This week, as I ate lunch with a fellow worker, a oolleague burst into the lounge:
"Come to the program, Oscar walked in." she said.
Oscar had a large portion of his brain removed when he was just a few months old, because of uncontrollable seizures. I began seeing him after this invasive procedure. His mom was so very young, just 17 years old. She came from Mexico to join her husband, and this was their first child. Mom had no idea what was going on with her son who was treated at Childrens' Hospital in Oakland. I did my very best to tell her how to position him, how to exercise his limbs, and where to place objects (to his right side), while she struggled to care for him, to take him to his appointments, and to clean and cook. One day I got there and noone was home. I called Mom. She answered after a few rings, saying "I am in hospital, I have just given birth." I had no idea she was even pregnant!!!!!!!!! And then there were two boys to care for! Oscar suffered from right side neglect (he had no idea he had a right arm and leg, or that he could turn his head to the right.) He made fairly good progress, learning to turn his great big blue, black-lashed eyes to his right, and to reach for a toy or his bottle with both hands. But it seemed he would never be able to sit without help, let alone stand up and walk.
I saw Oscar for several months until he began attending our Great Beginnings Program.When Oscar left the program, at three years old, he could stand briefly using a walker, and with the help of someone at his side, guiding his every move. And now, five months later, in he walked!
All of us were so excited, we smiled and exclaimed and hugged him wiping away our tears. His mom said that one day at home he simply got up and walked, alone, without the walker or anyone's assistance. He walked up to every one of us, and then him and his mom said goodbye and they walked away, leaving us grinnning uncontrollably.
Sometimes, in my darkest moments, something wonderful happens that makes everything worthwhile.