"People have no idea…"

Below is a link to a video about living with a child with autism. We really debated on whether or not to even post this message, but after thinking about it we decided to go ahead. Please know that our motivation is purely educational. While the video is very emotional, we aren’t seeking sympathy, just understanding.

When we first saw this video we both agreed that this is the most accurate portrayal of daily life with a child with autism that we had ever seen. Most people still think of Rain Man when they think of autism, and although Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal is somewhat accurate, it just isn’t reality for most people.

There is another caveat, too – we are very blessed with Anna. Although she leans toward severe on the spectrum, she isn’t as bad as some of these kids. We experience probably 80% of what you see in the video. However, every single thing that is said by the parents in this video, we have said, thought, experienced, agonized over, suffered through, and worried about. That is what we wanted you to see. We want you to know that when we say we battle with Anna, this is pretty much what it looks like. When we are stressed about money, or we are tired, or we can’t go somewhere, this is why, and this is a lot of what our life looks like.

Extra credit also has to be given to Melinda. Unlike the women in this video, she works full-time. She sacrifices more than most when it comes to life with Anna. She is truly an amazing person and deserves all the credit, encouragement, and reward for everything she does. All day. Every day.

That being said, the video is called Autism Every Day. When you click the link, just go to the section called Autism Every Day and choose your bandwidth.

Fried Dough Anyone?

We’ve added a link over there on the left. Check it out. And if you are ever in Memphis you have to go and sample some of the best donuts ever. No kidding! Be sure to tell them we sent you, and you might even get a free sample! Yum!

Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size

Three weeks ago today we had our annual Fall church picnic. After lunch the “men” of the church started a flag football game. I say “men” because the vast majority of those playing were definitely attempting to be younger than they were. Scott was one of these.

All he remembers is catching the ball, turning to run upfield, and the next thing he knew he was on the ground. Long story short, Scott broke his collar bone. Here is a picture of the x-ray from the emergency room (click on any of the pictures to see a larger image):

Notice it broke on the very end and not on the middle. That is the most rare type of collar bone break (less than 10% of the time according to the internet) and the most type requiring surgery. They shot Scott with pain medicine and referred him to an orthopedic surgeon.

The funny thing is that, not fifteen minutes after Scott drove off to the ER, another man fell on top of a teenage boy. He ended up in the same ER, in the adjoining room to Scott, and he also broke his collar bone on the same side! The hospital staff wanted to know what church we went to so they could avoid any future social functions we might have! 🙂 Here’s a picture of Caleb and Scott leaving the hospital with matching injuries and matching slings (BTW – Caleb’s break was more “typical”. It broke in the middle and will heal on its own):

Monday, Scott went to see the orthopedic surgeon. He gave him three options, and basically told him option three was the only viable one – surgery to repair it. Because the two pieces of bone were on top of each other, and not facing each other, they would need some help staying in place to heal and grow back together. The surgery was scheduled for Wednesday morning. Here are some “before” pictures taken before he went in.

Notice the “lump”. That’s where his collar bone is sticking up. Also notice how his shoulder has “caved in” without the collar bone support:

Here is a shoulder to shoulder comparison, to see how much shorter the broken one is:

The doctor’s plan was to align the bones with a “closed” procedure, where he would align the bones, and put screws in from the outside, and when the bones had healed remove the screws. Alas, that was not to be. A lot of the bone had shattered, and so he couldn’t get proper alignment. He ended up having to make a large incision and go in and bridge the two pieces with a metal plate, and secure it all with six screws. Here is a fluoroscope image from the surgery:

All in all, he missed eight days of work, and his left arm was completely immobile for about twelve days. He is out of the “immobilizer” and just wearing a sling, but still has a way to go before he is completely healed. If you look close at the above picture, you can still see the separation between the bones (from the left there is bone, and a whitish space (the gap), and then a small darker piece of bone, another whitish space (the joint) and then the shoulder bone). It actually looks worse here, but that gap will have to grow together before he will be able to be completely mobile. After it heals, there will likely be some therapy to help regain lost muscle from the immobility. He also has a nice 3-4 inch “Frankenstein” scar as a souvenir right on the top of his shoulder.

One of the funniest things about the whole situation has been Anna. She has seen the pictures and heard us talking, and seen Scott’s arm. Now whenever she sees Scott she calls him “Bone”!

Needless to say the last few weeks have been crazy. Melinda says Scott has been a good patient, and not too demanding, but she was very glad when he was able to tie his own shoes again! 😉

Please pray for continued recovery, and for no long-term affects because the church picnic is only a year away, and he needs to be ready for the football game… 🙂

Welcome to our blog!

Dear Family and Friends –

There are so many of you, and so few hours in the day. How will we ever keep you up to date with what is going on here in Tennessee? How can we get the same message to everyone at once without adding to the stress of normal life? Trust me when I say we have had great intentions of sending out Christmas newsletters. Then they turn into New Year newsletters. What about an Easter newsletter?! Better make that a Labor Day newsletter… What?! It’s Christmas-time again? Better start the newsletter! And the cycle continues. I can even remember a few years where cards were actually made and/or addressed and they still never got out!

Enter Technology! “I know!”, says Scott, the nerd. “Let’s start a website! Everyone can come, and see pictures and find out what’s going on, etc.! It’ll be great!”. Well, we’ve had Comcast for three years now, and although we have space with our names on it, alas, it too has gone the way of the newsletter.

What we need is a quick and easy way to create “snapshots” of our life so that people can see what’s going on. Sometimes it’s short. Sometimes its long. It has some pictures. If only there was some way for us to journal, and then give everyone access to that journal. “Wait!”, Scott the nerd says. “That sounds an awful lot like blogging!”. Melinda crinkles her nose. “What in the world is ‘blogging'”?. “Oh! It’s great”, says Scott. “You can journal, and add pictures, and it can be short, or long. And people can come and visit and see what’s going on in our lives!”.

Hence – our blog! A place where it’s “always wintertime”! (Get it?!) We can give some updates, and you can stop by at your leisure and catch up with us. You can also post comments, that way you we can interact with each other, too! A HUGE advantage over a website. What is our goal? Well, it will be short, or long. It will have some pictures. You get the idea. This will be a web log (Get it?!) of our lives and you can jump in at any time and see what’s up. It’s our elusive Christmas newsletter, but on a consistent basis. No tinsel necessary! 😉

What our blog is not… It’s not profound (we aren’t trying to impress anyone). It’s not deep (hey it’s our lives – this is as deep as it gets!). This is the mundane stuff we would talk about if we had the chance to sit around the table over a cup of coffee with nothing better to do than catch up. Better yet, if you lived next door (wouldn’t that be wonderful?!) this is the stuff you would hear about every day.

We would love to hear from you! Post a comment and tell us what you think! We will try and update this as regularly as possible, so come back often.