I thought it would be nice to give everyone a recap on how the boy is doing and who he's been doing it with. For those of you who have friended me on Facebook, you've seen some of this already, including several wonderful pictures of Eli and his big sister Sophia, living life and taking charge. Overall, things are going very well, and Eli is doing better than ever. But we still face some big challenges, so continue to keep us in your prayers.
The most recent news is also the most pressing: Elijah had a temperature of 104 a couple of days ago, as well as a painful ear infection and some serious fatigue. He's doing much better since the antibiotics got into his system, and he's back at school today. This is last day before fall break begins tomorrow, and we have big plans for him day-to-day in and around Tulsa, so pray that he stay healthy so he can have fun!
Elijah is edging toward 28 pounds, which is phenomenal. The main reason he hasn't been able to push past the 27 lb. mark is that he is burning so many calories every day. How is he doing that, you ask? Why, by playing longer and working harder than ever before! He now spends his entire day at Holmes Park Elementary School in Sapulpa, and he uses his prosthetic legs and walker ALL DAY LONG, to move from classroom to classroom, to play on the playground at recess, even to play kickball and freeze tag in the gym. I'm told he likes to run around the bases. Can you imagine? It's a testament to the grace of God in our lives that he is doing so well and having so much fun. He's learning his numbers and his letters, and all the kids at school treat him like a superhero.
He is now wearing his BAHA hearing aid around-the-clock, and it really seems to make a difference. Since it's been a while, I'll recap all the hearing issues he faces. First of all, he was born with a radically underdeveloped inner ear structure (laterally; both sides, both ears), resulting in shortened cochleas and too few cilia (hairs) inside. Also, his Eustachian tubes do not drain properly, which means the fluid behind his eardrum doesn't pour into his throat like it does for you and me, but rather stays packed in back there. This makes it hard to hear, but it also allows the nasty bacteria to stick around much longer than normal, causing ear infections all the time. The tubes in his ears are functioning well, but there's only so much they can accomplish. Fortunately, his brain is hearing just fine. That is to say: the physical hearing structure (the ear) doesn't do all it should, but the part of his brain that interprets sound works perfectly, if the sound can just get to it. And so, the BAHA presses against his forehead with the help of a headband, and turns his entire skull into a big speaker. Pretty cool! When he's older, we'll surgically insert an anchor for the BAHA, removing the need for the headband, but for now his skull isn't thick enough for the surgery. The headband is bright red, and I think he looks a little like John Rambo when he wears it, which kicks butt.
His current obsession is trains, and he has almost completed his empire of wooden Thomas and Friends railway toys. He also collects Chuggingtons and wooden Cars 2 toys, and he can tell you the difference between a steamie, a diesel, an electric, a bullet train and a mag-lev. I thoroughly enjoy sitting on the floor and playing trains with him, but it's almost as much fun watching him play alone, having the engines talk to one another about the cars they're pulling and where they are headed to next.
Melissa and I appreciate each and every one of you for sending prayers out on Elijah's behalf, indeed on behalf of all four of us. They are much needed, especially for whatever comes next. Pray that we provide Eli with the best walking process possible, which is currently the walker but might be crutches or even unassisted walking in the weeks and months to come. Pray that he stay healthy enough to enjoy this beautiful Oklahoma weather we're having. Feel free to drop us a line anytime.