There is a slow but steady increase in the duration of the exercises Pádraig is going through. Today it was not 20, nor 30, it was 40 minutes in the Lokomat, the robotic-type ‘suit’ that simulates walking with him. He was also standing up again for at least an hour, stretching his arms up to the ceiling in intervals. The therapists stand on two high-up chairs beside him, he has his feet firmly on the ground, and they lift his arms up towards the ceiling that is not really high enough for him to fully stretch out his arms.
It’s the third day that he is on this 3l-of-water and no-Sondenkost-but-pureed-‘normal’-food diet. He is still doing well.
I feel this is all a bit of a mad-person’s-mission, but in a very strange way, it also feels so much more ‘normal’ than doing those very gentle, careful and cautious controlled exercises. Pádraig’s efforts in Hamburg, the ‘Standing-up-bed’, the three-meals-a-day-diet, the long walks along the Wandse, the therapies at home, the trip to Lourdes are all paying off. They have prepared him for this training camp which he would not have been able to take in his stride just a few months ago.
The big big question will be how to come up with a way to sustain all the progress he is making here, at home. There is another young Irishman here we knew from Dublinwith a severe acquired brain injury . And, I think, the same question arises for him and his family.
What’s becoming clearer as well is that even the German system, with so much more money and access to so much more resources than the Irish, has its limits and limitations. Even here, while there is no problem if you have cancer and need access to drugs that might cost 10 or 20,000 euro a month, there is a problem if you need access to therapies over a long period that cost a fraction of this amount. Therapists don’t have a strong enough lobby group. A full time therapist in Germany earns between 1,700 and 3,000 euro a month before tax when working in an employment situation. Compare this to the cost of drugs.
It’s becomes clearer by the day, how badly An Saol is needed. And it is coming together. We are working on the website (it’s up and running on http://www.ansaol.ie – but not with the correct content yet) and soon, the An Saol’ers will have their own email addresses. Our first application for funding went in to the Department of Justice and Equality and we’ve got our first significant donation. – Strangely enough, we are still struggling with getting a bank account because of the bank looking for all sorts of additional information. Banks. You’d never have thought how closely they follow regulations.