Oliver update

I’ve realised that I’ve been quiet for over a month.

For a change it’s purely down to us being busy in a positive way. No hospital stays, no real Oliver stress. Just being busy.

Since the last time I wrote, Olivers seizures seem to have stopped. The fear of a phone call from nursery or family has reduced (unfortunately I think it will always be a worry) But it would appear his medication is now at the right level and keeping him balanced. We make sure that his baby Jebba has her medicine too and anyone else who’s to hand during medicine time

I’ve been spending Monday afternoons on a Hanen course. To help aid my communication with Oliver. Although he makes noise (and plenty of it) we’ve still not got any clear speech. So being able to help nudge him in the right direction is really important. There’s a number of things I didn’t realise he was doing until I slowed down and brought myself down to his level.

We have had a bit of a surprise and the chesty noise that anyone who’s met him can always hear. For those that haven’t he ALWAYS sounds like he needs to cough or clear his throat. Well SALT (speech and language) think that it may be due to a bit of aspiration so he’s now been given something to thicken all of his drinks and it seems to have helped. We can tell the days where we’ve skipped the thickener due to one reason or another. So hopefully we’ve sorted that before too much damage has been done.

Our signing has improved massively. I don’t know if it’s due to the course and me paying more attention and looking for different things or just the he’s had another leap in understanding but I now have a good idea almost all of the time what he’s after with minimal frustration.

If it was a leap then it would explain his eating habits. Feeding Oliver is a continuous stress. It’s the only part of his condition that we worry about and if he was a ‘normal’ two year old I’d put the fact he’s eating anything and everything and demanding food/having hissy fits when we won’t share, down to him being two. I honestly believe that’s exactly what’s happening. His legs have stretched out that’s for sure and cognitively he’s improving so it’s got to be why he wants the extra bits, but there’s still that tiny niggle at the back of my head that the reason he wants to eat is due to the switch in his brain no longer working.

Last week we did another ‘2 year review’ to see where we are and how we’re doing. We then did the 20 month review after ‘failing’ the other one. The only area he’s not keeping up with is gross motor skills. He can do pretty much everything a 20 month old can do skill and speech wise (or at least to some degree) but gross motor skills (physical movement) he’s in the black, not even in the grey. Which I’m ok with (I regularly have to repeat this to myself) because I am ok with it. We knew he wouldn’t be walking by the time he was two like most kids are. I think sometimes having it put down in black and white makes it just that bit harder.

The two year review was in prep for a multiagency meeting that’s happening at the beginning of March. No offence to anyone that I work with but this will probably be the most important meeting of the year for us. Getting everyone that supports Oliver into one room so that they can discuss how he’s doing, what he needs and what everyone’s next steps are. I’ve spoken to a few people about the meeting and I’m excited and worried about it. I’m grateful that we can get as many people as possible involved to help shape what’s going on but at the same time it makes me sad at the same time that I need to push for a meeting with physio, OT, Portage, SALT, local SEN team, health visitor, nursery and anyone else that we can manage to get there. I’m not ashamed to say that there’s days where I don’t want to need any of the teams to support him but I’m grateful that they do.

Now for me and my promises I made to myself at the end of the last post.

I’ve found a hobby

  • Yes I have found a hobby and I’m sticking with it. Running – who’d have ever thought my hobby would be running 😂 I’m laughing myself right now because before Christmas if you asked me if I had a hobby I’d ask if napping on the couch was one 😂 I have book club and love book club, but it’s only a meet up once every 6 weeks and I need something that I do weekly to keep me sane. I didn’t realise I’d lost my sanity until I started going. I’m not a solo runner by any means I’ve been lucky enough to find a running group that suits my needs
    • They meet regularly
    • They aren’t highly competitive
    • They’re friendly (and a laugh)
    • They’re supportive
    • They like being social

    I went on my first run on the 9th Jan. I’ve had a week off due to being ill but I’ve managed to get up to being able to ‘run’ for four miles without really stopping. I can definitely do 3 without stopping. I’m not fast and I probably resemble Phoebe from friends as I run but I feel so much better for it and it’s transferred into every aspect of my life. My head actually feels clearer. I didn’t realise that I was suffering with so much brain fog until it went away!

    Some reflective time

    So the end of 2018 is here

    The thought of looking back over the year brings mixed emotions.

    At the beginning of the year Oliver couldn’t crawl, weight bear and definitely not pull himself up. We end the year with a speedy crawler that enjoys being on his feet (with plenty of assistance but he is determined to get there on his own)

    He also didn’t really sign or communicate too much and often got frustrated because of this. His frustrations are still there but he’s now trying to say things and will sign several things to us. Sometimes this is a guessing game as he confuses signs and has made a fair few up himself. His speech is still delayed but coming along nicely. Everything he can’t say is woo woo. For those that don’t know our dog is called Roo. Woo is Olivers best friend, partner in crime and often the follower of Olivers mischief. She also doubles up as a hoover when he throws (much to our delight) his food

    We’ve had so many conversations over the year about how well he’s doing. How he’s exceeded our expectations and the point we are at now we never expected to get here so quickly. That’s not even between Mike and I, that’s with health professionals, family and anyone else who’s directly involved with him.

    This however doesn’t mean that it’s come easily. There’s been tears. Lots and lots of tears. Many times where we’ve both been fed up, Olivers been fed up and if it were possible to call it a day and press a restart button then we probably wouldn’t be far off doing it

    As far as breaks and rest have gone this year Oliver probably doesn’t realise that time off work should be time to do fun things. A week off in May he had impetigo so we were housebound because it’s contagious. We tried to go away on our first family holiday and Oliver had other ideas and spent the first three days having seizure after seizure. Then Christmas holiday time….he gets chicken pox. So all in all on the resting front we’ve not really had much opportunity for that as the other allocated holidays in work went on appointments.

    This in itself has taken its toll. In the new year we’ve agreed to start sharing out appointments. One thing I never write much about is appointments. I write positive posts about how well we’ve been doing. I did promise myself I’d write honestly and for the most part I do but I often skip writing a post when there’s no energy to even cook tea never mind put a piece of me into a blog. Over the year I’ve weaved at least full time additional working week into my four day working week. Early starts and late finishes. Working on my ‘day off’ That probably doesn’t sound like a lot to some people but trying to balance out being two different fronts in a day is exhausting. Working additional hours not to have extra time off but to go to an appointment and fight for your child isn’t the ideal.

    Getting up as mum, dropping Oliver at nursery or with one of his grandads and then going to work. Being work me, taking work me’s head off and putting mum head on, going to an appointment and fighting for what he needs/what we want. Drop him back off, process an appointment and then fill everyone in on what’s gone on, answer questions. Get back into work me and finish the day off…come back and be mum again, then be a physio, do some more signs. Take him to bed. I’m not really too sure where I actually am in the story. All spare time is spent researching how I can help Oliver and then bathing and sleeping.

    It. Is. Exhausting.

    People often wonder why I don’t fill them in on every little thing that’s happened/going on. It’s because it’s exhausting. I appreciate everyone wants to know but mentally it’s not always the easiest thing to do. I’m not intentionally withholding information. I’m just waiting for when I’m in a place to pass information on comfortably. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about it. We have on average 2 appointments a month, sometimes more sometimes less. They’re often like buses nothing for a while then three all at once. We already have four booked in for next year.

    One of my New Years resolutions is to make more time for myself. For me to be me, that person I was before Oliver came along. It’s a thing a lot of mums struggle to do but I think that anyone that has a child with any additional needs, struggles with even more because of all the additional pressures of making sure you haven’t missed anything.

    I’m looking forward to 2019, no new year new me here. Just another calendar year where I’m trying to find the right balance.