Dolphin therapy for Melanie
This was the first stay with the dolphins that Melanie herself wanted. Over a year ago she wrote: “I would like to go see the dolphins once again”. When asked why, she says, “Because they are the only ones who can look in my soul”.
Our daughter would like to thank all those who have contributed with large and small donations and with loving assistance to the success.
Day of Arrival – June 30, 2012
Melanie, who had been very excited many days in advance and was jumping around in the house like a leprechaun for days, is very quiet on this day. Saying goodbye to our best friends whose children are living in our house during our absence in our house and are taking care of our pets, takes a little longer than planned and I have “travel fever”. Melanie is relaxed, just smiles quietly and says, “the heart is dancing”.
At the airport not everything works out as planned and there is a lot of stress because of the extra suitcase with food for Melanie’s special diet. We have to watch how this case is being transported with all the other ones – without reference to the content. The result is of course given. We do not receive any assistance at the airport, even when we address the employee at the FTI counter (as the travel agency advised us). She responds quite snippily that she knows of nothing, has no time and now for the first time needs to sell tickets. So we take care of it by ourselves.
On arrival at Dalaman milk is flowing out of a suitcase – half a liter of milk poured into a suitcase and everything is sticky and softened, unfortunately the gluten-free flour that we brought, too. We all try to not spoil Melanie the pleasure to stay and eliminate the damage quickly. In the hotel we arrived to experience the next surprise. Two deluxe rooms in the main house are reserved for us – even though we had booked a bungalow. This fact that we owe to a super nice German lady at the desk turns out to be a happy confusion – the rooms are really so much better.
By midnight we quickly eat something and by 1 clock at night, this exciting day is over and we are looking forward to Sunday.
First Day – Sunday – July 01, 2012
Employees of the dolphin center find us in the breakfast room and invite us to the first meeting at 12pm. We spend the time until then in the still unaccustomed heat with sightseeing and resting …. At noon we are all looking forward to see “Dr. Igor” again and he is surprised by Melanie’s positive development. Melanie sits quietly smiling and seems to be a little biased. A whole new emotion for Melanie.
Later, she writes her wishes concerning dolphin therapy with Marijke on the PC. In the evening – after the pool and the sea (we go to the sea to escape the deafening noise, but realize that we can’t really escape the loud music anywhere) we try to go to sleep at a halfway normal time with the balcony door open and hoping for at least a few natural sounds to give us the feeling of summer. We are however being disturbed until 0:25am by the sound of a really rotten band playing at a volume that borders physical injury. Perhaps we have only very good ears or a wrong understanding of music.
Melanie writes on this day:
(Marijke) How are you?
(Melanie) Oh great, it could go on forever in such a beautiful way.
(Marijke) I believe you! Now we have time to clarify a few things. 1. Mom and Dad have booked cranio-sacral therapy for you, do you agree with this?
(Melanie) But any time.
(Marijke) Good: Then you will get it. What about physiotherapy?
(Melanie) But better, I think there’s hippotherapy. Surely it would be good, right?
(Marijke) Funny, the next thing I wanted to ask you about was the horses. Hippotherapy, Yes or No?
(Melanie) Very happy to try.
(Marijke) Ok. Regarding the Physio: You can decide for youself, both are Ok. If you say yes it is good and if you say no it is good too. We want you to actively participate, so we talk about it now.
(Melanie) Then yes for now, we can talk about it again later after I tried it?
(Marijke) Of course. Let’s do it this way! Dr. Igor would like to know how it is with mom and dad during therapy, would you prefer them to sit on the sidelines and watch all the time, what do you want?
(Melanie) You watch, parents first to get to the sidelines, they will come later.
(Marijke) Oh. Oha! One more question: Do you have a wish for Dr. Igor?
(Melanie) Very fond of animals of this incredible man, I would continue to tell… it would be great to talk by FC
Second Day – Monday – July 02, 2012 – the first day of therapy
At breakfast Melanie is understandably very tired and unfortunately has to wait for her food, because nobody knows where Melanie’s special diet was stored. After some real dramatic conflict, it is finally on the table and the service staff whose friendliness is really cannot be beat (which incidentally affects the entire stay) plans and changes a few things for the next few days in order to spare us some effort. Upon arrival at the treatment center Melanie has much to look at first. She’s angry then that her hands don’t want to obey her but after this first treatment she talks like a waterfall and comments on absolutely everything we encounter. Fortunately, eating calmed everything down (for Melanie food is a basic need). We get a “Stammtisch” and are all very relieved. In the evening Melanie cannot get used to the noise and goes to sleep very late.
Melanie writes on that day:
(Marijke) Tell me, how did you like your first therapy session?
(Melanie) Wonderful, how many dolphins are there?
(Marijke) I cannot say, I guess 4 or 5, but I will ask again.
(Melanie) Super. Not only yonas is excited to curiously show off through water at any time with this terrific above average gigantic tricks, it should be prohibited only to lie still motionless. Wonderful it is to swim across the pool with dr. igor and yonas.
(Marijke) Great. What else would you like to do with Yonas, what are your wishes?
(Melanie) Petting and playing hundreds of times, would feeding be ok?
(Marijke) Dr. Igor said feeding is possible every now and then, but not quite as often.
(Melanie) Well, no problem.
(Marijke) But Dr. Igor has agreed to have a little talk with you through FC.
(Melanie) Oh my, really now?
(Marijke) Yes, very real!
(Melanie) Boah, cool.
(Marijke) The therapist of the cranio-sacral therapy wants to know what else she can do to make you feel more comfortable and relax more.
(Melanie) Very nice, tell her please, she sure likes to dance sometimes with me.
(Marijke) So you want me to ask if she will dance with you?
(Melanie) Exactly right.
(Marijke) You’re tired?
(Melanie) Yes. Now, ok?
Third Day – Tuesday – July 03, 2012 – the second day of therapy
Today Melanie has cranio-sacral therapy before the dolphins and is not able to relax. At noon the cook brings her baked pancakes, wow, top – I’ve not yet managed to do that 🙂 With the dolphins, Melanie is already much more attentive and she is pleased with Igor, who sings a song with her dolphin Yonas. Yonas sings really well and that impresses Melanie.
In the evening, a special occasion is planned for the only 20 German hotel guests. The hotel invites us to dinner, with great music, right on the beach. Hatice and Asu, the two German-speaking caregivers of the hotels have made this evening truly special. My husband and I even dance and enjoy the magical atmosphere. This evening Melanie falls asleep during a pause the hotel band, calmly and smiling, at an acceptable time.
Melanie writes on this day:
(Marijke) Just tell me.
(Melanie) I am angry, because my fingers don’t want to work with me
(Note: Melanie has been annoyed about their inaction at dolphin therapy)
(Marijke) You must have a little patience; you’re still just at the beginning of therapy and still have time!
(Melanie) Blessing for me requires money. To make an effort is a duty.
(Note: Of course Melanie understood how difficult it was to finance the therapy she wanted so desperately)
(Marijke) Yeah, of course you are right, BUT: if you put pressure on you, it’s not better! Relax, then you’ll see it’s much easier. In addition, Mama said you got an additional pill yesterday, perhaps that made you tired today.
(Melanie) But it is difficult to get silence in the evening.
(Marijke) Unfortunately I can only agree
(Melanie) Shit is not an understatement. They can only be pitiful idiots.
Day 4 – Wednesday – July 04, 2012 – the third day of therapy
The daily routines are now running like a well-oiled machine – this brings a little peace. Today, Melanie is quite demanding at the dolphin therapy. She is very stubborn and absolutely has to feed Yonas. Igor grants her the opportunity and Melanie also begins to interact with the dolphin by herself. For Melanie this is pure pleasure and I once again notice that Dr. Igor has great, soothing sensitivity in dealing with Melanie and senses very well what is important for her. Today is the first time Melanie has hippotherapy and after lunch we are going to the mountains, where Felicitas has a horse ranch and performs therapy with her very good-natured animals. Melanie gets introduced to an especially dear horse – the weather is very humid and – far away from the sea – almost unbearably hot. This is not bothering Melanie at all however. But we feel from the first moment that Melanie is cramping up and is doing the preparatory work rather reluctantly. Nevertheless she helps to clean the hooves and then leads the horse on a big round through the terrain. Then the horse is led to a staircase and Melanie is now supposed to mount it together with the therapist. The drama begins. Melanie’s muscles are hard as stone; everyone tries to get her up – without success. After agonizing minutes she starts to beat herself. The first attempt failed miserably – she cannot and will not overcome her fear. Despite being disappointed I’m also somehow proud of her and her resilience.
In the evening we get a big surprise. Melanie talks incessantly and uses her language to communicate for the first time (in her life, and with specific questions and answers). She is talking with hotel guests on the terrace and is giving a show like an entertainer. Later, in the room, she calls for me. She calls for Mama and she calls for Gisela (she has never called me by name). She is standing before the mirror, admiring herself, turns around and says to us: “this is the mirror image of Melanie, look”. Looks back and says, “that’s you, look”. She gets very quiet and says softly, “that’s Melanie, that’s you” – the word “I” does not come, but we can almost feel it. Later on the terrace she takes the cigarette out of my hand and wants to smoke (yes, I know she is not supposed to). She comments everything she does and she laughs – loud and dirty.
Melanie writes on that day:
(Marijke) Just start.
(Melanie) Very many thoughts are whizzing, like cat and mouse playing, boiling, euphorically singing, yonas issued a proper marine series animation, calm active autism. Wounds expect holy thought cure, it begins to work radically, insane, state description: wonderful blessings.
(Marijke) Mama has another question: Can she and dad come closer now?
(Melanie) It would certainly be quite advisable, but tell them any kind of trouble is prohibited.
(Marijke) Ok. Should I still stay?
(Melanie) But of course, sweetheart.
(Marijke) Last question for today: Do you want to sleep with me in my room tonight?
(Melanie) Really you would not mind?
(Marijke) Do you want to?
(Melanie) wow, yes.
5th Day – Thursday – July 05, 2012 – the fourth day of therapy
Melanie has a “pancake breakfast” again. She is happy and the day starts just fine. In dolphin therapy I – at the request of Dr. Igor – am sitting on the platform too today. Since Yonas comes to me more though, we end this and I am leaving Melanie and “Dr. Igor” alone again. Melanie is very open and relaxed with the dolphin and again shows again her quiet, almost impish smile that is an expression of her absolute inner harmony.
After therapy, she wants to write with Marijke and in the afternoon she has her second hippotherapy experiment, which will also be her last during this stay. We have the same game as the day before – except that her resistance is even bigger. We determine that she will decide for herself what is good for her and what is not.
We now almost always end the evenings with a stay on the water and quiet music that a Turkish couple is playing there – Melanie sleeps better now but she speaks less and observes much more and more attentively.
Melanie wrote on that day:
(Marijke) First, a question: Would you like to join a boat tour on Saturday?
(Melanie) Exciting is something else. Alternative?
(Marijke) Well, no boat tour? I do not know, you can stay here with me and we’ll do something, swimming, or a walk or something.
(Melanie) Adequate to stay here in the heavenly good hotel with you, here it is exciting. Also a number of brightly colored men expect our presence.
(Marijke) Haha! You are good! Earlier, when I dried you off, you looked so stressed out,. what was going on?
(Melanie) Nobody expects that I will become slim except mama, that sucks.
(Marijke) Do you mean because we were talking about losing weight at the breakfast table this morning?
(Melanie) She constantly nags about how thin I was.
(Marijke) Should I ask her to stop doing that?
(Melanie) Please, yes. I do not like it. She would also not like to be constantly criticized.
Later, towards the evening, Melanie writes some more – it is still about hippotherapy:
(Melanie) Yes, Yonas is rare in a fantastic way, telepathically connected, wonderful. Yes the assigned, very nasty, very wandering star gardeneden , has caused end-effect. Seeking thorn autism colored in good faith colors
(Marijke) Why are you so afraid of horses?
(Melanie) Because they are safe only in that they are constantly held in check against their domestic nature.
(Marijke) Papa says it would take you forward in your development a pretty big piece if you’d dare to ride the horse, it would give you really great self-confidence and a great sublime feeling. Besides, you also know how strong dad is and that he would never let you fall.
(Melanie) Aha, safety is not the problem at all but they are made rare with reins.
7th Day – Saturday – July 07 – No Therapy
Rolf and I are joining a boat tour, all alone! Well, with about 50-60 other people 🙂
The day alone with Marijke apparently was good for Melanie and obviously for us too, it felt like a normal vacation.
Melanie wrote on that day:
(Marijke) How are you today?
(Melanie) See the Aquarium, there’s so much going through my head.
(Marijke) Ok, now let’s go step by step. First, I would like to again talk to you about hippotherapy. I would like to know if you want to continue to defeat the fear, but at the same time give you the option that you would have the opportunity to continue at home. You do not need to be afraid that someone will be angry if you say no.
(Melanie) Nonsense compared to dolphin therapy it is nothing, stopping for now is soon enough, too much stress.
(Marijke) Ok, no more hippotherapy. What else is burdening you?
(Melanie) Does she not see that it also does not work better with restless impatience? and it sucks when she endlessly debates with igor.
(Note: Melanie misunderstood a conversation in English with Dr. Igor, it was actually just the fact that I told him a few tricks on how to better motivate Melanie to do specific tasks)
(Marijke) You’re not talking about Mama, right?
(Melanie) Yes I mean her.
(Marijke) Now I have a question: One day, when you were so disheveled shortly after therapy, was the reason that mom talked so much about the therapy with Igor? I asked you about that but you said it was about the “skinny” thing.
(Melanie) She creases her face like in the circus when I criticize her.
(Marijke) Is it possible that this is why you didn’t speak up about what bothered you?
(Marijke) Ok. But it is definitely important that you tell me, because this is the only way you can change something. But to Mama’s defense, I must say that she really doesn’t do that out of ill will, but so that you have the maximum / best possible therapy success.
(Melanie) It makes me aggressive anyway.
(Marijke) Ok, I understand. I have a proposal: Mom and Dad of course have the right to participate in the therapy as intensely as possible but they don’t necessarily have to have their meetings when you’re there. Of course it is stupid if you aren’t able to put a word in, but the discussions are necessary. If you do not want to be there, just say so.
(Melanie) They back up everything, right?
(Marijke) That’s right. If not them, who will?
(Melanie) Also true.
(Marijke) So, do you want to be present at the dolphin therapy meetings, yes or no? You have the right to be there, but if you do not want to, say it!
(Melanie) So then I’d rather go away.
8th Day – Sunday – July 8 – 6th day of therapy
Temperatures have risen to over 40 degrees Celsius and writing about the dolphin therapy gets a little stalled. As of today I have almost only Melanie’s own records to offer. Even for such a heat-loving person like me, well over 40 degrees are enough to just lie down and to seek an air-conditioned room. Melanie is now known throughout the hotel and is addressed by name. She likes it very much and she flirts a little with the waiters at the beach. We adults now play “Phase 10” almost every night.
Today I can swim with Yonas! Right at the beginning I ask a question that I would like to not demonstrate any “tricks” with Yonas but just want to be quietly together with him. I am confident that Yonas feels and reacts according to my emotions. That’s what he does. Yonas lies with me very calmly and for a long time, I can stroke him gently, I can even put my whole body on him – that triggers so many emotions that I am, whether I like it or not, the tears flowed freely. Later Dr. Igor says it’s been very interesting for him to watch Yonas and me. He tells us that Yonas is actually always a little impetuous, not easy to train and sometimes very idiosyncratic. He has not shown 90% of its usual boisterous behavior a single time with both Melanie and me.
On that day Melanie is not really pleased with herself. She is impatient and Yonas is now being particularly caring and is even quieter than usual. Dr. Igor tries to make her laugh with great “arias” which rarely succeeds today.
Melanie wrote on that day: (evening)
(Melanie) Eden Garden, bleary-eyed for days, in nasty, auditory, direct, external, acidifying autism. The important escapades holistic attitude of thorn autism, bless the eternal irascible sedentary.
(Note: she is so restless afterwards that further communication is not possible)
9th Day – Monday – July 9 – 7th day of therapy
Today Melanie talks a lot with Dr. Igor and is particularly attentive. Yesterday Marijke received a message that made her sad and Melanie is quite worried; she fears that she is the cause and tries to comfort Marijke.
Melanie writes on this day:
(Melanie) How puzzlingly fun the autism connection appendage is pedaling past me, forgotten, sensationally fast seeking, selfish radioactive amazing degenerative sedentary.
(Marijke) Quick question: What is going on? You are concentrating badly.
(Melanie) You sure are not stopping this with me, right?
(Marijke) No, why would you think that? Do you think because I’ve cried yesterday?
(Marijke) I believe you misunderstood something: that has absolutely nothing to do with you, I promise. It is true that I’m not doing too well right now, but I’m really excited that I’m here with you!
(Melanie) Are you telling me the truth? The blessed silence helps us a lot. not only me but also my parents.
(Note: it is truly amazing that Melanie is concerned with the welfare of others and is even getting worried about it)
Marijke) Yes, I’m telling you the truth! Promise! Unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly what the problem is, but do not worry, I do believe in God and it will get better! I also totally like it to be here with you
(Melanie) Thank you sweetheart.
(Marijke) And now we go down to the beach!
(Melanie) Yeah. Sounds good.
10th Day – Tuesday – July 10 – 8th day of therapy
Melanie is starving today, eats vast amounts of her own cornflakes, plus pancakes and everything else within reach. Our “private waiter” Mehmet is pleased about Melanie and about the fact that he can contribute to her well-being.
The treatment runs very harmoniously today – Dr. Igor radiates. Before treatment can begin, Yonas must be given a break because he has responded incorrectly to an instruction of the trainer. So everyone walks over to another dolphin and talks a little.
Normally, Melanie would now be impatient but the current treatment has led to her being very patient waiting to get started. Today Melanie has physiotherapy. It is found that it absolutely must be continued at home because of her false posture, so that Melanie will not get even more crooked and get real problems.
The therapists who offer treatments besides dolphin therapy are all very knowledgeable and interact wonderfully with Melanie. Today we ensure that Marijke will be pausing – so no writing with Melanie. Also, it is really too hot for any kind of activities. We are going slowly towards the 50 degree mark ………..
11th Day – Wednesday July 11 – 9th day of therapy
Marijke is allowed to swim with Yonas again today and it is a special moment to watch for all of us. What still seemed a little uncertain the first time is now thoroughly soulful. I really cannot describe her face with words.
It is obvious today that Melanie feels the pain of saying goodbye. She is particularly focused, wants to get into the water to Yonas and strives to always bevery close to him. She follows Dr. Igor’s instructions rather reluctantly and always immediately turns to Yonas.
Dr. Igor finally gives up being the entertainer and adapts to Melanie 🙂 In the evening, Melanie is finally able to communicate with Dr. Igor – but because there are many therapists here and it is not particularly quiet, there is not a lot of writing.
Melanie wrote on that day:
(Melanie) I think it generally sucks that the good time seems to fly very fast.
(Marijke) I understand, I see it that way too. But as it is so often in life, these things also pass. But please don’t be so sad, because I think you have a lot of beautiful memories that you can take home.
(Melanie) You could not find work, quickly it chases you.
(Marijke) Something like that, yes. But it doesn’t have to be the last time that you came here.
(Melanie) Yonas dictated to me a hunting melody, gorgeous.
(Marijke) Something else really quick: If I poke you, I’m not doing it out of malice or to annoy you, but to make you focus. Don’t get mad.
(Melanie) Ah yes yes, I know, sorry.
(Marijke) I’m not mad, I just want to remind you.
(Melanie) Autism is exceptionally shit.
(Marijke) Now I want to prepare you for something nice, you have a “date” with Dr.Igor today.
(Melanie) Very looking forward to it I really am.
Communication with Dr. Igor – in the evening
(Dr. Igor) Can you remember the therapy in Kas and your dolphin Mischa?
(Melanie) but of course
(Dr. Igor) What do you find better here in Antalya than in Kas?
(Melanie) His way of dealing with me is different
(Marijke) Do you mean Dr. Igor?
(Marijke) What exactly do you mean with the way he deals with you?
(Melanie) He has become much more relaxed
(Dr. Igor) Thank you.
(Melanie) You’re welcome. You’re a luminary on your territory
(Marijke) Would you like to ask Dr. Igor something?
(Melanie) When are you going home?
(Dr. Igor) in 3 months.
(Dr. Igor) It was nice and I hope to see you again, really.
12th Day – Thursday – July 12 – 10th and last day of therapy
On the night of today Melanie was allowed to sleep in Marijke’s room again. As the two of them want to go to bed however, a brown, sticky liquid is dripping from the ceiling, the smell of beer in Marijke’s room. So I found myself put in a situation to go to the reception of the hotel to report the damage.
How to explain to Turkish employees with meager knowledge of English that beer is dripping from the ceiling in a room? The look I got said it all. After much back and forth the technicians are coming. They look at the matter and are irritated that their initial diagnosis of condensation from the air conditioner is probably not true.
The come to the same conclusion as me: this is clearly beer. So the manager has to come and examine the room with another employee – Melanie was amused about all the fuss – Marijke, which now had only the thought of finally being able to sleep, not so much. With the help of the manager, the room above is inspected – nothing.
So into Marijke’s room again – the liquid is re-examined: clearly beer. Unfortunately we don’t find out why beer is able to drip from the ceiling of a hotel room and have to start our journey back home with an unexplained mystery 🙂 and Melanie spends the night with us after all. She falls asleep with sunglasses on her nose and a hat on her head and finds that very funny.
Today, Melanie says goodbye to Yonas, she lets him sing once again and pull her through the water – but is somewhere else in thoughts already. In parting, she gets a certificate that expresses that she may now communicate with dolphins all over the world, and a big cuddly dolphin, which now has to always be with her.
In the evening, Rolf and I are dancing rock ‘n roll at the beach, in still at least 37 degrees, much to the delight of guests who regard this as a performance. Yes, I admit, that’s just crazy for but also one of the stay’s successes – to dance away all the pressure and all the worries for a few minutes ……
our personal waiter:
13th Day – Friday – July 13 – a “normal” vacation
On this day, which is our only real vacation day on this stay, we are going shopping with Marijke. A bazaar in Antalya is recommended to us. In scorching heat, which is now really unbearable without permanent wiping with a towel, we wait for a dolmus and are in the city within a few minutes.
The bazaar turns out to be market, exclusively for tourists – you are looking for the beautiful, typical items to no avail. Nevertheless, we have a lot of fun and haggle like champions. I buy saffron, and this for such an outrageously low price (very good quality) that I almost feel guilty.
The initially negotiated 25 g (which were already very low) turned into 150 g – terrific. Our joy was a little damped when we were supposed to pay 23 EUR in a restaurant in the market for one tea and two glasses of orange juice – this leaves 20 EUR and for that we should have at least gotten a red carpet laid out for us 🙂
On the way back we find a store that at first glance looks like a dime store, but then turned out to be well organized and above all inexpensive – so we can still buy a few souvenirs and buy Melanie two T-shirts. We waive the dolmus ride in now almost 50 degrees, and walk to the hotel. The rest of the day and the evening we spend at the beach, listen to beautiful music, dance – even with Melanie – and pamper ourselves.
Then packing is on the agenda.
14th Day – Saturday – July 14 – departure
Ironically, on this last day Marijke gets sick. Fortunately, we may keep our room almost until departure and all of us can rest a little after lunch – for Marijke it is not fun anymore, she has such a severe cold that nothing else helps. She longs, understandably, for home. We are fortunate that we are picked up by a minibus – a truly hassle-free transport – and also at the airport everything goes smoothly – much better than at home. The plane is not full, so Marijke gets three seats to her own and fortunately is able lie down throughout the flight. This time we brought provisions for Melanie; we forgot that on the way there. The diary could end here now – but ………
This flight was by far the funniest thing we have seen with Melanie in a similar situation. During three hours Melanie did not stop laughing. She entertained all rows of seats around us, talked and laughed incessantly and told us again and again of “Sascha with the popcorn bag” (Sascha is Melanie’s boyfriend, with whom she has been in a relationship for 9 months). Whichever passenger had previously been grouchy left the aircraft laughing after this performance. And Melanie has learned that she can make a difference – wonderful.
Despite the rigors of this day it was an absolute joy, like most days during therapy.
If you want to get in touch with that family concerning dolphin therapy related questions please contact us.
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