Only two more days until Dale gets to go home!!! We have been housecleaning like crazy, trying to get everything ready for Dale's homecoming. Do you know how much stuff you acquire just being in a hospital? And he's been in three! After we get Dale home and our new schedule starts (with in-home rehab), we are going to have to seriously get rid of junk. Not, of course, any of the wonderful cards and gifts people have so thoughtfully provided for Dale and his sisters---just some of the regular, piled-up, "we've had this stuff way too long and what does it do anyway" junk!
I know we've stated that every day Dale is getting better and better, but it's true. On Friday, Dale actually told his SP therapist, "Bye, Erina," without being prompted. The only other time he has used her name is after he and I practiced it. He also made the OT therapist's day. All week in SP Dale has been practicing making faces in a mirror. This helps him see how straight his face normally looks and how he can change it to show pleasure at seeing someone (or sadness, anger, surprise, etc.). The OT guy, Kirk, has been asking Dale every day to show him a smile. He'd say, "Dale, I'll let you out of class early if you'll smile for me." Dale never would, even shaking his head in response to Kirk's plea. On Friday, Kirk tried his standard line. Dale looked at him and turned the corners of his mouth up a little. We both thought that was nice---then Dale widened his mouth in a full smile! Kirk was thrilled! Praise God, I get to see my son smile again!
Tomorrow is Dale's "Performance Day." The day before a patient is discharged, they get to have Performance Day and show off how much they've improved since they've arrived. I've seen other patients who, when they arrived, could not walk on their own, had difficulty feeding themselves, etc. As they get closer to their discharge date, they begin walking into the dining room under their own power, their faces get brighter, and they obviously are feeling more confident about going home. Tomorrow is Dale's chance to shine. Other patients, nurses, and staff have been commenting on how well Dale is doing and how good he looks. He still shakes some when he's concentrating on doing something, usually with his hands (brushing his teeth, feeding himself), but I think he's learning to steady himself. He initiates speech voluntarily more now; his balance while standing, walking, and bending over is great; he is spending time building muscle tone and strength; and he is working on improving his concentration level. I think he's ready to go home!
We were informed that our insurance has approved Rehab Without Walls, so the next step in Dale's rehabilitation is in place. He will be discharged from Good Sam on Tuesday and Rehab Without Walls will begin on Wednesday so that there will be no disruption in his therapy schedule. I'm not sure exactly what our new schedule will entail, but I'm looking forward to it! Being able to have in-home rehab therapy is convenient for us (to say the least), but it will also enable Dale to work on PT, OT, and SP while surrounded by the wonderful familiarity of home. What a comforting word that is---home. If I'm this calmed just by thinking of being able to be in my own home here on earth, how much more complete will I feel once I am at home in Heaven? 'Tis a powerful thought.
This morning, Katie (second oldest) was with Dale, and he asked her a leading question. He asked, "How did I get here?" She wasn't sure at first what he meant, so she asked, "You mean...here in the hospital?" He nodded his head. We have at various times told Dale bits and pieces of what happened, basically telling him that he had had an accident at the beach but that he was safe now and in the hospital. This morning I guess he wanted more information. Katie did a fine job of answering him without panicking him. She told him they were all on a teen activity in Long Beach, WA, having fun, when he had an accident in the water. And since he was under water for so long, he had had to be taken to three different hospitals. She went on to tell about the different hospitals, effectively changing the subject for the time being. Later, when she told Dad about Dale's question and her response, Chad was able to talk to Dale more. Chad told Dale that he had been in the water for a long time and the rescue response team had had to do CPR before taking him to the first hospital. I believe Chad also explained in simple terms what each hospital did for him (breathing, urgent care, basic medical attention, rehab), and Dale was able to listen, I think, through the whole explanation. This will probably not be the last time Dale wonders where several weeks of his life went, but, with God's grace, we will be able to answer his questions and retell the tale of God's goodness, His healing power, and the miraculous answers to prayer that are evident each time Dale draws a breath.
Psalm 150: 1-6 "Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in His sanctuary: praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts: praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet: praise Him with the psaltery and harp. Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise Him upon the loud cymbals: praise Him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD."