Here's Tessa with her pool therapist Jolee. Pool time is probably Tessa's favorite time of the day- for an hour she can stand up and walk with only the assistance of buoyancy- no walkers, crutches or wheelchairs required.
Today Tessa had Kim for land therapy while Brita is out-of-town. There's been a lot of turnover in the physical therapists since we were here before in 2004; Kim is the only familiar face from back then. It was very reassuring to see her still here, since Tessa had such a good outcome with her operation four years ago. Here's Kim and Tessa Jean circa 2004 and today:
(Rob:) Susan pointed out that we haven't posted any photos of Tessa's land therapy, so lest you think it's all fun and games here in Charm City, here are some pics from this morning's session.
Here are Tessa Jean and her physical therapist, Brita, finishing their hour of stretching and strengthening exercises with the hardest and most painful part of the routine- the "Big Bend"
Her leg bones can theoretically be lengthened indefinitely, but the limiting factor is all the stretchability of the tendons, ligaments and muscles around her knee and ankle. All that is up to her and her therapist to push her flexibility to the limits every day.
Here's Tessa is in the midst of the hardest part of the bend- you can tell from the look on her face that this is hard work to do:
After a good bend of 75 degrees, she gets to relax and extend, and get ready for the next one...
Brita does a really amazing job with Tessa. It's not easy to have a job in which successful outcomes result only from pushing little kids to the point of pain and beyond, but Tessa really responds to her well and we're very thankful for her hard work for our little girl.
Here's a short clip of Tessa in the pool later on in the morning;
I like this photo of Tessa Jean in the pool- the way her left hand and foot look reminds me of a classic Batman image drawn by Neal Adams:
Susan and Sam woke up at 3:30 AM and caught the early flight from K.C. to Baltimore today! We picked them up at the airport, had some lunch here at the apartment, then gave them their first lesson in how afternoon therapy works.
Afterwards, we came back to find our first empty mailbox of our Baltimore stay! Susan was really in the mood for some mail, so she and Tessa went through all the old mail she's received over the past couple of weeks.
After some Mexican food and a bottle (or two) of wine, Susan is down for the count:
(So much for my plans for a passionate reunion...)
Sam enjoying some quality shark-related television programming:
It's good to have everyone back together again. We'll spend the next three days transitioning from me to Susan in taking care of Tessa's needs. She's improved so much in the past two weeks- she used to need someone holding her leg for every transition from sitting to standing, but now is pretty mobile on her own without much assistance. She mostly just needs help with doing her stretching exercises and someone to lift her wheelchair and drive her to and from therapy.
We saw Dr Herzenberg briefly today and have an official follow-up visit with Xrays on Friday. I'm hoping that we can bring her home soon, but he wants to see her films Friday before making any firm decisions.
Tomorrow we were able to move therapy up into the morning, so we'll have all afternoon to play!
And now, by popular demand, the return of MUSIC TRIVIA!
This is something we started in this blog back in the spring of 2004 for two reasons: first because I really like music trivia. Second, as a blatant pandering for more reader comments, the lifeblood and nourishment for bloggers.
The first correct answer posted will receive a coveted no-prize!
To start things off with a bang, here are three lyrics- identify the song and artist:
1. "King fish are jumping, the moon is right
Full throttle captain 'til we're out of sight
Stars on the ocean will find me I know..."
2. "There was a time, when his blue eyes saw clearer than mine did
Storms and rain, tears and pain bring me back this way"
3. "Gather round me people there's a story I would tell
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian, a proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land"
And also- the return of MOVIE TRIVIA! Same deal, except you just have to name the movie the line came from. Here are three different lines form three different movies to start us off:
1. "Take 'em to Missouri, Matt!"
2. "Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid"
3. "There's no way, *no* way that you came from *my* loins. Soon as I get home, first thing I'm gonna do is punch yo mamma in da mouth!"
Good luck people, lets hear from you (and no Googling!)
Madison made it home safely yesterday. It's been pretty quiet around here without her, but our next set of visitors arrive tomorrow when Susan and Sam catch that same early flight to Baltimore. Here's Tessa and Madi saying good-bye at the airport:
Here's a video clip from the dolphin show at the National Aquarium:
(Rob:) We've found that we have some good days and some bad days going through this process of surgery and rehabilitation. No question, today was a good day! Here's a recap of our last 24 plus hours with Madison:
A couple more pics from our trip to the Build-A-Bear Workshop in Towson--
Madi and Tessa are blessing their bear hearts with a poem before putting them into the bears:
Official online bear registration:
The girls with the finished products: Tessa has a panda named Belle, and Madi's cheetah is named Maya. The Dark Knight looks on:
From there, we spent some time in the Limited Two and Claire's- the girls had a blast shopping there, but believe you me, these places are to be avoided at all costs if you're not a 12-year old girl.We finished the night with dinner in the Rainforest Cafe, which was nice (we had a table right next to the robot elephants.)
Today, we went to the Inner Harbor, which is the coolest part of the city. Above you can see Tessa and Madi waiting for me to get tickets to the National Aquarium. The place was packed, and initially it looked like we would have to wait hours for admission, but I decided to become an Aquarium member and then we were able to walk right in.
Madi and the Peach at the Aquarium entrance:
Tessa's wheelchair was really hard to navigate through the masses at the aquarium, which really isn't designed that well for disabled accessibility. She was also bothered a bit by all the people staring at her leg. One kid's head turned around 360 degrees (Linda Blair-style) as we walked past. She did try hobbling around using the walker for a while, but her leg started to hurt and we had to get back into the chair again.
Madi garnered some sympathy from the Baltimorians by faking a knee injury and using the walker alongside Tessa. Our backstory was that she injured her knee in a Keri Strug-type heroic gymnastics vault to win a gold medal:
Here are some cool pictures of what we saw today:
For Sam: a TRI-ANTULA!
A toothy shark:
The dolphin show (for "Washboard" Abs)
The girls at the show:
After a busy day at the aquarium, what else would you want for dinner except sushi?
We made it back home in time to change Tessa's dressings, which was a little more painful than usual, probably because of her active day. We finished up the day with some leg exercises and "Dirty Dancing" on TV. The girls both liked the movie despite some initial grumbling about it being "too old".
Madi went to bed saying, "This day went by too fast," to which we all agreed.
We received our first visitor this morning! Tessa's friend Madison had her 12th birthday last week, and while other kids clamor for X-Boxes and fancy jewelry, Madi just wanted one thing: a plane ticket to go see her friend Tessa in Baltimore! So at 3:30 AM, she got out of bed to board a plane from K.C. to Baltimore all by herself, which is pretty impressive if you ask me.
We saw one of Dr Herzenberg's partners today in the office; Dr H is on a medical mission in Ecuador this week. Things look good: no bad news at all. The first film shows her tibial break (shinbone) and it looks like about a 6 or 7 mm separation there. The fracture is sort of irregular and diagonal across the bone. The other film shows the femur (thighbone) which hasn't been lengthened as much but is much straighter than when we started.
She's doing her PT right now, tonight we're going to watch the dancing show and wash her hair. Tomorrow is Madi day! Still waiting for more musical guilty pleasures and embarrassing concerts, although Loverboy is hard to beat. I wonder if Mike Reno is still wearing headbands and dressing all in red leather?