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March Madness: Her Mother is Going to Kill Me!

Joined: 3/2/2014
Posts: 1
The Nerve Whisperer
Her mother is going to kill me, I thought. The four-year-old girl had come in an hour earlier, shyly trailing her mother. In her short life she had already had anesthesia and adenoid surgery for tonsils and throat infections. She also had hip problems, which is why her mother had brought her to a physical therapy clinic, to a hands-on therapist.

I watched her walk in. She didn't notice much, a little hand holding tightly to the fabric of her mother's skirt. Dwarfed by the six foot massage table, a big fluffy pillow and her pink blanket, she seemed comfortable as I started to feel the muscles in her back and move her hips to the end of their range. Quietly, she stared at me, her mother sitting nearby.

Fifteen minutes into the treatment, I asked her to get up and walk to the other side of the large gymnasium style room. She did so dutifully.

At the half hour mark, I wanted to see her walk again and gave the four-year-old a chance to move. "What's in there she asked," peeking into a small storage room. She was "waking up."

Forty-five minutes into the session as she walked, "can I play on that ball after?" I said, "yes," pleased that she had noticed the big red exercise ball in the middle of the room. It had been there all along.

At the end of the hour, I spoke to her mother about the muscle and joint restrictions I worked with. I told her how tension on the spinal cord in the low back can change brain chemistry, mood and consciousness of one's surroundings. After a few minutes, we found the little girl in the psychologist's empty office, jumping on the couch, throwing brightly colored blue and yellow scarves into the air. I thought, "her mother is going to kill me for turning her into a wild child."

As they left, hesitantly, I said, "let me know what you notice."

A week later, the phone rang, her mother's number popped up. "Hello." I dreaded the conversation.

"Thank you so much, she is doing great. Playing better with other kids at pre-school. Sharing her toys. Eating better. Sleeping through the night," said the grateful mother.

And I thought, when we have pain and physical restrictions, we can only "see" one toy or activity and we hold on too tight. When we see all the possibilities we can share, engage and enjoy life.

I remembered another boy, brought because of learning disabilities. The second time I saw the six-year-old, I asked as I often do, "what did you notice change since you were here." His father rolled his eyes, perhaps thinking, he is six or what a ridiculous question to ask a child.

The boy said, "my head doesn't hurt so much." The father said, "you never told me you had head pain." And maybe even a child doesn't know until it changes.

- Kimberly Burnham
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