Saturday, October 29, 2011

Update Saturday afternoon 10/29

I am so excited!  A friend from church who is also a great special needs educator has given me a whole bunch of assessment tests for Dale.  These tests cover a range of subjects---language arts, sight words, oral reading, reading comprehension, and math.  Some start at pre-kindergarten level and some start at first grade level; all go through eighth grade.  I can administer these tests at various times; she will then grade them to give us an idea of where Dale is in these areas!  These are not comprehensive tests, nor are they necessarily standardized; if we are able to get Dale any therapy through the public school system (free), they will administer their own tests.  These are just to show us (1) how well Dale's brain has retained knowledge and processes, (2) what areas he shows weakness in, and (3) where to start.  I have been thanking God every time I see the packet of tests on my counter for this wonderful lady!  She and I have been friends for years and I was always aware of what her career abilities were; I just never thought I would need her help like this.  She further stated that, once we know what areas Dale needs help in, she has tons of papers and worksheets and stuff to help him---all the way through twelfth grade, if need be!  YES!!!

I fully expect him to breeze through the sight words tests up to his grade level and beyond.  Dale loves to read!  I also expect him to have difficulty staying focused during the oral reading tests; we already know his attention span is nil.  I am looking forward to administering the reading comprehension tests to see how well he listens and can answer questions.  The math assessment test is HUGE.  We'll probably need to break that up into several small sections to keep Dale from getting frustrated or tired.  All in all, these assessment tests are, I believe, the next big step toward getting Dale on track with his education.

Friday was the big school-wide field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  I thought about taking Dale along---he would have enjoyed being outside and touring the farm---but decided against it due to several factors:  the long distance needed to travel (45 minutes one-way), the probable bathroom difficulties (porta-potties---yuck!), and the fact that he had a SP appointment scheduled for 11:00 a.m.  My girls all went and had so much fun.  My two youngest came home tired and somewhat muddy, wearing big grins and proudly carrying their pumpkins.  (Their smiles dimmed a bit once they saw the size of Katie's pumpkin.  She had gone as a chaperone with a church family; the grandmother bought her a big $12 pumpkin, much larger than their $6 pumpkins.  I had to do some fast talking to remind them that they couldn't have carried her pumpkin anyway.  Rule #1 at the Pumpkin Patch states:  You must be able to carry your own pumpkin, otherwise you must choose another one.  This saves alot of bickering, whining, and chiropractor visits for stressed-out teachers and parents!)  My girls promptly fell to drawing faces on their pumpkins, decorating the pumpkins, their fingers, and the table for autumn.  I'm glad they got to go; it's a fun annual tradition.

As it turns out, not taking Dale to the Pumpkin Patch was a really good idea.  We attended SP; Dale did okay.  He cried alot, but again, I think he was frustrated at having to go through all this.  He did stick with it and finished each task she set for him.  Instead of reading him each instruction ("Which picture has _____ in it?"), I encouraged him to read the sentence for himself and then point to the answer.  He did well with this.  The SP therapist was careful not to give Dale the answers right away but also not to let the moment drag on too long before offering help, thereby not allowing more frustration to creep in.  As she had promised, before we left she copied off a few pages of "homework" for us to do.  These vary from finishing sentences like "We hang pictures on the _____" to answering questions like "What would you use to ________?"  She even had Dale accompany her down the hall to help her make the copies.  I think he enjoyed using the copy machine, even though all he did was press one button four times!

The other good reason to have avoided traveling so far away is....the van died again.  I know, I know----what now?!  We left the SP building; I helped Dale into the van; I got in and put the key in the ignition; and nothing happened.  Literally nothing.  With the problems before, the van would start and then die.  This time, there were no lights, no buzzers, no radio, nothing.  We were now stranded in the middle of the Tacoma Mall parking lot, my husband was at work, and I had no idea who to call first---the towing company or my shrink!  (No, I don't really have one.  I can't afford it!)  I called Chad who said to call the dealership and go from there.  Thank the Lord I followed the advice of a very good friend who said she always puts the numbers of companies they do business with into her cell phone.  I actually had Tacoma Dodge's phone number!  They said they would be waiting whenever we got it towed in.  I then called USAA to take advantage of our free towing policy.  Loooooong story short (kind of):  the tow truck arrived within half an hour.  Chad had called me to suggest I ask Tacoma Dodge if they had a courtesy shuttle who could pick Dale and I up since there was no way Dale was going to be able to climb up into the tow truck's cab.  Good point.  We only had to wait an extra two minutes for the shuttle to find us and then we were off to the dealership.  We were only there about 10 minutes before it became obvious that Dale was not going to be able to wait there the entire afternoon until (a) they fixed our van or (b) Chad got off work and could pick us up.  Again, the wonderful staff at Tacoma Dodge had their courtesy shuttle take us home---a good 45 minute drive.  It was well past lunchtime and cutting into Dale's regular rest period.  It was raining quite heavily and windy, too; the only thing we wanted at that point was to get home.  Imagine how frightening it was for us to pass not one but two major car accidents on the way home!  They were both within a half mile of each other, and both involved at least four cars!  I had been praying anyway:  for God to let the tow truck get there soon, for them to be able to figure out what the problem was this time, for the repairs to not be costly, for us to get home.  I quickly changed the tenor of my prayer.  "Please, Lord, let us arrive in one piece!!!"  I know we get alot of rain in Washington state, and we should be used to driving in it, but those were some terrible road conditions.  The shuttle driver kept saying, "I am getting off this road as soon as I can!"  Please don't think he was being unhelfpful; he was just expressing what we both were feeling!  We didn't get home until nearly 2:30 p.m.; once home, I quickly got Dale a PBJ (comfort food) and heated up some soup as well.  Once he had eaten, I had him lie down for a nap; he fell asleep within minutes.  The poor guy was exhausted.  I think he may have been more tired out from our unexpected ordeal than if he had gone to the Pumpkin Patch.

When my second oldest (Katie) got home, she was shocked to find the van gone.  I explained what happened, and her reaction was what mine was---"You've got to be kidding me!"  I told her, "I've been praying about it nonstop.  I told God we couldn't afford any more expenses; anything over $20 would stretch the budget.  He is in control; He'll do what is best."  Little did I realize how much God was going to show His awesome prayer-answering power.  We received a phone call from the dealership around 3:00 p.m.  The diagnosis was corroded battery terminals.  Apparently the terminals leading to/from the battery were too corroded to allow the charge to get through; thus, it mimicked the symptoms of a dead battery.  My husband had cleaned these terminals already; I'm wondering if God just wanted to teach us something.  My usual response to the van breaking down is to flap my hands and cry, "Woe is me."  This time, I prayed.  I even had Dale close his eyes and pray with me.  I didn't get upset or cry or wonder, "Why me---again?"  I actually trusted God to work it out for good.  I quoted that verse to Dale (and myself) and just waited.  We got home safely, they fixed the van, we drove out later and picked it up (avoiding the accident-prone road).  All was well.  Oh, the total cost of repairs:  $19.62.  Don't tell me God doesn't care about the small stuff.  Don't try to tell me He doesn't hear and answer prayers exactly.  O me of little faith!  There are so many people who believe that either God doesn't exist at all or He created this world and then left it to run on its own.  We don't need Christians to act like they believe that too.

Today (Saturday) has not been one of Dale's stellar days.  He woke up cranky and rebellious, not at all his usual self.  He has managed to get one word out consistently---"NO!"  All morning, all we heard was, "No."  He didn't eat all his breakfast; he had trouble getting down the stairs even with Chad helping him; he's screamed at his sisters; and he wouldn't eat much lunch.  The only bright spot so far has been when he walked into our living room.  Chad and I were sitting on our loveseat watching TV.  Dale walked up beside my husband.  He started to cry and Chad asked him, "What do you want?"  Dale very clearly said, "I want to sit down."  We were surprised and glad to hear him speak.  But once he sat down, he was back to his usual actions---bending over, sitting up, leaning against me, crying.  He's calmed down for now.  We've been putting him to bed at 8:00 p.m. every night in an effort to ensure he gets a full night's sleep.  He's had a sore throat for the past few days as well.  It would be easy to try to explain away his agitation, but the truth is:  this is how someone with a TBI (traumatic brain injury) behaves.  He may not always act like this, but he might.  We're praying this is just a phase that he will improve out of, and we are actively re-teaching him what appropriate and inappropriate behaviors are.  Thank God for the wealth of information, support, and love we've experienced that helps us remember that, while we may feel overwhelmed by all this, we are never alone going through this.  I pray the Father daily that we get through this, that we are not in this phase to stay.  I know I can trust Him, come what may.

Hebrews 11:16-19  "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:  wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God:  for He hath prepared for them a city.  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac:  and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,  Of whom it was said,  That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:  Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received Him in a figure."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update Wednesday morning 10/26

Praise the Lord for good days and bad days!  Dale had a very good day Monday.  PT was great!  The therapist has quickly become dear to my heart because she did not even in the slightest way treat Dale like a small child.  She treated him as a twelve-year-old boy who is trying to grow into adulthood and struggling with typical body changes as well as non-typical problems.  She was soooo good with Dale, even though he cried nearly the whole time we were there!  (I believe his crying was simply his way of expressing how frustrated he was at his body, his situation, and his lack of control over his surroundings.)  She just ignored the tears and kept trying one activity after another until she found one that took Dale's mind off his problems.  She had him getting down on the floor and crawling on his knees a bit, putting magnets in various metal places.  (Those magnets were super strong; she said she got them at the NASA store.)  I was the one flinching and trying to keep my hands off Dale, wanting to "help" him down and up.  She was great; she told Dale to do something, then waited to see if he could do it before offering help.  Even then, she asked Dale, "Do you want some help?" and explained to him that she believed he could do it on his own, but if he needed help, she would only give just a tiny bit "until you re-learn how to do this."  She was so matter-of-fact about Dale's ability to move and think (at one point when he was interacting with her, she turned to me and said, "Oh, his brain works just fine, doesn't it?") that it was obvious he was gaining confidence in himself just by being around her.  Everyone else---including me---tends to treat Dale with kid gloves, always acting like there is something wrong with him; in essence, we constantly remind him that things are different now and expect him to fail.  This therapist told Dale, "If you show me you can do something once, I'll never ask you to do it again"---and then proved she would keep her word.  She had Dale tapping on each leg with his hands, then added tapping the same foot as the hand.  He cried, but he did it!  He had never been asked to do that before, and I was pleasantly surprised to see he could do it.  We walked out to the gym area where she introduced Dale to the treadmill.  He took to that just great, pressing the button to start/stop and staying on it for four minutes.  Then she had him try a cardio bike.  In rehab, he would work on the NuStep (a "bike" with handles to pull and flat pedals to push).  He always did this half-heartedly, needing constant reminders to keep going.  We tried once to get him up on an adult tricyle in rehab---he screamed bloody murder.  We didn't repeat the effort!  But now, Dale swung one leg over the bike, settled onto the seat, and allowed her to help him with the pedal straps.  Then, he began pumping his legs as if he'd been riding a bike every day for years!!!  I was so happy to see this that I couldn't help crying.  You know what they say:  you never forget how to ride a bike!  Dale proved this wonderfully well.  Thank You, Lord!

We now have PT appointments tentatively scheduled for once a week through the end of the year.  Twice a week would be even better, but we have to wrestle with our bank account for that.  Plus, we hope to schedule SP appointments once a week as well.  No OT appointments right now as Dale does not seem to need them quite as desperately as SP and PT.  He does alot of OT at home just through everyday life---practicing tying his shoes, getting dressed, brushing his teeth, etc.  Please pray that one of three things will happen:  1) God will lay it upon the heart of a wealthy benefactor to pay all our medical bills, 2) a financial aid program will come through to pay our co-pays (or more), or 3) we will discover a rich uncle who just died!  I'm just kidding; we don't have any rich uncles!  We are trusting God to supply this very great need, just as we trust Him to supply our everyday needs.  And, frankly, with as staggeringly high as our medical bills have become and continue to grow, our everyday needs have become increasingly hard to meet.  My husband is working steadily (thank You, Lord, for his job), and we have cashed out every possible retirement/savings account we could think of.  The Bible tells us, "The just shall live by faith," and we intend to do just that.  It isn't always easy, but we truly thank God for this opportunity to show Him how much we trust Him.  Not many people get the chance to ever do that; we are blessed indeed.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was just a day.  Not good, but not bad, either.  Except for bedtime when I leaned over to give Dale a kiss, and he told me, "I hate you."  THAT was bad moment for me.  I tend to take things very personally, and that hurt.  Thank God, my husband was there to hear this.  He maintained his calm and explained to Dale that words can hurt.  He further said that the word "hate" means more than just a feeling; it implies a desire to be rid of the person toward whom the hate is directed.  Chad firmly but lovingly explained to Dale that he should never use that word in relation to a person, just sin and Satan.  Dale understood and closed his eyes to sleep.  I left the room and cried a bit---my son has always been very loving toward me, and it really hurt to have him express such a feeling about me.  I know he didn't mean it quite the way it sounded (he was probably just expressing his feelings about the situation, his helplessness, and the fact that I am the one who makes him do things he doesn't want to like exercise, think, brush his teeth, work hard), but it still hurt.  Yet one more thing I will be happy to look back on, once these ultra tough days are behind us.

Dale got to attend home room at school today.  I didn't even go in the room with him (aren't you proud of me?), just informed the teacher he was there and walked away.  I had a few questions for the school office, so I was able to distract myself while he was in class.  Home room only lasted for about 10 minutes, and then I went back and got him.  I picked up a copy of his class schedule; maybe tomorrow Dale can attend one or two of his classes and get used to being back at school.  I think at this point that it is I who is hesitant to send him to class, just because I'm worried about his inability to sit still for long periods and his tendency to scream at the top of his lungs whenever he doesn't like something.  We have been working with him to stop the screaming, but so far he seems to think this is his only recourse.  Usually his screaming is directed at a specific action like someone else crying or everyone talking too much.  In a family with five children, there is alot of talking!  Still, we are reminding Dale that they have as much right to talk as anyone else, and he needs to control himself.  In regards to school or church, his peers and teachers need to know what Dale is struggling with (standing up/sitting down repeatedly, screaming, etc.) so that they can better help him fit back into his life.  He may get some looks from some people, but I think everyone is willing to help him and willing to overlook some behavioral quirks, too.

By the way, Dale is doing much better again climbing the stairs and getting in/out of the van.  We have been doing extra leg exercises and practicing stepping, so that his muscle strength as well as his confidence has been improving.  He now drinks from a cup without the use of a straw; he is getting up off the floor much more easily than before; and he is following the lists posted in the bathroom more readily.  Yea!!!

Romans 15:5-6  "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Update Monday morning 10/24

First, let me say a heartfelt "thank you" to all who read this blog and have been following Dale's story.  It is impossible to express fully how deeply we appreciate your care, your prayers, your donations, and your comments.  I read each comment posted and thank God for each one of you wonderful people.  I know how busy life can get, and the fact that you take the time to check for updates and pray for us and leave encouraging thoughts means so much to our family.  God bless you from the bottom of our hearts.

Second, I feel I need to apologize for whining as of late.  A preacher once said, "Stress is caused by thinking about yourself."  I have been indulging in way too much self-pity and self-concern over the past few weeks, and it has been coming out in this blog, in the way I care for Dale, and in the way I treat the rest of my family.  Yesterday and today I have been down with a migraine (at the moment it is being held at bay with lovely medicine), partly caused, I believe, by my focusing on my circumstances and not on my God Who is bigger than my circumstances.  I guess I feel like Peter did, looking at the waves crashing around me rather than at Jesus Who is bidding me to trust Him and walk by faith.  We have a great, big, wonderful God Whose arms are mighty to save---and yet sometimes we choose to pull all our burdens down onto our own shoulders and try to stagger through our days without Him.  He has shown us that He is able to carry us and our burdens easily, and we fail to accept His offer.  No wonder I get depressed!  God did not create me with the ability to handle, carry, manage, or orchestrate my own existence, yet I try (and fail) to do just that.  He created me with the ability---nay, the need---to lean on Him through life's calm seas and wildest storms, trusting Him as the wise Captain of my vessel.  Once again, I choose to trust Him.  Once again, I deliberately relinquish all control to His capable hands.  Once again, I feel like crying in relief as I feel the burdens being lifted off my bowed shoulders so that I can straighten fully, breathe deeply, and use His strength to keep walking this path that God, in His unsearchable knowledge and wisdom, has deemed me worthy to tread.  Thank You, my Lord, for letting our family be a part of Your wonderful design.

Saturday:  Dale had a small accident.  Not the "he did't make it to the bathroom in time" kind but the "he fell down the stairs" kind.  Chad and I were downstairs in another room, and Dale was on the couch watching TV---we thought.  Next thing we know, we hear this thump-thump-thump coming from the stairway.  Now, on occasion, the girls have felt it necessary to drag their laundry hampers down the stairs, step by step, thumping the basket all the way down.  This is what the noise sounded like, and this is how we responded.  My husband called, "Girls, get off the stairs!"  Then, we heard feet pounding down the steps, and Ashley called out, "MOM, DAD, COME QUICK!"  This, of course, propelled both of us into high gear, realizing the thumping hadn't come from the girls.  We found Dale at the bottom of the stairs, lying on his side, in the middle of another seizure-like episode.  What we think happened is that he attempted to climb the stairs on his own and only got part-way up before missing a step.  Maybe his toe caught the next step going up, and he couldn't get his balance and so fell.  Our stairs have seven steps and then a small landing before turning to go up seven more steps, so we don't think he was all the way up the stairs before he fell.  It seemed like Dale was trying so hard to get his balance while falling that his brain glitched and produced another spell, although it is possible that he began having the episode on the stairs which caused him to fall down them.  At any rate, Chad and I sent the girls back upstairs until Dale was stable again.  We made him comfortable on the floor, putting a pillow under his head and holding him until the shaking stopped and his breathing resumed normal patterns again.  Once the episode had stopped, Chad picked Dale up and laid him on the couch so that he could rest.  Dale slept for a while, his usual after-episode response.  When he awoke, we asked him if he hurt anywhere; we had already checked for any lumps or broken bones, of course.  He was sore, I think, and a bit teary the rest of the day, as well as extra tired, but overall I think he fared okay.  My next stop was Wal-Mart where I bought a child safety gate to go at the bottom of the stairs when Dale is downstairs and at the top of the stairs during the night---just in case.  Dale was well enough to attend church Sunday, even sat in his Sunday School class for the first hour before Chad brought him in the auditorium to sit with us for the main service.  (The teens attend the auditorium service at 11:00 a.m. anyway.)  The rest of the day went well:  Sunday evening service and Jack-in-the-Box's pumpkin pie shakes for a special treat afterwards!!!  If you have not yet tried one, you don't know what you're missing.  They are outstanding!

Today, Dale has his first PT appointment with the new therapist.  I'm hoping and praying she will be exactly what Dale needs to keep him going.  This morning Dale woke up very well and was very alert while getting dressed.  However, teeth-brushing time was rather loud.  His vocals, not mine.  He finished and was able to eat breakfast.  I took advantage of the fact that he was already seated at the table to work on a bit of SP (identifying various items in a picture by clues given or questions asked) and also to play with some dice.  No, I did not teach him to gamble (kidding); I asked him to pick out which dice would equal a stated amount.  After rolling the dice several times and picking out answers, Dale stood up---he was done!  At least now he is answering verbally (short answers) sometimes as well as showing the answers.

Last but not least, here's a funny for you:  Friday, I think, we were in the van and I was getting the girls home from school.  We had to stop at the library so my second oldest could run in, return an overdue item, and pick up a book for a book check on Monday.  To quiet the younger ones who felt having to sit in the car and miss the splendors of the library on this particular occasion was simply unbearable, I fished around in my purse for some candy to give them.  I gave Ashley and Emily each a piece, then unwrapped a Tootsie Roll for Dale to chew on.  After a minute, Ashley said with some alarm, "Mom, is that blood on Dale's mouth?"  I couldnt' be certain and was in no position (literally) to physically check if he bit his tongue or cheek, so I opted to wait until we got home to see.  Once there, I asked Dale to open his mouth so I could look.  When Chad and I looked inside, we saw a white object kind of washing around in there.  Chad said, "Is that a tooth?"  I grabbed a tissue and fished it out, thinking with dread that one of Dale's teeth had cracked and was falling out.  No sooner had I fished out the one piece when Chad said, "There's another one!"  I managed to get that one, too, without Dale biting down on my fingers.  Now we were really concerned.  You know those dreams you have where your teeth fall out for no reason?  Yikes!  Upon examination, we determined that these were both baby teeth (molars) and were ready and waiting for something to pull them out of Dale's gums.  Tootsie Roll to the rescue!  Talk about a scary event.  I've been concerned about the health of Dale's teeth anyway, just because he spent so long in the hospital, unable to properly brush his teeth (although the nurses did a good job of using a germ-fighting mouthwash).  I checked his mouth again this morning after he brushed his teeth, and, sure enough, both adult teeth are already growing in.  So, praise the Lord for Tootsie Rolls---a dentist in a wrapper!  HA!  And the dentist says candy is "bad" for your teeth!  :-)

Psalm 37:23-25  "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD:  and he delighteth in His way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down:  for the LORD upholdeth him with His hand.  I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update Thursday afternoon 10/20

Wow, have the past few days been stressful!  After finally getting our van back (again) on Saturday, we were chagrined to realize on Sunday that Dale seems to have forgotten how to climb in!  We have spent the last few days working extra on PT at home, trying to help strengthen his muscles and rebuild his stamina.  We are also trying to help him remember the steps necessary to pull himself into the van, while at the same time trying not to make a big deal out of it so he will not overthink it.  This is exhausting just writing it out!  Suffice it to say:  we're tired.  Just plain pooped---sorry, old Southern expression!  Dale has seemed to be more moody than usual, crying or screaming during even the simplest tasks, and in some ways he seems to have given up.  He keeps asking us, "Is this a dream?"  I'm sure it feels like one to him, or perhaps he just wishes it is a dream so that he has a hope of "waking up" and having everything be normal again.  Today, during his PT, he was unwilling to keep trying, even stating, "I can't."  I had him practicing getting up off the floor (sitting up, bending knees to one side, pulling himself up onto his knees, then standing up).  He kept saying, "I can't.  I can't!"  I kept telling him, "Yes, you can.  Don't be a quitter.  Keep trying."  We practiced this technique several times before I would let him stop.  (I'm not stubborn---I'm determined!)  Dale was crying most of the time, but not, I think, because I was pushing him too hard.  I think he was just feeling sorry for himself.  I finally told him, "If you would put as much energy into getting up off the floor as you are into crying, you'd be on the ceiling by now!"  He didn't appreciate this very much.  When we had practiced enough for my satisfaction (and, yes, he got plenty of rest breaks), I let him stay standing after his last successful getting-up.  By then, it was lunchtime, so Dale ate a good lunch and then retired to the couch for a much-deserved TV break.  Part of me feels like I'm being too hard on him, and part of me wants to keep pushing for more.  In his case, it's not as if he's just out of shape and needs me to be tough on him so that he will finish his exercise routine.  It's not just his muscles that are weak and unable to perform; it's his brain that is not sending the right messages to make his muscles move properly.  However, Dale sees this as "I can't when I should be able to, and I'd rather cry than work hard."  This is what we are battling against now---his lack of desire to get better.  He's beginning to think that this is his life now, and we are not willing to settle for this.  We have been assured by doctors and therapists that he can continue to improve; he just has to work.  More than that, we have a big God Who is not through working His miracle in our son.  I believe that just as sure as I'm sitting in this computer chair.  God has a bigger purpose for Dale than to only be a miraculous rescue story.  He has answered the prayers of His people on Dale's behalf, and He will continue to do so---if we continue to pray.  PLEASE continue to pray.

Dale saw his new doctor on Tuesday for an "establish care" visit.  Everything went well; Dale is in fairly good health other than the obvious.  The doctor kindly but firmly made it clear that he thinks Dale needs licensed PT, OT, and SP therapy to regain the ground he's lost and continue to move forward.  (Dale has regressed in climbing into the van and climbing up/down stairs easily).  Our concern with outpatient therapy is the $30 co-pay each time Dale has an appointment.  We have been given several resources to look into that may be able to help offset those costs or pay them entirely.  Another item for prayer!  We want to be able to take advantage of assistance programs without giving up privacy or rights to the government and without feeling like we are depending on those programs to supply our need and not our Father.  There's a fine line between availing ourselves of offered support and failing to trust God for all things.  Please pray that only His will may be done and that we will continue to lean on Him fully during this financially, emotionally, and physically draining time.

Dale's balance has been none too steady lately as well.  He walks just fine and can climb up one or two steps with ease.  It's when he catches his toe on something or gets pushed off-balance a bit that he seems unable to catch himself or right himself and ends up falling to the ground if someone does not catch him.  He fell yesterday coming out of SP.  Again, his foot caught the door and his hand automatically latched onto the door handle.  By not letting go, he lost the ability to right himself and ended up swinging around in a downward spiral until his bottom hit the floor and his head connected with the glass wall.  This, of course, really scared him; he sat on the floor, cyring, and would not let me help him get up.  Finally, a couple of nice gentlemen came over and asked him if he wanted their help.  When he nodded and stretched out his hand, they were able to lift him to his feet.  We stood still for a few minutes longer so that I could comfort him (lots of hugs) and he could finish crying.  Then, we still had to go out to parking lot and try to get him in the van!  We were both glad to get home!

Dale has his first PT appointment with a new therapist on Monday, so we will get a chance to see how well he does then and what he really needs to work on.  I am asking each therapist what I can do at home with Dale to continue the therapy they start, kind of like homework.  I am not sure how long it will take for Dale to be able to function on his own without me breathing down his neck, but we are in this for the long haul and, by God's grace, we will win!!!

I Corinthians 2:9  "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Update Saturday afternoon 10/15

The gremlins have struck again!  Sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning, some nasty car monsters climbed inside our van's engine and messed it up.  We tried to start the van to go to school Friday morning and couldn't get it going.  Imagine our sinking hearts!  So we trooped back into the house.  My first call was to a friend to come pick up the girls for school (tardy, of course, but that couldn't be helped).  Upon receiving the go-ahead from my husband via telephone (he's gone hunting), I then called the Chrysler dealership to schedule an appointment for our sick van and USAA to arrange for towing.  As of late Friday afternoon, the mechanic had still not pinpointed the problem.  However, early this morning (Saturday), the dealership called to say they are pretty confident the problem is in the circuit board, and they can fix this problem---to the tune of almost $900!  This is the price after they applied a 10% discount!  Ouch with a capital O!!!  I called Chad and left a message, stating the diagnosis, naming the price, and asking for his permission to have them begin work.  There is no way I was going to take responsibility for spending that much money!  When he returned my call, he suggested I call our local repair shop and check to see if the price quoted is fair; he wanted me to also ask if they could do the work cheaper.  Upon calling, I was told that yes, any time part of the computer has to be repaired or replaced, it gets expensive; plus, the dealership has to do the work because they have to program the replaced part before the van will accept it and work.  I feel like I did as a kid playing Monopoly when I landed on a space I could not afford.  (There is a reason I quit playing Monopoly!)  At least the van will be fixed.  The mechanic is very confident that he has diagnosed the problem correctly.  Yes, the door switch was faulty and needed to be replaced, but hopefully replacing the circuit board will fix the rest of the problem for good.  As my husband said, "Fixing this van is cheaper than buying a new one."

A big thank you to all of you who have read about our car troubles and have been praying for us.  It touches my heart every time I read someone's comment on the blog or have someone tell me they have been following our story.  God bless each of you in a special way for caring so much for others.

Dale had a good day yesterday.  We tried some math problems (the three times table) and he focused fairly well, although it was obvious toward the end that he was throwing out some answers in the hopes they were correct and he could be done!  We also played Junior Monopoly---much less stressful than the big one---and he beat me.  I always run out of money.  Sounds like real life, huh?  Dale's attention span during the game was the best I've seen it since the accident; he stood up a couple of times but continued to take his turns on cue.  He had a much easier time releasing the dice when rolling, and, when he had to pay out for something, he counted out his own payment---no cues from me!  Praise the Lord!  What nice improvements to see just since last week.  It's good to see definite signs of his brain working in normal, regular patterns.  We also went for a long walk around our neighborhood and enjoyed being out in God's big world.

Please believe me when I say that I'm not badgering him or God to be normal or act normal again.  I hesitate to even use the word "normal" for fear someone will think I'm not satisfied or happy with my son as he is.  I do believe God will allow his brain to continue to heal so that at some point Dale will resume "normal" activities, but I am fully trusting our all-knowing Father to know when that thime should be.  I have to daily remind myself not to get frustrated with Dale because of his lack of ability or desire or know-how.  He is struggling with the same frustrations and needs me to steady him as he regains these functions.  Dale still has a long way to go developmentally; please continue to pray for him.

Last night, we got to do something that we all enjoy.  We played hide-and-seek in the dark.  The kids and I only get to do this when Dad's gone overnight because he usually goes to bed early and we can't make alot of noise and wake him up.  And you know we make alot of noise finding people in the dark!  This is the first time we've played this game since Dale's accident, and I wasn't quite sure how things would go.  I was concerned that Dale would not like the house being totally dark or hearing the girls' screams upon being found.  I also wasn't sure he could be still for that long without making a sound.  He said he wanted to hide with me (good idea), so we turned off all the lights and began having fun.  Dale and I hid in the bathroom downstairs (upstairs is off-limits) and waited to be found.  Amazingly, the seeker walked right past us and found other people first.  Next, it was Emily's turn (our youngest).  She had us all in fits of laughter before she finished counting---because she never finished counting!  Dale and I hid in the bathroom again, figuring she would not expect us to hide in the same place twice.  Emily stood by our lamp table and began.  "One, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen......."  She stopped for a moment, then said, "What comes after fourteen?"  None of us were willing to answer for fear of giving away our hiding place!  Muffled laughter sounded from all over.  Finally, from across the room came a voice, "Fifteen!"  Emily resumed counting, "Fifteen.......what's next?"  Snorted laughs all around.  In frustration, Emily said, "Is it twenty yet?"  Now, smothered explosions of giggles were heard throughout the downstairs.  An older sister took pity on her and just said, "YES!"  Happily, Emily finished, "Twenty!" and began searching.  Thankfully she walked away from Dale and I because we were almost unable to contain our laughter.  She wandered into the dining room, calling out for anyone there.  Of course, no one answered and, being dark, she could not see anyone.  She started to get upset and said, "I can't find anyone."  No sooner had the words left her mouth than Ashley jumped out from under the table and said, "Boo!"  Emily screamed, which caused the rest of us to explode in giggles again.  We were still laughing by the time she found all of us.  Turning on the light and seeing that genuine smile on Dale's face was great.  These memories are indeed precious to me and to the children.  I'm sure that when the kids are grown and married with children of their own, they'll come home for the holidays and ask to play hide-and-seek in the dark again, just to recapture the joy of these moments---and to hear each other scream when found!

Psalm 66:16 - 20  "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul.  I cried unto Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:  But verily God hath heard me; He hath attended to the voice of my prayer.  Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor His mercy from me."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update Thursday morning 10/13

God has once again answered prayers in an incredible way.  We had our van towed to a local repair shop Tuesday morning.  They looked at it and diagnosed the problem as something to do with the van's computer.  It was sending a false "someone's trying to steal me!" code to the engine, which, of course, meant we could not get it started.  The mechanic began looking for a '98 Chrysler Town and Country computer to replace the one that was faulty.  He couldn't find one anywhere!  Wednesday afternoon, the mechanic was able to override the code and start the van; we then drove it to a dealership (I know---$$$) so that they could order the computer part, install it, and program it.  Chad told them he would be going out of town and I would be car-less and urged them to HURRY.  Here comes the God part:  They hooked our van's computer up to their computer to check the last code entered (something only able to be done at the dealership) and discovered that the problem was a faulty door switch.  This could be easily fixed right away without waiting for a part to be shipped from CA and at a cost several hundred dollars less than what we were expecting!!!  Isn't our God awesome?!  We were able to go back and pick up our van that same afternoon, and it has been running fine.  Praise the Lord!!!

About Dale---I am going to be making phone calls to reschedule all the doctor/therapy appointments that had to be cancelled due to lack of transportation.  He had a rough day yesterday; he ate breakfast and promptly threw it back up.  The poor guy looked so pale I was concerned he might pass out, but he didn't.  I let him lie down on the couch the rest of the morning and did not attempt any therapy with him.  He seemed fine the rest of the day, just tired---especially with having to climb in and out of Dad's truck when we were dealing with the van.  He even ate lunch as usual and dinner.  He seems fine today and is even talking a bit more of his own accord.  Instead of just nodding his head when asked a question (at times he resembles a bobblehead), he has been giving worded answers.  This is so good to see; it doesn't happen often enough for me!  Dale has good days and bad days.  On good days, therapy goes great; he participates readily enough; and we see signs of progress like talking on his own.  On bad days, he screams in frustration (sometimes evoking a similar response from me); he has to be told and retold to do something; and he and I both feel like giving up.  But God is faithful and desires us to be as well.  I have been purposely reminding Dale lately how much God loves him and has a plan for his life.  We are constantly trying to encourage Dale to see the bigger picture; life will not always be this hard, and his brain will not always be this fuzzy.  He has to work hard to get better---and he WILL get better.  This is not denial talking; this is a deep belief that God is not finished with Dale yet, either with his physical and mental growth or with his life story.  God has a great purpose for Dale.  It is our job to help him through this rough patch in order to be what God wants him to be.  This is true for all our children.  We as parents get the awesome privilege and responsibility to help shape our children into what God intends for them to be.  No, it does not entirely depend on us; there are other, outside influences as well.  But we are to monitor and choose those influences as carefully as possible so that our children grow to become the best people they can be for our Saviour.  The old saying goes, "God gives us our children so that we can give them back to Him."  Our girls and Dale are all being shaped by this ongoing event in our lives, adding new layers to their personalities and characters and decisions.  If we trust God fully---and we do, we will come out of this better people, Christians, wives, mothers, daughters, sons, husbands, servants.

On a light-hearted note, I have been trying most unsuccessfully to tell a joke that Dale will laugh at.  I tried again in the truck yesterday.  I told three jokes that totally bombed.  Chad jumped in and told Dale a joke that he laughed at.  How unfair was that?!  So I decided that I had to change my joke-telling strategy.  I told him the one about "I've got you where I want you, and now I'm going to eat you!"  For those of you who know it, it's kind of gross but funny; for those of you who don't, it's not worth typing out.  Suffice it to say, it appeals to a twelve-year-old boy!  When I got to the end and mentioned the booger (I told you it was gross), Dale grinned really big and bent over laughing!!!  It took him a minute to calm down, and then he looked at me with such a normal, "Dale" smile that I couldn't help but hug him and kiss him.  Thank You, Lord, for these moments of normalcy in our topsy-turvy lives!

Jeremiah 33:2-3  "Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is His name; Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Update Monday afternoon 10/10

The Bible tells us that God's ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts, and that has been quite true for our family.  Not just in regards to Dale, but also our whole family and our regular, non-therapy related lives.  Case in point:  you would think that we have enough on our plate just working with our son to help him get better, yes?  Apparently not!  I told you last week how our insurance changed, and we now will be seeing all new doctors and therapists.  Then, Thursday night, my oldest daughter and I went out to the van to just "run to the store."  The van wouldn't start.  I tried a couple of times but to no avail.  We returned to the house where I informed my poor husband that there was now another "challenge" for him to tackle.  He decided to wait and try it again in the morning, but it still wouldn't start.  I had to call a church family to arrange rides for my girls to and from school Friday.  Praise the Lord once again for our generous, loving church!  When Chad got home from work on Friday, he tried using a sealant on the windshield (this has been a problem before).  We had to let it set for 24 hours before we could tell if it had done the job or not.  Not.  So we were down to one vehicle---my husband's truck.  This wouldn't be such a bad thing if his truck were built a little lower to the ground!  We have to hoist our youngest up to get her inside; her legs just don't reach that far.  Dale and I both have to grip the handles to gain enough support to climb up into the cab.  It was probably quite a comical sight watching us attempt to clamber in, get settled, and find all the appropriate seat belts!  Sunday morning, Chad took the two older girls up early to do bus routes, then drove himself and our two younger girls to church.  Dale and I stayed home because Dale was really shaky and had almost fallen twice just walking down the stairs.  I don't think he got enough sleep and was just very tired---a theory borne out by his falling asleep on the couch shortly after making it downstairs.  We were all able to go to the Sunday night service though.  Dale did his usual leaning over, putting his head down on my shoulder, and sitting up again all through the service.  I believe he just has a harder time processing all the sights and sounds than the rest of us do.  He sang a few words of the hymns and followed along in the Bible when we read.  I love to see him remembering God's house and how to worship Him!  During the invitation, Dale wanted to go the altar and pray with his Dad.  He tried to kneel down but couldn't seem to get it right.  Chad motioned to me to help him back to our pew (we sit right on the front row), but Dale seemed really sad and almost about to cry.  Chad, in his God-given fatherly wisdom, realized Dale's need to pray and helped him bend his knees to kneel at the altar for a minute.  Thank You, Lord, for a son who still desires to speak with You and will do anything, including cry in church, to get us to help him perform that which he feels You wish.  And, thank You, Lord, for a husband who is wise and intuitive and doesn't brush off a difficult feat based on what others have told us Dale can or cannot do.

Well, Chad called the auto repair shop to have them tow our sickly van and was told they can't get it until tomorrow because today is a holiday.  I know Christopher Columbus is important to our country and all, but come on!  Just kidding.  This is all in God's mysterious timing, and He has a purpose and plan already in motion.  If I didn't believe that, I would go nuts.  Oops, too late!

On a better note, Dale seems to be having a really "on" day!  This is especially surprising, considering this is a Monday.  He woke up very well this morning.  I was able to assist him in the bathtub.  He got scared trying to boost himself up out of the tub after washing, but I was there to help lift him.  We try not to act scared around him as if we just barely caught him before he fell, but rather we try to reassure him that we are right there holding on to him and he can trust us to hold him up in case he stumbles and/or falls.  Sounds like our Heavenly Father, doesn't it?  He's not standing over us, waiting for us to slip up; rather, He is holding us up, right there to catch us if we stumble or fall.  We have a gracious God ---One full of grace and mercy, love and forgiveness, compassion and intercession, justice and righteousness.  He is so good to us every day, and we take His generosity for granted.  He gives us life, and we run away with His gift.  We please ourselves when we should be seeking to please Him.  We consider our presence in church on Sunday a favor granted to God when we should be entering His presence on a daily basis, begging Him for His guidance in even the smallest areas of our lives.  We should realize that there is nothing we can do for ourselves that cannot be accomplished a thousand times better with His hand.  Please, Lord, forgive me for living as if I only need You for certain things---for hard times, for illness, for medical bills, for car repairs.  I humbly ask Your help so that I may see how masterfully you orchestrate my entire life, from my smallest unspoken want to my most immense and intense heart's plea:  all lovingly and carefully planned so that it is obvious even to my untrained, human eye that there is a God in heaven Who did not create this universe and then abandon it to the whims of fate but instead is drawing all men unto Himself so that they might be saved and, then, might praise Him for the wonderful Abba that He is.  I love you, Lord.

As you probably already figured out, all new doctor appointments and therapies are cancelled unto further notice, due to unforeseen major mechanical malfunctions.  I know you are already praying for Dale's recovery and he is doing great, but would you please also pray that God heals our van?  It's certainly beyond my comprehension;  all I'm able to do is pop the hood (after spending some moments searching for the proper lever) and then stand gazing into the van's innards, wondering what on earth all those dirty cords and tubes and strange-looking plugs are for.  My husband is the mechanic in the family, and even he is at a loss.  We are hoping that the repair shop mechanics will not be in a similar state.  Thanking God always in all things if not always for all things and praying God's blessing upon you and yours, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Philippians 2:13-16  "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.  Do all things without murmurings and disputings:  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perserve nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Update Thursday morning 10/6

For those of you who read the last blog, you'll be happy to know that all went fairly well for the rest of the day.  Dale participated in the rest of the therapy I had planned, even beating me fair and square at Connect Four.  He had one other falling incident---when he got up from the table, his foot got tangled with the chair leg and he fell to the floor.  He didn't land that hard, so I think he was holding onto the chair as he fell.  I asked him if he hurt anywhere, and he indicated his hand.  A short while later, I asked again; this time he shook his head.

Wednesday morning:  I was determined to get in more therapy but in shorter spurts.  This seemed to go very well.  Dale and I did a little PT on the stairs, tapping each step at first, then practicing walking up and down.  We spent some time in Dale's room, clearing off and straightening his dresser.  I need to get a scrub pad up there---I think there's a science project growing underneath the piles of stuff!  We discovered a half-full bottle of bubbles, so we took that downstairs with us.  Dale actually blew some bubbles himself, although he has a hard time getting enough sustained breath to blow more than a few bubbles.  We also found his kazoo; the therapist in the rehab center said that too would help him control his breathing for PT and SP.  He blew into it a few times and seemed to enjoy it.  I told him to play "Happy Birthday."  Instead of playing what I expected ("Happy Birthday to you..."), Dale began playing "Happy Birthday, you're one year older and closer to the grave!"  Goofball!

We read a simple book together (Ferdinand the Bull).  I would read a few sentences; then he would read.  It was good to hear him read so well.  Later, we practiced sequencing with words.  I wrote certain phrases out on 3x5 cards, one word per card.  Then I laid them out in front of him, one phrase at a time, all mixed up.  His job was to sort out which word card should come first in the phrase and lay them in order.  He did great!  He sorted out five different phrases, some short/easy (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and some longer/harder (Seek ye first the kingdom of God) with just two hints from me.  After the last one (Seek ye first...), I asked him to finish the verse.  Dale again showed he retains all his memories and said the verse ("Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you").  I prompted him on the reference by saying "Matthew 6..." and he finished, "33."  Wonderful!

Last night in church, Dale and I were able to sit in the auditorium for the service.  Chad and I wanted to see how well he would do; Dale bent over quite a bit and laid his head on my shoulder (usual) but did not attempt to stand up except for the appropriate times (unusual).  We also wanted other folks to be able to see him.  Many of our church family have been praying consistently for Dale, and we wanted them to see what God hath wrought.  Also, we realized that, in answering people's questions about Dale's recovery, we may have unwittingly given them a false impression.  We have always tried to answer positively about Dale's condition, rather than telling every gritty detail of the hardships he and we now face.  As a result, some people have been wondering why, if Dale is doing "really well", we are not having him sit in church with us or enrolling him in school.  Last night in church, Dale's behavior answered their questions better than any words we could have used.  Yes, God has performed and is continuing to perform a mircle in Dale's brain and body.  Yes, he has progressed remarkably well in these past two months.  But, no, Dale is not ready yet for "real life."  No, Dale cannot sit still and listen as well as he should be able to; he cannot concentrate for long periods of time as is required in a normal school setting.  And, at home, Dale faces obstacles still---remembering all the steps when using the bathroom, washing himself, brushing his teeth properly every time, getting dressed in a timely fashion, etc.  Dale has come a long way, and he still has a long way to go.  I tell him (and me) almost every day, "It will not always be like this.  Things will not always be this hard."  Occasionally, Chad and I look at all the things that could be wrong with Dale.  He could be a vegetable; he could require constant medical and/or hospital care; he could be mentally retarded; he could be dead.  We thank God daily for the gift of our son.  But we choose to look on the bright side of things---how much Dale has recovered in these past two months.  Literally, recovered---it's all still in there; we are just looking for ways to help Dale unlock all the data stored in his own brain.  Our incredible God created Dale's brain, and He is the best hope for recovering all that was damaged during the accident.  It's our job to watch and pray.  We know we can trust Him with this task, just as we trust Him with our soul's salvation.  He is infinitely trustworthy.

Psalm 104:24, 33-34  "O LORD, how manifold are thy works!  in wisdom hast Thou made them all:  the earth is full of Thy riches.  I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live:  I wil sing praise to my God while I have my being.  My meditation of Him shall be sweet:  I will be glad in the LORD."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Update Tuesday morning 10/4

Friday's therapy sessions (our last ones with Rehab Without Walls) went very well.  Dale played a board game with his SP therapist; this may not sound like real therapy, but actually it serves to help him improve his concentration and endurance.  He seems to be so tired all the time.  I know I've said that before, and I also know he's tired because his brain has to work soooo hard at even the "simplest" tasks---but there are times I wonder if he's just putting his head down because he wants us to think he's too tired to continue!  We've begun working around that by telling him, "I realize you're tired.  Let's just finish this task, and then you can take a break."  And, then, of  course, following through on our promise and letting him have a one-minute rest break before commencing the next task.  I liked how the SP therapist had Dale help her clean up the game even though he was tired.  This, too, helps reinforce the concept of "finishing the job."

PT on Friday produced a couple of wonderful breakthroughs!  The therapist had Dale stand in the middle of the room; she held both his hands to help him balance; then she told him to jump.  He had not yet been able or willing to get both feet off the ground together.  She demonstrated for him, and then---HE JUMPED!!!  He actually jumped off the floor a few inches 10 times in a row!!!  WOW!  I couldn't believe it!  This was one of the big milestones I have been looking for, a sign of definite improvement in his balance and coordination.  Then, because he did so well jumping, the therapist took him oustide to the street in front of our house and had him try running.  She took his hand and began a slow jog, pulling him along.  He actually ran a few steps!  She kept him going although he liked to stop every few feet or so.  He would run a few steps, then slow to a walk and eventually stop to rest.  He did this around the cul-de-sac and back to our house.  PRAISE GOD!  Again, these were skills I have been hoping to see but not expecting for some time because of how difficult they were for Dale to do.

We have not yet been able to contact Group Health to start Dale's new therapy, but we hope to be able to do so soon.  I have taken over his therapy for now, and I have to say---it's alot harder than it seemed!  I have already been doing OT with him each morning and evening (dressing, brushing teeth, etc.), so this morning I tried taking him to the playground in our neighborhood for some PT.  I failed miserably!  This was around 8:30 a.m., and the equipment was still very wet from dew and rain.  I thought I would have Dale try walking along the railroad ties that surround the park (for balance).  On his first try, he slipped and fell!  I was holding his hand but was unable to catch him before he hit the ground.  I was able to slow his fall (because of the hand-hold), but he still ended up with a wet hip and arm.  To his credit, he did not get upset; he let me help him up and tried again.  This time, his feet slipped off and he nearly turned his ankle.  We moved to another section of the rails, endeavoring to find a place where he could balance without worrying about falling off.  This, too, ended badly; he couldn't balance and couldn't remember to step off when he felt himself stumbling.  You know the saying, "Three strikes, you're out!"  After three (failed) attempts, we decided the balance beam was highly overrated and moved on to something else.  We strolled along for a bit, giving Dale time to recover his confidence.  The PT on Thursday had Dale use the monkey bars (while walking on the ground) to practice alternating arms.  With his height, Dale would have to bend his knees to actually swing from bar to bar, so this exercise is perfect for him.  He turned toward the monkey bars; I took this to mean he wanted to try "swinging" along the bars.  He did this very well, alternating arms like he was supposed to.  Unfortunately, the bars were so wet that he ended up sending rivulets of water down his neck, soaked his wrists, and decorated his hair with dewdrops!  So, that, too, ended in a bust.  Last, we tried the bouncer.  He did great with this on Thursday, so I tried (emphasis) helping him step up onto the bouncer.  His feet slid right off the other side, and he almost fell again.  It was definitely time to go home.  I held him a minute in a big hug, letting him know that we were done and that none of this was his fault.  He had tried his best; the forces of nature were simply against us!

I'm going to sign off here and go try to play another board game with him (Connect Four or Scrabble).  Maybe I'll have more luck with SP therapy than with PT!  Thank you again for caring about my son and his hardships and successes.  May God bless each of you for your kindness, care, and prayers.

Isaiah 6:8  "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?  Then said I, Here am I; send me."