As you may know from the title of this post, we made the decision to discharge Em from PT last week. We're only taking a few weeks off while we get signed up for the program from the county, but it feels like a monumental thing in our life that is worth documenting.
When we started with PT Derek and I agreed that we would go through the local children's hospital for Em's PT services since that was and still is the biggest obstacle in Em's life. I was of the mindset that she deserved to go to the best of the best for her therapist and that no other therapist would compare to the quality that we would get going through CHOA.
I first met our therapist when Em was about nine months old, I loved her instantly, and I really still do. (Actually that's been the hardest part about leaving is losing her therapist because I love her SO MUCH). She's been a PT for a long time and has worked a lot with children just like Em with similar congenital problems, and spinal cord injuries. She was very quick to tell us that there was no doubt in her mind that Em would walk, and after a few sessions, told us that she would be sitting unsupported by October of 2015, and pulling to stand by January of 2016.
As many of you know, those dates came and went, and those milestones didn't happen. I wasn't upset with our therapist at all because I know she can't play God, and a lot of it is on Em's own timing with everything. We still kept going to therapy each week though because we were convinced that our PT was the only one who could help her.
Over the summer it was brought to our attention that Em was significantly delayed in her fine motor skills as well, and we decided to give the county's free therapy services a try for OT because the need still wasn't as great as PT and we honestly didn't have the money to shell out for another service. Our OT came to our house a few weeks later and he was not what I would ever have expected our pediatric OT to be. So when this big 58 year scruffy looking man claiming to be the pediatric occupational therapist from the county showed up on my door step one afternoon, I had a raised eyebrow and 50 questions running through my mind, but I let him in.
He has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings in our lives. He has this magic about him that can get Em to do absolutely anything. When he comes through the door, Em shrieks his name with glee and is anxious to see what he's brought to play with her each week. From the second week he was with us, he got Em to sit unsupported on stool, and has transitioned her to less and less support over the last few months to where she can now sit for up to 90 minutes at a time.
It quickly became clear to me that our current PT was not the only one who could make a positive impact in Em's life. So over the course of a month or so I started weighing all the pros and cons of our current PT situation and came to a few conclusions. One, the money that we were spending on PT each month was coming at a great sacrifice to our family. The monthly bill was more than our mortgage payment which we could not afford from Derek's salary, which meant that all money I hustled out of this blog was basically going straight to therapy. Which is fine, but we also want to retire one day, so a savings account would be great. Also, I wouldn't mind spending the money if Em was hitting milestones left and right, but to spend that money for 18 months and just barely check sitting off the list, it seemed like switching to the free PT through the county couldn't be any worse.
Second was the commute. When we moved, it put us about 20 miles from our PT clinic and our appointments are at 9am every Thursday. That meant navigating through the crazy Atlanta rush hour was inevitable. The town that we live in is basically a commuter town. Meaning that all the people who live where we live commute to Atlanta, or the neighboring cities each day and the traffic is intense. Bless my husband who makes that drive every morning without complaint. Bless him.
The third and last reason we decided to make the switch was because I was just plain burnt out. I was burnt out on Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, burnt out on commuting, burnt out on spending all this money. It also got to the point where we'd missed so many days due to Jay and Em being sick, or Derek's car not working, and random things like that, and I got this taste of what it was like to not drive all the way to therapy each week that when it came time to actually go again last week, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
So I called the office and left a voicemail saying that we were switching to the county program, our PT emailed me and said she would mail us our records, and that was it. I went to the store on Monday and bought a bunch of new toys for Em so that we could have new things to interest her with. We're working on lots of things at home while we wait for the new PT to get lined up, and I'm ready to see where the rest of this PT journey takes us. Also looking forward to when preschool starts in August and all of this is done at school and I don't have to worry about it anymore, although I'm sure I still will.