Friday, September 11, 2009

In Which We Find Our Van!

Big news-- we found our van! Shopping was a surprisingly painless process, as we didn't have a huge number of places to look or vehicles to look at. There's really only four types of minivans they convert in the U.S. right now: the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, the Dodge Caravan, and the Chrysler Town and Country. Of those four, the Caravan and the Town and Country are essentially the same car with a different interior and brand name, so really it's only three cars to look at. We decided based on customer reviews, safety ratings, and reliability to go with either the Honda or the Toyota.

There are only three dealerships in our area that carry adaptive vans, and they're all privately owned, so they aren't bringing vehicles in from other sites or anything-- what they have on the lot is about it. Each of the vans has the same conversion package put in it with a couple of minor exceptions (such as what type of ramp the vehicle has); otherwise the only differences are in the luxury packages and color. We weren't interested in leather seats or a DVD player or anything, so I just went to each of the dealerships, looked at what they had in the Toyotas and Hondas, and then we picked the one offering the best deal. We'll be getting a 2008 Toyota Sienna-- the one in the picture! I'd brought Connor's wheelchair into the dealership and we used a standard wheelchair already there to see what the seating configuration would look like. With the Sienna we can fit Connor and Jer in side by side, and Jer can have his legs extended without any trouble. They're also going to install hand controls for free so that Jer can drive the vehicle himself! Once he lays off the heavy narcotics that is--driving is probably not a good idea right now. Anyway, we're absolutely thrilled about the van and can't wait to take it out for the first time. We'll probably be driving in a week or two! We have to figure out where we're going to go first. I vote for somewhere with chocolate.

On a side note-- all of these vans come with a remote system that opens the door, lowers the entire rear of the van, and deploys the ramp. That thing is awesome; reminds me of a space ship. I want to pull up in front of groups of little kids and deploy it just to watch them freak out. Can't wait to play with it.

In other news, this morning Connor and I headed off for his developmental clinic appointment. Once a year he has a half-day of clinic time where one doctor after another comes in and evaluates him. Then they all get together and write up a big report which we use for his schooling, to figure out what additional services or equipment he needs, etc. He's seen in two different clinics that alternate years; this year we were seen by the neurodevelopmental clinic. So over the course of about three and a half hours we saw a developmental pediatrician, a neurologist, a social worker, a physical therapist, and a geneticist.

A couple of things came out of this year's evaluation. The first was that Connor will be having physical therapy twice a week instead of once a week. The physical therapist said that Connor is right on the cusp of sitting independently, and so she wants a PT to focus exclusively on that for a few weeks to see if we can get him to that next step. How exciting! The second major thing to come out of today was that we are going to have Connor's DNA evaluated in a new procedure that is so specific it should tell us exactly which genes are missing on his chromosomes. This won't change anything for him of course, but it should help us in the future as they figure out more and more about the human genome and which genes do what. If we can help future families facing similar genetic issues we'd like to do it. We're also going to restart feeding therapy. So a lot of good things happened today!

This post is way too long and it's time for bed. I would start a separate blog about what's going on with Jer, but than I'd have to write two posts a day and I'm way too lazy for that. Oh well.



Kristin said...

I'm excited you found a van so quickly! And having the hand comtrols for Jeremy should be awesome!! I'm sure he'll be ready for a little independence/responsibility after having people take care of him for so many weeks.

Its wonderful that in the face of a negative situation, so many wonderful things are happening for your family. :)

Bear Troop 8-1 Cav said...

Congratulations! I am so happy about the van and all of Connor's good news. So glad you everything is starting to come into place.

J. said...

Great to hear, i vote for a bookstore with choclate... what a good trip. Hang in there.

PS - I have another blog now, it's the one linked to this account and it is a little more anon. so I can be a little more honest.

leah said...

That van is awesome! Very sleek and the automatic features are great. Lots of good news- a new van and Connor sitting by himself.

cms8741 said...

Good for you!!!! We have a Sienna (regular, not adaptive) and I love it.

Niksmom said...

Congratulations on the really good things that are starting to happen for both of your men! I can only tell you that when we begand PT and OT twice a week (instead of the once-a-week-on-a-good-week-at-school), my son, Nik, began to soar.

And, yes, I would vote for anywhere with chocolate, too! Have fun tearin' up the town in your hot new wheels! ;-)

Lin said...

That's a beauty!! Wow. And that new car smell. :) Good for you!

The Henrys said...

Congratulations on the van. What a wonderful gift for your family.

Is the DNA test that your son will have called a micro array? My daughter had that test done and it showed that she has a micro duplication on Chromosome 15.
15q26.1 The gene that is affected is the CHD2 gene and they can't tell us anything about it because they have never seen this type of duplication before.

Good luck with the test. I thought I would just tell you our story. I wasn't expecting the results that we got. I was expecting to find our something that would come with a lot of information. It was upsetting to find this out and then get told that they know nothing about it because they have never seen it before.

Take care

Julia said...

Congratulation on everything -- Connor doing well at school, sitting up independently, the prospect of new physical developments for him with more therapy, and of course the van. After everything you've accomplished with Connor, the little bundle of miracles that he is, he absolutely must be in an educational setting where his development will continue and accelerate -- and I'm so glad that you seem to have found such a place.

Anonymous said...

Rubbing my hands if they can just both get power chairs!

Anonymous said...

This is great! I am so excited for your family that you found this and that it will make things easier and more comfortable for all. I definitely think you might want to wait until Jeremy's off the heavy narcotics. LOL.

As for two blogs...yeah, don't do that. You have enough.

Anonymous said...

This is great! I am so excited for your family that you found this and that it will make things easier and more comfortable for all. I definitely think you might want to wait until Jeremy's off the heavy narcotics. LOL.

As for two blogs...yeah, don't do that. You have enough.

Katy said...

Wow! Van sounds great. Also great is Connor's sitting ability. It's amazing what they learn to do in school.

Sounds like a good week overall!?!

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