We finally got the authorization from CCS to begin Physical Therapy, although only six visits, which means PT will be more of a weekly consultation than real, in depth therapy. I get the feeling CCS believes PT is a waste of time. Fine. I'll take what they'll give us. Besides, Queen Teen needs daily exercise to make any difference and she's doing that on her own.
Her therapist is the same person who worked with her after her surgery last year and he's very knowledgeable. Queen Teen remembered him and eagerly showed him what she can do. "See," she said with a grin on her face and her arms held out wide, "I can stand up without holding on to anything."
"Very good," he replied while staring at her knees. He took some measurements of the curve of her each: 18 degrees in one and 5 degrees in the other. Queen Teen sighed. She hates being examined. With as many appointments as she's had over the years I don't blame her.
I told him about the exercises she and I have been doing and he said they were good, then he added rising up on her toes. He also encouraged swimming. "The key is to make it fun, or she'll stop doing it." He smiled. "But if she's already doing them on her own, I don't think you'll have to worry about that."
The PT agreed with the recommendation of the PT at the clinic that exercise could save her knees and that we shouldn't put her back in braces. The curve probably won't go away but if she keeps building her muscles and stretching the ligaments, it shouldn't get any worse. The last of my fears vanished. We have to give this a try.
Today she cautiously walked across the kitchen, swaying from side to side, arms flung wide for balance. I fought the urge to grab her to protect her from falling. Instead I gripped the counter and said, "Yay! That's so great!"
She reached the kitchen table and turned to look at me, beaming with pride. "See. I can do it. I can be stronger! I didn't fall down." Then she carefully cruised back to her walker by the kitchen door, her bare feet loudly slapping the linoleum.
Success! She felt the pride of hard work and how she can grow stronger, something that will stay with her as she tackles new challenges in her life. Everything is so hard for her, everything must feel so out of reach, but in that little walk from kitchen door to table, a distance of ten feet, she experienced the sensation of triumph.
If we try so hard to protect our children from pain and misfortune, they never learn how to pick themselves up from the floor and never understand that they can heal. If I put braces back on Queen Teen's legs, she will never know how it feels to take control of her own body and her own life. Without success, we diminish. Why bother? Nothing will work. No matter what I do, I'll never get any better.
Queen Teen is beginning to understand just how capable and strong she actually is.