Recovery Begins

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Saturday’s surgery went exactly as we had hoped.  Dr. Joe said that Eli was so good at being still that it was very easy to place the stent in each of Eli’s feet.

He was given pain meds before the surgery and a local anesthetic at the incision areas just below his ankles.  I (Tricia) was able to sit beside him during the entire process.  He seemed to be on the verge of falling asleep, but never did.  I began to read from the pages and pages of comments and notes that YOU left for Eli on the website and on his Facebook page.  He was smiling, but I felt certain that he would fall asleep at any moment.  He didn’t talk much during the surgery, which was another indication that he was falling asleep.  But, he hung in there!  Less than an hour after beginning the procedure, Dr. Joe said, “All done!”  Eli immediately perked up!

All done?!  With both feet?!  So, what do we have to do to get me out of here?”

That was Classic Eli.

I couldn’t be more proud of him.  He really was so brave.  After wrapping up at Dr. Joe’s, we carefully loaded Eli in the truck and headed to our next destination in Pennsylvania.  We’re now staying in a hotel near the Family Hope Center to allow Eli to recover and do some hyperbaric oxygen treatments.

After arriving at the hotel, we got Eli settled into bed where we immediately propped up his feet and began icing both ankles.  That continued for 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off, until he fell asleep that night.

Dr. Joe called in the evening to check on Eli and we were all impressed with how well he was doing!  He hadn’t complained of any pain and he still had not fallen asleep even though we were giving him strong pain meds.

It was around 1:00 in the morning when the pain finally hit.  Eli didn’t know what to do!  He was upset and crying.  We quickly got more pain meds into him and did some more icing.  It didn’t help right away, though.  I was at a loss as to what to do to help him!  Then I saw the notebook!  Yes, THE notebook!  The one with the pages and pages of your notes in it!

This was just the time for those notes!

I climbed into bed with Eli and began reading.

It was beautiful.  Thank you so much to everyone who left a note for Eli.  He heard every one of them, just when he needed them the most.   And finally, he went back to sleep. As I read all of the birthday wishes and encouragement, a smile appeared on Eli’s face.  I read and read.  I thought he might be ready to go back to sleep, but he said, “No, read some more.”  When he would hear that someone was praying for him, I could see peace beginning to fill him again.

When he awoke on Sunday morning, he looked pretty rough.  In addition to the surgery-related symptoms, he had a worsening cold.  I worried about him as he refused to eat or drink much and the pain in his feet continued to come back as the pain meds wore off.

In the afternoon, we went to the nearby Family Hope Center to do a hyperbaric treatment.  This is something we have done on a regular basis for years for the overall treatment of Eli’s brain injury.  It can also help to speed up the healing process with almost any kind of injury and even a cold!  The nice thing about the one at the Family Hope Center is that it is much bigger than the one we have at home.

He spent about two hours inside and got out saying he felt much better.  He didn’t look like he felt much better, though.

We came back to the hotel and Eli was experiencing all of the cold symptoms, as well as pain, chills, and possibly a fever.  We got all of his various medications in him and prayed he would feel better soon.  He can’t swallow pills, so all of his meds get crushed up and put in applesauce.  He’s had an awful lot of applesauce!

He fell asleep and rested through the night, except for a quick trip to the restroom.

Today has been better.  His cold symptoms are much improved.  The pain in his ankles has decreased some.  He’s eating and drinking a little bit more.

We are learning how to live a little differently for a short period of time.  Eli cannot put any weight on his feet for three weeks, so we need to help him transition from one place to another.  The wheelchair is more necessary than ever.

We are getting a taste of what life must be like for people who are always dependent on a wheelchair.  Things we wouldn’t really understand, otherwise.  Things like transportation, narrow hotel rooms, using the bathroom and bathing, or finding a place to sit in a crowded hotel restaurant.   Eli has two parents to help him figure all of these things out.   Some people have to figure these things out and so much more, with very little or no help at all.  I am in awe of them.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!  God is so good!

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  • Denver Ray Mitchell

    Praise God for his continued healing!

  • Sydni Brawley

    Eli!! Man oh man, I love seeing this update. Us college kids have been praying for you constantly and I am so pumped to see how well the surgery went! I can’t wait to see you again and play the Wii and maybe draw some pictures! Until then, I’ll keep praying if you do! :) Love you lots!! -Sydni

  • Angela Meadows

    Thank you for keeping us posted on how Eli is doing. The account of his pain truly brought tears to my eyes. I praise God he is doing better now and I lift him up in prayer for continued healing and comfort. Praying for you and John too as you care for Eli and for the pain you must feel when he is in pain. I can’t even imagine. We love you Eli!