Here's some significant things we've celebrated lately:
Adam passed a 3-hour test with the Department of Transportation recently. They cited no concerns over him being behind the wheel. (I'm sure glad they didn't make me take the test!)
Adam has been released from his outpatient therapy at Mary Free Bed as of last week. His therapy was an extension of his inpatient time there. Basically, their goals are for him to gain independence and to be able to do things on his own. He's been doing that for awhile. They released him as they need to be able to focus their efforts on those in those earlier stages and in greater need. He could still pursue further rehab at another location.
We are still seeing some very small and slow improvements. Much harder to notice these days. I don't notice them as much, so I've had to ask Adam to "update" me even when he notices the small things of when something is a little easier.
Someone that sees Adam on a weekly basis from a distance casually said, "So, you're pretty much back to normal, right?"
I think Adam and I both stared at this person and blinked several times, wondering if they were serious, before figuring out how to respond.
The simple and short answer is "no."
We have seen a miraculous and non-typical recovery. He is so fortunate to be doing all that he is. He is able to function and do everyday things very well. But there are still very large deficits, not only to what he used to be, but even for a typical 34-year old guy.
Adam has always been a lot more than a "typical" guy. He was a superb athlete. He could compete at any athletic thing he tried. He was strong. He was quick. I still remember watching him play college baseball and feeling like I might have blinked too long because the play he had made seemed impossible to what I thought humans should be able to do.
We love to play tennis together. I played throughout high school and I'm decent, although he only ever played recreationally. At times, he would try to secretly play left-handed so that we would be more evenly matched so that I wouldn't get so frustrated about losing to him.
I still remember seeing him do feats of strength that I would just shake my head at. Moving things. Lifting things. He is a BEAST.
Now I'm watching him wake up in the morning and go to bed at night moving as though he is 75-years old sometimes. I hold my breath when I watch him stiffly walk up and down the platform steps at church. I see him throw a football (which is great!), but well, it looks rather sad. I see him fatigue after doing a handful of push-ups. I watch him attempt to build something using his tools and hear about his frustration over how it took 5 times as long as what it used to. I hear about how he struggled to be able to swim and keep himself afloat during his pool therapy recently.
Yes, he is getting back to doing a lot. But there is still a sense of loss that we are daily working through. His doctor's office calls him an incomplete tetraplegic/quadriplegic. (Education time: Complete would mean the spinal cord was completely severed and there is no motor or sensory function below the spot of injury......Incomplete means that it was not severed and there is a varying degree of motor and sensory function. Some incomplete injuries may have no motor function, although they have sensory - in other words, they can feel, but they can't move their limbs. While others have varying degrees of motor function. At this point, Adam looks to be a high-functioning tetraplegic/quadriplegic.)
I'm reminded of when I went to the Secretary of State Office to get our handicap parking tag. The attendant wrote it to last through October 2017.
I said outloud, "Wow. I didn't realize it would be good for so long." She looked at me, in between her gum smacking, and said, "Honey, the doctor wrote this to be a permanent pass."
The first few months of Adam's injury was crazy. We were in survival mode as we navigated through almost 2 months of hospitalization, many helping hands in and out of our home, and then just getting back to "living" again. Now that we've settled back into a groove of day in/day out activity, there's room for noticing just how different things are for the time being. The initial shock and trauma have worn off and now we are sifting through what's happened.
Adam's physicalness wasn't WHO he was, but it did make up a very large part of HOW he operated.
Please don't misunderstand.
We are thankful. Thankful, thankful, thankful. So thankful.
Overwhelmed with gratitude at times.
Adam really is doing so well. It's wonderful. And we're still seeing improvements.
But we're also human.
Well, I'm speaking for myself here anyways.
I have my moments of missing just how athletic and able-bodied he was.
Sometimes I don't like having to think about whether or not he can do something.
At times, I try to think about what the future looks like and I wonder if this injury will always be obvious.
Will he be able to handle a hike in the woods someday? A family bike ride? A walk on the beach? Throwing a baseball with his someday teenage sons?
Sometimes it's overwhelming and I let it get to me.
I certainly don't think its wrong for me to have moments of grieving and mourning a loss. But its the worry and fretting that I know I need to combat.
I know that worrying does me no good. And I know full well that God does not want me to worry.
He says it in Scripture again and again.
So we continue to thank God for ALL that He's done, yet we still hope for more.
"I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." (Psalm 27:3-14)