It’s been a while

My last blog post was April 24th, so we have a lot of catching up to do.

This post will be of a more personal nature. The reason for the blog hiatus is that my son, Jimmy, who is severely autistic, broke his leg in late April. And, as you can imagine, with a special-needs child, adding a broken leg to the mix meant that my family’s routine was turned upside down for a while.

Jimmy is non-verbal and is high on the Autism spectrum. He is 24 years old, full of life, and always has a smile for everyone. Jimmy’s broken leg over the past two months has been a reminder that the doctors told us when he was very little that he would never walk. The very fact that he can walk is a testament to how many hours my wife, Sherry, spent working with him every day when was a young boy.

Even after Jimmy learned how to walk, the doctors consistently told us that Jimmy would likely never walk again and would be wheelchair-bound if he ever did break his leg. With that warning in mind, we have, over the years, been very cautious about his legs, as you can well imagine. Jimmy has a sway hip, along with a weaker left leg, and has always appeared to struggle with walking.

So, you can imagine how painful it was for the entire family when Jimmy fell in April. Our nightmare scenario was happening, and my wife and I both felt helpless.

The emergency surgery went well. The doctors placed a permanent rod in his leg, and there was no cast at all, which was a huge relief for us.

My wife and I, along with our daughters, stayed with Jimmy for his entire two-week stay at the hospital.

During his hospital stay, I saw things I had never seen before in Jimmy. For one thing, I realized he has a great ability to communicate with strangers.

Toward the end of his two-week stay, we started seeing signs of our Jimmy coming back – including his trademark smile.

Due to Jimmy’s inability to follow commands, he was unable to go into in-patient rehab, so we decided it would be best for him to come back home where he is comfortable.

My wife and I looked for a rehab center that could accommodate him, but we were unable to find a willing partner. In the end, we transformed our home (within only a few short hours) into a

wheelchair-accessible home, and then braced ourselves for the difficult journey ahead of us.

Sherry is one of the most determined people I know, and had it not been for her dedication when Jimmy was younger, he never would have learned to walk. That same determination was on display over the past two months, and she set to work immediately to help Jimmy so he would once again be ambulatory.

Through our work – my wife’s incomparable help, my daughters’ assistance, and my own efforts, along with the physical therapist’s help – Jimmy began to move again. He even started by standing up and down for a few seconds a time.

We found ways to incentivize Jimmy. Jimmy is a huge fan of toy boats from the Bass Pro Shop, so we used those to reward him.

Day by day, Jimmy has made progress, and Sherry has never let up. Eventually, Jimmy was able to stand and move.

Jimmy has a large three-wheel adaptive tricycle. He has always loved his bike, and that has become a key part of his rehab.

We also have a pool where Jimmy loves to push his boats. That has been another large component of his rehab. We push him out to the pool with five or six of his boats, and eventually he started to stand at the pool’s edge to push his boats across the water.

Jimmy is able to go to school until age 26, and his school goes through the summer. We were finally able to take Jimmy back to school last week – a huge accomplishment for him.

When I shared Jimmy’s story on Facebook, I was overwhelmed with the number of kind words and offerings of prayer that flooded in. Those prayers and words of encouragement helped sustain my family during one of the worst times in our life.

I was at a Bowl Expo recently and ran into many colleagues and acquaintances there, and the first words out of their mouths were: “How is your son?”

I will keep everybody updated on Jimmy’s progress. Thank you for your patience while I have been away from work, but, even more than that, thank you for all of your kindness during this time.

Next week, we will talk about fall leagues, and we will also start thinking about pricing and packages for the upcoming fall months. Until then, may the pins fall your way.