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paracon here Joey began life as a frail, two pound preemie, born to a lady who was mentally retarded herself. He was five years old when I found him, and still waiting to be adopted. We brought him home. Joey had profound mental retardation, and severe cerebral palsy. He suffered from reflux so badly that a fundalplication had been done, and a feeding tube put in. Surprisingly, he does not have seizures. However, he was continuing to have trouble with reflux, and through the years, nothing really seemed to help with this. I struggled to keep him on an incline in bed, as the doctors suggested, but he hated this, and would struggle to slip and slither down every time. Year after year, I tried. I had a wedge when he was young, with straps, which held him up there, on his side, but he would roar and scream with such intensity that eventually I gave up. A hospital bed finally has helped with this problem, now that he is an adult, and his problem with reflux is much less.

paracon here Joe-Joe has beautiful brown eyes, and brown hair with a little wave. When I found him, Joey reminded me a lot of my Joshua, in physical resemblance. This made me love him right away. But that was where the resemblance stopped. His personality was very different. He is a shy, sensitive, and usually solemn person. I gave him the middle name, "Isaac", meaning "he who laugheth", because such a solemn child should have a happy name. He has a hysterical side. He can become very upset with small things. So he has to be on medicine to help him with, what the doctors call depression, and what I always called hysteria. It helps a lot. He doesn't like to be in too noisy a place, very long. He doesn't like to have his clothes changed. He doesn't like having shoes on. When I adopted him, he was terrified of the vacuum cleaner, but got over that, at last! He has very distinct opinions about things. He and Adam shared a room when they were young, because both of them liked a quiet room.

paracon here On the other hand, Joe-Joe has a keen and delightful sense of humor as well. He can get to giggling so hard he can barely catch his breath, and this is so much fun! One thing that gets him going with excitement is a helium balloon. He holds on to the end if it's tied to something, and yanks it up and down, up and down, watching it with his eyes, and getting out of breath from the thrill! He giggles, chortles, and laughs out loud over this!

paracon here Joey has very spastic legs, and a hypotonic, limp trunk. He can barely hold up his head, and not for too long. He cannot use his arms well, but one hand does what he wants it to, though it is slow, stiff, and awkward. I was so excited about that hand, though! I included him in every family activity that he could possibly be in on, while he was growing up, just in case he had abilities in there that he would enjoy developing.

paracon here As Joey was growing up, I used to hold him on my lap on the floor, to help him "play ball" with his siblings. He got a huge bang out of this activity, laughing so hard he couldn't hold his head up! Now, as an adult, he still enjoys this, pushing the ball back to someone from his wheelchair tray.



© 2004 Rosemary J. Gwaltney