There are a handful of people in this world who I believed have changed my life. My high school literature teachers, my first piano teacher, my third flute teacher, my ninjutsu instructor from L.A., and of course, a few friends, and family are on the list of people who I know have shaped my life to be what it is today. My most recent addition to that list is Becky, the occupational therapist who has been working with Jake and I over the last six months.
If you follow my blog, especially the Jake’s Fingers series, you will know exactly how highly I esteem Becky. She has been a wonderful source of knowledge, instruction, and has helped me understand how to help Jake through the maze of Sensory Processing Disorder. She was the one who first introduced us to the Benik Vest, which helped Jake learn to walk correctly and calmed him so that he could learn how to eat. She has been patient, kind, funny, firm, and insistent that Jake and I both grow and work together.
On Wednesday, we had to say goodbye to Becky. Our insurance will no longer cover Jake’s therapy, since the hospital inflates the price of a single session to over $400 so that the insurance company, who only pays a percentage, will be forced to pay the actual cost of the therapy. And sadly, the group of philanthropists who were willing to pay for our therapy will not cover occupational therapy, only speech therapy. So, it was time for us to go.
I hardly ever know why Jake does better on some days than others with his therapy, since there are too many factors to count that could contribute to his performance. Maybe he could sense that this was the last time to make Becky happy and he hit the feeding version of a home run. Becky presented over a dozen different types of food and helped Jake through the usual routine of putting the food on his hand, his arm, his head, his lips, his teeth, and finally, into his mouth. Usually, only four or five foods actually are tasted. This time, every single thing got at least a taste, if not tasted, chewed, and swallowed. He obeyed every request, and gave Becky his brilliant little smile several times and even tried to speak “more, please”. Even though I’m supposed to stay in the background, after he ate a piece of dried zucchini, I had to get up and give him a squeeze.
After our session was over, Becky got down and told Jake how proud she was of him, how far he has come, and how much she would miss him. Since the therapists are asked to maintain emotional detachment, I was very surprised when she stood up and hugged me tight. We both teared up and had trouble saying our own goodbyes. I think I managed to convey how thankful I am for her and how she has changed the life of our little boy. I really do not know where we would be without her! We owe Jake’s good health and increasing weight and my sanity all to her.
After a few deep breaths, blown kisses, and smiles, Jake and I left the hospital for the last time. True to form, Jake tried to hop down the sidewalk, high-fived a plant, and grinned at every passerby who would make eye contact. It reminded me that life will continue to go on, that he will continue to grow, and that we’ll continue on our journey, even if we are sad that Becky has left our side for the time being.
I’m not giving up hope that in January, we’ll be able to return for more therapy. So many factors have to be just right for that to happen and when I can take a deep breath, I’ll start the journey towards getting us back to see Becky soon.
I’m sad to say that this is also the last in the series of Jake’s Fingers. When I started writing about Jake’s problems, I had no idea how many of you would follow our fumbles, stumbles, and steps through the maze. You have lifted me up and encouraged me, often at just the right time. You all have made the ride a little less bumpy and made it a little easier for me to smile and laugh.
With tears in my eyes, I lovingly close this particular chapter and eagerly look towards the next chapter yet to be written. We can’t wait to see what happens next!