Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 1094 - May 28, 2011

As you all know, Kevin's ALIVE DAY is Tuesday - the day that he was left alive. The day that he was catastrophically changed for the rest of his life.

It's already been a rough weekend and I imagine the next few days will be even harder. I even had a long talk with Andrew's Aunt Jodi last night and we both cried for quite a while and we discussed the changes in our lives.

I am planning to take the next few days off from the blog and well...basically I think I am just going to cry and cry and then cry some more - maybe finally dealing with the traumatic incident that altered our lives forever.

Before I go though, I want to wish that both James and Andrew continue to Rest In Peace and I hope that Daniel continues his recovery process as well. My heart bleeds for your families. Truly.

I also want to post a tribute that I put together for Kevin, as well as his fellow comrades. This is a blunt, all out showing of what we have faced in the last few years and I want to advise that parents watch the video first before allowing children to.

I also want to thank all those who have served and are still serving their country. Hats off to you all.

I will be back Tuesday night.

Day 1093 - May 27, 2011

I have been working on a project all night and just looked at the time. Wow - is it late! I think I am just going to quickly post a video here of Kevin in the Gait Lab at the VA Hospital today. This lab makes a digital computerized model of Kevin's body and how it walks. The skeleton you see in this video is actually truly Kevin's body and how his bones are moving with each step.

In order to create this video, they put him in skimpy shorts and attach these little electronic thingies that pinpoint his motion. There are also video cameras completely surrounding the area that you walk on (an area that has pressure points in the floor as well). It was really cool to watch today and it will be a huge benefit to him.

Due to this process, they are ordering him a Bioness brace for his leg. The bioness sends electric stimulation to the nerves and muscles in his leg and foot and while he had it on during the one walk he was actually able to walk almost normally! His foot didn't drop and his knee didn't hyper-extend. It was amazing!

And the best part? This actually retrains the brain to remember how to walk better. We are also looking into it for his arm as well! There have been cases where someone couldn't use a body part for 20 years or so and got some movement back after using the Bioness for a while. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

So anyway, here is a photo of Kevin in the lab and then it's followed by the video:

Totally cool, huh?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 1092 - May 26, 2011

Today I took Kevin to Dave & Buster's. He loves that place, but we hardly ever go for some reason. I got a couple of coupons in my email from there this morning though and I wanted to take him out and do something fun because he's been a good sport while I haven't been feeling well. He was excited when I told him what our plans were for today. Here's a shot of him playing Skeeball:

Speaking of being at D&B, Anita - you asked if Kevin still gets overstimulated from noise and lights and mostly the answer is 'NO'. Thank goodness, huh? He has only had a problem a few different times and that's mostly when he had to be somewhere early and didn't get any sleep. Or if it's just been a long, tiring day. We know that he still needs 'down' times throughout the day where he can just be quiet in his room and I try to make sure he gets enough of it. Travel days are always a little rough because flying anywhere is just such a lengthy experience by the time you get to the airport, wait and then fly, land and get wherever you are going. Surgical days are usually rough too. It sure isn't like it used to be though...remember when we couldn't even sit 5 minutes at a doctor's office? How far he's come...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 1091 - May 25, 2011

Another easy day today. I went to my first therapy appt at the Vet Center though and it went really well. The therapist was a very nice woman and we had a lot in common. I don't have another appt until late June, but I guess that's the way it goes. I'm not sure if one appt a month is going to make much of a difference though, so Give An Hour might be more help.

Other than this we didn't do too much today. I picked Christian up at Day Care and Breezy came over after work. My mom is going home tomorrow so we all said our 'goodbyes'. We also took some photos and here are a few of them:

And that's pretty much all I have to say tonight. There's not a whole lot going on because nothing has been approved yet for Kevin. Soon though...hopefully...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 1090 - May 24, 2011

Kevin just walked in the door. He and Johnny went to see the new Pirates movie and it was the latest showing so they just got home. It's always so good to see him going out and doing normal things that someone his age would be doing.

That's all for today though. We are really taking it easy this week so that I can get better. I guess it's some kind of bug that's going around. I never used to catch all this crap, but I assume it's because I am so run down that I am more susceptible. At least Kevin's not getting any of this stuff...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 1089 - May 23, 2011

We didn't do too much today. Mostly I have just been napping, but I did spend quite a few hours on the phone lining up appointments to get Kevin's therapies and things rolling again. One thing I want to do is find a handicap accessible pool as Kevin really enjoyed pool therapy at ResCare. He's a strong swimmer and I would love to see him take part in the Paralympic Games someday. I know Mary (wonderful FRC) sent me an email about that a couple of months ago and I made a mental note to keep it in the back of my mind.

And I forgot to tell you guys that Kevin somehow emailed me the other night. I have no idea how he knew my email address, but I did get one with one single word - HI - and I couldn't believe it! I ran downstairs as soon as I got it and burst into his room and he had this look of such pride on his face! I asked him how he got my email and he couldn't remember, but I am thinking it was just too much excitement for him to think it through. We really were both so excited that he sent an email. I hope he gets started back into speech therapy soon so that he can continue to learn to write.

We have an appointment on Friday with the doctor's lined up to get things started so hopefully we can get this stuff all worked out. It's already been over a month since he had any therapies. It's time for another Botox treatment as well...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 1087 - May 21, 2011

My mom made it in to TX tonight. I think I am going to skip tonight and tomorrow night and just rest while she's here. I will be back on Monday night - hopefully feeling a whole heckuva lot better...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 1086 - May 20, 2011

Although I thought I was feeling better, it turns out that I'm not. I actually called my mom and she is coming for a few days to help me out with Kevin. I have been incredibly dizzy and I even went to the doctor's last night. He says something is 'wonky' with my ears and gave me a nose spray. I am assuming I just have a lot of fluid and need to 'dry out', but in the interim I feel even too dizzy and disoriented to drive.

So I didn't mention yesterday that Kevin got some surprise boxes in the mail. Our dear friend, Chalkie, sent Kevin some movies - about 200 of them!! Here's a video of Kevin opening the boxes:

I knew they were on the way, but I didn't mention it so that Chalkie could get to see his reaction. Kev was floored, to say the least, lol.

Thanks Chalkie - you made Kevin's year!! And send Carol our love too!

And to end this post, here is a photo of Kevin and Christian I took days ago - I think the day we came back from Pittsburgh.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 1085 - May 19, 2011

It was kinda a slow day today. Kevin and I skyped with some folks this afternoon and then I went up and scrapped a bit while Kevin watched some movies. We did go for a drive after dinner though,

Nothing else really happened so I am going to end here. We don't have any of Kevin's therapies lined up yet so we are just hanging out waiting...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 1084 - May 18, 2011

Kevin and Johnny went to see Avenged Sevenfold in concert tonight and from what I am gathering - they had a blast! I personally opted to pass on the event, lol.

So yesterday while Kevin and I were preparing dinner, Kevin broke out in dance mode. I captured some of it on video and here it is:

Hilarious, huh? LOL!

I also got a bit from our dear baby. He is just talking so much now:

And in other news, unbelievably - the Vet Center called me today and told me that they (with a little prodding from a wonderful friend) have decided that they can help me. I was quite shocked and am relieved to think that there might finally be some help in sight. Although I am feeling somewhat less stressed and depressed, I know that it's only temporary relief as I have yet to deal with all that has happened to us.

The gentleman did stress though that they will ONLY help me with issues dealing with Kevin. My response? "What else is there?"

So I guess we'll see.

I should also mention that the organization 'Give An Hour' had approached me today as well to help with therapy. I am going to go to both and decide which is a better fit with my personality and with the issues at hand.

Wish me luck!

And now I gotta go vote for my cutie grandson...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 1083 - May 17, 2011

We had a good day today. We stayed home and cleaned and Kevin helped me cook a big dinner and we had Breezy and Christian come over after work. Kevin even made fresh squeezed lemonade almost totally by himself. He also helped sweep and scrub some of the floors while I was cooking and working on the kitchen.

There really isn't much else to say, so I am going to just put some photos up of the kids and Christian. In this first one, Christian literally crawled over Kevin's face. It was so funny!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 1082 - May 16, 2011

Kevin had to have a root canal done today. Due to the grafts on his face and neck, they decided to sedate him so it was almost like having another surgery. They didn't think he'd be able to hold his mouth open for 2 or more hours and truthfully, he probably wouldn't have been able to.

He did really well for it and we were both so excited to see Kevin's old dentist, Dr. C, that actually was there visiting today after retiring on Jan 1. What a coincidence. You should have seen the look on Kev's face, lol.

Other than that, we had a really slow weekend. I am just tonight feeling much better and have been trying to clean house and do paperwork. Kevin is watching a movie (of course, lol), but tomorrow he's gonna have to help with some of the cleaning. This place is so dusty and dirty from us being gone so long.

And to end, I know this is Kevin's blog, but Breezy entered Christian in the "Cutest Kid in SA" contest and we would love it if some of you could vote. You can vote daily if you want to. Here's the link:

Christian's Picture

Really, he's just so dang cute anyway, right?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 1080 - May 14, 2011

We didn't do anything at all today so I am going to skip tonight. We don't have any plans for tomorrow either so I am just going to come back on Monday night.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 1079 - May 13, 2011

So yesterday Kevin and I drove up to ResCare and packed his things. Although I had asked before he went up there if his benefits would be affected (it makes sense) I was assured it wouldn't. Turns out it does and this just isn't a good time financially for a huge reduction in his benefits.

So we packed him up and brought him home. Here is a photo of him and the guys up there (some are patients and some are employees).

He doesn't seem to mind at all - matter of fact he wanted to come home - and is looking forward to seeing Johnny.

Other than that, not too much going on here. We only went out of the house once today and that was for groceries as the house was bare. I have apparently been hit with allergies and am miserable. I didn't realize that's what I had all this time, but after feeling fine in PA and then within a half hour of landing being miserable, I would guess it's that mountain cedar everyone is always talking about. Blah.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger was down

Blogger was down all night last night and I couldn't post. When it came up today, my last post from the other day is gone, but it wasn't an important one so it doesn't matter much. I will come back tonight and write.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 1077 - May 11, 2011

We made it back to TX, but to be honest - I am just too tired to write anything tonight. I'll catch y'all tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 1076 - May 10, 2011

Today we had a long doctor's appointment followed by a CT scan at the hospital. Kevin did really well with both and is cleared for travel back to TX tomorrow. We are sure going to miss everyone here though! What a great trip it's been!

And this evening my friends Diane and Mary Jo came down to Pittsburgh and took us to a Japanese Steak House and what an experience that was! I am so disappointed that I forgot my camera. It was just like in the movies where they cook the food right in front of you with flames everywhere. And who knew Kevin could superbly use chop stix? I didn't! When the heck did that happen? LOL!

So anyway, I am going to head upstairs to finish packing. The laundry is all done and we are ready to roll out. Miss Brianna also has distinct instructions to make sure that baby is in that van with her when she picks us up at the airport! Can't wait to see them both!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 1075 - May 9, 2011

Today Kevin and Ronnie spent the day running around Pittsburgh while I went and had a meeting with our attorney. I love that they had a great time and I love that someone took Kevin out and actually had fun with him. He just needs to be normal with his friends and I had hoped that that would happen more while we were here.

But alas, here is a photo of the two of them when Ronnie was getting ready to head home:

And then tonight we went out to dinner with some wonderful folks that we met here at The Family House. We have been hanging out with them for a good week and a half now and have eaten dinner together many times while staying at the house. This first photo is of Sharon and Opal while Sharon's man, Matt, took the picture.

And in this one is Matt, while I took the photo.

We had such a fun night and I am gonna miss these ladies when we go. So is Kevin as he keeps them just howling!

And yes, today I submitted my application for Caregiver's Benefits! I had trouble, but inadvertently managed to find a way to get it done.

I just can't wait to go to the doctors, which is the very first thing I intend to do if/when they get approved...

Day 1074 - May 8, 2011

We had another great day today! We mostly putzed around through the day but then we went back to Brady to have dinner with a bunch of our friends, knowing we won't be back until July.

On our way though, we picked Ronnie up as he was in Pittsburgh at drill (he's a marine reservist). So we took him with us and he is now back here spending the night at the Family House with Kevin. I am so glad because not too many of Kevin's friends have visited him. We waited all day Monday for one of them to come and again all day Tuesday and none of them showed up either. Kevin was very upset, but Ronnie is working his true friend magic and fixing it all.

And thanks for the flowers, Ronnie!!!!

So anyway, here are some photos of today. This first one is of a friend of the family, Louise (middle) and sadly, I don't remember the other woman's name as I just met her today. Sorry.

And here's Moe's family. Notice anything different?

And this is our friend, Barry:

And Ronnie's family:

Me and my friend, Libby:

Here's Libby again with her son, my good buddy, Levi:

And even my nephew Anthony popped down for a visit:

And here's Kevin with Levi again:

And here's what's different in the photo above...Moe got her haircut!! She hasn't changed her hair in the 17 years I've known her! Aflippinmazing! Love it!!

And that about finishes our day out. I hope everyone had a great day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 1073 - May 7, 2011

Phew! What a fantastic few days we had! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to get Kevin and Chalkie together as they mean so much to each other. I know that sounds cryptic, but it's a personal relationship between the two of them and I am so happy that they were able to finally meet. Kevin was just ecstatic when I told him that I worked it out to drive him to NY to see Chalkie and his wife.

And Chalkie? Kevin is totally speaking with a British accent now, lol. He loves you guys! As do I!

So then we headed to Bern's and that, I admit, was totally for me. Kevin benefited, otherwise I would have never stopped on the way back to Pittsburgh because he would have been miserable, but let me tell you - he had so much fun! And it was just so wonderful to see everyone and drive past my old house and see how everything has changed.

So here are a bunch of pics. The first one is me and Bern (I will name everyone when it's someone new):

This one is of Kevin, Bern's husband, Bob, and their daughter, Ronnie:

This one is from yesterday. We just didn't want to leave so we stayed throughout the day and left a little after midnight last night. The woman poking her head around Kevin is Bern's sister, Nat,

And this is Nat's husband, Chris:

I think it's pretty obvious we had a blast!

So today we stopped in Indiana on our way home from Philly/NJ and met up with Kevin's Grandma K and his uncle John and aunt Julie. John's buddy was also there. Here is a photo:

A big 'shout out' to Bob's Pizza for the free pizza and cinnamon rolls! Kevin and I were discussing their pizza when we went to dinner a couple of weeks ago with John and since John lives near them we all met there. They appreciated Kevin's service and offered him free food! Total yum!

And now we are back in Pittsburgh, but only for a few days. We head back to TX on Wed and are wrapping up our wonderful visit home.

And to sign off - I hope all the mothers out there have a fantastic Mother's Day!!

Day 1072 - May 6, 2011

I hate to do this again, but I am going to skip tonight. We have been driving all night and we just stopped to get some rest. All those hotel points are sure coming in handy, huh?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 1071 - May 5, 2011

I am going to skip tonight as the Internet is down at the hotel we are at in New Jersey. But, I will say this - we had a most excellent night with Bernice and her family! And I got lots of pics but we'll have to view them tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Day 1070 - May 4, 2011

We had such a good night tonight with our friends! We grabbed an official NYC pizza (cause we all know Kevin can eat pizza every night and even still...there's nothing like real NY pizza!) and came back to our hotel room and gabbed all night long. It was just so wonderful and Kevin kept right up with everything.

So anyway, here is a photo of Kevin with Chalkie and Carol:

Honestly - this was so worth the drive! These are some wonderful people!

And tomorrow we are leaving NYC, but we are heading to the Philly/NJ region to see my other best friend, Bernice! I met her the first day of 7th grade and we have been friends ever since. I haven't seen her in like 10 years so this will be a fantastic stop for me - and Kevin too as her son is the same age as Kevin.

And I must say I am proud of myself for really driving into NYC. I was a little nervous this time as Kevin can't really be a co-pilot and when we came last time both Breezy and Kevin could help (we came here for a family vacation right before Kevin left for basic training), but I did it. And it was actually pretty easy. I think if you can drive in San Antonio - you can probably drive anywhere. It's the scariest place I have ever driven!

And that sums it up for today. So glad we came - Kevin had a great night and so did I!

Day 1069 - May 3, 2011

Kevin and I are taking a little road trip for a few days! We are on our way to NYC and have stopped in a little town just shy of the New Jersey border for the night. We have a couple of friends in NY that we are on our way to visit and we are both very excited to see them! Kevin has been practicing saying their names and I so hope he gets it right for them tomorrow.

So today we went to visit our good friend Mike at the Post Gazette. We actually went to his office and got a tour of what a newspaper facility looks like and a short rundown of how it all works. It was pretty cool. Dear Rebecca is on vacation so we didn't get to see her, but we are hoping she comes back before we leave to go back to TX next Wed. And here is a photo of Mike and Kevin:

And sadly, we notice that some of the fat is starting to reabsorb from Kevin's head. I hope it stops soon - we don't want anymore to go away. We did know that some would, but we were hoping it wouldn't happen for us. Time will tell, I guess. No matter what - he still looks great to me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Day 1068 - May 2, 2011

Today was a very busy day for us. I did a quick phone quote late last night for the Post Gazette about Bin Laden and then I did a phone interview for WTOP in Washington DC this morning. This evening, channel 11 News (WPXI) came and did an in-depth interview with Kevin and myself. You can watch that video here:

WPXI Interview

And here is the article from the Post Gazette:

PPG Article

It's really still just unbelievable that this has happened and I wouldn't have thought that anyone would contact Kevin about it. I'm glad they did though, because he enjoys the spotlight, lol.

So after they left, we went to a late dinner with two other folks here at The Family House. Opal and Sharon kept Kevin entertained all night and he genuinely had a blast with them. What great people!

And now Kevin is waiting for a pizza to arrive. He's hungry, but let me tell you - it's not easy finding a place still open at 12:40 am! I did it though - anything for my baby.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 1067 - May 1, 2011

Obviously everyone knows by now that Osama Bin Laden has been killed. I wish I knew what to feel. I have so many emotions going through my head and my heart - elation and fear being the top two. I don't think I am even going to talk about this subject, to be honest. Not tonight anyway.

So here are some photos from yesterday. These first two are of my friend Cathy (from work). She is the same Cathy that took me and Breezy to the airport way back when we were first going to BAMC. She also took me home from work the day we found out about Kevin. Love you, Cathy!

This one is of my dear Lorraine, her husband Rick and her son-in-law, David. No Howie the duck though.

This is a blog reader named Heather and her family and friends. Hi Heather! So glad you could make it down!

Here is my friend Karen, her husband Mark and their son, Jared.

And I'm sure you all recognize Ronnie, lol. This is his family (except his mom - sorry you couldn't make it, Lori!). Doesn't Kevin look like he belongs to this family? And you can sure tell Kevin loves all of them!

This is my brother, Matt. This was the only non joking pic of them, lol.

And Kevin's friend, Chad. Kevin actually made me drive to Chad's house last week and knock on the door even though I had no idea who lived there. He also took me to his friend Wayne's and I asked Wayne's dad who lived down the road, lol. Sorry the photo is a little blurry.

Here's Kev dancing up a storm! He was with this group of young attractive girls all night long, lol.

And in a million years - I never thought I'd see my son line dancing, lol! And he kept up!! (notice he's the only guy brave enough to do it, hehe)

And of course, Kevin and Moe!

Kevin had such a blast! I don't think he sat down at all from 8pm-2am. He rocked that place and flirted like there was no tomorrow! Go Kevin!