Mountain Climber

by Kayte

One of Lola’s new favorite activities at PT is “mountain climbing.” She lies in this big, fabric swing and pulls herself to the top of a rope where she grabs a ring, then she has to let herself back down slowly and put the ring on a cone. The first time Lola attempted this she was extremely wary, but now she lets go of the rope from way high up so she swings all the way back and just laughs and laughs the whole time. It’s so good to see her comfortable in her body.

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Back to PT

by Kayte

The New Year means a new benefits cycle for insurance, so we were able to re-start Lola’s PT at the clinic. It was a happy reunion with our two favorite therapists. They were impressed with Lola’s progress over the last few months, and they really increased her workload. She worked on balance, did strength exercises, climbed stairs, navigated the obstacle course and stretched her legs. We’re looking forward to having this session back in our weekly rotation.

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Bright Star

by Kayte

After thirty-six sessions our insurance benefits finally ran out for the year, so today was our last day of private PT at the clinic. We had grown quite close to some of the therapists in the last six months and it was a bittersweet session. On the one hand we said “Hopefully we’ll see you next year!” [when the insurance restarts] but on the other hand it really would be better if Lola didn’t need extra PT. In the meantime Lola will continue to get PT at school and we will supplement with lots of park play and fun exercise.

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Run Lola Run

by Kayte

This is a new milestone for Lola – running! Up until recently she would speed-walk when she wanted to move quickly, but now she’s actually getting both feet up off the ground. And having fun doing it.


Therapy Approved

by Kayte

Lola hasn’t been been to physical therapy in a couple weeks because we’ve been waiting for our insurance to approve additional visits. We finally got the approval letter yesterday and were able to schedule a session for today. Lola (and Max) were SO excited to be back; they really love the therapists and the facility. The therapist said Lola was looking really strong, so hopefully we didn’t lose too much momentum over the break.

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Obstacle Course

by Kayte

Lola has been working very hard at physical therapy. We’ve been going three times per week for the last month, and we’re definitely seeing some progress. They’ve been working on a lot of strengthening of both her legs and arms, plus a lot of balance exercises. One of the biggest improvements is that Lola can walk up a step without holding onto a hand/railing (= balance + strength).

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 Best of all Lola loves going to therapy (and Max gets to play too). Lola really likes both of the therapists she works with and responds very well to their instructions. Sometimes getting Lola to participate in activity is half the battle so it’s nice to see her having fun and willingly participate in PT.

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Today was Lola’s first time using the kiddie treadmill and she did a great job! I wasn’t sure if she would understand it, but when the belt started moving so did Lola’s legs. The therapist kept increasing the speed faster and faster trying to get Lola into a run.

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Stair Climb

by Kayte

Lola’s first week of private PT went great. Lola responds really well to the therapists, and I like sitting in on her sessions so we can work on things at home. They’re focusing a lot on leg strength (see the ankle weights in the pics) and balancing on one leg. It’s not easy for her, but I definitely noticed improvements since our first session on Monday.

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PneumoVax 23

by Kayte

No rest for the party-weary. Max & Lola both went to school, then we took Lola to her first private PT session. Afterwards we stopped by the pediatrician’s office so Lola could get a PneumoVax shot. It’s a pneumonia vaccine that protects against 23 different kinds of pneumococcal. They are using it to test her immune memory. We will go back in 3-4 weeks for more bloodwork to see how Lola’s immune system reacted to the vaccine and hopefully that will tell us what we need to do next.


PT Eval

by Kayte

After Lola’s PICU stay she was having a hard time walking. Even though our doctor said it could take up to six weeks to recover, he still gave us a referral for private (insurance) physical therapy to augment the PT that Lola gets at school. I never posted an update, but after I came back from the wedding weekend Lola was miraculously walking better, pretty much back at baseline. (Brody credits this to two days of walking in the sand at the park.) When I talked to our pediatrician he still thought it would be a good idea for Lola to get some extra PT, so today we went to the new clinic for her initial evaluation. The therapist noticed that Lola tenses all her muscles to control her gait, which is why she moves so stiffly. The therapist wants to take a two-pronged approach of stretching at home to loosen Lola’s muscles while strengthening them during PT so Lola maintains control. They also recommended that we start with therapy three times per week. The therapist said there’s something about that number 3 – she notices a huge difference between 2 and 3 sessions a week (but not 3 and 4 session). So we’ll give it a try and see how it goes. Meeting with a therapist made me realize how hands-off we have been since Lola transitioned from Regional Center to the school district one year ago. We were very involved with therapy when the therapists came to our house every week, but we don’t see the school therapists very often so we’re a little more removed from the process. Hopefully we see some real improvement over the next few weeks with our 3X/week PT schedule.


Gym Monkeys

by Kayte




The Gym

by Kayte

Last January we first started doing physical therapy at the gym. A year ago Lola wanted nothing to do with the swing, trampoline, rings, ropes, slides, or mats. Fast forward to 2015 and it’s amazing to see the progress she (and Max) have made. PT is now by far their favorite day.

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Slide

by Kayte

PT is so much fun these days. Max & Lola did lots of walking, climbing, jumping, and sliding! I feel so fortunate that we’re able to use this great facility.

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New Shoes

by Kayte

Lola has inherited the impossibly long, narrow feet of her father. Every shoe store we visited told us they had nothing that would fit, but we finally found her a pair of real shoes. Lola hasn’t really needed them until now, but her little leatherette booties weren’t cutting it on the summer-hot pavement.

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You’ll notice in the above photo of Lola that the knee immobilizers have switched to her arms! The PT has been trying to get Lola’s arms out of high-guard/cactus pose, and the immobilizers did the trick. The interesting thing was how Lola’s entire gait changed when her arms were down. She walked much more naturally, with her legs more free. The girl is a PT puzzle.

Max had also grown out of my his favorite pair of blue Chucks. I was sad to give them up, until we found these cool new Adidas. The laces are elastic and fasten on with Velcro in one easy piece.

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Obstacles

by Kayte

The PT is trying to challenge Lola more in therapy to make regular waking seem easy. Today Lola walked up and down a small ramp (two gym mats on top of each other) and over a few speed bumps. She did way better than last week when the obstacles brought her to tears. The therapist also had Lola walk while holding an object (two noodles & a deflated soccer ball) to try to bring Lola’s arms down. She still walks in “high guard” with arms in cactus pose. It’s something all new walkers do for balance, but Lola is an old pro now and it’s more of a habit than functional- time to phase it out.

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Gym Day

by Kayte

Max and Lola are totally thriving at the gymnastics gym. They had so much fun today jumping and running/walking and climbing and diving. It’s fun to see them both enjoying therapy so much.

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Bounce House

by Kayte

The gym we go to for PT is in the midst of their annual gymnastics summer camp. Today they had a bounce house set up and Max & Lola got to jump around inside before all the campers showed up. Toddlers’ first bounce house. They were a little freaked out at first, but warmed up to it eventually. Max & Lola especially liked the giant slide on the way out.

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PT itself was good. Lola did more walking. Max did more climbing. We jumped in the marshmallow pit. Swung on the rings. Jumped on the trampoline. A typical awesome day at the gym.


Bridging the Gap

by Kayte

This afternoon I looked up from where I was sitting to see Lola walking in the middle of the room. She went back and forth between the tables, from the high chair to the gate, and all over the living room. Physical therapy can only take her so far against her will. This is the defining moment we have been waiting for. Lola has finally decided to walk!



There’s no stopping her now!


Climbers

by Kayte

Climbing was the theme of the day. First Lola climbed onto the couch by herself for the first time ever. Then they were both climbing all over everything at the gym. And later that day Max climbed OUT of his crib to the floor (not Lola’s crib).

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PT at the gym was okay. Lola seemed a little sad and scared. It’s one thing for her to scream in anger/protest, but seeing her little chin quiver just broke my heart. She warmed up after a bit, so maybe she just needed time for her walking confidence to translate to a new location.


PT at the Gym

by Kayte

They say “third time’s a charm” and apparently that holds true for Lola’s tolerance of PT at the gym. We went again yesterday and she did great! Lola did all the same exercises as before (plus some) with no tears! She even took a couple baby steps with no support (but I don’t think she noticed or she would’ve freaked out). Maybe now she’ll be able to put all her energy into making progress instead of complaining.
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Back to the Gym

by Kayte

Max & Lola went back to the gym for their physical therapy session today. Lola did a lot better than last time; there were still a lot of tears, but she managed a few smiles too!