Sunday we hopped on a plane and flew back to St. Louis for Cliff's 4 month post op visit with Dr. Park. This time the craziness of us buzzing through airports struggling with a walker, stroller, bags and more bags was different. The excitement was written all over our faces, we couldn't get there fast enough. We were proud of Cliff, all that he has accomplished in four short months and we were eager for Cliff to show off his new "tricks" for THE Dr.Park.
This time people stopped, they smiled and encouraged Cliff to walk through the airport even though he was slow, everyone that was bustling through the airport racing to catch their next flight stopped. They stopped and learned from Cliff. A little boy who most people would think was "in the way" was teaching complete strangers. They listened to Cliff's story, some of them teared up, others praised God and wanted to touch this child that was so blessed by our Savior. Cliff probably touched more lives in that airport than we will ever know and we are so thankful that the Lord uses Cliff as a teaching tool.
This time, Cliff could stand at the window, just like any other three year old little boy and watch all of the commotion happening below. Planes, trucks, carts, workers, he was in heaven!
Two planes later, we arrived in St. Louis. We love this city, although we have actually only seen a few blocks, this city is where Cliff's life was changed forever. This city represents hope. This city is magical to us. Our excitement grew and grew the closer we got to the city. The taxi was filled with our laughter. I was sure the taxi was going to bust with our excitement and joy.
And then we saw it. THE place. I swear we could hear the Choir Of Angels sing when we saw it. To us, this hospital is better than Disney World, so much better.
This time was so different. The boy HAD to push the buttons every time we went on the elevator.
He walked around the Parkway as if he owned the place. This was his palace and everyone knew it.
He was so excited to show everyone at the Parkway his "new legs" and what they could do! Last time they saw Cliff, he could hardly stand in his walker and now he was walking everywhere! They were amazed, Cliff was proud, the lobby was filled with pure bliss.
We took the boy to the Science Center and he had a blast! He danced on the magic dance floor with all of the other children. He was included, part of the group and he was loving every moment of it!
He learned about tornadoes.
And just in case you wanted to know, it would cost this much to send me to space:
Cliff got to pretend to fly a spaceship, just like Buzz Light Year from Toy Story! He was smitten!
And daddy taught Cliff how to operate a tractor!
The next morning we woke up and rushed to therapy then we met with Dr. Park! The PT was so impressed with Cliff and how well he was doing! Before the SDR, Cliff could not do most of the things they asked of him and now he can! It was so wonderful to see his little face light up with pride when he accomplished each task. The expression on Dr. Park's face when he walked into the room and saw this was priceless:
"Cliff WILL walk independently!" The tears welled up in my eyes and I swear the earth stopped spinning. "Really?" I squeezed out around the lump in my throat. "Yes. He will walk independently" Dr Park said again. Then I made him repeat himself two more times. Then Dr. Park said "The goal is that Cliff will begin to walk independently within the next 18 months." I couldn't hear those words enough. No Dr. has ever said those words to us and with such ease and confidence. It was no surprise to Dr. Park. He knew it. God knew it. And now we KNOW it. CLIFF WILL WALK INDEPENDENTLY! I will remember this moment for a long as I live.
Then we went over a ton of other things like the fact that Cliff will now wear SMO's, braces that go up to his ankle instead of covering his whole calf (of course I thought "Wahoo! Just in time for summer!") and he will only need to wear these when he is out in public. Dr. Park wants Cliff to walk barefoot around the house to build the strength up in his feet and ankles. They also sent us home with a prescription for canes! Yep! Dr. Park thinks Cliff is ready to begin using canes and will eventually use these all the time instead of his walker! We also got a prescription for these shoe inserts called Pollywogs. The goal is that sometime in the near future Cliff will no longer need braces and will just have shoe inserts! A-mazing! We also learned about Fabrifoam Straps. Cliff's left leg turns in a little bit and this band will help him take straight steps. He will need this for a little while during therapy so he can learn how to correctly take straight steps and build up the muscles in his left leg. Dr. Park wants Cliff to walk pretty much everywhere we go. It is so easy for us to pick him up and hurry through our daily routine, but now we are going to have to learn to slow down and let Cliff walk. Dr. Park told Cliff "You have to walk, walk, WALK!" and Cliff smiled then said "Alright!" Then most importantly, Cliff walked with Dr. Park to get stickers:
It's hard to believe that all of this can happen in just 4 short months! What a miracle! I can't share this wonderful news without giving 100 percent of the credit to God. He is amazing. I can't sing his praises enough. From the moment Cliff entered this world, God has placed his healing hands on him. Everyday we are witnessing God's good work in our lives. Every step Cliff takes is a miracle and we will forever be thankful to God for blessing our family and especially Cliff. God is so good. We are so grateful. We are so blessed.