Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dayenu

During the seder, one of the songs we sing is Dayenu. It reminds us to be grateful for what we have now,  in this moment. instead of  wanting more, something better, something else..
Because of the work I do, I am always reminded of the need to be thankful and to count my blessings. I am grateful: for my health, for the fact that I have work, for my home, for my friends, for my family.
It is during this time of Passover that my different lives come together, melding, unifying, ehn continuing on their separate paths. I spent the first night of the holiday with people I know very well from the kibbutz I lived on. A couple of them I have not seen for at least 25 years, and here they are, in Albany, and we celebrated the seder together.
Another seder was spent with the south african part of my life. And in this part there is a melding, for many of the south africans also lived in Israel.
 Then, on the very last day of Passover, I was on skype with a cousin in South Africa when my phone went. A good friend from the kibbutz called to tell me of the very sad passing of the daughter of  friends of ours, as well as a friend who lives on the kibbutz.
It is these events that again remind me to be grateful. To be thankful for our lives, and our health.
In the midst of all of this came a really gratifying day at work on Friday. A day in which, once again, I was reminded of the benefits of early intervention.
I have been seeing a girl for about two years. She was referred because of premature birth and a severe cerebral hemorrhage. She has a shunt in her brain, and, until Friday, she could not walk. She has been seen by myself and a physical therapist for almost two years. For the first year she did nothing but scream with both of us. When I came to the home she would smile until I sat down to work with her. She then began to scream and cry (although there were no tears) until her caregiver, in this case, her grandmother, came back to sit with us and protect her from me. Her mother takes her to physical therapy, and there she did the same thing, screaming every time the physical therapist tried to touch her. This hysterical scenario continued for almost a year, until one Friday, when I got there, she smiled and no longer cried. This too, was a mystery, but a pleasant one.
She has never ever tried to walk, although we both have tried to get her to crawl and to get up by herself from lying down to sitting without help. She did get orthotics and always indicated to me to put them on when I came, but she remained sitting in them.
This Friday I came in. She had just woken up and did not have her orthotics on. She turned to smile at me when I came in. I sat next to her and she pointed to my bag because she wanted to see the toys I would produce from my large black bag.
She scribbled on an etch-a-sketch, then put simple puzzle pieces together, then suddenly, to my amazement, I saw her pulling to stand  at the sofa. She turned around and walked, without orthotics or shoes, on the wooden floor, all the way to her room!
 That is it, she is walking, she is also using her left arm and hand.
All of this is because of persistent work on the part of her therapists and her mother. Without this intervention, she probably would never have walked.
It is so gratifying and exciting to see these changes which will just get better and better, towards a fully functioning independent being!

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