Violet was born 6.5 months into her mother’s pregnancy– that’s 3.5 months early! At 1lb, 14oz., her under-developed lungs resulted in a condition called Broncho-Pulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). The baby was placed on a ventilator for 50 days before weaning to oxygen through a nasal cannula. Her breathing took so much effort that she was unable to take nutrition by mouth, as this burned too many calories! So, a tube was placed in her stomach for direct feedings. Violet was finally able to leave Seattle Children’s with her parents at 7 months of age, when her oxygen concentration levels reached a satisfactory level. Along with Violet came large oxygen tanks, oxygen-level sensors, and all the supplies needed for tube feedings. Violet’s fragile pulmonary status during the winter months that immediately followed her hospital discharge led to a request for services from the WA Elks Therapy Program.
When occupational therapy began at 9 months of age, Violet was unable to reach for toys, roll, or sit independently. Lacking stamina and muscle strength, she preferred to lie on her back and wait for toys and people to come to her! Early in her course of therapy, her mother wished aloud that Violet ‘would just play like a typical baby’. With weekly therapy to stimulate development and build her endurance, and with consistent follow-through on home programs that were provided by her therapist, Violet soon began an exciting exploratory phase of development. As her 1st birthday approached, goals were being met on a weekly basis! Now she cannot be contained! Her feeding and oxygen tubing are consistently pulled taut as she crawls about the house … with Mom close behind to restore slack! Violet has begun to wean from oxygen, and her gastrostomy tube feedings will decrease as her oral intake increases. Violet is sitting, pulling to stand, and pivoting. She is socially animated, and she is catching up on her hand skills, too. Well Mom, there is nothing ‘typical’ about Violet! She is an extraordinary little girl with committed parents who said ‘Yes’ to Elks Therapy 7 months ago, and who have seen firsthand just how valuable these services have proven to be! Thank-you Washington State Elks!