Hoo-boy! Heath finished up his three-week boot camp with a bang last Friday. He took the closest thing to independent steps yet, with just a bit of reassurance from Hunter behind him. The amazing thing in this video is how stable and centered his hips are, compared to before, and his ability to make small postural adjustments as he steps.
This jaw-dropping video shows how Heath more than tripled his crawling ability in three weeks. Not only does he take about 19 "steps" on his arms without collapsing (compare to the video of January 18), but his head is up the entire time and...no crying!! He gets a kneeling ovation from the whole Rehab Without Walls team as he crosses the finish line and dives into Elmo's furry arms.
Hunter and Amy say there is a turning point in upper body strength when gains become exponential, and they expect this might happen when Heath can stay up comfortably on his arms for about a minute. We're not that far away! Thirty seconds is his max right now and it takes a lot of cheerleading to convince him it's a good idea. But with daily commitment, he will get there before we know it.
On his last day of intensive therapy, Heath received a yellow diploma (his favorite color) and Hunter sang him a special graduation song. I got a little teary eyed, I was so proud of my boy.
Oooooooh Heath, your day has come
Your intensive therapy program is finally done
We put you in a suit and tied you in a cage
And now it's time for you to stand up on that big world stage
Stand up tall and show 'em what you've got
Do all the things they said you would not
You're taller and stronger and tougher than nails
And anything you do, you will never fail
It was so sweet seeing the great relationship that Heath developed with Hunter and Amy, who worked him harder than he's ever worked, and we were very sorry to say goodbye. I felt sad for Heath, not being able to fully explain to him that we were moving to Montana that very weekend and wouldn't be back to pump iron on Monday.
Sure enough, we are setting up house in Missoula and he is still talking about Hunter and Amy daily and demanding to call them on the phone! Clearly the program made a huge impression on him, in part because of the huge boost in confidence he received. Today in the bathtub he was checking out his own arm muscles, pronouncing them BIG! BIG! BIIIG!! We had just done six crawling laps across the new dining room (despite having kicked a fever just yesterday). Not having Elmo on hand, I bribed him shamelessly with little pieces of chocolate on a yellow saucer, which he scarfed down at the end of each run, looking flushed and exhilarated.
On Monday, we'll have a visit from Heath's new physical therapist here in Missoula, who comes highly recommended by the local super moms. We're scouting for other pros for the new lineup, hopefully including a guy Heath can bond with over his BIG muscles.
We're overjoyed to be in Missoula. The main areas of the house are unpacked and liveable! More about that later....
I'm so amazed at the fortitude that Peanut has shown over the past week, packing, hauling, cleaning, driving, flying back to Seattle, and driving a second load over the pass tomorrow night. How does he stay in such a good mood through all that?? I'm also super grateful to Peanut's folks who came and spent three days unpacking, shoveling snow, feeding us, and keeping Heath happy while the essential parts of his home were reassembled around him.
It feels great to be taking our first steps into a dream we've had for a long time -- coming back to Montana to raise a family and run a distillery. So far so good! Heath claims to prefer the "new-new house" over the old one and is fascinated by the view from his playroom, where passing university students wave at him and little kids pass by in sleds pulled by their parents. The distillery is going well too -- the permitting process is in motion and soon we can start improvements on the building.
In other news, we are overjoyed for Gia, who is nearly through with her intensive tube weaning program at Seattle Children's Hospital. She had a huge breakthrough yesterday and we are celebrating this longed-for acccomplishment. Her mom Daria and I first became pals about a year ago, before Heath was an eater. The great thing is they live just a short walk from our new place, so the kids will soon be snacking partners. GO GIA!!! And hoorays to everyone who helped her turn the corner. Her happiness and confidence will be so much greater as a result of independent eating.
Next up: Life in Missoula!!