Well another leg of our journey is coming to an end tomorrow. Exactly 12 hours from now we will pack our bags and head home to begin the next leg of Cameron's rehabilitation and new lease on life. Throughout our stay here we have taken some amazing strides in the right direction, met some amazing people and learned so much about Cam's true strength and determination. We cannot thank the therapists enough for what they have given Cam and us over the last 19 days! They truly are an amazing and very talented group of individuals that come to work everyday in hopes to make someones life just a little better, and let me tell you they did just that. Cameron gave them all he had each and every session. He never told them he couldn't do something or wasn't willing to try, he never questioned an idea or concept they had before testing it out and he did everything they asked with 110% and usually ended with a smile on his face. Each therapist had a little something different to offer and appealed to Cameron in a unique way. We are leaving here with a new found sense of Cam's independence and not only are we excited about this, Cameron is confident in what he can do, he has never been so open and willing to participate in daily routines such as getting dressed. Now he has discovered that if his clothes are in reach he can get himself dressed head to toe before getting out of bed!!!! It's things like that that really enrich the lives of someone with a disability. Think about this for a moment.......
What if you had to ask someone for help for everything everyday? What if you had to wait for someone to come help you when you wanted to get dressed? What if every time you had to use the washroom you had to ask for help and then have someone stand there and watch?
This is what a normal day for someone with a disability is like if no one gives them the confidence or tools to do it themselves. I can only hope that Cam never feels like a burden because I know that if I was in his shoes I certainly would! I hate even asking for help when I really, really need it ( I know that is so hard for some of you to believe) let alone asking 5, 10, or sometimes 20 or 30 times a day for help. What they have given him is the ability to do things on his own so that he doesn't have to ask for help for a lot of things that he did a month ago. It's an amazing feeling for me and I can only imagine how great it must feel for him!
From here we are heading home to try to get some, and I use that work cautiously, normalcy back to our lives. Cam will be going to the RIC day rehabilitation program 3 days a week as well as coming back here on Tuesdays for hydrotherapy. On the days he has therapy he is going to try and go to school in the afternoon if he is not too tired and then he will also be going full days on some Tuesdays and every Thursday. Things for Kevin and I are about to become very hectic. As most of you know my work schedule this time of year is less than desirable, but hey it's my favorite time of year at work so I'll take it, and then trying to squeeze in all of the therapies, homework and daily exercise routines it will be insane! I am so glad that he is transferring to the day rehab program though instead of straight to outpatient therapy. I think he needs the intensity for his body to keep moving in the right direction and I think it motivates him to keep working hard and pushing, rather than doing things an hour here, an hour there and driving him all over the world everyday. This way I only have to drive him to half of the world almost everyday :)
The other part of the story after being here is the kids that we have met......WOW! I've seen and met some amazingly courageous kids, some lazy and ungrateful kids who don't see how lucky they are to be here. Some of the kids here have the same zest for life that Cam does and don't let anything get in there way. Everyday you pass by them in the hallway and they smile from ear to ear as you pass and it's the best medicine! Cam has staked his claim on a few of them along the way with his warm heart and endearing smile. He has gone out of his way numerous times to make sure that the shy kid down the hall knows he cares, given a "lift up" to our roommate who is often lonely and in desperate need of attention to always giving the girl on the floor that happens to have a thing for him a hug whenever she wants (she's quite the little hugger). We have watched other kids progress in their therapies, but everyone seems awe struck at the amount of progress Cam has made in 19 days. Even as we were finishing our last session today the OT said "I remember the first day I met you and you were in so much pain Mom was the only one who could move you to today you don't need any help to do anything!" He went from not being able to tolerate any weight or movement on his legs and ankles to riding 2 laps unassisted on the bike, standing in the stander for 50 minutes, getting dresssed head to toe, walking 2 laps in the gait trainer, transferring from chair to table/bed/toilet using his new slide board, moving from laying to sitting quickly and efficiently and even standing with minimal assistance using the parallel bars. Wow, I got goose bumps all over again just writing all of that out, and I'm sure I'm forgetting things!
I can't say that I expected this experience to be so moving. I am happy for everything he accomplished, ecstatic to be going home to my own bed, sad to be leaving a great group of people and therapists, excited and sad to be going back to work ( I love what I do, but I have really enjoyed my time with Cam) and nervous for what the next leg of the journey will bring. I can only hope that we find another set of amazing therapists at the satellite location, which I'm sure we will, and that Cam continues to find joy in learning new ways of doing things for himself and that his confidence grows more and more each day. I am still holding on to the hope that he can reach his ultimate goal of taking a step on his own, I feel like we are leaving here set up for success and that's an amazing feeling.
This is Cam riding the bike completely unassisted this morning for 2 laps!