We’re only a few weeks into 2018 and it’s already looking better than all of 2017! Not to say that 2017 was horrible – far from it. But I think like a lot of people, I had higher hopes for 2017 after a craptastic 2016 but unfortunately that then put a ton of pressure on 2017. Like most people, we had a lot of ups and downs and a few more “unexpecteds” than I would have liked. The “ups” were never super “up” but the “downs” seemed to be a little deeper and harder to recover from (looking back there was no particular reason for it either). There were also a lot of “unresolveds” as we barreled towards 2018.
When we rang in the New Year I was expecting 2018 to be rather blah, another 2017 if you will. However several of the 2017 “unresolveds” are about to become the best parts of our year! [Side note: And no, I am not jinxing anything. My husband has this superstition about saying good things. For example, talking to a family member as we’re traveling to their home. Family: “So, how’s traffic?” Me: “moving along, nothing spectacular. Should be there in about 30 mins.” Husband: “And now we’re doomed. You just jinxed us and we’ll be sitting in traffic for hours.” For the record, that has NEVER happened in the 17 years we’ve been together.]
As I wrote about in my October post, Gavin will be trialing a Tobii Dynavox speech generating device (aka “talker”). We went through the initial process of conducting four intensive communications sessions and filled out oodles of paperwork (all for insurance of course). Everything was submitted to both Tobii and the insurance company before the holidays. This is typically where things stall in the process. Having waited about two weeks and then reached out. I wanted to make sure that nothing further was needed to ensure that everything kept moving. Earlier this week I was told everything looked good and that it typically takes 60 – 90 days to hear back as to when we’ll get the trial device. So was I ever surprised to get an email last night saying his device was READY TO SHIP!!!! A few appts have to be set up. School (and us) need to be trained on how to use the device and then we have to go back to his speech therapist for her to do what she needs to. Feb 6 is the magic day. The device will be delivered two days prior and then training will happen on Feb 6. Gavin will then be able to speak with us, his siblings, teachers, friends and other doctors for 30 days. Once the trial is done reports are written and the intense process of insurance approvals begins but for that’s ok because for 30 days Gavin will be able to interact with us.
The second “unresolved” item from 2017 was any kind of timing surrounding the process of Gavin getting a service dog. We started back in September. Seriously, it’s easier to buy a car (and less paperwork) than it is to apply for consideration to be paired with a service dog. Each step in the process is “60 – 90 days” for the organization to get back to us (there are three steps). The first part was super easy and we heard back within less than three weeks that he was moving the next step. Step two, to say it was involved is an understatement. We needed two personal references, one professional reference (i.e. from a current therapist), a prescription, an eight (8) page document filled out by his doctor, a short bio about Gavin, current photos plus some medical waiver paperwork (see, filing out paperwork to buy a car is sooo much easier). There was a deadline to submit all the info and then it could be up to 90 days or so for us to hear back about step three. Well, step three is set for Feb 1. We have to go to the organization (Gavin too) for an interview for them to determine eligibility (although up until now he has obviously qualified) and what needs he has so they can determine if they are able to train the dog, type of dog needed, etc. My understanding is that when we leave that interview we will know if he will be getting a service dog (course then it’s an 18 – 24 month wait while they train the dog but hey at least we’d know the outcome at the end!)
The last “unresolved” was more of a “big relief”. We went back to the hospital on Jan 4 to have Gavin’s (horrific) casts removed. While he hated every minute of the removal, I’d say he was pretty happy with the result. He was fitted for a soft brace that allows for a lot of movement and clearly makes him a lot happier. He also had another set of x-rays done to ensure that the surgery did what it was supposed to. His surgeon could not have been happier with how great his hips looked. 100% back in place. While this soft brace is rather annoying (it goes around his waist but then has pieces that go around each leg to keep them stretched a part) if it keeps his hips in place and prolongs any major surgeries then I am one very happy mama and will take the annoyance of continually taking it on/off to meet Gavin’s needs.
So, like I said, 2018 is off to a pretty good start. Let’s face it one thousand times better than this time last year. But, the reality is that whatever 2018 brings (which I am sure will be more ups and downs – although hopefully more ups), nothing will be able to come close to the moment three weeks from now when Gavin gets his voice.