Please forgive me for taking so long to update this blog! I can't plead a busy work schedule since school's out for the summer, but I still cling to the "I'm a mother of five" excuse for not being more diligent about updating everyone who still follows Dale's progress. Not that that really holds water either since my youngest is seven and all my children are old enough to fend for themselves---to a certain extent! Emily (seven year old) is still too short to reach the upper cabinets in the kitchen or hold the tea jug steady to pour herself a drink, but the rest of them have no excuse! Even Dale, bless his heart, is able to get himself a drink or snack whenever he wants to........and he's had to remind me often that he can do it just fine. I tend to think that, because he needs supervision walking up or down stairs and still needs a hand when walking in a crowded or unfamiliar place, he can't do anything for himself. Then I start smothering him instead of mothering him!
As for Dale's progress, he's doing okay. I don't grade him as great because he still has a ways to go, but he's definitely better than right after his accident. Summertime is always hard for him because it's just too easy to sit on the couch and vegetate! During the school year he has to be up and moving at regular intervals, but on summer break he feels it's his constitutional right to play video games all day. Chad has instituted a mandatory reading time each day to keep his mind active, and we are trying to get Dale exercising each day (simple sit-ups, stretches, and balance work) to keep his brain from forgetting how to move his body. A year ago, when we stopped physical therapy (insurance difficulties), Dale was walking pretty well and only had real struggles with falling. Once he loses his balance, there's no stopping till he hits the ground! Somehow, his brain has no ability to think fast enough to put his arms out to catch himself. Now, though, Dale thinks too much about falling and so precipitates the accidents instead of avoiding them. He literally puts his body in a position to fall instead of straightening up and walking correctly. He has also formed the habit of moseying along like a cowboy---hips forward, long lunges, with the addition of hunched shoulders and stationary arms. When he is reminded, he will pull his shoulders back, pull his hips back, and swing his arms, giving him a much more natural gait. Lots of progress still to be made!
Dale's speech is still slowed, causing no end of frustration on the part of his listeners whenever he wants to say something. He talks as if he's just learned the English language and must phrase each sentence absolutely perfectly or he will be reprimanded. This causes him to start and re-start and re-start a sentence until he gets all the words in place that he desires before finishing the thought that he began a couple of minutes ago! It's kind of like having to wait patiently while a stutterer speaks; you don't want to be rude and hurry them along or finish their sentence for them, but you don't want to be stuck there all day waiting for them to speak their mind. (Any stutterers: I am not talking about you personally, and I am deeply sorry if I have offended you.) However, Dale is able to speak well; he can read well; he understands just fine. It's so easy, isn't it, when you see someone obviously handicapped like Dale, to assume that they can't understand normal speech, right? Folks who don't know Dale very well still talk to him like he's four years old. "Well, Dale, how are you today?" and then look at me and say, "He's doing really well, isn't he?" Dale doesn't help matters either by taking at least five seconds to respond to their simple question. If you're around Dale for any length of time, you soon realize that he isn't retarded, just weird!!!
One major improvement that I'm not sure I've mentioned is that Dale is able to release things from his hands much easier than during his stay at the hospital. He used to have such trouble throwing a ball or rolling dice; his brain wouldn't let his fingers let go of the object. We were playing a board game recently, and Dale was rolling the dice and moving his piece quite easily. When he throws something, his aim might be off but his release is wonderful to see. (I'm not sure how this ability will help him in life unless he becomes a professional baseball player---doubtful---or a professional gambler---over my dead body!)
We're approaching the two-year anniversary of God's wonderful miracle in our boy and the aftermath of God's people praying. If you could have told me two years ago that God was going to use an terrifying accident to lead people across the world to unite in prayer, I would have been rather puzzled. After all, things like that just don't happen nowadays. If you had told me that God would perform such a drastic change in our family, I would have begged it not to be. I'd always prayed for God to use our family, but I never imagined it would be this way. If you had told me then that two years later, people would still be reading this blog and following God's miracle in Dale, I would have been disbelieving. Isn't it a good thing God doesn't act on our unbelief but rather on the infinitesimal belief we do have? Isn't it wonderful that our God's size is not based on our thinking but on His ability? Thank You, Lord, for Your blessings on us, our family, our son, our daughters, our friends, our church, our prayer partners whom we've never met. Our God still lives and works today. If you have any doubts about that, just page back a year or two and read all about it! God bless you.
Romans 8: 28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."