Dale is one tired puppy today---and so am I! On Wednesday, we received a surprise phone call from Group Health's neurology department. We had an appointment for Dale scheduled for February 1st; this was just to be a follow-up neuro evaluation with the same neurologist who saw Dale when he had a seizure at Good Sam (inpatient rehab). We had made the appointment a few weeks back and were disappointed that Dale couldn't be seen any earlier as we really wanted to talk to the neurologist again.....just to be sure that there was nothing else we could do for Dale during his seizures or anything other signs we should be looking for. Our wonderful case manager called and, as a result, the neuro doctor said he could see Dale as a follow-up patient rather than a new patient (since Dale has never been seen in the neuro office, he was being viewed as a new patient). Anyhow.....the neuro office called and said that Dale's office visit was moved up to January 5th---this coming Thursday! Then, two days ago (this Thursday), we received another call informing us that the neuro doctor wanted Dale to have another EEG conducted since (1) Dale has not had an EEG since mid-September, (2) they were never able to get a sleep-study EEG performed, and (3) Dale has improved so much that it would be good to "see" how his brain is functioning and what areas are still showing signs of damage and need further healing time.
All that to say---Dale had to be deprived of sleep Thursday night so that he would naturally fall asleep during the EEG on Friday. This caused a small uproar in our household schedule---namely, MOM had to go without sleep as well! I had to keep Dale up until midnight Thursday (this was not too hard although he did start getting tired about 10:00 p.m.) and then awaken him at 5:00 on Friday morning. He actually did very well all day Friday without much sleep. He was not cranky and irritable (I was!) and didn't complain about the lack of sleep, even going so far as to inform me that he could stay up two days if he needed to. (I didn't need to ask how he knew that; he's been to sleepovers at friends' houses where they probably had contests to see who could stay awake the longest!) In fact, he seemed so awake that I was concerned that he would not be able to fall asleep for the test. Throughout the day, Dale was rather shaky at times, undoubtedly due to his brain and body being extra tired. When we arrived at the building complex, we parked in a garage across the way from the EEG wing. It was only a short walk through the complex and across a driveway to the correct wing, but we barely got half-way there before Dale began seriously shaking and needed to sit down. I thought he was going to have another seizure right there in the hallway (the doctors told us that lack of sleep can trigger one), but taking a rest break seemed to help and we were able to get to the EEG department without further problems.
When we arrived and had checked in, Dale and I sat in the waiting room for a bit. We looked around in some alarm because the entire wing seemed to be deserted except for us and the EEG staff. I'm telling you---the place was empty and, frankly, rather freaky. It looked just like those scary movies where the person wakes up and the hospital is silent and deserted and they stumble out into the hall to find the nurses' station abandoned and everyone has vanished. This was probably due to the holidays, but still.....I'm glad Dale was beside me or my imagination would have shifted into overdrive!
Once Dale and I were in the testing room, everything went great. The technician was able to run the complete test, performing more detailed testing than I had seen Dale undergo yet. (He's had three or four other EEGs. We are both becoming pros at this---except he doesn't remember any of the others!) When it was time for the sleep study, the tech left the room and turned out the lights so that Dale would not be disturbed by any typing she had to do during the test; Dale fell asleep quite naturally, I think, and slept for about thirty minutes. He had a bit of a hard time waking up afterwards; he was still soooo tired. I'm so glad that the nurse and technician were able to stay with Dale for the short minutes it took me to get back to the van; they walked with him to the elevators, then down the hall to the side door where I was able to pick him up. I don't think there was any way he would have been able to make the walk back to the van. His brain was tired and his body had had enough! He revived some on the way home, entering the house in time to eat dinner and relax. I had already assured Dale that he could go to bed as soon as he wanted to that night; he still stayed up until 9:00. Once in bed, he slept for twelve hours straight! Even today, Dale has been shaky some but doing well. He wants assistance to walk down the hall or to the table, but he can get up and take his turn playing the Kinect just fine! Either he's pulling the wool over our eyes or he can move better than he thinks. I know that playing the video game (Kinect sports) is automatic to him; thus he doesn't have to think about his movements, making him comfortable in his own skin. However, walking outside or down the hall reminds him that his body doesn't always respond like he remembers it doing, so he feels like he needs help.
Every day, in so many ways, Dale is improving and making excellent progress. Chad and I have decided that Dale is ready to attend more school, so we (Dale and I) will be up at school until lunchtime each day. This means that Dale will be able to attend 3rd hour (math) and 4th hour (Bible) now. We believe that Dale's endurance levels have increased to this point, although we are being careful to introduce extra class time slowly so as to be sure that he is not overwelmed physically. I believe his brain will handle the extra listening and learning time just fine. He will be attending classes but not taking tests yet. Maybe we can extend Dale's school day to include all his classes by the start of the fourth quarter! Wouldn't that be amazing? Chad and I were discussing this yesterday, and we know that Dale will have a good bit of make-up work ahead of him, but he doesn't need to tackle that just yet. We can order PACEs for him (work-at-your-own-pace learning booklets and tests) to help him learn what he has missed; that may be during summer school this year and possibly throughout next school year, even into next summer---we'll see.
God's blessings are numerous and overflowing in our lives, and we cannot thank Him enough for what He has done. Dale's drowning, his rescue, and his not-just-survival-but-amazing-comeback is almost too incredible for words. Our Heavenly Father has shown His mighty hand to the world. We are awed every day at His power to heal and are humbled by His using us as His instruments by which He chose to show that power. Our hearts are so thankful, Lord, for Your generous gifts whereby our lives are made richer and for Your people who have allowed You to work through them to bless our family.
Happy New Year from the Ostranders to all of you! May God become as real to you in this next year as He has proved Himself to be to us. God bless you!
Numbers 6: 24 - 26 "The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."