I apologize for not updating everyone sooner. Events have conspired against me to not allow me to access a computer in order to provide an update. Our internet has been down at work where I usually update the blog; my time at home has been filled with things more pressing than my computer time; and our laptop died which further limited my ability to get online. In other words---I just plain couldn't!
Our week has been ultra busy with school, appointments, and stuff too numerous (and boring) to tell. Dale had PT on Monday; he did his usual fantastic job of working hard and not giving up. Monday was a somewhat shaky day for him, but things improved as time went on. We made an extra stop at the pharmacy downtown to pick up more meds for Dale. I had called the automatic refill line two weeks before in order to have Dale's next refill delivered to our house. We had not received the order by mail as of last Friday, so I called to check on it, only to be told that they don't stock that particular dosage level and had to special order it from their warehouse. They had just shipped it the day before (last Thursday) and estimated its arrival sometime the end of this week. I asked them to call the neurologist and ask for a seven-day prescription to be filled so Dale would not have to skip any doses; he's had to do that before, and this medication is not something one should go off cold turkey. They told me that they couldn't have it to the pharmacy before Saturday, necessitating an extra trip downtown (45 minutes one way) to pick it up. Since I counted and knew there were enough pills to last Dale through Monday morning's dose, I chose to wait until Monday to pick up the prescription. When I arrived at the pharmacy counter, to my surprise there were two separate prescriptions waiting: one at the regular dosage level and one at the next largest dosage level (something they said they could not give me since the doctor had written the script for the smaller size). I didn't mind; I knew I now had plenty to get us through until the ordered meds arrived at the house. Was I ever shocked/annoyed when we got home that afternoon to find the mail-ordered meds waiting for us at home! Soooo, we now have more than enough pills to last us a while. Dale has been taking the larger pills at night (four small pills equal two large pills) and having no trouble getting them down; he takes the smaller pills in the morning since the dose is three and a half pills. At least we know we won't run out any time soon!
Tuesday was just a school day for us. Things are a little weird since some teachers and the principal are gone with the seniors on their Senior Trip. Other teachers are filling in for them but some classes are simply turned into study halls, so I've kept Dale with me to continue his schoolwork. He's doing well, plodding through history (interesting but rather full of facts), enduring English (he gets it, just isn't his favorite subject), understanding math (making mistakes like we all do---or is that just me?), and reveling in science (looooves it!). He took a math test recently, and I had him correct his mistakes after I graded it. I'm hoping this will help him realize he needs to be more careful in his calculating. He also took a grammar test and did okay. His science check-up: great! History test coming up, though, over three chapters.......we'll see.
Wednesday was, by far, the hardest day of this week. Dale's and my day began extra early since we had to be at the neurologist's office at 8:00 a.m.---meaning we had to leave the house by 7:15, meaning we had to get up and get going by 6:30! Dale was doing all right until it came time to go down the stairs. He had already fallen three times, due to his legs buckling and him not being able to catch himself. I thought he was going to have a seizure right there on the stairs (wouldn't be the first time), but, thank God, he pulled himself back from the brink of the seizure in time. Amanda wound up going down the stairs behind Dale (I was in front) and catching him each time his legs buckled.......which was on each step. When we got to the second flight of stairs, Dale asked if he could just scoot down on his bottom. I was absolutely fine with that, but, even then, Dale's legs kept jerking and he was having a hard time all around. It took us ten minutes just to get down the stairs and then another ten minutes to get Dale from the front door into the van. He just didn't have the strength to stabilize the jerking or catch himself whenever he would fall. I honestly thought he was going to have (another) seizure trying to get into the van. We have been practicing the routine needed to get him into the front seat, but Dale's hands and legs wouldn't cooperate. Katie stood behind us, ready to help grab him if he went into a seizure; again, thank the Lord, that crisis was averted, and Dale was eventually settled in the front seat. By this time we were running about ten minutes behind schedule. Unfortunately, things didn't get better.
We hit some traffic while heading to the neurologist's office and pulled into the parking garage about fifteen minutes late for our 8:00 appointment. I immediately called the office to tell them we were on our way up. Would you believe I was on hold, waiting for someone human to answer, for fourteen minutes?! During this time, Dale and I slowly made our way from the parking garage to the elevator, down the hallway, across the lobby, down a second hallway, out the side door, across a short walk to the next building, down that hallway, around the corner to the elevators, and up to the second floor........only to find we were in the wrong place! I had mistakenly gotten us to the EEG department---a legitimate error, since we had been there the end of December for Dale's EEG and then at the neurologist's office a few days later in the beginning of January. FINALLY at this point, someone answered the phone! I explained the situation, and they said they would call up to the office to find out if we could even still be seen since we were by now sooooo late. Within a minute, she had gotten back on the line with the information that we could still go up to the office (and she gave us proper directions) but would have to wait until the doctor was free before Dale could be seen. Doing our best to maintain smiles, Dale and I made our way laboriously from the east wing (EEG) to the west wing (not the White House) where I thankfully deposited Dale on a waiting room chair and went to check in.
The receptionist who checked us in was kind and nicely efficient, something I greatly appreciated since I was on the verge of a total meltdown. Unfortunately, the other receptionist did not weigh her words quite as carefully as did the lady dealing with me. When I asked if they knew how long it might be before Dale could be seen (we had an hour to spare before SP), the other receptionist replied, "We don't know. The patients who were here on time need to be seen first." I wanted to boil over! I wanted to really let her have it. After all, if she had any idea just how hard I had worked to get there that morning, she would have felt terrible. Every fiber of my being wanted to rip her face off. Somewhere deep inside, the Holy Spirit said, "DON'T YOU DO IT!" I think the Spirit Himself held my tongue and only allowed me to say, "Well, that was a little rude, but it's okay." She immediately responded, "I'm sorry." She truly hadn't meant her words to be mean, and I could tell she wasn't trying to reprimand me for my being tardy---we were forty minutes late to the appointment! By some anti-natural force, I kept the tears from filling my eyes and managed to get through the rest of the check-in process, even responding with grateful words when the other receptionist volunteered some other bit of information. Dale and I sat in the waiting room for only a few minutes before the nurse called us back to take his vital signs and weight. They sent us back out to the waiting room to wait for the doctor to come get us. This was actually a blessing, allowing Dale and I some much-needed time to decompress. There was a small kiosk with pre-loaded video games that Dale played until we were called; I got to read a magazine. We only had to wait about twenty minutes for the doctor to call us---which is a really short amount of time, when you think about it. This visit was much shorter than the one in January, really just a check-up on Dale's condition. The doctor was impressed with Dale's progress and enjoyed the humor Dale displayed while there. In January, Dale was still in his "waking up" phase and had not fully regained his mental faculties. This time, he was talking and laughing and making jokes. The doctor did run through a few of the tests he had done last visit, noting the ease with which Dale performed these tasks. He observed Dale walking (just a few steps on his own), touching his nose with his fingers while keeping his eyes closed, etc. He asked about Dale's latest seizure (now almost five weeks past!) and asked about any problems. He was able to download the MRI Dale had done and show us the results. I had never seen an actual MRI (do medical TV shows count as real?) and really didn't know what to make of it. Obviously, this was Dale's head being imaged, but I couldn't see the things the doctor was seeing. The doctor, however, was impressed with the results, telling us that, usually in the case of a drowning victim, you can see changes in the brain where the damages occurred. (I believe there might be areas of discoloration or signs of damaged tissue or blockages where brain matter died and connections had to be rerouted.) In Dale's MRI, everything looks normal........NORMAL! There are no signs of damaged brain tissue, no problems. To clarify, I asked the doctor, "You mean, if you or I were to have an MRI, the result would look like this?" His answer: "Yes." I said, "Praise the Lord!" I didn't even ask him to try to explain how this could be; I knew---it was God! The doctor just kept looking at the images and kind of shaking his head, half smiling, knowing this was a miracle. I then asked him if he had any idea if or when we could expect the jerking and shaking to settle down, and he again smiled when he replied, "We don't often get cases like this (where the patient recovers so well after drowning). I really don't know; I can't predict what will happen." Dale is a one-of-a-kind miracle case to the doctors, but he's just another example of how great our God is. We walked out of the doctor's office that morning---slowly and shuffling some!---grinning from ear to ear. Our God is showing Himself to be powerful beyond imagination. Nothing is beyond His reach!
Our day wasn't over yet. We had to rush to get to SP on time, walking in only one minute late. Lisa worked Dale rather hard, pushing him deliberately to keep thinking even after he was showing obvious signs of slowing. This is good for him; it teaches his brain to keep connecting when it's tired, and it shows Dale he can keep going even when he thinks he can't. From SP we went directly to PT where Alison took no pity on him, just directed him to the stairs. Dale surprised himself, I think, by doing well walking down the stairs and even walked down the last flight step-over-step. He sat down on a convenient bench for a quick rest before walking back up the entire flight of stairs step-over-step. When we went inside the PT gym, Dale got to get on the swing for a bit before standing at the bar for some jumping practice (he did 20 jumps in a thirty-second period!) and practicing on the balance board (wobble board). By then, he was more than ready to be done, and so was I. Once we finally got in the van, he and I were very glad to point the car home!
Dale has good days and bad days. Thursday at school, Dale worked hard and got a lot done. His shakiness comes and goes, and he is learning to deal with it. I am deliberately trying to let him do more walking on his own with me just gripping the back of his belt or his shirt instead of holding his hand. Today has been a day off school, so our pace has been rather slow and lazy all day. Dale surprised me this morning by getting himself dressed before I even got to his room to wake him up! We take each day as it comes and thank our Heavenly Father for everything, good and bad. We wouldn't be in this position to publicly praise Him if not for August 5, 2011, and His clear hand in our lives. Praise be to God for His unspeakable goodness and mercy!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."