Yep, it's official. Dale is just about back to "normal." This is viewed with mixed emotions in our household. Saturday, for the first time since his accident, Dale came close to corporal punishment. He simply wouldn't stop tormenting his sisters. The kids were all playing the Kinect, and Dale seemed to think it was his job to provide running commentary on the successes and failures during the bowling tournament. Of course, most of the successes were attributed to him, and all of the failures were his sisters'---which didn't make them very happy with him. He would not stop mouthing off, even finding it necessary to explain to them in detail what exactly they were doing wrong. Basically, they were ready to kill him! Dad and Mom had to intervene, sending the younger girls to their rooms (sending Dale to his would have, indeed, been a punishment as it would have meant climbing the stairs again!) and turning off the game and the TV. The older girls left the room as well; Dale sat on the couch in lonely silence broken only by his occasional asking if he could turn the TV back on. I'm sure you know the answer to that question. It got to the point where Amanda, Katie, and I just looked at each other and wondered aloud, "Did we pray for him to get back to normal?" Dale has since realized (we hope) that he needs to watch what he says or his mouth will get him in trouble; plus, he's getting in some great apology practice!
PT is getting better each time we go. Dale is working hard to help his body learn to re-balance, strengthening his muscles, and improving his endurance. He practiced yesterday getting in and out of the tub. Our therapist emptied out a giant toy box which is actually shaped much like our tub at home; Dale then climbed in, sat down, stood up, and stepped back out a couple of times. He had a seizure on Monday morning while trying to stand up in the tub after his bath. He just couldn't get enough strength in his arms to support himself while getting his legs under him. We eventually got him standing, but his legs weren't supporting him properly; I lowered him back down to a seated position, but I guess his brain had had enough and decided to shut down for a while. The poor guy had to stay curled up in the now-empty bathtub with a couple of towels over him until he woke up enough to get out of the tub! Once he awakened, he had no trouble standing up, stepping out, and walking to his room to get dressed. I realized while watching him at PT yesterday that (1) he needs to hold onto the side of the tub itself when standing up rather than holding the extra handrail Chad installed (Dale still needs to use the extra handrail while stepping in and out of the tub) and (2) we need to drain the bathtub before having Dale stand. I believe these steps will help Dale feel more confident when standing up in the tub and prevent further seizures in the bathtub.
I have to share with you a tear-jerking moment. Yesterday morning in my classroom, Dale and I were talking about his seizure the day before. He told me he remembers blacking out, but that it happened so fast he couldn't even say, "Mom!" or anything before he was out. I was telling him that if he could, he should try to say something to let me know that everything was going black and that he didn't have to be scared because these seizures happen and they don't hurt his brain, just help it reset. He looked so very sad when talking about the episode that I asked him if he was all right. He said, "The reason I was scared when I blacked out is because I thought I was dying." I was horrified! Here I had thought that the seizure was the main problem, and Dale thought he was dying. He sat there with tears in his eyes and told me, "I thought I was dying, and I didn't want to die because I love you guys so much." I wrapped my arms around him and held him close, praying that God would give me the words to say to help alleviate his sorrow and fear. I assured Dale that he would not die from these seizures and comforted him as best I could. I also apologized for not recognizing before this his fear during these spells. He was crying as he asked, "Why did God let this happen?" This was not the first time this question had come up in our family, but it was the first time Dale himself had voiced it. I could only reply, "Son, I am not God. I cannot claim to know why He allows bad things to happen to good people. But I do know that Romans 8:28 is true: 'And we know all things work together for good to them that love God.' I don't know why God let you drown, but I know He would never have allowed that to happen unless He could use it for good." Dale nodded his head; he knew this already, but sometimes our human hearts need to voice our confusion and questions so that we can be reminded of God's sovereignty and purpose. I further reminded Dale that even when he was in the water and couldn't breathe, God was right there with him. God never left him, nor will He ever. Dale will have many more times to consider the whys and wherefores of his accident, but I believe, with our guidance and faith, he will ultimately choose to give God the glory for His wondrous work. I know to some people, our belief that God can and will use anything for good is simply "blind faith." Isn't that somewhat redundant? Of course faith is blind; otherwise it wouldn't be called faith.....it would be fact. And, yes, God does require us to trust Him no matter what, without knowing all the details, without knowing the outcome, and without any guarantees of a rosy, pain-free life. But remember: we aren't supposed to be aiming for an easy, pleasure-filled, pain-free life of luxury. This world is not our home! We are supposed to be laying up treasures in Heaven; we are supposed to be working toward building our heavenly mansion; we are supposed to be pleasing God with our faith in Him. Right??? "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him." Please, Lord, let Chad and me teach our children to trust You in good times and bad, through dark days and bright, with ease and with pain. Please let them learn that You are trustworthy and good and right and always there. That's what we have been taught and have learned through life experience as well. I feel a bit like Job when he said, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee." All my life I have been taught that God is good, He is in control, and we should trust Him. These past few months have really brought those truths home to me and, I pray, to my children as well. My head knew to trust God whether I could see the way or not. My head knew He was worthy and able to care for me and mine. My head knew He could work all things for good. But now mine eye seeth Him working on Dale's behalf. Mine eye seeth Him caring for my girls through their heartbreak. Mine eye seeth Him listening to the prayers for Dale and answering those prayers. Mine eye seeth Him touching people's lives with the power of His healing might. And my heart is blessed. My heart now knows our God is real. My heart now knows I can trust Him no matter what. My heart now knows that He is good, He is worthy to be praised, and He is sovereign. Oh, thank You, my Father, for teaching me about You. My head knew these things already, but now mine eye seeth Thee.
Psalm 145: 1 - 4 "I will extol Thee, my God, O King; and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts."