Friday I returned home from the hospital, where I had been on “Pete duty” for two days. I walked into the house to find the mail on the dining table. There were two cards that had come that day, one from a dear friend in Pennsylvania and one from a dear friend in California . Both had written their cards personally to me. Neither has ever met the other. Both had calligraphed scripture verses to me inside their cards. Of all the many passages that each woman could have chosen, both of them “happened” upon the same one:
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
One friend encouraged me in the thought that, although Peter’s life may appear to be “on hold” right now, God is still working in him, renewing his inner nature. The Holy Spirit is not hindered by comas. This truth lifted my spirits because now that Peter seems more aware of his surroundings, there are times he looks down or discouraged. That my friend is praying for his sanctification to be unhindered, according to the Lord’s promise to the believer undergoing affliction, comforts me greatly.
The other friend included in her note her desire for Thanksgiving that our time with our family might be richer, more meaningful, and more precious than ever. This struck my heart, because my son Peter has always enjoyed time with family so much. So often over the years, I’ve heard him say following a busy week: “Can we just spend tonight at home as a family?” Peter has always felt and appreciated the warmth and security of being close as a family. Five nights before his accident, we had an early celebration of my birthday in our home with a close circle of friends and family. That night, after everyone had gone home, Peter posted a new facebook status: “Thank God for the small foretastes of Heaven that He provides, like a restful evening enjoying the edifying fellowship of family and friends.”
Yes, as enjoyable as that evening was, in God’s scheme of things it was only “temporal” or “transient” because it fell into the category of “what is seen.” The close fellowship our family has enjoyed over the years in peaceful surroundings is now interrupted somewhat by the jarring nature of Pete’s accident. But it, after all, is only a picture, albeit a beautiful one, of the real thing, which cannot be disrupted for eternity. How wonderful must the real thing be, if as Peter indicated, the “foretaste” gives so much satisfaction.
I challenge you young moms and dads to make your home a place of warmth and togetherness and security. Give up what it costs you to accomplish it. Make it your priority to show your children a marriage that is like the relationship between Christ and us, and give them a family that inspires holiness accompanied by an unconditional and effectively working love. It will help sustain you in times of disaster when many worldly families fly apart, and it will draw your children to the beauty of the Lord, to what is “unseen” and “eternal.”
“My dear brother, let God make of you what he will, he will end all with consolation, and shall make glory out of your sufferings; and would ye wish better work?” — Samuel Rutherford in “The Loveliness of Christ”
Everyone at Baylor is saying how good Peter looks and how much more alert he seems since a month ago when we left after our first visit.
Pete’s tracking is stronger and more consistent. He is more capable of longer therapy sessions, meaning that his endurance is better. He also seems to be responding more to simple commands: opening his mouth, swallowing on command at times, and giving thumbs up–still not often enough to be called “consistent” command following, but one of the doctors told us that his bad days on this visit are better than his good days on the last visit at Baylor. In fact, during our last visit, Peter’s ratings on the neuropsychologist’s scale of assessment were consistently in “near coma” range. This past week, he scored in the “no coma” range once. So the overall trajectory is toward continued improvement, which we are grateful for.
The occupational therapists have bounced Pete around in a sitting position on therapy balls. They have even propped him up on his elbows (since stress on major joints triggers deep memories). While they were working with him this week, we actually heard his voice spontaneously making sounds for the first time since his accident, though he said no actual words. Pete is also making early attempts to hold up his head, though he tires very quickly. We have really liked the aggressive approach of the occupational therapists, and Peter seems to be responding to it well.
The doctors and therapists have been very complimentary of the family’s care of Peter. They say the progress he has made is indicative of a lot of attention and hard work at home. (This after all, is the most strenuous homeschool “unit study” we have ever done.)
And they are all saying, “He’s in there, trying to get out.”
1. That the Lord would bring Peter to the point of consistent command following. And that we would be patient in weathering the time it takes to get to that point. It would be great if he could reach that point before our discharge date of December 10, because then he could just stay there and continue formal rehabilitation.
2. That the Lord would continue to heal his brain. The doctor did a new CT scan last week, and said that though his brain looks better, there are still bleeding and swelling issues being resolved.
3. That the family would have strength and trust in the Lord. This is a long slow, roller coaster ride, and we sometimes can’t help but battle weariness on every level.
4. That the Lord would give the therapists and doctors wisdom and good intuition about the best course for Peter. Brain trauma medicine is much more an “art” than a “science,” and there are a lot of variables that go into deciding treatment for each individual. Sometimes it is just a matter of “trying out” different medications and therapies to see what works for a particular patient. It would be neat if the Lord would show them the best thing for Peter on first trial.
Thanks to all for faithful prayers.
Over the last few weeks we have enjoyed caring for Peter at home. It was good that he could be in a place that was so comfortable for him. However, Peter didn’t show as much responsiveness as we had hoped, although he has made some small improvements. There are days Pete seems much more alert watching us and “closer to the surface,” but then he goes back “under” for a few days. It reminds us that his healing is still more in the acute recovery stage (or so we were told when we left Baylor).
This week brought a change of events as we were informed Peter got the funding for his ankle surgery at Baylor and a 30 day hospital stay! After being in bed for so long Pete’s ankles contracted from being unused even though we were giving him physical therapy. We are really grateful he is getting this surgery so that one day, Lord willing, he will be able to walk again. We have been told the surgery is pretty simple and it just involves clipping the achilles tendon. Peter was moved to Baylor this afternoon.
Here are the things you ca pray for:
1) Pray that the Lord would continue to bring Peter to a higher level of consciousness so he can communicate and do things on his own. We are especially praying for this while he is at Baylor for 30 days.
2) Pray for our perseverance.
3) Pray for our health. A couple members of the family have struggled with sickness.
4) Pray that the surgery would go well on Friday.
5) Pray that we could get some rest while Peter is in the hospital and we are not the ones doing all of his care.
6) Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in what kind and how much “deep brain stimulation” to give him. It’s been hard to know when to push and when to let him rest since he can’t communicate with us. We don’t want to overdo or “underdo”.
7) Pray that the Lord will provide a few medical people to help us with his care when he is at home.
8) Pray for the safety of the family as we travel back and forth to Dallas over the next month.
9) Pray that God would protect Peter from any infections in the hospital.
For the family,