Sitting in the waiting room whilst Archie underwent his 4 hour surgery now seems like a lifetime ago, although the 7 months since we’ve been home has flown by. So much has happened, Archie finished his first year at school, the Olympics, the Paralympics, his Daddy turned 40 and he started a new school year. And whilst all that flashed by, Archie has had an immense amount of therapy. He has 4 physio sessions every week at school as standard. Then in May we took Archie to the footsteps rehabilitation centre in Oxford in for 3 weeks, which at first I felt was brutal in the discipline of such young children trying so hard to overcome their significant difficulties, but one week into the course, Archie was making good progress and had completely signed up to the hard word, knowing full well he had no alternative. I bow to their better judgement! After the three weeks, Archie had made noticable improvements in strength, stability and stamina.
Over the summer holidays, Archie had physio almost every day, if not twice a day. We started a completely new therapy of ‘Functional Electrical Stimulation’, which has been the mainstay of treatment for spinal cord injury for decades, but has only become an accepted treatment for Cerebral Palsy in the last few years. If you have ever put a slendertone type electrode on, you will know how noxious it is, so it has taken some time to build up the stimulation to a high enough level to get a really good contraction. As well as using FES at rest, he has also been using a specialist piece of equipment that was only released earlier this year. It’s a stepping machine that delivers an electrical current to 10 muscle groups in the lower half of the body, which fire in frequency to stimulate the muscles in a walking patteren. Now he’s back at school, it’s not possible to continue with this but we are intending to go back in the October half term.
We’ve just completed another 3 week course at the footsteps centre, which has gone well, Archie worked extremely hard with virtually no complaints and again we’ve noticed small improvements.
Archie’s progress is generally very slow, but it is progress nonetheless. Every so often I notice him doing something that he’s never done before. Yesterday for example he put his socks on by himself, If he had not had the surgery I doubt he would have ever found a way to do this. He now almost never crawls but walks around the house with his hand on the wall if his sticks aren’t around, and he’s getting quicker and quicker and he can take about 20 tentative independent steps……. It’s very much work in progress. We’re looking forward to seeing what improvements he makes over the next 6 months!