After eight weeks in Grand Rapids in neurological rehab, Ray has finally come home. Here’s a how it went down…
We Had a Week that Could Have Been from that Fiery Place Below
First off, I’ve been suffering from a terrible cold that has only affected me (worn down as I am), and has made most of my nights sleepless due to uncontrollable coughing. I tried everything, but for two weeks straight I was lucky to get four hours of sleep each night.
I drove my sleepless self to Grand Rapids Sunday, so that I could
learn Ray’s routine and get the recommendations for his ongoing therapy. I returned home Tuesday evening, and woke up Wednesday morning to two sick kids. Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease didn’t strike Boo too badly but it left Little Man beside himself. My sweet little baby wouldn’t stop screeching, and wanted to be held constantly. He didn’t want to eat or drink. Nothing made him happy.
Wednesday night, a tree fell on the power line running to the house, and we had a partial electrical outage. No A/C. No oven. No big deal.
No well pump. Ergo, no running water.
Electrical Outages Can Actually Be A Blessing
When you are a single mom with five kids, two of whom are sick, a lack of electricity running you out of your house and into the arms of your loving mom and dad who happen to have a pool is actually a blessing.
Mom and I took turns attempting to keep Little Man happy, while the other kids swam and played. It made for a far better day Thursday than the one I had planned, which was filled with work and cleaning.
The Big Day
Friday, still sleep-deprived, I left early to make the four hour drive up to Grand Rapids. Again. There was a farewell party for Ray, a few last minute details to cover, and his room to pack up. Then, I turned around and drove the four hours home, arriving in time for the steak dinner Ray’s mom had waiting for us.
Of course, Little Man wouldn’t stop screeching. I had to remove him from the house so Ray could enjoy his welcome home dinner. Brain injury and screeching babies do not agree with one another. But, my trip to Walgreens to get Epsom salts was rewarded with a half hour long happy bath time (overseen by Bonita while I ate my dinner), and a happy baby at the end of it all.
God is Good
If you recall, just before Ray went to Michigan, I was about to lose it. I have a few things on my plate these days, and helping Ray with his at-home therapy had fallen off the plate and landed – SPLAT! – on the floor. His time in Michigan was a much needed opportunity for him to get the services he needed, while giving me a break from the stress of my inadequacies. (I say that with total healthy self-love. None of us are perfect.) It was also a time for me to prepare mentally and spiritually for his homecoming, and to get used to the idea of living by a schedule… something I’ve always known the value of, and which is vital to the well-being of a brain injury survivor, but that I – quite frankly – totally suck at.
I prayed a novena of total surrender to Jesus, finishing on the day Ray came home. Undoubtedly the best thing I could have done, and I’m grateful that it appeared when it did, an answer to a prayer.
Two Days of Life on a Schedule
I can’t say we’re sticking to it 100%, but we’ve done pretty well. The most important part is keeping Ray active, and we’ve definitely done that. He would love to take a three to four hour nap every day, but the schedule “simply doesn’t allow it.”
Proof that Big Families are a Blessing
Having five kids and a brain injured husband can be difficult to navigate. Very. To begin with, brain injury does not get along well with noise, chaos, and craziness. Add to that the myriad of kids’ activities, competing wants and needs, and trying to meet them all as a “single parent,” and a big family could quickly be seen as a curse.
But, thanks be to God, this weekend we have seen the blessing of the big family. The kids have – unbeknownst to them – become Ray’s therapists. Dude took a bike ride with me and Daddy Saturday morning. Bear did Legos with him in the afternoon. Ray played Battleship with Bonita, and played games of pool with Dude and Bear at my parents later in the day. All excellent forms of physical, occupational, or cognitive therapy for Ray, and a great way to keep the kids busy, thinking, and off their devices.
Here’s praying that we can continue this into the week!