Intensive Therasuit Therapy: Day 1

Hey gang,

The blog will be a little different over the next three weeks. Caedmon began Intensive Therasuit Therapy on Monday and he will continue with it for three full weeks. I wanted to use this opportunity to provide a glimpse into his world so that we can all better appreciate the challenges that little 6-year-old faces and the joyful resolve that he possesses. Before I talk about the therapy itself, I want to attempt to provide a sense of what living with Cerebral Palsy is like.

Hold your hands like the above picture. Now, I want you to begin rolling your thumbs, one over the other. Some might call this, “twiddling your thumbs.” Pretty simple, right. Now. I want you to make your right thumb rotate forward, while simultaneously, making your left thumb rotate in the opposite direction.

Do you feel how hard you have to concentrate? That’s similar to how hard Caedmon has to concentrate to pick up a fork, take a step, say “no,” etc. Every move he makes requires heavy concentration… it has to be mentally exhausting. Beyond the mental, his muscles, tendons, and ligaments are fighting against his desire for movement. This is due to significant inflexibility and involuntary muscle contractions. I don’t have a simple way to let you experience this. Imagine attempting to take a step, but having someone behind you holding your leg back. Or, as you attempt to reach for your cup of ice blue raspberry lemonade, that same person is hanging onto your wrist. The kicker is that occasionally those muscles or tendons will suddenly relax causing him to jerk his arm or leg forward more quickly than he can stop it. Have you ever tried to pick up a gallon of milk, but when you did, you discovered that the jug was almost empty, and you slammed it into the roof of the fridge? Caedmon’s body will play that trick on him sometimes too. Daily, routine motions for most people are mentally and physically frustrating events for C-dog… we are trying to help with that 🙂

Enter the Therasuit. This device (pictures below) is designed to help Caedmon develop a sense of what standing and sitting is “supposed” to feel like. Because he has always had CP, he has never experienced proper balance, center of gravity, etc. A good parallel is found in the speech patterns of someone who has always been deaf. Because they have never heard articulate speech, they have no reference point to discover their own speech. And because they cannot hear their own speech, they cannot self-correct any speech issues that they may have. They do not have a speech frame of reference. Caedmon does not have a physical frame of reference. The Therasuit is designed to provide that physical frame of reference and provide a little strength training as well. I’ll talk about it more in the coming weeks, but let’s see some pictures 🙂

This is Caedmon, on his way to Progressive Pediatric Development Center for his first day in the Therasuit… the understatement of the blog, he’s excited.

This is step one. He gets to lay on a massage table and get weighted down before he begins his day. They will lay long, tube shaped sand bags over his shoulders, thighs, and ankles before they lay that colorful weighted blanket on top of him. Without this trick, it is really difficult for Caedmon to relax. If you have ever held Caedmon, especially while he is sleeping, you can attest to the fact that his body is almost never limp. If you havent held Caedmon, imagine being underwater. Without weights, you tend to float towards the surface because of buoyancy. This is why scuba divers wear weight belts. The weights allow them to function without worrying about staying underwater. This weighing down serves a similar purpose.

This is the only part of the day when I want to switch places with Caedmon… his full body massage! (That is Carla, by the way. She is an interning Physical Therapist from the University of Maryland)

This is a good look at the Therasuit. I’ll explain more about it on another post.

Now he is getting the Therasuit adjusted for precision. The lady doing the adjustments is his regular PT, “Miss Val.” She is great with Caedmon!!

A kind-hearted lady in our church gave Caedmon this $5 to go and get a Happy Meal after his first big day in the Therasuit… he chose Burger King instead.

Ok, maybe I would trade places with him here too 🙂 He gets to close every day with a nice, warm, jacuzzi, bubble bath to relax his body and get ready for the next day. Not a bad way to end a day if you ask me.

So, there is day one. I’ll fill in some of the gaps in the next post and try to upload more pictures and maybe some video as well. Thanks for following along!!

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19 comments

  1. Caedmon and Family-

    I sat at the red light reading the post with tears in my eyes for the family. These were also tears of excitement of unknown anticipation of what the future might bring to his body.

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I understand it will not be an easy process though the knowledged learned will be unmeasurable.

  2. Caedmon has a gift of a happy disposition and a great smile. You have to feel good when you see him.

    My sisters 10 year old son has a disease called arthogriposis(don’t know if spelled correctly) When he was born he was paralyzed from the waist down and they told my sister he would never walk. She would not accept this and the begun taking him to therapist and has never given up. Stephen (my nephew) is currently in 3 weeks of grueling therapy as we speak.

    Stephen now walks with metal walking sticks. His family never gave up.
    He like Caedmon is a happy child with a great disposition. God has given these boys this gift of happiness to deal with their disabilities.

    Both Caedmon and Stephen come from loving supporting families. I look forward to the progress Caedmon will make and am encouraged after seeing my nephew Stephen walk.

    Good Bless all of you!

    Debra Summers

  3. Ryan,
    Thanks so much for sending out this link! We have so missed our time with the Sprague family at the ball field and have been wondering how you all are and how the Cade~Man is doing! This is very exciting! I think Caedmon’s smile can change the world; what a vessel of joy he is! We will be praying and following along. Love to all! ~ Mary & the Coffees

  4. Little did I know when I first met Caedmon how much his bright smile would touch my heart. When he is singing in church he sings with so much enthusiam I feel as though I am listening to one of the angels in God’s heavenly choir. He is an amazing child. Thanks for posting the information on his therapy and I look forward to keeping up with his progress.

  5. Ryan,

    First GREAT job on the posting. I’m learnig a lot about CP that I never knew. I never realized how hard it can be on everyone. I’ll put you in my prayer more often. I can’t wait for the next posting.

    Uncle Dave

    1. It’s funny that you commented, because actually you were the inspiration for the scuba refrence in the post. I was picturing when you and the dive team had the underwater UNO event at that hotel in Augusta. Good times 🙂

      I am glad you are enjoying the posts, thanks for reading!

  6. Ryan,
    Your blog is so good. It has come truly from your heart. God has so blessed your family. I am sure you feel blessed by all your family, but they are so lucky to have you.

    God bless you and Jeni.
    Christy Quinn

  7. Ryan,
    This blog is a great idea. There are many people who are interested in (and curious about) Caedmon’s therapy. While it’s good to have someone describe it, it’s even better to see the pictures. We know that he’s going to do well with it, and it looks as if he has a great support team. We’re going to keep you all in our prayers. Keep on blogging!
    Love, Rus ,Sis and CJ
    p.s.: I may have to call you to help get my thumbs untangled! – Rus

  8. Ryan and Jeni, What a great way to relate CP to the rest of us! We were at a Down syndrome national conference last weekend and another grandparent told us about something their group did to simulate DS/low muscle tone to typical developing folks: put a marshmellow in your mouth and try to talk or put an oven mitt on your nondominant hand and try to write. After seeing the families at the conference and knowing you and Jeni, I KNOW God places these special needs children in the perfect families and vice versa. Looking forward to reading more in the next few weeks about Caedmon’s intensive therapy and anticipate wonderful results 🙂

  9. Ryan

    Thanks so much for sharing Caedmon’s day at his therapy. He will do well because he does have a great support team and a fantastic family. Debra is right every time I see Caedmon’s smile he always makes me smile. His smile Rocks!!!! After all the therapy is done what is the expected outcome?

    Thanks for sharing I love your blogs and I look forward to reading them. Caedmon will be in my prayer to give him the strength to get through these weeks of therapy.

    Love
    Aunt Vickie xoxoxo

  10. Hey Spragues!
    Caedmon we are so proud of you! Thanks for letting us share this journey with all of you. We look forward to hearing more. You can do all things, Caedmon, through Christ who gives you strength!
    Hugs,
    Michael, Cheryl, David (Dexter) and Maddy

  11. Ryan,
    Thank you for continuing to include me in Caedmon’s life. It was so good to spend time with the family at Highlands School when you stopped by for a visit in June…I will always be available for fun and games with Caedmon. I was so excited to hear about this new treatment and I will be anxious to learn more about Caedmon’s new adventure in the future. Give the little man my love and tell I think of him often.

  12. Hey Ryan: Thanks for thinking of me and sending a day in the life of Caedman’s new treatment. I’m excited to hear and see his progress…hopefully more pictures will come? He is such a smart boy, that I’m sure he will figure out how to let this “suit” help him move. We will keep you in our prayers, and let us know next time you are up.

    Go Caedman, you’re our Man! If you can’t do it, no one can!
    Love, ms. Tamme

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