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."