So we got our new e-stim machine and have been using it twice a day for 10 days now. And strangely, Maggie has not had the same exciting head-straightening reaction as before. All of us have been stumped. (And when I say "all of us," I mean her nurses, her new OT, her old OT, her PT, Justin, and myself ).
Was is that we had stopped doing the e-stim for so long?? No, that couldn't be it, I told myself. The very first time we did e-stim (see the video on this blog) she had an amazing response. And we had never done it before that.
Was it that we were using the machine incorrectly? No, that wasn't it. We checked our machine, called the company, called her old OT (Ashley) and sent her videos to makes sure, and, yes, we were placing the eletrodes just right.
Another mystery with Maggie. What else is new, right?
But today Ashley (her old OT) called me from Philadelphia and hit me hard with a revelation. Perhaps Maggie is not holding her head up as much because she is weak. She hasn't gained weight in three months due to her severe vomiting. And she is burning many more calories with her now speedy crawling and cruising. Maybe her body is just conserving energy and it's a lot harder for her to hold her neck up? It made total sense to me and I believe it could be a real possibility.
So the bottom line is: Maggie has to gain weight and soon. And we have got to figure out what to do when the Botox wears off. We are seriously considering going to another city for a GI opinion because really there is no one else in Dallas who can help us.
But back to the weight gain. Even though I am a Type-A, organized person, I have rededicated myself to making sure Maggie is on a strict feeding schedule. When we first started having nurses at our house I assumed that typing out Maggie' basic schedule was sufficient. But it was really hard for the nurses to remember to do everything they were supposed to do each day. I guess when it's not your baby, it's hard to remember everything. (Or maybe Maggie is just a very demanding patient!)
Anyway, I was very lenient about things. For example, if Maggie was supposed to eat at 3, but the nurse didn't get to it until 4, I just nicely shrugged it off and said that we would just push back her 6 o'clock feeding to 7 o'clock. But that would push us back the rest of the night so we ended up trying to feed her more than she could take and she would vomit, thus losing vital calories she needed. Of course, I am mad at myself for not being more strict about it but the only thing I can do is change moving forward, right?
So last week I created a new checklist for the nurses and myself to go by each day. It includes her feedings, but also checklists for stretching, e-stim, joint compressions, and brushing (no, not hair brushing - it's a brush that goes all over her skin to help with her sensory stuff).
We keep this in the front of Maggie's "binder" (which we use throughout the day to log all of her meds) so we can all be accountable to do what needs to be done each day. Let's face it, it is very easy to "forget" to do the stretching. I mean it's absolutely awful to do. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Same with the e-stim. It's hard to fit in thirty minutes of making Maggie be still when she already has to be still five times a day for thirty minutes while she is being fed. But we need to do it.
So here is the checklist for our little, but exhausting, patient:
Oh I hope she starts gaining again soon!!!