Last week, Mia and I flew to Pennsylvania so that Mia could start staying at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation
where, it is hoped, she can work on her eating problems. She entered the facility on 2 May ... and hasn't been seen since!!!!!
Okay, not exactly. I drove her up to Bethlehem on Monday and got her settled in. The facility has a large day room where the kids can play with a bunch of different toys; a patio for when the day is nice; a cafeteria; and a bunch of rooms, in one of which Mia is staying (with a roommate). The kids go outside with the nurses, as well. On Tuesday I drove up and saw her on her first "official" day under her new schedule. She has speech therapy three times a day, and she gets physical and occupational therapy once a day, every day. Her schedule is pretty full, in other words. I watched a few of her therapy sessions. The speech therapist is trying to get her used to foods she doesn't necessarily like - she uses food Mia likes and moves to food she doesn't like. Yogurt, for instance, which Mia often ignores. They've been taking Cheerios (which she'll eat) and putting them in yogurt so Mia has to fish them out and lick them off. They get pretty messy - that's part of the point. Mia, of course, decided she would drink a lot of Pediasure the first day, even though we couldn't get her to drink anything before she arrived there. I told them it was probably the novelty of it all and she probably wouldn't keep that up, although I would love it if she does. The speech therapist is just trying to get her used to all the various food before they start pushing her to eat. Mia was having a good time with it even though she still wasn't eating a lot, so I guess that's something!
I also checked out a PT session. As they work with Mia every day, they're going to try to get her to use her left hand a little more. They want her to be able to brace herself on her left hand so she can use her right hand more, because right now if she's using her right hand and she starts to lose her balance, she stops doing anything with her right hand and braces herself with it. So they want to get her to use her left hand a bit more, if only for stability. They also want to work on her transitions from her wheelchair to a different chair or her bed, because I can't carry her all the time! Her PTs are excited about this, and I'm certainly hopeful that they can make some progress with it.
I went back on Thursday to meet with the doctor and her case manager. Every Thursday the therapists and doctors have a meeting about the patients' progress and what they're going to work on in the next week. Then they meet with the parents. The meeting about Mia wasn't all that exciting because she had just arrived and I already knew most of it, but it's still good to hear their plans. Finally, my mother and I went up on Sunday (yesterday) for a Mother's Day tea. That was fun.
I wasn't sure how often I was going to go up and see her, but after the first week, I think I'm going to leave her alone most of the time. The instant she sees me, she starts chanting that she wants to go home and watch TV. The nurses thought that was sad because she wanted to go home, but I had to tell them that for Mia, "home" only means a place where she can watch television - she can watch TV in her room at the clinic, and that makes her happy. I asked the therapists if she was demanding television when I wasn't there, and they said she was fine. So I'm more of a distraction than anything. She doesn't have a lot of free time anyway, and I'd rather she spend it in the day room playing with the recreational therapists (yes, they have recreational therapists, whose job is to play with the kids) than watching TV. Mia's perfectly happy when I'm not there, after all, so while I'm still going to visit her, I'm going to limit my appearances at the place.
The clinic has a nice group of kids, and Mia seems to enjoy it. They have some babies, but they also have a 5-year-old, a 7-year-old, an 8-year-old, an 11-year-old, and a 12-year-old, all with varying degrees of physical and mental disabilities. Some kids are there simply to recover physically from accidents, while others are there for reasons similar to Mia. The kids seem to like Mia, even though Mia tends to ignore them. But she likes saying hello to everyone, and when I'm there and I can watch her without her seeing me, she seems to be enjoying herself.
She's been in the clinic for a week now, and I do hope we can see some progress soon. That's not too much to ask, is it? I will continue to update her work as she moves on, and it would be nice to report good news.