Hannah had another appointment with her physiatrist yesterday. We last saw him in July and every time we go, he talks about botax injections being an option we'd most likely explore at some point in the future. So I always steel myself before these visits, expecting him to say "OK, let's go for it." Although I realize it's pretty likely she'll need botax some day, my goal is to avoid it for as long as possible.
Yesterday we learned that we dodged the botax bullet again-horray! Dr. B was really happy with Hannah's tone and range of motion, and the mechanics of her stride when walking with her walker. He said her AFOs were looking a little small so I made an appointment for her to get fitted for a new pair and this pair will be hinged/articulating so she can engage her ankles and feet instead of being locked into a stiff brace. We're going to continue with hippotherapy and regular PT and OT as well as try to get some warm water swimming into the mix for the colder months.
I've been watching Miss Hannah and have known that she is getting stronger, more fluid with her movements and staying flexible but it's great to have "the expert" say the same thing. She continues to amaze me every day with her motivation, determination and spunk. Hannah's personality and our efforts to keep her moving and grooving are definitely making a difference!
I think that Hannah is starting to become more and more aware of her differences. In the past week, she has said to either B or I, totally out of the blue, "Sometimes people have trouble walking." The first time she said it, my heart jumped into my throat and my eyes welled with tears. I tried to keep myself composed and said, "Yes, they do. And sometimes people have trouble with other things like seeing, and they need glasses. Or they can't speak so well and they use sign language to talk." She has said it several times since then, and we tell her some version of what I said that first time. One time I also asked her, "Hannah, do you have trouble walking?" And she replied, "Yes, I do." And I said, "And you use a walker and that helps you to walk and get strong. And you're doing such a great job with using your walker." And she said, "Yes, I am," and then she was off to do something else.
One time Isabelle piped in with, "If someone is pushing Hannah in her walker she can just say to them 'No thank you, I can do it myself.'"
Clearly both girls are thinking about the fact that Hannah can't get around like most other people they know. And I'm trying hard to figure out the best way to deal with this. My main goal is to make sure that Hannah has a strong sense of self. I want this for both of my girls and often tell them how proud I am of them for one thing or another, and how they have big strong bodies and big strong brains. But with Hannah, I want to be sure that I also acknowledge and honor her disability and her struggles and frustrations with it, without making her feel inadequate because of it.
Recently I told her, when she seemed to be losing her patience with not being able to get where she wanted to go, "I know how frustrated you are that you can't get over to the table as quickly and easily as you want. It stinks, doesn't it? But you're doing such a great job with your walker and you are getting stronger and stronger all the time."
The other thing Hannah has been doing a lot of lately is asking for her walker so she can walk around. We were at the lake with some friends and she was playing in the sand and she looked up and said, "Mommy please get my walker so I can walk around."
I am so glad Hannah is not afraid to ask for what she wants. I only wish I could give it ALL to her.