Happy New Year everyone! And my personal new year’s resolution? To find time to write a more blog entries over the upcoming months. I don’t know where the time goes!
At the moment however, our time is definitely going to a good cause. We have started January with a three-week intensive physiotherapy course at the Footsteps centre (http://footstepscentre.com/). This is an amazing place in rural Oxfordshire which is essentially a boot-camp for disabled kids. They have a team of incredibly tough & efficient physiotherapists, mainly eastern European, who put the children through their paces for two hours a day.
The centre is unique in that it has the ‘Spider’ equipment – a web of bungee cords that holds the child in the correct position while they bear their own weight and then exercise in a nice symmetrical position, free from the worry of falling over! Dan describes the Spider as “weird and wired, but I like it!”. You can see pictures of Daniel doing tasks in the Spider, kneeling up (a position that he couldn’t bear prior to the SDR operation) and he does half-kneeling, standing and walking exercises in it too.
Daniel has just finished week two of the three-week course. Each day involves a morning in school, then I collect him at midday and we have a 90 minute drive around the M25 and M40 while Daniel eats a packed lunch in the back of the car. The session runs 1:30-3:30 then it’s back home for tea at 5pm, if we are lucky! We are all exhausted, from the driving, the organisation, and of course from the intense physiotherapy but after just two weeks we can already see improvements, so it is all very worthwhile!
Yesterday (Friday 16th January) Daniel took his first seven steps using only his quad sticks for support. The physio was near him for safety but didn’t touch him or the sticks at all. This is a HUGE milestone, as previously he’d only managed one or two steps before toppling over. Sadly I wasn’t nearby with my camera to record the magic moment, but I’ll see if I can photograph him next week.
As well as the ‘Spider” therapy, the centre uses Kinesio tape to support the children’s muscles. Dan has been covered in bright strips of plaster (pictured) for a fortnight, which has amused everyone in our family, and more importantly, is helping his posture hugely.
In other news, do you remember my last blog post mentioning that we were looking for a private physio who had experience with kids after the SDR operation? We had little hope of finding someone, but a lovely lady who reads the blog got in touch and it turns out that her sister may be just the person we are looking for! You never know what amazing coincidences are possible, until such things happen. We look forward to starting work with Pam soon.
Of course this time of year is full of Christmas fun for everyone, and it hasn’t all been hard work for Dan & his brother. We had December as a good break from therapy (with only three sessions each week(!)) and both boys had an amazing Christmas holiday. Daniel was a proud Joseph in the school nativity, and we of course were proud parents. He sat up on stage among his friends and managed not to fall over despite all the pressure of the occasion! His one line was delivered with much excitement. A wonderful memory at the end of a memorable year.
So, for all of you who are dragging yourselves to the gym this January, remember you are not alone! There is a little boy who is working on that treadmill too. He may be slow, he may be weak, and he is certainly exhausted, but he is doing amazingly well!
I can’t wait to see what the next week of therapy brings us, and even better what the rest of 2015 may bring!