It was bound to happen. I have just been anxiously waiting for the moment to come. I knew it was inevitable as much as we did to try to prevent it, but it finally happened. Drew fell. Don’t worry, he wasn’t injured and he managed to take measures to minimize any injury. Maybe it was just survival instinct, but he managed to twist in order to land on the back side of his rib cage and held his head up so not to hit his head at all. He was practicing stepping over small obstacles and quicker than a blink of an eye, he went down. Even though he had a trained professional within very close proximity, I knew that a fall was bound to happen at any moment.
Drew cried pretty good. At first, I was hoping that it just scared him more than anything as it was his first fall and I can tell he gets nervous when he’s walking at times as I’m sure that the danger of a severe fall is obvious to him. His side was hurt and reddened. I had been fearing this day since he took his first steps. The potential injuries that Drew could suffer to his teeth, chin, and nose wasn’t the only thing I feared; I also worried that a fall would scare him into a regression of walking. But, the most amazing thing happened: he wiped off his tears and whimpered, still in a little discomfort, “I want to try again.” Just when I think that Drew can’t impress me any more or top his latest amazing feat, Drew sucks up his pain and fear, refuses to let a little obstacle course beat him and demands to succeed. Don’t forget he’s five, nearly six. This blows my mind. He could have decided, “eh, let’s just call it a day. I’m done.” I wouldn’t have thought of that as giving up, just as recouping for the next day. But, instead, he is actually determined to do it right and succeed. No pep talk. No reward other than his own personal satisfaction. I can’t even describe how awesome I think he is. He’s five years old. These behaviors are so innate in him. Truly inspiring.
Even though we managed to avoid serious or even minimal injury after his first fall, the fall did rejuvenate my measures to acquire a helmet for him. Anticipating the inevitable fall, I have had several mini-strokes during Drew’s therapy as he has come close several times. Sometimes, I just have to look away because I keep jumping out of my seat and images of a bloody, toothless and crying Drew flash before my eyes. I’ve already watched the largest bone in his little body be broken. I can’t handle another serious injury. So, I immediately called the orthotist in Louisville to request a special helmet so when Drew has his second fall, perhaps we’ll be as lucky to avoid injury. I had forgotten to request a helmet during our last visit to the orthotist. But now, the need was especially urgent.
Drew has continued to excel in walking. He’s more steady now and walking long distances. He’s walking so well, that we are going to retire his gait trainer and get him a customized walker. Though he’s pretty good at walking, he still needs a little support just to prevent another fall. He almost doesn’t even need his wheelchair anymore. In fact, he only uses it in the playground, which isn’t a good surface for his gait trainer (or a walker) anyway so the fact that he uses it at all is really just a technicality. Wow. Drew doesn’t really need a wheelchair anymore. 🙂 This was our goal of the surgeries all along!
In celebration of his newfound ability to walk, Daddy and I are planning on buying Drew a jungle gym for our backyard so he can once again enjoy being a child. And, in the summer, we hope to be able to buy him a special bike for kids with physical disabilities. Drew’s birthday is coming up in February and I have a HUGE plan for a surprise party and I am so excited to start planning and putting it together. It’s going to be epic. He deserves a “no holds barred” party to celebrate his year of hell and to reward him for all of his hard work. Can’t wait!