I am sitting here wincing in pain as I just stubbed my toe on a leg of my computer desk.........while sitting down! How did I manage to do that?! You'd think, after forty (well, more) years, I would know just how much room I have to maneuver my feet when sitting. Apparently, that's not the case! >:-< Now I know somewhat how Dale feels when he rams his leg or foot into something that he should have been able to avoid. Thank God for life lessons---I guess!
I have good news, and then I have great news. First, the good news: Dale is doing so well with just everyday life therapy that not being able to attend quite as many PT and SP sessions each week due to Medicaid dropping Group Health is not going to be a problem. Lisa (SP) has been working on helping Dale's attention span and memory; Alison in PT has really just been helping Dale with challenges like sliding back and forth on a balancer, jumping in place, and walking around the PT gym on his own without either of us even nearby. She did this on Wednesday, allowing Dale to walk into the small office to get a reward sticker and back out by himself. It was SO GOOD to see Dale confidently walking on his own away from us---as we firmly held our seats so as not to rush after him! Giving him this independence not only shows us that he can do stuff like that; it also shows him we believe his is capable of doing it. Just in the last week or so, Dale has been walking around much more on his own and not just at home. He has displayed more confidence in his ability to walk around church, at PT, at SP, and elsewhere. I'll give you three examples.
(1) Wednesday night, Dale and I were walking into the church building before the service. There is a small step up onto the sidewalk from the parking lot. Usually Dale will stop and deliberately step up before proceeding into the church. This time, he had a good gait going and just continued right up the step onto the sidewalk! I couldn't help but draw my breath in when I saw he wasn't going to stop before stepping up, but Dale didn't even give me time to say anything. By the time I had gasped, he was already up on the sidewalk and steady. Praise the Lord!
(2) Saturday morning, Chad had to work (overtime!), so it was up to me to drive the girls up to bus meeting. Dale was awake when I left, so I laid out his clothes and told him to go ahead and get dressed while I was gone. When I got home (less than half an hour later), I heard the TV on. I could see Dale wasn't downstairs anywhere, so I headed upstairs to see what was going on. I found him in my bedroom, sitting on my bed, watching cartoons. He had finished dressing, gotten bored, and decided to walk down the hall to my room, find the remote (wherever Chad left it), and turn on the TV. You see? That's what I mean when I say independence. Of course, he bypassed the bathroom and brushing his teeth to watch TV, and he entered my bedroom without permission, but do you think I reprimanded him? ;-D
(3) Saturday night, I put Dale to bed around nine o'clock. (I say that like he's a little kid. He walked up the stairs on his own, brushed his teeth, got his pajamas on, etc. I just tucked him in with a hug and kiss---I can still do that!) I went back downstairs, only to hear muffled thumps coming from upstairs. I ignored it, hoping it was only Chad's TV or Dale adjusting to get comfortable. Then, I heard Dale calling me. I walked to the bottom of the stairs and asked, "What?" He said, "What time is it?" I told him and then asked why. He said his clock had come unplugged. Of course, I thought that meant that I had go plug it back in for him......no easy feat as the outlet was behind the bed and rather difficult to reach. When I got upstairs, I found Dale's light on and Dale sitting on his bed, setting his clock. I asked, "Did you plug it back in yourself?" He replied casually, "Yes." I picked up some laundry on the floor, folded it, and put it away as I talked. "Did you turn your light on yourself?" "Yes," he answered. Then he said, "Sorry about the clothes on the floor. I was just setting them out for tomorrow." I was astounded! "Do you mean that you can get out your own clothes without any help?" Dale grinned sheepishly and said, "Yes, ma'am." At that, I sat down on the bed with him. "Dale," I said, "we need to have a talk." He looked a bit scared, so I assured him he wasn't in trouble. I asked him, "Do I baby you?" His grin grew wider as he admitted, laughing, "Yes, you do!" We chuckled together before I said, "Well, you know what this means, don't you?" He shook his head. "This means you're on your own, bud. You will get yourself dressed each morning without my help, without me laying out your clothes, nothing." He mock groaned but nodded his head. I told him if he needed help with items in the closet, I would help, but everything else he could access on his own. He seemed fine with that. (And, the next morning, he did get out all his own clothes and get dressed. Whoo-hoo!)
IT GETS BETTER.........
That's when I noticed the bed was pulled away from the wall about six inches or so. I asked him, "Dale, did you pull your bed out?" He again nodded and told me that he had to in order to plug the clock back in. I asked how he did it, and he told me that he stood up, walked to the end of the bed, and tugged on the bed frame until the bed was scooted out enough for him to reach the outlet. I was again floored! Dale kept looking at me as if to say, "What's so incredible about that?" So I told him, "Dale, two months ago, if you had tried that, you would have shaken like a leaf and fallen to the floor." Dale said, "Well, I did shake some but not badly." Again, praise the Lord!!! Dale's balance and steadiness improves daily, as well as his confidence and willingness to try new things even if it means a fall. He gets in and out of the van by himself now (I stand by just in case, but he does all the work himself); he can take a bath fully by himself now (he just needs me nearby when he gets in and out), and it only takes about forty minutes start to finish (it used to take an hour or more); he walks where he wants to and doesn't even think about it. What a miracle God has done!
One more thing.........I think Dale is starting to remember. He told me last night during our talk that he remembers coming home from the hospital. Just pieces of memory, but he remembers us walking out of the building, getting into the van, and coming home. A few days ago, Dale said he thinks he remembers being at the beach that day. I asked him what he meant, and he said he just remembers being there, playing. He can't talk about it yet without crying; I think he's afraid to remember too much. I've tried to gently help him see that God would not grant him a memory that he couldn't handle. I don't want him to fight remembering any more than I want him to fight to remember. Dale said he thinks he remembers being in the water. When I questioned him further, he said, "I think I remember the girl." This conversation just took place on Friday, and I am deliberately not pushing him to talk unless he wants to. God will give Dale exactly what he needs to remember; my job is to remind Dale to trust Him no matter what. But to regain his memory, even of just normal everyday events leading up to and after his accident---that would be wonderful for Dale. In God's time, only in God's time.
We have a big God, don't we? "A great, big, wonderful God" as the song says. He is all-loving, all-powerful, all-wise. I am so blessed to call Him my Father. I love You, Father. I thank You for my life, my son's life, my family, my home, my church, my friends, my companions in Christ, my unknown but dearly held prayer partners. I love You, Father.
Have a happy Independence Day and be safe!
II Chronicles 7: 12 - 15 "And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people; If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place."