The other day I was treating a 13 year old boy with metastatic cancer. He came to Galmi to have an amputation of one of his legs, about at the level of his hip. My job was to help him be able to walk with crutches and to improve his sitting balance. Crutches were a near disaster, so I put him in a wheelchair and brought him to my office. His dad came with.
Working in this culture, I've learned that if I want a man to participate in a therapy session and not get between me (a woman) and my patient, it is best if I give him a specific task and responsibility. So Baba was assigned to sit on a stool facing his son and toss a balloon with him.
My kiddo did better than I thought sitting on his own stool, so I moved him to a giant Theraball which created an unstable base, requiring a greater effort from his core stabilizing muscles. His sense of balance was getting quite the workout. His body required more coordination of him than it had ever before.
But none of that mattered.
He was playing.
With his dad.
It was hard to tell which one was having more fun. It was obvious they had never tossed a balloon together. I wondered if they had ever even played catch . . . or kicked a soccer ball . . . or . . . .
Sitting behind this kiddo, keeping him in the desired therapeutically-advantageous position, I watched them lunge and reach to keep the red balloon from hitting the floor. They laughed and cheered.
It was beautiful.
After forty-five minutes of this, I told them time was up. They were disappointed, but both still glowing. Father and son had discovered 'play.'