Friday, September 14, 2007

Physical Therapy

Madeleine had her first PT appointment today. This entry is a hard one for me. I have so many mixed emotions that I cannot possibly be eloquent enough to put them down in an orderly fashion. Forgive me while I ramble.

Physical Therapy with a prosthesis is hard for a fourteen and a half month old baby. It was equivalent to a really hard workout with a super mean personal trainer. In essence, Madeleine worked her tail off today. She was forced to walk 'properly' while pushing a small walker.

Let me go back.... Madeleine has been doing remarkably well, in my humble motherly opinion. She usually doesn't scream when I pull out the helper leg. She stands unassisted for up to 30 seconds or so. She walks while holding onto fingers. She pulls herself to standing while wearing the leg. She gets herself into a sitting position while crawling or standing on the leg. However, when she walks she does so stiff legged. She refuses to bend her knee while wearing the prosthesis either when crawling or walking. because she doesn't bend her knee she swings her leg to the side. She doesn't like to put full weight unto the leg so she usually shifts her weight onto her right leg and keeps the prosthesis out to the side.

The physical therapist made her walk. She held onto her hips and forced her leg to bend. While this was fine for a bit Madeleine soon tired of it. You are thinking right now that she cried, right? No. She shrieked. She screamed. In an angry, "I've had enough" kind of way. She wasn't sad, she was pissed.

As a mother that got to me a bit. In fact, I'm sure it got to all that had to listen to it.

The PT told me what to do. She showed me how to 'help' her walk. How to correct her gait. However, I feel like she didn't acknowledge that I am not Madeleine's therapist, I am her mother. Not only that but I am a mother of twins, with two babies that need me. I simply do not have time or the stamina, quite frankly, to therapize Madeleine constantly.

Moreover, she told us she would see her in a month. A Month! In the meantime I'm suppose to be 'working' with her to get her to do all the things she is suppose to do, bend her knee, not swing her leg, stoop and recover.

I'm searching for a new PT. I do not have the resources (i.e., time and energy) to provide this for Madeleine while taking care of Max and her other needs. Furthermore, I am her mommy and I need to be there for her to cry on, to hold her, to play with her without her leg on. I cannot always be the one who is enforcing discomfort. Yes, I know she needs to practice. I know she needs to be corrected. But, she is a baby, a baby that has been through a lot in her short life.

I'd like for some acknowledgement from the medical profession that even though she is resillient she is still a baby. In fewer than fifteen months Madeleine has endured a Ceasarean Birth, and premature delivery, twelve days in the NICU and special care nursery, she has learned to breast feed, to eat solids, to crawl, to sit up, to pull herself to standing, to bite her brother, to steal his toys. She has had RSV Respiratory syncytial virus, been hospitalized for it. And most recently, major surgery, a spica cast for 6 weeks, fitting for a prosthesis and now therapy.

Let's give the kid a break.


Kelley said...

just my opinion as a mom who has BTDT..... she doesn't need therapy and you don't need to push her. my daugther is an above the knee and the few sessions she had were a total waste. Your daughter will learn to walk with the correct gait in no time at all. She is just getting use to having this new leg on she is not use to. give her some time. just be a mom. take a breath and enjoy your babies, they will both be fine. If in three months she hasn't made considerable gains, then consider another consult with someone else but I bet you will be amazed at her progress.


AnnaK said...

Hi Nikki - obviously different issues, but Patrick and I have had a similar experience with Finn and the PT he was getting at Swedish. Pat was told that he had to work with Finn for an hour every day - yeah right, like Lila is just going to sit there??? We gave Finn a month off from PT and in that month he started pulling up on his own. He still isn't walking or cruising around furniture, but we've enlisted the help of an OT from the Boyer clinic to come to our house weekly to work with him a bit more. It's free as Finn qualified for the birth-3 program (we couldn't get into the EEP at UW - another story). Anyway, my point is that you should trust your instincts. This is all so new to her - I'm sure she's still trying to get her mind around what she is being asked to do. Walking is a huge developmental milestone for all children and they all do it at their own pace. It should be okay for Madeleine to have that time and space to figure it out as well.

Winbrooke said...

Just wanted to also say that I'm sure your instincts are right. you (and Michael) know your baby girl better than anyone. She does need a break and is doing amazing. I'm sorry the PT wasn't more nurturing to you all.