Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Our God is wonderful, omnipotent, gracious, and always ready to save. He saves us from hell; He saves us from our past; He saves us from our mistakes; He saves us from ourselves. He is above all things, in all things, before all things, and will be forever in Heaven. Yes!
Dale had SP and PT on Thursday. I was a bit concerned about PT because we were going to work with a new therapist. We had met her once before and she seemed nice, but we had really only spoken a few sentences to each other. She followed Dale and the other therapist around, just watching to see what works best for Dale. Plus, Dale was really tired Thursday. We had special meetings at our church this week; Dale had attended church Sunday night, Tuesday night, and Wednesday night. You know how exhausted you feel just from the extra physical effort to go to church several nights in a row (as my husband put it, "I had to shave two days in a row!"), not to mention being spiritually drained from the preaching, conviction, and general "stirring up." So, I was unsure how PT would go. Dale surprised me by cooperating very well and performing all the tasks the new therapist laid out. He got up and down off the floor for various exercises; he played catch with her; he got on the swing for a short minute. He walked on the treadmill at a speed of 1.1 for almost three full minutes! We were all impressed. He only balked at remaining in a kneeling position while inserting bolts into pre-drilled holes in a box (OT); he said this hurt his knees. Once he got up and sat on a padded table/mat, he was able to finish the bolts. He even got himself a cup of water twice from the dispenser. The therapist and I talked for a few minutes afterward and agreed that PT was a success!
Then Dale had SP. Lisa is so good with him, praising him for doing well, encouraging him to keep going even though he may be tired, and being firm yet kind with him about using his words instead of screaming. At the end of SP, Lisa said she was impressed with Dale's improved endurance levels (able to think and answer ten or more questions in a row) and comprehension levels. She stated that it seems obvious that the comprehension was always there (we knew this!) but that his speech difficulties kept Dale from expressing that comprehension. Now, Dale is able to answer questions better, reiterate some ideas, and even give answers to "I have to think" questions (like "Why do you think the dog barked at the frog?"). On that note, Chad asked Dale the other day a question which Dale wouldn't answer. Dale just kept shaking his head and half screaming with his mouth closed. Chad asked him, "What is keeping you from answering?" Dale replied, "My tongue." As humorous as this is, it is probably a very accurate answer. Dale is having to fight with his tongue, his brain, and his memory to get out even the simplest words. But, if anything, he is a fighter. He has proven that from the beginning.
On Friday, we got to go back to Good Samaritan Rehab for a follow-up appointment. Dale got to see the same physiatrist who oversaw his care in the hospital, and this doctor was pleased to see how well Dale has progressed since being discharged. He mentioned he saw definited improvements in Dale's walking, speech, ability to move on command ("Touch your nose; lift your left leg; hold your arm straight out; etc."), and overall demeanor. After the appointment, we walked around for a few minutes and visited the OT and PT gyms to see Dale's former therapists. It was good for them to see him and good for Dale, too, I think.
Last night, our school hosted our first volleyball and basketball games of the season. Dale and I got back from his appointment in time to watch his sisters playing volleyball. They both played very well---and that's not just "proud mama" talking! Our girls' JV team lost but actually played well as a team; our girls' varsity played two different teams and won both games! At this point, Dale was drooping, so Chad decided to take him home. I stayed to watch the rest of the games. Now, the boys' varsity basketball game got underway. Mind you, we were playing our rivals, a Christian school from over the mountains, so this was an important game. All in all, it was a really good game with points scored by both teams and fairly decent calls by the referees :-) until we got about halfway through the game. I don't recall exactly when this occurred; I just remember the emotions rolling throughout the gym. One of our boys went racing down the court, setting up a pass play under the basket. The ball sailed too far, and he valiantly leaped after it, attempting to sling the ball back into play before it bounced out of bounds. He was successful in whacking the ball back into play, but the force of his efforts propelled him into the wall at the end of the court. He hit the wall pretty hard, the high-speed impact bouncing him off the wall and straight to the floor. He immediately began writhing and yelling in pain. If you've never heard a young man yelling in agony, consider yourself lucky. I don't think I ever had before. The referee blew the whistle, the coaches came running over, and then the call went out: "We need Mrs. Goltiao!" She is a wonderful, godly lady in our church whose own boys played basketball for us not too very long ago, and she is an excellent nurse. Anytime something happens on our church or school grounds and she's around, she hurries to help. The gym went silent save for the whispered prayers circling the building. One of our coaches pulled several teammates over to form a human wall, shielding the injured young man from the curious and the concerned alike. His father was present as well as his sisters; my oldest, Amanda, went over to comfort his oldest sister who is a classmate of hers. An ambulance was called; when they finally wheeled him out, he was breathing through an oxygen tube but not intubated. I believe he suffers from asthma which may have complicated matters. The report came back: his arm is possibly dislocated, possibly broken. Please pray for this young man to have complete healing with no growth plate complications. Did I mention he had broken this same arm already, within the last year, I believe? I cannot imagine the pain he was going through. God bless him.
I recounted all of this because it affected my girls somewhat. Amanda and I were crying and praying together for him. He sits by her in one class and is always joking with her. After what happened at the beach with Dale, now she was the one hugging the sister of the injured young man and comforting her. Katie said as well that hearing the prayers around her and hearing people say "I hope he's all right" threw her back to that day on the beach with people all around saying that same thing about Dale. She was trying to be strong last night and not cry, but it was hard on her. Praise the Lord, we are not still at the beach or in the hospital, begging God to spare Dale's life, or even at a grave site, asking for God's comfort and strength. We are still beseeching Him daily to continue His marvelous work in Dale's mind and body, but there is definite light at the end of the tunnel. Dale has made incredible strides in these three-and-a-half months---imagine what the next months will bring! We do have an amazing God, One Who is mighty to save and strong to heal. And you know this would be true if God had chosen to take Dale on Home or have him live out his remaining days in a hospital bed or revert to a small-child mentality and never "grow up." God is good. Our hearts are overflowing with love, praise, glory, and honor for our awesome God. The Lord be praised!
Psalm 91:1-4 "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."