January 14, 2015

He's All Better

Some days, this is hard.

Who am I kidding?

Everyday is hard.

Starting your day at 0:dark-thirty, 5 days a week, wrestling a 73 pound screaming, thrashing bundle of boy gets old.  Every weekday morning when we enter Bridger's room the wrestling match begins.  He doesn't want to go to school.  He will roll to his side and cling with every muscle of his being to the bars of his safety bed.  He will scream and kick and thrash.  Sometimes those kicks make contact with your nose, which really smarts.  He yells "NO SCHOOL" until he starts gagging and nearly vomits.  All the while you are trying to change an over-soiled diaper and wrestle his long skinny legs inch by inch into his pants, followed by trying to catch and hold his foot long enough to put his long orthotic stockings on and his tedious orthotics on top of that.

Beginning my day like that every morning is what pushes Alan and I to not go to sleep at night.  Somehow, we believe that the later we stay up then somehow it will push off the inevitable next sunrise which begins this daily grind.  Alas, that morning always comes and we find ourselves more tired than we were the day before.

Coming off of a weekend or a snow day makes those mornings even more unwelcome, because there was no break to be had.  Weekends are particularly rough because the movement, sight and sounds that occur on weekend outings are tough for Bridger.  While we try to reduce his exposure to such, as a busy family of seven, he just has to go with our flow sometimes.

Last Sunday nearly killed us.  Bridger had reached sensory overload at church and he promptly had to release that built up pressure.  The sensory let down began as soon as we piled in the car to return home and lasted clear through the moment at bedtime when he finally fell asleep at 8:00.  That was 6 solid hours of inconsolable screaming.  I couldn't pacify him.  It was painful - for all of us.  The veins were popping out of Alan's neck, Lance's eyes were bloodshot behind his glasses.  The ever patient Evie was exasperated and little Eliza was about ready to take a frying pan to his head.  {not really, but I wasn't going to leave any frying pans around just in case}

It was those behaviors that prompted a plea in Eliza's prayer.

"Please bless that Bridger can undo his special needs," she sweetly asked in her prayer.

I smiled.  A smile both for that prayer and a memory of hundreds of prayers that have been offered before from my other children that I had forgotten about.

For many years, every single prayer offered by Lance, Evie or Sadie included the same plea to Heavenly Father for their brother -- "Please bless that Bridger can overcome his challenges."

Said every prayer, every day, for four years straight.

When they first started making this request, I cringed.  Should I explain to them, again, about genetic defects?  Should I let them know, again, that this is how Bridger will be forever? 

I never did.  I just let them pray what they felt, until one day that request stopped.  I am not sure quite when they stopped praying for it, but Eliza's sweet request reminded me of those prayers I had heard over and over.

After Eliza finished her prayer, I asked Evie, "Do you remember how you always used to prayer for Bridger to overcome his challenges?"


"Why did you stop?"

"Well," she paused as if I had just asked some obvious rhetorical question, "because he's all better."

Taken aback, I questioned that -- "he's all better??"

"Yes," she explained, "he can push his wheelchair around now and he can speak enough words for us to understand.  He can stand in his stander and use his fingers to use his Ipad and can laugh and play with us.  He can even eat pizza!  He got better!"

Wow.  She was right.

You can look at this boy and see someone whose is completely confined to a wheelchair and can't stand or walk, whose speech is at about 30% intelligibility to the random stranger, who has seizures and has these extreme behavioral complexities, and who needs full assistance with every element of his personal care.

Or, you can look at him, like Evie does, and think that he is all better.

To Evie, her prayers were answered.

And I believe they were.