There were several highlights in our stay at Shriners. Some of the them included developing friendships with the other patients and their families. One family came in about halfway through our stay. Their 7 year old son, David, needed traction to try and correct scoliosis due to a bone disease. Daniel was able to befriend David during this time, and sympathize with him like no one else could. They would often hang out, play board games and video games together. And Wes and I related our experiences and offered our advice to David's mom and dad. Alex was another special patient to us. Complications had arisen from a major surgery to his spine, and he developed an infection and a spinal fluid leak. He was required to lie in bed for days at a time. We tried keeping him company and distracting him during those long days in bed. Myrissa also came in for halo traction. She and Daniel became friends and spent a great deal of time in the school room together. A girl named Riley came in during our stay. She had bone cancer. We got to know her and her family pretty well during our time in the hospital together. Riley is now in heaven.
The nurses were special to us. We soon became familiar with the work shifts of all the different nurses and when to expect them. They were great company, and were so friendly and kind. Elijah had a few nurses wrapped around his finger, and they would give him pop and other treats any time he wanted. As a result, we all had to work on bringing Elijah's weight back down after our hospital stay was over! :) Brooke was in her last year of high school at the time and had already decided she would major in nursing. Many of the nurses encouraged her and gave her great advice pertaining to college and a career in nursing. And of course, all the nurses became intimately familiar with Daniel's needs and preferences, and were always there to make him comfortable, keep him entertained and happy. We love them all.
One of the really big highlights for Daniel and for our whole family, was when Daniel's youth pastor brought all the kids up for youth group meetings in the hospital lobby. This happened twice. Daniel was able to see all his friends again and participate in the youth group meetings he loved and missed so much. At the end, the kids would gather around Daniel and have an extended time of prayer for him. These visits broke up the monotony of being cloistered in the hospital. Many other people came by to see us. We had visitors several times a week, and many brought us meals. It was so nice to get a break from cafeteria food!
One day, close to the end of Daniel's stay, the doctors had finally been able to rig up a traction wheelchair so Daniel could leave the hospital for several hours! We got on a bus and explored
downtown Portland as a family. I can't imagine how good it felt for Daniel to get out of that hospital. It was Valentines Day. We ordered some fancy desserts at one of our favorite restaurants, Jakes Grill. We got ready to pay our bill, and the waiter said that one of the tables next to us had picked up the tab - because they were so blessed to see Daniel, in his situation, looking so happy and having such a good time, and they wanted to bless us in return.
About a week after Valentines Day, a surgery was scheduled for Daniel. The halo traction had been remarkably successful at correcting Daniel's spinal deformity to a great degree, but the next step in the whole process would certainly be the hardest.
to be continued.....