Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Little miracles

We've had a lot of physio and OT programs over the last 5 months. In terms of Max's overall gross motor development, he's only a little bit behind. His private physio Jess has been a godsend. Because of her, we've been able to keep him 'pretty much' on track and by doing lots of stretches, we've stopped his muscle tightness from getting worse. Before we met Jess, his right shoulder was so stiff that we couldn't stretch it above his head. Nowadays, it's only a little bit tight and he doesn't tense up or grimace when we stretch him. One exercise however, that we have worked on with him, ever since the stroke, has never shown even the slightest improvement. He has never tried to reach for anything with his right arm.

You see this penguin? I flippin' HATE this penguin. It has hung on the right hand side, above Max's head, on his play gym, for the last 5 months. When the plastic bubble on the penguins tummy spins, it sings a little song. Nifty ay? Every day for a few months, we sat with Max and the damn penguin, trying everything we could to entice his right arm to reach for it. At one stage, the right hand side of his play gym, looked like it was going to the Mardi Gras. He never bloody reached for the penguin, a few times he'd knock it accidentally, but that was it.

As he has grown older, good ol' mister lefty has become increasingly cunning at procuring toys placed on his right side. Recently, even his feet have been getting sneaky and helping to compensate for mr righty. This morning, Max picked up the slinky with his foot and then passed it up to his hands. It's cute and pretty darn tootin' clever but frustrating as hell, when we're trying to get mr righty to pull his own weight.

(yes darling, you are very clever)

A few weeks ago, his OT told us that Mr Righty would never initiate the process of reaching. She is actually writing her thesis on the topic "hemi-kids will never reach for things with their affected arm". Then why the bloody hell have you had us trying to do this?? We've used bright toys, noisy toys, toys that light up (etc etc) to entice mr righty to get moving, with no improvement. The OT also told me that day, that Mr Righty would always be a 'helper' hand. Our new goal then, has been to teach Mr Righty how to 'help' Lefty in some ways. I'm pretty impressed, at how quickly Mr Righty is improving with his helping ability. Righty is now (sometimes) able to hold a toy, whilst lefty presses the buttons. Righty now helps out occasionally when something needs to be held with two hands.

Righty tends to be in a fist though, so often isn't all that helpful.

A few posts ago, I wrote about my recent discussions with Andrew Brereton from the Snowdrop Program in the UK. I don't know how to do links when I'm writing this on iPhone, so I can't link you back to that post. (It was called 'That boy needs therapy', if you wanna know more about it). We received Max's program late last week. I practiced it with him over the weekend and started it officially 3 days ago.

After those first few practice days, I noticed it. Tiny, little signs that Mr Righty was waking up. Tiny twinges of his fingers so slight that I wasn't sure if I was just imagining it. When I feed Max, I placed his bowl of food and water on the right side if I need to go and grab something. That way, I know that he won't be able to get it and pour cereal on his head (haha lefty, you can't reach that far). I did the same thing today but BAM, I turned around and his water bottle had been knocked over. Hmmmm, it couldn't have been righty.....could it?

Later on today, we had a session with our gorgeous physio Jess. Jess presented his favourite bells, (as she always does) to his right hand. And guess what? Mr Lefty didn't lean across and interfere this time. He darn well reached out with his right hand and grabbed them. He did it three times, we had to make sure that it wasn't a fluke.

We still have a long way to go and I'm not sure what Max's future will entail. But that doesn't bother me right now. My boy, is starting to achieve things that 'the experts' had said wasn't possible. That makes me feel pretty smug.

Today, I cried tears of joy for the first time in months. I don't know how many minutes or hours I've spent, staring at that little arm, silently begging it to reach for the toy. Today, a little miracle occurred and I can't begin to tell you how good that feels. Max is rapidly changing from a spaced out and vague little guy to a boy who is hyperactive, engaging and cheeky. Andrew and the Snowdrop Program are truly amazing.

This evening, my mother summed things up perfectly-
"Mummy's little man is coming back".

(My mother and Max)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Wow that is amazing and fantastic!! I love reading your blog to check how Max is travelling!

    Keep up the great work he would not be doing all of this without your love, support and dedication xoox

  2. Thanks Fiona,
    I'm just so relieved that something is finally working ;-)

  3. Ugh, my gosh, goosebums & tears. Real tears. Of happiness, for you.

    And I think ... a feeling of PRIDE for you just swept over me.

    I honestly feel PROUD that I even know you, & get to call you friend, because you just keep being god damn amazing.

    I didn't see the post you were referring to, but the title made me giggle. You have an amazing ability to include fantastic musical tastes with blog posts lady :)

    Seriously though. So proud of you. And so damn proud of Max!

    I feel like I need to run into the street & do a few power punches!

  4. P.S I need to Facebook & tweet this, hope you don't mind!

  5. Wow, what a clever little man you have! and such amazing progress. Mr Righty just needed the right wake-up call! This is so exciting and the beginning of amazing things. You are such a great Mum to be so focused on helping Max be all he can be. XXX

  6. Of course Chez, that would be awesome. Especially since you're the only person who got the song reference, lol. It's been an amazing week, like a different child is in my house. I'm hoping that it's quiet at work tonight, so I can't write about it in more detail xxx