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Hiatus from HBOT February 25, 2009

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Health, special needs.
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So, we’re taking a break for awhile from the hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) treatments we’ve been doing since early November. We have finished 35 of the 40 we had planned on doing. When we go back, we will do another 15… making our total 50. That’s how I can justify taking a break with only 5 left to go. Just add more.

Truth be told, the monotony of the HBOT routine and the havoc is has caused to our family life is taking a toll. Adding the long roundtrip commute to the hour and 20 minutes we lay almost motionless in the tank, makes each session a 3-4 hour ordeal. That’s a lot of time to carve out of the evening, 3-4 nights per week. Feels like we never see the other half of our family unit.  And let’s not forget all those Dora videos that wore me down. Even Toy Story is starting to get on my nerves.

So, we enjoyed the time in the Poconos. Enjoyed the waterpark without worrying about what damage we’d suffer if we got water in our ears and then went HBOT “diving” with its pressurization.

The benefits of this therapy continue to be obvious to others. We see Fabio getting better and better and want to credit HBOT for these rapid gains due to the large investment we’ve made emotionally, financially, and in time spent.

His vocabulary and focus and eye contact are really great. Major improvement in handwriting, pretty suddenly. He socializes better lately. Tolerates peers and shares better (not great, but better). But that is such a big deal because he was really unwilling and unable to share at all.  Talks almost non-stop now and uses longer phrases and makes thoughtful comments. And he is willing to stray from repeatedly watching the same friggin video over and over. I’ve managed to get him to watch …and start to request…Toy Story 2 and CARS. In the past, he’d meltdown over any change, even if a big reinforcer was offered as a reward.

The big test was taking him to the Poconos. I really don’t think he stood out as much as usual because his behaviors were mostly under control. Sure, he startled many a stranger with a sweet “hello” greeting right in their face. Not typical in these days of stranger danger campaigns.  And the big meltdown over wanting a second day in the waterpark… instead fo the lame ol’ indoor pool… was not pretty. But I still haven’t decided if I should be down about an autistic tantrum or elated about a typical kid’s tantrum. I’m inclined to think he was typical at that moment. Who’d pick a pool over a waterpark?

Don’t get me wrong. Fabio is autistic. I’m not kidding myself.  He is not recovered. But he is much better than he was before we began this therapy. And I am so happy and thankful for this blessing.

So, I’ve traded my 3-4 hour nights out with Fabio 3-4 night per week for my typical daughter’s new schedule: She started rehearsals for a play on Monday. It’s from 4-7 pm four nights/week for 6 weeks. Then a month of performances. I’m juggling that with the other 10 activities she has each week. Oh, and yeah. Schoolwork. And sleep.

I have a feeling that I’ll be looking forward to laying in that HBOT tank again, come April. Even if I have to listen to CARS every night… KA-CHOW!

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