Sometimes you forget, ya know? I mean sometimes you're all caught up in the daily junk that is what we call life that you forget something that changed it all.
We have just been so busy; I am really struggling to take care of Kevin and have a little something for me - my business. But tonight I had a few extra minutes and thought to myself 'let's start unpacking all those boxes in the office - you know the ones full of paperwork and mail from the last 4 years?'.
So I started going through box after box and opening letter after letter, rereading card after card. I came across notes on how to do certain projects at Armstrong Cable when I worked there, Kevin's enlistment papers, I found so many cards and letters from people through the years and notebook after notebook filled with notes about Kevin for about the first year of this journey. Like the day he had his stroke and what we were going to do about the meningitis. Then there was the 'list of surgeries'. That flat out made me laugh because there were only about 12 on there. There was also a ridiculously long list of medications and on and on.
I was doing well really. At this point anyway. Kinda chuckling at some of the stupid things I wrote. And smiling at some of the letters we received. I was thinking about how much more I know now than I did then.
But then I opened this folder and staring back at me was my son, Kevin. In a nice, big 8x10 photo. From before. When he was normal. When life was normal.
IT'S TIMES LIKE THIS THAT I FLIPPIN' HATE WHAT HAPPENED TO US!!!!!!!!!!
Don't get me wrong - of course I am so happy that we have what we have. Kevin is doing unbelievably well, but damnit - why still does it have to be this way? Why couldn't he have just lost a toe or something dumb like that? Why can't he still be in the Army (or slinging burgers at McDonalds - I don't care)? Why can't I have a normal 8 hour a day job instead of a 24 hour one? Why can't we be near our friends? And family? Why can't Breezy be making almost double what she's making now because she had a GREAT job in PA with GREAT benefits! And we won't even discuss how I would be making at least triple what I do now and I sure wouldn't have to have 'inspectors' come to my home to make sure I'm doing it right.
Then there's all the damn doctor's appointments. It is frickin relentless! We are both just so tired of it all that I haven't even called the therapist to resume work on his hand since we came home from Colorado. You know what I'd like? JUST ONE MONTH OF NO HOSPITALS OR DOCTOR'S OFFICES!!!!!!!!!!!! That's all - just 30 flippin days. It is really too much to ask for?
And lawyers - PLEASE dispose of the need for any of them. It is ridiculous how they get tens of thousands of dollars a year from Kevin! Talk about raping an incompetent person; the court system surely does that!
Ack! It really is just too much to bear sometimes. I usually do so well; mainly because I am kept too busy to think much about it, but tonight - seeing that picture just slammed a fist into my heart. It killed me to remember the boy I had before, the life ALL OF US had before. If I could only turn back time...
I can't believe I forgot to write again! My mom called me earlier and asked where my post was - yikes! (got your email too, Opal!)
Honestly, part of it is that we are just living our lives now. Nothing majorly exciting going on at all. We mostly took it easy this week so there isn't much to report.
I do have some pics though! I picked Christian up at daycare one day and the field out front was in full bloom. The one of Kevin is in our backyard. He was standing next to the neighbor's fence.
Other than this, I just don't have anything to talk about so I guess I'll catch ya next week.
So to finish out some pics and videos of our wonderful week in Aspen, here are 2 videos of Kevin climbing the rock wall. Unbelievably, Kevin pulled himself up the wall with his one arm. He now weighs about 217 pounds, add to that all the gear, and he amazed me that he could do it!
The first video is long because it's all but the last darn seconds of him climbing the wall. My finger slipped and turned it off just as he was ringing the bell, but I quickly got it going again. You gotta love his new quote right at the end after ringing the bell, lol.
Piece of cake, right? He sounded like he was dying, lol.
And here is the final photo of our trip. It's Kevin receiving a medal for a job well done.
A big thanks need to go out to the VA for putting such a wonderful trip together for these guys/gals. It was a great week full of fun and camaraderie and I hope very much that Kevin will go back next year!
And on to the real world - not too much happened this week for us. Kevin's taking it easy while his toe heals from the toenail removal. He's wearing a walking boot which tends to slip off rather easily so we aren't doing too much. I don't really know how long he'll have to wear it, but hopefully he can put his sneakers on soon.
That's pretty much it so I'll catch y'all next week!
I hope everyone had a great Easter! I ended up keeping Christian all night as he is very sick again. His whole mouth is full of blisters (something contagious from daycare) and he has not been able to eat or drink for days. He's been pretty miserable, but this morning he woke up and had no fever so I made him not 1, not 2, but THREE scrambled eggs for breakfast!! He's on the mend.
So we did manage to get just a couple good pics of him yesterday. Breezy brought some bubbles up and we played outside for just a bit:
And here he is finally sleeping at about 2am. The doc suggested we give him some Benadryl to help him sleep and I gave it to him at about 1am. He was just playing away in Uncle Kevin's room with one of Kevin's stuffed angry birds animals and he just set it aside, laid down and in one second was sound asleep. This was the first respite the child had for two days - poor thing!
But back to Kevin - I have more photos and videos of our fantastic trip to the Winter Sports Clinic. Here is the gondola that we went up the mountain in in the town of Aspen (pic taken from inside so excuse the glare). It was one of the day trips:
And once we near the top of the mountain we got to ride in a snow cat to the very top of the mountain. It was a very bumpy ride and Kevin didn't want to get out so I snapped a pic of him still inside.
And the view from the top:
So the next day Kevin went snowboarding again, this time with his new buddy, Tim. Tim was a great instructor and the two of them hit it off wonderfully! Here are some pics and video:
This is Tim clobbering Kevin, lol. What fun they had!!
Rene' - here's one for you! It's Kevin with Sarah and Ted!
And here's some video of Kevin and Tim snowboarding:
Ok, I think this post is long enough too. I will come back next Sunday with the rest of our fabulous trip!
I do want to quickly say that we finally got in to see the podiatrist on Friday. Kevin's ingrown toenail was very infected and I asked them to just remove the nail. This was the third time it's gotten infected and with his weakness in his right leg/foot, I can't see it getting better for good. This will take care of it once and for all!
It's obvious Kevin had a great trip, right? YAY!!!
Well we really had a great week! Yes, I can be honest and say that Kevin didn't want to go when it came down to it and the first few days we were there he said he'd never go back, but by the end of the week he was having a good time and he started telling folks he would be back next year!
Y'all would have been really proud of him! I try so hard to keep Kevin active and entertained, but he generally just doesn't want to do much of anything. But he did agree to take part in the activities this last week and it all started with some snowmobiling! (Oh - and he picked up MANY new words and phrases while we were there!!)
First though, here is a pic of Kevin in this huge chair that he just HAD to climb on, lol (some guy walking by helped me lift him up onto the chair as Kevin was struggling to do it himself):
And now here are some snowmobiling pics:
This next photo is of Kevin with Jose', the rec therapist from the VA hospital here in SA.
As you might have noticed, we tied Kevin onto the snowmobile as there were so many bumps and with his right side being weak, we didn't think he could hold himself on it. They are hoping that he can drive one solo next year too, but we'll see.
The next day Kevin got to snowboard! I wish I could say he had a great time, but he didn't. Unfortunately we were given an instructor that just didn't understand the needs of someone like Kevin. He just kept saying that snowboarders were lazy and he kept putting Kevin down. I was keeping my mouth shut, but Jose' actually saw it too and he made sure that Kevin had a different instructor for the other two days he got to board.
Honestly, Kevin actually quit after this day and turned in his boots and his board. He just wanted to go home. It took everything I had to get him interested enough to try again.
There is one little video here of Kevin boarding by himself that day though. I had to beg the guy to let him try on his own. I don't think the instructor realized that the 100+ falls were mostly his fault as he was running next to Kevin and couldn't keep up with him so he was pulling him down. Ack! It doesn't matter, but it was just so frustrating at the time:
And some pics:
I just can't believe that my son was actually on a snowboard!!
This is the bottom half of the bunny slope that Kevin boarded down.
Ok, so I think I am going to have to come back and finish up with more videos and photos another day this week. I am uploading a video and it still has over an hour to go, so I think I'll end here - halfway through the week and get the rest either later this week or next Sunday; depending on what our schedule ends up being like.
And I'm sorry, but I am not editing these photos yet. I'm too tired, lol.
This blog is dedicated to my son, Kevin, who was critically wounded in Afghanistan on May 31, 2008. My daughter, Brianna, and I left our homes and our lives to be by his side from that day forward.
Here is where you will learn of all of our accomplishments as well as the trials of his recovery of such serious injuries.
Although we have come through the acute stage of his burns, we are now focusing on the rehab for his brain injury. For those of you unaware, Kevin has lost nearly 85% of the function of the left side of his brain, causing him to not be able to do much (yet) with his right side and he can only say a few words so far. He also has to learn to write and he needs to remember everything in his past life.
Basically, we have 'started over'.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, but please understand that there is very little time for responses. We wish we could email everyone a reply, but it's just not going to happen.
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