Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 171 - Nov 18, 2008

Wow! Ok. Geez...where do I begin?

First, I guess I do need to point out that the reason Kev can't tolerate the cold weather that well is due to his burns. You must remember that he still needs to grow some layers of skin and I am told that that can take a long time. Years sometimes.

Second, no one has approached me about Kevin retiring. Not one person. I was just told about the $60K housing grant that is out there, but Kev needs to be retired to qualify for it.

Third, it's not that we were told we CAN'T go home - we were told it may not be in Kev's best interest to be in the cold weather. Huge difference. So please, please don't think I am saying that all wounded soldiers need to move down south.

And I do realize that we can keep him bundled up - but remember - his WHOLE face was burned. It's impossible to keep his whole face covered - and frankly, what kind of life would that be if we could?

Believe me when I say I don't want to move here. But if I look at Kevin's needs first - he needs to be where it's warmer. And as an FYI - let me point out that when the heat is turned down to 70 degrees in his hospital room - he is shivering. And I am not exaggerating - he is literally shivering. He is cold if it is turned below 75.

So this isn't something that I am just lightly making a decision on. Kathie in Brackenridge mentioned that she could tell that I have been discouraged lately and she is partly right. But even more, I am just sad. I am sad that this has happened to my son, my daughter and myself. And I am sad that we have had to give up everything that we have worked so hard for - our home, our jobs and now even our friends and family being nearby.

But, that's just the way it is, I guess. Some people have an easy life...and others don't. We just happen to fall into the wrong category.

So, that being said, I have tons of info to look through from everyone that posted a comment. I did talk to Steve K and we plan to talk again soon. I was so glad that I actually had the time to talk to him today as Kevin was sleeping. I know there are lots of questions and comments, but I need to shift through them before responding.

And now moving on to some truly fabulous news on the Kevin home front...I had to miss his PT today to return the van we borrowed and Barbara (his therapist) made a special trip back up to see me. She was so excited that she was nearly dancing around. It turns out that Kevin showed her today that he can move his right leg and he has some control over it! She informed me that she has no doubts whatsoever that he will walk out of this hospital - maybe even in the 4 months that I am reaching for.

Great way to end a post, huh?


Lisa Damrosch said...

Leslie...I'm so glad that Kevin moved that leg for you. Even with all that you are struggling with right now, he knows just how to give you a little bit more hope.

LISA said...


WOW..where to begin. I think you are doing the right thing to share your views, concerns and questions.

Sometimes these little "blog fairies" read this and truly can make things happen.

I was just recently at a meeting in town and told that a petition was going around town at the end of summer to get the skate park named after Kevin. The lady in town, who started the petition, said she took it to the proper authorities and was turned down.

Look back at my post way back in June. It was your June 20 blog post...and scroll way down to where I commented. It states in the middle of my long post..verbatim:

"I always remember seeing Kevin out on his skateboard. I know we are building a skateboard park here in East Brady. I'd like to see it named the Kevin Kammerdiener Skate Park. Wonder what strings we'd have to pull to get that done? He is very say the least."

Well..well..when you posted the photo that Jeff had sent you, I was stunned to see the park was named exactly as I'd stated. I have no reason to drive down to that end of town so I had not seen it until the photos Jeff sent you were posted. See how wonderful those "blog fairies" are that make things happen. ; )

Your blog is a very powerful tool. Your emotions are shared, whether good day, bad day..happy day, sad day. We hear you. You teach us things we would never know and we share info with you.

There are so many people out there who are loaded with information and facts that can help. I am so happy they are offering their services out of the goodness of their hearts.

I think it just brings to light, there are still so many good people out there.

I hope you are able to work through this and figure out where your family belongs. Brianna sure looked good and tan in the last photo you posted. Florida seems to agree with her. She looks great.

You left your heart in Texas, but we've also got your heart here in PA too...and now it seems as though Florida is calling you.

It would be such a tough decision to decide what to do with Kevin and his retirement. Remember once you sign's done. Just get good sound legal advice before you sign anything.

GREAT NEWS about his leg. You saved the best news for last..the PT wouldn't have told you she feels he'll be walking if she didn't believe it in her heart.

Kevin is such a very strong person..inside and out. Wonder where he gets it from ??? ; )

Praying for you all, as always.

Anonymous said...


SueT said...

Hi- I just recently learned of your blog. My son, Chosen Co. 2-503 severly injured 11-7-08. I lived with him at Walter Reed for several months after his injury. He is now going through his med boards. I also work for the VA in Cleveland. I wanted to make sure you were in touch with the OEF/OIF seriously injured coordinater in your area. The medical center has one as well as the VA regional office. They are advocates for your son and have lots of information. In my area our VA medical center is state of the art and I feel the care is as good at the military system. Plus the personal attention they get with the OEF/OIF coordinator keeps everything on track. With the recent changes in the pay of VA and military retirees, it is worth looking into what retirement would mean for your son. If you would like to contact me, please call at 440-415-3852. Mom of an injured soldier to mom of an injured soldier, or Mom to VA rep. Whatever support you need. Blessing and great news today. Thanks for sharing. Sue

SueT said...

Just noticed my son's injury date should be 11-09-07 not 08.

Vicki C said...

Wooooo Hoooo!!! That is FANTASTIC news! How great is that? All the other "yucky" stuff aside..that is over the top FANTASTIC!
I'm just thrilled to here this news!

Long-time RN said...

Excelling news about Kevin moving his leg!
Politicians don't have a clue what "hope and change" are all about when looking at all that's going on in your life. It's great you can vent in this blog, and hopefully make contacts who'll assist you through the rough decisions ahead.

So little is written about families such as yours whose lives have been forever changed by the war. Thank you for sharing this journey. Of course you'll have sad times, mad times, down-in-the-dumps times. But your strength and perseverance will see you, and Kevin, through.

Thoughts and prayers lifted for your family.

Mel Birdwell said...

So thankful the folks that can help has jumped in to walk along side you. As to not being in the cold because of his burns what we were told is because the nerve endings were burned away the burn patient can't really determine how cold it really is, same thing with heat. Brian can't sweat in about 40% of his body so he always wants the temperature turned way down. He can't sense cold, so when he's done things like gone to football games in the cold whoever is with him has to keep him aware of how cold it is and bundled up. Granted when we lived in Virginia before moving to Texas we had some cold winters, but nothing like Pittsburgh. When you have a chance run that question by one of the docs at BAMC and see what their answer is.
We continue to pray for you guys and if there is anything we can do to help we're here.

Holee said...

We have a lot of well known burn centers in Pa. People do live here after awful burns.

Diana Bellman said...

Awesome news Les, Kevin is a fighter and will always be one. Hope he has a great day tomorrow and continues progress. Please read my post from yesterday 11/17/08. In thoughts and prayers always, Love you all!

The Rock said...

Hang in there Leslie !

Martha said...

I have only been reading your blog for a short while so I had some catching up but I gotta say, I am so proud of you and your family. I know it doesn't matter a hill of beans what I think and that makes me even prouder. I am really sorry for the troubles you have had and this terrible thing happening to y'all but WOW! You are one strong woman and that boy of yours; always with a smile in the pictures. What great folks y'all are! What a great sister for a brother to have, stepping in with patience and understanding and love. WOW!
Kevin is really a medical miricle and you are doing a terrific job of getting him out and keeping him stimulated. Thats what his brain needs. Please pardon the rambling for a bit, I watched this special on the brain and there was a child that I believe was born with only a part of her brain adn her parents were told the worst, never walk, never talk, be a vegetabe all that rot. Well Mom woudl not hear it and she kept that little girl moving, tickling singing to her always stimulating her keeping her mind working and sure enough the little girl walks and learns and can communicate, it didn't even look like the little girl was wearing a diaper;l she was 5 I think in the program.
Any how AI said that to say this, I truely believe God's allows us to make our own miricles, I don't think its ever easy but I do believe He does.
We're gonna keep on pryain' for you and all the decisions you have to make adn all the tough choices you have coming up, I just wanted to say you are fantastic!
Martha Windle

Anonymous said...

No matter where you go or what decision you make, and I am here to help you make the right decision for you, Kevin and Breezy I will ALWAYS BE RIGHT BY YOUR SIDE NO MATTER WHERE YOU END UP . You know I'm like a bad rash you can't seem to get ride of. LOL So take a deep breath, step back and slow down. We'll research and make the decision with a clear mind. Love you lots and breath. Tracy A. Jack

The Rock said...

Wonderful News Leslie !
I am glad that his right side is TRYING real hard.
Association of Uniformed Services is another great Organization to help with any Questions you have .

LISA said...


What a blessing to have Tracy and the rest of your dear family. Family doesn't always have to be "blood related"...and you've got some of the best "family" around !!!

The support system through this couldn't afford to pay for. I say again "thank you" to the wonderful man who sent you the camera. We are able to "see" the progress now too. : )

Kevin has come such a long way. If you'd asked any of us if we ever thought we'd see him up and about when this first happened...well..things weren't looking so good. He is indeed such a miracle. His job on this Earth is not done and there is a purpose to his life being saved.

We all care...through team effort, things will work out.

God Bless you and once again, Kevin, keep up the good work. Kevin's "support system" is the absolute BEST !!!

Can you imagine the kids out there who have Mothers who don't even care...?? You are doing such a fantastic job..Brianna too. : )

Anonymous said...

Leslie, Hang in there honey, you are doing a great job and need to explain anything to us. We love you and know the best decisions made for Kevin will be made by his Mom and Breezy. If you don't know who this is by now if I say honey you will. Take care and love ya bunches. Pam

Kay said...

Hey my friend! How fantastic on Kevin and his leg! You deserve some good news. Continued love, hugs, and prayers sent your way, my friend.

Jodi said...

KEVIN!! RIGHT ON KIDDO!! Congrats on being able to move and control your right leg! That is awesome news!! Keep working hard and fighting kiddo!! I am so proud of you!

Hi Les and Breezy! My love to you amazing ladies!

Healing and positive thoughts for Kevin.
Strength and comfort for Leslie and Breezy.
Safe thoughts for all military personnel and strength for their families.
Andrew's Aunt Jodi

Lil Tinker said...

I NEED YOU TO EMAIL ME! It is very important and not something I want to post on here. Email me at

It is really important and I know very cryptic but well worth it...I promise.

Jessica said...

Yes, you definitely saved the best until last! No wonder the therapist was dancing around. To say that he will walk again is an amazing statement. :)

It's understandable that you will feel discouraged and depressed at times. You're going through a huge change yourself, as well as seeing your kids go through a life-altering experience. Right now things are in upheaval but it will get better. Whenever I'm discouraged by having to live with a serious chronic illness, I hang onto this verse for dear life: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6

God is worthy of our trust because only He can see the future and has promised to be with us every step of the way. This fact is my lifeline!

I hope Kevin felt better today and look forward to reading more news tomorrow. I'll continue praying about the housing situation and all the decisions you will be making.