Growing child leads to aching back

Couch on blocks

It’s been a tough couple of weeks in the Cousins’ household.

We’ve been dealing with a sick 19-year-old cat, and a wife with some serious back pain.

Not only is that bad for Paige, but consequently, I’m called to do more lifting, and then my back starts to hurt.

I had a problem with a bulging disc a few years ago and spent weeks in physical therapy.

I still remember the doctor telling me that Paige and I were fighting a losing battle with a growing child with special needs and back pain.

His advice was to do a two-person lift as much as possible and find a way to get help, so we didn’t have to do all the lifting ourselves.

I now totally expect that Paige is going to end up as a patient at the back doctor, and I’m going to be the primary lifter for some time to come.

There was one bit of good news this week: Since J.P. is on the Medicaid Home-Based Waiver, we can get assistance with putting a ceiling lift in our home.

We’ve spent several years trying to make that happen, but finally got funds for the project.

That means the installer can come to our house, check everything out and let our waiver coordinator know what the cost will be to complete the project.

It’s not a done deal yet, but after years trying to make it happen, it’s a significant step forward.

It’s difficult to have a child that can really do nothing on their own to help when it comes to getting around, especially when they try to throw their weight around while being moved.

The back doctor I saw even went so far as to say those back supports people wear at Home Depot or Lowe’s really don’t help when lifting people for that very reason.

In some ways, we’re a victim of our own success. Looking back at The J.P. Story reminds me of how touch-and-go things were through our pregnancy and the very real possibility that J.P. wasn’t going to live long.

Early in his life, he was given the failure to thrive diagnosis, and we wondered whether he would be able to eat enough to gain weight.

All of our answered prayers have now left us with a need for more help to make sure that we can continue to care for J.P. as he becomes a teenager in less than a year.

We’re thinking about what can be done. We’re going to try to raise our couch in order to minimize the bending when changing diapers and repositioning him. We’ll continue to try to avoid single-person lifts when Paige gets better, and we’ll look for some better furniture for him to use when he’s not in his wheelchair.

Despite the setbacks, it’s still an amazing blessing that J.P. is giving us these kinds of problems to deal with. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’ll continue to make accommodations to our home for him and will probably need a bathroom remodel in the next couple of years.

For now, as Paige said, does it mean we’re rednecks if we put our couch up on blocks? My sister told us it just might.

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