Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Mission Accomplished

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mission Accomplished


Erik's group therapy session went swimmingly yesterday. I walked him up to his classroom and got him comfortable in the indoor swing before I left. I spent some time reading the paper, drinking coffee, and watching television at my folks' house to kill some time. When my dad got home, I helped him take out the giant front storm window to clean. I drove back down to pick Erik up an hour later. He was eating a gluten-free brownie and seemed to be enjoying himself in his quiet Erik world. I sat on the floor with the group at closing circle and fell in love with a brand new batch of kids. I was also lucky enough to talk to another mother I know from the "outside world" -- the wife of one of my brother's good friends. I didn't ask her about her son, but the last I heard, he tested negative for Williams even though he had some of the characteristics. After class, I took Erik back to my parents' house for a nap, but Erik fell asleep too late and got about 15 minutes before we had to turn around yet again and go back to his school. We gave him a very quick PB&J sandwich before we left and a glass of cold milk. When my mom asked Erik if his milk was cold, he smiled big, shivered, and made a little noise like he was freezing (OOHHHHHHHHHHHRRRBBB), making us laugh. When we arrived at the school, we went back into his classroom to meet the speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and Bev, our early intervention specialist. We had to complete a lengthy assessment by answering questions about Erik's abilities. The last time we did this was a mere six months ago before he "woke up." I don't have better words to describe what he was like. He was not walking, playing with toys like a typical child, talking, or moving around much. We determined that he easily surpassed most of the goals we set back then. We set new goals for language (using pivotal words like "more" in addition to the words he uses now like "milk") and communication. When we got to the physical part of the assessment, braces were again suggested for Erik's lower extremities. After observing Erik, it was decided that supramalleolar orthotics would not be as effective as bilateral jointed ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs). Unfortunately, this means the braces will go up to under his knee. Seemingly right on cue, a very friendly mother accidentally turned into our classroom and interrupted our meeting. She was carrying a little boy wearing AFOs. He was wearing shorts, so they were visible and we could touch them. Two things struck me that made this new information a little more palatable and less shocking. (1) They appear much less awful than the ones in the past did, as they are made of a plastic compound. (2) They had a cheerful pattern on them with cars all over them, which immediately reminded me of Daven's back brace (see link to right). It is nice not feeling singled out anymore, knowing Erik and Daven might end up matching! They also gave us an angled, carpeted board to have Erik stand on and stretch out his Achilles tendons. So far, Gracie kitty thinks it is a scratching post, but at least her heel cords are stretched now, too. We will have to keep that in the closet.

Overall, things went well, and the panel was very kind. They obviously love Erik, and the feeling seems to be quite mutual. His power nap perked him up, and he smiled, demonstrated his mastery of language and animal sounds, waved, and turned on the charm full bore yet again, making everyone in the room laugh. His sense of humor was even mentioned during the assessment, and I couldn't help but feel proud. He is really learning how to work a room like any seasoned comedian.

It was an exhausting day. When I got home, I began throwing dinner in the Crock Pot on my way up the stairs to work while Erik napped but decided I had no desire or energy left to cook -- or work, for that matter. Luckily, it was a slow day, and there was no work for me. When Brian arrived home a little early, I suggested we all go out to dinner after Erik's nap. We loaded in the car and were on the way to the restaurant when Erik dropped his toy and said, "UH OH." That's new! We practiced that phrase a lot more throughout the evening, since we got to throw peanut shells on the floor at the restaurant. I ditched my new diet for an evening and had pizza and my favorite deep-fried won ton appetizer. Erik shared my Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza and consumed an entire dinner roll, much to his father's surprise (they were part of Brian's dinner). He sat in an uncomfortable, wooden high chair for the entire outing without one complaint, and we had a wonderful evening out.

Our next step is to call our insurance company and determine if they will pay for Erik's braces, which cost thousands of dollars for some reason. If they fail us, we might go up to the Shriners Hospital and get Erik casted there.

8 Comments:

Anonymous gramma said...

When I first met Bev, she asked me to describe what I liked best about Erik. My immediate response was, "his sense of humor." That was 6 months ago, and she looked at slack-jawed Erik, then at me like I was a crazed old grandmother. You can bet she's learned a lot in 6 months! I'm probably still a crazed old grandmother, but one who knows her grandson!
Love, Mom

7:33 AM  
Blogger Aspen said...

Ah yes, casting and bracing; something for which I am very familiar with. Daven's back brace is so manly with the cars, trucks and tractors. Erik would love that too with his love for trucks and wheels.

We can talk more this weekend about insurance and bracing. We will be fighting with insurance companies till the day we die. Sigh.

I am glad to hear your day went well. I can't wait to see Erik's sense of humor first hand!

LOVE YOU!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Teresa & Shawn said...

I am glad to hear that things went better than expected. Erik is beautiful no matter what he's wearing! I love all the photos you guys got of him.

10:46 AM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

GOOOOOOOO ERIK!!! WE ARE HAPPY THAT YOUR DAY WENT WELL AND ERIK WAS UP TO HIS CHARMING WAYS AND SHOWING OFF HIS SKILLS!

SHRINERS?! WOW...BRINGS BACK LOTS OF MEMORIES FOR ME. MY GRANDMA RETIRED FROM THE OLD SHRINERS HOSPITAL. I REMEMBER AS A KID GOING WITH MY GRANDPA TO PICK-UP MY GRANDMA WHEN SHE WAS DONE WITH HER SHIFT. I USE TO THINK HOW LUCKY THOSE KIDS WERE BECAUSE THEY GOT TO SPEND TIME WITH MY GRANDMA! :) IF ERIK GOES TO SHRINERS I WILL PRAY THAT SOMEONE LIKE MY GRANDMA TAKES CARE OF HIM ON HIS VISITS!

I READ ASPEN'S COMMENTS, HOW WONDERFUL THAT SHE WILL BE ABLE TO HELP YOU WITH THE WHOLE BRACING THING AND EVEN THE ISSUE OF INSURANCE! WHAT A BLESSING TO HAVE THESE MOMMIES/GIRLFRIENDS IN YOUR LIFE NANCE!

WE LOVE YOU ALL AND COUNTING THE DAYS!!!

BIG HUGS!!!

1:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So glad to hear that things went so well. Sorry to hear about the cost of the braces. It is soooo frustrating dealing with medical bills. :-(

I love this picture the best....not just because Erik is smiling, but because you can see what looks like tears stil drying on his cheeks. How wonderful to be a child and not remember your grievances from one minute to the next. There's a lesson there....

Rain to sunshine in just moments....when it takes me DAYS sometimes to clue in ..lol

5:08 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

I LOVE this picture! It sounds like the assessment went great - it's good to hear he has surpassed some of his goals. The fact that he is a little comedian only excites me about these adorable little social butterflies we have in our midst!

I didn't realize insurance would not cover casting/braces?? I may need some enlightment. Why wouldn't they be covered? It's obviously not cosmetic. Hopefully that won't be a huge battle for you to fight.

Again, love the pic! He is such a little man!

Love you -K

7:19 PM  
Blogger Kati said...

Nancy, it sounds like you had a good day!!!
I saw the braces like you mentioned, they are really not ugly, they looks like comfortable (if we can say this... :)
I am very proud of Erik that he says more and more words! At this moment I can't imagine that Szabi says normal words in 1/2 a year!
Love, Kati

4:47 AM  
Blogger Amy K said...

Ugh, orthotics. Strangely, Indiana's early intervention program pays for them! Today I discussed Erik with Avery's PT, so as to warn her about the cord tightening. So far she thinks Avery has enough strength and looseness to avoid bracing anytime soon. Anyway, I am so proud of how Erik did at the IFSP! You guys rock~

6:10 AM  

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