25 September 2008 51 Comments

Healing together

Continued from a previous post.
At the Burn Center

Today was a phenomenal day for Max! We saw a true change in his spirit, motivation, and overall attitude toward his situation. Knowing that both Laurie and I are around, family and friends have been and will continue to visit, reading him everyone’s positive comments, and being in such a great facility with an incredible staff have all contributed to Max’s healing.

Max didn’t have the best night’s sleep though. His hands would try their best to reach for his face and scratch, but I wouldn’t let them. He was awoken by the failed attempts to draw blood from his bruised right arm. And he had to make a couple of bathroom trips with the pole on wheels in tote. But that was the extent of annoyances for the remainder of the day which was yet to unfold.

I woke up and Laurie was already up and by his side, her smile gleaming at me from across the room. It’s been quite the time with her Max and I in this 200 sq.ft room – we have our own bathroom and a window to the parking lot. Even though we’ve been in such close quarters, we’ve spent hardly any time together, maybe the occasional hug and goodnight kiss – but that’s about it. We are both intently focused on Max.

Max was awake and ready to go – he had already eaten part of his cheese omelet and slice of ham, so I was getting a late start at 7:30 in the morning, but I was ready for another Lego run. I helped him finish off his meal and Laurie cruised out to get some coffee. We reviewed the type of Legos I was going to get – Lego Agents, and if I wanted I could also get a Nerf gun – if I wanted.

After finishing my coffee, I headed out to Fred Meyer once again. It was nice to get out. Laurie and Max went for a walk and found the ‘underground tunnel’ – an adventure for sure. When I returned they were back in the room and Back to the Future 2 was on (not one of Spielberg’s best). Laurie told me Max could see me through the window walking back from the Pathfinder with a couple of boxes – he was excited. I also had a tub of large curd cottage cheese for Eric, who is doing better and is being sent home tomorrow. Eric has some serious burns as well, but the doctor believes he is fine to go home and return in a week or so for a check-up. Max will be here until Saturday, at which point the doctor will give us a clearer picture on next steps. Max was thrilled upon my arrival and wanted to start building – but then a couple of staff walked through our door – the people from ‘school’ had arrived.

Max was thrilled, he was actually looking forward to going to school/therapy (like he mentioned the day before). They gave him a fresh pair of booties and we were off. We walked outside and across the street to the main hospital. Then once inside we went up the stairs to the children’s hospital. It was nice – cool art, and fun colors – things you’d expect to see in a pediatric center (and actually should be all over the hospital). We walked past the older section and into the physical therapy area – this part was fun! Max was handed a basketball and immediately started shooting hoops – not in a gym, but in the hallway and shooting baskets into one of those portable outdoor 4ft tall kids backboards with a plastic hoop and net. It was great, he was smiling and having a good time using both his arms and catching the full size basket ball no-problem. Then they had him shoot hoops while sitting on one of those big bouncing balls – he was working the core! Next it was battle ball! Picture a really short kayak paddle, but with flat paddles. We were each handed one of these and a balloon. The game was simple, hit the balloon to your opponent, so back and forth the balloon went. Then they asked if he liked scooters – Max was all over it. With helmet on, Max went scooting! Through hallways and down to the kids area, where there was a theater, bingo hall, video game area and lounge – he was stoked! They showed him the classroom – which was on the way back. And then they showed us how to get back through the tunnel.

It was so funny – the PT was fast walking after Max with her arms spread out behind him in the tunnel – like a kid would do if they were trying to make believe they were flying – but she was doing it to protect him in the event he slipped and fell or something – Following him like a nervous parent does her child as she learns to ride a bike. But Max being the expert scooter that he is kept one eye ahead and the other on her, going fast enough juuust to keep her on her toes. Super fun and super funny to watch!

Once we got back to our room, Max was exhausted and happy – he told Laurie about bingo at 1:30 and school right after that – he was pumped. We chilled out in the room, had some lunch and started building Legos – then it was time to pick up aunite! I gave Max a kiss and headed to the airport.

When we returned, Max was gone – off to bingo I suppose, and then off to school. So we left the room and headed up to the children’s hospital. As we approached the double doors I noticed Laurie and Max walking towards us and it looked like Max had something in his hands. As they got closer we noticed it was a four pack of Play Doh! ‘Max! What’s that?’ I asked ‘I won this at bingo! Hi aunt Yvette!’ he said. He won a prize and had a smile on his face and was heading to school.

The school was cool. It was a room with a bunch of school stuff in it – books, computers, maps, word search, desks, more books. Laurie and Yvette took off and Max and I hung out for a little bit, learning about our country – but I could tell he needed some space just like we did, so I left him in the good hands of the teacher.

Later, back at the room, our friends Harold and Dave paid us a surprise visit! Max was at school and it was almost time for him to come back anyways, so I decided to take them over to pick him up. Once we got to the school room, it was Max and the teacher sitting next to each other and Max playing Math Blast on the computer – he was smiling again, and happy to see more visitors – Or maybe it was seeing that gift Harold was toting in a bag, either way he was smiling. And his smile got even bigger as we cruised back to the room in a wheelchair – at times pulling wheelies.

The day wound down with some take out from Pastini’s, the completion of a Lego set and another visit from cousin Nicole. We threw in Rush Hour 2 and vegged it out.

Max had a great day full of activity. The swelling on his face has pretty much subsided and his appetite is strong. He’s only got one tube going in his nose for nutrition and that’s it. He’s crashed out right now sleeping super heavy (no meds now) and preparing for what will no doubt be another great day tomorrow.

Today was great – and if it weren’t for being in the hospital and being wrapped up, I swear you wouldn’t know that this kid was injured at all.

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