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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