Monday, January 30, 2012

Update Monday evening 1/30

I have this really bad habit.  I look ahead at planned events---anything, ranging from family vacations to Christmas programs to doctor appointments, imagine the worst possible scenario, and then proceed to believe it will come true.  I worry and fret myself into bad moods, tummy aches, headaches, and general misery.......only to find that it's never as bad as I feared.  Usually, at the end of the day, I wind up admitting that I, once again, over-dramatized the situation, blowing everything out of proportion.  I spend a goodly portion of my time apologizing to my friends, family, husband, children, God, neighbor, grocery clerk, stranger on the street get the idea!  And for what?  Not trusting God to be big enough to handle my life with its extremely difficult, mountainous challenges (my thinking) which are actually small hills of testing (His thinking).  Here we go again.......!

Today, Dale had PT in the morning.  He excelled at this!  Considering the struggles we all had trying to get Dale to walk, I expected Dale to stumble around and complain the whole hour.  Instead, he had a really good day.  The therapist took Dale outside the PT gym to the sky bridge and had him use a cane for support.  Initially, she held his hand while he held the cane in the other.  Gradually, she transferred to a finger-hold, then gripping the back of his jacket, then walking backwards in front of him with me walking behind.  When she walked in front of Dale, she again used the gradual release method.  She started Dale out using both hands to grip the cane like a balancing pole in front of him; then she held the stick end while he held the curved handle; then she had Dale hold the stick end.  We made several trips back and forth across the sky bridge and, each time, Dale's balance and steadiness increased.  He began to take longer, more natural strides and stopped pausing every two or three steps.  The therapist was very good about praising Dale for his wonderful walking and pointing out the improvements he was making.  She made sure he realized that, by walking with a longer and more natural stride, he needed less support---and felt good about it, to boot!

Then came the real challenge.  When we re-entered the PT gym, she let Dale rest a bit with a cup of water while she set up a balance obstacle course.  She found two half-sphere rubber shapes (they looked like rubber balls cut in half with little nubs around the outside!); these she laid on the floor for him to step on first.  Next, she laid out a flat rubber balance beam, followed by a taller, wooden balance beam.  She reversed the order after the wooden balance beam, putting down another flat rubber balance beam and finishing up with two more half-sphere rubber shapes.  She assured Dale that she would not let him fall and that she would be holding both of his hands the whole way across.  Dale then stepped on the first half-ball---that was hard.  He then had to step from the first to the second half-ball---that was very hard!  He did pretty well on the flat balance beam, although he found it difficult to put one foot in front of the other and even "fell" once (since she was holding both of his hands, she was able to lower him to the floor).  She was very smart, giving Dale space to get his knees under him, get up on one knee, and stand up on his own.  Dale "fell" about three more times because his legs kept buckling, but, each time, he found his own balance and got himself up.  Each time, as well, she had Dale remount the balance beam where he left off, not allowing him to cheat at all but finish the course.  The taller, wooden balance beam gave him serious trouble; Dale really had a hard time keeping his balance on it because it required his ankles to be even more supportive than normal.  (This was where he "fell" three more times, twice in just trying to get his feet to obey him and step down off the tall balance beam onto the flat one.  But, eventually, Dale succeeded!!!  He made it all the way across the obstacle course, gratefully stepping onto the silly half-spheres at the end to be done!  As his therapist put it, "Both he and I were sweaty by the end!"  I was so pleased with the way Dale worked hard.

We went home for lunch; then, about 2:00 p.m., we headed for his MRI appointment.  Yes, this is the one I was so worked up about.  I was concerned that Dale would not be able to lie still that long, that he would fidget and shift and mess up the scan, and that he would get claustrophobic inside the machine.  In reality, none of this happened.  Dale did great, even going so far as to fall asleep during the scan!  The technician and I helped Dale onto the narrow table.  He shook a good bit but was able to get situated.  She strapped a "seat belt" across his waist; I think this helped him feel secure.  She placed a set of headphones on him and laid a washcloth over his eyes before fastening the front mask-like part of the machine over his face.  He was already holding very still.  She then pressed the button to roll the table into the scanner; having done so, she waited beside him until she could tell he had calmed down.  I was able to stand right next to him with my hand on his leg to give him extra comfort.  The technician turned on a classical music station for him to listen to (my request), and, before long, Dale had drifted off to sleep!  She was able to run the entire test with Dale moving only once---and that was unconsciously.  While he was sleeping, his nose began to he reached up to scratch it!  Once the test was completed, I asked the tech if the nose scratching had been a problem; she said, "Yes, but I just reran the scan."  Dale and I both were glad the test was over---that thing is incredibly LOUD!  And, I must admit, my headache was unwarranted because Dale did fine.  The technician assured Dale that he would do great on "the next one" because he had held so still for this one.  My immediate reaction was to think, "No!  I don't want another one run."  But, truth be told, Dale probably will need to undergo at least one more MRI so the neurologist can see how much his brain is healing.  Thank You, Lord, for hearing my constant prayer during the MRI to help Dale hold still.  Now we get to wait for the results!

I have to sign off now but not before I thank all of you again for your prayers and support.  We have felt loved and encouraged every day since Dale's injury.  God bless you greatly.

John 4: 14  "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."


  1. Perhaps you (we) have more in common with Dale than we realize. After all, is not OUR tendency to look ahead and dread the events on our calendar similar to what he must feel when he looks ahead to walking down a certain path? Just wondering :-)

  2. I think your husband taking Dale out for a walk was a great thing for Dale. Making him walk with his arms down will force him to keep better balance and enable him to build his confidence. I don't know if I've ever thanked you for these continual updates. But reading about Dale and his progress is always a day brightener for me. So, Thank you.
    Here is a joke for Dale:

    A young teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, "If I sold my house and my car, held a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would I get into heaven?"

    "No!" the children all answered.

    Then she asked, "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?"

    Again, the answer was, "No!"

    "Well," she continued, "then how can I get to heaven?"

    A five-year-old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead!"