Adaptability

One of Gracie’s greatest qualities is her ability to adapt. She never lets circumstance get her down. She just finds a new way. I remember when she was a baby, when we were first learning that she didn’t feel pain and trying to keep her from biting her fingers, we put elbow splints on her so that she couldn’t get her hands into her mouth. At that time, she still used a pacifier, but she couldn’t get her hands up to her mouth to put the paci in when she wanted it. No problem for Gracie, though. She would take her straight arms and put the pacifier right in front of her, then move her arms to the side and bend over so she could pick up the paci in her mouth. Triumph!

That story reminds me of another story I heard years ago. A man wanted to know  what heaven and hell were like, so God first took him to hell so he could see the place. There was a huge table stretching all down the room with every kind of good thing to eat. Everyone was sitting at the table crying, though, because the only spoons available were longer than their arms and they couldn’t get a bite in their mouths. Then God took the dude to heaven where he saw the same table filled with every kind of delicious food. But in heaven, the people were feeding each other. Gracie is always in heaven, even if there’s no one else there. She finds happiness—and creates it—everywhere she goes.

Gracie got another cast today. This one makes it even harder for her to use her thumb, and all the rest of her fingers are tucked away so that when she falls, the cast will take the fall and not the hand. She is completely unfazed by the loss of her hand. It barely bothers her at all. She uses the cast for support and uses her left hand for everything else. Tonight, she set the table for us for dinner, carefully handling the heavy plates and neatly placing the silverware and napkins. At one point, Chad tried to help her. Gracie stopped him. “No, Daddy! I can do it myself.” And she did. No problem.

Grace will not be undergoing the endoscopy tomorrow. I called today to reschedule the appointment, telling the person on the phone that I didn’t care how long we had to wait but the procedure had to happen first thing in the morning. Turns out his next morning appointment is in a week—we don’t even have to wait. I also emailed the doctor with my concerns about the possible infection last week; he has not responded. When I spoke to the receptionist, though, she assured me that he would see the email Monday. I in turn assured the receptionist that I would cancel the scope if he did not respond, because I will not put my girl through an unnecessary and invasive medical procedure. She goes through enough.

Instead of spending tomorrow hungry and worried, we are going to do something we don’t usually do. I took the day off for Grace’s scope and am not going to work now that it’s cancelled. I’m playing hookie (kind of). We are going to have fun together, just the kids and me. We are going to make the most of this almost-last-day of summer. We’ll go to the zoo and have a picnic, then maybe wander a while before coming home. We will not have a schedule; we will just adapt to what the day brings. We’ll emulate Gracie.

Her adaptability is truly what makes her amazing. It’s not just amazing that she has a very rare medical condition. No, her amazingness comes from her ability to adapt. Despite all life throws at her, Gracie handles it with—well, with grace. Though other kids with perfect arms may not have been able to get their own pacifiers, she was able to get hers. She learned to walk despite what most doctors would agree are impossible odds. She is never hindered by other people’s perceptions. She makes life heavenly. She is Amazing Gracie. ❤

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