A New Stage?

Something funny happened this afternoon that is prompting me to write the second update of the day. Actually, it began last Friday when I attempted to take Abbie and the boys to the movies. The boys wanted to see “Eragon” which I knew would be too loud for Abbie, so I decided to see “The Nativity Story”, figuring that if I did have to step out with Abbie for a few minutes, I was at least familiar with the storyline and could jump back in mid-movie and not be lost. Well…it’s a good thing I already know the story, and I’m sure the movie was great, but we only saw 1 minute of it.

Abbie was unusually fussy, and nothing was helping. She was trying to move and had a look of intense frustration on her face. I thought perhaps she was confused about why her body was not responding to her wishes, so I once again explained to her what happened — she got an owie in her head, but she was safe now and with Mommy. I told her that she is getting better every day and just needs to keep talking to her body. I used the most soothing voice I could muster, and the explanation stopped the fussing. But, that was just one data point, and it wasn’t the first time I’d had to tell Abbie the story of her Re-Birthday.

Over the weekend, as I mentioned, we saw big differences in her vision, but we also saw big changes in her muscle tone, and not for the better. She was extremely tight, uncomfortably so, for much of the weekend. This tone continued today in her therapy session, and prevented us from getting her into as good of a crawling position as we normally do.

After therapy we brought her home, and the fussing commenced. Not “I’m a little upset” type stuff, but a pretty insistent, “I’m ticked off” effort. Nothing we tried helped, and she wouldn’t use her switch to tell us if something hurt. I stepped out of the room to see Ray and the boys off, and returned to hear Debbie say Abbie wanted to go somewhere, but she couldn’t tell where. Sure enough, I heard “Go, go, go” from Abbie, but couldn’t get her to tell me with her switch where she wanted to go. Out of desperation I finally said, “Abbie, is this just a good, old-fashioned temper tantrum?” She hit her switch so fast and hard that her hand flew off the bed.

Debbie and I laughed so hard and thought, “Just like Abbie! At least she’s honest!” But, the more I thought about it, the more the pieces began to fit together to form a picture of a new stage of recovery for Abbie. She is just plain mad about not being able to move, about being left behind so often, about being bored much of the time. She can’t express this emotion overtly except through her fussing right now, but this stage is part of the normal brain injury recovery process. Using her eyes more, being mad, and the changes in muscle tone make me think she is climbing to new places in her journey, and that is thrilling!

Why would high muscle tone make me think that? Because of something called “Hering’s Law” which says that before you get better you get worse as you regress back through the injury to reach healing. We always expected that as Abbie recovered we would hit points with her tone like this, because there were stages early on where her tone was very high and required medication. All in all, we are seeing outward signs of changes within Abbie’s brain, and we are rejoicing.

Just wanted to share Abbie’s Temper Tantrum Story before it got lost in the craziness of the week to come. Blessings!