Ellie and I headed downtown after dropping the kids off this morning. We had an appointment at Children’s Hospital, which she is unfortunately old enough to recognize and remember.
Ellie’s feeding therapist wanted her to have a swallow study to make sure she isn’t aspirating when she swallows liquids. Her last study was when she was only one month old, at which point she was still having a small amount of aspiration of thin liquids. That day in March 2011 was the last time she took anywhere near a full feed by mouth. (Which she promptly puked up in spectacular fashion – aspiration was only one of our problems.)
Anyways, we have no reason to believe she is still aspirating now. She drinks small amounts of water from sippy cups without a problem and has never had pneumonia (a tell-tale sign of a kid who aspirates). But we wanted to be sure, so there we were.
Ellie did exactly as I thought she would. She was slightly anxious in the waiting room, but completely lost her mind as soon as we were brought down to the radiology suite. She screamed like she was being stabbed, and was only momentarily calmed by iPads, bubbles, and songs. But in the end, I got her to calm down enough to take a few sips from her cup (before she realized the barium was nasty), and they saw five or six successful swallows.
While I was pretty sure this was going to be the outcome, it feels really good to have this particular box checked off for the time being. Our issues with swallowing and eating are far from over, but at least for now I can definitively say “she does not aspirate.” Huzzah.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.
At 2:30, Ellie had her usual physical therapy appointment. For the vast majority of her two years, we have had PT with our beloved Janet every week. We’ve had ups and downs and plateaus, but it seemed like once she started crawling, it has been a really steady improvement.
This afternoon, we watched her all-but-run from activity to activity. She scooted, she climbed, she squatted, she walked up and down stairs (with help). Give her two hands to hold and she can jump and clear both feet off the ground.
We had started to spread our appointments out to every two or three weeks, and talked about going to once a month. But as we watched this crazy almost-two-year-old careen around the room, we were hard pressed to say why. Does she have totally typical agility, balance, as strength for a two-year-old? Not quite. But nothing she needs to work on is going to take anything other than time and practice. Not specific exercises and tasks, just running around like the little kid she is.
Ellie graduated from physical therapy today.
Sure, if she stalls in her development or I get worried about something, we can always go back. But as of right now, we are done with PT.
When you have a kid with a big asterisk next to her name like Ellie, seeing so many doctors and specialists, the numbers just seem to multiply. Someone always wants to suggest you see ANOTHER doctor. Audiology! Endocrine! Is there any department you haven’t visited yet? Get in there! I’ve started a Google Doc to keep track of everyone because I can no longer remember all of their names.
So, to be able to cross one or two things off of the list, or at least tuck them away on a shelf for the time being, is such a lovely turn of events that I burst into tears on the way home.