It has been approximately 29 days since Elijah’s surgery. Each day is a new challenge AND a new chance for Elijah to see what he’s made of, who he is made of….our young man of God. I wanted to pause and share with you how our QB is doing since he’s been home.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was most nervous to return home. Home meant back to appointments, meetings, deadlines, back to crazy. I loved being in Baltimore because we could focus solely on Elijah, and I was nervous that I would feel even more insecure about taking care of him. I mean, I am pretty decent at being his mom, but his nurse? SCARY. However, like always Shayne encouraged me and reminded me how much good being home will be for Elijah and how God will supply the wisdom and discernment for us to support him. He was right. The old cliche – There’s NO place like home – never packed a punch as powerfully and deeply as it did returning home with our boy.
The medical staff in Baltimore told us to allow Elijah to be our guide, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect when we got home. First thing he wanted to do was sleep, so we let him. He still does not have the stamina of our “normal Elijah” as his body is still recovering and because he still has 6 pins protruding from his leg and hip. He awoke and when we began talking through sleeping arrangements downstairs for him, he chimed in quickly. He expressed that he wanted to sleep in his bed. The problem was that his bedroom was on the 2nd floor, and there were about 20 stairs in between him and his bed. He had NOT done stairs yet, but he was adamant about trying. With some help from dad…..he did it! He was slow as a tortoise, but he did it. He was proud. We were prouder. None of us thought about getting him back down the stairs, but we didn’t care. At that moment we were elated and overjoyed. He SLEPT the entire night. I know his bed never felt so good. So, we conquered the first night home, but let’s be honest, as I got in bed that evening my mind starting getting preoccupied with what we’d do the next day. He would have his first physical therapy session, but what else? Like a newborn…..the days are long. I calmed down and leaned on the Lord…..He was WITH me, He would sustain me, He loves me…..He loves Elijah even more than I do.
The next morning we were beckoned to help Elijah creep out of bed. Elijah is normally my first child to hit the floor running. I hear him pounce on the ground and make a b-line to the bathroom. That has now changed. We have a whole routine before he even gets up. He yells, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” I arrive, he pees in his bottle, we do all of his Perthes stretches (which we do 2x a day), we get his hip bar taken out, give his meds, I tell him how proud I am of him, his dad tells him how proud he is of him, and we wiggle him out of bed. We help him get dressed and he loads up on his walker. He’s tried the stairs a variety of different ways and has seemed to settle into his favorite way. Anyway, it was going to be his first trip to PT, and nobody knew quite what to expect. Shayne takes him and he’s the talk of the clinic. None of them have ever seen an external fixator and they are quite mesmerized and intimidated by it. Elijah showed them all the things he learned at PT in Baltimore, he gave them the folder and DVD from Baltimore that were full of material to assist them. They seemed to be up for the challenge! The first PT session brought on a lot of tears, but Elijah pushed through the pain and they were thrilled at his initial attempt. He will continue PT 3 times a week until further notice. We are hopeful that this will be a match made in PT heaven.
Like I’ve said before, we feel it is important to train our kids to have a plan, a strategy, and goals. As parents we feel the same about ourselves, so we prayed, conversed, and agreed that our best strategy to support Elijah is to keep him as engaged and connected as possible to his friends and family. They are undoubtedly good for his soul and if we make every effort to keep him close to his friends that it would continue to motivate him to want to keep moving forward. However, it also means that I’m going to have to allow the guardrail down a bit and not put him in a cautionary bubble. His friends have been extremely thoughtful and generous. They have come over to swim, do archery, shoot the Red Ryder BB Gun, play video games, play board games, do puzzles, take walks with him. We have been digging deep to find creative activities for him to participate in.
We did face a super tough day last Monday. Elijah was experiencing tons of pain that he was having a hard time explaining. There were lots of tears shed and unhappiness. He just wasn’t my Elijah. We realized that he was beginning to battle a pin infection and began antibiotics. The next day he was on his way back to being….Elijah. Thank you, Jesus!
One beauty of the fixator is that it allows Elijah to swim! Now, that first time in the pool was quite interesting as there’s no awesome and handy chair that lifts and lowers him into the water, so it was all us trying to filter through it. It was a slowwww process, but we did it!!!! We got him in the water. He was initially a bit apprehensive, but once the football entered the water it was game on! I am convinced that swimming and sunshine are good for the mind and the body, so I am getting him to the pool, even though it is quite the task, as often as possible. Kids should be splitting and splashing in the summer, especially when the sunny months are as limited as they are in OH-IO!
Football has also begun. Normally my boy would be taking to the field for some tackle tunneling, tiger jacking, and sprinting. However, this year instead of being the QB he’ll be the junior coach 🙂 who will be coaching alongside his dad and incredible coaching staff. I gotta admit that loading him into the car each night knowing that he is gonna be sidelined has had me choked up several times. I can tell that some nights affect him more than others, but he continues to love being a part of this team. I told him that it was one thing to help lead the team in the huddle, but it will be even more impactful if he can help lead the team demonstrating perseverance, encouraging his teammates, and pushing through the pain. It has been precious to watch his football buds tend to him in his wheelchair/walker. We are blessed to be part of the LYF family and the awesome cheerleaders who cheer him on daily.
One activity I love to do with my kids is to read books with them. This especially comes in handy while Elijah has limited activity. We just finished Mockingjay and are now reading Tim Tebow’s autobiography, Through My Eyes: A Quarterback’s Journey. We are loving it! The discussions we are having are so rich and so fun. One night we spent lots of time dialoguing about Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. We chatted about how God can use things that we deem bad actually for good. It was so neat to hear Elijah’s heart. He grew my faith that night as he reiterated that he didn’t understand why this was happening, but was trusting that God still has big plans for him. No wonder God asks us to have a child-like faith. Their faith is super sized!
Our Mosaic family, friends, neighbors, and teams have been vital in helping us transition and settle into our new normal. If you’ve sent a text, called, stopped by, prepared a meal, transported our other kiddos, prayed, sent a card/package WE THANK YOU. Your love and support have filled our tanks as we battle this with and for our boy. We are infinitely grateful.
I’m keenly aware that the road ahead will be bumpy, uncertain, and at times downright frightening, but I know that the Lord will continue to be faithful. Why? He always has been.
Elijah’s recent victories:
He tackled the stairs AND pool.
His attitude and attack have been superstar!
He is getting stronger each day and it is evident in how he is moving in his walker.
He is managing his pain quite well. Although he is still on some major meds, we have been able to decrease the frequency and potency of the meds.
How can you keep cheering him to the goal line:
Keep high-fiving him.
Pray we don’t fumble the parenting ball too often.
Until next time…..