Day 21 – Caleb Regains 9 Months In 3 Weeks

Caleb's Dad ~ 1st December 2010

If I could have a soundtrack playing in the background as I begin to write this update, it would be the song “Splish Splash.” The big event Tiffany and I had been waiting for this morning was that for our morning PT! Caleb was going to get to have his first actual bath in a bathtub! Up until today he has had sponge baths, baths in a stretcher like thing that he had to be strapped to, and baths in a big rubber ducky baby bath.  But today he gets to have a bath like a big boy again!

As the therapist got the bath water ready, he went over all the main—more common sense types of things–to do for his bath, things like watching him, making sure you stay close, etc. Tiffany and I had figured  Caleb would probably really like his first bath because of the times we have let him play with water with the therapies we have done with him. To say he enjoyed it is an understatement!

As soon as Caleb’s feet hit the water, like a prize winning race horse, he was off to the races.  He splished and splashed all over the place, yelling at the top of his lunges and smiling the entire time.  Tiffany and I, under normal circumstances, would be telling our boys to stop splashing, not only because we were starting to look like we just stepped off of a water ride at a theme park, but also because the walls were starting to get covered in water.

Today, however, we threw caution out the window and loved every minute of it.  Who cared if the walls got wet, they will dry!!! Caleb was having a blast and if it meant we were going to get a double bath, then that was fine with us. He was having the time of his life.

After bath, we were nearly left speechless when the therapist had a lot of positive things to say about Caleb.  John, Caleb’s PT, said “One thing that has been so neat about watching Caleb over the last three weeks is that he has really progress fairly rapidly.  Developmentally speaking he has gained about nine months in about three weeks.” We were so excited to hear that!

When we first arrived here at Scottish Rite three weeks ago, I remember Dr Sholes telling u,s after Caleb’s initial evaluation, that developmentally Caleb was operating at about a nine month old level, (about the same as our youngest son, Connor). I remember how devastated I felt when I first heard that, especially not knowing if Caleb would even recover.  So, to hear the news that not only has he recovered, but that he has gained none months in only three weeks, really put a lot of steam back in my engine so to speak.

After PT, Caleb had a peer group therapy, which is a therapy designed to help a child learn how to play, interact, and be special with other children. The therapists don’t require it, but they do ask that the parents try to stay away from these therapy sessions, as it gives the child a chance to explore on their own without their parents nearby.

The report we got back from the therapists was great. According to them, he sat on the floor and played with a little girl the entire time, kicking a ball back and forth with her, as well as swatting at and popping bubbles.

In OT we worked on much of the same kinds of things we have been working for some time now. Things like having Caleb sitting on the big ball working on his balance—which by the way, he did very well today with.  As the therapist was rocking him back and forth on the ball, there were times where she would intentionally move his center of gravity rapidly, giving him the sensation that he was going to fall.  Every time she did that he reacted fairly quickly and appropriately—all things that the therapists were wanting to see.

Among some of the other things he did was throw and catch a ball a number of times, working on taking toys and either picking them up or putting them down from the left side,  or crossing over from his right to his left (or vice versa but mainly attending to his left side). He worked on putting toys back in the play bucket .

When OT was over and it was time to go, we did something with Caleb we would normally always do when we were leaving places in the midst of company. We would look down and say, “Hey Caleb, say bye bye.” To that Caleb would do either one of two things.  Either he would throw up his hands, wave, and say is a loud voice, “Byeeeeeeeeeeeee,” or he would blow kisses to them.  Well, for the first time today, when it was time to leave, we looked down, asked him to say bye bye, and immediately Caleb said “Bye”!

Once again, we were so amazed to hear his sweet little voice and here it was again! We tried again to see if he would say it a second time, but he didn’t do it again. It seems to me that Caleb still has a grasp of a lot of the words that he had before, but that perhaps he simply doesn’t know how to say them yet.  In other words, the connection from the brain to the mouth has been impaired. And, so now, as he is hearing certain words over and over again, and as he is exploring his speech by making sounds, he is started to piece together little words.

One thing we have noticed recently is that Caleb is really starting to act more like himself—more like the little toddler we knew two months ago.

For example, when OT was over and it was time to go to PT, Tiffany walked him out of the room all the way over to the gym.  And, when he got near the large raised platform-like pads that are in the middle of the room, he went on to pull his leg up and put it on Tiffany’s knee, (who was squatting next to him).

He pushed himself up all the way onto the mat! Tiffany encouraged him to get into the proper movement for crawling up, and as soon as she shifted his body in into the right position, up he went.

For the rest of PT, Kristen worked with him some more on the stairs, pulling the little portable set of stairs up to the raised padded platform.  Again, Caleb did great going up the stairs, putting one foot in front of the other, climbing.  Going down was again, a challenge, most likely due to fear and his lack of eyesight.

The last thing we did in PT was work  on crawling, and this time he did great.  Tiffany went to the other side of the mat with a toy and called for Caleb to come and see her.  Kristen maneuvered his body so he could get into the all fours position.  After a few moments, where at first it looked like he was going to hesitate, he started to move.

He moved his knee up, then his alternate hand, then his other knee, then his other hand, perfectly executing a crawl on the floor. Once he got going, he never stopped.  He crawled all the way to mommy, as we all applauded him and gave him praise.

In speech therapy he worked on kicking a ball.  One thing that was cute was when the ball would land or be anywhere near his feet, he wanted to bend over and pick it up, trying a few times to do just that. After kicking, we threw the ball some more.

I am beginning to wonder if I have a little baseball player on my hands…a pitcher or perhaps a quarterback…because Caleb is starting to develop a heck of an arm, recently!  He now knows how to grab the ball in his hands, rear his arm back and get it ready to launch, then release it, letting go of his hand at just the right time, so the ball can then go flying in the air.  It is pretty remarkable seeing how fast he has been able to learn how to do that. After playing with a few more toys in Speech therapy, it was then time to go back to the room for a nice little nap, before lunch and the afternoon session.

When it came time for PT, Kristen came into our room. As it turned out we were not having a therapy session today.  The time we would normally spend on practicing Caleb’s walking, climbing stairs and whatnot, was today, going to be spent on dealing with issues related to going home!  Just like when we went over safety issues with our OT, John, today we talked about things from more of a physical therapy standpoint, but again on the subjects of safety, how to properly transport Caleb, etc.

One piece of big news that we got today was that Caleb has now graduated up to the use of a walker!  Kristen had ordered him one a couple of days ago and it just came today. I have to say it is the smallest walker I have ever seen in my life.  I never knew they even made walkers that small.  And boy did it have some style to it.

It was shiny metal with a black bar across the front, speckled with little red paint splashes.  I told him  it was his “Lightening McQueen” walker!  I look forward to seeing how he does with it tomorrow. My guess is, he won’t need it very long as he is already doing so well with his walking.

We also found out that we are going to have our outing!  Just as I mentioned Isaac having his outing on Sunday, so now we get to have our turn.  The Car Seat Specialist/Recreational Specialist came and told us that our outing will be to McDonald’s. We are so much looking forward to getting to take Caleb out of the hospital for a little while! They told us that we are even going to get to drive him in our own car! Can’t wait!!!

Over the rest of the evening there were a number of other things that he did.  Around his dinner time, I gave him a couple of bites of some leftover chocolate cake Tiffany and I had brought back from our date to The Cheesecake Factory.  I had wondered what his reaction might be, since he had not had anything that sweet yet.

I put a little bit on the spoon and gave him a bite.  I don’t think you could have seen a child light up more!  He started clapping his hands, saying “Mmmmmmmmmm.” It was so funny!  He started smacking his lips and clapping.  I told Tiffany that I think  his clapping has become almost a kind of sign language around eating.  I have noticed when he eats something he likes, he tends to clap.  So, I interpreted it as him telling me that he wanted more, which I obliged and gave him a couple of more bites.

As the evening drew on it was getting near the time that we get him ready for bed.  Caleb has, over the last few days, been having problems with discharge around his g-tube area.  So, one of the things we have been doing is making sure  we keep it clean and put gauze pads under it and around it.

Well, tonight, as Tiffany was starting to touch that area of his tummy (he usually cries because the area around the g-tube has been very sore to him), he said, “Ow” about three times in a row! It was hilarious.  We were sorry it was hurting on one hand, but delighted to hear him say something on the other!

The rest of the night was pretty much spent just chilling out. Caleb was too tired to do mat time tonight in the room, so we all pretty much lounged around, ate dinner, and watched some Christmas movies on TV.

As I sit here thinking about the events of today, the thing that really stands out to me is that the conversations between Tiffany and I have become so joyful. With each passing day, especially with the recent days where we have been talking so much about transitioning home, the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, has never been brighter.

We look at each other often in disbelief of everything we have gone through.  I don’t think we have yet to even experience all of the shock of the accident itself, let alone the experience of the last near month in rehab.  The whole experience has felt like one big whirlwind, where we have had little time even to think.

I am sure there will be plenty of time for reflection later.  But for now, we applaud the close of another day, giving thanks to God for all the good he has done for our family.  We give thanks to all who have prayed for our son.  And we give thanks to our Savior Jesus, the Christ, who gave his life for us, that we would live forever in him. Amen.

Please continue to pray for Caleb’s eye sight and speech, as well as Isaac and all the other little ones we have mentioned.

Blessings.

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6 Comments

  1. Diane

    December 5th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Oh, I am so happy for you all! Talked with Tiffany’s mom quite awhile after church today. She was beaming with joy when she talked about Caleb’s progress. As were the rest of us. Tim, you have quite the gift of writing. I wouldn’t be surprised at all, if a book comes out of this fire walk. Most of us want to be refined, but no one wants to walk through the fire to get there! But you have kept your eyes on the Prize, and you have been rewarded.

    You and Tiffany never wanted to be where you are. You never wanted anything so tramatic to happen to one of your sons. But you have both lived a life since the accident that has earned you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant/servants.” You have done well. All my love, Diane

  2. Jenny Crouch

    December 5th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Tim & Tiffany, don’t think that your cousins in Nashville have forgotten about you. We have been praying since day 1 and following your updates. Just wanted to say be careful coming home on Tuesday (how exciting is that?!) because it’s supposed to be so cold. Will we see you on the 18th at Tiffany’s Aunt Peggy’s? We’d love to cheer Caleb on in person!

    • Tim Brown

      December 6th, 2010 at 12:05 am

      Hey Jenny, this is Tim. We will be getting home on Wed. probably around 5:00pm your time. Get with Chassi as I think she is putting together some kind of welcome home get together. Thanks so much for the prayers and God bless!!!!

  3. Kim Wheeler

    December 5th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I am so filled with joy for you all! It is really remarkable the tremendous progress Caleb has made in such a short amount of time. I am so very thrilled you will be going home in a couple of days. By the way, we have the same plague in our house you mentioned (“Live well, laugh often, love much”). I will never look at it the same again. Still praying and will continue to do so… God is so good and you and Tiffany are such an encouragement by the example you are setting through this trial. Thank you for sharing your journey. I, like some of the others who have commented on your posts, hope you write a book some day. I think it would really be a blessing for so many to know your story. God bless you all and I look forward to hearing more about Caleb’s progress.

  4. Stephanie

    December 7th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    I am so happy to hear how awesome Caleb is doing!! I have followed this story from day one and Caleb and ur family has touched SO many lives as well as mine and has actually changed some lives and hearts. I know it definitely has mine! I agree with Diane above, u are an amazing writer and I would love to read this book if ever written! God bless! And still praying for Caleb and ur precious family! <3

  5. Mary Miller

    December 8th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    I am so proud of all the progress Caleb has beening making so rapidly. I have prayed from day one for you all from when the story broke on News Channel 5. I was heartbroken, having a 20 month old myself, I think that could have been us… It is a story that has touched many and hits home to all of us. I am so excited for your trip home today. Be careful and know i am praying and will continue to do so! God is good, all the time!!

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