Thank you again for the jokes some of you post in your comments. They may be knee-slappers; they may be groaners; but they are all appreciated. I share as many of them with the family---especially Dale---as I can, and we share some laughs together. Our family is blessed (?) with a large sense of humor which can, at times, get us in trouble. It is not uncommon for one or more of us to get a giggle fit during what should be a serious time (church, especially), leading to heavy frowns from whichever parent is not doing the giggling---usually Chad. This silly streak also gets my kids in trouble at school. Before Dale started school, I used to say I would feel sorry for whoever was his teacher because Dale likes to be the class clown. Guess who was Dale's first teacher in K4? ME. And now I'm teaching him again, tutoring most of his subjects each day! I guess, in a manner of speaking, I'm reaping what I've sown. :-) So please, keep the jokes coming; we love 'em!
Dale has, sadly, continued to struggle physically for almost the last full week. His legs and arms jerk spasmodically; naturally, this causes him to feel out of control of his own body. Tuesday afternoon, Dale wound up on the gym floor, crying and angry with, of all people, me. He had stumbled while walking and began to fall, even though I had hold of his hand. Big sister Amanda was close behind to help break his fall. She had him around the waist, supporting him while his limbs did their jerking routine. He was getting scared since he couldn't stop the jerking, and his widened eyes and frantic yelps gave evidence to this. I helped ease Dale to the floor, trying to calm him down by saying, "It's all right, Dale. You're okay." Apparently, this was the wrong thing to say! Dale began yelling at me right there in the middle of the school gym: "Stop, Mom! Just stop! Stop trying to keep me from having a seizure!" Amanda and I looked at each other in amazement, simply astounded that he was angry with me for helping him. I was already on the verge of throwing in the towel (for the moment!) due to previous minor altercations with Dale over school work and unsteadiness, and this just about did me in. THEN, the snot had the gall to turn to Mandie and thank her for helping him through this! At that, I nearly took his head off---literally. I used my "controlled-anger voice" (you know, speaking through tightly-clenched teeth) to question why he was accusing me---who had done nothing wrong---and thanking Amanda---who had done nothing, period. He refused to see my point, so, at Mandie's behest, I turned around and walked away. Not for long though---I quickly turned back, helped Dale to his feet, and assisted him to the van where I, by sheer iron will, refrained from tying him to the luggage rack for the ride home!
Unfortunately, this was not the end. Yesterday, while leaving school to go to PT, Dale fell again and, again, got upset with me as if I should be able to prevent all ills in his world. This time, he didn't get away with it. My own anger bubbled up, and, once we were in the car, I let him have it. For a while after Dale's accident, we treated Dale with kid gloves; he was not fully aware of his actions and their consequences. However, that time has passed! I informed Dale in a kind and loving voice (NOT) that it was completely unfair to blame me for things that go wrong in his life. I told him how wrong it was for him to get angry with me, as if I wasn't doing everything in my power to help him right now. I reminded him that I was the one (mostly) who stayed with him at Doernbecher in Portland; I spent every weeknight with him in Good Samaritan (weekends were taken by Chad, Amanda, or Katie); I was the one who helped change his diapers and clean him up when his brain and body could not get the hang of potty-training again; I am the one who takes him to therapy and doctor appointments and gives him his medicine, etc. By the time I was through, Dale was rather ashamed of himself and the way he had been treating me of late. He sat in the seat quietly for a long time before reaching over and laying his hand on my arm, saying, "Mom, I'm sorry. I love you." Which, of course, melted my heart and cleared the air between us.
We did have a small verbal skirmish centered around his waiting until all the high school was on break before informing me he had to use the restroom at school; this entailed walking him to the restrooms, waiting for big sister Katie to clear out the ladies' bathroom, and posting her on guard duty while I helped Dale into the first available stall. (Please don't tell me you think it would have been better for me to go with Dale into the men's room. That would have required the enlistment of someone outside the family to clear the way, not to mention my unease at entering foreign territory and the high school guys' discomfort at seeing me go into their private quarters!) My irritation with Dale was due largely to my being, by then, so very tired, and, once I got a nap after school, I was okay for the church service last night. So far today, Dale and I both have done quite well maintaining our Christianity!
You've heard the joke: A boy was complaining to a friend about his summer vacation. He said, "Last year, my mom forgot my toothbrush. This year was worse.......she forgot my whole suitcase!" Dale has a twist on that: "Last year, I forgot my toothbrush. This year was worse........I forgot my suitcase. But don't worry, it was just my suitcase---not my clothes!" (I did tell you we were zany.)
God has blessed us greatly as of late through the giving hearts of our extended family and friends. We have received numerous phone calls, cards, and letters from caring folks wanting to help with our expenses. As you know, I cannot work this year at my usual job due to Dale's accident; Chad has recently taken on a second job to make ends meet; my girls have had to pay for their own stuff multiple times this year. This last concept is not necessarily new, but the number of things they have had to buy for themselves has definitely increased since August 2011. Our family has not gone without food or shelter, but our purse strings have been gradually tightening over the past few years (we may have to sell the purse!) and much more so in the past several months. To those of you who have donated time, money, food, and clothes to our family since Dale's accident, thank you. God alone knows just how much we owe you. I do not desire to make anyone feel sorry for us, nor do I want to paint a bleaker picture than is actually true, but we have several times come to a financial crossroads which seemed to us to be "the end." And each time, we tell God, "Whatever You want us to do, we'll do. If you want us to lose the house, so be it. If You want us to find yet another job, we'll do it. If You want us to sell one of the kids, we'll do it! Just, please, let us not get angry with You; let us still glorify You." This is especially hard for Chad; he feels like he is not fulfilling his job of taking care of his family when we have money trouble. So, thank you, wonderful people, for helping us stay on track financially. Medicaid covers all the actual hospital bills, various tests, therapy appointment co-pays, and medication; but it doesn't cover the gas needed to go to these appointments or the loss of my paycheck or the items we have purchased to help Dale at home (like extra handrails in the bathroom, etc.). And, in the early summer, we'll need to ask Medicaid to review Dale's records. Originally, we were told Dale is only covered for one year, retro-dating to August 1, 2011. We'll see if they change their minds or if we'll need to explore different avenues for Dale's therapy, medication, and such at that point.
God bless each of you who have traveled this road with us. Your thoughts, prayers, tears, and love are felt daily by each of us in the Ostrander family.
Psalm 35: 27 - 28 "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. And my tongue shall speak of Thy righteousness and of Thy praise all the day long."