Where to start? So much has happened in this past week and a half that, if I were to recount every bit, this blog would be fourteen pages long! However, I'll try to give you some idea of how our days have gone lately.
Last Tuesday (April 30th) was Ashley's 12th birthday. We still had school, of course, but we allowed Ash to invite a couple of friends to come home with us afterwards for a small party. Ashley had decided she wanted to go walk around the mall on her birthday; Chad very kindly offered to take them so that I could spend some down time recuperating from the school day while simultaneously cleaning up the house and baking Ashley's birthday cake. Chad and the girls (Amanda included) were gone almost two hours and came home in great spirits. The girls said they spent nearly an hour in Claire's, and, since Ashley had some birthday money with her, she got to purchase something for each family member (except Dad and Dale who don't want something from Claire's anyway!) plus lots of fun stuff for herself. When they got back, we had Ashley open her gifts and ate cake and ice cream, then let the girls play around some before taking them home. Ashley seemed to have a good birthday.
Dale, however, did not enjoy quite all of Ashley's birthday because.......he took quite a bad fall on the sidewalk after school. He was heading for the van as usual---we try as much as possible to let him walk by himself whenever he feels like it to encourage him to feel more comfortable walking on his own---and had gotten about halfway down the sidewalk when he tripped up on something (maybe just an uneven spot on the cement), and down he went! I was only about three paces beyond the door---too far to help---and Amanda was standing by the van and could only watch as he toppled over. The bad news: Dale's head bounced off the cement hard enough for us to hear it. The good news: Amanda said it looked like Dale tried to twist as he fell so as not to land face first. This is actually really good! He was able to keep thinking enough throughout the fall to change his trajectory somewhat. Unfortunately, he still landed pretty hard on his left side, bruising himself and scraping up the left side of his face above the temple and on the ear. How he managed to scrape both the front and back of his ear, I'll never figure out! Dale wound up with some raw, bleeding patches on the side of his face and ear, a lump above his left eyebrow, and a bit of a headache. His scrapes colored nicely into a seriously black eye, and his lump slowly seeped down to swell around his eye, leaving him looking alot like Rocky! I told Amanda that his face was exactly what movie makeup people try to reproduce to make it look like someone has been in a fight---except, in Dale's case, the sidewalk won. When someone asked Dale what happened to his face, I told them that we couldn't afford a coat of many colors for our favorite son, so we gave him a face of many colors! Yeah, yeah, just kidding.
As if this wasn't bad enough, on Thursday, the very day Dale had a neurology appointment, he fell again---this time landing completely face first. He was walking in the gym and stepped on a small pebble which caused him to lose his balance. Our preacher was nearby and told us Dale leaned forward, trying to regain his balance, and almost had it before pitching forward onto his nose. Of course, this resulted in bleeding from both nostrils, a small lump on the bridge of the nose, and four painful bite marks on his tongue which proceeded to bleed profusely. All of this happened just before lunchtime which means the entire high school witnessed Dale's pain and tears. Most everyone responded with sympathetic looks and offers of help or just turning away and pretending not to see Dale cry. It took a while before Dale could manage to eat lunch, for obvious reasons. Then, within an hour of Dale's tumble, we had to leave for his doctor appointment. Poor guy! What a face to present to the neuro doctor!
The neurologist was pleased to see Dale and, during the course of the visit, put Dale through some simple tests to determine how well Dale is progressing in his comeback from drowning. Some of these tests the doctor had done before with Dale, like following the doctor's finger with just his eyes and tapping various rhythms with his hands, and some were new, like trying to walk heel to toe and trying to walk on his tiptoes. This was hard for Dale to do, but it gave the neurologist a better idea of how Dale's brain is working now. Something interesting: the doctor had Dale stand and close his eyes; then he pushed lightly on Dale's shoulders and arms to try to cause him to lose his balance. The result surprised the doctor---instead of losing his balance easily because his eyes were closed, Dale retained his balance with no effort, like we would. The neurologist said he thought Dale was taking alot of visual cues to help him balance and walk, which would perhaps explain why he falls sometimes. However, Dale's balance does not seem to be altered by loss of visual cues. This is both good and bad; if his balance was being affected by his sight, maybe we could take certain steps to fix that. Since this does not seem to be the case, Dale is kind of "on his own" still.........needing to control his balance and walking every single minute. But, Dale is doing well, disregarding the falls he takes occasionally. He just gets up and tries again, even bloody and bruised!
The verse I chose for the end of this blog is a good lesson for us all but especially descriptive of Dale!
I Corinthians 10: 12 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Apt, don't you think?!