We switched helmets a couple of weeks ago. Don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. The hospital-supplied head gear was large and heavy--it looked like a clear, plastic football helmet. Neil could hardly hold his head up when he was wearing it. Someone finally got the bright idea to bring his snowboarding helmet from home. It's lightweight, comfortable, and familiar. Oh, and doctor-approved, as well. An added plus is that Neil looks like an athlete--pretty cool!
Today, Neil's therapists felt he was ready for the treadmill. Even with the progress he's making with his walking, he is still slow, weak, and unbalanced. The treadmill can help with all these areas. First they strapped him up to a harness around his torso and his legs. Then they attached the harness to hooks that suspended him above the treadmill. With his new helmet and all that gear, he looked like he was ready to jump out of a plane--something he's always wanted to do! Maybe this activity didn't provide quite the same thrill, but it was a lot of work for him and a great accomplishment. With the harness on, Neil was able to walk with a normal gait and take bigger strides than he can when he's walking around the gym with his arm on the shoulder of a petite therapist. He walked for three minutes, then again for five after a short break. It may not sound like much, but he was going pretty fast, and it was a little scary for him not having something to hold on to. They want him to do it again tomorrow. I believe his fearlessness is going to give him the determination to cooperate with anything they give him to do. But as a mother I've got to ask myself, what am I going to do if he gets well enough to actually go sky diving? He'll certainly have earned the chance!