Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Dad and Zambia

My dad is home from Zambia! He actually returned last weekend, but I figured I needed to have a chance to go through his photos before I posted. =0)

Yes, my dad went to Zambia even though his doctors advised against it. =0) That's my dad! =0) Besides, it's difficult to go to Zambia without having a life-changing experience. It leaves such an impression on your heart, that you can't help but want to return. I still remember the beautiful sound of Zambians (adults and children alike) singing praises to our God, I remember the smells, and the scenes . . . the nighttime services, being in the middle of nowhere (yet somewhere special just the same), walking/driving through the villages. I miss it just as much as my dad . . . who can't seem to get enough of it either. =0)

This trip, Sons of Thunder was dedicating a church that my dad (and others) helped build. I know this was just another life-changing experience for my dad. As I said, it's impossible to go to Zambia and not be changed.

Of course, my dad has tons of stories to share . . . but has been so quiet since he came home. Unusual for him, since he usually talks your ears off for hours. ;0) I could tell you of my experience in Zambia, but I think my dad's most recent experience will be more fitting. As he decides to share, I will post. Until then, I have posted a couple of videos for you to watch . . . I miss those sounds so much! To see more videos from Sons of Thunder, you can visit YouTube and search for SonsOfThunderFarm (or just click on SonsOfThunderFarm). =0)

(You'll have to mute the music player at the bottom of the screen to hear the movies)

Church Dedication, Part I

Church Dedication, Part II

Village Service

Friday, January 22, 2010

All Children's - Rothman Center

Isaiah had his appointment with the neuropsychiatrist on Wednesday. I will start out saying that it was a looooooong day. Not only was the appointment at 9 am, the appointment lasted 3 hours! The long day also included lab work and a 3-hour drive home . . . I think we finally made it home by 10 pm.

The appointment went well, for the most part. Nothing was said that we hadn't already been told (rather, suggested) before. After playing with 2 therapists (a speech therapist and an occupational/physical therapist) for about 30 minutes or so, it was decided that Isaiah needs ST and OT at least 4 days a week . . . and PT to strengthen core muscles. They also said that he would benefit from a therapist-controlled social play group . . . no food involved, and only an hour at a time.

After meeting with the therapists, Isaiah was introduced to the physician (a neurologist-psychiatrist). She played and observed Isaiah for the rest of our stay (about 2 1/2 hours). She asked lots of questions (of us and Isaiah), but mostly observed. At the end of the appointment (and after consulting the therapists), it was concluded that Isaiah has very high functioning Autism (an Autism Spectrum Disorder). The doctor said that Asperger's Syndrome would have been considered, except Isaiah has a speech delay (which is not part of Asperger's Syndrome). Along with that, Isaiah was diagnosed with ADHD (combined type) and Sensory Integration Disorder, both of which go along with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

We were given more informational papers, a recommendation to CARD (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), and the doctor's orders (including lab work and a list of recommendations for therapy). It's the lab work that made our day that much longer . . . I'll explain more in a minute. =0)

Since it was a beautiful day outside, we were in beautiful St. Pete, and we were just given an overload of information, we decided to go play at a park at one of the ports in St. Pete. It was a beautiful park, and such a wonderful addition to our day. Isaiah really needed the time to unwind, especially after the long car ride to St. Pete and the long day we already had. He had so much fun, and it was cool enough outside that he didn't even flush! =0) That's a huge thing for Isaiah - that has been a daily part of our lives recently and something that happens when he plays outside. It was so cool outside that he didn't even need the cooling vest! =0)

After playing for a while, we decided to go find a place to have lunch . . . and to start our 3-hour trip home. Or so we thought. No, no ER trip. You see, we stopped for lunch and began reviewing the paperwork from the appointment. After looking through all the checked boxes for labs, we noticed that the doctor had forgotten to inform us that the labs needed to be completed at All Children's . . . which was now 45 minutes away from where we were . . . and it was already 2:30. So, back to St. Pete. =0)

We got back to the hospital, found the re-located lab (the hospital is under construction and all the outpatient facilities . . . except for the Rothman Center . . . had relocated to the new building), and registered for the lab work. By that time, it was around 4:30. Then, we waited. And waited. Yup, and waited some more. =0) At 5:00 or so, they took Isaiah back for the blood donation . . . they took 9 vials! Full vials, that is. Poor guy!!! During the whole process, the nurse missed his vein and decided to dig around a bit. Isaiah was already freaked out enough that he was going to get a "shot" (he sooooo recognized the lab decor), and began yelling "She's going to get me killed! It's not my turn, it's Bafanjoo's (my nephew) turn! Bafanjoo wants a shot!" Nine vials later, labs were completed and we returned to the car to begin our long trip home, rush-hour traffic included. =0)

Honestly, I'm not shaken by the diagnosis. There is still a large portion of Isaiah's actions that aren't covered by the diagnosis, so some things are more than likely the masto. Yes, the doctor did mention medication, but only one . . . and it will help with sleep . . . if we decide to add it (we still have to talk to the allergists). And why be shaken when Isaiah was Isaiah before the appointment? Isaiah hasn't changed at all - just how we help him understand the world around him. As Isaiah calls me his "Special Mommy," Isaiah is still my "Special Baby Boy" . . . and he always will be. He's the fulfillment of God's promise to me, and what a wonderful promise & blessing he is! I'm proud of him and I'm honored to know him - to be his "Special Mommy."

I love you, my Special Baby Boy!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ice in Florida?

Yup, ice . . . in Florida. =0) We had a bit of a cold spell here. It's about time, I say - it's strange to live in a place that only really has 2 seasons . . . a very long Summer and some kind of a Spring. No fall, no real winter . . . except for this year. We actually had a winter! =0)

This past weekend we had "snow". Okay, so more like rain mixed with sleet . . . with a few flurries. =0) Not the winters we were used to in Maryland, but hey, it works. =0)

Isaiah was in heaven! He heard the word snow on the weather channel and went nuts! "SNOW! I build a snowman an frow snowballs!" So, just to let you know what we got to do this past weekend . . .

Poor icy tree . . . odd how it turned white . . . the others seemed fine

Icy lawns . . . don't let my dad know you saw his patchy-brown lawn . . . he takes pride in his usually green lawn. =0)

See the sleet bouncing off my dad's truck?

Okay, now on with the cute pics. =0)

Just look at that face . . . not sure of what to think of the invisible snow =0)

Pleased that the sky was making the "snow" (it was sleet with a tad bit of rain)

He caught some on his glove - "Wook, Mommy, a snowfwake!" =0)

"Awesome!" =0)

So happy =0)

Snow dance, anyone?

Still dancin'

Catching the ever illusive snowflakes =0)

My little "snow angel" =0)

Fascinated by the sleet tapping the umbrella

"I'm singin' in the . . . uh, sleet!" =0)

Of course he had to use his umbrella . . . "ev-wee day is an umb-weh-wah day!" =0)