Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 1125 - Jun 29, 2011

Today we had the home inspection. I had been told that 4 people were coming (?!!), but only 2 showed up. The two that did come were really great people and the visit went very well. It lasted about 2 hours with them going back over everything we learned in the manual that I had to read and then they just asked both Kevin and myself a ton of questions. I was happy to hear her say that she didn't need to go over the house with a fine tooth comb because she could see it was clean and taken care of. Phew! My hard work paid off, lol.

I was also very happy to hear the clinical health lady say that she is planning to talk to the doctor because she can't believe I am in the part-time tier. Yay! Let's just hope it makes a difference! It will save me a whole lot of work in appeals.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Day 1125 - Jun 28, 2011

Today Kevin and I had to run down to Ft Sam and discuss his CRSC (combat pay or something like that). It turns out he wasn't really in the Army long enough to be able to qualify. Well, that's not quite true - he would qualify, but it won't make a difference so we decided to just shelve the issue for now.

After that we went to the PX store so Kevin could look at the new movie releases as it is Tuesday and then we hightailed it home.

Tomorrow is my home inspection for the caregiver's bill so I've been cleaning and organizing all night. Honestly, I think I'm going to just go watch some tv. I need some down time and some salt - popcorn is in order, lol.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 1124 - Jun 27, 2011

This morning I dealt with a pile of phone calls and then we ran some errands this afternoon. Kevin and I were planning to go to the Humor for Heroes comedy show tonight, but I was just too tired and had too much paperwork to do to skip out for that length of time. I called Breezy and asked her to take her brother to the show and I decided to watch Christian (thinking he might sleep for a bit and I could get things done), but it didn't work out as planned.

That poor little boy is just miserable and won't sit or lay down hardly at all. Breezy took him back to the docs today and neither one of us were fond of his remark that she's just worrying because she's a new mom. Christian can barely breathe so I think she is planning to find another pediatrician.

So the kids did have a great time at the show. Kevin had more fun this time than he did the last time he went, which I believe was last November. I was glad he got to go out with his sister too - they rarely do that anymore.

And that's about it for today so I'll just sign off now...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 1123 - Jun 26, 2011

Today we went to dinner for my birthday. Breezy, Chris and Christian came as did Kendra, Anthony and Kendra's brother, Troy. We had a good time and we are hoping to do it more often. Here are a couple of photos:

Kevin also had another visitor today. Her name is Ann and she was just assigned to the 173rd. She drove down for the reunion today and had to head back to Houston to report for duty. Here's a pic of her and Kev:

So going backward, Thursday was crazy busy as well. We had an appt with the Bioness rep to get Kevin fixed up with his new leg brace. We were with her about an hour and she wasn't able to get it to work the way the last person could. When Kevin was in the gait lab a while back he was able to walk almost like nothing had ever happened. This time he was hyper-extending and when we came home and he went to wear it the first day he said it was too painful and has refused to wear it again. I will be calling the doc about it tomorrow.

We followed that with a speech therapy evaluation. I can't even begin to tell you how impressed I was with this. Kevin knew pretty much everything he was asked. He couldn't come up with the word "flag" when pointing to items in a picture and having to name them, but he rocked the whole session otherwise. Matter of fact, amazingly enough - Kevin even SAID his address (although he didn't have all of the house numbers right the first time)! I was shocked. I had not taught him this. I can only assume he has heard me say this so many times on the phone when having nurses, therapists, etc come to our home.

Next on our agenda was OT. Not much was really said there, but the therapist is thinking about changing Kevin's arm and hand braces. Unfortunately, due to her schedule and ours, we can't fit in any therapy for about a month.

After we were all done at the hospital, we hightailed it downtown to the Hilton to meet up with Butch and other members of the 173rd. We had a really great time and it was wonderful to see how Kevin reacted to everyone.

While we were there though, Breezy called and the baby was running a fever. She wanted us to go with her to the hospital so we left the reunion and ran to the hospital. Christian still feels a bit sick and Breezy may end up taking him back to the docs tomorrow.

We finally got home and by then I was so tired I went to bed by like 2am - very early for me. Breezy brought Christian over at 7:30ish the next morning and I ended up having to hold him all day long - like 8 hours. As I mentioned the other day, when Breezy got home from work I hurried and took a shower and then Kevin and I went back downtown for the BBQ at the reunion. Kendra, Anthony and Troy met us there and we all sat and ate together. It was another great evening and I am so glad that Butch let us know about it.

And to wrap this up, here are a couple of photos from the BBQ. I forgot my camera card for my camera so I had to use my phone so they aren't the best quality:

Notice the bookbag on the back of Kevin's wheelchair? How nice it is not to have major poundage hanging on my arm!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 1121 - Jun 24, 2011

I hate to do this again but I'm skipping tonight. Christian got here at about 7:30/8:00 this morning and he was so sick that he wanted held upright the whole day (meaning when I sat down he screamed). So I stood mostly until 4pm and then hurried to get a shower and take Kevin to the 173rd reunion.

I am so tired. Honestly, I think I will just come back on Sunday night. We have another busy day planned again tomorrow...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 1120 - Jun 23, 2011

I can't honestly believe how hectic the last couple of days have been. Yesterday morning we first went to BAMC to see the doctor about getting another Botox treatment done in Kevin's arm. After that, we went to visit everyone on 4E and then we had to leave that hospital, grab lunch and head across town to a low vision clinic near the VA hospital.

The clinic that we were sent to was the one that is going to try to help Kevin get some of his vision back. I really liked this doctor because she is realistic, while still understanding that anything is possible. She did tell us that it has never been done that someone gets their vision back after the optic nerves have been damaged like Kevin's were. BUT - she did say that that doesn't mean it never WILL happen.

She has decided to set Kevin up in some therapies to see if we can at least get a small amount of his lost vision field back and she said we would know within a few weeks if it was going to help or not. I liked hearing that because I don't want to waste time on something that is not going to make a change.

Really - this doctor was quite awesome.

After that, we stopped at the grocery store because Breezy and Christian were coming for dinner and I needed a few fixings. We made it home, I threw dinner in the oven and they showed up with a totally awesome birthday gift in tow. I am not much of a purse/shoe person, but I saw this handbag at a store outside the PX store and fell in love with it. Being the cheap person that I am, I didn't really understand what Coach was all about. I sure didn't understand their pricing structure, lol. Obviously, when I looked at the price I ran right outta there and that was that.

My two loving children went back though and got that bag for me for my birthday. Here is a pic of it. My first (and probably last) designer handbag, lol:

Truly - is that thing not gorgeous? And I already told Kevin he had to start carrying his own stuff because I am not ripping the handles off of this one due to the weight (something that happens all the time because my purse is so heavy!)

So then Breezy left kinda late and I got a phone call from the wife of a veteran that I met recently. Her husband has severe PTSD and he woke up the other day with no memory of her or their children. She is rightfully upset because the VA doc told him to just quit taking his sleep medication and sent him home. She is just beside herself with worry and I don't blame her. He still doesn't remember anything and she has to wait a couple more weeks until his normal appt at the VA. It's just so sad.

And to begin wrapping this post up, here are a couple of pics of the family:

Now today was even busier! I will talk about the appts we had tomorrow night, but I did want to say that Kev and I went to the 173rd reunion for a short while. Here are some pics:

The bottom one is Butch! He's been reading the blog for a long time and he is also the person that let me know about the reunion. Great people - he and his wife! As are everyone else we met, really. Kevin was treated like royalty and he hammed it up for everyone, lol!

Unfortunately though, we ended the night with a trip to the ER for Christian. He was running a temp of almost 104 and it turns out he has an ear infection. The poor guy is just so sick and cranky. Breezy can't get off work tomorrow so he will be coming in just a few short hours for me to watch all day so I better try to get to bed. She is leaving work early though because we are going to the 173rd BBQ. Can't wait - and neither can Kevin! He's already packed his challenge coins to show everyone...

Day 1119 - Jun 22, 2011

We had such a hectic day today. Truthfully, I would love to tell you about it, but I just don't have the energy. I think I am just going to skip tonight and will fill you in tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 1118 - Jun 21, 2011

Unfortunately, the rock wall climbing didn't go as we had hoped it would. I have to give Kevin an A for effort, but the adaptive part of it was set up for wheelchair bound veterans with both arms. Kevin only has one arm and only one really good leg, so he just couldn't make it up the wall. He tried his darndest to do it though. The people that own the company are planning to come up with some adaptive devices for people like Kevin and did promise to call us when it happened.

In the meantime though, here are some pics of Kevin trying. He did make it up about 3 feet (with a few of us holding/pushing him, truth be told) and that really is something in his situation.

I have to give credit to Kevin also for not getting mad or disgusted or any other negative emotion when he realized he wasn't going to be able to do it. He just accepted it and we left for the long drive home. (this place was in Ft Hood). He says he's not sure he'll go back, but I will try to get him to if they come up with a way for him to propel up the wall.

And can you believe it's raining here? YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!! We are under stage 3 water restrictions - not fun!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 1116 - Jun 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

I am going to skip tonight as we are trying to organize and pack for our rock wall climbing excursion tomorrow (that's assuming we have a wheelchair to be able to go). We are staying in a hotel tomorrow night as it's close to 3 hours away and then Kev will be climbing the next day so I think I am just going to skip tomorrow night too. I will catch y'all on Tuesday night - hopefully with some awesome photos!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 1115 - Jun 18, 2011

Today Kevin and I decided to go to a small festival in a neighboring town. We don't have Kevin's scooter so we took the wheelchair and set off. It was pretty hot here (105 degrees), but we still went and we managed to find a parking spot relatively close. When we got to the area of the festival, we found out it was on dirt and not concrete. Kev's wheelchair really doesn't go well on the dirt and we struggled pretty badly. At one point he wheeled away from me while I was standing in line for lemonade and when I went to find him I caught sight of a man trying to push him because Kevin was stuck. Kev was starting to get frustrated so we decided to take a walk down the street and scope out the town.

Unfortunately, while we were walking the front wheel of Kevin's chair busted in half. Just like that. This meant that his chair wouldn't go any further and we were quite a distance from the car. I had no choice but to leave Kevin at the side of the road while I ran and got it. He was so mad by the time I got back that he demanded we go right home.

I tried real hard to make him laugh about it, but he wasn't having it. I guess I don't blame him. It gets real tiring having to deal with issue after issue. He's seeing a lot more now of what is going on all the time because he's so much better than he was a while back and I suppose he's frustrated too. I haven't even told him that we still don't have a hotel room for the rock wall climbing event on Monday. Their computers crashed and for the last two days they have told me to call back on Monday. When I tell them we will be arriving Monday, they just tell me 'I'm sorry'. He's going to be real disappointed if we can't go.

Ack. Oh well. I'm not going to worry about it until Monday morning (yeah right).

That's pretty much it for today. I do need to ask a personal request from Tim - please email me your phone number. We have been getting numerous and repeated phone calls for you for the last few months. I would like to send them your way so that they stop calling our house.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 1114 - Jun 17, 2011

We had a good day today. We first had an appointment with the podiatrist at the VA hospital at 8:30 this morning. That meant that I haven't went to sleep yet. But anyway, Kevin had two ingrown toenails - one of them pretty bad. The doctor cut quite a bit of his toenail off on his big toe and just a corner of a middle toe and he thinks that should take care of the infection. Kevin's big toe is usually twice the size it should be and has been on and off for a year or so. I have been using peroxide to help it heal, but this was a necessary treatment.

We are hoping this is a one time thing, but due to the hemi-paresis it could keep happening.

After that, Kevin and I did some errands at the VA hospital and then he stayed there at rec therapy for a full 5 hours! They shoot air rifles every Friday and the therapist couldn't believe that Kevin was able to hit the bulls eye with a pistol on the first shot and all subsequent shots were in the same vicinity. With loss of half his vision, no less!

He wasn't able to do as well with the rifle, but that makes sense as he only has one arm.

I guess after that he and the therapist went to lunch in the cafeteria and shopping at the store at the hospital and then they played on the Wii.

I think it was Lisa D in Cali that mentioned the Tony Hawk Shred Game a while back? Well, I told the VA about it and they got it for him the other day. He had a blast with it! At this point, he holds onto the therapist for balance, but he was able to jump often at the correct times to ride the rails (or whatever the term is). He honestly had so much fun with it! Thanks so much, Lisa!

After that, we babysat Christian as Breezy had a work event this evening. We waited until dark and then we loaded the baby into one of those little umbrella strollers and the three of us went for a long walk around the development. Kevin pushed the stroller and he did very well. Christian adores being outside and it was the only time he wasn't fussing as he is teething right now.

Oh, and I dropped the scooter off too. There is a known battery issue with it so hopefully it gets fixed soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 1113 - Jun 16, 2011

I spent the bulk of the day on the phone and dealing with emails today. The doctor did come back and say the vitamins could be the problem with the nausea so I decided to cut them out of his daily medications.

We also did have the home health nurse come today. She comes once a month and I am happy to say Kevin's blood pressure was normal. Last month it was a little high and it had been the previous time as well. It wasn't high enough to worry about, but it was still a little niggle in the back of my mind. All's well this month though.

And tomorrow we have multiple appointments at the VA hospital so I am going to take the scooter with us and see about getting it fixed. I hope it can happen quickly because I had hoped to go to a neighboring town's festival this weekend. We won't be able to go without it so keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day 1112 - Jun 15, 2011

Kevin was supposed to go bowling this morning, but he was not getting up for nothing, lol. Truthfully, he has been really nauseous lately (which is just tiring him out) and I am wondering if it's from the vitamins the doctor put him on recently. I popped her an email a while ago so we'll see what she has to say.

And today I went to another Vet Center appointment. I really do like this woman and she was even able to get me in again in less than 2 weeks. I still haven't had time to contact anyone at Give An Hour - I really need to do that.

I did have to take Kevin with me and he just sat in the waiting room and played Angry Birds. He did really well - didn't call me once. I think part of the reason that I haven't contacted Give An Hour is that there is no way I am going to get Kevin to sit in a waiting room on a regular basis. There's really nothing else I can do with him so it may have to wait until I can figure something out.

And after that we hung out with Breezy for a bit and then we came home and retreated to our separate spaces. I got all of my caregiver classes completed and am emailing the test tonight. Not sure if I mentioned that we had to read a huge book and take a test to be eligible to be a VA approved caregiver. What a HUGE waste of taxpayers' money. I can safely say that I think we all know that we need to wash our hands, take breaks (there was no real reference as to HOW we are supposed to take breaks without any real help) and watch less tv so that we can stay healthy. Thank you, VA - for wasting my time.

And let me jump in here and say that I think it's great that the VA realizes that folks like me can't continue to do this for free forever. I do appreciate the caregiver's bill - I really do. BUT...

Now I have to wait and have a home visit. I guess since there's a few hundred bucks a month on the table, the VA now has to monitor us caregivers and make sure we are taking care of the veteran. I think that's funny because nobody has cared over the last three years if I was doing a good job, but I guess now that there's money involved - someone will come to our home every 90 days. I guess they also felt the need to hire hundreds more people to monitor something some folks have been doing for up to 10 years already.

Well, bring it on, I say. There's no doubt the kid is taken care of, which will be part of my appeal process. The VA feels I am only a part-time caregiver. I was told yesterday that I will get paid for 10-25 hours a week and that's it. Apparently it doesn't matter that Kevin needs 24 hour supervision - according to their doctor!

The way I look at it the VA can't have it both ways. They can't tell me that I have to stay home with Kevin 24 hours a day because he needs supervised and then tell me that they are only paying for part time help. Don't get me wrong - I don't expect to be paid for every hour of the day, but I do expect to be paid the 40 hours that is being paid to the folks that all have nurses at least 9 hours every single day. After all - it really isn't my responsibility to watch him - it's theirs. And sure, they can put him in a home or in some adult day care, but believe me, that will cost a heckuva lot more than paying me 40 hours a week. I know what ResCare cost and it is 16 TIMES what they intend to pay me on a monthly basis.

I just don't think they are looking at it correctly. It's about time. It's about the time that must be spent watching or caring for the veteran. The time that someone like me can't leave her house without the veteran to get a job or run errands. It doesn't matter if Kevin can shower and mostly dress himself. He still can't be left alone. He still can't cook. He still can't call someone for help. He still can't set up his appointments. He still can't drive himself to his numerous therapies. He still can't order his medications. He still can't figure out that there is more to cleaning his house than putting the dishes in the sink. He still can't tie his shoes. He still can't do his laundry. And he definitely can't speak enough to fight the battles that I fight every single day for him.

Frankly, I could go on and on about the things he can't do, but what's the sense, right? They are choosing not to see the negatives when it suits them, but believe me when I say they have no problem shoving the negatives down my throat on a daily basis. Arrgh!! This just irritates the heck out of me!

I am just so tired of having to fight every single thing...but don't you worry - I WILL! Kevin deserves it!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 1111 - Jun 14, 2011

Our little guy went home tonight. Breezy is feeling much better and even made it to work today. Christian, Kevin and I had a good time, but I definitely intend to sleep tonight. He's just not on Kevin's schedule, lol.

I didn't really do much today (other than babysit). Kevin, Johnny and Ness went running around and then came back for dinner.

Kevin and I did watch the movie Gnomeo & Juliet tonight. That was cute and hilarious really if you are my age. The double-entendres (sp) kept me howling. Most were said too fast for Kevin to catch, so I did have to keep pausing it and repeating what was said.

That's pretty much it so I think I'll sign off and get to bed. We have to be up early tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 1110 - Jun 13, 2011

Kevin and I are babysitting Christian all night tonight. Breezy and Chris are both very sick and although Breezy handled it throughout most of the day, she just couldn't go any more. So we ran over and picked him up and are keeping him overnight for the first time. Yikes!

And sadly for me, the baby is 5 months old today and I have never had to change a poopy diaper until tonight. Yuck! Breezy always told me that I was the grandma and I should and my response is that I'm the grandma and I shouldn't - that's the momma's job, lol. Grandmas are all about the fun, right? But alas, it all came to an end tonight.

Kevin laughed, but I told him he had to do it the next time. I think I'll make him, lol.

And Kevin himself was actually pretty sick all morning. He was to have his first OT and Speech therapy appts today and I had to cancel them because he was vomiting too. Luckily he felt better later in the afternoon and he's doing just fine now.

That about sums up our day so I am going to try to get some sleep before the baby wakes up.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 1109 - Jun 12, 2011

I am going to skip tonight as I'm pretty tired. It's been a long weekend...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 1108 - Jun 11, 2011

Today was a pretty rough day. It started out ok as we were going to go to the Texas Folklife Festival. We had plans - Breezy, Chris and Christian were going and I invited Kendra and Anthony too (from Kevin's unit).

Well, we were really looking forward to it and when we went to load the scooter into the car - it wouldn't work. It was fully charged, but it just wouldn't go. I researched online how to fix it; I tore it apart a couple of times, reset the master switch, played with levers and buttons - all to no avail.

Unfortunately - this all just ticked Kevin off big time.

After this - he flat out refused to go and that was that. I told him it was no big deal and that I would push him in his wheelchair (although that would have been hard in that environment, but I was willing to do it), but he would not budge from his room.

So we didn't go. Once again - we sat home while others still went and enjoyed themselves. Don't get me wrong - I'm glad they all went and had a good time, but damnit! I am getting real tired of MY life passing me by.

Honestly, I would be real patient with this if I thought it was the brain injury - but I don't. I think it's just Kevin being a spoiled little brat. When he doesn't get his way, he sometimes acts like he's four years old and frankly, I am getting very frustrated with it. Haven't I already done this once?!!

Well, I guess it is what it is and I just need to find a solution somehow. Maybe I should watch that Super Nanny show, but somehow I can't see 5 foot Leslie forcing 6 foot Kevin into a naughty chair. And I sure can't send him to his room cause he's love that!

Ideas anyone?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 1107 - Jun 10, 2011

I spent pretty much the whole day on the phone today dealing with multiple issues (close to 8 hours total). Kevin did really well allowing me to, but he knew what all I was dealing with and just kept sending me away after I did whatever he called me for. Such a difference from a year ago when he would never have allowed me on the phone like that.

He did tell me he wanted club sandwiches for dinner tonight and he jokingly told me we needed to fly to Pittsburgh and go to Dingbats restaurant. I told him that would be a pretty expensive meal and he informed me that the Army would pay for it. I burst out laughing - as he did too. Where he comes up with this stuff I'll never know.

Other than that we didn't do much today. We did watch a movie tonight - we have actually been watching one a night for the last week or so. At least he's been coming out of his room to do it.

And before I sign off - Wife of a Wounded Soldier - no, I will not be attending the writing conference next weekend. It appears that the WWP forgot about me and when I contacted them the other day to ask for the details they mentioned that all 40 slots were quickly filled. She could clearly hear the disappointment in my voice and told me she would try to fit me in, but I told her not to bother. She did mention a mother's retreat in the fall, but I don't think I'll hold my breath...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 1106 - Jun 9, 2011

We had a pretty easy day today so I am going to skip again. We just haven't done anything worth mentioning for the last couple of days.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 1105 - Jun 8, 2011

I am going to skip tonight. I am very tired - for some reason I haven't been sleeping at all the last couple of weeks. It's like 10am when I finally drift off for an hour or so and it's catching up to me. Gonna try to get to sleep somehow tonight.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 1104 - Jun 7, 2011

We had a really good day today. First, Kevin did end up having fun at the VA hospital. When I went back to pick him up he was bowling on the Wii with a couple of guys and he really was enjoying himself. I had been told they played tennis on the Wii too and I am so happy.

I am also happy to report that Kevin is going to go 'real' bowling next Wednesday with the group. AND we are going on an overnight trip up north to go rock wall climbing later this month. Awesome, eh?

So far. So good.

After we came back from the VA, we got a couple of visitors that served with Kevin in his unit. It was great to hear stories about Kevin while he was in Germany and I can tell you Kevin was just so happy to have friends over. Matter of fact - here is a pic. Look at the sparkle in his eyes:

I can honestly say that both Kendra and Anthony are welcome anytime. They were both such wonderful people and I sure hope we see a lot more of them!

And while they were here, Breezy and Christian also came over for dinner tonight. It was a full table, I tell ya'! Sadly though, our poor little guy is sick. Breezy took him to the docs this afternoon as he was running a temp and he is just so congested. The doc didn't really have anything to say so I am assuming it's what I had a while back and Chris had it a couple weeks after me too.

But, I did grab just a couple of pics of him playing in his new bouncy seat. Kevin LOVES the baby aisle at Walmart and yesterday he got the baby this and some other little toys:

I sure hope he feels better soon. And I sure hope Kevin continues to be open minded about trying new things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 1103 - Jun 6, 2011

Today Kevin had his appt with the rec therapist, but it didn't go as well as I had hoped. Kevin gave off the impression that he didn't want to be there and didn't want to do anything. Frankly, it made me mad.

I told him that if he were 82 I would let it go that all he wants to do is stay in his room and watch movies, but at 22 - it's ridiculous. He should want to be up and running around, but he just doesn't want to try new things and keep busy. I typically have to manipulate him into doing things and it's getting tiresome. But if I leave him just lie in bed all the time he could become suicidal again and I hope to never revisit that time in our lives (and I know I never brought that part of our lives to the blog - it was just too painful at the time to throw out to the public).

So we had a long talk on the way home and I am hoping it helps. He is going back tomorrow and I am going to just drop him off at the hospital and we'll see what happens. Jose (the therapist) thinks he may be able to get through to Kevin and I can only hope. There is talk of a rock wall climbing excursion later this month and I am hoping Kevin will play along for that one.

Wish us luck!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 1102 - Jun 5, 2011

Today was a pretty good day. Johnnie and Nessa took Kevin and the three of them went to a Roller Derby match here in SA. It's always hard to find things that Kevin would be interested in, but I thought he might like this. He didn't though, at least not enough to stay for the whole thing. I guess a very large man sat in front of him though and he couldn't see. Partner that with the fact that if you sat in the seats you couldn't drink or eat and he wasn't happy (Kev pretty much is always drinking something and I'm told it's due to the burns).

I scrapped all evening - which is always a good time for me. I rarely get to listen to the radio so I was nice to tune it and jam out while playing with paper and glue.

So I just went down to see if Kev wanted to watch a movie (and he does) and found him with the furniture moved in his room. He apparently wanted to scrub under the bed? Don't ask me - he thinks up the weirdest stuff at the weirdest times. Let him scrub though, if that's what he wants to do, lol.

But anyway, off to watch the movie...

Day 1101 - Jun 4, 2011

Today Kevin and I babysat our little guy Christian. It was a pretty nice evening so we took a blanket outside and Christian just played and played - for about 3 hours! Kevin sat out there with us for a long time, but he eventually got too warm and went back inside.

Anyway, nothing else much happened, but I took a few photos and here they are:

Notice big guy in big green stripes and little guy in little green stripes, lol.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day 1100 - Jun 3, 2011

Today Mary (our wonderful FRC) egged on the recreational therapist at the VA to set up an appt with us to help get Kevin reintegrated into life. WOW - am I excited about this! I talked to the gentleman for a while on the phone today and we set up an appt for Monday afternoon. At this appointment, he will get to know Kevin and his interests.

He did tell me that there are a couple of guys that have the same hemiparesis as Kevin and that he would try to see if they will come into the hospital on Monday as well. He also said these guys get together and go bowling, biking, skiing and they take part in all kinds of other events. He even mentioned a surfing excursion in San Diego in Sept and after talking about it with Kevin, he is willing to give surfing a try. YAY! This is the kind of stuff I want Kevin doing - just living life like he would have if he hadn't been injured.

And I want to thank Heather for the horseback riding options. I looked them both over today and already mentioned it to the rec therapist. We are going to discuss it more on Monday as well.

That's pretty much it for today so I'll catch ya tomorrow.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 1099 - Jun 2, 2011

Today Johnny, his girlfriend Nessa, Kevin and I all went to the McNay Art Museum. We got to see most of it, but will have to go back for another wing of the house that we were just too tired to get to. It was really a great evening for all of us.

I did grab just a few pics in the courtyard and here they are:

I'm sure you can all figure out which is my favorite, lol.

And this morning I called Team Red, White & Blue, which is an organization that Tracey from Pittsburgh turned me on to (Thanks Tracey!!). From what I am seeing, they find companionship for those that are wounded that become isolated due to their injuries. I talked to the founder for quite a while and although they aren't set up in SA yet, they are going to figure something out and get back to me within a few days. I really liked their attitude and I hope this all comes to fruition. I am determined to get Kevin away from the TV so much!

I think I have him agreeing to therapeutic horseback riding lessons and now I just need to figure out where to go to for something like that. It's Texas - so surely they have something out there know...cowboys and all that, lol...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 1098 - Jun 1, 2011

So yesterday Kevin and I had a good day. We went to BAMC and spent hours at the place where it all started stateside three years ago. We visited the burn clinic and neurosurgery to show them how great Kevin's head looks since having the fat graft done.

We then had a late lunch in the dining facility and followed that with a visit to 4East - the burn ward. We just love everyone up there and had a great visit.

We left the hospital at rush hour so we decided to hit the PX store on base and waste some time. Kevin has lost some weight lately (and the liposuction helped some) so he picked up some new jeans and a few other little things. I have to admit to being surprised. Kevin NEVER wears clothes that aren't from either Pac Sun, Hot Topic or CCS.

After that, I surprised Kevin with a massage appointment. He had never had one and I thought he might like the feeling. Of course, he wanted to listen to Atreyu while it was going on, but I talked him into going with the full experience (relaxing music) and he played along. When we left I asked him how his body felt and said he didn't really see a difference. I don't know if it's because he wouldn't really know what the difference would be or if it's because he doesn't have much feeling in the right side of his body. I guess there's no way I'll ever know, but I am aware of the fact that massage is good for both his burns and for the weakened muscles.

I was determined to not allow yesterday to be a bad day. Yes, I had my moments, but mostly I kept it all upbeat and tried to make Kevin's day enjoyable.

We really are lucky and I'm back to feeling it!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 1097 - May 31, 2011

Three years. In one sense it's hard to believe it's been that long since Breezy came to my work to tell me of Kevin being wounded. In another sense, it seems like a lifetime has passed. Do I say this every year? I feel it every year. Every day really...

But anyway, it was a rough weekend, but some good came of me doing the slideshow and of me watching it at least a hundred times. When I first started pulling up these photos of Kevin before he left for the Army and even while he was enlisted, I just couldn't get past what we lost.

The fact that Kevin can't do the things that he once loved doing breaks my heart. The fact that he may never meet a woman that can get past the reality that he can't verbalize his feelings, wants, needs and desires really breaks my heart. The fact that he has one person that spends time with him (and let's face it - Johnnie gets paid to do it) is also heart wrenching. I know how lonely I feel - I can only imagine how it feels for a 22 year old. There are just SO MANY negatives to what Kevin lives now that it's no wonder I just need to cry for him sometimes.

Then we hit the photos of the actual attack. Gosh. I NEVER look at those photos. I had been told a few weeks after the attack that Kevin had been blown 35 feet into the air, his helmet blew off, he was on fire, he went over a billboard and landed on his head. In the second photo, there is a billboard at the top right of the photo. I always envision - every time I see that photo and soooo many other times - Kevin hurtling through the air in flames. That vision has haunted me so often for three years now. (And honestly - if someone out there is 'in the know' - please don't tell me. It's better sometimes to not know everything).

And then we see the horrible disfigurement. There is nothing anyone can say to change the horrors and fears that ran through my body at that time. The not knowing was gut wrenching and I hope I never have to have those feelings again.

And then there's the pain and suffering etched on Kevin's face during some of the moments when it just hurt to get to his feet, to sit up or to take a single step. All of the puking that went on due to the fluid fluctuating in his's hard to see your children suffer like that. Did I have time to deal with it then though? NO. When Kev was hurting, I had to be the person telling him to not give up. To push harder. To manipulate him into raising his head high and to force him to 'wipe the sweat and drive on'. Yes, I sometimes turned my head to hide a tear or two, but they had to be quickly wiped so Kevin wouldn't see them.

Then we had a few good days. And many more bad. Then some good. Then some bad. And this went on for so damn long that I lost hope of ever reaching a plateau. Something that I so badly needed just so I could take a breathe and say "I can deal with this". There just didn't ever seem to be a time when I knew it would be the same the next day.

But we finally did make it to that point - last August when the plate was put in the second time. Things have been much calmer medically - we tend to schedule surgeries now instead of them being emergent and frankly - there is calmness in that. Even though we are still traveling and still having surgeries and still needing so much therapy and so many procedures and doctor's visits and so on and so forth...we have reached a better place. And truly - there is no way that the three of us couldn't know how lucky we are.

To the Shields and Finley families - I would do anything to give you one last moment with your loved one. One last smile. One last hug. One last kiss. I would give everything for the boys to be back home with you for good. I can't do that though, but I can tell you that as long as I am alive - they will never be forgotten in our home. They are Kevin's brothers - as is Daniel.

I do want to end this post thanking Butch for bringing other brothers back into Kevin's life yesterday. To be honest, we don't really ever hear from anyone in the Army and sometimes I feel like Kevin has been forgotten. Yesterday though, I was informed of a reunion of The Herd and I talked to 3 members myself and then we met another Herd member today while at BAMC. You have all made me feel that Kevin could be enfolded back into the 173rd and I look forward to cultivating a relationship somehow. I need to make it a priority and I'm thinking breakfast on Wednesdays at The Drop Zone with other paratroopers might be a good start...