Mark’s accident and after

Sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner with my son and his family, I was reminded again of the blessing of healthy children.

He was 3 when I read an inspiring book, “Teach Your Child to Read.” It sounded like fun. I pulled out construction paper and made flash cards that read ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy.’ The book said to show him the cards repeatedly and in a couple of week he would know which was which.
I decided I could be patient. I held up the first card, pointed and said, “mommy.” I laid it down and picked up the other one, pointed and said, “daddy.”
He repeated what I said. I laid both cards down and asked him which said “mommy” and which said “daddy.” He pointed to the correct cards. He had either made a lucky guess or he was ready for cards with his brothers’ names. A couple days later he had conquered six family names written in bold letters on construction paper.

I was so proud of him, he had proven himself more than capable. Capable of reading, but not capable of crossing the street without a grown-up holding his hand. He slipped away and tried anyway.
The driver of the car hit the brakes too late to avoid hitting my son. He landed in the hospital’s intensive care unit in a semi-coma.
I begrudgingly yielded one day as his bedside to my mother while I stayed home with the other children. However, I refused to yield one iota of my expectation of a positive prognosis. Not even when my husband mentioned a child in a similar accident who had improved only to abruptly go down hill.

As far as I was concerned, there was no comparisons with our son’s situation. I read to him, talked or sat quietly embroidering waiting for him to partially rouse, make sounds and then relax. Waking to full consciousness came slowly as his body’s systems reconnected.
One morning I walked in and discovered he had yanked is feeding tube out. When I called the nurse, his eyes dared her to force it back down. He was getting better.

I brought his favorite toys, family photos and the strips of construction paper with the names in block letters. He studied the names as I taped them to the inside of his bed rail and the pictures on the other side. I was asking him to find ‘daddy’ when the nurse walked in. She stood in the door and watched as he flawlessly connected the words and pictures. He had remembered the reading lessons. His mind was going to be OK.
Later the pediatrician came, took out her stethoscope and said, “I hear he was reading today.” She examined him thoroughly before releasing him to go home.

His first day back at the family dinner table, he looked around, grinned and began slowly singing “Hallelujah, praise ye the Lord.”
Later when I met other children who had suffered severe head injuries I realized the mercy we were granted. He had retained all his mental agility. For these your mercies to us, we thank you, God.