Dale is the epitome of that verse in Proverbs that says, "A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again." Except we would have to modify the verse to say, "Dale falleth innumerable times, and riseth up again"!
Dale's school grades have remained just where they have been for the past year---somewhere near the cellar! It's really not his fault; the brain injury caused him to lose the ability to remember things easily. You could say it's short-term memory loss. While something is being taught, Dale understands completely; but, when it comes time to reproduce that on a test, he forgets what he has learned. I think that the information is still in his brain so he can use it later, but his grades do not reflect that! The doctor said Dale would struggle in this area; this is nothing we weren't prepared for. If we need to make adjustments to Dale's schooling, we will---just not yet.
Oh, boy, where do I start? (Dale falls so frequently that I've lost track of the days!) I think it was Sunday morning, Dale's birthday, when we heard his bedroom floor shake, followed by a moan of pain. Chad and I ran in to find Dale on the floor, his body having jerked so hard he literally fell off the bed. His nose got scraped some and he acquired some new bruises; other than that, he was fine! ;-) We gave him some good-natured teasing about it not being Christmas any more so why was he still competing with Rudolph for the reddest nose?
Then.........Tuesday night, Dale was getting ready for bed. I heard a loud thump. I called to Dale, "Are you all right?" He responded, "Yes," so I didn't go check on him. Little did I know that his dresser drawer had fallen out and Dale was going to try to put it back in by himself. (See what I mean about his not letting anything stop him?) About five minutes later, Chad and I went racing into Dale's bedroom after we heard a second thump and Dale crying out. He had tried to put the drawer back in place, dropped it, and then fallen on top of it. In the process, Dale had scraped his arm, bruised his face, and bitten through the flesh below his lower lip! At first we thought he had just bitten his lip but later realized the lower teeth must have gone all the way through because he has teeth marks on the outside and inside of his lower lip. He bled and bled and cried and cried. Eventually the bleeding stopped and Dale was able to calm down. This injury is healing well, although the inside of his lip still causes him discomfort every time it scrapes across his teeth.
Yesterday at school, Dale was walking from the gym across a short strip of parking lot to the portable where his next class was. Last night, the temperature dropped and some snow fell; so this morning, the ground was just a bit slick. I hadn't thought to remind Dale to have someone keep a hand on him as he walked to class, and the young man with Dale was just staying close by. Unfortunately, when Dale found the one icy patch to be found, he pitched forward and the young man couldn't catch him in time. Dale wound up face-planting on the hard, cold pavement. One student went running for the nearest teacher while another student came running for me. This was right at the beginning of school; I was going through pledges with my students before we went to chapel when the student came running to my classroom and motioned for me to come quickly. I left my class in the middle of the pledge and speed-walked to find Dale. Mrs. Moyer was bringing him in, literally with her arms wrapped around him to keep him upright. Dale was shaking badly, crying hard, and bleeding profusely. (You know how head wounds are!) He had managed to impact the pavement with mainly his nose which was scraped and bruised and swelling fast. By the time I got there, his nose already had quite a knot right in the middle. Both Dale and Mrs. Moyer said, "I think it's broken!" and it certainly looked like it. We got him into the school office (a nearby teacher said she would take care of my class) and seated in a chair to assess the damage. My first thought was to call Chad, so I asked someone to get my cell phone from my classroom. Mrs. Darlene Minge went to get a bag of ice from the kitchen. I told Chad what had happened, only then remembering that WE HAVE NO INSURANCE until the end of February. Chad was pretty upset that Dale hadn't been taken better care of, but I quickly let him know that the ground hadn't been that icy to begin with, so no one realized the need for extra care. Even while I was on the phone with Chad, the ice was doing its work and the swelling was coming down. This relieved Chad's mind and mine. We found some ibuprofen for Dale (thank you, Mrs. Ochletree!), and the ice continued to help relieve the swelling. After some time, I checked Dale's nose, and it looked much better. We could see that it was not out of alignment after all, just scraped and sore. I took him back to my classroom for a short while and then walked him to class myself to be sure he was okay. When I got him for lunch, I asked Dale if he could breathe through his nose, and he said he could just fine. Even today, his nose is still slightly swollen and turning lovely shades of purple and red.......but he'll be all right!
Even with the falls this week and the resulting injuries, Dale still has that "gotta try" spirit. I took the girls to soul winning this morning and came home to find Dale sitting on the couch. When I asked him how he got downstairs, I expected him to say he had just scooted down on his bottom like before. Dale surprised me by saying he had tried to walk down on his own! He made it down one step before he got shaky and had to sit down on the step above. At that point, it just made sense to keep scooting down until he reached the bottom.
Thank You, Lord, for letting Dale keep trying even though he has to know many attempts will end in failure. This teaches me a good lesson in not quitting. I tend to whine and complain when I don't feel well or have too much to do, and I even think I should give up this ministry or that project because I just can't keep going. Then I see Dale suffer physical pain because he just WON'T QUIT!!! God, bless my son for his persistence, and please give me some of his perseverance! :-D
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."