Friday, June 8, 2012

A Little 411 On The Girl - Living With Cerebral Palsy

My daughter suffered oxygen deprivation during birth which caused a permanent injury. She now lives with quad athetoid cerebral palsy (CP). Athetoid CP means her tone (the tenseness/softness of her muscles) is mixed. Her trunk has low tone mostly and that's partially why she is unable to sit up unassisted. But sometimes it has high tone, like when she arches back. She usually arches when someone is trying to get her from one spot, like her wheelchair, to another, like her bed. She thinks it's hilarious to see someone struggling. No, really, she really cracks up at this. And the more you say things like, "Oh my God; wait!; stop moving; Oh, no, you're going to fall!", and the more you struggle to get her to cooperate with you, the more she cracks up. If it wasn't so dangerous (you know because falling on the floor & cracking your face open is usually not a good thing!) it would be kinda funny because she's got this crazy laugh. It goes from being loud and honking like a goose to absolutely silent with her mouth wide open and all you see is her shoulders bobbing up and down (I refer to it as the "shoulder shake").

Wings are in "landing mode"

The mixed tone is also in her arms and legs. Sometimes they are very stiff and it's hard to get her to relax her elbows and shoulders. Her arms jut straight out from the sides of her body and when she's in her wheelchair this can be dangerous because she can get them stuck behind walls when we're coming around corners or in doorways. They look like wings on an airplane or bird and I tell her to "bring the wings in, no time for takeoff now"! She has punched a few people from time to time, including me. That's kinda funny when it happens to someone who is annoying, not so much when it’s me. When we're in a crowded place, like in a mall, she could be sitting nice and quiet then all of a sudden she'll get excited about something and her arms will fly out to her take-off position and if there's anyone near her, their butt's gonna get smacked! Ahh, I recall the stunned faces of many a stranger that have turned to see that it was only a 14 year old girl on wheels who has just violated their nether region! That can be pretty hilarious too. I just start to get a little nervous when the person near her is a man and he's facing her because his family jewels are in the line of sight and that can be pretty awkward!

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