Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday afternoon, 11/29/12

You know how rapidly life can change?  Just when it seems I have a handle on all of my responsiblilities, something comes along to mess up my well-laid plans.  As a teacher, I'm accustomed to having to be flexible.  The principal has the option to call an assembly on any given day, and I have to adjust my lesson plans to suit.  Or I get behind in my teaching, having spent much longer on a subject than I expected, and now I have to play "catch up" in order to stay on track.  This I can handle fairly well.

Life's challenges, on the other hand, require more flexibility and much more patience from me than I am usually ready to give.  I am the type of person who loves order and schedule.  I do not thrive on change; I do not eagerly accept monkey wrenches thrown into my routines.  I prefer to plan out my days months in advance!  This applies to Christmas gift shopping (I like to think ahead and find the perfect gift, and Chad prefers to walk into the store and get what speaks to him), family events (I want to know each detail so that I can be prepared for anything, while Chad is able to handle any situation thrown at him with ease and confidence), and---in recent days---health insurance.

Chad found it necessary to look for another job, as it has become obvious that his current job is not paying enough to meet our needs.  Randle's has been very good to us, letting Chad take time off when Dale had his accident last summer and giving him overtime as much as possible; but Chad looked at his options (no more overtime, possible layoff in the winter, rising prices) and decided to seek another job.  He applied to and was accepted at MBM, a trucking company who delivers products to Jack in the Box restaurants, among others.  This is exactly the same job Chad had before he switched to Randle's, except that the trucking company before was J. B. Hunt.  Now, MBM has the contract, and Chad looked into all the details before applying.  A lot of former coworkers now work for MBM, so Chad feels right at home.  He spent a couple of weeks in limbo, driving for Randle's (very gracious of them to let him keep working as long as possible) while filling out all the paperwork MBM needed.  Finally, after two days of no work, Chad got called in to work at MBM and has been working steadily since Wednesday, November 21.

The only downside to all this is.........we will not be covered under MBM's insurance until nearly the end of February!  We went through this no-insurance phase last summer when Chad began working for Randle's in June---and then Dale's accident occurred in August.  Chad threatened to keep all the kids at home for three months in the hopes that no incidents would occur!  I began to panic as I realized all the services we would be without, especially now that Dale has daily medical needs.  Since Chad was still working for Randle's through November 16th, I was able to get the kids their flu shots, the girls their updated immunizations, and Dale his first of three needed shots.  I thought our insurance coverage ran out on the 16th and that we would be unable to purchase more medicine for Dale.  I only had about a week's worth of pills left for him!  Plus, Dale needed the second shot in the series within the next few weeks, and he was scheduled for an EEG the end of December.  I called Marilyn, our Group Health case manager who always is a fountain of help, and asked for her advice.  She gave me some suggestions to try and then proceeded to connect me via a three-way call to the Customer Service department to find out the exact date of termination of our coverage through Randle's.  Turns out, we are still covered until mid-December.  So, I got busy on the phone!  I called the doctor's office/injection room and scheduled Dale's second shot; I called the pharmacy and was happy to realize I could order a three-month supply of Dale's medication, which I picked up the next day when Dale got his shot.  We then drove to downtown Tacoma to the Specialty Center to get Dale's blood drawn for the trough draw ordered by his neurologist; this being drawn roughly one hour before his next scheduled dose (bedtime!) enables the doctor to see if there is the right amount of medicine in Dale's bloodstream at all times.  Whew!

Today I was able to reschedule Dale's EEG for December 10th instead of the 31st.  Now it will be done while we are still under Group Health insurance---praise the Lord!  And, it's close enough to the date of Dale's last EEG (end of December 2011) that the doctor will be able to get a good idea of how Dale's brain is working........or not working, as the case may be!  :-)  So, I think we are all set for the gap in insurance policies.  Of course, the best-laid plans of mice and men...........well, you know.  I'll plan as much as possible and prepare as much as I am able, but I'll do a lot of praying that nothing major happens to our family in the mean time!!!

Trusting God takes work, you know?  I confess:  I go through times where I feel I need to pray nearly constantly, asking God for help and guidance and praying He will work things out for His glory regardless of my personal wishes.  Then I go through times when life settles down somewhat and I feel I don't need to pray constantly, so I don't.  And then, when life throws me a curveball and things don't go according to plan---my plan---I don't have the close relationship with my Father that I need in order to be calm through life's storms.  You see?  Staying close to God through prayer and reading His Word benefits me tremendously; it allows me to trust God with every part of my being, while passing on His peace to those around me---unlike recent days where I've been short-tempered and anxious about things over which I had no control.  Trusting God enough to stay close by His side at all times good and bad enables Him to prove His wondrous ability to make all things work together for good.  And, when I let Him work all things, I can sit back stress-free and appreciate God's hand in my life.  It's a win/win situation!

I Peter 5: 7  "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday evening 11/21/12

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I pray each of your homes will be filled with laughter, family, friends, and food.  I don't know what annual traditions your family holds, other than the usual stuffing the turkey and then stuffing yourself!  We tend to attempt the Norman Rockwell spread minus the creepy eyes staring at you from the corner of the scene.  :-D  No insult intended---I love Norman Rockwell pictures.  Each year we prepare a feast-laden table, situate ourselves around it somehow (did you know it can be difficult to seat seven people around a six-person table?), and eat to our heart's content.  Then, for the next few days, we munch on leftovers creatively disguised as casseroles.  Although, to be honest, with each added member of our family, the amount of leftovers has dwindled proportionately!

Do you have just turkey or do you serve ham as well?  We try to save the ham for Christmas dinner, but I think one year we may have had both.  My husband loves lots of marshmallows on the candied yams, which makes the kiddies happy---except Emily Rose, who can't stand sweet potatoes.  Something wrong with that one, I'm afraid!  We have green bean casserole (no leftovers there), cranberry sauce (the family's split on this one), rolls, corn, and the oh-so-necessary pumpkin pie with whipped cream (a must-have).  I fix gravy for everyone else, but I really don't care for it myself.  Sometimes we have mashed potatoes; sometimes not.  Regardless of the food, our family gets to gather once more and praise our Father for His goodness.

No matter what we do or don't have on our table tomorrow, we have much to be thankful for.  God has blessed us bountifully this year through friends, family, and our church.  His hand is evident in our lives, from the smallest detail of seeming little consequence to the biggest, most pressing need.  He has shown us again and again just how big He really is and how far-reaching His arm is to help.  Over and over we've had some problem---sometimes small, like missing car keys, and sometimes big, like this-bill-must-be-paid-NOW!  We will deliberately stop and pray, asking God to help us and solve our problem, and He has.  He'll reveal the location of the missing item even after we've looked there ten times, or He'll have a check show up in the mail, one we were not expecting but definitely needed.  Our God loves us and wants to meet our needs.  He said so in Philippians 4:19:  "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."  Now, to be honest, sometimes what we define as a need is actually just a want.  We don't need satellite TV or a new van, even though we desire those things.  We have to want what God wants us to have and be thankful for what He chooses to give us.  Not always easy but definitely worthwhile!

On a more personal note.........we have had to increase Dale's medication dosage because he had a seizure Sunday morning.  He was making his way into his Sunday school classroom when, just inside the doorway, his legs buckled.  I was on one side of him and his teacher was on the other to catch him; we both thought that supporting Dale until he got his legs under him was a good idea.  Dale didn't agree. He said, "Mom!" in an urgent voice which let me know he needed to sit down all the way and relax.  (He's said before that he has felt a seizure coming on.  It starts in his feet, making them feel like jello, and, if he stops trying to stand up, his feet will be fine and cooperate.)  The teacher and I lowered Dale to the floor, but there was not enough room for Dale to stretch his legs out.  As a result, his knees were up under his chin, and Dale just couldn't stop the seizure from taking over this time.  He said, "Mom.....Mom!" and then began seizing, thrusting his arms out in a stiffened position and blinking rapidly.  This seizure was no different from any other he has had in length of time or evident posturing.  I held him as best I could until he began relaxing, then laid him back on the floor and straightened his legs out.  There were a few junior high kids already in the classroom when Dale arrived; they sat quietly during the episode, not terribly scared since there were adults present but still concerned for Dale.  Once Dale relaxed, I asked his teacher to find Chad.  Ashley, Dale's next younger sister, was present the whole time, having seen what was happening and come to help if she could.

Within about fifteen seconds, Dale began crying, showing that he was aware of what had happened and was coming out of it.  He actually began getting movement back quickly, lifting his head when his dad arrived on the scene, sitting up on his own (although he was still weak and as limp as a noodle!), and pushing himself off the floor when his teacher assisted him into a chair.  Chad opted to take Dale home and let him rest.  His teacher found an office chair (with rollers) and scooted him out to the van that Chad pulled up to the building.  Dale was able to climb in on his own and buckle himself and all.  When I called between services to check on him, Chad said he had fed Dale breakfast, after which Dale adjourned to the living room to play video games.  Yep, he's back to normal!  :-)

Dale has been fine since.  While still lying on the floor right after the seizure, Dale said, "Oh, great!  Now everyone saw me fall."  I replied, "Yes, but do they look upset about it?" and was glad to hear several giggles from the kids in the classroom.  One of the girls came up to me during the morning service to ask how Dale was doing, and I was able to assure her that he was fine.  Dale has decided not to let this bother him.  He is walking around even more than ever, not staying in one place for more than a couple of minutes.  Those who have not seen him so mobile cannot stop expressing their shock over how well he's doing.  I checked with Dale to be sure his constant motion was not a medical issue; it's not---he's just so glad to not be stuck sitting somewhere anymore until someone comes and gets him.  He gets up and walks all over creation!  He did take a tumble a few days ago.  Apparently the combination of the pounding rain and gusty winds we've been experiencing caused his legs to wiggle underneath him, and down he went.  A kind school mom helped him up and walked with him to my classroom.  Dale has accepted that weak legs and occasional falls are a part of life now, and he refuses to let that keep him down.

I told Dale that, since he's so much more independent now, he should not need as much "watching" at home.  In other words, I can walk with him up the stairs, give him a hug and kiss goodnight, and let him put himself to bed.  When he wants something to drink, he can get it himself.  (Monday, he actually poured himself a glass of milk for the first time since the accident!)  He can probably even begin to unload the dishwasher, being careful to only take a few dishes at a time to the counter to be put away.  All these things will go even farther toward helping Dale feel normal and independent again.  Praise the Lord!

As you can see, we do have much to be thankful for.  Our Heavenly Father is truly wonderful and, in His wisdom, has allowed us to be a visible part of His great master plan.  May we ever thank Him for His goodness to us and keep our hearts and lives open to His leading.

Psalm 119: 165  "Great peace have they which love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday, 11/15/12

We have been so blessed this week to have revival services at our church.  Evangelist Paul Schwanke comes each year to preach God's Word, and we invite our neighboring churches to come hear him .  This man of God has been preaching straight from the Bible for almost 30 years now and even has had opportunities to spread the gospel in foreign countries as well.  Each time he visits, we find ourselves stirred to serve God whole-heartedly, love God unreservedly, and win souls unashamedly.  Thanks be to God and our pastor for inviting this preacher to spend time with our church each year.

Bro. Schwanke usually teaches the main Sunday school lesson, preaches Sunday morning and Sunday night, then continues on through Monday night and Tuesday night, finishing up on Wednesday night.  What a lot of solid Bible instruction and reproof and exhortation all packed into four days!  Our school had a day off this year (Monday---Veterans Day), and we always start school one hour late on Tuesday and Wednesday while Bro. Schwanke is here (just to give us a break!), so we didn't feel quite so busy this year compared to most.  By Thursday night, however, we are always ready to just STAY HOME!  :-)  Tonight will be a different story, though.

Our sports season is upon us!  We have JV and V volleyball and JV and V basketball teams.  Our first home game is tomorrow, but tonight we are letting two other teams borrow our gym to play each other.  This means we get to sell concessions to the hungry crowds!  And, since Amanda is a senior this year (and the concessions money goes toward the senior trip), we get to be involved.  Tonight's food items will be simple:  hot dogs, nachos, pizza, drinks, baked goods.  Each senior who helps out (works the stand) will receive a portion of the profit.  Tomorrow night, however, it will be Amanda and her friend Jocelyn's turn to provide the featured meal and all extra yummies.  Jocelyn's mom is making tamales and churros; we're bringing the refried beans and hot dogs; and someone is donating Spanish rice.  Other folks are helping us with more food donations, serving time, and morale support.  Amanda and Jocelyn are hoping to earn lots of money toward their senior trip; we moms are just hoping to make it out with our sanity intact!  Please pray for the success of this important event.........oh, and pray for our teams to win!!!

Dale is doing absolutely great!!!  Physically, I mean---I have no idea how his grades look........and I mean that!  I've been so busy with Christian Ladies' Seminar and home game concessions and revival meetings, I haven't paid much attention to Dale's study habits.  The good news is that all the teachers have been busy too and so tend to take it easy on their students.  ;-)  Dale's confidence in his walking ability seems to grow with each passing day.  He walks for longer lengths of time without pausing to rest; he doesn't fall as often, usually because he catches himself first; he doesn't doubt his ability to walk somewhere on his own.  He walks outside and down the ramp at school without waiting for someone to be with him.  He walked Monday night right out of the auditorium after the service and was nearly at the back door of the church before anyone caught up with him.  (He was ready to go home!)  Praise the Lord for this continued sign of His miracle in Dale.  Even just two months ago, Dale still expected someone to hold his hand everywhere, and now he is walking GREAT!  We give God all the praise and all the glory for His marvelous hand on our son.

Thank you, Mort and Jessie Kemplin, for your Thanksgiving card.  We appreciate your prayers and thoughts toward us.

Thank you, Ron and Judy Bishop, for the "care package" you recently sent us.  Our kids especially loved opening the box and finding all the treasures you sent us.  Our prayers are with you both as you each grieve the loss of a parent.  God bless you.

Please tell God you love Him today.  We as parents treasure each "I love you" from our children; so much more so does our Heavenly Father.  He is a great and wondrous God Who deserves our love, praise, and adoration.

II Corinthians 1:  21 - 22  "Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday morning 11/10

How's the weather been in your part of the world?  I know in the Northeast, they are still reeling from Superstorm Sandy's devastation.  I led my students in prayer daily for those who were fighting the storm's wrath early last week.  Frankly, I didn't realize the hurricane season lasted until November.  I have always assumed hurricanes kind of petered out around September or so.  I grew up in North Carolina (so you'd think I would know!), but we were inland---Fayetteville/Ft. Bragg---so all we ever dealt with were hurricane drills and fire drills.  We never even got much snow during the winter; the mercury would drop below freezing and things would ice over badly, making for scary driving sometimes.  If we ever did get snow, we would joke and say, "Time to shut down the state!"  Literally, folks would be paralyzed, not knowing how to drive in the few inches we would get.  Schools and government offices would close for the day, and kids would get some fun play time in the white stuff.

Then, the summer before my senior year of high school, my family moved to Northwest Indiana, right outside Chicago, IL.  Talk about a culture shock!  All that winter, it snowed constantly---and we never got one day off school for it!  I learned really quickly how to drive in the snow because I had continued as normal, even with drifts piled high.  One night, I was coming home from the mid-week service; apparently the snow had been falling steadily all throughout the service time.  Before the closing prayer, our preacher cautioned everyone to be extra careful driving home. We lived about 25 minutes away from church (normal driving time).  My dad had purchased an old car for me to drive myself and my siblings to/from school and to teen activities and such.  He, in his wisdom, did not choose a sporty model with a shiny paint job; he bought an old, heavy, dependable car that would get me where I needed to go with a minimum of fuss and not give me delusions of pride or racing ability!  I didn't mind, really; I was glad to be able to drive a vehicle, and I was glad my parents trusted me with that responsibility.  (My mom wouldn't touch that car with a ten-foot pole!  She abhorred the design, the age, the color, everything.)  I was never so thankful for my car as I was that Wednesday night when I had to drive home by myself from church (Dad had to work and Mom was home with a sick sibling) in the still-heavily falling snow.  My old car idled at around 15 miles per hour, and that was as fast as I dared drive anyway that night!  I hardly ever touched the gas pedal but kept my foot hovering over the brake all the way home.  I had to take the freeway home, to make matters worse---I can't stand driving on the freeway; there are too many speedsters and crazy drivers out there!  I remember taking the on-ramp, merging carefully with traffic in the farthest right line, and not budging from that lane until I reached the off-ramp for home!  It took me twice as long, at least, to get home, but I made it, safe and sound.

The funny thing is, here in Washington State where we now live, the weather is very similar to where I grew up in NC.  There is a lot more rain, of course, but very little snow in the winter.  We get below freezing temperatures and lots of ice, and when it does snow, it tends to shut everything down!  I (note the pride) know how to drive in the snow, but a lot of folks around here don't, so we are all extra careful.  The biggest mistake people make when driving in snow is---they slow waaaayyyy down to be careful.  Slowing some is right, but driving too slowly can cause you to get stuck sometimes; and you definitely need some extra speed to make it up a hill, such as the one on top of which our church is situated.  Too many times, I've seen drivers start slowly up that hill, only to find themselves sliding back down because they don't have enough impetus to make it to the top.  I'm thankful for my parents' patient instruction and the Lord's guiding hand in giving me the snow-driving experience I have.

Why am I talking about snow and ice?  We started out the week with unseasonably warm weather:  in the sixties almost, sunny, STRANGE!  Then, on Thursday, something happened.  The earth rotated or something, and somebody else got our nice weather!  We walked out of church Wednesday night thinking, "It feels a bit chilly out here."  When we walked out of our house Thursday morning, we thought, "Who turned down the thermostat?!"  Overnight, the temperature dropped, everything frosted over, and we were left shivering madly.  Friday morning was even worse; our house thermostat somehow was set on Saturday, which meant the heater wouldn't kick on until 7:30 instead of 6:30 (school mornings).  We were freezing!!!  I quickly got things corrected, but it was very difficult to get the kids up and going with the internal temperature only 62 degrees!

Last night, the temperature plummeted even further.  When I left to pick up Dale from the teen activity at 8:00 p.m., the mercury was already at 33 degrees.  WOW!  By the time we reached home again, it had dropped to 29 degrees.  Everything is white with frost this morning, making us think it snowed last night.  And this is just November 10th!  We were told that, because of our extended summer weather, we were going to get hit with a nasty winter; it looks like perhaps "they" were right!

NOW---about Dale.  He has been walking all over God's creation on his own the last few days!  Tuesday after school, I got held up in my classroom, trying to get a few last-minute things done.  I had told my younger kids to head for the car so we could run some errands, then retracted that statement because something snagged my attention.  (My classroom is situated on an outside wall; a few feet from my class door is a door leading outside to the parking lot where I park the van each day.  There is a set of concrete steps to walk down to reach the parking lot, or one can choose to walk out the door, turn left, head down the sidewalk along the side of the building, walk down the ramp at the end, turn right, and go to our van.)  Dale decided he had waited long enough for me and simply walked out the classroom door!  He's done this a few times before; usually he waits just inside the door or outside on the sidewalk for me.  It was a full ten minutes later when I was finally able to gather up my purse and stuff and prepare to leave.  When I reached the hallway outside my classroom, I realized Dale was nowhere in sight.  Naturally, I panicked!  I pictured Dale in a heap somewhere, having fallen and been unable to get his feet back under him.  I rushed outside onto the sidewalk and looked around wildly; Dale was nowhere in sight.  I noticed the back lift door and one sliding door on our van was open.  James, the seventh grade boy of the family who parks next to us, was putting his things in the back of his car, so I called to him and asked, "Is Dale in our van?"  James seemed a bit surprised at this odd question but simply answered, "Yes, and so is Emily."  Unbelievable!  Dale had walked all the way outside, down the sidewalk, down the ramp, to our van, and climbed inside with no assistance whatsoever!!!  WOW!  Oh, thank You, God, for giving Dale a second chance to be independent.  He needs this boost of confidence to counter all the dependency he knows he must endure still.

Since that day, Dale has been walking more and more by himself all around our school.  The guys who help him from class to class are allowing Dale to walk on his own more without holding his hand, letting Dale show off going up and down the ramp by himself.  Dale is walking around the house just beautifully now, rarely needing help.  Someone still follows him up the stairs each night, but we can give him more room now (letting him go up half a flight without following close one step behind).  I have to remind myself at night not to stand outside the bathroom door until he is situated---because no one ever has to do that in the mornings!  Dale, after he gets dressed each morning, walks on his own to the bathroom to brush his teeth and such.  He sometimes needs help in the mornings walking out to the car, but I think that's a combination of early-morning shakiness and habit.  The more independence we give him, the more he believes he can handle.  We're still working on the bathtub thing, but that is not such a big issue any more.  Dale is really doing well, thanks to prayer and our God.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been praying for our son's continued recovery.  When they told us back in the hospital over a year ago that "this is not a sprint; it's a marathon", I had no idea what they really meant.  Dale has recovered some things very quickly---his speech, his memory, his sense of humor.  Some things are still being recovered bit by bit---walking, balancing, etc.  Yesterday in my classroom, Dale was drawing on my board when he dropped the eraser.  He said, "Oh, no!" and leaned down, picked it up, and put it back on the tray.  When he saw my smile, he questioned me, so I explained, "Dale, you used to panic at even the thought of having to bend over and pick something up off the ground.  You would shake and jerk and fall over......literally!  Now, you just bend down---even bending your knees slightly---and pick things up with no trouble whatsoever."  Praise the Lord!  Dale will do this at home as well, picking up and moving something that may be in his path.  He will even take larger steps than normal if he needs to step over something.  This used to be out of the question for him!  Some morning this week, Dale dropped the cap off the toothpaste tube.......nothing new there.  I, frankly, was tired of picking it up for him, so I said, "Can you get it?"  He replied, "No---oh, wait; maybe I can."  A few seconds (and some interesting sounds) later, he said, "I got it!"  It takes quite a lot of strength for me to stand still and let him possibly fall over in order to prove to himself that there is yet one more thing he can do again.

Our whole family, our whole church, and lots of you around the nation (and world) are all involved in God's ongoing miracle in our son's life.  When we all get to Heaven and finally get to meet each other, expect a big hug from me and a teary "thank you" for each prayer and loving thought you've sent our way.  God bless each of you, and have a great week!

Psalm 23: 1  "The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday evening 11/1

Praise be to our wonderful God!!!  Fresh again in my mind is just how big a miracle our Heavenly Father performed with Dale.  I frequently talk in my class about how Dale drowned, how he was carried lifeless to the shore, how the doctors gave us no hope for his recovery, and how much God has given us back.  But I have to admit, in these last few months with Dale's struggles in school and lack of outside therapy and all, my awareness of God's blessings has waned and all I tend to focus on is how hard things are now.  I know I should be always thankful for all God has done, but a lot lately I have been wishing Dale would improve more and "get over" the physical handicaps and mental blocks he still struggles with each day.  I have even begun thinking, "If we can just get Dale through high school, then we can relax.  After all, what else is there for him?"  What a waste of God's miracle this foolish thinking is!  Why should I give up on Dale's future when God obviously gave him a second life in order to have a future?  Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting You are all-powerful; You are able to do anything and everything; You know Dale's past, his present, and his future, and You have great plans for him.

Today we visited the neurologist again.  He hasn't seen Dale for six months and was, quite frankly, impressed with Dale's progress.  The first time we saw Dr. Al-Mateen was in Good Samaritan Rehab after Dale had a seizure.  We had an appointment with him in January of this year and again in May.  Each time, the doctor was pleased with how well Dale was doing.  Last time we were in his office, Dr. Al-Mateen was surprised that Dale could talk and form regular sentences, could walk all right and follow commands, and pay attention to what was going on around him.  Today, God's almighty power showed through Dale again as he amazed and pleased the doctor.  The doctor put Dale through a short series of neurological tests like tapping with one hand on the other before flipping his hand over and over, switching hands to do the same activity on the other hand, closing his eyes and then touching his nose with both index hands, balancing on one foot at a time, etc.  He had Dale attempt to walk on his tiptoes, but Dale couldn't quite balance well enough to do that!  He also had Dale try to walk heel/toe, but this as well caused Dale too much difficulty (he was catching his toe on the heel before bringing it forward).  Altogether though, the doctor was quite pleased with Dale's efforts and reiterated the opinion that he just doesn't get many cases like Dale's.  I had mentioned that Chad was really asking for some kind of prognosis for Dale; Dr. Al-Mateen kind of grinned and said, "Dale's case is unique.  We see a lot of near-drownings, but we"---and he shook his head---"we don't get many cases like Dale's."  Dale continued to surprise the doctor with his choice of words, how well he could express himself, and his ability to follow the conversation.  The doctor told me that, just sitting there for the allotted appointment time and listening to Dale ask questions and talk back and forth with me, it was obvious to him that Dale's thinking is intact and he is able to speak clearly.  He said that he could see Dale's humor (runs in the family!) and could tell that Dale is very intelligent.  I think Dr. Al-Mateen enjoyed the banter that our whole family shares.......a kind of sarcastic, funny, teasing give-and-take which is a hallmark of our clan.  Anyway, Dale got a good report from the neurologist, has a six-month appointment already booked, and is referred by the doctor for another EEG at the end of December.  Praise the Lord!!!

A quick funny from Dale before I sign off:  We were in the van on our way to the neurologist's office when we passed a Shari's restaurant.  Dale pointed it out and asked, "Can we eat there?"  I said, "No, it's a sit-down restaurant and we're busy."  Dale gave his "Awwww, man!" groan, to which I responded, "Honestly, Dale, we have neither the time nor the money."  Dale looked over at me, grinned impishly, and replied, "Time? What do you mean, we don't have time?  You've got about forty years still in you!"  I cracked up instantly which had Dale laughing along with me.  When I told this story to Dr. Al-Mateen, he began laughing heartily too!  Like I've said, Dale's humor is definitely still intact!

Proverbs 17:22  "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:  but a broken spirit drieth the bones."