Zak Priest talks about his latest role as Daddy

By Louise Kinross

Zak Priest and his spouse Kelsey LeCoure know the ins and outs of Holland Bloorview. Equally had been purchasers as small children. Zak did kindergarten listed here and later on fulfilled Kelsey at The Independence Application, the place youth with disabilities live in a university residence and navigate the town. Zak has worked at our hospital as a study assistant, performing community outreach about disability in universities, and for our foundation. This past summer and tumble, daughter Amelia, 3, expended many months as an inpatient pursuing a medical procedures. Amelia and Kelsey both equally have a type of brittle bone condition. We spoke to Zak about parenting with a incapacity.

BLOOM: Convey to us a bit about Amelia.

Zak Priest: She’s just a bundle of electrical power. She’s the major go-getter I’ve at any time satisfied in my lifestyle. If we could harness that ability we would in no way have to pay back strength costs. There are usually ideas kicking all around in that small head of hers. She enjoys learning, and now she enjoys reading. She is familiar with the seems of all the letters and can sit there with a straightforward e book and scroll across with her finger and seem it out and it blows my head.

If she wishes to know anything, she normally takes it in. It is enthusiasm. She can name any instrument you toss at her. She is aware the change concerning an oboe and a clarinet.

Recently she discovered corporate logos. She enjoys to determine automobiles in a parking good deal. ‘That’s a Nissan. That is a Volkswagen.’

She loves playing the 20th Century Fox drum roll on her drums.

BLOOM: What is her clinical problem?

Zak Priest: She has Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), which is a variety of brittle bones. I’d say she’s reasonable to significant. She’s very fragile and breaks really easily. Mainly because she’s a toddler and she needs to wander, she encounters a good deal of what begin as micro-fractures from the put on and tear. We’ve often been encouraged to make confident she has the possibility to be as mobile as feasible, simply because muscle mass development can help reinforce bones. About a 12 months back she experienced a negative fracture in her remaining leg which essential rodding medical procedures. Just after she recovered from that she had one more break, which led to our inpatient remain at Holland Bloorview.

BLOOM: What have been the biggest joys of parenting Amelia?

Zak Priest: The mastering aspect. I enjoy viewing her excitement for issues and when factors click on. Not long ago she’s identified that Daddy is a really huge nerd. I enjoy my Star Wars and online video video games. On her personal, by likely via YouTube on her iPad, she discovered Mario and she fell in enjoy with that little entire world of characters. She set two and two jointly and realized we could perform the sport with each other, and it is been this kind of a great encounter.

I like observing her improve. I consider it’s the coolest point.

I have got a minimal person now who has likes and dislikes and fears and things she would like to do and items she doesn’t want to do and issues she would like to consider. It is astounding to see that minor spark go off.

BLOOM: What’s been the biggest challenge?

Zak Priest: All the bodily tasks that I can not aid with.

BLOOM: You have minimal use of your fingers, right?

Zak Priest: Sure. There is a great deal you have to do physically with her, from altering her diaper and serving to set her clothes on to feeding her. Proper now her leg is poor, so she’s not truly moving a ton on her very own and Kelsey has to shift her. It’s coronary heart-wrenching to be existing and be there and not have a hand in it. I detest that Kelsey is on 100 for each cent of the time. All through the night time Kelsey is on with no split. My staff enable me get into bed at night time and when I’m in mattress I just cannot transfer or get up until somebody comes in the morning to get me up.

On the other hand, now that Amelia is getting older she’s a lot more interactive and my position as a father is shifting since we can speak. She can recognize and we can converse again and forth. For the most component she plays independently, so when I’m up I can consider charge on days wherever Kelsey desires to sit down or have a nap during the working day.

BLOOM: What was your response when you acquired Amelia had OI?

Zak Priest: We realized going in there was a reasonably significant probability. It can be genetic. I imagine the figures had been 50/50. As we’re both of those persons with disabilities, we’re utilized to organizing a whole lot for anything in our lifestyle. I feel heading into it was easier for the reason that it was something we prepared for.

We ended up seen at the specialized Sunnybrook clinic for pregnant women of all ages with disabilities. They have been so great. In the beginning they didn’t think Amelia had OI so we imagined if she has it, it have to be mild. It is been an eye-opening expertise to find out that it is much more intense. It is challenging. It’s not uncomplicated, but with my lifetime, you learn to roll with the punches.

BLOOM: Is there something you do to cope with anxiety?

Zak Priest: We’re pretty significantly property bodies. We bond above the fact that we’re most pleased in our cozy pants sitting down in our dwelling home with a excellent coffee or tea. I adore actively playing movies video games and I pay attention to audiobooks a large amount. When the temperature is nicer I appreciate likely for walks. Kelsey and I are Television watchers. We uncover distinctive sequence.

Points are stressful. I would be silly to check out to encourage you they are not. But I consider my stress ranges are retained in verify since in a sense it’s not new tension. Amelia’s lifestyle is an extension of our life. We have been dwelling with a disability and dealing with these forms of stresses our entire lifestyle. There are bodily troubles. But in a way we’re uniquely equipped to offer with these kind of cases since of our particular encounter.

BLOOM: We interviewed the creator of an Australian reserve about disabled dad and mom. She has a new edition with stories from Canadian, American and British people coming out. Virtually all of them had pushback from professional medical gurus or good friends or family who questioned what they ended up undertaking.

Zak Priest: Kelsey did have a person bad working experience with a medical doctor. She went to a walk-in clinic to do a formal pregnancy check for the reason that she could not get an appointment with her doctor. Her leg was hurting that working day, so she went in her handbook chair. I just cannot remember the genuine text, but the medical doctor assumed the subsequent measures were being likely to be an abortion. We experienced been jointly for seven or eight decades at this position and we had been quite properly recognized and it was anything we had been psyched about. That definitely place a damper on it.

I assume a common thread with loved ones is a lot of fear.

BLOOM: What was your encounter with the accessible treatment being pregnant clinic at Sunnybrook?

Zak Priest: It was good. The second Kelsey realized she was pregnant she understood the variety to contact. They did every little thing in their electric power to make it the classic ‘going to your doctor although pregnant’ encounter. They experienced unique scales so Kelsey could be weighed in her wheelchair throughout appointments.

Due to the fact of Amelia’s prognosis, a C-section was prepared. They came in with a massive massive exclusive robe to set above my chair and a hair internet. I assumed I was ready outdoors and they claimed ‘Oh no, you are likely to the OR.” They experienced cleared out the room so there was space for my chair so I could be there for the experience. When Amelia was born she was set on oxygen and they experienced a desk that moved decreased so I could keep there with her in that initial moment. They were being excellent.

BLOOM: What advice would you give a disabled man or woman who would like to be a guardian?

Zak Priest: Perhaps it is not enjoyable and interesting and spontaneous, but a great deal of arranging assists. Test to imagine of stuff forward. But to contradict myself, you also require to be versatile, since there will be so numerous unique wrenches thrown your way. As an individual with a disability, I would say my best ability is dilemma-fixing. I’ve been compelled to grow to be a great problem-solver.

Not every little thing will be perfect and you have to be prepared for worries and hearing some issues you are not likely to want to hear. It is also a truth that as somebody with a disability you are not heading to be equipped to do every thing. You’re not heading to have the exact same practical experience that you see on that TLC A Little one Story show. You are not heading to have that fairy-tale working experience. There will be roadblocks and there will be actual physical limitations and you have to be completely ready to navigate them.

Be prepared to problem resolve. Be completely ready for a little something that’s hard, but also gratifying.

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