saving us money by going to him. Plus it gets complicated bringing someone new into the mix that we would have to explain from day one and who would have their own agenda of how to fix Kevin. So it was easier for us just to go see him. I may ask a P.T that we know from church to help us with the muscle stimulator the first few times until I feel comfortable with it just to be sure I’m putting the electrodes in the right spot and everything. Dr. Joe said he would be willing to talk to them on the phone as well. He wants Kevin to begin “walking” for program again once we receive the new orthotics and continue doing as much crawling (with the toe dig) as we can. We will be able to give Dr. Joe videos to keep an eye on Kevin’s progress but he may want to see him in a month before our revisit to Philly at the end of October.

There is a phase two to this foot puzzle, for both of his feet actually. Dr. Joe thinks Kevin would be a good candidate for this new procedure that they have researched to help Kevin’s flat feet and over pronation. Matthew’s (FHC boss) daughter is having it done very soon. I’ll type what the brochure says:

TaloTarsal Dislocation Syndrome (TTDS) is a dynamic deformity of the talus (ankle bones) on the tarsal mechanism (hind foot bones). This deformity places excessive motion on the bones and soft tissues of the foot resulting in a collapse of the sinus tarsi (space between the ankle and heel bone). TTDS creates an imbalance of forces leading to various conditions and functional symptoms throughout the body. The HypoCure procedure provides internal correction for this internal deformity. HypoCure (looks like a small screw) is placed into the sinus tarsi stabilizing the talotarsal mechanism, reducing the excessive forces to the foot and up the musculoskeletal chain. This procedure is minimally invasive, reversible, brief outpatient surgery, and no casting, bone cutting or drilling.

So we didn’t get to leave NJ until almost 2:00 pm. We were actually only 30 minutes from the shore but it was getting late and the weather was not great either. There were actually tornados in the area and we had torrential rain getting out of NJ. Once we hit Philly there was a lot of traffic just trying to get through the city...I think it always feels like rush hour traffic going through there...I can’t imagine going through there in actual rush hour traffic. It was a long ride home. We ended up just eating dinner in the car and didn’t make it home until 10 pm. Kevin was so tired but really fighting it, I was sitting in the back with him to help him eat his dinner and then later in the evening he would pull me towards him and push me away. He was so tired he didn’t know what he wanted plus I think just trying to get comfortable to fall asleep. Of course he finally closed his eyes 30 minutes from home.

It feels good to be home again and doing the program. Wish me luck in getting Kevin to do his crawling laps!