Friday May 6th came bright and early and we were off to Mikail's Neonatal Follow-up Clinic appointments at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
The staff at the hospital is so good at making things run quickly and smoothly. The morning started off with admission at 10:15 and as soon as we got into the exam room, we were greeted by the Nurse Practitioners. One took care of measuring, weighing and asking nutritional questions, while the other quickly got down on the floor with Mikail and started 'playing'--or as we would call it, the physical examination. To Mikail it was just a lot of fun playing with new toys and new people. He loved it. We didn't learn anything new. He still has stiffness in his hips, which is not news to us. We work on this on a daily basis with physio exercises and 'brain gym'.
Once the Nurse Practitioners were done, the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy team came in. Again, no news for us here. He is right on track with his OT, meaning that his fine motor skills are great for his age. Right on track. The physiotherapist told us that he is sort of behind on his gross motor skills. Also, not news for us. He has always been behind on gross motor skills. He starts them early and then takes FOREVER to get to the final product. For example, he has been attempting to crawl for months, but isn't there yet. Well, yes, he can army crawl super fast (watch out for open bathroom doors or gates that should have been left closed. He will find them before you even know he is gone), but is not truly crawling yet.
Although we are working on skills such as 'pulling up from a sitting to a standing position', as well as 'walking', if his past tells us anything about the future, he will attempt this for months to come and probably achieve it around the 16-18 month mark. That's just him. Yes, it's frustrating for his parents at times, but we always remind ourselves that he DOES get there, in his own time. He always has. The physiotherapist also reminded us that this is still all within the 'normal time span' of development, just at the latter end of it.
After Physio and OT, the Audiologist took us to the Hearing Centre and we had his hearing checked again. It wasn't as detailed as last time, just a quick five minute test which he passed with flying colours.
We will be back at the Glenrose in six months for his 18 month follow-up appointments, but were thankful that all of the specialists were recommending that he continue on with his therapies here at home. We told them that we were afraid that they would say he doesn't need them anymore, but that we would like to recommend that we continue on since we like the support and feel that it is an asset to his development. They agreed with us and really felt that he is doing so well because of all the attention we have given to his therapies. Let's not let it slide now. I think that another reason that they want to see us again is because a couple of weeks ago I saw Mikail doing this strange little shutters with his head--more like jerks. They didn't look like seizures and he didn't act like someone would have following a seizure, but it was still a concern for us. I believe his blood sugar levels were low because as soon as I gave him some cantaloupe, he stopped. Anyhow, something we are watching, regardless.
We didn't really take any pictures at the Glenrose...except our impromptu picnic lunch on the boulevard across the street from the hospital. I had bought a couple of storebought jars of baby food for Mikail, but you should have seen his face when we tried to feed it to him. He wanted REAL food (I guess they are really quite bland and he has only had baby jar food a couple of times. I have always made his food). So, he had 'Fleisch Perschki' (meat pockets) with us and LOVED them. Good little Mennonite boy, hey? ;)
After our little picnic lunch we were off to the Stollery Children's Hospital where Mikail was to see a Pediatric Neuro-ophthalmologist. Well, let's just say this is the most fun doctor's office for a little boy to discover:
First the fun books they have (and no, this is not posed--this is Mikail and his love for books):
And then a very mini slide for him to discover:
But the fun had to end somewhere, right? Here he is looking at books with Daddy in the exam room:
What a trooper he was. The stroke that Mikail had when he was born affected a part of the brain that has to do with right peripheral vision. The exam was a lot easier than I thought it would be. He is such a trooper. He blew Doctor Lewis away with his reaction time to everything. When the initial exam was complete, we had to put some drops in his eyes to dilate his pupils. This allows the doctor to then look behind his eyes to see if there is any damage to the optic nerves and to see whether Mikail is near or far sighted. Often, following a stroke the optic nerves are damaged.
We have prayed for and believed in complete healing for him, so when the exam was completed Dr. Lewis told us that Mikail is a remarkable young boy. He has overcome some very large odds. There was absolutely NO damage to the optic nerves (Thank you, Lord). If he has any right peripheral vision issues it is so minuscule that it will never affect him. When he is ten years old we might want to have a more extensive exam on his visual field, but he doesn't see any reasons to have it done. It would be more out of curiosity than anything.
So, that was it. A full day of appointments with great results. The only appointment we did not have was with the neurologist, who is behind on follow-ups, but the specialists at the Glenrose said that there is no reason for him to see the neurologist right now. If he sees him at 18 months that would be sufficient.
THANK YOU to those of you who thought of us and prayed for us yesterday. The prayers were felt and appreciated. We are blessed beyond measure.