Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update Tuesday afternoon 11/8

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."


  1. I'm very happy that Dale is doing better. I've been thinking of Dale a lot and praying for him daily.
    As I recall the night I first met Jesus, I could not believe the awesomeness of God's love - so completely encompassing and more fulfilling than anything I could have previously imagined. And, to think, that He loves me - it's a marvel.
    Since then, I've become convinced that salvation in Christ is is a much greater miracle than any other. God made a tremendous sacrifice to offer us redemption, but no sacrifice was made for any other miracle.
    As you see and hear of souls saved in the days, weeks, months and years ahead, remember if God can save a soul, he can completely heal Dale.
    I believe the miracle of healing is a more natural thing for a loving God then reconciling with imperfect sinners.
    Here is a joke for Dale. "Whey did the turkey cross the road?" "He didn't want to be a chicken."

  2. I just have to tell you how thankful I am that you are willing to share Dale's amazing recovery with all of us complete strangers who hold your son in our hearts. I vividly remember when I first saw the news coverage of Dale being pulled from the ocean.

    Maybe it was because my oldest son is not much younger than Dale... But whatever the reason, your family's tragedy and victory has touched me far deeper than what seems reasonable.

    God is good and your testimony is a powerful picture of His grace and mercy. Continuing to pray for your sweet big guy...

  3. Oh my, i am passing this joke on to my daughter... she is 9 and is currently enjoying telling jokes and this is one that made me crack up because of its double meaning :P

    I am so happy that Dale has had a great few days:D What a marvelous gift. I truly enjoyed that your husband warned Dale and then followed through when Dale thought he could get away with it. It proves that some of his behaviour is frusteration on his part and he is taking it out in inappropriate ways. Now that you know he can not only understand discipline, but react accordingly I am sure you will be getting back into the routine of correcting his behaviour as well as all the other therpy's he is in.
    Thank you so much for writing about your testimony at the womens conference. I was praying for you and wondering how it had went and even if you would be able to attend as i know that Dale is your priority right now. I am happy to see he didnt have an episode that forced you to cancel. More proof that the Lord wants you to spread the word of miracles in everyday life through the power of faith in God, His Word and His unwavering, ever present love!

    I think that this week my prayer for Dale will be that he realizes the gift God gave him by keeping him alive so that he can appreciate the help and therpies and even once again rejoice in the Lord for all that he has been given.

    One day i know the Lord will open Dale's eyes to this miracle and that he will look back on these struggles and praise the Lord for each of them and be able to give his own testimony on the miracle of his life!

    My hope for Dale is that he begins to enjoy church again. I realize I am not intimately involved with your family and we have never met or spoken but i feel like Dale's church behaviour may be linked to the "why me?" that i am sure he thinks regularly. For you your faith in God seems to have strengthened as you see the proof first hand but for Dale he is changed and I would expect deep down may actually be blaming God or wondering why God "let this happen". We hear this so many times among adults and children when tragedy strikes and since his ability to communicate has been hindered to some degree and knowing your strength in your faith he may just be unwilling to express his anger at God and therefore throws little tantrums in church. Dale needs to be reminded of all the wonderful people in the Bible who were persecuted and injured or even killed because of or regardless of their faith in God and prayer. I am sure you are doing this and the fact that Dales faith may have changed may have already crossed your minds. I pray that Dale can open up and allow God in so that he can heal faster and better and become a better person for it. God is good, even when life seems bad.

    Thank you once again for your updates. My prayers are with you and your family and have been since i saw Dale's miracle on the news.

  4. Sounds like Dale had a pretty good day. I keep praying so soon he can do all the little things..button his shirt...as far as handwriting, well, I've seen some pretty young looking handwriting on adults. so I don't see that as too bad!! Just glad to hear he can spend some time in school and improvements are evident. I continue to keep you and Dale in my thoughts and prayers...I feel connected to you all through our God and my prayers will never cease.

  5. Wow! What a great update..in many ways! It seems like Dale is into a good routine with school and PT?SP, etc..I love the part about when your husband had to pinch his knee! It sounds like Dale is working harder and harder...he KNOWS it all, it just needs to get out! Thank you too, for the encouragement at the end. Yes, I DO tend to struggle and hold onto my burdens and send up a "quickie" prayer, but to really hand it over to Him..and in HIS Strength we can do all things..right? Thanks again for these loving works. We continue to pray...<3 to all
    Saralee and family in Baltimore

  6. GREAT POST! Thank you so much. If you ever have time and think it would be worthwhile, I think your readers (myself being one) would find it informative to have an idea of what Dale remembers. Does he recall the accident? Where does his memory of events that day drop off; and where does it pick up again? Does he ever refer to it. I recall you said, on one occasion, he asked if what he's doing now were a dream.

    By the way, a set of stories I'm putting together (probably for my grandchildren) are about the adventures of a boy and a houseboat in his father's story world. In the real world his father is mentoring him to touch lives. The boy turns twelve in the story.

  7. For Dale

    (copy and paste)

  8. LOL i am anxiously waiting for the next update! Dale has done so wonderfully that it excites my heart to experience God through your writing and your family! You have, at least for me, helped to put the biblical teachings into a sequence that are much easier to apply to daily life. I wasn't raised with God and consider myself a "baby christian" and your posts have definatly encouraged my faith to grow. Thank you and thank Dale for going through all of this to spread Gods word! I always say "if you change one life you have succeeded" and I definatly know Dale and you all have changed mine (for the better). Praise the Lord! Can't wait to read how church goes this week and about the ups and downs. I to, would be interested in Dales perspective in all of this, especially his memories and whether he is angry or not, etc. After all, this is his story. Maybe one day he will be able to express better so he can either write up his own post or dictate one for you just from him. As always, your in my thoughts and prayers!