Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School of Hard Knocks

Elena's had a tough week.

She's been a little "rickety" lately.  Less control (or effort) when stopping in space, knees buckling deeper, on tiptoes constantly, leaning hard into her crutches to stand.  It's a 'gross motor regression' phase.  I see this more often when she's growing, when she's sick, or when she's overly tired.

Because I know this, I try to anticipate growth issues by planning doctor's visits in advance, or try to give her breaks or rests in the hopes of making this period as short as possible.  I'm behind schedule.

Elena had a bad fall at home this week.  Vivian had moved her bed stepstool to her dresser, and for whatever reason, Elena "twist and fell" (most likely because she only had her left foot down when she lost her balance) and slammed her head, just behind her left ear, on the stool edge.  She managed to get out with a nice bruise and a bad scrape behind her ear (it would have been worse--her protective response when falling is decent now).  But, we found out later, the location of her injury made wearing her glasses painful.  (Her glasses prescription is mainly for esotropia; one lens corrects slight farsightedness.)  I figured, two days without her glasses should let the scrape heal enough to wear her glasses again.

The next day at school, Elena had two more falls, resulting in reinjury behind her left ear and repeated bruising on both forearms.  One fall was the result of a student running from a bee--Elena said she "tried to move out of the way" but the collision seemed to be a rough one.  The other fall I think was due to carelessness/tiredness/lack of awareness on Elena's part, or classmates, or both.  Either way, those falls are confidence crushers.  Falling with loftstrand crutches is a messy business...because of the cuffs, E's arms are pretty banged up, and they complicates her protective response--regardless of the impact terrain (playground steps?  Black top?  Probably not grass...).

She was a mess at home...just really upset.  Embarrassed about falling/crying in front of her classmates, frustrated at the student(s) that caused one of the falls, sad that she has to deal with this, and physically hurt.  We tried to be supportive, caring, loving...but aside from that, what can I do?  I started thinking...

She's probably growing.  Just last weekend I had raised her crutches up another notch (I should have done that SO much sooner!).  She's dragging her right foot so much it's wearing out the sole of her shoe...maybe she needs a different shoe?  Her old pair didn't do this as quickly--but she also wasn't moving as much or as fast as she is now.  Either way, I figured E needed a new pair of shoes.  And probably a new pair of SureSteps (the plastic support part that goes in her KiddieGait in her shoe)--her orthotist said she didn't need them right away, but I bet she's overdue now.  And I'm sure the lack of glasses wasn't helping the fall situation.

The next morning (today) wearing glasses was out of the question...she was more swollen than before (nothing serious, just really uncomfortable for wearing glasses--this injury is just really in a bad spot).  Her teacher Mr. M and her aide were extra vigilant in trying to avoid another fall.  E did fall in P.E. today-but it was most likely due to carelessness on her part (didn't slow down before entering a room full of running people--she knows better) but that didn't seem to faze her, she was fine.  Mr. M did tell me that Elena nearly walked right into a table--which screams to me that she needs her glasses on--she probably didn't have any peripheral vision on one side b/c one of her eyes drifted.  *sigh*

One of our mantras is "Everybody Falls".  Not everyone is peppered in bruises, though.  Elena prides herself on being a "tough cookie"--which she totally is...but girl needs a break.  Here's hoping for a bit of an injury reprieve before summer vacation!

4 comments:

Just the Tip said...

Ah. Poor E. I, myself fall quite a bit. My right ankle does this weird thing and will just give out and I go DOWN. I even fell once with the baby.

Hopefully it's a quick stage of growing and soon she will be back on a good track. I know i'm always worried P is going to break something bc she doesn't fall how normal kids fall. She doesn't seem to try to catch herself. She fell upwards of 50x a day when she started walking and even a year into walking over 35x.

M (15 months) started walking last week, she doesn't fall, ever. She will sit on her butt hard but i'm like HOLY COW, I had no clue that when you can balance yourself you eliminate the falls.

Can she maybe use the wheelchair since she's so banged up to get a break? Or you don't want to pull that out just yet?

Anonymous said...

I KNOW FALLS ARE BAD WITH CRUTCHES.. I FELL DOWN THE STARS AND SMACKED UP MY WRIST AND JARRED. MY BACK... I ALSO FELL GOING UP AND I JAMMED MY ELBOWS IN THE CUFFS AND LET ME TELL YOU IT HURT..

TO THE PREVIOUS COMMENTATOR I KNOW WHAT YOU. MEAN MY NEPHEW IS ALMOST 17MONTHS AND HE RUNS EVERYWHERE AND HIS BALANCE IS VERY GOOD

Melissai

Amy said...

Poor sweet Elena! I totally get those crasy quirks with the growth spurts. We've had them too. Frustrating for her. Frustrating for you. Hopefully, the growth spurt will pass quickly and she will acclimate just as quickly and be back to more agile self soon. Boy, its these moments in time that make less appreciative of CP and its life lessons!

may appleton said...

Thanks I now what not caring how we(those of us with cp) walk is called 'gross motor regression'.

My sd is getting worse and after being raised with in the CE prinpals I just dont care