If anyone ever told me how emotional and hard going through the rehabilitation process was going to be and I laughed and said it will be no big deal, I'm sorry...........I should've listened!
Don't get me wrong, Cam is making great progress and this place is amazing. Cam is regaining his strength that he had lost since the surgery very quickly and is able to do some things on his own again like go to a sitting position from laying down and rolling over. He is not as quick and swift at these as he used to be, but we are happy to see him doing them again. He is also learning new techniques and "tricks of the trade" to help with daily living things like putting on his own shoes. Although the independence is great for Cam and I know these things will make his life so much better in the long run, it's very hard for mom and dad to sit back and watch him struggle, it would be so much easier to just do it for him. That my friends is where the emotional part comes in, well amongst other things but we will start there.............
As you watch Cam in therapy you go through a crazy range of emotions over a short period of time, his sessions are usually 30-60 minutes at a time. In the beginning you are totally excited to find out what he will be doing to overwhelmed by what he can do, most of the time to tears, to heart broken watching him work so hard to do what we consider the simplest of tasks to finally trying to cover them all up and focus on what's important.....celebrating the wins with Cam. Wow, I know right! And we do this 3-6 times a day everyday, no wonder I'm exhausted by the time we lay down at night. Some of the hardest things seem like they would be the easiest, like for example, Cam is realizing that he can do things for himself like cut up his own food. So there him and I sat eating breakfast as usual and I reach for Cam's plate to spread the butter and cut up his pancake and he says "no mom, I got this" At first I was like awesome, good for you! Then he worked and worked and worked to get two bite size pieces cut up and with every stroke of the knife the knot in my stomach grew larger and larger. I basically had to sit on my hands to stop myself from reaching over and saying "let me help you" I knew in that moment that I couldn't do that, nor would I do that! Cam was expressing a need to be independent, the therapists have given him so much confidence that he wants to do things for him self. He looks up at me, after getting those two bites cut with a light in his eye and smiles, AMAZING! He continued cutting and eating, cutting and eating all through breakfast and as we were walking back to the elevator he says, "wasn't that cool mom, I did it myself!" All I could do in that moment was to hold back the tears that were brewing over 1,000 emotions and celebrate with him. People getting on the elevator probably thought we were a little nuts because we were excited, high five-ing, you name it we did it! It was in this moment that I realized it did not matter how small his accomplishments were, it was my job to be excited about it. We lay in bed at night and he says "mom" about 200 times between the hours of 8am and 8pm and most of the time he needs a position adjustment in the middle of the night, but other times it's to show me what he can do. I can't begin to tell the the number of times he says "mom, look I can move my toe" "mom, look I can bend my knee" and each and every time I take a deep breath and celebrate with him! It is hard, sometimes I'm exhausted and will have just sat down and the thought of getting up to watch him wiggle his toe is down right miserable, but I keep telling myself it's not about me, do it for him. Then there are the times when the things he does are down right incredible, like using the gait trainer and walking. Holy Crap! Let me tell you that was so emotional I was nauseous and I would get up out of my seat any day anytime to watch him experience that feeling again and again.
|Cam at his first hydrotherapy|
Today really made me aware of exactly what it was that I was feeling as I sat opposite of Kevin while Cam did his afternoon PT session. I watched as his facial expressions showed every emotion I was feeling. I even watched as the therapist, who Cam has only worked with in the pool so far, got a little emotional as well. He had Cam do a few things and then offered up a couple suggestions for Cam to try, of which he did and very successfully. Then at the end he asked Cam to show him how he could go from laying to standing and asked him if it was going to amaze him. Cam responded with "yeah, check this out, I'll show you what I can do!" So we have excitement right, then Cam works and works and works to get to sitting, using a technique that he came up with on his own, and BAM he was sitting. I looked up and saw the therapists face turn red and I'm pretty sure he may have swallowed down a few tears. He looked at Cam and said "now that's why I love what I do, that was amazing"
|Cam using the gait trainer for the first time!|
|Very happy after his first hydrotherapy session|
When Kev left tonight he apologized for getting emotional, to which I replied, don't be sorry for being emotional it's a very emotional process. Just be sure that Cam doesn't see the look of wanting to help so badly that you look sad or disappointed that he is working so hard when it used to be easy. Ugh, when I read his message I wished I had a closet to go to and have a good cry, and maybe a little scream because I too had realized today how emotional this was and, sometimes reality sucks. But instead I lay here in the dark in my not so comfy chair/bed and write. (probably the healthier of the two options)
It's a rough rocky road right now and we need monster suspension when we are with Cam to be sure that we are continuously supporting his wants and needs to be independent as hard as that may be. I only hope that Cam can fulfill whatever wants and needs he has and be happy being him.
So I will leave you with this..............
Never, ever take for granted what you consider the simple things in life. The small simple things are the ones we should hold near and dear to our heart and feel blessed each and every day that we can do them. What you may think is easy, may be near impossible for someone else and you never know who that someone else might be so you should always be prepared to celebrate. The only thing I can be sure of, for that person who sees it as impossible, it feels like a million bucks to have someone show you a way and to do it just once!
|Cam laying flat on a table before surgery|
|Cam laying flat after surgery, his knees are almost completely straight!|