Cate having a good day!
Over $2,500 raised so far! I am astonished at everyone’s generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I keep talking about the respiratory patterning machine and I am guessing most of you are wondering what it is! Now remember I am not a medical professional but I will do my best to explain Cate’s oxygen enrichment program given to us by the IAHP. If you want to learn more please read the book “What to do About Your Brain Injured Child” by Glen Doman. It is a great book for everyone to read.
Brain injury is caused with there is a lack of oxygen to the brain. Oxygen is good for the brain and when it doesn’t get enough bad things can happen such as seizures. Seizures are a symptom of lack of oxygen to the brain. For most people with a brain injury breathing can be hard. Not only breathing deep but breathing in a regular pattern that we all take for granted. My husband says it is like teaching yourself to breath when you are running hard or swimming laps. You have to think about it. Imagine having to think about your breathing all day long and trying to function. This is what Cate is going through. Not only does it make it hard for her to be physical, eat, and talk, but she is also unable to get the amount of oxygen to her brain that she needs. This can cause symptoms such as tightness in her muscles, immobility, vision problems, and slow down her improvement.
The IAHP (www.iahp.org) has done years of research and studies on this subject and they have found great success with masking and respiratory patterning. They have asked that I do not share any pictures of Cate using this equipment because it can be dangerous if not done properly under the right supervision. So I will do my best to explain. The masking is the first thing we did with the program and is a big contributor to her daily seizures stopping. We use a small plastic bag with a small hole in the end and place this over her nose and mouth. She re-breathes her own CO2. For her program we do this for 45 seconds, every 5 minutes, at least 35 times each day. Her CO2 levels increase which tells her brain to send more blood (oxygen) to the brain and she breathes very deep to increase her lung capacity. The net effect after removing the mask is increased blood flow and increased oxygen to her brain. It is why breathing into a paper bag when having an anxiety attack helps. We just do it with a lot of frequency. When we first started and on a regular basis we use an pulse oximeter to measure her oxygen level to make sure it does not go low. She handles it well and we make a game out of it.
The respiratory patterning is the next step that helps her breathing. It is a way to train her brain how to use a consistent breathing pattern, similar to an iron lung. Currently we use a fabric vest that we can pull to tighten. Two people pull and release to a metronome set at her breathing rate. Pull -1..2.. Release-1 Pull-1..2.. Release 1, etc. We do this to compress and release her chest so she breathes at a consistent rate. Ryan and I were able to try this ourselves when we were in Philadelphia this spring and it was pretty crazy. It was like you ran 1/4 mile but you were not tired or out of breath, just breathing deep. It feels good. We are only able to do this for up to 1 hour each day because we do not have enough time with the rest of her program. The machine that we are now able to purchase (thank you to the generous donors!!) will pneumatically compress her vest at the proper rate. She will be able to wear it all night and during naps. That means instead of 1 hour each day of being patterned she will get 12+ hours! Think of the amount of oxygen her brain will be able to get. Hopefully this will help with her overall improvement and reduce her seizures.
Thank you again! And please keep sharing.