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."


  1. I have been following your blog and Dale's story since the incident on the beach. What Dale is experiencing is what I've feared might happen. It's amazing that the "old, normal Dale," appears to still be there, however the neurological damage seems to have trapped him in a body that doesn't function the way it did formerly.
    At 12 years old, Dale doesn't have the life experience to give him much perspective. The future seems forever away. I agree that he cannot be allowed to give up. Don't let him be "lazy."
    If you have a video camera (if you don't have one, get one), make a record of his daily life. As time passes, take the time to show him a video record of his physical progress. You might consider a system of rewards for physical goals accomplished. Further, his sisters may prove to be very valuable in his recovery. As a "prophet is without honor in his own home," so often it seems, are parents. Where Dale may shrug you off as "just his mom," he might listen to one or more of his sisters and respond to her/their encouragement.
    You, your family and Dale, are in my daily prayers and in the prayers of people from around the world. When you all get through this, Dale is going to have an appreciation for life and for God's goodness that few people can begin to grasp. i think, in fact, so will his entire family.

  2. You are a strong woman and Mother! I also have been following your journey and have been praying for you since Dales accident. As a mother with a 12 yr old son, I know that in itself can be enough to drive us to our knees. Your strength and faith are so evident in your updates. Keep up the good fight on behalf of your son! You are an inspiration to many. Please continue to update us with the specific ways we can intercede for you in prayer. Sending love and prayers from Keizer, OR.

  3. What an adventure! "Unknown" has given good counsel.

    Proverbs 31:1-9 give insight on a mother's counsel to her son. Catching the spirit of it might help you gain some insight on the kind of counsel a boy needs to hear. Don't focus on what she tells him not to do (although that's important) but on THE REASON she tells him. She directs his attention toward the role he will play in the lives of others.

    At age twelve, too, Dale is going to be more and more in need of men beckoning him into a man's world as God intended it, not as we have it in our culture. Two things which I have found helpful for me in dealing with guys in our church and school have been:

    # 1 - The book "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax. It describes what has happened to boys in our culture and gives us steps to pick and choose which can help.

    # 2 - The movie "Miracle" about the US Hockey Team's landmark victory against the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics. It is an excellent portrayal of the price that is paid (in terms of PT and other factors) to achieve success. This could be a Dale and Dad experience. It is not a Christian film, but it is a meaningful one. A Christian movie would be "Fighting the Giants." Keep before him the stories of men (and especially boys where possible) achieving great things by paying the price in terms of physical and mental discipline.

    As a footnote: When Dale says, "Is this a dream?" he may be describing something of how he is feeling inside. It may seem like one: which means there may be an element of the surreal going on inside and that can be scary.

    Keep on keeping on.

  4. "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength" Phillipians 4:13 God gives us HIS strength, not ours...that is a comfort to know, that when we are not strong enough, our Lord is..

    I am pasting a youtube video of Matthew West's "Strong Enough"

    We will pray for you, Dianne, as you may grow weary, yet determined, and for Dale...that he would not give up, but reach for God's Strength.

    You are doing an amazing job balancing it all, and keeping it all in perspective in God's will.

    I will continue to pray, as I have been since Dale's miracle rescue. God has great things!!

    Saralee from Baltimore, MD

  5. "but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;they shall mount up with wings like eagles;they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

    I was lead to this scripture when I was growing tired and weary just from the regular pressures of life. I had no idea it was going to be a scripture I would hold onto 2 months later when my son had brain surgery followed by chemical meningitis. As I read your entry I could relate so vividly to the feelings of weariness and just trying to be the best mother possible where your own feelings have to be pushed aside for the welfare of a child in need. The reference above made to the song "Strong Enough",boy did I relate to this song this summer. It begins with the words "You must, You must thing I'm strong, To give me what I'm going through." Those were my very thoughts. But the remainder of the song reminds me "I'm not strong enough Hands of mercy won't you cover me Lord right now I'm asking you to be Strong enough." It's a hard journey but God is right there to guide you and lead you and teach you. I remember the moment my 8 year old son started crying after 1 1/2 months of recovery asking "When am I ever going to get my normal life back," I was feeling so helpless because I had already been asking God the same question. It is such a humbling experience to walk with your child through such challenging situations. I was eventually lead to fasting for my son's healing and on that day lead to Mark 9:14-29 which confirmed that some healing requires fasting with prayer. His surgery was May 5 of this summer. By mid July he was back into basketball (which required that he rebuild his stamina - I've never enjoyed the basketball season so much by the way.) Through this journey I continued resasuring myself of God's promise to restore what has been lost, especially where it came to school since my son had some challenges before the surgery, he also had to end school 1 month early for the surgery. I am so blessed to report that as a fourth grader this is the first school year he is on reading level without the need for intervention and he is having an amazing school year - he no longer even resists homework which used to be 2 hr. battles for us. God is so good and there will be a day that you look back to this journey as a reflection rather than in the midst of the storm. You will never be the same, you will know God with more conviction than ever.

    "May the Lord bless you,and keep you;May the Lord make His countenance shine upon you, and be gracious to you;May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

  6. Hi. This is my first comment although I have been following Dales progress from the start. My nephew Aaron had very similar challenges from a bad car accident in 2005. He has made almost a complete recovery but it has taken 5 yrs. He has brain damage but is living independently and working. He did not know anyone when he merged from a coma and had to relearn everything.
    He will be on the show Canada's Worst Driver beginning Monday the 24th
    Cut and paste this into your browser to see him:

    The point is...the progress is imperceptible sometimes, but there IS progress.

    May I suggest that the next time Dale says "Is this a dream", that you stop everything and ask him to explain what he means. At first he may not be able to but each time you ask him to explain, he will try again and I'm pretty sure it will come out sooner rather than later...because it is something he desperately wants to communicate and it's very important to him. Do the same for any other similar question or statement.
    Also, ask him what OT or PT he wants to do on any given day... and when he tells you, ask him WHY he wants that particular therapy. It will be difficult for him to explain at first but it WILL come out. Those answers will help you immensely in helping him get to where he wants to be.
    If you have any video of him from before, show them to him often. They will upset him but they will also show him where he is headed.
    And, as you know...patience. If he is tired or upset, thats the time for a break and for a talk with him at the 12 year old level. Ask him questions at that level. Let him try to explain his thoughts and frustrations.
    And, as someone suggested, he desperately needs male influences especially at bath and shower time. There are some things boys can't verbalize but feel down to the core.
    These methods helped Aaron through some brutal times so I thought I would share.
    I know you can get through this but there will be bad days and horrible days for both of you.
    My prayers are with you.

  7. Kirsten, we've been praying for your whole family since Dale's accident and will continue to do so. The hurt and sorrow and fatigue must be almost overwhelming at times for your whole family. It's been a long time since college, but we had some fun times together then:-). I cannot imagine how tough this is for all of you but you still shine forth such a sweet spirit. I would love to get your email address if you don't mind. God bless y'all! Lesli (Bogardus) S.

  8. I have been keeping up with and praying for Dale's progress. I must say I love the comments from people with such wisdom, whether from years or from experience with their own children's challenges! I am sure it must be encouraging to you Kristen as well!! God bless. Tracey Westbrook Missionary in Australia