FLOPPY BABY SYNDROME

On 20th May 2018, 09:05am, My Whatsapp alerted me of a link i had received. Right after church, i was led to click the link; to add to the 665,700 people who had watched the video.

The link drove me right to Youtube with the opening words of “the Story of a Father’s Love” This seized my attention, but the 3MB of data remaining did not allow me to be great. I had no choice than to borrow a phone with active data connection just to watch the video.

This is the link to the video

https://youtu.be/aPCK4THZtng

After watching the video, I was really touched. I was amazed at the sacrifice and love demonstrated in the video. This was the remarkable story of a father’s devotion to his wheelchair- bound son and how their bond inspired millions of people worldwide.

Rick, born in 1962 was diagnosed of Cerebral Palsy, with the spastic quadriplegia subtype – This is just for start.

This resulted because his brain was deprived of oxygen, at the crucial time of his birth. His parents were advised to institutionalize Rick because he would be nothing more than a “vegetable”. There was no chance for recovery and little hope for him to live a “normal” life.

In spite of his disability, his parents treated him just like any other child; never losing hope. They ensured he had weekly access to medical care. Her mother went to the extent of teaching Rick, letters of the alphabet herself. He was seen beyond his physical limitations and integrated into the public school system. They were humiliated and had intense opposition, but they still fought on.

To top it all off, He graduated Boston university with a degree in Special Education.

Dick, a great father he was, sacrificed his energy and time just to put a smile on his son’s face. He worked on his fitness so much even with pushing his son, he was able to obtain a personal record of a 5km run in 17 minutes- just to provide his son with that able bodied feeling.

Over the next 3 and a half decades, they achieved and surpassed not only their goals, but also everyone’s expectations of a wheelchair bound adult son being carried and pushed by his father. They inspired millions by proving that anything could be done with stubborn persistence, dedication and bottomless depths of love that could only be found between a father and his son.

To learn more about them, you can visit their website: www.teamhoyt.com

What is cerebral palsy or floppy baby syndrome?

Cerebral palsy is the most common form of movement disability that begins in childhood. A majority of cases were identified to be caused by antenatal factors- factors that occurred during the pregnancy. However, it could also be caused by infections transmitted during delivery from mother to the baby.

Cerebral Palsy is considered a neurological disorder that occurs when the child’s brain is under development in the early stages of life.

Children who are born preterm (before 38 weeks of pregnancy) are vulnerable to brain damage leading to cerebral palsy. Even after a baby is born, accidental injury and infections such as meningitis could result in cerebral palsy.

Such children are identified to be at risk in the first days of life. Their usual presentation includes an abnormal posture. They could feed poorly and throw up everything they eat, because they coordinate swallowing badly.

Cerebral Palsy affects their ability to control their muscles. Their muscles either contract too much or too little. Their arms and legs can be stiff and be forced into painful, awkward positions. Fluctuating muscle contractions can make their body tremble, writhe, shake and bake.

Balance, posture, and coordination can also be affected by Floppy Baby Syndrome.Tasks such as walking, grasping objects, sitting and tying shoes may be difficult.

My first encounter as a doctor, with such children was at the pediatric emergency unit some weeks ago. A 9year old child was brought to the hospital because he had convulsions. Just from appearance, his small for age stature made his small head conspicuous. Even at the age of 9, he only smiled. He had not made any attempt to walk and talk. He was discharged home the next 5 days after his seizures were controlled to continue rehabilitative care.

Other complications of Cerebral Palsy to take note of, are: intellectual impairment, seizures, and vision/hearing impairment.

A few points I would like us to bear in mind

1.Cerebral Palsy is non-life-threatening so it is expected affected children live into adulthood.

2.Cerebral Palsy is incurable but the effects on the body can be managed.

3.Cerebral Palsy is not contagious; it is not communicable.

4.Cerebral Palsy itself will not change for better or worse during a person’s lifetime.

5.Cerebral Palsy is manageable. Treatment, therapy, surgery, medications and assistive technology can help maximize independence, and incorporate the child into the society, leading to an enhanced quality of life.

It is said that, every case of Cerebral Palsy is unique to the individual. One person may have total paralysis and require constant care, while another with partial paralysis might have slight movement tremors and still require little assistance.

To all the children living with Cerebral Palsy, I would love to end with a note from Joshua 1:9

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Say a prayer for all the children living with cerebral palsy after reading this. Lets make the world a better place with them in it.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!

Eliezer

Photocredit: Google Images.

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