It was exactly three months ago today that our sweet boy Graceson Brave suffered a stroke. There are many, many parts of the story. Some we haven't even been able to tell yet. It's funny how these things just leak out over time, after a crisis. Here's the beginning of the story...
He had been sick over the weekend with some type of cold or chest infection. With limited medical care in Tanzania, we are often unsure what is going on and what to do. So, we got him some common medicine and hoped it would pass. Graceson woke from his nap on Monday, May 22 and was just walking across the living room when he suddenly fell forward onto his stomach, stopped breathing for a moment and then started screaming. He was weak. So weak that he refused (so we thought) to sit up normally. (Mind you, I had flown out of our city early that morning for a trip.) After a few hours of concerning signs, Tricia took him to the hospital where he was examined and we were told to see if he starts to strengthen by the morning. He was so immobile that he could not turn over in his bed. It was a long night for Tricia. The next morning at 5am, Graceson still had zero function in the right side of his body. As we collaborated over the phone, Tricia prepared to return to the hospital in town. Sometimes you just "feel" it...something is not right. So, I packed up and found a taxi to start the one hour trip to the airport in Dar es Salaam. I was just unsure where I would fly...home to Arusha to be with them, or to Nairobi, Kenya where we always knew we would have to go should we ever face a medical emergency. So, I stood by near the airline offices waiting for word. Tricia and Joni (thank God they were there!) headed back to the hospital and within an hour, they were instructed to run home quickly, pack a bag and head to the airport where there would be a medical plane waiting for them. Tricia and Graceson flew on a tiny plane from Arusha, Tanzania to Wilson Airport in Nairobi, Kenya where an ambulance met them and transported them to the hospital where Graceson would be treated. I landed 2 hours later and met them at the hospital. The emotions were so high. We had never seen any of our kids as afraid and unsure as this little guy was in those moments. The days that ensued at the hospital in Nairobi are filled with stories that shaped us, hurt us, taught us...stories that we have barely told and certainly not fully understood yet. Cultural lessons, medical lessons, life lessons. It was two days later before we even knew that our son had suffered a stroke...through a text message...from another country. But, I will leave that story for another day.
We cannot begin to express the joy we feel when we look at Graceson and see how far he has come so quickly! Here he is below...just yesterday. The face says it all: "Look at me, Daddy! I am trying the stairs now!"
Keep climbing, boy. Keep climbing.