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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Now I Can

So something we have been doing together here in Provo is volunteering at a place called Now I Can. It is a physical therapy center that does intensive three week sessions. We have really been enjoying out time there and being able to watch the kids we work with and progress. In this we will go through a little bit of each kids story and a little about some of the things we have learned from being there already. First though, here is a bit from the website,  Talking about how it got started and a little more about the goal of the foundation.

"Hello —— we are Joel and Tracey Christensen, the founders of Now I Can. Our oldest child, Colby Anne, was born with Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy. We know what it’s like to have the hope and excitement of childbirth change in a moment to fear and despair because of a traumatic birth and the uncertainty of what the future will hold.
During the first four years of our beautiful daughter’s life our routine involved early intervention, as well as traditional PT, OT and speech. After years of doing this, we decided one hour a week of physical therapy was not enough for our little girl. She just wasn’t making the progress we felt she could make. So, in 2005, we took our then four year-old daughter to Poland for a month of intensive physical therapy. Colby exercised for 4 hours a day five days a week and made incredible progress. She would say “Now I Can” use “righty” better!
We were thrilled to have found the Intensive Model of Therapy, and the benefits of an orthotic suit. But, we were not prepared to continue making trips to Poland! We resolved to bring intensive suit therapy to the Intermountain West so that our family and other could enjoy more favorable conditions in which to experience the most effective therapy around.
Through hard work, the generosity of family, friends, and strangers — and divine providence — Now I Can opened its doors to children from all over the United States. Polish therapists helped us introduce the Intensive Model of Therapy and Suit therapy to Utah and surrounding areas.
Now I Can's excellent team works tirelessly and lovingly with each child to help them reach their greatest potential. Our family has experienced a lot of joy as we’ve been blessed to get to know many wonderful families and some precious, dedicated children! These kids work hard — and they are reaching their goals."

Joel and Tracey Christensen

One of the first kids that we had the opportunity to work with is named Noah. Noah has cerebral palsy and was born with it. He is a very excited little boy and enjoys the same things as other 4 year olds. Playing with cars and all kinds of other cool toys. He very much is normal in every way, except he has to use a walker to get around. Because of his condition he is unable to walk with out it. The goal for him though is to get him to be independent from the walker. Noah came in for a three week session a few months back. Most of the kids come once or twice a year, this allows there body to learn new things in the three week period and then have a few months to practice and keep developing the new things. In the time that we saw Noah he had a huge rate of progression. The first week was a lot of stretching and strength building. Using a Neuro suit, which helps to simulate the muscles by a system of little bungees, he began to gain muscle memory and the necessary reflexes to walk. One of the last days that we were there with him, we saw the progress that he made first hand. He was able to take a few steps by himself. We both felt a great excitement in seeing him accomplish what he wanted to do. Something that we at times take for granted in being able to walk by ourselves, he was now able to start doing. Being around Noah was a great experience as we laughed with him, helped him through his pain and were able to experience the joy that he was feeling.

Linlea and Nichole Helping Noah walk in the neuro suit.

Another little girl that we have had the chance to work with was Elodie. She is three years old and is a handful. Not in a bad way she is just a very strongwilled and motivated girl. She has Spina Bifida and is unable to walk on her own. When she first came she had no feeling in her a lower back and little to no strength in her legs. Since she has spent so much time on crutches she has a very strong upper body, but a weaker lower half. Elodie loves princesses so Heath learned all about them. He read Snow White many times, while singing songs Like Under the Sea and A Whole New World. Heath had worked with her earlier in the week. When Linlea went, Sergio (one of the therepists) asked Elodie if she remembered Heath. She said yeah with a big grin. Then he asked do you like him? She said ya with an even bigger grin on her face. Linlea told her that Heath was her husband, and Sergio said ohh your in trouble. She got really shy and was shy around Heath the next time she saw him. As she kept coming she began to get a lot stronger and was able to start walking on her crtuches some. Using something called kinesio tape, the therapists are able to reduce pain as well as isolate muscles to help them move correctly. The first time the tape had been on for about a week and then removed, Elodie did not feel a thing. The second time the tape was removed Elodie began to cry and Sergio begin to smile. Why would he be happy that she was crying? Because she had feeling in her lower back for the first time.

 On one of the last days Elodie was there Linlea was working with her and Elodie was standing up. Elodie then said "Look, I'm standing like a princess." Little moments like that are what makes all of this worth while. 

We have been working with many other children and will have many new stories to come in the future.

Friday, March 4, 2011

When Graters attack!!

As previously told my arch nemesis was a small rodent who Linlea and I defeated with stealth like a panda bear. Since then we have been busy moving into our new apartment and just settling in. With that comes the great opportunity to get to use our own stuff. Our own pots and pans, our own knifes, forks spoons and really cool glasses. Our own microwave(just got it, it is awesome.) And yes even our very own cheese grater. Those that know us really well know that we have a deep love for cheese. It is something that developed in early child hood and has grown into the great love that it is today. Alright so enough about our love cheese... on to the real point of this story.

Linlea was in class till six on Thursday, so I decided I would make dinner. We had all the stuff to try a salad that Linlea saw in one of the cook books. It is a barbecue chicken salad. So I got all the ingredients that were needed to make it, cucumber, tomato, corn, etc. Cooked up the chicken and then mixed some of that together. Then came time for my favorite part of cooking, grating the cheese. This has been one of my favorite parts for a long time. I can still hear the words of many master chefs(moms, grandmas...and the list goes on) "Heath get away from there, Heath get out of the cheese, that is for dinner get your hand out of there." Just to name a few times I recall. Anyway I love grating cheese, eating the cheese and everything about cheese. So last night i was grating some cheese to put into the salad. I got out our cool grater that folds up for easy storage. The downside to that is that it does not always stay open when your grating with it. So I started grating on the side with the smaller holes. (Warning if you have a weak stomach stop reading now.) I started grating and then the grater closed causing my hand to slip down. As it went down my finger begin to get grated as it went. The weird part was that it grated it in one spot the whole way down causing to be pretty deep. At this point I was not sure how deep it was. Right away it started gushing blood and not just like oh my finger is bleeding, but ohhhh ohhhh this is really bleeding. I grabbed a good wad of paper towels and covered it up.When the paper towel became red I ran it in some water under the sink and then grabbed more paper towels. It still would not stop bleeding. Finally i wrapped it really good with paper towels and then grabbed the electric tape and wrapped it up. When Linlea got home I told her the story and then we re wrapped it. This was about an hour later and it was still bleeding. At around 11 we took the wrap off and were going to check it and then re wrap it again. This was almost six hours after the initial onslaught when the grater attacked me and it was still bleeding. Although it had slowed down one would have to think six hours of bleeding is not good. Clearing the blood just long enough to take a picture and see how deep it was (pretty deep) the wrapped it up again. It is still wrapped up know and I will check soon enough and see what the status is. A valuable lesson learned though as the blood keeps coming, do not push down hard unless your sure that grater is stable. You know read the warning label before you grate any cheese.  Who knew that the thing that I love would turn on me. The good news through all this. The Salad was really good and my wife took great care of me.