To read from day 1 click here.
What we hoped to be the last day of the program, Carter woke up to a letter of encouragement from dad. He read it out loud and I think it helped him get ready for the day. We drove to Fargo for the 9th time in two weeks with high hopes of graduating from the program. We are ready for a break from the intensity that is eating under the microscope and timers. But more excitedly, ready to move on to eating at home, which was the end goal all along.
The first session of the day was hard. For breakfast he had:
- A sausage patty
- a bowl of cereal with milk
- Apples slices
He ate, but not fast enough. The sessions are timed to increase the feeding speed. He eating more variety, but he over chews and takes him a really long time to eat a whole meal. Given the average school lunch is 15 minutes (too short) we need him to speed up if he’s going to gain nutrition and have a full tummy. Despite not ‘beating his timer’ as we call it, I was so very proud of him because if he wouldn’t have picked apples he would have beat his timer. Fresh apple slices take way more time to chew than mandarin oranges or peaches from a can. So even though he didn’t ‘pass’ we hopped in the elevator and I gave him the biggest high-five and hug because I still cannot believe what he is eating.
Even though he did well, he couldn’t play iPad. He could read, but he opted for a nap. Lunch time was another big challenge. We grabbed his food from the cafeteria, which still had no air conditioning for the short-term. Apparently the air conditioning was still under repair. It was hot and sticky and the food choices were limited.
- Hamburger with ketchup (no gluten free buns available)
- French Fries
- Mandarin Oranges
He didn’t make his 30 minute timer this time either. This meal was actually one of the hardest meals. After 30 minutes the rule says I need to leave the table. This was hard because he said,
‘No, Mom don’t leave me!’
I swallowed my emotions and left the room… I watched the remaining 30 minutes (sessions are capped at 60 minutes) from the viewing room. I talked with his team and how to move forward. Since Carter is eating everything, just slowly they feel he is ready to go home since they know we are dedicated to following through with the same rules the program applies. We prepared to discharge, but Carter had one more ‘snack’ session at 4 p.m. He had:
- A Cheese Stick
- Grilled Chicken
He beat this timer with no issues. Which was great to end on a successful session. He was so proud. One of his team members said he could have a popsicle if he beat his timer. Since he accomplished this, he played out his secret handshake with one of his favorite team members and remembered his reward, below:
After we left, Carter got to go to Party City to get a new collection of bouncy balls that Mom and Dad promised him after graduating. All of the packages were removed from the rack so he could choose the best one. I think he made a solid choice with his ‘Mega Value 40 Bounce Balls’ which are all mixed in to his bounce ball collection already.
Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this program. While it was ‘intense’ as the program is appropriately titled, it was worth it. The crying, the gagging, the rocking, it’s less and less every time he eats. Yesterday, we visited the mall and he ate a taco for the first time. Last week we visited Zorbaz and he ate nachos. We went to a family picnic and he ate several different salads and even brisket. There are still a lot of foods he doesn’t love, but what matters is that he is now willing to try them and eats what is put in front of him. There is still some queuing, but he’s doing a great job and we are really proud of him.
This is another unique challenge that he has overcome. He’s learned to teach his sensory processing disorder who’s really in charge. The best part is when he eats something new and says,
‘Hey, that’s good! I’ve been missing out!’
Not anymore, little pal. Let’s eat!