Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 549 - Nov 29, 2009

Today my friend Karen and her husband Mark came for a visit. They were in Daytona Beach for vacation and they drove over for the day. It was just so nice to see her and to be able to visit with an old friend from back in my high school days.

What was even greater was that when I told Kevin they were coming he remembered who they were. He told me that he went to Niagara Falls with them - I didn't even have to mention it. It just makes me smile when I see how far he has come in the last few months. He is remembering more and more and is also able to understand a lot of things he couldn't before.

And now I am cutting it short and heading to bed. I'm sure it will be hours yet before I get to sleep as Kevin calls me at least 25 times through the night, but I am going to try anyway. It is so exhausting doing everything because now Kevin can't get out of bed to help himself at all.

Just one night of uninterrupted sleep would be so awesome...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 548 - Nov 28, 2009

We didn't do a thing today. I am trying to keep Kevin in bed as much as possible so that he doesn't use his foot/ankle.

I am a little concerned about giving him a shower though. It is such a HUGE struggle to get him into his shower chair with this broken ankle. His shower is large, but it's just not large enough for me, his wheelchair, him and the shower chair he sits on. I think I am going to request a roll-in chair that he can go directly from his bed into the shower and remain in while showering. I hope I can get one quickly (or should I say I hope I can get one period? I'm not sure about the rules on these kinds of things).

And in other was Kevin's last day in the Army. He is officially medically retired. I am glad because this puts him in a much better financial position and (even better) we are hoping that he can now have some of his therapies at home. We aren't sure about this part, but it's something that may be available to him. That would be so great - maybe we wouldn't be so exhausted all the time from running 2 or 3 times a day down the road.

And it's kinda sad too. I know that Kevin intended to make a career out of the Army, but he has lost the chance to do so. I suppose you could look at it as he's lost a lot of chances and possibilities...but then again, you can flip it and look at how much he has gained. How much he can do because of our sheer will and determination to get him better.

So now I need to learn a whole new system - the VA. I know some as we have sorta been in the system for over a year now, but when it came to getting things paid for as active duty - it just happened. Now there is a process and I need to learn it quickly. By Monday...before we see the surgeon...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 547 - Nov 27, 2009

I called so many tire places to get a new tire today and nobody has one that size? What the heck?!!

I had to give up after a while as the podiatrist was waiting for us to get to the hospital. Because Breezy had my car keys in Texas (which I got in the mail today - my parents searched our house for 2 months and all that time they were in Breezy's coat pocket, lol), we were totally car-less so Parshall (Kevin's aide) ran us to the hospital.

It must have been a resident that we saw because we have to go back on Monday and see the attending, but she did give Kevin a cam-boot for now. She told us there is a fragment of bone that is just floating around near his ankle and she thinks it's been there all along. She said it's possible the bike ride, or even if him walking in the shoes made for the bike, might have aggravated it. There is no way to know for sure. He could've slept on it wrong too.

Ann - I will let you know who the doc ends up being. I will try to request the ones you suggested, but we'll see. I am so glad that worked out for Mark! Miss you around here!

So Kev pretty much has to lay around in bed as much as possible. I haven't figured out what this is going to do to our therapy schedule yet. I guess we'll figure that out on Monday.

And now I think I will go scrap for a bit. Hope everyone had a good Black Friday. I regret not being able to catch some of the sales, but I would never go anyway as I can't stand the crowds.

(Cathy M - I hope your mom is doing ok? And Kristen - when will you hear the test results of your Mom's?)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 546 - Nov 26, 2009

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We did. Great food, lots of family arguing and did I mention great food?

Kevin's foot doesn't hurt anymore so I have been 'yelling' at him all day to stay off of it. He just won't listen. I sure hope the orthopedic surgeon can get us in for sure tomorrow and do whatever needs to be done with it. Kev is just not understanding the need to stay off it.

We didn't really do anything today. Most of the family played on the Wii all day and even Kevin enjoyed it. He had a really good day.

And my nephew Anthony came down to stay for a couple of days and he and Kevin got along really well too.

I have been wondering myself if the bike is the reason Kevin's foot got fractured. I think we will find out when we see the surgeon. That will really stink as it is the one thing he is enjoying above all others right now.

As for us riding on the road - we don't have a choice. There are no trails in our development and if we are going to go anywhere else, we need a truck. I can get his bike into the van with a LOT of finagling, but if his is in there, mine can't fit.

I will say that in some ways now Kevin is like normal. When it comes to riding, he is extremely conscious of the traffic and hears it early and moves over close to the edge and slows way down. I also stay on his butt (but I had to back off to take the picture) as I am a natural born worrywart when it comes to this kid.

Also, I know someone responded about this, but there is no way his foot can fall off of the pedals. He has special shoes that lock right to them.

I think it's all going to be a moot point for now anyway. It doesn't look like he'll be riding for a while.

And I think I will get to bed now. I have to get up early and get a new tire put on the van and then take Kev over to the hospital (I hope anyway).

Breezy - I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! It wasn't the same without you here! Love you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Day 545 - Nov 25, 2009

This has been such a horrible day. First, we went down to have the CT scan only to find out that you need an appointment and the docs didn't make one - they just told us to walk in. (and of course the radiologist had left early today)

Second, after scrambling around, we went to the VA to have the scan done and it put Kevin right where he was months ago - in a very bad mood! I haven't seen him like this since we left for Texas. I know it's because everything is just such a struggle there. Nothing is easy. NOTHING. From the parking, to seeing any docs and even being told to wait because the results would be in 10 minutes and it taking an hour and a half.

But then the day got worse. On our way home from the hospital, I got a flat tire. Picture 5 lanes of traffic going 80+mph on a holiday weekend. Of course I was on a bridge. The exit was only a hundred feet ahead of us, but I was already riding the rim so I couldn't go any further. The problem? Well, there are lots of them.

1. Kevin's foot is fractured and he cannot stand up. (yep, you heard me - it's broken - but I didn't know this at this point)

2. The wheelchair ramp of the van is on the side of the road that is against the railing of the bridge. It cannot be opened.

3. Even if it were on the other side of the van, you cannot open a car door on that side with cars whizzing past so fast.

4. So Kevin is stuck. Stuck in his wheelchair. In the back of the van.

5. The van is so low due to the ramp, that you can't get a jack under it at all. No tow trucks will tow with someone inside though.

6. A cop came, I was so relieved. He told me he was sending a road ranger so I hung up the phone with the road assistance carrier I have.

7. After an hour - still no road ranger.

8. At this point my family came and we somehow managed to get Kevin out of his wheelchair, into the front seat and out the door. They took him home as he was so overstimulated he was just screaming his head off. (And I think he is lucky that he is able to just do that if he wants to.)

9. My brother-in-law, Joe, stayed with me though and after another hour, I called the roadside assistance folks back and scheduled them to come.

10. They were there in 15 minutes. Joe and the tow truck driver shook the van until it was rockin up a storm. They managed to get the jack under enough to raise it so that some chunks of wood could be put under the car and then you could put the jack in the correct place.

11. As I look across the 5 lanes of traffic on the other side of the highway, I see my road ranger with a car that was broken down over there.

So we did get it all fixed and Joe and I took off for home. Tonight was one of our Thanksgiving dinners. We are having two because my niece has to work tomorrow. I guess I should be happy I didn't have to do any of the cooking, huh?

But now I have to figure out how to get a new tire and get Kevin in to see an orthopedic surgeon on Friday. Yes, the word surgery has already been thrown out there. I refuse to think about this though today. Friday is soon enough.

Now I just need to figure out how to keep Kevin down for 2 days. He says it doesn't hurt as much and he feels he should just be able to walk all he wants.

I just have to ask - why can't anything just be easy?

So I don't have it in me to be all happy and positive today. I think I will just sign off, but I do want to wish everyone a super wonderful Thanksgiving!

I am sure my day will be better tomorrow...

Day 544 - Nov 24, 2009

I took Kevin for an x-ray today, but the radiologist wants us to come back for a CT scan tomorrow. He feels there is probable cause for a break and wants a clearer picture. I gotta be honest, I have no idea how I am going to handle a broken foot. It took over a half hour of struggling just to get him into the shower tonight. (I would've let it go, but he didn't get one yesterday).

Now that he doesn't have his 'good' leg, I can see how truly bad his right leg is. I can't figure out how he can even walk on it. He cannot hold himself up on it, that's for sure. This basically means that I am lifting him up to get him into his chair. I am so glad we still have the van too. At least I can transport him in his wheelchair - making a trip out so much easier.

And I want to thank everyone for all the emails regarding Kevin's pain meds. There are so many that I am just going to put it all here rather than answer individually as there isn't time for me to do so. (and I truly thank everyone for all of their concerns!)

So basically, I want to say that I didn't make the decision to take away the oxycontin on my own. I did ask the pain mgmt doctor if I could do this. I should also say that Kevin is still on a high dose of oxy that is a sustained release pill so that it lasts all day/night. The ones I took him off of are just little 10mg tabs that are for breakthrough pain. Kevin rarely has breakthrough pain any longer so days went by when he wouldn't even need any. This means that he won't suffer withdrawal from me giving him Tylenol instead.

He also won't get the Tylenol too often. At the very most - it would be once a day. But truthfully, it won't even be that frequently.

And I have also heard of people dying from taking too much Tylenol. I keep a hawk's eye on Kevin and all his side effects, so we should be ok. Like I said, he really won't be taking it all that often anyway.

As for the suggestions of different pain medications that are better for you - I will keep a list and discuss them all with the pain management doc. I really liked the woman that we saw last week and she seems to really be on top of things, so hopefully we can come up with a new plan. We will be waiting until late Jan or Feb to start detoxing Kevin and I should insert that I doubt we will see her before then.

And now I am going to send a message to my girls at work - I promise to make y'all stromboli and stuffing balls when we come home (PA home) next summer, lol. I miss you guys so much!

And on this week of thanksgiving, I want to reiterate something I used to say often back in the beginning. ALWAYS tell those you love that you do love them. Tell them you appreciate them too! You just never know when you won't be able to see them anymore - whether it's through death or an emergency that takes them away for good.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Day 543 - Nov 23, 2009

Kevin woke up this morning with his left ankle hurting really bad. I have no idea what he did, but he can't even put any weight on it. I can't imagine what happened as he didn't get out of bed all night long. It's very strange. Anyway, if it's still hard for him to bear weight in the morning, we will go for an x-ray.

So we did nothing today. He only got out of bed one time and wheeled around for a while, but then he got back in and has stayed there all day/night. I even laid out dinner on his bed and we ate there, rather than him have to put his weight on it. He's just put on too many pounds for me to help lift him out of bed and into his chair. I could do it when he weighed 125, but over 160? No way!

Speaking of weight, I am trying to get Kevin to diet. All of his pants are too tight again. I am seeing the beginning of a very bad trend and it needs nipped in the bud right now. I just don't know how to do it. It's hard not to eat when you're bored and I suspect that is part of the problem. Once his ankle's better we can get back on the bike and that should help some, but it won't take care of it all.

My biggest fear is him being 300 pounds and falling down. I can't imagine how I would deal with that (other than to call 911) - I just don't want to get to this point though.

And yesterday I went and bought some Tylenol. I have decided we are not going to use the Oxycontin IR (immediate release) for breakthrough pain any longer. I want to get a jump on the detox and if I can at least pull out a few pills a week, it's a start. He has very little excessive pain anymore anyway - so I think we will be safe with the Tylenol. I just hate all these pills...

And I am going to end with a video that has been airing on PBS. It features two of the families that are here at the VA in Tampa. You can catch it on TV or view it on their website:

Who's Helping Our Wounded Vets?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Day 542 - Nov 22, 2009

I am going to skip writing tonight. I am scrapbooking and don't want to lose my mojo...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day 541 - Nov 21, 2009

We stayed home all day today. It was wonderful. I made stromboli for dinner and I swam, but Kevin didn't want to. He was playing his Zune and that's fine with me. The more he plays that thing, the more his brain is healing.

So to answer a few more questions - about the pharmacy - we do usually use the mail order pharmacy (although that requires MANY phone calls every month as nothing is ever right), but because we were away for 2 months we had to 'start over'. It still could have been mail order, but we needed to see the doctor first for his narcotics and I only had enough to get us through Sunday. That meant that we had to wait for the meds.

I should say that we didn't 'wait' there the whole time though. It took about 30-40 minutes for me just to drop off the script as there were so many people there. I left Kevin in the car with his aide (who started back yesterday), but he did call me numerous times and ask me "how long?". After we dropped it off, I had to run the aide back to our house (a half hour drive) because her shift was over and then we had to turn around and go back to pick up the pills. They were ready when we got there because of all the rush hour traffic taking her back to our house and then coming back to the VA.

So anyway, great idea on the survival bag, Miss Em. I will get one of those ready for the next time.

LauraRL - thanks for the offer of being a resource for Breezy. I will let you know if she ever needs anything. So far, she is very happy with her job and her apartment. She is making friends and doing things, which is so great for her.

mamaworecombatboots - Signing Time just sent Kevin some of their CDs for us to learn sign language. They actually sent them a while ago, but we weren't home. I am anxious to give it a try. Our FRC has used this method of learning sign language and she tells us it's a wonderful and easy way of doing so.

Julie - I am looking for one of those bulb changers (thanks!). My bro-in-law came down yesterday and changed the ones he could reach so it's at least a little bit brighter in the kitchen.

Kristen - how is your Mom? Thanks for all the info on what has worked with you and Travis. We have been looking for a therapist for Kevin, but the normal psychologists we were referred to told me that they couldn't really help due to his inability to talk. They suggested a neuropsychologist and now that we are home we should be able to get back on track. We had just gotten the authorization to see one when we left for Texas. I need to call and set up a new appt after Thanksgiving.

And I totally agree that things that you and I feel are normal can be overstimulating to Kevin. Riding down the road with the car window even cracked open is too much for him. The windshield wipers are too much too, but he knows we don't have a choice on those. The docs have repeatedly told me that we don't know what he 'hears' all the time. It's why I think he doesn't listen to music much and the TV is always on mute. I assume he has a lot of noise in his head.

It would just be so much easier if he could just tell us what is going on. EVERYTHING would be so much easier if he could just tell us what is going on.

Anyway - Kristen, I would love to chat with you. Grab my number from the system at work and call anytime. Please! And tell Travis 'hello'.

And I think I'll sign off here tonight...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 540 - Nov 20, 2009

Today was a very long day. We had to go over to the VA hospital for an appt so that we could get Kevin's medications refilled. It ended up being a 7 hour day because it takes hours to get meds from the pharmacy. Grrr...

Other than that, we just took a walk around the block tonight. We didn't get to ride bike today, and that was kinda depressing, but there just wasn't time.

Neither one of us has had time to get in the pool at all this week either. Tomorrow is the day, I hope. It's just been so crazy getting everything organized to be back home.

And I know I said I was going to get to some more of the comments, but I think I am going to go to bed a little early tonight.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 539 - Nov 19, 2009

We had another good day today. Kevin had to go to therapy and have an evaluation done and he walked on the treadmill for 6 minutes and rode the stationary bike for 11 minutes. He did really well and he loved seeing all of his 'old friends' at the office.

After that we came home and had a quick bite to eat for lunch and then we took a bike ride over to Chris's house. (she is the Marine's mom). They live about 3 miles away and Kevin did the whole trip without a break at all (and I woulda died for a break, lol!). Chris had just ridden her bike over to visit so it worked out well that we just followed her home.

The weather was truly beautiful here today in FL and you couldn't have asked for a better day to ride bike. Here are a couple of pics that I took with my phone while out riding:

And I do agree Kevin needs an ID bracelet and I have already sent a message to find where to get one. I'm not too worried about him going on a bike ride without me knowing though. There are many things that he needs help with - even actually getting down onto the seat, but the most important thing is that his sneakers actually lock into the pedals and Kevin cannot get his right leg into the lock by himself. Truthfully, it takes me 5 minutes or so to get it in as he can't help hold his leg in place. At this point, he would not be able to get anywhere if his shoes weren't locked in as his foot just can't stay on the pedal. I'm sure as time goes on he will get more capable of doing at least some of these things by himself, but I think it will be a while.

And now I need to get the dishes done. Our dishwasher has been broken since before we left for TX and they are finally coming tomorrow to fix it. The whole family came down for dinner and there are still a few dishes that need done.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day 538 - Nov 18, 2009

Guess what we picked up today?! Kevin's new bike!! I wish I had some pics to share with you, but it was nearing dark by the time we got home from the bike shop and I felt it was more important to get him out on a ride rather than run in to get my camera. Man, he is so stinkin' happy! He is just beside himself.

So, assuming we ride again tomorrow (and that's if this body - that is bound to be sore - can handle it!), I will take some pictures then. I purchased a book at the bike store that is an in-depth reference guide to all of the paved trails in FL and I am looking forward to us checking a bunch of those out. I have to get in better shape first though, lol. We only rode maybe a mile or so today and my thighs hurt so bad. Kevin, on other hand, coulda probably rode another 10 miles.

And now I am going to answer just a few of the questions I have in my email. There are so many, and I am so far behind, but I am only going to take the time to answer a couple of them tonight.

To anonymous who wondered if I could teach Kevin my phone number so that we can connect when we are separated in the stores - he has been able to call me for months now. He doesn't know my number, but he has me on speed dial. This is how I am able to go to sleep. This is how I can go upstairs to my scraproom or even how I can go out and swim while he is in his room - he just calls me when he needs something. On the flip side - he calls me constantly. I rarely get to finish the job in the bathroom without a phone call. I went to a movie one time and he called me roughly 20 times. It's why I don't get any sleep - he calls me all night long (he hardly sleeps at all - day or night). Basically, his phone is his 'call bell', lol. I'm not complaining though - it actually really works for us and as time goes on, he is calling me less and less (at least through the daylight hours).

Tracy Jack - you want to send your guys down for independence training - please do. Our ceilings are over 20 ft high and I have 7 light bulbs blown. I have no idea how to change these without killing myself so I could really use your husband about now. If you don't - we are going to be sitting here in the dark real quick, lol.

Aunt Mona - I believe Breezy will be spending Thanksgiving with Elizabeth and Jake at Ft Hood. (I shared a photo of her and her boyfriend when they visited us in Texas). At least she will be with someone. I hated the thought of her being all alone.

And that's it for tonight. I have a bunch more questions/comments to get to over the next few days.

Day 537 - Nov 17, 2009

We had a really good day today. We didn't really do anything special - we were just both in a good mood (probably because the MRSA is gone and it is such a weight off of our shoulders).

We did go and visit my parents today and my sister cut Kevin's hair while we were there. He needed it so bad, but we couldn't do it while he had stitches in his head.

On the way home, we stopped at Target for a few groceries. I know a while back I talked about sending him to 'get' something and I did it again today. But this time, I did give him two things to get. I made sure they were both in the same aisle to help him (bread and hamburger buns) and he did well, but he didn't get it right. He did get the burger buns, but he grabbed hot dog buns too, instead of the bread.

And check these two photos out:

Yep. We didn't have Kevin's wheelchair with us today, so I allowed him to ride the electric cart around. I was so worried about his driving skills, but he did fantastic! At first I made him stay close to me to see if he would hit anything, but he was very cautious so I finally sent him away. (I always leave him in the stores now. My way of forcing his independence.). Anyway, I was very proud of him for compensating for the lost vision on his right. He really did a super job driving! (and I so see him and my dad racing each other through the store now, lol)

And now I am going to get back to scrapping. I really should be answering emails, but I just need a few days of sitting in my scrap room...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 536 - Nov 16, 2009

Guess what?!!


We are ecstatic!!!!!! This means that the plate will not need to come out. Any infection is GONE! GONE! GONE!

I am so thankful that I went against the doctors ideas and decided on a conservative approach. Their immediate reaction was to pull it all out and I just couldn't imagine going so far backward. Yes - there were times that I just wasn't sure this was working, BUT IT DID! We have just been dancing around the house all day!

This means that Kevin can go back to therapy next week. He wasn't allowed to until he was clear of the infection, so we are now good to go.

We did decide to take this week off though, just so we could get settled and do all the running and make all the phone calls after being gone for 2 months. I am glad I decided to do that because there are just so many things that need done and there is no way I could've done it all while running to therapy 2/3 times a day.

And now I am going to head upstairs and scrapbook a little bit.

Day 535 - Nov 15, 2009

We had a good day today. We didn't do much, but we did go for groceries as we had nothing at all in the house. After that, the whole family all came down and we had dinner and just hung out for a while.

My dad is doing well considering. My mom has also been sick for a month now so she goes for an MRI tomorrow.

Ahh...all will work out...

Other than that, nothing much happened. It's nice to be home and hopefully tomorrow we can get in the pool. We were going to today, but we were at the store too long. Kevin is just such a shopper, lol. He likes to really look around and I can't stand it. I just hate shopping. But I do it because every little thing he does helps him to become better.

I look forward to sending him in by himself again to purchase something later this week. While we were in Texas, I taught him how to use his debit card. He is awesome with numbers so he has his pin down pat, but he can never comprehend where the strip on the back of the card needs to be as each machine is different. I can see he does look at the image, but he apparently can't copy what he sees. Oh well, I will just keep working on this with him. Maybe eventually he will understand.

And now it's off to bed for me. We are both struggling with the time zone change yet...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 534 - Nov 14, 2009

I don't know where this day went, lol. I just looked down and saw it was nearly 3am and realized I hadn't even written the blog yet.

So Kevin and I had a really good flight. It was completely uneventful and I must say the quietest flight I have ever been one. I don't think a word was spoken by anyone the whole time. Very strange...

But we are home! Yay! It's just so nice to be here sitting on our own couch and watching our own tv.

And now I am going to cut this short and hit my very own bed. I am just so tired as Kevin needed to show me every single thing in his room over the last few hours. He must have forgotten he had all these things...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 533 - Nov 13, 2009

It looks like we'll be home tomorrow afternoon! Everything is pretty much lined up for us to go home, but I did forget to call Maxim Healthcare and get the aides scheduled to begin again. I must've been on the phone for 2 hours this morning getting it all taken care of. Phew! Glad that's all done.

And before I forget, WTOP - the top radio station in Washington DC, did a series this week concerning the situation with the military. It's titled "The War That Neve Ends" and Kevin's situation has been featured as part of the article/audio. You can view the article and listen to audio clips on their website at The links are in the left column for both the Story Menu and the Audio Clips.

Oddly enough, the woman that interviewed me (Darci) was a super nice person and I got an email from her a week or so ago where she told me that it turned out that her husband was with Kevin when he was first brought in from the field and still was with him when he was flown out of Afghanistan. She said that he remembered Kevin vividly and it just goes to show exactly how small this world is, huh? I told her to thank him for taking care of my baby, because it all started with those guys/gals. I hope I get to shake his hand someday.

And it was awful hard to let Breezy drive away tonight. I am just so proud of her, but it's still going to be hard not having her there. Thanksgiving will be the first holiday that she won't be with us, but it's just not feasible for her to fly to FL. It's just gonna be different, that's all. But still - I just have to keep telling myself that I am really proud of her and she is going to do well here. We both fell in love with Texas when we were here in the beginning of it all, and who knows...maybe we'll end up here someday too.

But, in the meantime - we are going home!!

Day 532 - Nov 12, 2009


I can't even begin to tell you how excited we are to head home. Kevin is ecstatic and truthfully, so am I. I don't know when we are going, hopefully Saturday as it's so late now to be ready tomorrow, but just in case - I need to get packed. I am not going to write much because Kevin just went to sleep (I think) so I can actually get some work done. In the meantime, I will leave y'all with some photos that I took today at the tea garden.

These are already edited for printing, so excuse the artsy fartsy stuff.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 531 - Nov 11, 2009

I hope everyone had a great Veteran's Day! We planned to go back to the Japanese Tea Garden today because Kevin wants to have a 'photo shoot' like we did the last time. When we got home and he saw all the pics I took on that day, he wanted to go back and do more once his drain was taken out. So we did plan to go today, but we never made it. We are going to hopefully go tomorrow now.

What we did do today was go to Breezy's work. Her bosses invited us, so we stopped in for a half hour visit or so and it just made me feel even better (if possible) about her staying here. The people in this office are just wonderful. I really liked that they offered to 'take care of my baby' once we leave - that just takes a huge load off because no matter what - after what we've been through - it's hard to have her so far away.

So she has a great place to work and a decent place to live. Now she just needs to learn how to cook, lol.

And that's something Kevin will be learning when we get home too. Just basic stuff. He already makes his eggos and peanut butter toast, but I am going to start on maybe omelets (he used to make a mean one back in the day) and simple things like that.

Oh and I forgot to tell you that yesterday, when he was in therapy, they had him doing a word search and Kevin found all of them - even the diagonals! He is usually able to do the backwards and forwards, but he has never gotten a diagonal before. The one therapist (supervisor maybe?) had him doing this and she was amazed at how well he is tracking with his eyes. She said it's not usual for someone with a severe TBI. Go Kevin!

Anyway, we are going to see the neurosurgeon tomorrow. Please keep your fingers crossed that he sends us home! It will be 8 weeks on Sunday since we got here...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 530 - Nov 10, 2009

I am not feeling up to par tonight so I am going to make this a short post. We didn't really do much anyway, just went to therapy and then to Breezy's were I mostly slept after I put dinner in the oven.

I do want to share two videos though that pay tribute to our military. The first one is focused more on our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here it is:

Tribute to the Troops

And I was looking at the forums at ScrapMuse earlier and a woman posted about this beautiful song that was written in remembrance of Veterans. I realize it is a Canadian song, but it still tells the tale. I am not real sure on military etiquette, so I hope it's ok that it is referring to the Canadian military. This one more encompasses all military - past and present.

Anyway, here is the story behind it:

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.

A Pittance of Time

Before I sign off - I just want to say 'Thank You' to all of our heroes - past, present and future!

And to the Shields, the Finlay and the Thornhill families - a special salute.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 529 - Nov 9, 2009

Kevin was feeling a little nauseous this morning, so we skipped his therapy, but he felt somewhat better this afternoon. We did go over to Breezy's place to allow the utility people in to get everything turned on, but he still wasn't feeling quite up to par so he mostly lay in her bed. After that, we just came back to the hotel so he could get to bed early.

The nausea is something we have to figure out soon. We had always assumed it was part of the TBI, but the neurosurgeon here at BAMC said he felt it was something more to do with his intestinal area. He suggested we get that checked out so I guess we will have to within the next few months.

There are always so many things that need to be checked or figured out. I have this mental list of things that need to be done going in my head and it's sometimes so hard to keep it all straight. I swear, we really do need an assistant, lol.

And Breezy's first day of work went really well. She had nothing but good things to say about her co-workers and she really enjoys dressing up for work every day (that'll get old quick though - she just doesn't realize it yet, lol) so today really reinforced the notion that this is the right choice for her. I know it's going to be hard when we leave, but she can do it. I know she can! I am just so proud of her for making this choice and doing something about it. We will miss her, that's for sure, but it's time she steps back into her own life.

And now I am going to go play yahtzee online. I just want to do something mindless for a while...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 528 - Nov 8, 2009

We had Breezy's first meal in her apartment tonight. I stuffed a chicken with all the trimmings and we just kept putting stuff away and cleaning and organizing. We all gorged on dinner and have been pretty lazy since though, lol. The hotel here has a stove top, but no oven and it's been killing me not to have stuffing!

Kevin has been doing really well - and to the person that asked - there has been no build-up of fluid since we pulled the drain. Yay! I am hoping that we go home by the end of the week.

I am a little concerned though about how the divets (where the bolts hold the plate to his skull) are coming back. I am thinking I heard once about the material they use to build the area up breaking down and being reabsorbed into the body. I so hope that's not the case, but I am betting it is. I need to remember to mention to the doctor on Wednesday.

And my sister is flying home first thing in the morning. Kevin enjoyed being with her and it was nice having someone to talk to for me as well.

And other than that, nothing else really happened today. We live such exciting lives, eh?

Day 527 - Nov 7, 2009

Haha. I even had the date wrong last night, lol. interesting development in our lives has occurred. Breezy has gotten a job! The only thing is - it's here in San Antonio. It's ok though. We busted our butts and found an apartment for her, got it almost all set up today and we will hopefully get the rest done tomorrow.

She starts work on Monday and she is really excited. It's a desk position at a special needs children group. She loves kids and she has a lot of experience at dealing with someone with special needs so they chose her out of a large number of applications.

Yay for Breezy!

It's going to be easier this time for her to be here instead of with us as Kevin has really come a long way in the last few months. She also fell in love with SA when we were here the first time so it's a good fit for her. I know that I feel good about this, Kevin feels good about this and Breezy feels good about this. Sounds like a winning decision if you ask me.

So my sister drove Breezy's car out here from FL yesterday and she spent the day with Kevin today while Breezy and I ran all over the place. They had a good time today and I think it's done Kev a world of good having a new face to play with.

And now I am hitting the hay. I just couldn't sleep last night so I am exhausted.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day ??? - Nov 5, 2009

Logging on from my phone as the Internet is down at the hotel. I am going to just skip tonight as I am not a proficient texter, lol.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 525 - Nov 5, 2009

Guess what?!! No build-up of fluid overnight!!!! I am so excited! If it stays down and there are no other complications - we should be home by the end of next week. I can't wait!

And Kevin did go to therapy today. A student came in and played cards with him which made the time go so much better.

I want to interject here that we don't really have any problems with the therapists in FL - Kevin gets along very well with all of them. I try not to go back in with him, but I think they always joke around and carry on - just like Pam does. That's what Kevin needs - people to just acknowledge him and keep him entertained (when he wants to be, that is).

I also want to say that the therapist here isn't speaking to Kevin because he can't talk - I think she is just a quiet girl. She is super nice, she just doesn't talk much. And I understand that people have their traits, it just makes it hard for Kevin to just sit there for an hour.

And other than that, I just did laundry and sat here all afternoon and watched the horrible events of what happened at Ft Hood. My thoughts are surely with all of those families.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 524 - Nov 4, 2009

Well, we did it. We pulled the drain out today. I was so scared - still am truthfully, but I guess we had to try it sometime. The doctor assured me that if the fluid starts building back up, we can just put the drain back in and leave it in for months (or however long it takes to quit draining fluid). If that happens, he said we can go home for a couple of weeks over Thanksgiving and then again at Christmas.

So we are going to see how this goes. We should know by tomorrow morning if it's going to build back up, but so far, so good. If all goes well, we can go home next week. I so hope so!

As for removing the plate, the doc told me today that we will only take it out if the infection does hit it. We will see the normal signs if it does, so I just need to really keep my eye on Kevin's head.

Please let this work!!

On another note - Kevin just doesn't seem to want to go to therapy anymore. He isn't allowed to have Pam as his therapist because she is for the patients in the hospital, and although the new girl is very nice, she just doesn't talk to him at all. I often leave and when I come back he just looks so miserable. Today he just wouldn't go. It's the second time this week and it's only Wednesday. Pam - we miss you!!

And now I am going to go take a hot bath. Kevin is still awake, but Breezy can handle it for a while...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 523 - Nov 3, 2009

We have an appt with the neurosurgeon tomorrow and we are going to come up with a solid plan for us to go home. That's my goal anyway ;-)

I have been noticing something the last few days that may make the difference. I have caught on to the fact that Kevin is barely draining any fluid during the day (or while he is upright), but as soon as he lays down in bed - that's when he starts draining. I am wondering if that means that the fluid is taking the path of least resistance and heading down the tube when gravity doesn't come into play (when he is laying down), but if he is upright, walking around, the fluid must be going down his natural nodes? I am just not sure, but it's something I need to bring up tomorrow.

If it is true, I would think that they could safely pull the drain and then the fluid will have no choice but to go down the natural path. This would all hinge on us having the hole in his head stitched shut though. I know the doc was talking about clamping the tube, but that's not going to work because the fluid just comes out around the tube (at least that's what has happened in the past few weeks).

I don't know. I just wish there were some guarantees. I am so afraid to pull the drain because if his head swells, then everything has to come out. I am working my hardest to not allow that to happen. There are just too many horrible possibilities if we take it all out.

I just wish I knew what to do...I guess we'll see what the doc comes up with tomorrow.

And in other news, Kevin and I played checkers today for the first time. He won. Darnit (lol). I was actually shocked that he remembered how to play so well. I know I mentioned how far he has come in the last 6 weeks and let me tell ya - it's amazing. For the most part, he is becoming more and more like the Kevin of old. I know it's unlikely that he will be like he was before he was wounded, but he has made great strides since the plate was put into his head (which is one reason I don't want it taken back out).

And that's pretty much it for today. Kevin was sick again this evening, but the nausea is a normal part of our lives. He has suffered this since he awakened from his coma. We deal with it, but I sure wish we didn't have to.

I think yesterday it was more something we ate though. I had it too, so that makes more sense.

And now I am going to curl up with my book. That Jodi Picoult is quite the heart-wrenching writer and I just love the way she delves into all sides of a situation.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 522 - Nov 2, 2009

I am going to skip writing tonight. Both Kevin and I have been nauseous most of the evening and I just don't have the energy to write tonight.

Day 521 - Nov 1, 2009

We didn't do too much again today so I don't really have anything to say. I figured I would just answer a few comments and cut out early tonight.

Shannon (and everyone else) - since I am hoping we can go home this week or next, I guess just send the shot glasses to our home in FL. I am hitting the docs up tomorrow to send us home, so wish me luck.

Miss Em - I never thought about display racks. Good idea.

Kristen M (Hi! and hi to everyone else at work and to Travis too!) - you asked if Kevin had ever been treated for OCD and the answer is 'no'. Personally, I think that that is one of my disappointments with the VA hospital - Kevin hasn't had a neuropsych exam since we got there over a year ago. Obviously he has changed drastically and has different cognitive needs now. In my eyes he should have had someone looking into all of these patterns and issues and helping our family to deal with them all along. Truthfully, as all of the frightening and difficult things were happening - someone should have sat down with us and said 'this is what you do when this happens'.

We did have an appt with a neuropsychologist outside of the VA, but we had to postpone it because we are still here in TX. It's on the immediate list as soon as we get home.

Lorraine and Rick - Travis (mentioned in above post) sent us a Memory game way back in the beginning. We did play it a few times a long time ago, but it's been a while. I will have to pull it back out once we get home. Thanks for reminding me!

To the anonymous person that asked how I would see Kevin if he is 'sent' to the clinic here in Texas if I live in FL - we haven't even gotten to the point of worrying about that yet. I don't know if I would be allowed to visit, but I will say that I don't think I could comfortably be that far away from him. I would just have to be here in Texas too, I guess. It's a little ways down the road yet, as we have to get this fluid thing taken care of and then the holidays done with, but I'm sure we'll figure something out.

Miss Em - you mentioned trying to push Kevin out of his room and into doing something fun. Believe me - I PUSH! He just doesn't budge! The thing is, he's not a toddler that I can just pick up and put in the car. If he doesn't want to go - we just don't go. HOWEVER - he has been more open to things in the last few weeks and I can only hope it continues once we get home to FL. He has come a LOOOOONNNGGG way since coming here and I am wondering if it's because he isn't so exhausted from his therapy schedule. Here we go once a day, but at home it's 3 times. I guess we'll see when we get home, huh?

Cathy M - you mentioned me researching all of the side effects of his pain meds and I must admit that I haven't done that. I probably should though...

Ok - this is enough for tonight. Can you believe it's November already? Geesh!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day 520 - Oct 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone had a good time trick-or-treating!

Neither Kevin nor I could leave our hotel today. There was a game (football? Notre Dame vs ?) at the Alamodome and our hotel is right next door. They had all the streets closed around the hotel and there were thousands of people milling around everywhere.

We did venture out for a walk around to look at the vendors, but there were so many people and it was just too dangerous for Kevin to be around. There were quite a few that were drinking pretty heavily and one guy nearly fell into Kevin's lap. That was when we turned around and went back to the hotel. We were only maybe 300 feet from the door, but it still took a while to get back. Kevin was very nervous so I knew it was the right choice. My biggest fear was someone pulling that drain out of his head by accident.

And that's about it. We just sat around and watched movies today. It was actually kinda nice to go nowhere and do nothing. We sure could use a few more of those days...