DALLAS Formerly conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell are making important progress at a rehab center in Dallas.
The boys are now at Our Children's House at Baylor, a pediatric rehabilitation center in Dallas, where their parents are learning to care for the boys' extensive medical needs.
'They have to learn a little bit of what it means to be a respiratory therapist and watch for all those respiratory issues, signs and symptoms of distress,' explained nurse Dawn Penner. 'And then a little bit about nursing and what it means to watch; it means to watch for signs of distress with the nursing aspect of it.'
The boys are slowly being weaned from a ventilator, which helps them breathe. They have already worked up to breathing on their own for eight hours a day. Both have trach tubes, which require constant monitoring and clearing. They also have feeding tubes.
The boys' intestines which had to be separated aren't functioning completely.
Emmett also wears a brace on his right wrist for a stretched nerve. 'He could've jerked his head and stretched his nerve, sometime after the separation surgery,' mom Jenni Ezell explained.
Beyond that, the boys are developing well. Their own skin has grown over what had been a giant belly wound. They did not require skin grafts.
'It's amazing what medicine can do,' said Dave Ezell, the twins' father, as he examined Owen's scars.
Both boys are able to sit up without support, and play with toys. Their parents say they are trying to roll over... and they dislike being put on their hands and knees.
Owen and Emmett smile and put anything within reach in their mouths. Their parents and medical caregivers agree these are very happy and easy-going boys.
Because of the amount of wires and tubes, the boys only occasionally get to spend time together. Two older brothers, Liam and Ethan, visit often, much to the twins' obvious delight.
'It feels like we are more of a family,' Jenni said.
Owen and Emmett have several more weeks at the rehab facility. It's hoped they will be able to go home in time for their first birthday on July 17.
'It'll be nice when we're all under one roof,' their mom said. 'It'll be wonderful.'