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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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The Worth Of A Smile. ...: Special Needs Parenting 101.
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A mother cherishes her little boy who was born severely disabled. This is her story.

Hello from (hot and toasty) Northern California!

My name is Melody Michelle Granviada, and I live near Turlock.  I have a wonderful husband in Philip, and we have four beautiful children, whom we both cherish dearly.  Our children are named Philip, Jr. (10), Miracle (8), Dominica (6), and Elijah Emanuelo (3).

While Philip, Jr. (we call him Paco), Miracle, and Dominica are healthy, our youngest, Elijah, is not.  He was born with brain damage, giving him a lifetime sentence of cerebral palsy.  It was a very traumatic time for our family (at times it still is), yet we rely on God's grace and mercy to get us thorugh each and every day.  

Elijah cannot walk or talk and he is on a ventilator.  We are hopeful that he will eventually be weaned off it completely, but for now it's a safety issue: he sometimes "forgets" to breathe, and the vent reminds him to breathe.  

Works every time (thank God)!  :)  

Elijah can see perfectly and has the ears of an elephant: he doesn't miss a thing.  Although he is nonverbal, he still communicates with his eyes and his face.  He is very good at making his wants or feelings known.

Most people are intimidated at first when they see Elijah (and all his medical equipment), but it isn't long before he has them laughing because of a particular look on his face or he's done something amusing and/or totally off the wall to put people's minds at ease.

Elijah is our little goodwill ambassador.  He brings out the best in people.  

He is our hero.  He is the perfect description of the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".  And he has, in so many ways!  

We used to have nurses come help take care of him, but that got too expensive.  There were only a few who were good with him or whom we trusted with our son, and some were terrible.  Some were so bad our son ended up in the hospital, fighting for his life because of some stupid errors they made, or they didn't really know what they were doing.  It scared the heck out of both Philip and myself, so we both put our foot down and said:  NO MORE!  We will take care of him ourselves!

And we do.  We've been his caregivers now for nearly two years and he's healthier now than he's ever been, believe it or not!  He is thriving and doing fantastic!  We couldn't be more happier about Elijah's health than we are currently!

Winter time is the worst time for Elijah.  Since he is so medically fragile, he is prone to every little bug that comes his way.  When we go to the doctor's office or to his therapy appointments, we get concerned because we are so scared he will end up back in the hospital again.

This year he's only been in the hospital twice: once with a bad chest cold that went into pneumonia, and the other time for a prolonged seizure/choking episode.  Those events happened in January (the cold/pneumonia) and March (the seizure/choking).  Since then he has not had any problems other than a few apneic spells, which is always terrifying.

I just pray this fall and winter is much kinder to our son.  We can't afford another medical crisis!  I hate it when he gets so desperately sick!  I can't stand it when he's in the hospital!

While I stay home with Elijah, Philip takes Miracle, Paco, and Dominica to school.  He then goes to his work; he is a computer designs specialist.  Meanwhile, I am a stay-at-home mother.  

In addition to requiring a vent, Elijah is fed by a tube in his stomach.  I feed him his "meal" up to five times a day (he gets his meds the same way). We do his meals/meds in four/five hour increments.  He also wears diapers.  We don't know if he will ever end up being pottty trained since he can't get to the bathroom without help.  It's discouraging, but we still see a bright future full of hope and promise for our special child.

Well, Elijah's breathing alarm is going off again; hopefully it's nothing mor than a kinked tube or a loose sensor that's popped off his chest again (stupid things never want to stay on; stupid cheap glue!!).  I best see to him and sign off.  Besides, it's way too early for me to be up like this!  I will write in here again soon; until later,  this is Melody signing off!  God bless and take care!

~Melody, your new friend in California.  

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Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 8/3/2011
Excellent story of love and acceptance, Karen. Well done. I couldn't do it ...

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Paul Berube 8/3/2011
Nicely done, Karen.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 8/3/2011
Melody and Elijah wonder where the inspiration for those names came from LOL??? Great story though!!!

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