It’s amazing what a little Caleb can do. If you meet my son, you typically and immediately know two things: he is a focused, pensive kid and he is a confident kid.
Probably could throw a third in there, too – he likes NASCAR. He has gotten Dad into it, BIG TIME. In fact, Caleb created a book (seriously – a book with like 32 pages in it) he sent to Dad early on after the accident about a NASCAR race at Talladega that he imagined. He illustrated the book all by himself, with the story in his head. Then, he dictated the story for each page to his mommy, who penned the words beneath his pictures in her A+ penmanship. Did I mention he is 7? Oh, wait…7 and a half. Did I mention I am proud of him?
My dad is proud of Caleb, too. And proud of the book. He shows it to everyone who comes into the room. Everyone! Visitors, nurses, doctors, techs, therapists, cockroaches, pain-medicine-induced ferries who visit him during the night, people who wander off of Jefferson Hwy asking for directions. Everyone. And why not? Dad has always loved talking about the people who mean so much to him.
You should have seen him smile when Caleb walked into his room Sunday night.
Caleb flew back with me Sunday evening to see his Ammaw and Pop and hang out with me for the week. His teacher gave me his school work, which we began doing yesterday afternoon at Starbucks. I have really missed him and his sisters and his mommy while I’ve been here. It is great to have him here. After we take supper to Pop tonight, I am surprising him with a New Orleans Zephyrs game. They are the AAA minor league team of the Florida Marlins, and their stadium is about a mile from Dad’s hospital. Tickets were $10 for me and $9 for him. The lady said we would be resting our feet on the top of the dugout. I can’t wait to see his face! Maybe we’ll catch a foul ball to bring back to Pop.
We flew in Sunday evening, in time to cross the river and wish Mom a Happy Mother’s Day. She smiled so big when she saw Caleb. She didn’t notice him at first when I walked in, but then she did. Her smile is so beautiful. Half-smile that is. I asked her to wink at him. She did. He smiled. It was very obvious he was thankful to see his Ammaw, and she was thankful to see him. We couldn’t stay long, because visiting hours end at 8:30. We stayed until the clock read that exactly, and headed real quick to stop and see Pop. We had to grab the key to the apartment, too, which Erik had left there in Pop’s room.
I wish I had taken a picture of Pop when he saw Caleb. He gave Caleb as big of a hug as someone can give with a neck collar and a broken arm and a wheelchair.
We stayed for a minute, grabbed the key, and headed toward the apartment. Since we had not eaten supper yet (it was 9:00), we stopped for a quick bite at Serrano’s. Caleb wanted some cheese quesadillas. We ate and watched the end of the Celtics-Magic game. It didn’t end like I wanted, but Caleb actually cheers for both of those teams – the Magic cause they are in Orlando, and Boston cause they are green (his favorite color).
After a short but restful night’s sleep, we hit the ground running yesterday (Monday). A Tall Decaf was delivered to Dad. He had already eaten breakfast. We helped him take a bath and change clothes. Then, we watched him do his therapy.
Caleb was so interested. You can see from the picture that he was excited to see Pop upright. And Dad did so well. He walked with his walker 106 feet in his morning session and 150 feet in his afternoon session. You should see him. Pretty amazing watching him utilize that walker to keep the weight off of his left leg, while using his right leg as tolerated.
Then, the therapist brought out the game Connect 4. She wanted Pop to play Caleb in it while standing up. She raised a table up, and the competition began. These are two competitive dudes, now. Pop won two straight games. Then Caleb won one. I think Pop let him win, though. I don’t remember him ever doing that to me. Grandchildren are special.
The last part of therapy was Caleb and Pop throwing a soft, cushy, orange ball back and forth to each other. Caleb really liked that.
When therapy was over, Caleb and I crossed the river to see Mom. We hung with her for a while. She nodded and shook her head at stuff. She still has the tracheotomy. Still can’t talk. Still not moving her arms, although moving her right arm would be tough anyway with the big heavy cast on it. We are hoping that they will remove the cast this week. It should be healed by now for the type of fracture that was in her wrist.
Now the therapy gets intense – physical, respiratory, and speech. We are not sure they have started speech therapy yet. I am trying to get that going for her today. Some friends of ours who do that told us that it is important to get that going and get her weaned off the tracheotomy as soon as we can.
Thanks to the people who have made suggestions. And, thanks to the people who are trying to help us get Mom and Dad transferred back to Orlando. Lots of logistics have to line up for that to happen. Please pray for “The BIRC” (Brain Injury Rehab Center) there to accept Mom. Please pray for the neurologist here to communicate with us about Mom’s latest condition and to give us a plan for when they will put the skull piece back on. Please pray for logistics to move forward and work out for Mom to be flown by “med-flight” to Orlando. She will need trained folks and a plane that is equipped to hold a hospital bed or at least an ambulance-type of stretcher. Please pray for her bedsores to heal. Please pray for her infection to be controlled and eradicated.
MRSA is a big deal. I am taking big precautions with Caleb seeing her. He is wearing med gloves (which look funny on him they are so big). He is washing his hands before we leave. He is using anti-bacterial wipes when we get in the car. He is not touching anything in the whole hospital where Mom is. Please pray for that MRSA to go away. It’s not good for anyone.
Please pray for Pop to be conscious of when he has taken his pain meds. I ask all the time, but we are not there all the time, either, going back and forth. He really needs to stay ahead of the pain now that he is doing such hard therapy. Please pray for him to continue to be patient with this long process. Pray that his mind will be active on the things he is dreaming of and working on with work. Pray for his left leg in particular. It has a lot of healing to do. And, most of all, please pray for his heart not getting to see Mom. We are hoping to take him back over soon. We will see.
Well, I really can’t say it enough, but THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR CONCERN AND FRIENDSHIP AND SUPPORT AND PRAYERS. You all have been so significant in this process. We really do have a long way to go. Especially with Mom. Please keep praying.
Thanks for your love. We love you and appreciate you.