During the first week of March, we had our 40th and final dive of our second round of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment. We were originally supposed to wrap up during the final week of February, however, due to a couple of snow days and a mid-treatment respiratory infection, we took a few days off during our treatment. While this would have been a big deal during our first round of treatment since we travelled to South Carolina for HBOT, this time around, it wasn’t a big deal – in fact, a day off was quite nice!
Changes We Saw
- Speech, speech, and more speech. Within the first few dives, Solly became very hyper and started talking. all. the. time. Most of it still sounds like gibberish, but every now and again, you’ll be able to make out a phrase or two.
- Intentional movement of his right arm. Solly’s right side is his weaker side and, other than some movement of his arm from the shoulder, he typically neglects his right arm. In the past couple of weeks, we noticed that Solly would extend his right arm when we were dressing him and he also moved his right arm – unprompted – during play.
- Isolation of fingers on his left hand. While we were in the chamber, I came up with different ways – songs and games – to pass the time. I started asking Solly how old he was and showed him different ways to hold up three fingers, which he can now do on his own! He also plays with isolating different fingers on his left hand, which is pretty neat to see.
Did I notice any changes in myself?
I am asked this question a lot. The answer is: Nope. Not really. While some parents report a burst of energy with HBOT, spending an hour in the chamber every day is exhausting for me. My guess is that my exhaustion is related to trying to wrangle a wild 3-year-old in an enclosed space! When we were doing HBOT in South Carolina, I noticed that my skin felt amazing – clear, soft, like I’d been at a spa all day. I didn’t get the same result with the chamber in Nashville, so I suspect the difference was that the chamber in South Carolina pumped in 100% oxygen while the chamber in Nashville was closer to 60% oxygen.
What I Liked
I loved that this chamber was so super close to our home. It only took us about 25 minutes to get there each day. The clinic was somewhat flexible on scheduling, so we were able to keep all of Solly’s regular therapy appointments while doing HBOT. The chamber was large, so we were able to sit up, do Solly’s stretching, and move around just a little bit.
What I Didn’t Like
Now having done HBOT both at a hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic and at a local doctor’s office, I can definitely say that I prefer doing it at an HBOT clinic. When we were in South Carolina, there was always someone in the room with us who could quickly make changes if the chamber got too hot or if Solly’s or my ears were hurting during pressurization. The chambers at the HBOT clinic were sleeker and had more bells and whistles (glass to prevent claustrophobia, a TV to pass the time), while the chamber at the doctor’s office was dark and we had to provide our own entertainment.
Our Next Round of HBOT
Given the gains that we saw during both rounds of HBOT, I can definitively say that another round of HBOT will be on the schedule for 2018. We’ll likely try to plan it at our local doctor’s clinic to keep travel at a minimum and so we can keep up with Solly’s weekly therapy appointments.