In the Old Testament of the Bible, Ebenezer Stones were marker stones raised after a great victory, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” For me, it is a symbol of gratitude and thanksgiving, knowing that I am not alone as I travel this some times difficult road.
Five months ago my daughter Veronica started having some pain, she’s non-verbal, so it’s a guessing game – we have a list of things we go through as we try to figure out what hurts and how to take care of it. She was too uncomfortable for school, but the pain was not acute. We found out that somehow she’d broken her elbow, the pain made her body rigid, shut down her GI system and caused reflux, and the pain escalated. Pain for Veronica becomes a vicious cycle. She hurts, her very strong muscles tighten asymmetrically in response, she hurts herself more which causes her to tighten up more which does further damage to her sweet body. The tension her muscles placed on her broken elbow actually migrated the bone, she ended up with a screw in her arm and several months of valium and pain killers so that she could relax enough for it to heal. The pain from all of that ended up pushing her hip almost completely out of the socket and shortened her quad muscles so her knee was bent and pulled up and across her stomach, fixed in that position. Hard to believe, huh? Nobody had any answers, not any of her specialists. There was no quality of life for her, just pain and the four walls of our home.
After several months of not seeing any blue sky (literally and figuratively), I began to think about this last Christmas and how it had been her best one yet. She was so in to it, happy and relaxed…was that as good as it was going to get? Was the best behind us? There are no promises in life, no guarantees, we all live with that knowledge, but with a complicated kid like Veronica in the state she was in with no answers, that thought weighed heavy on me. I wondered if I had enjoyed my time with her enough, if I had helped her live her best life. I thought about the places we’d explored together and where we still needed to go. My first thought was Disneyland, the ultimate kid destination. She’d been there when she was two, but I decided that when she got better, we were going to Disneyland, which brought a rare smile to her face.
Veronica’s road to recovery was slow, measured in inches, but gradually she did improve. Steroid shots, massage, physical therapy, acupressure, Chinese tea, botox injections – several of her loving and dedicated therapists actually came to our house many times for her services.
Now here we are, to my new Ebenezer Stone. Today was Veronica’s first real day out where she could ride in the car and sit in her wheel chair and not hurt. We met Grandma for lunch on the patio of one of Veronica’s favorite restaurants and walked outside in the sunshine to celebrate. Freedom, relief, joy, gratitude. I was overwhelmed – and tired! Next, time to start planning our trip to Disneyland.