As I'm sure you experience in your own lives, we have had quite a few ups and downs this week. The ups have helped us praise God and be encouraged, while the downs have done their part to lower our spirits and make us seek God's face even more. How does the song put it? "That's life." What a blessing to have our Heavenly Father to turn to in times of great despair and times of wondrous triumph.
Dale's school schedule has been interrupted this week because he is taking the Stanford Achievement Test by himself at home. We decided to work at home on the test because the noise level at school can get pretty intense! He has been working steadily on it all week, making progress almost every day. It seems to take him at least twice as long as recommended to finish any one section, but, since I expected this, I have been able to plan for that. I am encouraged to note that Dale seems to be understanding everything just fine; of course, he gets some answers wrong, but that, too, is to be expected. I am not helping him any more than he would be helped if he were in a classroom setting; the only help I am allowed to give him (as with any student) is to read the question/answers to him, hoping the extra reading will make the answer click into place. His taking of the test has been interrupted by therapy trips and meals........oh, and a seizure.
Tuesday morning, just a week-and-a-half after his "partial seizure" while taking a walk with Dad, Dale was extremely shaky. He managed to get ready for the day, but trying to walk down the stairs proved too much for his brain to handle. His legs kept buckling underneath him, causing him to have to sit down quickly on the step above him. We had almost reached the bottom of the first flight of stairs when Dale's leg again buckled. This time, however, he couldn't seem to find purchase on the step behind him. I tried lowering him to the landing where he would be "safe", but his brain glitched and he went into a full seizure. This one lasted just as long as others previously (about 30 - 45 seconds) and was accompanied by posturing (arms stiffening out straight, wrists/fingers bending painfully) and rapid eye blinking. The only difference between this seizure with the medication and others before the meds is that Dale was aware of what was going on but was powerless to do anything about it. As soon as his muscles stopped their extreme tensing and his breathing returned to normal (yes, his breathing is restricted like an athlete's would be while doing extreme exercise), Dale began crying loudly. At first he couldn't even hear me speak to him because he was crying so hard. After he began to calm, I asked him if he could hear me; he said he could and had all along. He said his vision blacked out some and he couldn't move his arms or legs. I reminded him that this had happened before and that his ability to move would return, and, soon enough, it did. We tried sitting him up, but he was rather limp :-) and unable to hold the sitting position. Dale seemed completely exhausted by this seizure and lay passively on the floor of the landing while his sisters and I tried to figure out how to carry him downstairs to the couch. Believe me---this is one of those things men do better than women! We kept dissolving into giggles each time we attempted to grasp Dale's various appendages and pick him up. Finally, I decided it was in Dale's best interest (and ours!) to just leave him there on the landing with a pillow and blanket while I ran the girls (who were now tardy) to school. We put up the child safety gate right beside his head to nullify any possibility of him rolling down the second flight of stairs. (I found out when I got back home that we had not left room for our dog, Peanut, to crawl under the gate and get to Dale. I guess she whined a bit, then gave up and went back downstairs to curl up on the couch and wait for my return.) Dale was fine there, even falling asleep for a bit while waiting for me.
After I returned, I helped Dale walk down the rest of the stairs and be seated on the couch. I then put in a call to the neuro-psych doctor's office because Dale was supposed to start the neuro-psych evaluation testing that morning. The doctor was in a meeting, but he took my call and assured me that we could put off the testing for another, seizure-free morning. He made sure to ask if Dale was all right or if we needed any help; I assured him that Dale was fine now, just very tired. So Dale and I spent the morning watching TV together and eating lunch before heading for PT that afternoon. Dale did fine in PT, continuing his pattern of giving his best effort when he needs to most!
Wednesday was another day of testing, relieved only by short breaks and meals before calling it quits about 3:00 p.m. I help conduct Buttons and Bows twice a month after school on Wednesdays, and this was one of those days. My co-worker's daughter was very sick, so she dropped off her supplies and headed home. Thankfully, the girls were not any more boisterous and crazy than usual, so we had a good time. Church that evening was interesting, mainly because I was verrrrryyy tired and had to keep fidgeting to stay awake! When you sit on the front pew as we do, you have no option but to keep awake the entire service. It's rather obvious when you don't!!! My youngest daughter, Emily, can get away with falling asleep during the preaching, but it would be really bad if I did! We all went to bed shortly after arriving home that night from church.
We called the neurologist on Tuesday to report Dale's latest seizure and other developments, but we did not hear back from the doctor until Thursday. Chad and I both believe that the seizures are merely a symptom of the bigger problem of brain misfires. It seems like sometimes Dale's brain works just fine, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes when he tries to lift his leg to climb the stairs, his leg lifts and he steps up; the brain sent the right cue and the body responded. Sometimes, however, his leg jerks for no reason; the brain sent a signal that wasn't needed. Dale's body responds to the miscue, and, if this happens while he is already trying to do something (walk, climb stairs, sit down), he gets thrown off by the miscue and usually stumbles or falls. We were hoping the neurologist had some magic potion that would help Dale's brain make the proper connections, but apparently he doesn't. He helped us to see, though, that Dale has improved so much since his accident that we should be thankful for what we have gotten back so far. And we are---please don't think we are in any way ungrateful. We just want more for Dale than shakiness and spasmodic jerking and needing assistance the rest of his life. And, yes, we have been pounding Heaven's gates with our requests, night and day. I thank God for the miracle of our boy, and I welcome and cheer each new step of progress we can chart. But I truly believe that God has more for Dale than shaking and falling; I believe God is continuing to heal Dale and making him into what He desires our son to be. I don't want to presume to know God's plans or designs, but I don't think God will leave Dale like this.......unsteady, falling, unsure, scared, crying after a seizure. I can't wait to see the finished product that will be God's work in our son; I'd just like to press "fast forward" to the end! And maybe that's what God is trying to teach me through this: I need to wait on Him. I've read my Bible more, prayed more, and sought God's desires more since Dale's accident than I have in a long time. If nothing else (and we know there is much "else" that has occurred), God has gotten my attention; He has had a daughter return to Him because of His hand in our lives and on our son.
How can we help but praise Him for His wonderful works? How can we help but give thanks for all He does and is? Who else but our mighty God is powerful enough to hold back the sea as it tried to claim my son's life? Who else but our God is able to cradle Dale in His arms, holding onto him until the rescue team located him, while at the same time enveloping Chad and I in His loving arms, giving us strength beyond our human abilities and grace to help in time of need? Who else indeed but the Lord of hosts, the God of the universe, the Giver of life Himself, the Creator of the miraculous machines we call our bodies? And Who else can make the reconnections of the miniscule firing pins of Dale's brain pathways to enable him to grow and develop and mature to full service for Him? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Psalm 20: 7 "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God."
Psalm 28: 7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him."