a whole lot more patience

by thankfeldenkrais

It’s almost three weeks post op,
Before we finally make it back to therapy,
And while I continue to wallow in the magnitude of Isaac’s lost function,
Our practitioner is not at all surprised.

Because any insult to our system causes any of us setbacks,
Yet as we’ve seen again and again,
For Isaac’s fragile system,
Already so compromised,
It’s grossly magnified,
And his protective mechanisms come out in full force,
To do just that – protect him.

So his system is responding accordingly,
To such an onslaught,
As we see a shortening,
Slumping action,
Almost foetal-like,
As if to make himself small in a defensive technique.

Understanding this,
Does help,
Yet it doesn’t necessarily make the reaction any easier to stomach,
As the upward climb in and of itself is hard enough,
Without the repeated stumblings backward,
Requiring an entire system reboot,
And a whole lot more patience.

With his lethargy,
The sessions take the opportunistic approach they always do,
And now is the prime time to explore Isaac’s ability to close his mouth,
And breathe through his nose.

While closing his lips has always been a challenge,
We now see just how much re-learning is involved,
And with the added fear response from such recent pain,
It takes a lot of coaxing.
And until the seal is tight enough,
The inhalation will merely continue to enter through the mouth,
Instead of his nose,
Without him understanding the difference.

We now see loud and clear for the first time,
Just how completely foreign this action of breathing through the nose is to Isaac,
For he’s quite simply never needed it,
Having always had an open mouth to breathe.

And just like so much for Isaac,
This does not come instinctively,
Due to his brain injury.

We begin by exploring the outward blow of air from the nostrils,
Which because felt on the hand if held under the nose,
Can more easily trigger the cause-and-effect process,
And promote learning,
And Isaac can get this in short,
Strong gusts,
But without an active inward breath,
Which he cannot consciously do,
There isn’t much air to expel,
Explaining why it’s only sharp quick effort-filled attempts.

It is our starting block,
To a very complex task for Isaac.

The concept-seed needs first be planted,
In order for it to grow,
And then be given time,
Love and attention for it to establish itself.

And there is so much about breath that is vital in connecting our whole system,
Which we really need to explore in great detail with Isaac,
However at not even five years old,
It is far beyond his cognitive capabilities,
And will need to be broached at that level when he is older.

But still we must help him rediscover his mouth,
Especially his tongue,
His lips,
And his neck and jaw,
If we are to begin to rebuild.

We need to do any task in lying down,
Or leaning right forward onto a table,
In order to relieve him from effort,
Because we know that if something is just too demanding,
It’s counter-productive.

And with a system so depleted,
It doesn’t take much to exert him completely.


It’s too early to say whether there has been any positive outcomes,
From the surgery,
With speech still nothing more than an inaudible croak,
Nose still partially blocked with healing,
And the dribble while somewhat absent,
Is most likely due to dehydration,
As fluid intake is still minimal.

So all I can do,
Is surrender myself to the process of Feldenkrais,
And try my best to retain all the tools I require,
In order to help with Isaac’s restoration,
And cling to optimism,
That once complete,
His foundations are even stronger than before.