From physical therapy that is. I know, I couldn't believe it at first either!!
Last week, Marissa's physical therapist approached me with the idea of taking an extended break. Her reasoning behind this is Marissa has hit her goals consistently and is developing well enough that there are no more immediate goals for the therapist to set. Everything the therapist wanted her to accomplish by this age, she has accomplished! Isn't that great?!?
Marissa has been getting physical therapy since she was about 5 days old. While she was in the NICU, during the times she was not intubated or recovering from surgery, the PT department would send someone down to do massage, range of motion exercises and movements with Marissa. Despite their efforts, when she came home, she was still a tiny little bundle of tightened muscles and ligaments. She was wrapped up as tight as a rubber band ball. That tends to happen when your world consists of only your 2 x 4 foot crib. It also tends to happen when just about every touch you have had in your short little life is someone poking, prodding or sticking you. Marissa would often recoil at the slightest touch because she thought she was going to be hurt.
When she was discharged from the hospital, it took about a week and a half to set up in-home physical therapy through the agency. Marissa has had the same physical therapist since early June, 2007. The early therapy sessions consisted of the therapist doing light infant massage on Marissa. She was very easily agitated and was very leery of anyone touching her. Once the therapist gained Marissa's trust, she started working very slowly on Marissa's problem areas. The biggest one was the left side of her neck. Marissa would scrunch up her left shoulder and bring it up to her ear. Because of this, the left side of her neck was always tense and it was causing weakness in her trunk and left arm. The therapist worked diligently to teach Marissa to release that left side. It got so bad that the therapist talked to me about a TOT Collar. As you can see, we really didn't want to go there if we didn't have to.
Finally, after a little over a year working on that issue, Marissa's neck was free and she no longer kinked it up. Goal accomplished!
As you can see, she always had her head turned to the right with her left shoulder scrunched up to her ear. Not good.
We were told to encourage her to look to the left by positioning things she was interested in on the left, like the TV or her toys or people who were talking to her.
From then on, every goal the therapist would set for Marissa, she would achieve by the next Plan of Care. This included walking, running, kicking, kneeling, going from sitting to standing, jumping, climbing stairs by crawling and walking and finally, walking down the stairs with assistance.
So, now the plan is for Marissa to be discharged from PT and we will touch base with the therapist at the beginning of next year. She has a feeling that by that point, Marissa may need to have maybe a session a month, just so we can make sure she is not regressing and to make sure she continues to hit her milestones. Kind of like preventative maintenance. If we feel that she is not doing well in between now and then, we can always call the therapist and she will pick Marissa right back up where she left off. The therapist feels confident Marissa will take this change well and will not regress. And after looking back at how far she has come and everything she has accomplished, so do Jeremy and I!!
I just wanted to post a couple of pictures showing everyone one of the pretty dresses our friends Elizabeth, Charles and Ashleigh got for Marissa. Elizabeth, Jeremy and I are high school classmates. We had a nice dinner a couple of weeks ago with Charles and Elizabeth and they gave Marissa two dresses for a late birthday present. I'll have to take pics of the other dress soon. As you can see, it is a great challenge for me to get Marissa to hold still for pictures anymore. She is constantly on the go!
Thanks Elizabeth, Charles and Ashleigh! The dresses are so cute on her!
This next series of pics demonstrates what I have to do to take non-blurry photos of Marissa now. I hate to use the flash (I just think it makes everyone look fake and washed out). So I took her outside so I could take pictures of her while she was moving and they would not be blurry. She thought it was a fun game to watch me run to the other end of the patio and then chase after me. :)