Dale had an amazing day yesterday! He got up, got dressed (with help, of course!), went to homeroom at school, then came home and ate breakfast. He had PT at 12:30 p.m. I fully intended to give him an early lunch since we would be gone later, but I forgot. Despite this, Dale participated in PT and did great. He did not cry as much as before; in fact, he had been working at various activities for half an hour before he gave his first protest. Even then, the therapist encouraged Dale to keep going, distracting him by offering a choice of PT exercises to do. Dale was able to work hard at these exercises/activities (they are trying to do PT and OT together) for at least 50 minutes! This is the longest I have seen him work since the accident. Of course, being the wise lady that she is, the therapist changed activities often and kept Dale very involved by letting him choose what he wanted to do. It's all good for him! She is the most patient individual with Dale, and she always treats Dale as he is---a mixture of 12 year old developing young man and somewhat frightened small child. Then, after PT, we had a SP appointment scheduled. I told Dale that, after SP, we would get some lunch. I was hoping and praying that he would "endure to the end" and get some work done in SP. Once again, Dale did awesome!!! He answered questions for the therapist, pointed out pictures when told, even read a bit. He began to scream three times, but the therapist reminded him to use words instead and Dale calmed back down and stated what he wanted. I cannot tell you just how great Dale performed! He worked hard for about 40 minutes and then shut down. Almost literally! He was doing fine; then she began to ask questions about our dog. She showed Dale a picture of a snake (EEEEEEEK!) and asked him if he had one at home. Dale nodded his head. (We DO NOT have a snake at home, nor will we ever!) She then asked him if he had a cat at home for his pet; Dale nodded. (Again, no.) I chided him, saying, "Dale, are you going to answer yes to every question now? Do we have an elephant at home?" Dale just nodded! Obviously, he had hit the wall. He was ready for lunch! I praised him up one side and down the other for his excellent work both at SP and PT; then I rewarded his behaviour and took him to Burger King.
In many ways, Dale is a 12 year old boy. His body is growing like that of a boy his age; he enjoys humor of that sort (anything having to do with bodily noises); and he can't stand hearing his sisters jabber. But, in many ways, Dale is much younger and needs to be re-taught things. His writing, while in cursive, is more like that of a 2nd grader. I have to have him fill in the blanks to create sentences similar to a 2nd grade curriculum. He tends to be very emotional---crying easily, screaming, tiring easily. Some habits have stayed with him (method of brushing teeth, how to control TV remote, being silly/crazy) while others need cueing to remind Dale what step comes next. He is doing better feeding himself and not taking such gigantic bites; he drinks from a cup just fine; he is beginning to remember about half the steps to follow to go to the bathroom. Fastening his pants is coming back; buttoning his shirt is still a ways off---his hands shake so much at times that it is difficult for Dale to bring the button and buttonhole together. We still practice tying shoes. Dale is remembering all the steps; he just does not pull the laces tightly enough to make a secure bow. (Interesting comment about older vs. younger people's methods of shoe-tying; I would not have made the connection.) Since his recent spell while getting into the van, Dale has had no trouble at all climbing in. Walking up and down stairs is getting easier; he has an easier time going up than coming down. Sunday in church, I had to take Dale out of the main service because he couldn't handle the noise and crowd of people. Once we got in the overflow room, he settled down just fine. He tried again on Sunday night to put up a fuss; this time Dad got involved. He moved Dale to his other side, away from his sisters and told him to settle down or else. Dale chose "or else" just once; he started to scream. Chad's hand reached over and pinched Dale's knee. You should have seen Dale jump! I think he thought Chad had made an idle threat; he found out differently. Dale had a hurt look on his face until I leaned over and said, "Dale, Dad warned you." Then he realized there would be no pity forthcoming, so Dale straightened up and behaved.
This morning, Dale got to attend homeroom, class time with me (working on SP worksheets and reading), and history class! The teacher said Dale did well, only "making noise" a few times and sitting there the whole class hour. Praise the Lord! I'm scheduling extra PT and SP appointments which will fill out Dale's daily schedule; I am also getting Dale into as many of his morning classes as possible. I want to keep part of the early afternoon free so that Dale can rest some before his sisters come home from school and drive him up the wall! Also, there will be more school activities in the coming months (Veterans' Day assembly, Thanksgiving lunch, sports games) that Dale can attend to make him feel part of school again. Even if Dale is unable to gain enough information during classes to take any tests or receive a grade, he benefits from being around his friends and being part of a "normal" school day.
Last Friday and Saturday, our church hosted a Christian Ladies' Seminar. My girls and I attend every year, but this year was special. Dale is doing well enough that I don't need to be by his side every moment, so I could attend the whole event; and my pastor's wife asked me to speak about our family's experience with Dale's accident and these following months. What a frightening privilege! I thought I was going to fall on my face, both literally and figuratively, but I've had several people tell me they appreciated my talk and are praying for us. Basically, I told the ladies that, while our family is certainly no one special, our God is. "When I am weak, then am I strong." God gives us the strength, courage, grace, and endurance we need exactly when we need it. We simply have to make the decision that we will trust Him no matter what. And we cannot wait until a tragedy hits to make that decision; we need to be trusting God all along for Him to be able to make "all things work together for good." No one, whether Christian or lost person, is exempt from hurt and sorrow. I'm just so glad we have our Heavenly Father Who is waiting to wrap us in His arms and help us get through hard times like this. He is ever ready to help us with whatever we face each day. Sadly, we often rush right past Him while dragging our heavy burdens and struggling to make it through the day. And we wonder why life is so hard. We complain and say, "Isn't life supposed to be easier for a Christian? After all, I am God's child. Why is everything so difficult?" Mostly, it's because we fail to take advantage of the comfort, peace, and strength God offers, choosing instead to shoulder everything ourselves and getting more discouraged as our birthdays pile up. Please, please---don't wait another moment before stopping and deliberately closing your eyes and praying. Ask God to help you see all the ways you reject His help, and then ask Him to forgive this sin of "I can do it myself-ishness." Our God loves every one of His children and, as His Word says, "is not far from any one of us." He wants to relieve you of so much you carry, if you just let Him. Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul; thank You, Lord, for making me whole; thank You, Lord, for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free. And thank You for telling us that we can always pray, anytime, anywhere, and You will hear us. I love You, Lord Jesus, with all of my heart.
I Corinthians 13:1 - 2 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."