"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature." ~St. Augustine

Sunday, December 2, 2012

ABM Trip #2

So, in my typical fashion, this is a post from 4 months ago!  We took this trip the first week of August, and he has taken two more trips since then.  But I do want to document our ABM trips, so here it is...(will be working on shorter versions of the other two trips soon.)

Our 2nd ABM trip to San Rafael - both Jimmy and I went this time and we also took Brady.  We loaded everyone up and said good bye (tearfully) to Ryder who was staying with my mom.  It was going to be a great trip.  But then, approximately 30 minutes into our trip (we are not even to Salem yet), Brady says "Mama, I want out."   To which I respond, "Honey, we still have quite a ways to go still."  (like 10 hours!)

Road Trip!!

But luckily we get to Medford/Central Point in pretty good time.  We are going to stay with Jimmy's sister for the night and then head down the rest of the way in the morning.  We haven't seen Tina in over a year, so it is great to be able to hang out with her and her husband for the night.  It took us a while to get unloaded and "set up" and then to feed the boys dinner and get them ready for bed.  By the time we had all of this done, they were maxed out and crying pretty  hard.  Couple that with the fact that we put them in a new room to sleep and it is a rough bedtime.  I think they finally fell asleep (after prolonged crying) around 9:00.  Poor Tina and Phil.  By this time, the pizza that they had cooked was cold and even though we told them to go ahead and eat without us - they didn't.  So we all reheated our dinner in the microwave, got a cold one out of the fridge and sat down to refuel.  I am sure that the next morning as we loaded everyone up and pulled out of the driveway both of them sighed with relief.

Brady LOVED their dog.

Good floor time playing a game
We had a good 2nd half of the trip.  The weather was beautiful and we made it in decent time.  We were so excited to have found a hotel that offers a separate bedroom and a full kitchen.  It was a like an apartment AND it was cheaper than the last place we stayed because they offer a great rate for families who are going to the ABM clinic.  This place was perfect!  However, they happened to put us in a great room...on the third floor.  Seems fine, right?  There are elevators so we can get everything up there.  But the elevator was about the size of a refrigerator.  Seriously, I had never seen a smaller, older elevator in all of my life.  We needed to get Parker in there in his stroller and it was a little comical.  First of all only one of us could fit with the stroller in there and that was if we were squished up to the wall.  The stroller could barely get in.  In fact, once Jimmy got it in for me and I was squished in there, I didn't know how to get out when we got to the 3rd floor!  I think I ended up endowing it up and shoving it out.  Besides that one point, the hotel was awesome!  Super nice people, very accommodating, I would recommend this place to anyone and everyone who is staying in Corte Madera.

Brady and Parker making a fort under the coffee table

Playing a board game in our hotel

Neil and Parker
Parker met Neil on this trip and instantly made a connection.  Neil is an amazing singer and we all know that music is the way to Parker's heart.  So he had a new best friend!  It was a good week filled with lots of work for Parker, but lots of playing and relaxing as well.   We were so happy that we were able to bring Brady.  Not only did he have a great time and felt included in this journey, but he got some great one-on-one time with each of us when the other took Parker to his appointments.  This was much needed for our oldest boy who sometimes feels left out. 

Typical day:  We would all go down to the FREE breakfast (loved that) and then I would take Parker to his first appointment.  Jimmy and Brady would eat their breakfast lazily and then head to the pool.  When I got back with Parker, we would join them in the pool, eat lunch, and then they would go down for a nap.  They actually slept because, as I said, there was a separate bedroom and we could make it dark for them.  After nap time, Brady and I would drop off Jimmy and Parker at his appointment and go to a nearby park.  When we were all done with appointments for the day, we went to a fantastic park near our hotel where Parker and I could lay under a big tree and soak up what he had learned that day.  And Brady could run and play on this amazingly HUGE play structure.  We would head back for dinner, get them down for the night and Jimmy and I would watch some Olympics, go to sleep, wake back up and REPEAT!

It was a nice week filled with quality time with both boys and  great learning for Parker. 

Heading home was quite the journey.  We left right after Parker's last appointment on Friday.  We didn't have anywhere to stay in Medford on the way back because Jimmy's sister was out of town.  We knew from past experience that staying in a regular hotel would be insane and no one would really sleep well.  So, we decided to drive straight through to Portland.  We were sure the boys would fall asleep in the car and it wouldn't be that bad of a drive.  We stopped at a park in Medford to have dinner (fast food drive thru) and try to let them stretch and have some time out of the car.  That ended in meltdowns because they were so tired, us throwing our food out, throwing some jammies on them, loading back up in the car (all the while screaming and crying) and getting back on the road again.  They finally fell asleep about 10:00.  Sheesh!

But my wonderful husband drove the whole way and got us home safe and sound at about midnight.  It was so good to be home!

After this trip, we definitely saw little differences with Parker.  He was holding his head more upright.  His hands and legs were more relaxed.  He was again more vocal.  But it wasn't until we went to Hippotherapy again, that we realized ABM was truly making a big difference.  We took the summer off of Hippotherapy because we were trying to save money for the California trips.  But we started up again the first week of September.  Our physical therapist there sent me an email that said this:

Hi Marcy,
I just wanted to let you know that Parker was amazing today!  He clearly has benefited from his therapy in California.  I was expecting to use the positioning bolster (which helps to support him on the horse) for most of the session and it was clear within the first 5 minutes that he didn't need it at all.  He exhibited much better head and trunk control and balance then I have ever seen with him before.  He also was using sounds a lot to say "go" and help with the animal sounds of Old McDonald.
Since he did so well I am hoping to discontinue the positioning bolster and start to challenge him with additional activities and positions that we help to further his core strength, balance, fine motor and head control.
By the way, he also looked great in standing today when he was feeding Blesi.  He was able to stand on his own with only minimal assistance from me.  I will also continue to work on his standing balance off horse as well.
It was exciting to see such dramatic changes in Parker.  I look forward to seeing him next week.
 So we didn't even need to consider stopping the ABM therapy.  As expensive at it is, we are going to find a way to make it work! 

Here are some more pictures of the trip:

Parker Man exhausted after a day of ABM

Having fun at the park

Breakfast time!

Story time!

Getting a cold treat at the park


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