After a month of not writing, I feel like I have forgotten how to do it! It is such a beautiful day so Harlie and I have walked to the Lock Keeper’s inn to attempt to put something into words.
Andrew has progressed massively since my last post. His speech is improving daily, he is now able to get words quicker and they are sometimes coming, without any prompting at all. A very random but probably quite good example is from his birthday, when he opened a card with cheese on the front and said “cheese”. Conversations are also becoming easier as he is able to prompt us with words or names of people involved. This has been amazing for us, but mainly for Andy, who continues to shock himself. Now that he can say “no”, he tends to overuse it to annoy us all, “no and no and no” is the usual response. Last week his friend asked him a question and I watched his reaction, thinking here it comes again, but to everyone’s surprise Andy said, “let me think” in his sarcastic tone. It was so funny to watch him freak out as he realised exactly what he said and amazing to hear him put three words together like that. The words are coming!
For those of you who have not been bombarded by me on social media this past weekend, you may not know that we celebrated Andy’s 27th birthday! There was such significance in this day and so much emotion surrounding it for me. In the early days, I kept thinking about how Andy would always be remembered as a 26 year old and how I would not get to see how attractive he would be as he grew older. A little bit of inside scoop, he is still pretty fit! Getting past the age of 26 means so much and I am so excited at the prospect of more birthdays to come.
We went out on Sunday to Binkys in Dundonald to celebrate with family and friends. Andy had no idea that his friends would be there and it was a great surprise for him. It just felt so normal. I sat opposite Andy, who was watching the Spurs match on someones phone and laughing away with everyone. Something must have happened during the match, (I didn’t even ask the final score) but Andy started calling down the table to “Moore” (who is a dirty Arsenal fan) and across to the other table, “Dad”. Amazing!
The next day (Andy’s birthday) we went to Town Square, as they started serving s’mores and I have been dying to go get them. I think I knew we were off to a bad start when I saw Ricky Lewis, the big eejit, sitting at the back, beside the table we were heading for! Andy enjoyed some melted marshmallows, in keeping with his strict diet of no solids, but probably not the ideal choice for his diabetes, although that has never stopped him before! They were great and it was all pretty cute for a birthday date, until Andy, like his usual self, caused a scene. To be fair to him, I think I had also forgotten that there was an open flame on our table, until he threw his napkin on top of it; then everyone knew. I picked it off the top of the burner, but there was actually a good flame there and I really didn’t want to burn myself so opted for the water option. I extinguished it with the water bottle, whilst also making it look like I had wet myself. Meanwhile, Andy was not helping and just laughing his head off at me. Richard and Calvin weren’t much help behind us either! I am probably making this sound more dramatic than it was, but it definitely added some excitement to our day. I must also say that Town Square staff were great and that nobody was harmed! I just kept blaming the guy with the head injury.
We had the best couple of days for Andy’s birthday and I am so thankful to have been able to take him out, but I am exhausted. The man’s not light! When in hospital, he uses a power chair that he controls himself, but until he is put through an outdoor test, he can only leave the hospital in his manual chair. I find myself looking at his ever growing muscles and wishing I could borrow them. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that and he is working really hard to build his strength. I suppose I just want to get real about wheelchair life for a second. Social media tends to show the attractive side of our lives, avoiding the struggles. Just tonight I made a silly Instagram story, showing Andy helping me to my car with a bunch of stuff. I purposely took a picture of him driving into the distance afterwards because that is what happens. Each time I go and have the best time with him, I have to leave him there. I get home and look at the bags beside me and decide that it is just easier to leave them there, rather than feel wick about the fact I have to lift them all myself. I’m not really sure why I am sharing this, I think it was to back up my social media point, that although our pictures show we had such a great weekend (which we really did), it was also hard. Hard to think of places to go that would be wheelchair accessible; just because they say they are, doesn’t mean its practical. I’m thinking of restaurants that have chairs instead of booths and that will have enough space between tables to manoeuvre Andy enough, so that he is sitting straight on to the table. When you get there you also realise that the base of the table is too high, so his feet get caught on it and he cannot get close enough to eat his food. There are just so many challenges that come with our life now, and until you experience it, you would never pick up on all those small things.
In order to cope with all of the above, you need good love and support, which we have been massively blessed with, but you also need to be strong. I am strong! Nehemiah 8 v 10 says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength” and this is so true in our life. I have been given strength that I did not think possible and although I mention the struggles, I am doing so, to be honest. These things do happen and life isn’t the best it’s ever been for us right now, but Andy and I are trusting in God and He is bringing joy to our life, joy in the midst of heartache. I am so thankful for the strength that God has given us both, I would love it if you could continue to pray into this, asking for increased physical and mental strength.
The Lock Keeper’s didn’t work out too well, I was joined at my table by a couple of bikers who I ended up just chatting to instead. I always got so frustrated when Andy talked to every single biker, for what seemed like the longest time and here I was, giving Nigel and Brian all the chat. So please forgive me if I have made any mistakes in this post, it is late and I really need to sleep!
When Andy had his accident, he broke so many bones that we didn’t find out about a few of them until weeks later. He broke his jaw in two places, but as there were so many other things going on, it was not on anyone’s mind. His jaw subsequently healed in the wrong position, which means that his teeth only meet at the back, leaving a gap between his front teeth. This is something that has bothered him so much but given me a lot of laughs as I watch him try and grab something with his teeth, until he remembers his limitations. The surgery had been put off for a while, to allow Andy to get better, but it is now planned for this Friday (5th May). Tomorrow we move across to the Ulster and he will hopefully be one of the first on the list on Friday, but we know how likely that is to all change, we are just praying that everything will run smoothly. I’m not sure Andy realises that he will actually have to rest up after this, so please also pray that he allows himself rest and doesn’t feel low about not getting out this weekend.
Thank you all so much for continuing to follow our story and supporting us in all the ways you have to date. God has healed Andy through the prayers of His people and we truly believe that He will continue to do so. Our family has been given a gift of faith for this particular situation in our lives. It is so hard to explain, but it is more than just hoping for the best, it is a trust that God has totally got this and that He will continue His work until completion. Please pray for patience as we wait and endurance for the journey.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” Psalm 46:1