AJ…Trooping Home, A Date is Set

Some of us believe in miracles. Some of us have experienced miracles.

AJ is for us a living breathing miracle.

He is not the only one… there are more. But you have to keep your eyes open to them, otherwise you will miss them.

For us, AJ is a miracle.

“A miracle is a surprising and welcome event that seems inexplicable by natural or scientific laws and accordingly gets attributed to a divine cause.”

We believe that the divine cause in AJ’s life is the LORD God Almighty. He is the one who has sustained AJ (and us) through many trying days, when death itself seemed to be lurking just around the corner. We had brought AJ into the hospital just over 4 months ago with the onset of acute respiratory failure. Things did not look good. All of the medical and support staff at McMaster helped us to prepare for AJ’s last days on earth. We were preparing him for, as we say, his eternal home.

And then quite inexplicably, miraculously, defying all doctors’ predictions, AJ recovered.

After his remarkable recovery within the first 4-6 weeks, there has been a slow but steady progress to improving his conditions and making preparations towards going home. (Interesting that even some of the hospital staff used the word “miracle” to describe his situation.)

Little did we know, nor did we expect, that home preparations would mean receiving him back into our home! I mean, it’s nice, but not quite heavenly. But no matter, we have prepared none-the-less.

And a home date has been set! Before I get to that, let me share a few things have happened.

Special Visits

A couple of weeks back, Joanne and I went away for a few days. We did not want AJ to be left alone without visitors so we arranged for two of our daughters to visit AJ. What a blast they had having not seen each other for so long! “I really liked having them visit,” was the first thing AJ told us when we returned.

Also on a regular basis, AJ receives visits from Pastor Joel. Apparently one of their last times together they played some video games… including one with race cars. I can just see those two going at it.

Equipment and Training

Have your ever heard of a HTFP?

That’s the new qualification that Joanne and I have received. We are not RPN’s, we are not RN’s, we are not PSW’s, and we are not Therapists. We are Highly Trained Foster Parents.

We have received training at the hospital for all of the equipment going home with AJ. We received training on the Bi-Pap machine and all of its functions. This is the key machine that assists AJ with breathing. We trained on an Oximeter, which keeps track of his heart rate and his blood-oxygen levels. We trained on a Cough-Assist machine which helps induce coughs and remove phlegm from the lungs and also serves to stretch the lung capacity beyond what AJ can do on his own. We received G-tube training in how to feed, hydrate, and administer drugs to AJ and then clean the tubing. And we also received various trainings on emergency response should something go wrong with any of these units or when traveling.

It really has been a blessing to see how much equipment and training has been supplied for us to take home. Without these devices and without the training AJ would not be able to live outside the hospital.

One of the last aspects to our training will be for Joanne and I to do a 24-hour ‘care-by-parent’ for AJ in the hospital. This is meant to be a ‘testing’ that Joanne and I have sufficient capacity to care for AJ over a 24 hour period, while having access to healthcare staff if questions or needs arise.


Speaking of blessings, positions have been filled to receive in-home nursing care. Two nurses will cover 16 hours a week of assistance spread over approximately four 4-hr shifts per week. This will be a great start to help with AJ’s on-going care and help us adjust to all the changes receiving AJ back into our home.

A First Trip Out

It was also suggested that a trip out of the hospital be arranged for AJ prior to going home. This was meant to explore what a trip would look and feel like for AJ as well as experience packing up and traveling with some of the essentials like his Bi-Pap machine and his Oximeter. This devices are not necessarily used on an outing but they do have to come along should AJ require them. We planned this first outing last Friday.

We asked AJ on this first trip out, where he would like to go. Think about that for a minute… hmm, after 4 months in the hospital, where might you go? For AJ, food was on his mind. “Harveys.” he said. Hats off to you if you are a Harveys restaurant… you’ve got this little guy’s heart.

We looked up restaurants on our phones and found out that all of the Harveys restaurants were a little too far out for a first trip. So we had to explore a second option. Well that was easy… food again, “KFC.”

We looked up how close KFC’s were and found one in Dundas. That would be our destination. We took the long way around doing a tour through Westdale and ended up at KFC. After a delightful tour and meal we returned ‘home’ to the hospital.

“When I get out doing normal things like this, I feel better.” said AJ, as we turned into our parking spot. That was an encouraging remark as the home date gets closer!

And that Home Date

It’s real soon… March 7. Next Monday. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a miracle within itself. I can’t help but think of the comment AJ made when we talked to him months ago about the potential of dying. He typed on an iPad screen (because he couldn’t speak), “maybe God will give me seven more years, who knows?”

We have passed 7 days and 7 weeks, and we are now well on our way to 7 months. Maybe God will take us to 7 years. Who knows? He knows! And on some of those days, if we’re paying attention, we might spot some more miracles. But you got to be keeping your eyes peeled or you just might miss them.

And you know why He gives us miracles? So that we would thank and praise and glorify Him with every day He gives us.

So once we get home and settled, we’ll be sure to have you down to celebrate. Or maybe we’ll make another trip out in the van to visit you. And we’ll rejoice together! Here’s a song to help you start singing…

Photo by Grant Durr on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “AJ…Trooping Home, A Date is Set

  1. SO thankful for this update!!
    Praying things continue to go well and you are all able to transition smoothly on March 7th!
    Rejoicing with you!


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