Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I broke up with our OT today. The longer I thought about the last report, combined with how incredibly frustrated I've been lately, I decided it was time.

There have been lots of little things the last few months. Increasingly negative reports, poor communication outside of those reports, a lack of listening to my concerns, focusing on things that I thought were unnecessary. There was a particularly bad session in mid-May that I came fairly close to cursing and throwing her out of my house. She was scolding Robbie for not cooperating with a game she wanted him to play and not praising him at all when he got it right.

She wanted him to go through a tunnel with a blow up mattress in it, picking up some rings along the way and then climb over the pillow part of the mattress to put the rings on a stick. He would go through the tunnel, sometimes picking up a ring along way, some not. At the end of the tunnel, he would go out the side instead of over the mattress. Apparently this upset her and she was downright pissy with him about it. She kept loudly saying "NO, ROBBIE!" and was pretty physically aggressive with getting him to go over the pillow instead of around it.

A younger me would have cussed and thrown her out of the house. My inner mama bear was ready to attack. Instead, I told myself to chill out and sleep on it before deciding if she was really being too harsh with him, or if I was just being overprotective. By the next morning I had decided it was a little of both. I spoke w/daycare about her demeanor in the previous weeks and they assured me she'd been fine. I tried to put it off to a bad day and go forward. But I have definitely been hypersensitive to everything she has said and done since then. I think that's a big reason Thursday report upset me so much. On its own, it was just annoying, but combined with everything that had gone on the last several months, I just couldn't let it go.

On Saturday, Robbie had his 2 year check-up at the pediatrician. It went exceedingly well. He weighed 24.5 pounds, measured at 32 inches. Still low on the growth charts, but on them, which pleased the doctor. She doesn't think he'll need growth hormone when he's 3. She was very happy with his milestones. The only thing we had to answer no to was if he is eating with utensils yet. Given that he still doesn't eat much at all, I don't feel too badly about that. She actually even thought his speech was okay. I told her that he had 27 words and she asked why he was in speech therapy.

She was happy to hear about his progress with solids. These days he will eat tiny pieces of hot dog or chicken nugget. He loves most bread. He'll knock you down to get to crackers. His volume of intake is low, but his enjoyment of them is high and there is nothing better than seeing your failure-to-thrive kid gobble food down. On Sunday evening, he grabbed a piece of hot dog that I offered him and threw it in his mouth and smiled. I started crying happy tears. It may be just a hot dog, but it's a miracle in our house. She wasn't surprised that he's still resisting liquids.

Then we talked about therapy. I told her that I was frustrated and just sick of it. Four therapy sessions per week was exhausting to try to schedule and manage. And then I get a report that calls him whiny, and I want to split heads. She was pretty annoyed about the report (and really, if anyone should think he's a brat, it's the doctor's office. He starts screaming as soon as he sees the exam table and doesn't stop until we leave.) but said that my frustrating is "very healthy." I looked at her a little funny when she said that. I was kind of expecting a lecture about doing what is best for Robbie not it what is easiest for me. (She's done it before. She's not a word mincer.) She explained that the fact that I was tired of them showed how well Robbie was doing. She expects him to be completely done with therapy by the time he's 3.

I know she doesn't have a crystal ball, but that was still a relief to hear. She's made a lot of predictions over the years we've been with her and she's always been right. I hope she is this time. If he still needs services at 3, it's then through the school district and that adds a whole new layer of complication to our lives. She did say that he may or may not still have his tube at 3. But that if he does, she "won't be upset."

She shared a story of one of her most stubborn cases. He was one of a set of triplets, the other 2 being girls. The girls did well in the NICU while he struggled similarly to Robbie. She said that he just would not eat. They finally got his tube out just before he started kindergarten. She must have said 4 times, "I promise, he WILL eat."

He got the last of his vaccinations and she said she doesn't need to see us again for a year. I almost fell over.

On Monday, we had a GI check-up and she was just as positive as our pediatrician. She also shared a story about a hard case. A boy who took to eating very slowly but with interest, but when it came to liquids, it still took a long time. He also got his tube out just in time for kindergarten. Go figure.

She was also very happy with his growth. We discussed a few options for encouraging eating while keeping up nutrition and yet again, I left with the basic concept that I had it under control. We don't have to go back for 4 months. We also discussed OT and feeding. She also expressed that being annoyed with therapy is par for course. We talked about some of the focus of our OT and my feelings on it. She agreed with me. Basically that sensory issues are at play, but they are not the primary reason for his feeding difficulties. She was thrilled to hear that he tries different textures, even if not all of them.

So with those words ringing in my ears, and after thinking about it at length, today that I'd send our now former OT an e-mail and let her go. I told her how much I appreciated all she'd done for us, but that we were ready for a change. I explained that the last few months, she'd seemed frustrated and negative towards Robbie and I was also feeling frustrated and negative about things, so it was time to move on. I sent it this morning and haven't heard anything from her.

I can't say that I don't feel some sadness. She was a Godsend to us Robbie's first year at home. There were times when she stayed after a session just to let me talk a bit, or eat something. She was the only other adult I saw outside of my husband most of the time. But in the end, Robbie's needs come above either of our feelings. I believe that she had ceased to be effective because of the narrowed focus she had and because of what was feeling more and more like a battle of wills between the adults in Robbie's life. So it's done.

Next step, find a new one. The fun never ends.



Adriane said...

My inlaws always say, if it's your decision, it's the right decision. I'm sure it was tough, but it was the right call - your Robbie's mama and no one knows him like you. It made me smile to read that the Ped and GI were happy with his progress. That's got to make you feel good. You're doing such a great job, Trish!

Jen said...

Trish- You need a big hug for dealing with all the stress from OT. I'm glad to hear that Robbie got a great 2 year check-up report. It sounds like he's making great progress. Keep up the good work Robbie and Mama.

The Quarke Family said...

As I've said before, I bring no background knowledge or qualifications WHATSOEVER to this, but from what you've written, it sounds to me like this was a very good decision.

As you've pointed out, she's not a bad person or anything, she's just human and maybe tired of something else in her life, whatever, and it's time to move on to someone with a fresh approach.

Good luck!

Mommy Shoes said...

Change is always difficult. I hope you find the right person for Robbie and what great news that he is on the charts for growth!

Two Hands said...

There is no doubt in my mind that that was best for Robbie. You have always done what he needed. I hope your next OT is a help and comfort, not only to your amazing son, but to you as well.

The Blatchford Family said...

So glad that Robbie is doing so well!

Heather said...

I always say to go with your gut feeling and reading your recent situations with the OT sound like it was about time. She was very helpful, but it sounds like time to move on. Congrats to Robbie on how well he's doing!!! Our Liam, the slow to try moving one, has made huge strides in the past 3 weeks, learning to pull to sit, pull to stand, start crawling on hands and knees and cruise furniture in 3 weeks. He had his first PT appointment in those 3 weeks and now he's got a lot of new exercises to do!

Kierstin said...

as a mama you know best! i am so excited to hear how well Robbie is doing!!!!

Searching said...

I think you were very appropriate in letting her know. I would have been excited he is stubborn enough to find his own way through the obstacle course! It's a good time for a break and fresh eyes.

Very happy to hear how well he is doing. Bet you have never heard before that your boy can go a whole year before seeing the doc again!!! I am thrilled he LIKES some food, he finds ENJOYMENT in it! Yay Robbie and momma bear Trish!

Maureen said...

After my son's 2 year well child appointment, I also decided to stop services with his early intervention PT. Although for the opposite reason of he really is not making the gross motor gains he should, and is basically falling father behind. I see even more battles with my school system in my future than I have now. Even having minimal private PT appointments, it means having to drop the early intervention PT. As she has not seen him since Feb, no huge loss.

Go Robbie being on the growth charts! Go Robbie for making gains with eating and drinking! Go Robbie phasing out of therapy! Go Trish for helping him get there!

Azaera said...

Good for you! Sounds like you made the right decision for your family.

Amy said...

I am SO, SO happy to hear all the positive reports from Robbie's doctors! Wow. I know you're doing an amazing job and I'm glad they are so positive about his progress. And yay for being on the growth charts! :)
That had to be hard to break up with OT but it totally makes sense and I hope you feel a sense of relief! :)

Tracy said...

Congrats on the good appointments! Sounds like you're making a therapist decision that is best for Robbie. Good luck with finding a new OT.