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During a brief respite from antibiotics, Beth set in motion a far-reaching odyssey, one that would lead to unexpected adventures in and out of the water.
I watched as two therapists held her up in the rehab pool, one on each side and both on the lookout for autonomic dysreflexia, which thankfully did not occur. After a few exercises, Beth asked to float, a complicated endeavor with no command of the lower body. Fully supported on her back, she asked them to let go. They resisted at first, but eventually agreed, with a swift rescue a moment later.
“I immediately loved the water and the freedom I had in it.”
She talked them into more floating attempts while the therapists tactfully suggested moving on to more exercises. When she was a toddler, Beth had perfected the art of pleasantly talking her way in or out of most anything with a dimpled smile. John called her our little lawyer.
The second time at the pool, the therapists bent to Beth’s persuasion again, positioning her body horizontally and letting go, over and over. They also taught her how to roll over from a face-down position, but she couldn’t do that or anything else in the water.
At the third session, one therapist assisted in the pool instead of two. Experimenting, Beth discovered that moving her arms underwater allowed her to float on her own for a few seconds, with a bonus: backwards movement.
“No one expected me to ever move in the water without someone holding me up.”
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