Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HBOT day 1 and 2

We've been investigating hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) for the past few months and this week decided to give it a try with Emma. The place we are using is within driving distance, but it's a bit of a long drive at about 1 hr. 40min. each way. The drive is beautiful - through Lancaster County, PA complete with rolling hills, animals and farms, and the Amish community driving their buggies - but it is still a long round trip drive. Oh, and did I mention that we have about a foot of snow on the ground right now? Well, lucky for us the roads in PA are really well kept and pretty clear for driving. Unlike the road in front of my house, but that's another matter all together.

We were glad that Chris had off from work due to snow so he could tour the facility with me before we made our decision. The doctor of hyperbaric medicine was there along with the nurse to answer our many questions. Afterwards, they offered for Emma to start that day if we were interested. We felt as comfortable as we would probably get so we decided to take them up on the offer.

When we arrived there were three people receiving HBOT. One was a young Amish girl and Emma was going to use the chamber that she used. I was nervous about starting this treatment with Emma and had to think to myself how nervous the Amish family getting a treatment for their little girl must have been before their first session! That calmed me down a bit.

The chamber is pretty small and Chris went into it with Emma for the first session. I posted a photo so you can see just how cozy the chamber is with not much room to even move your arms around when laying on your side. Emma seemed to love looking around at everything going on in the room and wasn't the least bit phased by the cramped quarters. Chris chewed some gum to clear his ears and didn't complain too much about the small space so the first session was a rousing success.

Today we went for another session - just me and Emma. When they started to put me into the chamber I panicked and had them pull us back out. We moved to a different chamber where we were loaded feet first instead of head first. I was still nervous and panicked, but managed to hold it together for about 30 minutes and just kept wondering how on Earth I would be able to go in with Emma for another 38 sessions! At about 30 minutes - pretty much when everyone was convinced I had settled down and was over the hump of my nervousness - I asked them to stop and let us out. Emma was fine and happy as can be, but it was me that needed out. I felt like I let Emma down but she seemed happy as ever and not nearly as sad as me.

After a bit of discussion we decided to let Emma try the chamber solo. Chris and I had been giving her a bottle to help clear her ears during pressurization but she really didn't seem like she needed it. We all felt that Emma seemed quite capable of clearing her ears on her own and that meant that I was not necessarily needed to give Emma a bottle in the chamber. We propped up a couple of pillows so Emma could see all around and added a couple of blankets on either side of her to keep her in place a bit more. We also covered her with a blanket since she wouldn't have the extra body in there to keep her warm. Then she entered the chamber for the remaining 30 minutes of the treatment. She did GREAT! Smiling the whole time, looking all around, watching a bit of tv, laughing at a bit of peek-a-boo I played with her. We even put a mirror on top so she could look at herself and she kept moving both arms to touch herself in the mirror. I was nervous with her alone in the chamber and didn't leave her side, but she really seemed happy and was moving her arms all around in a manner that she wouldn't be able to do if someone else was in there with her. So, I think it worked out OK after all.

We have another session scheduled for tomorrow and then a few days break for Christmas. The plan for tomorrow is to see how Emma does on her own again since I just don't think that I can get over my claustrophobia and join her. I used to think that I could do just about anything for love of my little girl, but I guess I'm learning that sometimes I just have to be a bit more creative to get to the same end result.

I'm going to keep a log of any changes we see in Emma during her HBOT treatments so you might see an update from me on HBOT in about a month.

3 Comments from readers:

Tara Bennett said...

Oh my goodness, those photos are so precious. Emma is so blessed to have such amazing parents. I have kept my promise and have been sending many prayers your way for great success with this therapy. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! {{HUGS}}

Tricia said...

I will say, she looked pretty comfy in there by herself. Don't feel bad that you couldn't go in there with her, because she looks so happy!

I hope you have success, and I look forward to the updates.

Kara Melissa said...

It's great to read about the experience of others. We did HBOT and I went in every session with my son, he was just about 15 months at the time. I was nervous at first but just as they said the oxygen calmed me and it was no problem. Plus I was very focussed on entertaining Sebastian! We were in there for 1 hour 20 because they wanted us to get a full hour at bottom pressure and it took about ten to get down and another ten to get back up. That's awesome that she is able to be in there on her own! She looks so comfy. I look forward to hearing how the sessions go for you and the results you continue to see. we definitely saw small changes and are looking into more session in Cairo (we did the first 40 in MI).