It’s hard to believe that weeks have gone by without me writing much about our “new normal” life. I want to focus on the positive and give glory to God for all the ways He generously provides for us. But, if the Sermon on the Mount’s lesson that we shouldn’t worry and that God will give us what we need is true (and it is!), it teaches me that the extraordinary blessings we have received are a match for the otherwise-overwhelming challenges we face. In other words, this has been a very hard past few weeks in terms of my physical endurance, as evidenced by the many marvelous ways God has matched that and shown His love for us. Just when I think I can’t do one more transfer or rise to one more caregiving challenge, something unexpected and wonderful reminds me that God is there, helping me.
Dan is definitely improving. My mom always said that once you could get a kid to blow his own nose and tie his own shoes, he was “half raised.” I guess that makes Dan one-quarter raised, since he now can raise a tissue to his nose and blow! Yay! He has occupational therapy twice a week, and the therapist puts electrodes on his arm and hand muscles to stimulate them. He wears therapy gloves that force his hands into fists, and his physical therapist (who says, “I need to get your husband into bed” :) practically wrestles him into positions and postures that test his flexibility and endurance. We have a new bed (or maybe just new bedrails) on order so that Dan can begin to move himself around in bed a bit on his own.
A lot of people ask if he can stand. No, unfortunately, not yet. But we were GREATLY heartened when he visited his neurologist who told him that he believes he will walk again. So the time is coming, although slowly.
We’ve been to the emergency room three times this last month. Dan continues to have issues with his urinary tract and the equipment thereof. It’s very hard on him, but he is cheerful about it. Now a lot of people at the ER know him by name, and try to help him be comfortable during the long waiting room experiences, surrounded by blood and moans from other people.
He got his new wheelchair, which cost somebody (not us) over $25,000. It is a wonder – can spin around on a dime, and gives him many options to relieve pressure points. We are very grateful for it.
Our house is a great blessing. I have told many people quite truthfully that I don’t think I could have survived using a hoyer lift to transfer Dan. Although we have home health care help, my “job” of transferring and caring for him is sixteen hours a day right now, and I could not have done it without the wonderful track system and motorized lift in this house. Our van, graciously given to us by loving friends, allows Dan to go to church (where he led singing last Sunday for the first time since November of last year!) and to go on outings.
All around us, as I continue unpacking in this new house, are reminders of what the last year has been. For instance, Dan just last week went to my mom’s house to open the Christmas presents which have stood behind the piano until he was well enough to open them. (Well, pull tissue out of bags to open them.)
I will begin teaching at Oak Grove Classical Academy next week, three times a week, and am happy to help contribute to our household in that way. I also am thrilled to announce that the book I worked on while Dan was hospitalized is beginning to be publicized by Simon & Schuster. Amazingly, the Kindle edition is almost always on one of Amazon’s category best seller lists, even though the book won’t come out until April!
(I have dedicated that book to Mountainside Church of Christ. I’d be dead without their help. I didn’t put it that strongly in the Dedication page, but it’s the truth.)
In the article I mention Chip Davis of Mannheim Steamroller. He was the one who so generously donated the Ambient Therapy iPod and earphones I put on Dan when he was “locked in.” Thanks be to God, our prayers have been answered regarding what Dan remembers of that horrible period of time. He has absolutely no memory of anything from the time he entered the ICU until sometime a few weeks after he was transferred to Specialty Hospital. It is as if that two months or so are a blank, which our son Ryan asked God to give him the gift of a kind of amnesia of that time.
You see why I have hesitated to write this update? There is so much to tell, I can’t do it all. I give glory to God and say again, that without the help of so many gracious people, Dan and I could never have come this far. Thanks be to God for all He is, does, and gives.