It's official. No doubt about it. The jury is no longer out. The facts have been weighed, and conclusions have been drawn. All that's left to be done is to make the final announcement: Dale is scarred for life.
Literally---his whole face. Let me explain........
Sunday morning (I think), Dale was sitting on his bed, changing his socks. (This was done at the urgent behest of his parents and immediate family who spent many hours training him to wear fresh socks each day---and many more hours smelling his feet!) This did not seem to be an insurmountable task; in fact, Dale had accomplished this particular feat (pun!) numerous times in the past. This day, however, the ability to pull off his sock while maintaining his balance was beyond him. Dale tugged furiously at the toe of his sock, not realizing that dislodging the heel portion of the sock from his actual heel would greatly aid his progress. Instead, the effort he put into pulling off his sock led to his downfall---and I mean downfall. He lost his balance, fell forward, and caught himself with his face. On the carpet. This resulted in a skinned area on his forehead, under his eye, and on his chin. To be honest, Dale didn't look that bad. He just had a couple of simple scrapes. He took some razzing at church but seemed on the path to recovery.
Until Monday. Dale again, not having learned his lesson the first time, decided to attempt round two. He wrestled with his sock mightily and succeeded.........in falling face-first on the floor. This time, he was even more off-balance and landed even harder on the carpet, barely missing the pile of Legos he and his sisters had been playing with the day before. Dale did, however, manage to produce an even uglier-looking scrape to replace the healing ones already on his face. In fact, he acquired two new abrasions, both on his nose and both taking their time seeping before finally scabbing over. The biggest scrape was on the bridge of his nose; it was the biggest because that part of his nose bore the brunt of his impact with the floor. This also caused Dale's nose to bleed some, scraped his lip a bit, and created quite a pity party on Dale's part. This lasted only for a few seconds as I was unwilling to stand there and listen. I showed Dale a better way to remove his sock each morning (something to do with hooking one thumb in the sock and pulling it off his heel while using the other hand to tug it off his toes) and even had him practice this new technique to make sure he understood fully how to AVOID ANY MORE SCRAPES. Then, leaving Dale's pity party to hiccup to an end, I walked out of his bedroom.
This sounds like Dale is a sniveling, whimpering crybaby. He really isn't, but, frankly, his emotional maturity level has not yet caught up to the "I'm a thirteen year old young man who doesn't cry anymore" stage. Part of that is due to the accident; part of that is due to his age and hormone levels; and part of that is due to the medication he takes twice daily. When he first started taking the meds, I was shocked at how emotional he got so easily. We are working with Dale to "toughen up" a bit, as junior-high students probably will not be as tolerant of his tears as his mother is---and even I keep telling him to be tough, be strong. But, when he gets angry (sisters) or hurt (falls and scrapes), he still cries.
If this were the end of the scrapes story..........well, I wouldn't be writing this, would I? There's more.
Today, while we were out for his daily walk, Dale fell twice. The first time wasn't too bad: he fell into a neighbor's yard where the grass was nice and soft. This particular neighbor likes to keep his yard free from weeds and rocks, trimmed carefully, and well-seeded. As a result, Dale sustained minimal damage from his contact with Mother Earth. (NO, I don't really believe she is our mother, blah, blah, blah!) The second time Dale stumbled, he took a doozy of a fall. We were on our way back to the house, walking along the cement sidewalk as usual. Dale scuffed his foot or couldn't pick up his leg or something and---BAM!---down he went. It was like watching a tree being felled. I was following from behind as he walked; since he fell forward, there was no chance for me to grab him. This time, there was no soft grass to cushion his impact; there was the cement sidewalk and rocks lining the roadway. Dale says he tried to get one hand up to brace himself, and the scrapes on that hand show he may have partially succeeded. But, again, his face took the hardest hit. I got him sitting up and took one look at his face before sending Ashley home to get Katie. (I failed to mention that Ashley and Emily were out on the walk with us. Ashley had Peanut on a leash, and Emily was pushing her plush monkey in the baby stroller.) Ashley dropped Peanut's leash and raced for home. I just wanted someone else old enough to be responsible nearby in case I needed them. (That sounds like Ashely isn't responsible; she is, but I wanted Katie too!)
I was only getting a partial view of the actual injuries to Dale's face due to his crying and the sun's glare. By the time Katie and Ashley came running back, Dale was on his feet.......but only for a short time. I had grabbed Peanut's leash to keep her from wandering off; she decided to try to walk between Dale and me, managing to trip Dale in the process. Down he went again, this time with me holding his hand and breaking his fall. This fall so soon after "the big one" and being avoidable made Dale even more upset. He yelled at the dog and called her a few names, none of which were her real name but all of which made him feel better for having said them. (No curse words unless you count "stupid" and such as cursing!) Katie took the leash, pointed Emily in the direction of home, and told Ashley to go and bring back the phone. We didn't need it (I had my cell phone on me), but it was good thinking. I kept hold of Dale's hand all the way back to the house, trying unsuccessfully to get Dale to calm down while still trying to assess the damage to his poor face.
Once inside, I had Dale sit at the table while I cleaned him up. I used a warm washcloth and started at his forehead, working my way down to the obvious abrasions. He was very brave, holding still while I cleaned even though his new scrapes stung quite a bit. Bottom line: Dale now has a long scrape starting at the outside corner of his right eye and extending laterally across his cheek to end below his nose. The middle of his upper lip and underlying gums took a hit, resulting in a swollen upper lip and sore gums. No teeth seem to be threatened. Dale's chin is scraped clean. He now has a healing patch about one inch square on his chin; it's still seeping but should eventually begin to scab over. See what I mean about being scarred for life? The only injury I am concerned about is one that was not readily visible at first. When I had Dale tilt his head way back for me to get a good look at his upper teeth, Dale cried out in pain, saying his neck hurt to do that. I had Dale sit up straight and rotate his head and neck in different directions to ascertain the extent of the pain and soreness. He can move his head to look sideways both directions and down with no trouble; it's only when he tries to put his chin in the air that the pain occurs. I honestly think his poor neck has taken such a beating after three hard falls in one week that the muscles are stretched and complaining. Little wonder, huh? Once Dale was doctored up and I had administered some ibuprofen, I had him lie down on the couch half-reclined so that his neck could rest on a pillow. I slipped an ice pack behind his neck---Emily's idea!---to help ease the soreness in those muscles.
Poor guy. I mean, he survives drowning only to endure this?! If it were me, I don't know how willing I would be to keep getting up and trying again. But we have yet to see Dale quit. He's slumped a couple of times, but he's never given up. I don't think it's in his nature........too stubborn! God made Dale with a desire to succeed, and succeed he will though the cost be great. Praise to our Lord for His wonderful works in our bodies and our lives!
By the way, Chad and I decided that someone should hold Dale's hand during walks from now on. There are some days where Dale is doing great and showing his independence, but on the days where Dale is unsure or unsteady, he will feel more confident walking if he's holding someone's hand and knowing they are there to help him if he falls. No sense in inviting further injury just because we want Dale to be able to walk on his own. He'll get there when he's ready. :-)
As always, God is good. We are blessed to serve a risen Saviour, a loving Father, a comforting and convicting Spirit. Amen.
Acts 5: 41 - 42 "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."