This is another one of those ‘I-can’t-smile-big-enough’ posts! There was a day, not all that long ago, when we all wondered if an update like this would ever be posted. But our God, Who exists outside of time (and yet intercedes for us moment by moment), is a God Who sees and hears –and delights in the seemingly impossible.
Praising Him. . . !
From Randy, Elijah’s father:
Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Thank you for your fervent prayers for Autumn and Elijah. The Lord has answered so many specific prayers through His mercy since May 8th and He deserves our thanksgiving and praise.
Another specifically answered prayer occurred Monday when Elijah was able to respond to multiple requests by deliberately blinking (slow single blink for yes), moving his mouth (opening, sticking out his tongue), moving his head, and releasing his grip when asked! He has become very aware of his surroundings and has been wide-eyed during the day (& part of the night), studying faces and listening intently. When I read to him (we are one chapter away from finishing Pilgrim’s Progress), I love how he looks intently at me; it’s a look of wonder and (I believe) understanding that blesses me.
A brief prelude leading up to Elijah’s big day Monday…Saturday night was rough for Elijah, as he vomited multiple times, in what was likely a reaction to medications. Vomiting is bad enough, but in Elijah’s circumstance it is extremely dangerous due to the risk of aspiration. The nurses quickly emptied his stomach of its contents through his feeding tube, his trachea was suctioned multiple times to ensure that he had not aspirated, and a night watch vigil was set to closely monitor him. By the Lord’s mercy, his lungs remained clear through the weekend and there were no further issues. Elijah was extremely tired on Sunday.
On Monday morning, working with Physical Therapists and Speech Pathologists, Elijah was able to consistently respond to requests. At times his responses were slightly delayed, but that is normal at this stage of his recovery. The Speech Therapists introduced ice chips to evaluate his swallowing capabilities. As part of that process, his mouth must be thoroughly cleaned to minimize the risk of bacteria entering his lungs if he is unable to swallow correctly. Elijah responded positively to early requests to open his mouth, as well as a request for him to stick out his tongue to have it cleaned, but apparently he had enough of the antiseptic agent they were using in his mouth, as he refused to open it anymore to allow her to clean the roof of his mouth. She coaxed and pleaded with him, as he looked at her with raised eyebrows, but to no avail as he flat-out refused & even tightened his lips to ensure there was no misunderstanding. Finally, she placed a small ice chip on his lip & explained to him that unless we were able to finish cleaning his mouth, he would not be able to have any ice chips. She also promised him a root beer & steak someday if he could progress in his therapy; either the ice chip threat or the root beer/steak promise did the trick, as he opened & allowed the cleaning to be finished. He enjoyed the ice chips & allowed the first couple of pieces to melt in his mouth, then crunched the next few. Over five weeks without any external moisture in his mouth have made for a parched desert. We can now give him a few ice chips every half hour or so. Sips of water were introduced today and he passed this test for swallowing; future tests will include pureed foods. Respiratory therapy capped Elijah’s trach today, so he was breathing normally. They are planning to reconnect the humidified air to his trach tonight & will cap it again tomorrow during the day.
The neural storms have decreased in their severity and we are very thankful for this specific answer to prayer. We continue to pray that these autonomic storms will cease completely, allowing Elijah to be weaned from multiple medications that are used to moderate symptoms, and also allowing him to fully rest at night.
Please pray that Elijah will continue to progress in his recovery, specifically gross and fine motor skills, reasoning/cognitive capacity, and speech.