Oh, the small---and big---things that make our hearts smile! Dale has acquired a new trick that keeps us all in stitches. He gives us "the eyes." He widens his eyes soooo big when he looks at us; then his expression returns to normal, and he sits back and watches us laugh. Sometimes he adds a small smile to the huge eyes, and, frankly, that looks a little creepy---which just makes us laugh harder. He controls this expression at will, so that we do not always know when he will give us "the eyes." Oh, my crazy son! We are enjoying seeing the silly side of him come out.
On Saturday morning, we all got to go to the Puyallup Fair again. We got some extra tickets at the hospital, so the whole family got to go (except our oldest who was working a concession stand/fundraiser at the Husky game). We walked around for about 2-3 hours and enjoyed some family time together. And, of course, we indulged in that absolutely delicious and equally unhealthy fair food. We got some curly fries drenched in ketchup---that was very hard to clean up. Later, I bought a Blooming Onion for the family to share. As we were getting ready to go, Dale pointed to an ice cream booth and indicated he wanted some. Chad bought Dale a double dip of cookies-and-cream, and he managed to eat the whole thing. This, of course, made the girls feel that Dale was getting special privileges, so I got them some cotton candy. I realize this sounds like all we did was eat at the fair, and that is pretty much accurate! We did walk through the Hobby Hall again; I got to see the dollhouses (incredible detail!) and Dale looked at the Legos displays. We walked through the draft horses barn but soon were overcome with the need for fresh air. All in all, I'm glad we got to go on a family outing.
Sunday morning started with a surprise. Chad and I were downstairs in the kitchen talking; the house was quiet because no one else was up yet. Suddenly, Dale came walking around the corner into the kitchen. Chad and I both were shocked---he had walked down the stairs all by himself!!! Dale had made no noise getting out of bed; he had not stumbled or anything coming downstairs. We were both excited and scared! Part of me was thinking, "That's wonderful, Dale!" and the other part was screaming, "Don't ever do that again!" He was fine, of course, and looking at us as if wondering why Dad and Mom were rushing to his side. Things proceeded normally from there---we had breakfast; Chad and I helped Dale get ready for church; the girls got ready as well. Chad had walked Dale halfway down the stairs to the landing when he realized we had failed to put any shoes on Dale! I handed him Dale's shoes; Chad asked Dale to lift his leg to put his foot in, and Dale stumbled backwards a bit. He was in no danger of falling (the wall was behind him to lean against), but I think being off-balance shook Dale up. Then Chad had Dale sit on the stairs to put his shoes on, and this may have further agitated his brain. Everything probably would have been fine, except Dale's brain was presented with one more challenge---trying to get into the truck. Usually, Chad has Dale brace one hand on the seat and one hand on the grip to help boost himself into the truck. Dale planted both hands on the seat this time and tried to get into the seat. Chad could see this would not work and was trying to get Dale to stop, step back, and try again. But Dale was stuck in the "get-into-the-truck" mode and kept trying. After a few seconds of throwing everything it could at the challenge, Dale's brain had another spell. The process was described to us as a "trickle-down" effect; one part of the brain gets over-excited, and this spreads all over the brain, effectively shutting it down for a short while. Chad was there to hold Dale during the episode and kept telling him over and over, "It's all right now; just rest; I've got you." He carried Dale back into the house and laid him on the couch. Dale was fine afterward, just breathing a little heavily, but not scared and crying as at other times. He went to sleep almost immediately and slept for about an hour; when he awoke, he was fine. The girls and I went on to church, and Chad stayed home with Dale. It was good for Chad to see this episode, as he now knows what goes on during the spell, what may have caused it, and what to do afterward. Dale took it easy the rest of the day, even going to Sunday evening church. We sat in the overflow room again, and that seems to be the best course of action for now.
Today's therapy session with OT was not as intense due to her concerns that we not overtax Dale physically again so soon after yesterday. However, she still worked with him on posture, making both hands work together, doing two or three different tasks at once (balancing on the exercise ball while cutting out pictures at the table), and even had him take out the garbage. This is the only therapy we have today. I will probably do some things with Dale later on today (maybe read together, work a puzzle, etc.), but I'm glad he was able to participate in OT today. He works hard each time, even when he is so frustrated or tired that he starts to cry. He's a tough guy!
The road ahead seems long and uncertain, but we have a God in heaven who cares about every detail of our lives. Whether we're having a good day, a bad day, or just a day, we know that He is watching us, loving us, helping us, cheering us, encouraging us, shaking His head at us, and holding us. His grace is sufficient for all our needs. Yesterday, I was getting bogged down with worries because I had not taken the time to deliberately stop, bow my head, and give those worries to God. So, naturally, I felt I had to bear them. After all, there is simply no one else better or more suited to the handling of Dale and his challenges and life's curveballs and my girls' rearing and Chad's needs and the world at large than me---right? Wrong with a capital W! My oldest daughter finally took the lunch plate from me and shooed me off, saying, "Mom, go pray." Thank You, Lord, for letting her see the need for prayer. Our Lord loves us and hears us. Just as an eager mother or father will stop everything when their baby begins to babble and will listen with a smile to each incoherent word that baby says, so our Heavenly Father stops everything and bends close and listens to each fumbling word I pray. What a comfort to know that even when I cannot form a complete sentence, He knows exactly what I mean. I love you, Lord.
Speaking of complete sentences, Dale caused me and his SP therapist to laugh on Friday when he looked at me, pointed at her, and said, "Can you get her out of here?" She was not at all offended, simply glad he had put his thoughts into words. I had to play the heavy and scold him (gently) for being rude, even though she and I both thought he was really just tired and ready to end the session. I should have told him to give her "the eyes."
Psalm 136:1-26 "O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever." Read the rest of the psalm; every verse ends with "for His mercy endureth for ever." Amen!