We’ve had 3 or 4 new calendar years, i.e. Eid, Rosh Hashanah, “normal calendar” New Years, Chinese/Lunar New Year, and 1 new fiscal year begin since I last wrote … 7 months have gone by.
During the past 7 months, Jennah has finally fully recovered from her hip reconstruction … yay! The doctors told us it could take up to a year to recover, but I didn’t truly believe it. The procedure was truly invasive and traumatic and little Jennah is such a trooper for having endured it all. She lost a whole inch in height/length, but she can now fully straddle the horses for hippotherapy and her hips are well placed in the sockets … wohoo! In addition to the robust titanium hardware now permanently implanted into her hips are 6 scars and extra hairy legs … another “rare” side effect from having a fully body spica cast that just happens to affect her.
In September, Jennah began attending preschool at the local public school. I drop her off at 12:30 everyday, except Wednesdays, and she rides the bus home at 3:15. This has been a challenging adjustment for mom and Jennah. Major separation anxiety for both! Then at the end of October, just as she was adjusting well to school, we decided to wean her off of one of her seizure meds. Great news to be able to get rid of one of the most depressing, sedative medications on the market (phenobarbital), but then withdrawals hit. The holiday season, between Thanksgiving and New Year, was filled with screaming and temper tantrums as she worked the medication out of her blood. She is finally feeling better now, but she has unfortunately started having seizures again … UGH! We are feeling pretty confident that we can get the seizures back under control by increasing the dosage of her other medication, Lamictal, which she’s tolerated very well with very little side effects.
Nonetheless, Jennah continues to make some really great, exciting strides! She is now standing in a stander at school up to 30 minutes at a time without complaint. She can also keep her head up (as you can see in the pictures!) for minutes at a time. Now that her hips have healed and her head and trunk control has improved, she is beginning to sit, unsupported, for a few seconds at a time!
I still reminisce a lot about Dubai … especially the perfect weather they must be having now, not to mention missing my dear, dear friends. But when I see how much Jennah has accomplished this past year (we arrived on Christmas day, 2010), I remember why we made the decision to come back and why this is the best place for Jennah. My immediate family is here, too, and without them, none of this would be possible. The pediatric specialty care here is just incomparable to the rest of the world. Emergency aid in less than 5 min, blood test results in hours, nurses on-call for random questions … luxury to the parents of a disabled child! The benefits of Jennah attending an integrated school program alongside typical children have been immeasurable.
We are home now … Happy New Year!