Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Tubby Wa Wa

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tubby Wa Wa

Erik's pool therapy began this week. I packed my old high school duffel bag with a towel, swim diaper, soap, washcloth, and granola bar, and we headed to the PT facility. There was a athletic-looking man with silver hair dressed in expensive exercise attire in the waiting room. He stared at the two of us and smiled as I struggled to juggle Erik and everything I was carrying. Just as my bottom hit the chair, a therapist came and called his name. He closed his magazine, stood up, and began walking out of the room, but his trunk rotated progressively in order to keep his stare fixed on Erik. His arm reached out towards him as if he was going to say something, but he seemed to change his mind as he began to round the corner. He finally turned to follow his PT, and I caught an almost confused but definitely pleasant smile still fixed on his face. I smiled myself. Erik seems to touch everyone in a way I can't understand. This man seemed to be caught off guard.

Ms. G met us in the waiting room wearing a black swimming suit, wrapped in a fluffy towel that looked fresh from a dryer. We followed her bobbing ponytail down the hall into a small area designated for changing clothes. We picked one of the two sides of this tiny space that contained a shower stall and a folding metal chair. I pulled off Erik's clothes and dressed him in the ridiculous Lion King swim diaper I had purchased at Safeway the day before. I was told I could choose to run errands and leave Erik there, sit in the waiting room, or sit in another metal folding chair on the side of the pool. I opted for the poolside seat, at least this time. The pool was between 4 and 6 feet deep, depending on where you were standing in it. In the deeper half, a woman with bobbed white hair and a tattoo of a gecko on her shoulder followed the instructions of her therapist standing on the side of the pool next to me. Ms. G and Erik descended the small set of stairs into the very warm water. Erik seemed immediately relaxed. The stiffness in his muscles melted away, and his legs kicked gently in the water behind him as she held him. As they played with the impressive selection of ping-pong balls, milk jugs, plastic boats, and party beads, I scanned the room. There were plastic fish schooling in a shower of colorful glass raindrops hung from the ceiling in one corner. There was the usual mysterious assortment of life rings and hooks designed for plucking people in distress from the water like fritters from a deep fat fryer. There was a giant metal hanger on a pivoting mechanism I guessed was for transferring patients unable to move on their own. The heat of the room soaked into all of my pores, and my hairspray threatened to fail. I closed my eyes and imagined I was on a beach. After a brief vision of me losing consciousness in the relaxing steam and pitching forward into the pool like a scene from Weekend at Bernie's, I decided to keep my eyes open. Erik's limbs were moving more fluidly now. Ms. G stretched him and trailed his legs behind him as she moved. I felt something well in my heart as I watched my son's legs work gracefully. He looked completely normal to me for once. I bit my lip and went back to my daydreaming. The other client in the room crossed our half to exit the pool, and on her way she looked up at me and said, "I just have to say that your boy is so cute! He is just so friendly!" Again, I had missed any sort of interaction between Erik and this stranger. He had claimed another victim. I smiled again in wonder at this phenonenon as the door closed behind her. The session continued. Before I knew it, an hour had passed, and Erik was being slowly walked up the steps. When he reached the top, I caught him in the hooded towel I brought and walked him back out, where I sat him on the slats of a fold-down wooden bench and rinsed the chlorine off in his very first shower. I dressed him and managed to stay 90% dry. On the way out the door, I was asked to make a payment and sign forms while I attempted to keep Erik from plunging his hand into the water feature (too late), running back down the hall, or dumping over the wheelchair in the foyer to spin the wheels. I was back to being edgy, but I left knowing his session seemed to be relaxing for him and would help keep his joints and muscles loose.

Hippotherapy begins Friday the 9th.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Lisa R said...

Sounds like a very cool thing for Eric but a not so fun thing for Mom. Indoor pools are not so fun to sit around, especially in winter clothes. How do you find out about all these cool activities to help Eric... Wait a min you are from organic OR I bet there is all sorts of cool stuff...
...Take notes afterI win the lottery my Island is going ot have all sorts of cool facilities...LOLOL hehehe;)

2:38 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

"Erik seems to touch everyone in a way I can't understand."

This is just the beginning. What a gift to witness it firsthand at such an early age. Erik has purpose and destiny calls!

1:00 AM  
Blogger Aspen said...

I love how beautifully you described Eric moving so gracefully in the pool. I dream of seeing that day too. And like Lisa said, you have so many amazing facilities at your disposal. I am more jealous than you will ever know!

LOVE YOU!

7:39 AM  
Blogger PASLAY'S FROM IDAHO said...

HOOOORAY FOR YOU ERIK! HOW EXCITING TO BE HANGIN OUT AT THE LOCAL POOL! YOU KNOW, YOUR AUNTIE WAS A SWIM COACH AND LIFEGUARD IN THE DAY! SO PERHAPS ONE DAY WE COULD ALL GO FOR A FUN SWIM IN THE POOL! :) LOVE TO SEE YOUR NEW MOVES CHAMP IN THE POOL!

BIG HUGS TO YOU ERIK!
AUNTIE CINNAMON :)

KEEP US POSTED ON YOUR NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE THAT IS COMING UP ON FRIDAY, I HOPE ALL GOES WELL!

TELL MOMMY TO TAKE PHOTOS OF YOU AT THE POOL AND WHEN YOU GO TO CHECK OUT THE HORSES!

1:21 PM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Brady loved his swim therapy too... it's great that you didn't have to go IN the water like me! I'm sure you're noticing that he is much more tired on pool days... nice!!

Happy Monday!
Love -K

6:02 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

What a wonderful description of Erik's first day in swim therapy. I think on those days you should bring a trashy romance novel, an umbrella drink, and kick back. :)

7:47 AM  

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