Patricia - ‘We are Family’
Patricia was born with two grave medical conditions: hydrocephalus and spina bifida. Untreated, the little girl would have had no chance to achieve anything remotely like a normal life.
Once known as “water on the brain,” hydrocephalus refers to an excess of fluid that results in an abnormal widening of spaces in the brain. During infancy, an unusually large head size is a clear sign of this condition, along with other symptoms that may include undue sleepiness, vomiting, irritability, and seizures.
In Patricia’s case, surgery was performed to install a shunt system in her brain that has successfully drained the excess fluid from her brain.
No simple remedy was available to treat Patricia’s spina bifida, however. Literally translated as “split spine,” this condition develops while the child is still in the womb. Faulty development of the spinal cord and surrounding vertebrae leaves a gap in the spine that cannot be repaired surgically.
The good news is that with intensive physical therapy, children with spina bifida can live active, productive, and full lives, especially when a loving and supportive family stands with the child. Patricia’s father, a construction worker, and mother, a housewife, have been 100 per cent behind the therapy program devised for the girl by Inocenti’s early intervention staff in Bistrita. And Patricia’s older sister, Hanelore, has been a willing and able accomplice in the therapy sessions over the past four years. Overseen by our resident therapist, Razvan Chirlejan, the program has focused on gradually building Patricia’s strength, mobility, and self-confidence through a combination of medical gymnastic therapy and physical therapy exercise methods. The goal is give Patricia the independence to move on her own from one place to another (i.e. chair to bed), to use the bathroom on her own, and to play with other children.
In the beginning, Patricia had a hard time with the prescribed therapies, but now she actually looks forward to her sessions with her patient and amiable friend, Razvan. Patricia’s parents are very pleased with the recuperation process. Patricia herself has no cognitive handicaps and is in fact one very smart little girl, and at age 7 she exudes a cheerful and positive attitude that makes everyone feel better.