Physical therapy has always been a part of Namine’s life, and it always will be. She has to work harder to do things that just come naturally to other children.
From the very start, even in the hospital before we were able to bring her home, Namine has had therapy. From sitting up to tummy time, she needed the extra help. When Namine had the trache and g-tube and we had a nurse come to the apartment, she too worked with Namine.
Namine has made great strides recently in physical therapy — using her walker, climbing up into her wheelchair, and most recently, climbing up onto the toilet. And she’s not done yet.
I noticed yesterday that Namine has rug burns on her right knee. This made me a little sad — she has her mother’s sensitive skin — but it also made me happy. A rug burn is so mundane and ordinary for anyone else, but for Namine, it marks significant progress.
Namine is not scooting as much as she once was. The primary reason for discouraging her from scooting is simple and scary: it can exacerbate her scoliosis. Her spine isn’t in bad shape now, but Namine’s orthopedic surgeon (who also monitors her scoliosis), Dr. Black, has already predicted the possibility of her needing surgical intervention.
Have you ever seen the movie Dolphin Tale? In it, a dolphin loses the end of its tail and, before receiving a prosthetic, figures out how to swim by moving its body in a way not intended by nature. Similarly, Namine’s half-sideways method of scooting has allowed her to move where she would otherwise not have been able to, but doing so will put her spine at greater and greater risk.
So Namine has been encouraged for some time to crawl instead. I’ve written before about Namine’s preference to scooting over crawling — having more to do with physical ability than actual preference. But with her arms gaining strength after the Fontan, she can crawl.
Crawling for Namine isn’t the same as for a typical child, of course. She can’t move her hips or knees as much — her hips can’t move independently; her right knee bends, but her left barely does at all, even after years of therapy. So in order to crawl, Namine would have to prop herself up on her hands and knees, but to actually move, she would pull herself with only her hands, dragging her legs behind her. I think you can understand why that would be so difficult.
After much therapy, though, Namine’s right leg is a lot more mobile than it used to be. (The same cannot be said for her left.) As a result, she no longer has to drag both legs behind her when she crawls; now, she can bring her right leg up, bending the knee, to under her stomach: placing it on the floor, she uses it as a launching point, propelling herself forward. This method enables her to move much faster than she could even when scooting.