Vuyisile’s story – part 2

Dear Chava,

Thank you for your response to my mail where I shared my lesson with MND client. I have not considered to take photos or video the lessons as I wanted to respect the client’s privacy. I saw Vuyisile yesterday for the 2nd time and when I asked him how he is feeling his response was: “I am feeling well; the feeling of deterioration is diminishing and I am not only thinking of dying”. The care giver is also doing tapping and squeezing with him throughout the day, he said he cannot believe how this is helping him. I am seeing Vuyisile again for lesson number 3 tomorrow and will ask him how he would feel if I record the lessons.

Yesterday, we worked on my Feldenkrais table as it is difficult to get him on the floor and back up, working on the table was so much easier. Vuyisile said yesterday that his head is feeling very heavy and that he is struggling to hold it up and that he is experiencing difficulty with swallowing. I decided to spend a bit more time working on his upper body, my sense perhaps the heaviness of the head is related to the fact that he is unable to use his hands and arms. I started with tapping and squeezing his hands, fingers and arms and then did some of the work we did in the training around reaching. Lifting his arm and pressing the elbow and shoulder into the table. I also sat at his head and brought his hand to his mouth and asked him to put his fingers in his mouth which he could do. His breathing changed substantially and there was a lot of sounds coming from his belly. He is still struggling with constipation, he said he had no constipation for one day after our first lesson. I repeated what I did with his legs in the first session, tapping and squeezing and then bringing the leg over his belly. The tapping really helps as at first I could only bend the leg a little and the more I wait and tap the more the hip gets freer. Once I did both legs, I asked the care giver to assist, I brought one leg over his belly and the care giver the other leg. Vuyisile at this point was in a deep “sleep” we just held his legs with his knees slightly open, we were able to bring both his legs comfortably over his hips 90 degrees. My idea in Lesson 3 is to see if I could bring a knee over his belly and reach with one arm to knee? Is this perhaps to soon? Should I first try to bring one knee up and roll him to his side? When he lies on his back his head automatically rolls to the left so I could try to roll him on his left side? Could you advise how I can work more to support his head and use of arms? He is definitely not ready to roll on his belly yet.

After the lesson I sat him up in the way Elizabeth taught us how to sit a person up in Feldenkrais. This worked well, he sat up with his feet on the floor and then I asked the caregiver to hold him up so that I can press his arms on the table, giving him the sense of leaning on his arms. We then put his shoes on and Vuyisile was able to stand up, once he stood his head lifted for a short while and then dropped forward. He was able to stand for at least 30seconds by himself. I have to keep reminding him to straighten his knees. He then started walking taking small steps and with every step I remind him to straighten his knees. With support he walked to his chair and then turned around to sit down. Before he sat down I asked him to bend his knees and go down only have way and then stand up again straightening his legs, we did that about 5 times before he then sat down. He had a big smile on his face and to me it looked like his head was not so heavy.

I asked him how he is feeling. He asked me, what do I think we can accomplish? I could feel myself getting anxious about his question as my answer inside myself to his question is: I don’t know…

I then reframed his question and asked him what does he want to accomplish? He then said he would like to go to the Rugby World cup in September without a Wheelchair. I asked him if he would still go even if he has to go in a wheelchair and his response was yes but it would not be that much fun as he cannot flirt with the girls 😊 he laughed as he said this.  (It was lovely to see his sense of humour). He thanked me for the lesson and told me that he really likes my positive energy and that I he thinks I am a healer.

I went home and found an online copy of Moshe’s Awareness Through Movement book which I mailed to him. He was grateful and said that he would start reading the book last night. I will see him for his next lesson Tomorrow (Friday).

I would appreciate some input about head and arm/upper body support.

Warm wishes,