Dude! Dude! Today we had Max’s party! Dude, we went to Golf n Stuff, dude! It was so fun, dude! Dude, we played video games, mini golf, dude-dude, awesome go carts and bumper boats-dude! It was so awesome, dude!
What a great day for our (almost) 10 year old, who’s excitement can be measured by the frequency with which “dude” is interjected in his speech! Today was a great celebration with our family and Max’s friends. Perhaps like never before, I have such an appreciation for opportunities to watch my kids laugh and have fun. On top of that, it turns out our experience with all of the alarms going off in Rudy’s room makes surviving the sensory overload of a video arcade much easier. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever been more aware of how many places there might be to pick up bacteria–tables, chairs, golf clubs, steering wheels, game controls… I think I’m on my way to developing into one of those OCD people who wash their hands every 5 minutes. I found myself longing for a dispenser of hand sanitizer.
We were able to enjoy Max’s celebration so fully because the reports from UCLA the last two days have been reassuring. We’ve come to see that it usually takes 2-3 days for Rudy to stabilize after a traumatic episode and this time the team seemed to arrive at equilibrium late on Friday. As Trish posted, the trach collar sprints went very well and this afternoon the team returned him to the vent after 25 hours off. He wasn’t really under any stress, but they just decided to not push him too hard. We’re happy with that–you’ll recall the last time we let him go off and running he crashed after about four days. As it will take a couple weeks for the stomach issues to get worked through, there’s no need to rush the breathing. We’re just so glad he can do what he’s doing. Tomorrow AM he’ll get a lung Xray and we’ll be very interested to see how his lungs look. The nurses and I are laughing because for the last 30 minutes he’s actually been setting off an alarm because his O2 sats are too HIGH (over 95%). I’m not sure if we’ve ever heard one of those before. He keeps setting it off and each time a nurse needs to come in and push the button. I think he’s very proud of this new trick and the fact that it gets him attention (even if he’s asleep). GO, RUDY!
Being able to sit here with Rudy at 10pm on Sunday night is also giving me a chance to sit and think back over our full weekend. As I wrote about a “new kind of normal” earlier in the week, it really feels like we were able to taste some of that this weekend–a richness in our family amidst the unknown and the challenges. I would also be leaving something out to not talk about the Rescue Mission Graduation Ceremony we had last night. I am so proud of the team I get to be a part of and the way it’s used by God to change lives. We celebrated 13 heroes last night who came into recovery a year ago–from the streets, prison and who knows where else–and were now sitting before us radically transformed. Clean, sober, surrounded by friends, reconciled with family and looking toward the future. I don’t think any of them could have had hope enough to picture themselves sitting there last night a year ago, but every day they summoned enough strength and trust to get up and continue on–or at least just stand. They leaned on God and the people around them and that brought them through. Their courage inspires me and is something I’ve thought of often as we’ve navigated this journey with Rudy, where the daunting fight can only be met by faithfully taking the next step we see before us. The same God that worked such miracle for Leslie, Lacey, Sherry, Sharon, Marie, Cindy, Jennifer, Marlin, Andrew, Anthony, Donnie, Jake and Kevin is with Rudy. Being reminded of his love and power was so helpful. Thanks friends, for what you’ve taught us!