The kids hospitals at home have child psychologists attached to them and when your child is having treatment you can draw on their knowledge – I find talking to them fascinating.
I’ve spoken to them before about Rhys’ confidence. He’s always had a reasonable level of it which has carried him a long way but I’ve often worried that one of these stays in hospital would knock it out of him – especially this one.
One of the psychologists told me that confidence is self reinforcing. That is, that if Rhys is comfortable and confident in who he is, then those around him will accept him as he is, and his confidence will be reinforced. The reverse is also true. That is, that if you aren’t comfortable and confident in who you are, then people will view you as such, and that will be reinforced. Clearly, you want to be on the right side of that equation. (Not sure if it applies to adults but it sort of fits.)
Over the last 48 hours we’ve been giving Rhys less pain medication and it seems that though he is still weak, it’s partly confidence holding him back more than discomfort.
However, when we get over to the gym at the hospital his assurance in his ability seems to go up a notch. I think it’s partly to do with the way the room is with lots of grab rails and crash mats, partly the energy the physio’s bring and partly him wanting to show off.
This morning at home we were trying to practice side stepping. I maybe got him to do it twice with me taking all his weight. His spasticity would previously be pulling his leg in the opposite direction (causing the ‘scissor’ in his legs) so he’d never really do it.
But once in the gym he side stepped quite nicely on the treadmill loads of times – quite impressive. And then this (watch for him side stepping completely independently).
Now that may not seem that incredible but it’s a useful skill when walking to be able to change direction. He then followed that up with his other new moves. It still needs a bit of work but he’s almost nailed the ‘water sprinkler’ dance as seen in Katy Perry videos.
I also realised today that we’ve reached the half way point of our stay. Two weeks from now we’ll be heading for the airport to fly home. Rhys also seems about half way in his recovery.
Although he now has some improved quality in his movement he has some way to go before he recovers all his speed and endurance – but it does at least feel that right now we’re on the right side of that confidence spiral.
And he can do ‘The Sprinkler’ dance.