June 18, 2012

The Very Best

Erik has been going through some challenges the past couple of weeks.   His bedroom carpet became sopping wet due to a leaky air conditioner and his room started to smell horrible.  It actually became un-livable.  There was an empty room across the hall which Erik moved into temporarily. I'm worried though because Erik has "bonded" with this new room even though there are sparse furnishings, no TV and plain, empty walls. But he's just been as happy as a clam in there, probably because it smells okay.   

Another recent challenge: I took Erik to the dentist a while ago, hesitant as I was to find out what would be discovered.  As expected, his teeth and gums aren't in good shape. I was so humbled to sit next to the dentist chair as his teeth were cleaned and examined because he was such a trooper. I could tell he didn't like being there but he tried hard to cooperate. Just getting him to be comfortable lying down on the dentist chair took time. Trying to get him to keep his mouth open was a lesson in patience. His hygienist and dentist were wonderful dealing with his limitations. And that's what I wanted to write about today. Over and over after entering someplace with Erik, me full of worry and confusion, I've found myself walking out saying "Oh Lord, I think You sent us there."  

Earlier this week, in the midst of the flooded room, I couldn't help but notice Erik was walking bent over and clearly in pain. Oh no. Did he fall or hurt his back?  It was so hard; he couldn't tell me. I took him to my house for a while and decided to try and get him in to see my chiropractor. 
We were able to be seen that very day and while the doctor was examining Erik's back I found out that he had done most of his training on special needs children. Oh wow. Erik was declared the "new favorite patient". Turns out he had strained his back so he got some wonderful therapy. But the loving attention from the staff warmed my heart.
Erik getting his back muscles stretched
This morning, I took Erik to get some new shoes. I went to a place that helps to fit people who have foot problems. We walked in.  Again, me hopeful but worried because Erik wasn't feeling himself.  He was tired, repeatedly falling asleep in the car.  A young woman began helping us. As she was measuring his feet, she said "My youngest son has Down syndrome."  (Oh really?) She took such good care of Erik. We ordered his new shoes and will go pick 'em up soon. I know the Lord sent us there.  I'm hoping we get to speak to that same woman again.

Also, this morning we went to pick up Erik's new glasses. The friendly, young technician who had helped us on our previous 2 visits was waiting. This man has continuously blessed me as he has interacted with Erik. He treated him like a dear friend and fellow sports fan. He clearly wanted to do everything he could to help Erik feel valued.  

Erik showing his new friend how the glasses look
Don't I look amazing?
I've seen Erik, with all his limitations, bring out the very best in people lately and my heart is rejoicing.  It's jumping up and down with happiness. So often as I've been holding Erik's hand leading him someplace I have been strongly wishing that someone would just hold MY hand too and just tell me what to do....I think Someone is!
Love to all of you from Erik and me.

For You are my Rock and my strong tower; 
go in front of me and be my guide...Psalm 31:3

June 5, 2012

Mom's visit

Over Memorial Day our mother visited us from Colorado for a few days.   I had mentioned to Erik that she was coming but knew he probably wouldn't remember.  She arrived and we went to his room but he wasn't there.  So we set out to find him.  He was sitting at his normal seat in the dining room even though it wasn't mealtime.  He was digesting his delicious lunch, I guess.

Erik, look who's here!
big hug
I asked, "Would you like to come over to swim and eat dinner?"    
I was so thrilled to see Erik take to the water again.  He got in very slowly but once he was in and felt safe with his 2 noodles to hold him up he went to town!  Back and forth, to the deep end and back to the shallow end, splashing my husband along the way and grinning like crazy.  Oh, it made me so happy.  He even swam without the noodles a few times, not putting his head underwater, but he did a few laps.  It was great.

While Mom was here we took Erik to another eyeglass place.  We still need to replace his glasses because the lenses are not secure in his current frames.  Did you know that there are special eyeglass frames available specifically for those who have Down Syndrome?  We found a place not far from us that offers them and now we're waiting for our order to arrive.  If you notice, in most of the pictures of Erik, his glasses have slipped down on his nose; they just don't stay up.  Hopefully the new ones won't do that.  Erik is going to be ONE handsome dude.  Here is the link for those special glasses. 

My other goal for the summer is to get Erik to a dentist.  I found one through a referral who has several patients with special needs/Alzheimer's.  I have an appointment set up and I can't wait for his teeth to be cleaned.  I'm hoping- hoping- hoping they're in good shape.

Happy Summer to all of you!