Monday, July 27, 2009

Walkin' and Talkin'

Well, things have been changing around the Walsh household. Landon has been showing improvements over the past few weeks with walking, talking, and his fine motor skills. We have days where he will wake up and be doing something new...and he hasn't necessarily been doing as much of that as when he first started to get better.

We have been pushing him to walk again at physical therapy and to learn how to cruise along the table or couch. He started out pretty wobbly with cruising (almost like he was trying to dance and walk at the same time), but has progressively gotten better. We have been making him stand independently and he can stand in one place for almost 30 seconds at a time! Penny was very impressed with how much he was wanting to walk and so she had him start taking steps last Thursday at PT. The most steps he took unassisted was 5 but we are hoping with lots of unassisted practice he will get better and better. He still needs someone with him to catch him when he falls (which is a lot). Even when he is just standing shifting his weight from foot to foot he will cross his legs and fall over. We think that he might forget about what he is doing, so we have to constantly remind him of where he is in space. He also does this with his right hand. We'll give him something to hold and he'll look at it for a second or two and then put his hand down and forget he's got something. We constantly prompt him to look at what's in his hand and sometimes he will and sometimes he'll look at us like we are crazy. I think that will all come back with more practice.

We started really working with our speech therapist, Ashley, last week. She asked me to bring Landon's pasy muir so that she can hear him talk. A pasy muir is a piece that connects to the end of Landon's trach to help us hear his voice. It is a one-way valve that will allow air into his trach but won't allow it to come out of his trach. That way the air is forced passed his trach and up through his vocal cords. It's fun to listen to him cause he likes having it on and to have his voice heard. He can get quite loud! :) Anyways, so we worked with Ashley on making different noises and also on doing signs. He has been doing more sign language including the sign for "bird", "thank you", "please", "help", "all done", and we are working on getting him to do "more" again. That one is a little harder for him cause you have to use both hands, and he forgets he has a right you can see our dilema. :) Ashley was very impressed with how well he tolorated his pasy muir and told me to bring it with us every Wednesday when we work with her. She also said that she would like to start seeing him another day a week (which made me tired just thinking about that) but said that if we wanted to we could team up with the OT and get two sessions done in one. That made me relax a little more. :) I couldn't imagine shoving more therapy into our week. We barely have enough time to fit in other doctors appointments as it is. Can I get an AMEN!?

Anyways, we have been having fun watching Landon progress and seeing his changes. We even got back into the bean box the other day to have some fun. He really liked slapping the beans and making them all fly out of the box...which was not-as-much-fun for mom and dad to clean up. I guess that's the sacrifice for a little fun. :)

I don't think that I've mentioned on here but Braydon and I decided to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit for new home buyers and buy a house. We're super excited to get out of this itty-bitty house and into something we can grow with. We will be moving sometime between mid-September and mid-October. Since we are building it we won't have an exact closing date until next month. We're just moving to the next town so it won't be that far away and it will actually be closer to some of the stuff we need to be the hospital. :) If you want to look at the floor plan of our new house, or are just curious you can go to the builders website: Go to "find your home" at the top and click on "by collection". On the next page, go to the Gallery collection and click on view floorplans. Our floorplan is called "Chase"'s a 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath. I will be taking pictures as it is being built and posting them so you all may see. We went by there the other day and the framing had been completed with walls up, so they are moving right along. :)

Well, I'll keep everyone posted about more changes with Landon. We are having Braydon's family come to visit this week, so that will be fun. His two sisters haven't met Landon yet, and Bonnie hasn't seen, or heard, about Landon since she left last month. So we're excited to see if she will cry when she sees him (which I'm sure she will). :) I know I would. :)

P.S. Thank you to all the people that sent Landon birthday presents. We got a few more after I posted the last blog so I made sure to take some pictures...
OH! Thanks to Heather Pleak for getting Landon the book "Snuggle Puppy" which involves me singing to my son....I'm sure he loves that! ha ha ha!!!

---That Superman shirt is so fitting!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hi everyone!!

I finally got to put the video up of Landon pointing!! YEA!! He's been getting better at pointing (reaching) and has started to do a few signs! He's been doing "please", "help", "all done" and we're working on "more". He's having a hard time with more cause he has to have both hands, and that right one isn't really doing what he wants it to. His nurse, Theresa, and I were speculating the other day about his right hand and we came to the conclusion that we aren't sure if he even realizes that he has a right hand or arm until we make him use it. When we make him use it, he looks at it like it's someone elses's weird. Penny and Chelli tell us that the more we have him work with it, the better he will get with it.

He's been giving kisses and hugs again...well his form of hugs (which is just laying his head in your lap for a few seconds). He blows kisses to people when they leave now, which he wasn't doing a week ago. He's progressed so much and we're so thankful to see all the things he can do everyday.

Now that we were given the ok to do pureed food with Landon he has really enjoyed tasting stuff again. He's getting better with swallowing all the food in his mouth since we have taught him how to smack his lips...I know...but it's the only way we can get him to get all of it in his mouth. One day we'll worry about manners...right now we don't really care. :) He's been drinking juice with a straw, but he gets tired of eating really quickly. I think his endurance will get longer the more we offer him food.

Penny has been really happy with the progress he's making with PT. She has been having him walk in the "Kid Walk" (which is the wheelchair contraption in the blog where we visit Penny below) and he is starting to propel it himself. She says he just needs to develop more strength in his hamstrings and walking is the only way to really do that. So, with a heavy sigh, we have still been killing our backs with helping him walk. :) He's not scissoring his legs like he was (which is something we were worried about) and he's doing a nice heel-to-toe action when he's walking. He's even walking with us just holding his hands!! He's still wobbly, but he's making progress!! We are just working on him catching himself while sitting so that we will be able to leave him without worrying that he'll hurt himself.

That's all we've got for right now. Chelli, the occupational therapist, has been out of town for the week so we haven't seen her since the swallow study. I think she'll be pretty happy with Landon's progress though. :) We see her on Friday after we visit with Penny again tomorrow. We'll keep you updated. :)

Love you all!!! XOXO

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to Landon!!!!

I can't believe that my little boy is already 2 years old!!! Where does time go? I think every 4th of July Braydon and I think about how 2 years ago we were sitting watching fireworks saying that we were going to have a baby the next is definately a day of reflection to see how far we have come in a year. Last year Landon was one and could only crawl...and it's funny now to look back and see how big he is today. Yea, he can't walk anymore or crawl, but he could at one point and that's all that matters. It gives him more drive to get there again one day. :) We spent the night watching the fireworks from the hill we go on every year where we can see fireworks for miles. Landon loved them and wasn't scared by them at all...I kept telling him that they were all for his birthday. :)

As for his birthday, we didn't do much because of everything going on so we thought we would just spend the day relaxing with Landon at home. We sang happy birthday to him every chance we got and blew out the candles on his cake as a family. :) We opened some presents (although he probably would've just been happy with the gigantic bag that they came in). We got him his first Care Bear...that's what the yellow thing is in the picture below. :)

We received some cards in the mail, so we decided to take a picture with them to thank the people that sent them. :)

Landon has been doing really well over the past few days. He's become more interactive and expressive. He's been having fun giving us "five" and gets really excited over it. Last night we went on a walk and decided to let Landon decide where he wanted to go. He would hold his hand out like he was trying to point, but it was more like reaching. Braydon is going to try and get the video we took of him and put it up so everyone can see. I'll keep bugging him for it. ;) He's also been doing better with cruising along the table and coordinating his feet with his hands. His right hand is still not up to speed with his left, but the OT, Chelli, keeps telling us to work with it and it will eventually start to catch up. Walking is still hard cause he isn't holding his body weight very much, so we're having to hold him up and it's not very comfortable on our backs...but, it's all he seems happy doing. You can tell that he is the same kid inside, he's just frustrated cause he can't do the same things as he did before. I wish I could snap my fingers and change that for him, and I sometimes have dreams that that would happen but good things don't come without a little hard work, right??

Today we visited Chelli to do another swallow study to make sure Landon hadn't lost the ability to swallow food or drinks. Everything went really well and Landon didn't choke on any of the things we gave him. Chelli said that it took him a little while to move things to the back of his tongue, but when he got it back there, he swallowed it nicely. With that said, she gave us the go ahead to start giving him pureed foods again!! She said with a little practice with swallowing and with some exercises with spoons to move his tongue around, he will get better with it and we will be able to move up from there. Needless to say, after we left the hospital I went to the grocery store and got some things to try out...I think I was more excited than he was! :)

Tomorrow we visit Penny for PT, so I'll let you know if anything exciting happens. :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A little note about our busy week

Hi everyone!!

Just wanted to write a little note and let everyone know how well Landon is doing. We've had a long week of therapy so far and it's only Wednesday! We saw Penny on Monday and Tuesday (as Braydon showed in the video below) where we worked on walking and cruising along on a flat surface. Landon isn't really doing it by himself, but we're showing him the motions of how to do them and he will eventually pick up the movements himself. It will just be a lot of reminding him how to do things.

Even though he can't walk himself, he gets aggravated that he can't and whines until we help him get to different places or get what he wants. He's very good at letting us know when he isn't happy. :)

We went to see Chelli today (Landon's occupational therapist). She worked with him on grabbing things and dropping them into containers and also on putting large pegs onto a board. He did well with both, but got pretty tired toward the end. She was impressed with the way Landon was moving his right hand and arm. He's getting better about opening and closing his hand and moving his arm around. She did say that she was kind of concerned about his right hand being in a fist when it's in a relaxed state. She wanted to see him being able to open it more, so she gave us a band that wraps around his wrist and has a piece that sticks up to wrap around his thumb to hold it back. Pulling his thumb back slightly helps tell his body to open his hand. We're supposed to have him wear it for an hour or two and then take if off for a little while. Hopefully he will get to where he doesn't need it and his hand will relax more without it on.

As Chelli was working with Landon, I was talking to a speech therapist about Landon in hopes of overlapping the sessions so both of them will be working with him at the same time. That way Landon won't be going from one therapy to the next for hours on end. We should be getting started with her sometime next week. She will be helping him to find ways to communicate with us when we get past the whining stage. We'll probably be working on getting the sign language back and then move from there. All of the therapists tell us to just keep showing him the things that he did before so that his brain can find a way to make a connection. The speech therapist told me that the way she puts it to parents is that his brain is made up of files, and before he was able to find those files quickly, but now all the files are mixed up and so his brain has to have the extra time to try and find the files again. I thought that was a good way to put it. So his brain still has everything there, he just needs more time to get them organized again.

So that's where we are as of today...tomorrow we have a day off to do something fun. I think we might try and have a picnic tomorrow. The weather has been beautiful, and Landon will probably appreciate the outside time. :) Friday we are back to OT before the July 4th weekend...I can't believe Landon will be 2 on Sunday!!!!! Where does time go?!?!

Also, I wanted to throw out there for everyone to keep my grandfather (Landon's great-Grandpop) in your thoughts and prayers. He had to have surgery on Monday to remove an aneurism after a month of waiting for his kidney function to level out. He had a hard time on the operating table, but after a 7 or 8 hour surgery is doing well. He just has a long road to recovery. I just wanted to ask everyone to keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery. Whatever everyone is doing for Landon is working so I wanted to share some of it with him. :)

Love you all and will keep updating. Have a wonderful July 4th if I don't send another update before then!!!!