Thursday, December 3, 2009

Appointment Day!

I am writing from the hospital - okay not really - we are next door at the medical center which is on the same campus at Santa Clara Kaiser. Jacob and I are sitting in the cafeteria. We finished 3 of our 4 appointments. First we went to the wound clinic and had his thumb and heel checked. Thumb is looking good - they gave us some advice on how to dress it a little differently to help the heeling. In this case blood red is good...and it is looking good. He had a nick on his heel that was bleeding as well and we need to pad it a little differently. He will always have to be very careful with his feet.

We then went to PT for some exercises for balancing. He is looking so much stronger. He did some walking on the treadmill. Jake really needs to work more on stamina than anything else. After PT we went to OT where she worked on his skin movement on the burn sites. He has scaring on top of scaring and we are trying to mash the fibers together. Which brings us our last appointment (in 4 minutes). Jake is getting fitted for a pressure garment which will help in the the scar compression. Will write more after that - Jake will need to do more Farmville on Facebook. :)

7:00 pm - we just got home. The fitting for the pressure garments was a long process. Plus we stopped at his favorite sushi place in Los Gatos to spoil him - his waitress was not working though. Although it was a long, hard day on Jake - very frustrating for him, it was a very progressive day from my viewpoint. He made huge strides in both OT and PT and these pressure garments will really help the healing of his burn areas. It feels good to be on the "making progress" side of things - to really see it and for health professionals say "you are doing very good." That is a win.
Jake is up resting and eagerly awaiting a couple of friends coming up to watch the Office with him.
Grace and peace,
Tom (Daddy)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Progress - patient progress

Each day it seems like Jake is subtly stronger and stronger - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Today he met again with the surgeon that did his thumb. things are looking good. There are a couple of spots that he is still not sure about but overall there is skin growth on the edges and NO sign of infection. Jake and Debbie went to the appointment and seemed okay with it but as I sit here and right I am overjoyed - for so long we have prayed for this thumb - this reminder of the miracles.

We are making progress - sometimes it feels like we are stuck, forgotten, left out... but there is subtle, incremental progress that may not be measured in leaps and bounds but in gentle, hope-filled, nudges. Discouragement comes so easily, too easily when focusing on what is not. I know I have been doing that a lot lately - forgetting that I need to just focus on what is before me - cooking a meal, spending time with family, doing math with Jacob.

I just got "interrupted" in writing this with a phone call from a friend. It was a welcome interruption in that we were able to finally connect a bit with each other's struggles. I spent some time with another dear friend earlier today. What a blessing it is to have people in your life to share struggles with that will accept you as you are and take on your burden as their own. It is an amazing gift to be a true friend. It is an amazing gift to have a true friend. It makes the journey a bit less lonely.

In deep friendship,

Tom (Daddy)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Merciful Blessing

It was hard last night to say goodbye to Robbie last night as they headed back down to Biola. It was so incredible to have him home - I think we are all going through a little withdrawal. So after some significant schoolwork today we picked up Jensen form school and headed to Betty's Burgers in Santa Cruz. The Owner had emailed me months ago sharing how they have been following Jake's story and were holding a t-shirt and gift card for Jacob (stickers too). So many little things kept us from getting there but we finally made it. Awesome. Highly recommended!!!

Then we drove along the coast. It is dark this time of year in the redwoods - an amazing clear and beautiful day along the ocean though. After stopping by and seeing our Dear friends at Freeline (surf shop Jake works at) we hit a Goodwill store to find an ugly Christmas sweater for Jake's upcoming party and finally home - followed right behind by Kiko and Chris, two of Jacob's friends. So they are hanging out helping get ornaments on the tree.

Freeline has continues to have a can on their counter on behalf of Jacob. They had also posted a flyer about the local dentist office that is whitening teeth to benefit Jake through the end of the year. All the details are on the left side of this blog - scroll down a little. You can even give a gift certificate to someone. It is a great value and they are totally blessing us. I spoke to Angela this morning from their office. She is our dental advocate as we try to figure out our own dental needs. They have been amazing.

So many of you have been such a blessing. As I write this, I am getting waves of panic because there are so many to thank - spikes of guilt are stabbing me. I know though that this outpouring of love and caring comes though from incredibly caring hearts that just want to bless us. There is no expectation of reciprocation - making this all the more special. It is also a dramatic reminder to me to not get caught up in reciprocal giving as we approach Christmas. You know that panic attack when someone gives you a Christmas gift and you did not even have it on your radar to give them something back? Or when you give a gift just because you saw something perfect for them and they say, but I did not give you anything?

It has been a huge lesson to be a gracious receiver. To accept the gift and appreciate it without letting it trigger obligation. It is a lesson for those of us who attempt follow Christ. The gift that Jesus gave is unable to be reciprocated. Yet so often we try and try and hold tight to this sense of payback - obligation - as proof of our allegiance or to please God or worse yet influence Him. Pleasing God comes from the purity of action.

Jesus quoted the prophet Hosea when he spoke for God saying, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." Both Hosea and Jesus were addressing the blundering of thinking that an external act would please God when there is impurity, greed, idolatry, etc in our hearts. God's message over and over again where that the sacrifices and offerings that God's people bring to him are nothing if the heart is not merciful blessings.

Our time of suffering has proved to also be our time of receiving merciful blessing. Prayers, encouragement, gifts, etc are gifts of mercy, gifts of compassion, gifts of love as they pour out to us and to Jacob and allow us to continue to focus on Jacob. This is what community is all about - we are experiencing the mercy of God. I have been asked by several people, how we are surviving through this? Community, the merciful blessing of community. Each day holds another lesson in trying to really trust in Jesus' lesson of not worrying about tomorrow but trusting in him for today and that he will provide for tomorrow.

Moving forward I am starting to send out resume's again. I was actually able to sub for a couple of half days at Jensen's school. Is that not having faith that God will continue to provide? I see it as not taking advantage of the merciful blessing and seeking to partner with God in provision. As Jacob becomes moves toward independence, especially after his next surgery, I pray that God would provide the right position for me to provide for my family and spread that merciful blessing to others.

Our prayer of mercy at this moment is still for healing to Jake's thumb. Tomorrow we go back to have it checked once again. Lord our deepest desire is that this grafting would take and that we might travel to the next major event on this journey. For Jake this all means moving toward more independence and less parent-dependence as he gets the plate inserted over his brain.

Happy December,

Tom (Daddy)