Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random Pictures

The other day I decided to take some pictures that were a little more informative and not just of my cute son.:) These pictures are for the curious among you. I know we put some pictures on the original website of what Bryson's leg looked like, but I thought it was time to take some pictures of what the healed leg looks like.

This next picture is a picture of where the skin graft was taken to put on the amputated leg. Bryson affectionately called it his "racing stripe."

In my last post I said that Bryson gets a lot of holes in his jeans from his prsothetic knee. Well, the next picture is the evidence. I would say from the fall until now we have put at least 15 pairs of pants for the boy. He wears them until the wholes are on both sides of the pants and then we throw them away and get another pair. We have worked out a system now where we get men's tube socks, cut off the toes, and rubberband those around the knee and that helps some but it is still not a perfect system. We replace the sock when it is totally shredded. The other day though, I had just bought him a new pair of jeans and they came back with holes in it already. The damage must have been done in gym class.:) The jeans in the picture are mild compared to how they look when I decided to throw them out. Now we just keep our eyes open for jeans that are $10.00 or less and buy them - gone are the days about being picky about the kind of jeans are son wears.:)

...and the last picture for this update. Bryson practicing his piano. I started teach Bryson piano I think in February and he is doing much better than I ever expected. Right now he is playing songs with both the right and left hands just not played at the same time. It doesn't take him long before has the pieces memorized. I always said there were two activites I would make my kids do without a choice - piano lessons through elementary school and swim lessons until they are a strong swimmer - now I have kept my word. I'm just glad Bryson enjoys both of these activites right now and so he doesn't know I am making him do them.:)


The Tale of Three Appointments

Since the last time I blogged we have three appointments for Bryson. We had not had any appointments for a couple months (which was a nice break) and it was a little hard to get into the swing of things again. So, here is what happened in those three appointments.

1. Endocrinologist - Bryson's Urologist set us up with this appointment because he figured Bryson would need his hormone levels checked because of the damage to his testicles. Turns out it was a wasted trip for me. I thought I was on time for the appointment in Columbus but I guess I wrote down the time wrong and ended up being 40 minutes late. Thankfully they squeezed him in since we drove 2 hours to get there. When we got to see the doctor she checked his height, weight, felt around on his abdomen and then said that was good. She said that there was no way to test his hormones now (obviously, since he hasn't hit puberty yet!) and that she would see him when he was twelve. The good part is we don't have to see this doctor for 6 more years! The bad part is that I wasted 5 hours of my day for something that could've been said over the phone. I also have to say though, that Bryson was thrilled that they didn't prick him with a needle!

2. Prosthetic - Because Bryson ruins so many pairs of jeans as a result of his prosthetic knee we asked his prosthetist if they could put a cover over the knee during the winter months. This was going to be a couple hour appointment in Akron, so Beau took him to this one since I took him to the last appointment. When Beau and Bryson came back to get the leg, the whole leg was covered with the "skin." I wish I would've taken a picture of this, but I didn't think about it at the time and it didn't last long. Bryson hated the leg with skin on it. He said it was boring - and that it was. His leg normally has red and purple on it which he loves and the leg with skin on it looked like a leg with a thick pantyhose on it. Bryson was adament that he didn't like it, so on the way home Beau called the prothetist and they said to go ahead and cut if off. They said it was Bryson's leg and if he didn't like it to get rid of it - and that's what we did. So there you have it, appointment 3 and another 4 hours - a waste of time!

3. Orhopedic - The last appointment of the three was a pretty good one and not a waste of time. This one was also in Columbus. They took an xray of Bryson's leg which for the first time he was perfect for. Beau said he told him, "I know how to do this, Daddy." and sat really still. The great part is that there are no new growths that he will have to have removed this year - so no surgeries this year!!! The other news we got, which we were kind of expecting, is that we need to get Bryson back into physical therapy. The doctor said that he needs to work on his walking again. He is limping a bit more and kind of throwing his leg out wierd when he walks. When he runs right now he does more of a skipping/hopping thing. So back to PT we will go. I think I will try to schedule it when summer starts. Right now with swimming lessons and Tball I think it is best to wait until those are over at the end of May.

So, that's it. Three appointments are done and the next one isn't scheduled until October - wow! That doesn't count the PT which will be scheduled later, but we are still happy that we have come this far.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

...the rest of the story

I'd be lying to you if I said this was an easy entry to communicate. I've been waiting over two weeks to write this because I wanted to make sure Nicole & I were on the same page on how we wanted to share this.

Shortly after Bryson's accident, Grandpa Osborne's insurance company started doing their assessment to see whether or not they had any liability. After interviewing all those who were at the house during the accident, the insurance company determined that they had no liability as holder's of Chuck's liability insurance policy. We talked to other insurance companies and were told by some that it made no sense why the company wouldn't help with our expenses. So we pursued our options.

We spoke with several attorneys about how to come to a settlement with the company and we were not only encouraged by several attorneys to file a suit and not only to file it but that it was a slam dunk. But we just felt unsettled through this whole process. In one way we felt that we were pursuing what was just: Liability policies are owned for these purposes and we felt like we were being taken advantage of because the person we had to sue would be our father. But on the other hand, we were torn with what the Bible has to say about filing lawsuits. Putting it shortly, the Apostle Paul unitized the court systems beginning in Acts 21, but Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6 that it is shameful for Christians to take Christians to court. We asked attorneys if there was another other way to pursue a settlement without filing a lawsuit ("no"), I spoke with some of my pastor friends for advice, and even talked with an attorney from Fresno Pacific University's "Peacemaking and Conflict Studies Program." We really felt like this was a gray issue to Christians and Nicole & I decided we didn't want to be the kind of Christians who "live" in the gray areas. We felt like we did our research, we spent time praying about it, and since we did not feel 100% comfortable we decided to drop the idea of a suit altogether.

So nearly a year ago, we let it go and let Bryson's financial future rest in God's hands and really felt a peace about our decision for the first time. Now that doesn't mean we didn't do anything. We received financial assistance from Ohio's Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps that would help us cover any expenses insurance wouldn't pay for until Bryson is 20. This was a huge blessing for us, because Columbus Children's hospital, where we had all of our appointments from the beginning, was not in network for our insurance. And because we weren't paying overages out of pocket for Bryson we were able to put some money back for Bryson so that he would have somthing when he was off our insurance and not covered by BCMH anymore.

In the meantime, the insurance company kept calling us to "close our file." They kept calling and I never returned their phone calls. I'm not sure if it was out of frustration or because I just didn't have time at that moment. Eventually a new person from the insurance company, who had just taken over the case in order to close it, got hold of me on the phone and I retold the story like they asked. They proceed to call Nicole and Chuck to have them retell the story. A few weeks later they called back to inform us that after declining our claim the first time, after reviewing the case they REALIZED THEY HAD SOME RESPONSIBILITY IN THIS CASE. I was stunned, to put it mildly. "What changed?" I asked. "It's the same story." The response blew me away: "A new set of eyes."

God's eyes? Was God the difference? It's hard to know for sure, but after hearing from an individual how hard it was for an individual within the insurance company to convince the corporate offices to change their original ruling (which rarely if ever happens without being forced by a lawsuit), we couldn't help but think there was something more to it. And combine that with the fact that on March 25 we received confirmation that Bryson was going to receive a settlement that was going to take care of him for many years to come (and this one came without the 35-40% attorney's fees we would have amassed had we gone to court), how can we not believe God didn't have His hand in this all?

Just because Bryson is receiving this settlement doesn't all of a sudden make God good.
Just because Bryson is receiving this settlement doesn't make God better than He was before.

And this is why I know: After telling an individual from my church what happened, he asked me, "Isn't that a huge weight off your shoulders?" I thought for a moment and with little hesitation and absolute certainty, I replied, "No--that weight was off months ago when we entrusted everything to God." That's the truth! I really don't know how to explain the peace Nicole and I have felt for the past year since we surrendered Bryson's future to God. Did we feel like we had some responsibility in saving as much as we could and doing everything we could to help Bryson along the way? Absolutely. But oddly, we weren't afraid. God didn't all of a sudden get good or become better. He had been GREAT all along the way...and we're absolutely grateful for the kindness He's shown our family--especially Bryson--thus far.

Thank you for all your prayers.
And thank God with us for all He's done.