Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Aaron: Luckily Winning Isn't Everything

We made the mistake of inviting Collette over on Sunday to play games, converse and eat good food. Of course I'm jesting, it was just hard to lose so badly over and over at her skilled and ruthless gaming hands. It clearly gave her excessive pleasure to trounce us. No, I'm not bitter.

What you're seeing are the scores from Dominoes and 5-Handed Spades. Ouch to the rest of us!

We've covered nerd territory before here. If you missed it, 'cuz of the holiday weekend, here it is again. For more background, look in the right-hand column at the top of the Blogroll for more.

While I've been cheeky recently, the miracle of Aaron continues to suprise me at odd times. He'll be laughing, he'll be delighting in a well-played hand, he'll touch Rhonda's hand and it comes crashing back in how blessed we are to still have him with us. Life can change in an instant and often does. Why do we play like we'll be here forever?

A few years back, another beloved friend nearly died giving birth and every time I saw her afterwards, I just wanted to hug her close, touch her. She's still here! She didn't understand the commotion, but I will never forget her husband choking through sobs to me on the phone, repeating over and over, "I nearly lost her. I nearly lost her."

That wild-eyed near-miss emotion oozes out of Rhonda. Aaron seems to understand. And yet, I'm not sure he totally does. I'm not sure he fully can, because he's on the inside looking out. The view is different from in there. That view has it's own challenges.

He's feeling better, feeling stronger and is tempted to do more, to do things he shouldn't do. We see it all the time in practice. A patient's body is healing, in fact they feel better than they have in years, and they forget themselves and do too much and go back to the starting place in frustration, if a little wiser.

Aaron is at this dangerous healing place. Rhonda would like to tie him to his bed or chair. She's terrified, justifiably, that he'll hurt himself--permanently. Aaron is getting antsy and who wouldn't?

I think it would be wise to revisit what actually happened to Aaron. His first Cervical vertebrae, C-1, suffered a burst fracture (also called a Jefferson Fracture) from direct compression to his spine via a forward flexion dive into sand head first. His Atlas (C-1) shattered into multiple pieces and was kept relatively intact by the ligamentous structure. He experienced swelling affecting swallowing, speech, and possibly Thyroid (to be seen). The latter has resolved, but I have noticed (even if he hasn't) that fatigue leads to hoarseness. I'm not sure if this is due to swelling (edema) or simply fatigue or both.

In addition, Aaron has multiple fractures in his Thoracic vertebrae. This has affected his respiration--deep breathing was painful at the beginning. This has resolved to a certain extent though he must still bear the weight of the halo (the black one drilled into his head) with his thorax which is challenging considering its integrity was somewhat compromised with the vertebral fractures.

It takes up to one year for bone to fully recover from a break. Long after the cast is taken off, we will feel an ache in bones during certain motions and depending on the weather (barometric pressure changes). Aaron will feel this as he heals, too.

It has only been six weeks. Six short weeks.

Many blessings have come out of Aaron's pain in the neck. Not the least of which has been reconnecting and reaffirming a life-long friendship. I sometimes shake my head at the fact that we both live here, less than a mile apart, and we were babies together, playing while our parents played cards. How weird is that? I mean, what are the chances?

I'm guessing the chances are about as good as surviving a burst fracture with no permanent damage. Thankfully, God is greater than the odds.

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