I recently got curious about how the world might look from Jesher’s perspective, so I snapped a picture from his vantage point and the outcome startled me. I held my camera right above his bedding. I pressed the photo button a few times, and I turned the camera over to see the results. The picture surprised me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The screen beamed a perspective that was hypnotizing, and it became apparent that my son had an advantage over me. Jesher is only able to look ‘up.’
The picture is proof of how powerfully impactful a new perspective can be. Each time I stare at the world through the Jesher’s eyes, I am reminded that he has never looked ‘down.’ Due to the limitations of his mobility, my son is not able to see the ground. Objects hover above him round-the-clock. Doctors, nurses, and therapists are constantly peering into or speaking over Jesher’s plastic home. It is quite amazing to watch my son respond to the buzzing activity. His eyes wildly race to and fro, flinching with every abrupt motion. He is familiar with left, right, and up; however, ‘down’ still hasn’t made his acquaintance.
As I stared at the photograph, my heart longed to know what it was like to live in a world where ‘up’ existed without ‘down.’ For the first time in my life, I began to know what it was like to covet one of my child’s possessions. I envied his limited perspective. Yes, since Jesher’s birth, I have seen some blissful ‘up’ moments. I have watched him blast through challenges. My lil’ guy has sparked copious amounts of epiphanies and revelations; he has activated countless moments of inspiration. Jesher has provided me with opportunities to see our world with a renewed divine eye. I know well the power of ‘up.’ But I am also well-acquainted with the power of ‘down.’ I have seen Jesher crash into halting barricades. I have listened to doctors itemize newfangled sets of concerns. On many days, I have left the hospital looking at the ground, too weighed-down to lift my head to the sky.
Unlike my son, I must deal with life’s seesaw ride, constantly vacillating between two dichotomies–up and down. It is true, before now, I have always been cognizant of both directions. Natural forces, like gravity, mandate an understanding of the two. But until I took this photograph, I did not know an alternative perspective was even possible. Now I know better. Now I know that micro-preemies are only aware of ‘up.’ Possibility, void of disappointment, is the only sphere of existence they know. Jesher only knows ‘up,’ and I’m thankful for this fact. If he had to deal with ‘down,’ I fear it would overwhelm his efforts and depress his resolve.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
EYES–This week, Jesher had his first eye exam. The optometrist is hopeful that the high levels of bilirubin and oxygen have not damaged Jesher’s retinas; however, there is still a concern that he might develop retinopathy [a disease of the retina which results in vision impairment or loss of vision]. PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO BLESS JESHER WITH THE VISION OF MOSES: “HIS EYES WERE NOT DIM NOR HIS NATURAL VIGOR DIMINISHED.” (Deuteronomy 34:7)
EXTUBATION–Jesher was extubated on April 22, 2018. He is now outfitted with a Continuious Positive Airway Pressure [CPAP] machine. Moving on from the ventilator is a blessing indeed, but Jesher cannot tell. Having the tight mask around his face has caused him a lot of anxiety. He continually attempts to pull it off. He is also experiencing inverted, or reversed, breathing (expanding the abdomen while breathing out and compressing the abdomen while breathing in). The doctors will continue to watch this. If his inverted patter continues, this could cause future lung complications, so we need him to move from inverted to instinctive breathing (expanding the abdomen on inhales and compressing the abdomen on exhales). PLEASE ASK THE LORD TO HELP JESHER TRANSITION FROM INVERTED BREATHING TO INSTINCTIVE BREATHING; ASK THE HOLY SPIRIT (AND THE ANGELS) TO WHISPER SOOTHING PROMISES TO JESHER SO THE ANXIETY CAUSED BY THE NEW MASK WILL SUBSIDE.
MARRIAGE–Our time in the NICU has afforded us the opportunity to meet other married couples. And each of the veteran couples (a family who has been in NICU for more than one month) have told us to guard against the strain this type of experience places on the marriage. Lhorraine and I have kept our lines of communication open, and we continue to support each other, but we recognize that no family has comes out of a long NICU stent without having to wrestle with discouragement, depression, stress, and grief. Although we cannot escape this reality, we do want to leave this trial with our healthy marriage still intact. PLEASE ASK GOD TO COVER OUR LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER! ASK GOD TO BLESS OUR UNION AND TO PROTECT IT FROM THE EXTREME ANXIETY CAUSED BY THE DAILY GRIND OF THIS JOURNEY.
One day, Jesher will be introduced to the stress of ‘down.’ He will cry when mom and dad aren’t picking him ‘up,’ and he will cry when we are attempting to put him ‘down.’ He will attempt to stand-‘up’ on his unsteady legs, and he will be dissatisfied when he falls-‘down.’ He will get frustrated when he hears us reprimand him for picking something ‘up,’ and he will pout when we tell him to put it ‘down.’ There will be a day when he can make a distinction between ‘up’ and ‘down,’ but, for now, I am fine with him only being aware of ‘up.’ I’m happy that he hasn’t yet met downward pessimism. I’m elated about upward optimism being his sole companion. He will have many years to battle his ‘downs,’ so I am thankful he has some alone time to get familiar with his ‘ups.’
“I look ‘up’ toward the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the Creator of heaven and earth! May He not allow your foot to slip! May your Protector not sleep!” Psalms 121:1-3