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Make Sure Harrison Is Not Alone This Holiday Season

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"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I read this quote and so many moments flashed through my mind, like flipping quickly through a photo album; thoughts of Harrison’s accident and his struggling through the many stages of recovery. What a blessing it’s been to be with him each step of the way. What profound changes it’s had on our family, and those who know H.

So many people have told me that they couldn’t do what I’ve done, or don’t know how our family has maintained things. My responses are usually:

A) You’d be surprised. If you were faced with this, you’d just do it. It’s that simple.

B) God has quite a sense of humor, doesn’t he?

C) There are families dealing with much worse; or

D) We’ve been so blessed to have been supported and loved by so many. We couldn’t have made it without them.

But, what I’ve come to realize is that by struggling with Harrison, we’ve all become better – a better family, better individuals, and better Christians. And while I would not have chosen this path for my son (who would?), I can say with certainty that there are blessings to be found in Harrison’s accident, and recovery.

Speaking of “beautiful compensations”, Harrison continues to be rewarded for his hard work and sheer determination. This past week has been especially productive and marked with more accomplishments.

He continues to work on his computer skills, which helps him with letter recognition and fine motor skills. It takes time and effort, but he can move the mouse, type in a web address and get to the site he wants to see.

Two weeks ago, we could barely get him to sit on the recumbent elliptical machine. Today, he did over 220 steps in a every respectable time.

Soccer has been on the agenda at PT this week, and H surprised his therapists with his ability to kick the ball (with both his left and right leg) with accuracy and strength. Today, we started working on dribbling the soccer ball and scoring goals. Not one ball passed through the goal when H was guarding it. The smile on his face was priceless. It’s so gratifying to see him be happy with his progress and gain confidence.

As we were leaving this morning, H wanted to take his skateboard with him. So, the therapist decided he’d work on balance using his board today. She placed it between the parallel bars, so H could hold on to the handrails while standing on his board. He worked to get his feet into the correct position, and struggled a few times with frustration, but he was up there – standing on his skateboard and rolling, a couple of inches, back and forth.

His new goal is to be on his skateboard by this summer. Maybe he won’t be ready to ollie anything or able to do a kick-flip, but he wants to be up on his board and able to at least ride it down the street. I believe I’ll see him to do. No doubt.

Onto a lesser favorite subject with H – school. Lakeview will be sending a home-based tutor to begin working with him. It’s only five hours a week, but that’s really ok since he’s got therapy for 3+ hours each day. Our goal is to get him a little more de-sensitized and able to handle crowds and noises and then have him start back with one class each day. It’s baby steps, but they’re forward moving and that’s all that counts.

He is doing much better when out in public. Last week we went to the movies and he did great. Sunday at church was pretty good. He still gets agitated when people approach him too quickly or enthusiastically, but it’s much better than it was. I constantly explain to him that these are people who have been following his recovery and are just happy to see him. Sometimes he’s ok with it, and sometimes he comes out swinging. Ugh. It’ll keep getting better, right?

Spencer and I are working on getting Harrison’s drums set up in the basement. He’s ready to start playing more, so the time is right. He loves his music and working on his coordination will help, even if the music won’t be so great at first : )

I’m still trying to find some used workout equipment so H can exercise more at home, but treadmills and ellipticals are pretty pricy (who knew?). His therapist’s keep stressing that important for him to build stamina and strength, so that’s something else we’d like to be able to do at home. You can only accomplish so much in one hour sessions each day at the hospital. I wish the Y was an option, but it would just be too much for him right now.

Anyway, I’m also posting some new photos of H. He’s gaining weight and his hair continues to grow, so he’s looking more and more like his old self.

Thanks, as always, for the love, support and prayers. We ask that you continue to pray for Harrison’s recover, especially for more concentration/attention ability and less agitation. He’s worlds improved from even a month ago, but he still needs more recovery.

I hope that in following Harrison journey, maybe you’ve gotten something from it, too.