Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 334 - Apr 30, 2009

I was just sitting in here browsing the internet this evening and all of a sudden I heard footsteps throughout the house. I was thinking "What? No flippin' way! I'll kill him!!" so I jumped up and sure enough - here comes Kevin walking all by himself from the living room to the den. My heart about fell to the floor and it was so darn hard not to reprimand him. I didn't want to crush his independent spirit so I waited until he nearly fell over and calmly explained that that is why he really needs to have someone near him for a few more weeks.

I swear - if I live through this it will be a miracle!

So I'm not sure what was really going on today, but Kevin wouldn't do any therapies. He refused PT and only did a half hour of speech and OT didn't show up (like normal) so it was really a wasted trip over to the hospital. I wish we could just skip it sometimes, but it's not really an option I guess.

And I'm not sure if I will be able to write or not tomorrow. We have no idea what time we are leaving so we could get a call at 3am and have to rush out the door then or we could leave tomorrow evening or even a different day. We just don't know. Being that things are that uncertain, I just wanted to let y'all know that if nothing is written - don't panic.

And to finish off for today (because I still have to pack yet) here are a couple of photos from yesterday. Kevin's friend Karl's dad came to visit and this is a picture of Kev and Marc. Karl is in the Air Force stationed in Utah.

And this one is of Kevin and myself. These are so rare because I am always behind the lens, lol.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed that our flight goes well. We aren't sure if Kevin can handle the pressure in his head so really keep us in your thoughts tomorrow! This may end up being a horrible event, but I sure think it will go fine...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 333 - Apr 29, 2009

I got almost 8 hours of sleep last night - and Kevin only woke me up I think 3 times! He usually wakes me up at least 7 times through the night for one reason or another and I am just so tired and I am only even laying down for about 4 hours. Last night was like heaven to me!!

I think Kevin slept well too and I'm not surprised. He didn't sleep a wink the night before and it was one rough night and day.

Oh and before I forget - I know Kev is still on the thin side - but that is changing quickly. I have never seen his face so pudgy and he really is getting this little belly. I have never said anything to him, but he keeps bringing it up to me and he is upset about it. As for his weight - he is up to about 140 pounds.

I am just going to answer some questions tonight as nothing really happened today. We just did therapy and that's about it.

A couple of you have asked about my parents and they are doing well. Dad's rib seems to be healing, but it's a long process - especially when you are older. They do seem to love their apartment and I am so glad about that.

Petra - I would love it if you and everyone else that follows Kevin's progress could be at his ceremony. It would be so great to meet everyone! Jodi - how about it? Come's only the whole way across the country...

Michelle - thanks for the link about the soldier getting a new face through Operation Mend. That is actually the outfit we are hoping to get in to. I just hope they'll take us. Jodi - you actually sent me video of the same article.

Cathy M - I will have to remember to order The Central Park Jogger when I get back from Texas. Remind me, because I will probably forget. What you wrote does make me think that Kevin is just agreeing to things that are said because he doesn't want people to think he doesn't know something. He was always like that anyway, so it does make sense!

And now I am off to watch some tv. Kevin is already sleeping so I can just veg out and relax for a bit.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 332 - Apr 28, 2009

I have to say - Kevin is really putting on the weight. I don't think I have ever seen him with an ounce of fat on him, but boy - is he starting to get pudgy in the face and the belly! He's noticing it too and it is really bothering him, so I guess we need to really get back to being active, huh?

I am not going to write much tonight because Kevin couldn't sleep again last night and kept me up all night too. I'm not sure what is going on, but it's been happening a lot lately. He tries to sleep, but he just can't. But anyway, I am just going to upload some photos I took yesterday.

This first one is the excitement on his face when his friend Ray called him:

I do believe his friends are nervous about calling him, but I wish they could see how easy it still is to talk to him and how excited he gets. He really loves hearing from his friends - as you can tell by the look on his face.

These next two pictures are of a man and his tools, lol. I pretty much force Kevin to do the things he would do if nothing had happened to him so yesterday I made him help me build the shelving for the garage. I then made him organize all the tools on the shelf. He resisted a bit at first, but then he had fun with it. I think that he just forgets that he likes to build things.

And last but not least, here is Kevin doing a puzzle. We are up to 300 pieces and let me tell you - he just LOVES doing them.

And now I am heading to bed. I know I have a bunch more questions to answer and I will try to get to them soon!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 331 - Apr 27, 2009

My flight back to Florida was much better than my flight to PA. I got in at about 9:45am and it was smooth and on time for both flights. Chalk one up to Air Tran and thumbs down for Delta. They claimed they couldn't find the plane while we were stuck in NYC and then they couldn't find the pilot. Hmmm...

So anyway, I sure missed my boy - but I had a great time. Next time I will be able to see everyone as I am hoping we can stay in Brady for a couple of weeks. Army allowing though - I am guessing he will still be active duty.

I also want to sincerely thank my daughter, who passed me in the airport as she had to get back to Texas today. I didn't even get to see her before she left, but it's ok - we will see her Friday when we get there. But anyway, THANK YOU, BREEZY!!

And you know something I realized last night? Kevin's Purple Heart ceremony will be on the second anniversary of him leaving for basic training. Yep - he left on July 19 of 2007. What a coincidence, huh? Almost seems fitting, I suppose.

So now I have a request of all the E Brady and surrounding area residents, if y'all don't mind. We are looking to renovate the old video store space into an apartment for Kevin and I for when we come and visit. Does anybody have any friends that are architects and contractors and electricians and gosh knows what else we would need? I am going to be blunt and say that we can't afford high end work, so cheap people only need apply, lol. I hope to call the Legions in the area and see if they have a network of business owners, but time is of the essence if we are going to have it all done by July when we come home. My phone time is so limited and gosh knows when I will get to make the phone call. So anyway, if anyone has any friends or relatives that are willing to make a buck or two, please email me at I think my first order of business will be an architect, right?

And now I am going to end with a couple of funny photos of Kevin at McDonalds right before I left. He is such a ham!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 330 - Apr 26, 2009

Surprise! I went home to PA this weekend. Breezy stayed and watched Kevin and I didn't tell anyone and I just calmly walked into my best friend Moe's, my like second daughter Jessica's and my friend Jason's birthday celebration! I haven't missed Moe's birthday in roughly 16 years and I sure didn't want to start now. So - I hopped on a plane, got stuck in NYC for hours and ended up getting into East Brady at about 10pm last night. It's now almost midnight the next day and I am in Pittsburgh in a hotel waiting to catch a flight at 6am tomorrow morning. I just couldn't leave Kevin that long!

It was just so worth it to see their faces when I walked in though. I swear - I thought I was going to be trampled to death, lol! And it was just heavenly to be home - even if only for like 20 hours. I just wish I could have seen everyone that I wanted to see. Next time, I guess. In July.

So anyway, I need to cut this short because I have to get up in 3 hours to be at the airport by 4am. I don't usually go two hours early, but I have to return the rental car. I sure hope it's a smoother travel day than yesterday was. It ended up taking me 12 hours to get home!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 328 - Apr 24, 2009

Kevin started his day in a bad mood, but he got better this afternoon and was in fine form all night long. You may ask why...and it's because Breezy flew in to give him a surprise! She is just here for the weekend, but we both missed her and will take whatever amount of time she can be here.

And it's official - Kevin's Purple Heart ceremony will be held the third Sunday in July at Riverfest. After talking to Toots today, we felt it best to stick with Sunday at about 5pm. I believe the date will be July 19th. I have been asked why we need to go to PA for the ceremony and I have repeatedly said that first - East Brady is our home (no matter where we live) and second - if it weren't for the town and surrounding areas - we would not be able to be here.

So there you have it - we are coming home in July!

And I did put a reminder on the blog last night to discuss the speech therapist's findings and she has been reevaluating Kevin. We are seeing that although Kevin makes it appear that he knows pretty much everything - he really doesn't. It's so strange that he knows people and all kinds of difficult and complex things, but ask him to open the fridge and he has no clue. She has had some pictures and asks him to point to things and he doesn't seem to know much about things at all. I was kinda shocked because he always seems to understand...

And I want to tap into a few questions because I am WAY behind in answering them.

Jodi - I know the next month or so is going to be difficult. For all of us, really. As the one year marker looms, it has become a time to reflect on the past year that feels like a lifetime. I also feel the pain of your family and James' too because I just can't imagine having lost Kevin. Just know that your family is always in my heart and we are here for you should you need us. We love you!

To anonymous - I know there isn't a herd patch on that chair, but it just wasn't an option. Maybe something can be added in the future. I did ask when it was time to order, but they only offered the branches of the military.

And to everyone that commented about the Army not moving our things down - it turns out that the liaisons were incorrect. Donna from Operation First Response was working on helping to get the move paid for and she took it up the line and was told that it will all be taken care of! YAY - and thank you, Donna!!!

And I think I am going to end it here tonight. I do have more questions to answer, but I will get to them in a few days.

As an FYI - I doubt I'll be writing tomorrow night. We have a surprise evening planned and I'm not sure what time I'll have access to my computer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 327 - Apr 23, 2009

Today was a really great day. Kevin just woke up in a good mood and it went from there. He was sad to see my brother go home today, but he didn't let it get him down for long. He was also very mad for a while today. His occupational therapist didn't show up for the third time this week (out of 4 days - not good, huh?)

Tonight was actually the first night we spent in our house alone. I was worried a little bit, but there was no reason to be. We did just fine. We actually stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home from the hospital and bought some 'things' to do. So we came home and ate, then we both took a nap and then we just did things. We cleaned - and Kevin even had to push the broom around. I told him it's his house and I'm not his maid so he can start sweeping. He didn't really like it, but I'm not a huge fan of cleaning either, lol. Here's a pic of him sweeping:

This is just my way of re-teaching him responsibility. And notice the big broom - this place is huge and it's all tile. No little broom for us!

And I finally got to take a couple of pics of the formal living room and dining room. Here they are:

I will slowly take more pictures as I get rooms completely done. I do have some artwork that needs hung in the dining room, but figured I would take the photo anyway.

And now let me recap the meetings that we went to. First, the video conference with BAMC went well. We will probably be leaving next Friday and they are estimating that we will be there about 2 weeks. That's perfect because our home adaptations should be done then by the time we get back. Hopefully the bulk of the pool will be done as well.

The outpatient meeting went well too. We will actually be discharging from this hospital on the same day that we will be leaving for TX. There just wasn't time to get his outpatient therapies organized before then so we all opted to go that route. I believe we were originally going to discharge tomorrow, but what's one more week at this point, right?

I am disappointed to learn that Kev will have to go to the hospital for all of his therapies and they all only want to see him 3 days a week. The bad thing about this is that Kevin can't handle a straight 4 hours of therapy each of those three days so I will probably still have to take him over 5 days a week. I so wanted to cut the days down so we could rest some, but I guess that's not happening.

We will be getting a home health aid though and we have been approved for 40 hours a week. I don't know if we would really need someone for that length of time a week, but we'll see. It might be nice to sleep in once in a while...

And finally, here is a picture of Kevin's new wheelchair. I made him temporarily take the right leg rest off because he needs to start using it to help propel the chair. He walks it completely with his left leg and he needs to walk it with the right too.

And here is a close-up of the emblem on his chair. Pretty nice, huh?

Ok, that's enough for me tonight. Tomorrow I want to remember to talk about the speech pathologist's testing so I am mentioning it here as a reminder.

Oh and before I go - I did buy Kevin a puzzle today. Just a small 24 piece children's one, but he managed to get it all together. It took him quite a while, but I just left him alone to get it done and he did it. He was so proud (as was his Mama, lol)

PS - does anyone from Brady know who is in charge of Riverfest this year? I need a contact number, please...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 326 - Apr 22, 2009

I am going to have to skip writing tonight because I got almost no sleep last night and I need to get to bed immediately in order to have the energy to do everything that needs done tomorrow. Kevin stayed up until almost 5am watching tv and I won't sleep unless he does, so I got about 2 hours.

I will tell everyone about the meetings tomorrow night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 325 - Apr 21, 2009

Kevin was much better today. He wasn't sleeping all day and he participated in therapy. He was also very excited to get his very own brand new wheelchair!! I will try to get a picture of it tomorrow, but he ordered a bright red one and it has an emblem on the back of a Purple Heart/Combat Wounded Medal and an Army decal too. He was just so excited! To be honest, I was kinda surprised because he just isn't big on change, ya know?

Tomorrow is our video conference with BAMC. I just can't wait to see how this goes. I think there will be quite a few shocked doctors because of how far Kevin has come! I am also anxious to get rolling on his reconstructive surgeries. We really need to get those eyes and his neck done quickly.

Well, my darling daughter has just called so I am going to cut this short and BS with her for a while...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 324 - Apr 20, 2009

No more shots! Yep - I don't have to give Kevin any more shots because the doctor discontinued his blood thinner. YAY!!! Apparently it's not as necessary when you are up and moving around more. Let me tell ya - he was so excited to hear that!

We are also reducing his dose of pain medication because he only seems to be in pain when he yawns. We are taking it down by 2/3 and I am hoping it's enough. We may actually switch just to something like Tylenol instead, but I need to research the long term side effects of all of the over the counter meds first.

And I should tell you that Kevin was very upset to have to go back to the hospital today. He was not too happy and didn't do much in the way of therapy. I don't know if he was just depressed about being there or if he has some kind of little bug that is making him tired, but he has been sleeping a lot since yesterday. I guess I'll see what tomorrow brings.

I als checked out of The Fisher House today. I sure appreciate that that was available to us, but I hope I never have to go back to that type of environment ever again. I am just not into the whole communal living thing. I just require too much alone time, I guess.

And I am nearly done getting all of Kevin's things out of his hospital room too. I take a load down to the car every time I leave so that I don't have to kill myself doing it all at once. It's just amazing how much stuff a person can acquire over eleven months, isn't it?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 323 - Apr 19, 2009

My brother and I went to Busch Gardens today. Kevin was supposed to go, but he refused to wear a hat and that meant that he just couldn't go. I did give him the choice - either wear it or stay home and he opted to stay home with my parents. It was very hard for me to still go, but if I gave in to this we would never go anywhere anymore. So, I went and we had a good time.

Other than that - there really isn't anything to say. Tomorrow we head back to the hospital and back to therapy. I'm not sure if either of us is ready to go back, but I guess we have to, lol.

And I guess I will just cut this short as I am heading to bed early again. I believe I heard that I will be getting some help at home and I am anxious for it. It is a LOT of work taking care of someone so completely and some help would be appreciated. I think I will know more about that come Wed at the meeting. Keep your fingers crossed that this is true. Maybe then I will have more energy...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 322 - Apr 18, 2009

We had a very lazy day today. We went for a ride this afternoon to check out an area we hadn't been to yet and that's about it. We mostly just stayed home and vegged out today and I am hoping to do it again tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow is our last day of leave so it's back to the hospital on Monday for therapies. What a bummer. I really am happy we had help to get moved in and believe me - I am so happy that we got the house, but a week long break to do nothing would have been so wonderful. I really am just so exhausted (and I'm sure Kevin is too!). Oh well, maybe while we are in Texas. I really don't know what it's going to be like yet.

Speaking of Texas, we do have a video conference scheduled for Wed to find out all about our trip. I am looking forward to getting the details, for sure.

I have another meeting on the same day with the outpatient team. I am sure hoping that means we will be discharged this week. I can tell you that there is no way Kevin is going to want to stay in that hospital now that he has gotten a taste of his home. Frankly, I can't blame him either, lol!

And that about sums things up for today. I did put our new address in the right hand column the other day, but I don't think I mentioned it.

Oh - and before I forget - Jodi, you are right! The cookbook is totally awesome!! I don't know what I expected, but this really touched my heart. It was so nice to see all of the old friends and new that I feel I have made through this blog submitting recipes. It just amazes me how people can really come together for something like this. And I also have to admit that the cookbook did get my teary more than a few times. Thanks to all who submitted and thanks to all that worked hard at putting it together! BEAUTIFUL!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 321 - Apr 17, 2009

I am going to skip writing tonight. It's been a very long day today and I am just beat.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 320 - Apr 16, 2009

Boy! Kevin really hated the beach!! It took me a half hour to get him to even get out of the car and into the special wheelchair that would go in the sand. He despised it on site and just wouldn't budge. To be truthful, we actually left the beach and were going home (everyone else stayed - just him and I left) and when he saw how upset I was that we weren't staying - he opted to turn around. I shouldn't have bothered though, he was just miserable the whole time and we left within an hour. And let me tell ya - it ain't easy pushing him over the sand for just 45 minutes! My arms still hurt!

So, until he can walk - he will not be going back to the beach at all.

Tomorrow we were going to go to Busch Gardens, but when I picked up a power chair he said he wouldn't get in it. I told him he either got in it or stayed home. He says he's staying home. Damn! We are going to be so limited now because he realizes so much more. Frankly, I know he's just embarrassed to be in a different kind of wheelchair than his normal one, but it's something he is going to have to adjust to.

And now I need to get back to unpacking...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 319 - Apr 15, 2009

Nothing much happened today. Kevin spent the afternoon with my nephew, Anthony, while I went and placed the order for the pool. It looks like the bulk of the work will be done while we are in Texas - Yay!!! I was worried about Kevin handling all of the noise while they are digging it out and everything. I still don't know how long we will be in TX, but surely a couple of weeks at least.

And it turns out that the Army will not pay for our things to be moved down here. Boy, I really have a problem with that. I think it's just wrong! But, our case manager is working on trying to get some help to get our things shipped down, so please keep your fingers crossed.

And to answer a question that a few of you have asked - Breezy is in Texas. She went there to visit her friends from when we were there and is now dating one of them. She will be staying there - at least for a while. It's kinda weird not having her around, but we talk every day on the phone so it's ok. I know it's time that she move on with her life. Kevin is doing well enough now that we both feel comfortable with her doing that.

And tomorrow we plan to go to the beach! I sure hope that this goes well. And don't worry - I have it all planned out; from Solumbra clothing, 60 spf sunscreen, hat, gloves, umbrellas (2), and a special wheelchair that goes in the sand (not sure if it goes into the water though). I just can't wait to see how Kevin reacts to this...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day 318 - Apr 14, 2009

We are starting to really find our house. I have the kitchen pretty much done and my temporary bedroom is done and so is one of the spare bedrooms. Kevin is sleeping in another of the spare bedrooms and everything is complete in there, with the exception of the bed being put together. I decided against it because right now - with the box springs and mattress on the floor - his wheelchair is the exact same height making it easy for him to transfer back and forth on his own.

The sad part is that I am going to get this all put together and will then have to find a place for all of our things from our home in PA. Oh well, there is plenty of room here. We purchased a large home for Kevin's future children, lol. Oh - and we also expect lots of company!

And we can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is to not have to go to the hospital every day. It is too awesome for words! It's going to be really rough next week when we have to go back, but luckily it won't be for long. I believe we will be discharging very quickly upon our return.

And I finally found my camera cord. Yay! This first one is a pic of Kevin getting the keys to his house at the closing. He was just so excited!

This second photo is of all but one of the folks that busted their butts to help us get this house. Y'all have no idea about all of the problems we have had with it. The only person missing is Lisa from Inland Homes, but this photo does include (from L to R) Guy from Wells Fargo, George and Judi (our realtors), Carol (and Ann is missing too) from the title company and Dennis from the Specially Adapted Housing Dept of the VA. Each and every one of these people did more than their fair share of work trying to help us get a home (and I believe some strings were pulled to get us into it by Easter!!). I have to admit to feeling defeated while trying to purchase this place, but one of them would always make me feel better when I was at my lowest. A proper "THANK YOU" to each of you!

And last, but not least, here is a picture of the front of the house. As I complete the rooms, I will upload photos as I can't see any sense in showing you bare rooms. They would all look the same as the walls and floors are identical in each. So....tada....

Here is a breakdown of the house: 5 bedrooms and 4 baths, den, family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast nook and a very large bonus room (or should I say scrap room and living room upstairs for Mom?) It is a gigantic home because Kevin needed an open floor plan to be able to wheel around in. He can literally go in a circle and I think it's wonderful.

I do want to take a moment and thank those of you that sent donations toward the house too! Between the personal donations and an organization helping out, we received close to $5000 and it made a big difference on the mortgage payment amount. Thank you, everyone!

And last, I want to thank my family for coming down and sweating like mad to get us moved into this place. I mentioned that I bought model home furniture and man - there sure is a lot of it! Thanks Mom, Dad, Matt, Kim and Joe, Anthony, Brandy and Heather!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 317 - Apr 13, 2009

I am still pretty tired, but wanted to quickly drop y'all a note. We celebrated Easter today and that was really nice (we couldn't find anything needed to cook a large meal yesterday). I didn't get much unpacked though because we were cooking all day, but that's okay. Tomorrow is another day, I guess.

Kevin is incredibly happy here - it could also be that he is on leave for a week, but I'm sure it's a combination of both, lol.

And I still haven't found my camera cord so I can't upload any pictures yet. I sure hope I find it soon...

I have to admit that although this is a 'vacation' week, we are more busy than normal. My posts will probably all be brief, so bear with me for a few more days.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 316 - Apr 12, 2009

Whew! I am just plum tuckered out! My wonderful family and I have spent the last two days moving all of the furniture we had in my parents' place to ours, then moving my parents' stuff into their home and also moving the rest of the furniture that I had bought a while ago from a storage unit and getting it all moved into the house. Total chaos, truly! Now I just need to convince the Army to move all of our things from PA down and we will be all set. For some reason, they won't do it because Kevin hasn't been permanently stationed here?? Makes no sense to me - how much more permanent can you get?

Anyway, I need to get back to organizing so I will try to catch up tomorrow night. Hopefully I will find my camera cord too so that I can share pics that I took. I can tell you this - Kevin is ecstatic! He just keeps wheeling all over the house - back and forth. And this morning he got up, got a bowl, got his cereal and poured it into his bowl, got the milk from the fridge and poured it in his bowl, took it to the table, ate fully and then made me get up and unload the dishwasher so that he could put his dirty bowl into it. I am already seeing unbelievable signs of independence! Yay!!!!

Hope everyone had a great Easter!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 313 - Apr 9, 2009

I am just too exhausted to write tonight. My dad fell last night and I had to take him to the hospital at 4am to have him checked. Of course, Kevin was here with us, so I had to wake him and take him back to his hospital room, but it worked out cause Dad is a vet so I just took him to urgent care at the VA Hospital after I got Kevin settled in.

It turns out that my dad broke a rib, so he has to rest completely for a while now.

And I haven't went to bed since I woke up yesterday morning - so I am going now. We are signing on the house tomorrow and will be pretty busy tomorrow night. If you don't hear from me - don't be alarmed, ok?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 312 - Apr 8, 2009

We had another good day today. To be honest, nothing really happened to talk about. We did both PT and speech, but OT never showed up so we left the hospital at 2:30 and headed back to the apt.

About the only thing I can say is that Kev is ecstatic to move into his house. He has been grinning all day and just keeps saying "YESSSS!" Half the time I have no idea what he's talking about and I now realize that every time it's 'going home'. I have to admit to having the same feeling, lol.

One good thing is that my family will be here this weekend. They will help us get things moved into the house and clear out his hospital room and my room at the Fisher House. Poor things think they are coming for a vacation, lol...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Day 311 - Apr 7, 2009

Good news and bad news. First the good news - it really looks like we are going to close on the house on Friday. This is not set in stone yet, but it really looks that way. The bad news though - the apartment complex won't let us out of the lease I just signed this weekend. I think it's very wrong - esp as we haven't moved in yet - but we are stuck paying close to a thousand dollars a month for 3 months for an apartment we won't be living in. I guess there's nothing we can do about it, though.

Moving on, Kevin had yet another really great day today. He totally rocked all of his therapies and you can see more and more how determined he is to walk with just his cane.

We also had 'vision therapy' today. The therapist tested his vision to see how much peripheral on his right side he lost. It turns out he can't see anything from the center to the right unless he turns his head. It was sad to see, but it doesn't seem to bother him. Maybe he doesn't really notice it, I'm not sure.

And I am going to finish up by answering a few questions posted by an anonymous poster. They asked about the house. As for the modifications - first, they can't be done until we own the house. There really aren't a whole lot of things that need done, but we have to rip the shower apart to allow his wheelchair to get up to it and remove a cabinet under the sink in his bathroom so that he can wheel under the sink to brush his teeth and things like that. If I remember correctly, there are 4 doorways that need widened and we are taking out the 2 windows in Kevin's room and putting in French doors for a rear exit. Lastly, we need to add a 'ramp' to the door into the house from the garage.

I can truly say that a year from now (or less) none of these modifications would be necessary, but we need to make the house as accessible for Kevin right now as we can. I want him to be able to get into the shower by himself. I want him to be able to wash his own clothes and cook his own meals. That is what this house is going to do for him - he can get around all of it (even the stairs as we have seen, lol) and I want him to become more and more independent.

As for when we will be moving in? This weekend if we sign the papers. Kevin won't be able to be in his room, but we have 4 other bedrooms that he can stay in while they are doing the work. The contractor is planning to start the day after we sign, and it's a good time for us because we are on vacation next week and we will be busy doing things every day. This way we don't have to hear all of the noise.

And that about sums up today...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 310 - Apr 6, 2009

Kevin had a great day today. All of his therapies went very well and he has started using a brace on his leg and he walks so much better with it. He went a long way again today and barely needed to be helped so our physical therapist feels that Kevin will be able to walk with his quad cane on his own by the weekend. That's IF he works hard every day before then. I think that scares me. I can barely keep up now, lol.

And it's unfortunate, but Kevin has to sleep at the hospital tonight. He has to do that every 72 hours or he will automatically be discharged. He isn't too happy about it, but we can't move into the apt yet so we have no choice.

I don't really have much else to report tonight, so I am going to just answer some of the questions.

Ida - you and a few others have asked about us learning sign language. Sadly, we aren't going to be able to do that because Kev doesn't know his alphabet anymore. He can read words just by recognizing them, but he can't spell them at all. We are discussing starting him on a new drug that is used for Parkinson's disease. Believe it or not, this drug has sometimes helped TBI patients be able to talk better. There are some nasty side effects though, so we needed to wait for Kevin to be super stable.

Barbara Burke - you are so right about everything you said about 'talk farts'. I am planning to remember that term and use it with Kevin. I'm so sure he will get a kick out of it, lol.

Anonymous also wanted me to post a list of things Kev can say. I will do that soon. It takes time to remember everything so I want to make a list and keep adding to it until I have it all down.

Holee - actually Kevin is very aware of where he is and where he will be living. He only wants to visit his friends and was sad that he couldn't. I can be honest and say that Kevin is pretty aware of nearly everything anymore (yay!!) and he just loves the house he chose to purchase. I only narrowed his home choices down and he had to pick which one he wanted. He honestly loves the one he picked (with good reason - it is BEAUTIFUL!!!)

Jodi - I am feeling fine now. I really think it was a kidney stone because the pain went away nearly overnight about a week after it started, which it would do once it passed. Thanks for asking!

And now I am heading back to my parents'. Kevin is just about sleeping...

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 309 - Apr 5, 2009

It's alive! My phone - it's alive!! I went to the phone store today to purchase a replacement and the guy there just asked to have a look at it. He fiddled with it for a while and got it to work! I was so excited!! I tell ya' - if he was 20 years older - I woulda married him, lol!

So we had a pretty good weekend. We went to a benefit for a little while yesterday, but Kevin couldn't handle the noise when the bands started playing so we had to leave.

We also went to see The Fast & the Furious, but Kevin got sick about an hour into it. Too much fast and too much furious for him. I was bummed to miss the ending, but that's just the way it is nowadays.

And I did finally tell Kevin last night about him losing half of his brain. He seems to understand and believe it or not - he took it all in stride. Matter of fact, he just kept saying "I am lucky" (doesn't sound anything like that, lol) and you could tell he felt invincible. I knew this conversation was coming and it was laying heavy in my heart (y'all know this), but I could just tell that it was about time.

I think the only thing I have left to tell him is about Andrew and James. I don't think he is ready for that information yet so I am going to hold off for a bit.

And tonight I got Kevin to scrapbook with me. We worked on a layout together, which was different for me, lol. I think he is so bored that desperation has set in, hehe.

And last, I know I have a bunch of questions that need answered, but I will try to get to them tomorrow night. I am just too tired tonight.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 308 - Apr 4, 2009

I am going to skip writing tonight. I have this incredible urge to scrapbook the night away and that's what I am going to continue to do.

Catch y'all tomorrow!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 307 - Apr 3, 2009

Today was a different kind of day. First, Kev did VERY well in his therapy - at least PT and OT. He walked 600 feet today without a sit-down break. Amazing!

But, he wouldn't participate in speech because he was excited about getting leave the week after next and he assumed that meant we were going home to PA. When he found out we were staying here, he was very angry and went to bed. I know he wants to go home. So do I. But we just can't yet. Once we see if he can handle a medical flight, then the sky's the limit (haha - no pun intended!)

We also had Kevin ride a power chair out to the van to see if we could fit it in. It fit in, but he REALLY hates that chair. About the only time he smiled in it was when he figured out how to get it to the fastest speed and he popped a wheelie while outside. Man...I'm not sure I can handle that chair either. I will never be able to catch him, but it's necessary for outings that require a lot of walking. There is just no way I can push him long distances.

And...we fell today. He was showing off in the hallway and one of the nurses told him to run as a joke and he tried to. I had a hold of him and wasn't prepared for him to take off like that and down we both went. I was so scared. I cushioned him under me and made sure my hand went under his head so he didn't hit it on the floor (?? I guess I did that after months of having to be careful because he had no skull). He didn't get hurt at all and I just skinned my knee, but I am sure hoping it scared him enough to realize that he just can't do things like he used to. He didn't talk for about an hour afterward so maybe he was thinking about it.

And in our family meeting today I was told that I need to find an apartment very quickly so that Kevin can be discharged or he has to start staying at the hospital. He has only stayed at the hospital overnight I think twice in the last three weeks. I can guarantee that he won't stay there, so it looks like I need to find us a place to live and it has to be this weekend. I kinda have already started the process and it's just so frustrating because we should already be in our house. It's unfortunate that we went with a construction company that took 6 weeks to try to get a contract together and by then I set it in motion to find a new contractor because if it takes that long to put a piece of paper together can you imagine how long it would take to actually do the work?

So, now we have to spend tons of money on an apt and it's just not right. We may actually close on the house the week after next (have heard this many times before though) and we will be locked into a lease for at least 3 months. We just can't live with my parents though - this place is not big enough. I sure am frustrated that that contractor cost us thousands of dollars and a ton of work moving from here to the next apt and then to the house. It's just not right. Oh well. Nothing I can do about it, I guess.

And I finally got Kevin's taxes done tonight. I was worried about doing them myself due to his non-taxable combat pay, but it was pretty easy.

And now it's off to bed...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 306 - Apr 2, 2009

Thanks everyone for the tips on how to dry out my phone. I do currently have it in a bag of rice and hopefully we will see some signs of life within a day or two. In the interim, I went to Wal-mart and purchased one of those $20 jobs to get me through. It's charging for the night because I need to call Moe. I haven't talked to her in days!

Other than that, Kevin wasn't in a wonderful mood much of today. He is more than a little bit frustrated lately and I think I can see why. I have noticed in the last week or so that he is thinking about things more clearly and yet he can't voice what he wants to say. It used to be that all we thought about was pills and heart rate and input vs output and so forth and so on. Now he is remembering things and he is starting to feel emotions about all things in the past and the present. From what I could gather before, he was always happy or if not, he was upset about how he looked or sometimes even by his deficits. Now it could be any number of things going through his head and it's just not possible for me to know what he is thinking. It used to be so easy, darnit! Oh well, I want him to get better and better, it's just hard when you don't always know what he wants.

And to touch on a couple more questions:

Lorraine, Rick and Howard the Duck - BAMC stands for Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. That is where we will be going for some of Kevin's repair work.

Cathy Morse - you asked how Kevin tells me things and mostly it's just our own way of communication. His PT once said there is some strange bond between us for me to always know what he wanted - sometimes even before he did. But to answer your question - sometimes he makes a hand gesture and once I figure out what he means by it, we use that gesture for that thought from there on out. For example, you asked how the 'tells' me he wants to go back to the hospital. Well, he points to the door of the apartment. That means he wants to go somewhere so I start naming places, ie the hospital, Wal-mart, Target, etc.

Some of the other ways are:

Subway - he hums the Subway: eat fresh theme song.

Shower time - he rubs his chest as if he is cleaning it with his sponge.

Wants his phone charged - he lays the phone on his chest and runs his finger from the phone to the floor as if following the cord.

Wants his iPod - his finger goes from ear to ear and then down below his chin to his belly. Again - following the cord.

He holds up 4 fingers when he wants to watch Die Hard 4. Y'all have no idea how many hours it took for him to make me understand that he wanted to purchase that video. Honestly, I could not for the life of me figure it out. I knew he wanted a movie so I loaded him in the car and off to the video store we went. He found Die Hard 1 and touched the number on the box and then held up 4 fingers. I just wanted to cry with relief. (and you had to know that they didn't have DH 4, so I went to 3 different stores to find the darn thing!)

For Spiderman (Thanks, Connie!!) - he makes this strange spider like motion with his hand and then he holds up 1, 2 or 3 fingers so I know which one to pop in.

When he wants his pills (he reminds me when it's time, lol), he makes a small circle with his thumb and index finger to replicate the appearance of a pill.

He also points to exactly where on his belly I am to give him his shot every day. I can't stray either - no matter what, lol.

As you can see, we have our own way of understanding each other, but it's getting harder and harder because he is thinking more in-depth now. It's not as simple anymore.

I am also trying to make him talk more. Diane and Mary Jo made me realize that I was not forcing him to talk because I did already know what he wanted. So now I need to just get him to at least try to say the word. I am thankful to them for seeing something that I just didn't.

And now I need to get cupcakes made for Joel. His birthday was this past week and he wanted white cupcakes with sprinkles, lol. He is just doing so well too!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 305 - Apr 1, 2009

Today was a good day. We got up this morning and went to the hospital where we did all of our therapies. After that, we came back to the apartment and Chrissy and her boyfriend Josh came over for a visit. It was so nice to walk in the door and have dinner already started and I can't tell you how great the food was!

After that, we took a stroll with Kevin to the pool area and I'm sure you can guess what happened are some pics:

You can just see how excited he was to get in the pool. We all had our clothes on and we just decided to do it anyway.

In this next one, Kevin was so sure that he could just go off by himself and be fine. Ha. Notice how he sank?

And after that, he finally would hold onto a flotation device. I will be going to the store tomorrow and purchasing a life jacket or water wings. Depends on which one he will agree to use.

And if anyone is trying to get a hold of me - forget it. I stupidly had my phone in my back pocket when I went into the pool. I sure hope it works again as it is less than a year old and it is an iPhone. I love that thing because it allows me to type notes from the docs and stuff. Not to mention all the pics that I have on it. Grrr...

And now I need to answer some of the questions you guys have been asking.

Melanie - I don't know how long we will be at BAMC. We will be having a video conferenece next week sometimes so I will know more then.

Lisa in Indiana - Kevin can't really draw much at all. First because he has to use his left hand and second because of the brain damage. He has been trying to write better, but it's hard for him. Great idea though.

Gina - we did receive the newspapers the other day. Thank you so much!

Kathy Switlick - you are right. Although this has been a very horrible year for us, it has also had many priceless moments. All of the 'I love you, Moms' and the hugs and kisses and the first step and climbing stairs and swimming and all those little things that most of us take for granted are simply amazing when something like this happens to your family. It's also been a joy to watch Brianna grow up and become more responsible and to help her brother as she has. Yes, I would have preferred that she grow up due to other circumstances, but things are as they are.

And I know I used to say this - especially in the beginning - but enjoy those little things with your family members. And definitely be more patient. There are still the occasional moments when I get frustrated and snap, but I have to sit back right then and think about what we almost didn't have. I try to always think about how Kevin is feeling too and also think about how you would feel if your snapping was the last thing that you said/did to your loved one. I think we have all learned that it only takes a second for your whole life to change and I can only hope that we all appreciate what we do have even more. I believe I do appreciate it all, but admit to having my 'down' times.

BigD - I am sorry that Nick's friends don't come around much and I admit that it's the same for us. Kevin gets so excited when his phone rings, but it never really does. The only person that really calls him is my sister, Kim, and it just makes his day. I do wish that his old friends had time to talk to him, but I guess I can understand that life goes on and people are busy. It's just so sad though, isnt' it?

And last - if I haven't answered anybody's questions - it's entirely possible that it got deleted or missed in my pile of email. Please don't hesitate to ask again.