Day 46

Continued from a previous post.

It’s been fifty days since Max was in the accident and he continues to improve for sure. As our doctor had predicted, the open wound has closed and scar tissue has formed as his second skin. In about a week or so the scar will no longer need to be bandaged and in its place will go a self-adherent silicone bandage – this will help diminish the scars appearance.
His new skin (which was previously 2nd degree burns) is evident – whiter than his other skin, and more susceptible to sun damage, great care is being taken everyday to make sure he has SPF on his face and body.

Continued here.

Day 37

Continued from a previous post.
Day 37It’s been a little over 37 days now and Max’s improvements are significantly visible. The burn on his upper left arm, which was visibly open not long ago, has almost entirely closed up. That spot will for sure leave a scar but were hoping with proper care and time it will fade away. His spirits are up and he’s been spending more time with friends.

This whole experience has drawn our family together in such a good way. As much as we all wish this had never happened, there is a big part of me that acknowledges good has come from it.

Continued here.

Healing and dealing

Continued from a previous post.

Over these past several days I have found myself in a here but not here state-of-mind, but interestingly enough focused, if that makes sense. Talking with people, friends, clients, family, creating – getting things done actually, catching up from a week or so off.

But yet during all this time there are more moments than not that my mind wanders and replays bits and pieces of what happened to Max. The explosion – tackling Max – speeding down Mt Washington looking at Ana in the rear view mirror. She was scared, she didn’t say a word as we were racing to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house, and for Ana silence is very rare. Glimpses. Glimpses of what had happened. I recall running down my parents front yard, jumping on their front porch and reaching my hand toward the door, swinging it open – small details like that for some reason have stuck with me. Seeing them casually sitting down, eating dinner and their faces slowly shifting from contentment to a pale shade of disbelief as I explained why I was there – all of a sudden.

There are also the positive moments, lots actually. But still I find that something has changed. Things are clearer now. Big things matter, little things – not so much (However, I still believe that it’s the little things that make all the difference).

Max has been doing so well during this whole ordeal we are so proud of him. He is constantly on my mind day and night – his cute smile lodged in my brain both as is was and as it is now – somewhat discolored, blotchy, and covered in antibiotic goo. He’s a trooper.

Day 13Yesterday was a bit different than most days however. Max has caught cabin fever – and a bit of realization of the consequences of what has happened. Relegated to the indoors, he is no longer able to pursue outdoor activities for some time. Wall-ball against the garage door after school is out, as is tooling around in the alley on his bike. Outdoor recess is out. No more soccer practice, playing games on the weekend or watching his sister score some goals (she got one this past weekend – I wish I was there to see it and so does Max). Hiking, mountain biking, riding bikes, walking down to Nancy P’s for a morning cinnamon bun and bottle of OJ – all on hold. Snowboarding is looking unlikely too – at least for this season. But we will know for sure what the extent of his outdoor access will be tomorrow – when we head back to the Oregon Burn Center in Portland.

Max showed signs of frustration yesterday. To me, it was a good sign. A sign that Max may be entering into another phase of his healing process.

Max had come to the realization that he was confined, and for a 10 year old boy that’s got to be tough. I know it was serious when he told me he was getting bored of video games – that has never happened. The mention of him having to start homework sent him over the edge though.

Not once the whole time in the hospital did he show signs of frustration or even anger about what had happened (he was mostly ticked off at the machines he was hooked up to). Maybe a few instances when we were changing his dressings – but not really. From what I understood this was genuinely Max being bummed out. And for the first time since this all started it was about what had happened.

What made it a reality to him was his inability to go outside. Not his burns. Which are healing so fast it’s truly amazing to see – I’ve done my best to keep a running log of his progress for all to see and have actually switched from camera phone to camera for some more detail. But his burns were the reason he was relegated to staring at the window shades. Once the burns have completely healed we can start putting on some  SPF 1000, sun shades, wide brimmed hat, and long sleeved shirt to protect him from the serious UVs we get here in Central Oregon -he’s ready.

Laurie was able to step out for an hour or so yesterday to get in some yoda thanks to our friend Carol (‘Bober’ as Ana calls her – and we call her that too, it’s just more fun) dropping by and hanging out with Max. I’ve pretty much turned into a slug since this has happened and need to get back in gear and hit the trails again. This weekend for sure!

Today was good for Max, a good day for sure. We built some Legos in the morning before I left and talked about what the day had in store for each of us. I returned early today to hang out with him while Laurie cruised out to see Ana’s soccer practice, which ended up being canceled. But the cool thing was Ana hooked up with another team that didn’t cancel so she got to play anyways. So great. Max’s friend Caleb stopped by too – Caleb had made a couple of cool duct tape bracelets for Max and sent them to Max while he was in the hospital – he put them on as soon as he got them and has only taken them off when hoping in the shower – Caleb told him he didn’t have to take them off at all, they were shower proof. Max was stoked.

Dinner was great – our friends and neighbors Jeff and Kristi came over earlier to drop off some yummy mac & cheese, garlic bread, and steamed broccoli. It was tasty. Thanks guys!

The VP debate was somewhat lackluster – but I loved the fact that Palin said ‘Joe six pack’ that was hilarious – I think I saw that dude when I was Alaska two years ago.

Getting ready to call it a night. Portland roadtrip first thing tomorrow. Max is kind of nervous about seeing the doctor, not so much about seeing the doctor, but more so about possibly needing to have surgery on his arm, he really doesn’t like tubes and needles being put in him. We’ll know more tomorrow. :^)

See Max’s progress here.

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.