Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Follow-Up

Follow-up appointments can be informative.  From getting a diagnosis to creating a treatment plan, these appointments are usually scheduled soon after an initial appointment has occurred.  For the last few years, I have been calling all of Ronan's medical appointments follow-up appointments.  I probably should refer to them on-going rather than follow-up.  Depending on which specialists he's seeing, he's logged ten year's worth of follow-up visits.  

Ronan had another appointment last week.  That appointment was about the problems he's having with his legs.  At the rate things are going, more appointments - and follow-ups, will be scheduled.  That'll happen for a few reasons.  

Ronan's orthotics aren't working.  

He continues to be in pain - pain we haven't been able to take away.  

And he's slowing down.

After sharing our recent observations--that things don't seem to be improving, Ronan's doctor and I talked about our options.  We talked about pain meds, different orthotics, and getting the most out of physical therapy sessions.  We also discussed how to conserve Ronan's energy.  In trying to conserve Ronan's energy, it was suggested that we consider having Ronan use crutches or a walker.  

A walker.  That made me immediately think of this picture.  
Before he could walk on his own
Ronan didn't learn to walk until he was close to 3-years of age.  When looking at when that typical milestone is usually achieved, being almost 3 is old for kids to learn how to walk.  

It took time for Ronan to be able to walk on his own, but with practice, with physical therapy, with that walker, and with lots and lots and lots of prayers, Ronan did it.  

Using that walker was a stepping stone.  A curious toddler, it helped Ronan to get up and go.  It gave him confidence.  Independence.  And freedom.  Things are different now.  

Ronan's not as confident as he used to be.  He's sitting down more.  He's laying down more.  Instead of zooming from one room to the next, he's reaching up for me to hold him.  He's signing for me to help him.  He needs me to carry him.  Ronan's been signing ouch while pointing to his legs, his thigh, his calf muscle, and to his feet.  We need to do something now before further deterioration occurs.  My husband and I had already thought of getting a walker for Ronan, so we're grateful that the doctor agreed that it's something we should look into.  It's our hope that Ronan will use a walker as soon as it arrives.  We need a smooth transition.  No sensory issues.  No anxiety.  No struggle.  

Instead of helping him zoom here and there, a walker will be used to keep him upright.  To prevent him from falling.  And to support him as he slows down.  Watching Ronan slow down has been difficult, but I'm grateful to have some options.  I'll have to schedule a follow-up appointment on my list of things to do this week.  At the appointment, we'll see what Ronan's most comfortable with and make sure we get the right piece of equipment for him. 

Follow-up can imply that it's just 'one more appointment'.  That's not been the case for Ronan.  For Ronan, it's been one series of appointments one right after the other.  It's been that way for some time now.  

Follow-up.  

On-going.  

Recurring.  

However many appointments it takes.  If they help Ronan.  If they ease his pain. We'll keep making them.  

xo, Cat



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