P.J.’s Journey: Seeing is Understanding!

When this all started, we began keeping a diary of sorts for P.J., documenting with video and pictures the progress that he was making.  To maintain his privacy, we have not posted any of those pictures or shown them to anyone other than a few family members and close friends.  I know it’s probably difficult to imagine what someone who has been burned to the extent that P.J. has must have looked like on Day 1 as compared to today… Day 79.  Our impression of his healing has changed from day to day.  It’s hard to explain, but on Day 5, he looked much worse to us than he had looked on Day 1 because his face was beginning to scab and peal.  Of course for the first month or so, we were only seeing his face because everything else was wrapped up.  For that  matter, anyone who would walk into P.J.’s room today and see only his face (when he is covered), would think he looks fairly normal with a only a few minor abrasions.  But for us, since we have been with him when he is completely unwrapped, we know the seriousness, the magnitude, of his injuries.  He shared with me the other day that when the technicians were removing the staples from the skin grafts on his chest, he counted over 100 of them… just on his chest!

This time of year always reminds me of the movie, the Passion of the Christ.  I grew up knowing the story of Christ’s death and resurrection, and so I was surprised at the overwhelming emotions that surfaced when I viewed the movie with a group of friends from our church.  I was sobbing so hard that I almost threw up.  A few people walked out because they couldn’t handle the graphic nature of the scenes.  Seeing it (or a reenactment as it were) of the whole ordeal that our Savior suffered, brought a new understanding to what we’d already known.

For us (especially A.J. who is at the hospital all day every day) we see the agony in P.J.’s eyes, the rawness of his flesh, and the anxious anticipation of painful treatments. We see our 19 year old son weighing less now than he did when he was 12 years old.  We see it all and therefore have a different perspective, a greater grasp, of just what P.J. is experiencing.  I love my friends and I appreciate all of the support and encouragement that they have shared, but (yes, there’s a “but”) sometimes their comments like “You have to stay positive” and “Keep the faith, Tina!” tend to unnerve me.  Don’t misunderstand me, please.  I don’t get upset with the people who say these things.  Quite honestly, they are probably the same expressions I would use to encourage someone in my situation.  It’s just that the words bother me because I believe my faith is very strong.  But isn’t it true that even Jesus, as perfect as He was, asked “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”   The fact of the matter is that I will NEVER be able to express to you what this whole situation is like, and until I experienced it, I would have never imagined it.  Faith or no faith, if I don’t talk about how I feel, I will probably end up jumping out the window of my cubicle on the sixteenth floor of Lakeway II!  I don’t know what it is like to lose a child and I don’t want to ever find out, but I do know what it is like to see my child in agony and not be able to do a thing about it, and it’s not just occasionally or periodically… it’s CONSTANTLY.  I am so proud of him for fighting for his life.  I often look at him and think that if that were me… if I were in that bed dealing with the things he is dealing with… I would just give up and beg God to take me home.

Seeing P.J.’s injuries firsthand helps me to understand what he is going through, but (yes, there’s a “but”) seeing the PROGRESS he has made firsthand helps me to understand the kind of healing that he will receive when this is all said and done.  I look forward to sharing those miracles with you as we continue on with P.J.’s journey.

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9 Responses to P.J.’s Journey: Seeing is Understanding!

  1. Dave says:

    Hey Tina,

    I think you have the strongest faith of anyone I know! We continue to think about you and keep your family in our prayers and hearts! As always, we are here for you and if there is anything whatsoever you need, you just need to say the word. We would also be happy to come and visit in Baton Rouge if we thought that it would help and not inconvenience anyone. We’re staying posted…. Dave and the Club 234 TM gang!

    • DishinDahlin says:

      Thank you, Dave. That means a lot to me. You know how sensitive I am… If someones says “Be strong!” I hear “Suck it up, buttercup!” LOL. I got to see Mike K. and Mary at the event with the District Trio last week and I hope to be back with you guys really soon… my biggest problem on Monday nights is the fact that it’s a school night for Josh and I don’t want to take advantage of my wonderful friends who’ve been helping out with him. I’m ONE TASK away from my Competent Leader award, so I’m anxious to be back with you guys. : ) Love you all and miss you!

  2. Barbara says:

    Hey Tina,

    I can’t even begin to tell you I know how you feel because I have no clue. I have never been through what you guys are going through. But we continue to pray that PJ continues to be the real trooper he has been and his recovery is as speedy as it can be. I’m sure it won’t be easy but he’s young and strong and he will get through this. We keep all of you in our prayers on a daily basis.

    Barbara

  3. Carol Ludwig says:

    Tina, no one knows about Katrina unless you went through it. I felt the same way when people would say the same things to us that didn’t lose their life as we knew it or weren’t homeless. Same thing when our son died. I don’t know how you feel, but I pray for your strength, your family’s strength, and PJ’s strength. Especially for the doctors and their knowledge and decisions. May God bless you.

    • DishinDahlin says:

      Thank you so much, Carol. You are so right about Katrina. I remember how some people reacted when they found out my parents had lost everything. My folks would never complain, they would just state facts, and inevitably someone well meaning person would say: “It’s just stuff. You can always replace it. At least you’re alive.” (What they said was true to some extent — heck, my parents even said it to remind themselves of how blessed they were to be alive — but I sometimes wished those people would have been there when we discovered that my folks’ wedding album had been completely destroyed.) — Tina

  4. Debby Rosenberger says:

    I continue to add P.J.’s name to my prayer list, and that of your entire family. Although we’ve never met — just a happen chance email about a prospective Toastmasters kickoff, I feel connectioned to all of you.

    I must tell you that as a parent who lost a young daughter to leukemia as a toddler 40 years ago (her birthday is April 1 – April’s Fools Day), I know the agony that a parent feels to see their child suffer and wish they could take away every second of pain and fear. I do know that with the Lord at your side he has given all of you the strenth needed to get P.J. well and back home again. Your strong faith is shown in each word you write.
    Blessings,
    Debby Lambert Rosenberger

    My deepest love and support for all of you.

    • DishinDahlin says:

      Debby, thank you so much. Your words are soothing and they validate my feelings.

      My deepest sympathies to you as I am sure you continue to remember the pain and suffering your precious child went through. Joshua, our youngest, went through lots of tests over a period of several months because doctors felt his blood couribnts were at Leukemia levels. We had reassurance after the first through tests, but to be on the safe side, they repeated the tests over the months that followed. I know how hard that was just worrying that he might be sick. As a result, we used some money that was given to us during a kingdom building exercise at church to buy books about God for terminally ill children. We brought them to Chidlren’s hospital and gave them to the chaplain to distribute,

      I agree that we have a connection even though we’ve not met — SOON I HOPE!!

      Tina

  5. Abby says:

    Thank you Tina!! Thank you so very much for being so strong for PJ. God knew what he was doing 19 years ago when He gave you a beautiful baby boy. Even though times have been rough with PJ and what especially with what is going on now. God knew PJ would need a mother with strong faith and unconditional love. Through all of the pain, sadness, anger and doubts God still can turn ashes to beauty. Remember God chose you!!! Love you!! Thank you for loving PJ.

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