Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 351 - May 17, 2009

Today I left Kevin with my parents for the afternoon and I went and did some shopping. I was supposed to do something fun, but I was still a little blah after all of the emotions from last night so I didn't plan ahead and find something 'fun' to do. So I just shopped for things that Kevin doesn't have the patience to look at. Boring!

Other than that, Kevin did a lot of sleeping today. I think he's trying to catch up because he really hasn't been sleeping well lately. He tries - he really does - it just doesn't work some nights. I suppose it's part of a brain injury...

And I do believe we will be coming home to EB this week sometime. I don't have specifics because of his leave not being approved yet, but I want to take the time to explain/request some things before we get there. Basically - this post is to prepare everyone for Kevin.

First - Kevin can't handle a lot of noise or stimulation. I don't mention it much, but we really do sit in a silent environment about 95% of the time. Very rarely does he watch tv with the sound on (if he has it on it is muted), maybe once every two weeks he will listen to the radio in the car, he doesn't even touch his iPod anymore and most of the time he can't handle a lot of people around. This is not to say he is reclusive because sometimes he is just awesome to be around - laughing and joking and having a good time - it's just that those times are rare throughout the day. I always focus on them though because it keeps us going.

Second - Kevin has no social niceties and if he is over-stimulated he will just wheel/walk away. Don't take offense - it's just him taking care of himself.

Third - I have no idea what (or who) Kevin is going to remember and what (or who) he's not. Please don't be hurt if he doesn't remember you or things you have done together. He honestly can't help it.

Fourth - remember that Kevin can't really be in the sun much. If you see us outside, we won't be out there long and we won't be able to 'chat' unless we go inside.

Fifth - I have no idea how Kevin is going to handle seeing his friends while knowing how much he has changed. The hardest part will be him not being able to talk and it won't surprise me if he takes it hard for the first couple of days. The next thing is going to be how different he looks. He may slide into a depressed mood while we are there and if that happens - we will leave for FL earlier than expected.

Sixth - remember that he can't read everything and doesn't know all of the normal basic things. He also often gets confused. I asked him to turn the light off twice yesterday and he had no idea what that meant. He's come a long way - but he still has a long way to go. And I would like to request that you just take it in stride if he is confused and not laugh at him.

I only ask that everyone understand that Kevin is very different than he used to be - yet in so many ways he is still the same ol' Kev. Don't be afraid to approach him, but just be aware that he's changed.

And I know...I'm being too protective...but honestly - he may not be able to handle all of this and I need all of us to be prepared for it. I am preparing myself too because I go through it all with him and if this trip is rough for him, then it's going to be rough on me too. I have to go in with my eyes wide open and ready for all possibilities and this is my way of doing that.

So sorry if I have offended anyone by asking for special considerations - it's just that I know everyone is going to be as excited to see us as we are to see you and I just needed to put the changes in Kevin out there.

Now keep your fingers crossed that we get 30 days leave and not 15 (or I should say leave at all - you just never know). 15 will mean a whirlwind trip with barely any time there. 30 will give us a week or two. We do need to come home to FL and rest before heading back to Texas before the middle of June so I do want to try to be back here around the 2nd or 3rd...


Long-time RN said...

Sure hope the military comes through with leave time and all goes smoothly.

Preparing folks as to Kevin's tolerances and capabilities is wise. Reading your posts and viewing pictures is one thing, but for those who've known Kevin and his characteristics prior to the trauma, seeing him in person will be another thing. I hope and pray all will be gracious and accepting.
Hope and pray you and Kevin enjoy this trip and feel the love and care from all who visit with you. Most of all, I hope Kevin copes well, and his spirits are lifted.

Surely everyone knows you'll do whatever is best for Kevin. You've done an amazing, incredible job in being advocate No. 1 for Kevin for 351 days. Kevin is not the only hero of this story.

Take excellent care.

Jan said...

Enjoy your trip home, I'm sure it will be difficult in many ways but on some level it will be good for you too.

You know what I was thinking when you said Kevin can't take too much stimulation etc.? This reminds me of bringing a newborn home from the hospital for the first time. Everyone will want to see him and spend time with him, and there you are saying "sorry, I can't take a chance on him catching your cold" and "sorry, it's been a long day, he needs his rest". People will understand but you're going to have to be vigilant (as always). I hope there will be a way for you to relax a little.


Anonymous said...

Good luck, you two. Sure hope your leave comes thru soon. This will be good for both of you and for your closest friends. I'm hoping it goes smoothly for you.
Were the renovations to the house done when you came home? Is it what you wanted? How did Kev like the reno's? Was the pool ready?
You have come to be an important 'part of my life' and I have you in my thoughts and prayers daily. Look forward to your posts "From Home"!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful News ! Hopefully you get the 30 days.

Of course you need to tell people how to handle Kevin and what to expect.

Oh. list of words reminder. That might be very helpful if we knew what words he can say.

Excited to see you all. Is Breezy coming with?

Is the apartment all ready for you guys?

Prayers said for a safe trip.

Patricia said...

May God bless the entire trip home. May all the love, which has surrounded you, continue ten fold. I pray it is 30 days. And you have no reason to apologize for giving all of us a heads up. Undoubtedly, we will goof, or make mistakes unknowingly, anyway, so this prevents as much as possible. Take care. Your friends and family are so wanting to hold you!

Babara B. said...

Leslie, good luck with your trip home. I hope you and Kevin have a wonderful time. I've found with my mother that she does pretty well if we break up the social stuff into several "sessions", with many breaks to let her process the input she's received.
My brother passed away 2 years ago, very suddenly. I was scared half to death about how Mom would be able to handle her own son's memorial service in her condition. There were a lot of people there, and it could have been overwhelm-ing for her. But she did fine. I noticed that she had the ability to just kind of "tune out" when she needed to. And people were very understanding of her brain injury. Of course, she doesn't have the issues that a young man like Kevin has with self-image, and the knowledge of what she's lost, like he does. But hopefully, Kevin's amazing spirit will convey to all what his emotional needs are at each moment. I believe he will do just fine. Enjoy your trip.

Jessica said...

If I were meeting Kevin for the first time since his injury, I would definitely want to know what his limitations were so I could be more understanding. I can't imagine anyone would expect you to apologize for protecting him from over-stimulation. I really hope you get the whole month off to visit so it's easier on Kevin and you can have a more leisurely visit.

I'll be praying for the paperwork to go through quickly! You're in my thoughts and prayers.

bigD said...

Go ahead and be protective!! You know Kevin best and everyone else doesn't! Anyone who loves you and Kevin will understand completely. I think it is good that you put down some specifics, most people on the outside of your life right now really have no idea what you and Kevin have been going through! As a fellow Mom and full-time caregiver, I fully understand your need to prepare emotionally for this journey! God bless you Leslie. I think of you and Kevin often and you are in my prayers every day!

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen.”