Neil signed a contract. For five hours a day, five days a week, for ten weeks, he has agreed to cripple himself. In the end, we've been promised a nice pay-off: improved use of his left hand.
From the beginning Neil has had multiple issues that make his life difficult. We've tried to address them all with a "little bit of everything" approach--Physical therapy for walking, balance, and strength; Occupational therapy for his hand and arm, vision, and cognition; Speech therapy for speech, social skills, memory, and more cognition; School for academics; volunteering opportunities and social groups for well-roundedness; and of course, church, prayer, and scripture study for spiritual growth and comfort. As physical therapy was no longer needed, we added more cognitive therapy. Although improvement and progress has been phenomenal since the accident, Neil has plateaued in many areas.
We're not ready for that yet. We won't accept that this is all we're getting. So now we're going for some more direct, intense therapy in just one or two areas at a time. Although we're still including some of most of the aforementioned therapies and helps, we are going to focus right now on getting his left hand back.
His new constraint therapy requires a lot of time and commitment, and it's exhausting. For those five hours each day, his right hand becomes immobile so that he has to rely on his left only. Along with that, he has specific exercises that he has to complete--100 thumb stretches, 100 arm raises, 100 finger touches (X5--thumb to each finger), to name a few. They may sound easy, but watch him touch each finger with his thumb, and you'll be tired yourself. He must open each doorknob left-handed, eat with a fork (nearly impossible!), brush his teeth, and take off his t-shirt. Wow! Neil is my hero once again as I watch his determination and stamina.
Here's a link to a video of Neil's first day of therapy. We're looking forward to some contrasting video at the end of the ten weeks to see how much he's improved.
Coming soon, we will be making decisions about his vision, and then trying some neurofeedback and psychotherapy. So much to do, so much to do!