Aidan was born blue. He was revived after three minutes. Over the next week his brain swelled. He had multiple severe seizures. (HIE) He was revived over and over again. Finally the MRI showed severe damage to all areas of the brain, including the brain stem. The palliative care team was brought in. They gently suggested we take Aidan off the ventilator that supported his breathing and “let nature take its course”. They didn’t think he would breathe on his own for more than a few hours, maybe a couple of days.
When he was one year old, he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy – damage to the parts of the brain that control motor movements. When he was 18 months old, he got a g-tube because he couldn’t eat enough to sustain himself. The g-tube is still in place today.
I was inspired to homeschool Aidan by the book My Left Foot, the autobiography of Christy Brown, a young man with Cerebral Palsy who grew up in the 1930’s and 40’s. Christy Brown couldn’t walk or talk. The doctor told his mother that Christy was an imbecile and she should put him in an institution. Instead, she taught him how to communicate through writing. She supplied him with books, paints and canvases, mentors, a typewriter, a trip to Lourdes, and finally a little house of his own. By all accounts, Christy Brown led a successful life. He got married and had a career as an author, including writing his own autobiography. That book opened up windows of possibilities for Aidan in my mind.
Eleven years later, Aidan is very much alive. More than just alive, Aidan embraces life joyfully. He is an inspiration to me and all who meet him. People who get close to Aidan experience a positive transformative effect in their lives. I have seen it time and time again. Its almost magical. He can’t walk or talk yet. But he has a perseverance few can match. Who knows what’s possible with Aidan!