I called Daniel last night for a quick update on Andy and got off the phone one hour and 29 minutes later. Not quick but boy it was good to talk to him.
Andy went on the outing as planned on Wednesday. They went to a nearby mall and theater for dinner at Chic Fil A, a show and a little bit of ball cap and sunglasses shopping afterward. Andy wore regular civilian clothes (quite an ordeal to get into and out of but apparently worth the difficulty) and Daniel noted that his arms are getting visibly larger. The work is paying off!
As to be expected, there was some apprehension around this event. Not too much was verbalized about it but it was definitely there. However, after the outing, Andy told one of the other patients--M, (a buddy who didn't go on the outing) that it wasn't as hard as he thought it would be and that people didn't stare as much as he had thought they would. Daniel said that this buddy is "behind Andy" in the healing process from a similar injury and Andy's kinda prepping him for what to expect, in some ways. Apparently, M expressed some concerns about his own impending outing and Andy told him "If I'm still here when it's your turn, I'll go with you."
There is progress being made, to be sure. If you had told me three months ago that he would be this far along in this amount of time, I wouldn't have believed it. Outings. Driving. Improving motor control. Muscular development. He's working very hard and his efforts are being rewarded.
Daniel reminds me that it's hard. Every battle is uphill and requires so much more than we all imagine. Andy's determined and driven, but at a price. And the hardest part of this is that it never stops. There is no reprieve, no laying down the difficult for even a moment. The mountain is ever before him.
Today is an important day. Daniel has to attend a lunchtime meeting that will set the course for the immediate future. Please pray for the best possible outcome, for all the decisions that are being firmed up, and for the most efficient and wise steps to be laid out in front of Daniel, Andy and the rest of the team. There is much to be decided today. It's comforting to know that we already know the One who holds the future.
Daniel continually expresses a deep appreciation to all who have sent cards, letters, pictures, and gifts. Mail is encouraging to both of them. Thank you to those who are participating in that way. At the risk of bragging, it gave me immense pleasure to hear him say "NWYC people are awesome!" (I resisted the urge to say "Well, duh.")
Part of our long discussion was about handling the adversity of all this. What you and I chose to do in the face of an immense and complete adversity is the point at which we either do remarkable things or give in to being run over by life. What Andy does by getting up and out every day and by choosing to "drive on" is the best way to handle this adversity. He doesn't think too hard about what's involved or what's required of him to get where he's going. He doesn't self-indulge. He drives on.
The way that Daniel chooses to become what Andy needs, despite some minor misgivings about his own abilities, is his way of handling this mountain of adversity alongside his brother. True, he may be "just a carpenter from Texas," (his words, not mine) but he has chosen to become a remarkable advocate for his brother. He pursues all the possibilities, he is considering the future, he is bending the ears of generals, doctors, therapists and nurses about medications, treatment options, facilities and a million other topics, he is operating inside a system that is often frustrating, indecisive and slow, he is navigating loads of paperwork and administrative tasks and he is present with Andy, in the ever-changing situations being encountered in the SCI-D.
It's pretty amazing, if you ask me.
Finally, recently there have been some discussions of the medications Andy's on and this is an area for which Daniel is adamantly desiring prayer. It's a very long list of meds, some of which help and some of which may not be helping as much as they should. It's a tedious balance to be achieved and it's weighing heavily on Daniel and Andy. Pray that Andy's body will function to the best of it's ability and that his needs for chemical support will decrease steadily with time and the continued healing of his mind and body.
Thank you for continuing with us on this journey.
Peace to you,
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you understand what he is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised. But presently, He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on Earth is He up to?
The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of--throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself."
--CS Lewis, in "Mere Christianity"