Life

A New Normal

So.

HI.

Things are starting to settle down for us.

Thank God.

We’re establishing routines and Kevin is becoming more and more independent of me every day. In fact, the occupational therapist came by today and showed us how Kevin could get on the toilet by himself. Since he has one wrist in a splint and our bathrooms are so TINY, this is actually really good news.

Kevin can’t wait to implement her ideas. But first, we need to install a grab bar.

You wouldn’t think anyone would be so excited to go to the potty by themselves, but let me tell ya, you don’t appreciate that small task until you can’t do it anymore. He’s been using a bedside commode and he has hated it. He doesn’t have any privacy and it really bothers him that I have to clean up after him.

So when the occupational therapist asked him what the number one thing that bugged him the most was, he said, “not being able to use the toilet.”

Everything else is going really well. The occupational therapist (I swear, we look forward to her visits because she always gives us great tips and ideas on how to do things more efficiently) suggested that we take the outer part of his wheelchair (the part where the patient grabs on to wheel himself/herself around) off so we could fit him into tight spaces a bit better.

Worked like a dream.

She also worked with Kevin to get him to transfer to his bed by himself, too. He can get into his bed by himself, but will need my help getting back out, at least for a little while longer.

Kevin has an appointment with the orthopedist June 8th, we should find out then whether he can get rid of the wrist splint, the back brace (which he only has to wear when he’s over 30 degrees) and the knee brace. Once all of his little fractures heal, he will only get stronger and more independent.

I’ve been really busy. Between taking care of Kevin, (transferring him from bed to chair, from chair to bed/commode, giving him sponge baths, wheeling him around the house), making sure he takes his meds, (he’s on Coumadin, a blood thinner and something he MUST take at 6:00 p.m. every day), feeding him, taking care of the house, doing laundry, dropping off/picking up kids, taking care of myself AND trying to work, my time is really limited right now. I have to say, I’m becoming rather good at managing my time nowadays.

But honestly, I love it. I find myself focusing better when I have a lot of things to do at once. You could even say I’m a master at multi-tasking … but I wouldn’t go that far. It’s when I find that I have too much time on my hands is when I never get anything done.

****

I’ve been seriously thinking about going to nursing school.

I know.

But I could do it. I’ve learned SOOOOO much about taking care of people these past few weeks and I’ve also learned that I’m good at it, and actually enjoy it. Yes. I realize that it wouldn’t be the same taking care of strangers (after all, not everyone is such a great patient like my Kevin), but there would always be a demand for the job and though the pay is not the best, it’s not too bad.

And I would be helping people.

Anyway, I’m just now looking into the specifics and it’s something to think about for when Kevin gets back on his feet again. (I’d like to find a profession where I can work and Kevin could stay home and do … whatever he wanted to do. It’s time we flip-flopped our roles for a while, I think).

****

For those that don’t know, we had a cruise scheduled for the middle of July. And believe it or not, we’re still planning on going.

But wait … before you snicker, roll your eyes and say, “NO WAY!” let me just say that by the time July gets here, all of Kevin’s fractures should be healed. AND, his legs are getting stronger and stronger every day AND, the twelve weeks he was told to stay off his legs will have ended and though he won’t be walking, he will be able to put a little weight on his legs so that getting him places will become easier.

But since he’ll still be in his wheelchair in July, we’ll have to rethink the logistics of this trip a bit more.

We called Carnival Cruise lines yesterday, told them our situation and asked them if they could possibly switch our room to a wheelchair accessible room.

To our delight, they not only had one available, they were able to put the boys in the room next door!! So, it looks like the boat part of our trip is very doable. They told us that he would be able to easily wheel himself into the bathroom AND the shower and that the doorways are wide enough to easily accommodate his chair. Again, his wrist fracture will be healed by then, so getting him out of the chair and into bed/toilet/shower should be a cinch (at least when compared to the situation now).

I’d like to take a moment to sing Carnival Cruise’s praises – they were SUPER nice to us (and have always been – this will be our third cruise with them) and we can’t recommend them enough to anyone thinking about going on a cruise.

We simply love them.

Now that the boat portion of our trip has been taken care of … now we can turn our attention to the New York portion of our trip.

Since we are cashing in our frequent flyer miles, our options on which flights to take out to New York out of Springfield are limited. As in, we will have to fly out mid-week limited. But no worries. We’re catching the boat out of New York and we thought since we would be there a few days before the boat was scheduled to take off, we’d just hang out in New York and do a little sight seeing.

And we still want to do that, only now we’ll have to make sure everything we do is wheelchair accessible.

When we mentioned our plans to the occupational therapist, she smiled and said, “Great! New York is very wheelchair friendly.” Which is wonderful to hear, but I still need to do some research as far as making sure we can get him into a taxi to get from the airport to the hotel and we need to call our hotel to make sure our room is wheelchair accessible and if not, can we switch to a room that is? I didn’t see anything about wheelchair accessible rooms on their website, so I’m a little nervous about that, and it’s really not that big of a deal if we have to switch hotels, but I’d really like to keep this hotel because it’s right across the street from Central Park and if we do nothing else while we’re in New York, at least we could hang out at the park. You know?

And then there are the subways. They’re wheelchair accessible, right? Any readers from New York that could answer that question for me?

As far as the flight out there and back, all we have to do is notify American Airlines that we’ll need assistance on and off the plane and that shouldn’t be a problem, I wouldn’t think.

So, it looks like our trip is still on at this point. It’s going to be A LOT of work for me and the boys, but we can handle it. (I hope).

****

Boys are doing well. The last day of school is next Wednesday. We’re all so ready for summer to begin.

Though technically, Jazz will be going back for summer school June 7th. In fact, he will have P.E. from 11:30 to 2:30 and then go back at 5:00 and stay until 9:00 for Band class.

He’ll be pretty busy for a while.

Jazz and I went to a band meeting the other night where they revealed next year’s theme – it’s called “No Strings Attached” and it will have something to do with marionettes. (?!?!)

Doesn’t that sound like fun!! I can’t wait for marching band to start back up!

I have had to rely on the boys more and more these past few weeks. Actually, they were pretty much on their own while Kevin and I were in Columbia, shortly after his accident. They both seem a lot more grown up to me. I suppose some of that is because they’ve HAD to be, and partly because I need them to be, I guess.

I need to find someone to take Dude’s senior pictures this summer. I can’t believe he will be a senior next year. I keep telling him it will be HIS year – I pray that it is.

I thank God every day for our boys. We couldn’t have been blessed with better children.

Honestly.

Abundant Life

Teaching: Finding Happiness in an Unhappy World

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

Adversity, affliction, pain, and suffering are a part of everyone’s life. With Satan and his evil minions causing problems, the problems we have due to the world being in a fallen state in the first place, the problems that others cause for us, and the problems we cause ourselves due to our own sin and ignorance, suffering is a given until Jesus sets up his kingdom. If we are going to live happy, joyful, productive lives, it is not going to be because we get rid of all affliction and suffering. Rather, it will be because we learn to be happy and joyful in spite of the pains of this life.

Who would not say, “I want to be happy”? Everyone desires this too often evasive feeling. It seems logical that if God created the world for people, and God is love (1 John 4:8b), that everyone would be happy, at least most of the time. Yet true happiness eludes most people, not just sometimes, but throughout most of their lives. Why?

Most people’s first response would be: “Because life is so hard, and there is so much pain and suffering.” It is true that hardship, pain, and suffering make it more difficult to be happy, and everyone will be unhappy at times. Ecclesiastes tells us that in every life there is “a time to weep” and “a time to mourn.” However, it also tells us that there is “a time to laugh” (Eccles. 3:4). If we are ever going to laugh from our heart, and be genuinely happy at least some of the time, there are some basic things that we must understand about happiness, chiefly that it is a by-product, not an end in itself.

Happiness is not something we can achieve by striving for it alone, nor by focusing on it as a goal. If that were the case, we could assume that since there are millions of people who want to be happy, at least some of them would have achieved it and told others how to achieve it too. If millions of people wanted to climb Mt. Everest, for example, many would make it. Why is it that people who strive for happiness are not happy? One of the main reasons is that happiness is a by-product of something else, something meaningful that a person does in his life.

Let us compare happiness to the ordinary housecat. Often, if you want it to come to you so you can hold it, it stays away, sometimes seemingly just out of reach. If you pursue it, it moves away (usually under a piece of furniture where you can see it but not reach it). Eventually you give up trying to hold the cat, and get about doing your work around the house. Shortly you feel something touching your ankle, and lo and behold, the cat, which stayed away when pursued, is now rubbing against your leg, wanting to be picked up.

Happiness is like that housecat. When we pursue it for its own sake, it remains out of reach. For example, many people are surprised to find out how little happiness material things bring. This is an area where our flesh tricks us. We should all know that possessions do not make people happy, because there are so many unhappy wealthy people who can buy whatever they want. As the common proverb says: “Money can’t buy happiness.” In spite of that, our flesh seems to say, “If I just had (whatever), I would be happy.” Although it can be momentarily satisfying to acquire what we thought would make us happy, the feeling does not last long.

Like the housecat, happiness comes when we engage in work and other activities that are meaningful to us. At those times our focus is not on ourselves or our own happiness, but on what we are doing. It is while we are engaged in a meaningful activity that we realize we are happy and enjoying life. Therefore, it is important for us to find meaning in life and the activities we engage in. This is often no small task. God designed life to have meaning, but many people do not find it, and live their lives the way the person who wrote Ecclesiastes started out.

Ecclesiastes 1:2
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

The book of Ecclesiastes contains the story of a person who calls himself “the Teacher,” and who outlines his journey to find meaning in life. He did many and varied things, looking for anything that held inherent meaning. He tried gaining knowledge and wisdom, but discovered “…with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief” (1:18b). He tried fun and laughter, but concluded it was foolish and accomplished nothing (2:1, 2). He tried wine and alcohol (2:3), accomplishing great tasks (2:4-7), amassing wealth (2:8), entertainment (2:8), and, of course, sex (2:8), but all to no avail. He did not know God, and therefore he correctly understood that his final end, no matter what he achieved or accomplished, was the grave, a hole in the ground, and that eventually he and his activities would be forgotten (2:16). In that light, nothing he did could be truly meaningful, because there was no actual purpose for anything he did. With nothing in life that was meaningful, he came to the point he “hated life” (2:17).

Thankfully, the teacher kept looking for meaning in life, and at some point he had a revelation that set him on the right course.

Ecclesiastes 2:25
for without him [God], who can eat or find enjoyment?

Amen! What the teacher discovered was that the first and most basic step to having meaning in one’s life was to realize that God created his life to have meaning. The dictionary definition of “meaning” is “a purpose or intention.” God intended to create us, that is, He had a purpose for us before we existed. Existence in and of itself does not have meaning, which is why atheists and people who believe that life is nothing more than a series of random “accidents,” cannot find true purpose or meaning. By their own definition, life has no meaning, i.e., no purpose or intention, it is just an accident.

Once the teacher discovered that God had created him with a purpose, a genuine meaning, he began to relate to life differently. He realized that it was not the works he did that had inherent meaning, but rather that it was his doing the work that had meaning. From that point of view, he began to realize that he could find happiness in productive work.

Ecclesiastes 2:24
A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.

Notice that the teacher is not looking for happiness (satisfaction) on its own. No, he lives his life (“eats and drinks”), and works, and because he himself has meaning, he brings meaning to what he does, and gets satisfaction and happiness “in” his work. The same holds true for us. We bring the meaning to our work, and because God has created us the way we are, there is some work more meaningful to us than other work. As we engage life like that, thinking of ourselves and our work as having meaning, we find that we are content and happy, without seeking to be happy. This is the “housecat happiness” we discussed earlier.

It is important to make a distinction between happiness and joy. As we use the terms, “happiness” relates more to a feeling of gladness or contentment that is “outside in,” i.e., the meaningful and productive activities a person is doing produces a feeling of gladness, satisfaction, etc. “Joy,” on the other hand, is “inside out.” It is a fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22) that a person experiences as he endeavors to be like Christ and keeps in mind the hope that is in store for him. The hope of healthy bodies on a newly created and wonderful earth never changes, so no matter what a person is doing, or experiencing, he can have joy. It is important to understand that, though we cannot always be happy, we can always have joy. Often joy and happiness occur at the same time, and this is certainly very desirable.

Just as we can always have joy because our basis for it never varies, so too we should always be thankful. We have so much to be thankful for, in fact, the Bible commands us to be thankful (Col. 3:15b). [1] One of the keys to happiness is being thankful no matter what our circumstances are. Attitude has much to do with whether we are happy or not. Certainly there are times when circumstances in our lives make happiness at that moment out of the question. No one should expect to be happy all the time. However, it is not wrong to want as much happiness as possible.

As we look for meaning in our lives, it is helpful to realize that each Christian is uniquely equipped by God to do great things for Him and for other people. Corinthians tells us that each person is placed in the Body of Christ as God wants him to be.

1 Corinthians 12:18
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.

Ephesians says that God has created each person for good works and we are to do whatever good works we can. God has made it possible for you to do good works here and now. In fact God has even prepared us for this.

You can read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here to inform and bless you. God granted you the gift of free will – take it or leave it).

More from Write From Karen

Life

Let the Healing Process Begin

(This was cross posted at Kevin’s Caring Bridge web page).

Good morning,

It’s 6:22 a.m. and Kevin is peacefully sleeping and appears relaxed (his facial muscles are slack and his mouth is slightly hanging open. He will likely kill me for telling you that, but it’s just too cute not to mention). He is laying on his hospital bed (which he has compared to laying on a cardboard box, so I bought a pillow-top mattress cover and double layered a blanket for him to lay on), the foot of his bed slightly elevated to take some pressure off his pelvis and he’s still fast asleep.

He’s not only getting a lot of sleep, he’s getting a lot of RESTFUL sleep. We all know that when you’re in the hospital, you don’t really sleep, what with everyone coming in every ten minutes to take vital signs, to ask questions, to bring him food, or just to check on him. Kevin is looking better every day. He’s also getting a lot stronger and is able to stay in his wheelchair for longer and longer periods of time.

He stayed in his chair a whopping seven hours on Wednesday. And he was in it virtually all day yesterday save for about a 30 minute break to lay down and rest.

He’s also able to sit with us at the family dinner table and eat with the rest of us. Our family is slowly starting to get back to normal.

He was released from the hospital on Tuesday. Jeanne, Kevin’s mom, stayed at our house all morning so that she could let Cox Home Care in to deliver a bed, a commode, a shower chair and hook up the trapeze. I stayed at the hospital with Kevin and coordinated his release while cleaning up his room and making sure everything was in order and Kevin was prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

At 1:30, we transferred Kevin to his chair and wheeled him down to the nurses’ station so the doctor could show him his x-rays. Kevin hadn’t seen what his pelvis looked like after the accident and he had only seen what they had done to fix the right side of his pelvis. So he was really curious to see the films. Though I was really grateful to the doctor for showing us the x-rays, the “before” shot was dark and I’m not sure Kevin really got the full impact (pun intended) of his injuries. When the intensive care doctor showed me his x-rays at Cox South, we (me and the boys), got a clear look at his pelvis – it was a complete mess. But I think Kevin saw enough for him to understand his injuries.

Now the x-ray after his surgeries was quite impressive. I hadn’t seen the film either and all of his new shiny hardware virtually lit up the screen. Kevin was speechless. He knew his pelvis had needed a lot of work, but I don’t think he fully appreciated what the doctors had to do to put him back together again until he saw it all for himself.

The Medi-Trans man arrived as we were looking at x-rays and patiently waited for him to finish before taking control of Kevin’s wheelchair. I gathered all of his stuff and quietly faded into the background as all the nurses said goodbye to him. They were all so nice and several hugged him.

I think it made Kevin feel good that so many people cared for him.

I had parked close enough to the entrance that I was able to watch as the Medi-Trans man loaded Kevin into the van. I can’t quite explain the myriad of emotions that surged through me as I stayed to make sure he was safely in the vehicle: love, joy, elation, apprehension, excitement, determination …

I made it home before the van. I quickly unloaded my car and had just enough time to drop the last armful when they pulled up.

Jeanne and I watched as he was lowered out of the van. It was so good to have him back home!!

The man wheeled Kevin into the house (thank goodness for the ramp!!), and we took over. The first thing Kevin wanted to do was be wheeled around the house; he had missed his home surroundings. It had been over a month since he had been home, after all.

Getting him into the bedrooms is a challenge; the doorways are a lot narrower and though we can get him into the bathrooms, his wheels get stuck and it’s a challenge to get him back out again. But he can get around the rest of the house pretty easily so we’ll likely have to stick with using the commode and sponge baths for a bit longer.

The boys transferred Kevin’s work computer into the dining room, so that room will be his make-shift office for now. We had to run a really long network cable to the router and the boys came up with the idea of taping the wire up over the doorway so no one would trip over it.

I thought that was pretty ingenious. I wonder where they get THAT trait from. (Hint: NOT from me).

We’ve also had to move furniture around and it takes a bit of juggling on my part to make enough room to transfer him from his chair to his bed, but overall, he’s settling in comfortably and we’re starting to develop a routine so all of this will seem common place before long.

The family has been bringing over dinners and it’s been SO GREAT not to have to worry about cooking. I’ve been so busy taking care of all of us, the house, running kids around and trying to get my own work done, that food has honestly been the last thing on my mind right now.

Yesterday was pretty busy. We opted to have Oxford Home Care come out and check on Kevin, so a nurse came and took a sample of Kevin’s blood to check on his Coumadin levels, his vitals and just do an overall inspection. Everything looks great and they called later to tell us that we needed to continue the same dosage (5mg) of Coumadin every day, except on Friday when he gets 2.5mg. I’ve been a bit nervous about the Coumadin, but everything seems to be fine at this point, so I just need to relax – it’s better than him developing a blood clot.

An occupational therapist came by, too. She evaluated his balance and his motor skills. Everything looks good there. She asked him what was the number one thing he would like to do on his own and he said, “go to the bathroom by myself.”

So, we all talked about ways we could make that happen. We can get him in the back bathroom (the front bathroom is just too narrow), but it’s a very tight squeeze. Then, once he’s in there, we can’t really turn him because of the small area, so she suggested we remove the outer wheel portion of his wheelchair. (The part where you grab on with your hands). That would give us about four more inches to work with and I’m pretty sure we could get his wheelchair into the bathroom with those removed. Once he’s in the bathroom and positioned, I think he can maneuver himself onto the toilet. She’s going to come back on Tuesday and we’ll work on making that happen.

The occupational therapist’s goal is to try and get him to do as many things as he can by himself, to help him become a bit more independent of me. We’ll see how that turns out. We haven’t heard anything from the physical therapists yet, they concentrate on strengthening his muscles and improving his flexibility. They will likely come next Tuesday, too. Kevin has opted to have all of his visits on the same days so he can get everything over with at the same time, as opposed to having someone come over every day of the week.

So, even though he’s home, he’s still as busy as ever. Between nurse visits, occupational therapist visits, physical therapist visits, family visits and getting his work done, I think he’s actually busier than he was BEFORE the accident!

He has an appointment to see his orthopedist on June 8th. They plan on taking more x-rays, so we should have a pretty good idea how his fractures are healing then. We’re also hoping they tell us that he won’t be required to wear his wrist splint or the back brace, either. Cross your fingers!

Thanks again for all of the wonderful words of encouragement and for your support. I’m completely convinced that your prayers and well wishes are helping him recover that much faster. 🙂

(P.S. – I found this .27 second video on my camera card. I had planned on taking a picture, but had it on video mode. It was shortly after Kevin got his brand new motorcycle home and had just ridden it for the first time. It makes me so sad to know that he will never enjoy riding again. )

(P.S.S. – Today marks exactly five weeks since the accident).

Life

Kevin’s home!!

IMG_2176

It’s been four 1/2 weeks since Kevin stepped foot in his own home. When I saw him getting off the Medi-Trans, I nearly cried – it’s so good to have him home!

Life is going to be pretty hectic for the next eight or so weeks. I will be his primary caregiver which means I’ll be bathing him, helping him to the commode (our bathrooms are too narrow for his wheelchair and besides, he’s not stable enough to use a regular toilet), transferring him to his wheelchair and doling out six different medications (some of that is pain pills and calcium and vitamin D to promote bone growth). In addition, I have to prepare for a nurse to come out twice a week to take blood samples because he’s on a blood thinner and they have to closely monitor that. Oh, and physical therapists are supposed to come by and work with him, too, but I have no idea when their scheduled to do that.

All of this in addition to family and his boss coming over at regular intervals to see him and catch up on work. Our days are pretty busy.

We (and by “we” I mean the boys), transferred his work computer from his office to the dining room table yesterday afternoon, so now Kevin can wheel himself up to the table and get his work done. Thank goodness the company is winding down and he’s just wrapping up loose ends – I can’t imagine how that would work with him taking on a full work load, he can’t take being in his wheelchair for more than about four hours before he starts feeling weak from pain and fatigue.

Life moved at warp speed yesterday. The medical supply store delivered his bed, trapeze, commode and shower chair (which I highly doubt we’ll get to use, at least for quite some time) at about 11:00 o’clock. Kevin’s mom stuck around our house all morning so she could meet the delivery guys and direct them on where to set everything up.

I stayed at the hospital with Kevin and cleaned out his room as well as prepare him for transport. The doctor was kind enough to show Kevin his x-rays before we left. The only x-ray Kevin had seen was the work they did on his right side. The doctor showed him his original fractures (the films were only 45 minutes old from the time of his accident) to the most recent films – all of his hardware. It was quite impressive, actually. I think we’re supposed to get a copy of it at some point. I hope we do, I’d love to share it with you.

I call him my own personal Iron Man. I’m not sure Kevin likes the comparison, quite frankly. 😀

At 2:00, the transport guy showed up. (Naturally. I had to ask my father-in-law to pick the boys up. Why must everything happen at the same time??) All of the nurses gave him quite a send off, complete with hugs. (They were all so nice to him. They flat out told him he was their best patient. I’m sure he was quite different than what they were used to. Most of their patients were over 70 years old).

The Medi-Trans guy loaded Kevin up and once I saw he was safely inside the vehicle, I hurried home to upload my car and get ready for his arrival. Kevin’s mom had bought balloons and it was quite something to watch him being wheeled down our sidewalk once again. My nephew had come over to mow the grass (he does such a GREAT job) so our lawn looked nice for him.

The new ramp looks so nice and I think Kevin really appreciated it being there so he could easily get into the house. The first thing he wanted to do was look at the house. I wheeled him around and found out that the space between the bookcase and the cabinet in our kitchen is almost not big enough for him to squeeze through. It can be done, but I have to do a little dance to get him there. So he’ll have to enter the kitchen another way if he wants to sit at the kitchen table with us for dinner.

The front bathroom is a wash. The doorway is simply too narrow for him to pass through. (I knew it would be). And he can get into our bedroom, but again, it takes some fancy footwork. But he can wheel himself easily through the rest of the house, so it’s not all bad.

The important thing is, he’s home now. He can rest up and prepare to start putting weight on his legs in about nine weeks and THEN the REAL work will begin.

For him, at least.

Life

Nearly Fainted

(This was cross posted at Kevin’s Caring Bridge web page).

We were at Columbia Hospital about two days when they told Kevin that he needed to take his wedding ring off. As was typical for his type of injury, his body fluids were beginning to pool and his body was blowing up like a balloon.

At first, Kevin refused to remove it. I was touched. He hasn’t taken it off since our wedding day, nearly 20 years ago. But the doctors told him that if he didn’t take it off then, they would likely have to cut it off later.

He took it off. (And we had a time getting it off because his fingers had already swollen to nearly twice their size). And it upset him. It was as if he had taken off a portion of himself, a small piece of his life had been taken away from him and at the time, Kevin struggled to maintain any sense of normalcy he could find.

He hasn’t worn it since.

A nurse weighed him yesterday. He’s using a special sort of high-tech hospital bed that weighs the patients IN the bed. So he didn’t have to move in order to get weighed.

He weighed 176 pounds, which is a pretty normal weight for him. And a far cry from the 193 pounds he weighed when he first arrived at Cox Walnut Lawn over two weeks ago.

This means that Kevin has lost nearly 20 pounds of fluid since his accident.

That’s a lot of fluid.

The doctors never gave him any sort of diuretics, he peed all of his fluids out the natural way. He’s also been wearing tubigrips on his legs (a sock that is designed to squeeze extremities to help evenly distribute excess fluid) which have REALLY been helping the puffiness in his feet. In fact, his legs and feet are nearly back to normal size. In fact, Kevin’s whole body looks like it’s back to normal.

I suppose it’s time to give him his wedding ring back. 🙂

I’m starting to clean out his room. I took a bunch of things home today and I plan on taking more home tonight. A nurse came in and gleefully told us that we were on the board to go home tomorrow. (!!) Though I’m super excited about him coming home, there is still a part of me that is holding back. I’ve had enough experience with the medical field to know that it’s wise to take what they tell you with a grain of salt. After all, things change.

And Kevin DID nearly faint today.

It was a good day. I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 this morning, bought us some breakfast from the Subway in The Meyer Center (did you know Subway serves breakfast? Me either! It’s pretty good!), gave him a sponge bath and transferred him to his wheelchair. He checked his email and caught up on Facebook while I went to McAlister’s to grab us some lunch and then we ate in the game room at the facility overlooking a courtyard. Kevin was in pain, but Kevin is always in pain. His pain threshold usually holds around 6 or 7, but the man won’t take any pain meds more than once a day. They constipate him and that annoys him, so … he endures it. Much to my chagrin. (He’s such a stinker).

After lunch, we went exploring going so far as to walk across the sky walk and into the Ferrell Duncan Clinc next door. (We get bored looking at the same sets of rooms all the time).

At a quarter to one, we headed back to his room. He was scheduled to meet with an insurance agent at 1:00 in order to sign some sort of release of records form so the insurance company could start sorting through the mountain of medical bills we’ve incurred since this whole nightmare began.

The guy shows up and he’s very nice. He was not confrontational or short in any way. It’s important for you to know that because what happened next was not the man’s fault, at all.

The insurance guy cautioned us that though Missouri allows insurance companies to “stack” uninsured / underinsured motorist policies in order to pay medical bills, there is likely an exemption clause in the policy that requires that the person involved in the accident be in a motor vehicle in order to use the “stacking” option.

Since Kevin wasn’t in a motor vehicle but on a motorcycle, we wonder how this will affect us personally.

Shortly after the man left, Kevin lost all color in his face. His lips turned gray and when I placed my hand on his forehead, it was cold and clammy. He said he felt faint and when I asked him if I should call a nurse, he said yes.

This alarmed me. Because Kevin NEVER asks for help and if he does, HE NEEDS HELP.

I had just called the nurse’s station and told them that Kevin was feeling like he was going to pass out when the doctor came in with a tech. (Talk about good timing). Two more nurses rushed in and together, we all transferred Kevin to his bed in record time and elevated his feet. A nurse put a cold compress on his forehead and color started returning to his cheeks and lips.

The doctor took his blood pressure and though it was slightly higher than normal, it was nothing to be too concerned about. When the doctor began questioning me as to what I thought might have happened, I suggested that he might have gotten a bit too stressed out hearing what the insurance agent had just told us. Though I’m confident God will take care of us, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m a wee bit nervous about all of these medical bills and the fact that as of now, it looks like the woman who hit Kevin doesn’t have insurance.

He’s been in the hospital for 4 ½ weeks and has had three surgeries – I’ll let you guesstimate just how much of a bill we’ve likely run up at this point.

It’s a bit disconcerting to ME not really knowing what is going on, money wise, I can only IMAGINE what Kevin is feeling and thinking about all of this. Though we don’t talk about it, I know it bothers him.

Kevin insists that it wasn’t the insurance agent’s visit that upset him. And maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was all a coincidence, but he had been fine up to that point, so I’m going to assume that it had something to do with it.

We also had to turn over the title to the motorcycle today, too. I’m sure that didn’t help Kevin’s stress levels any.

The doctor got quite annoyed with the agent and said there were plenty of times he would like to step in and prohibit agents from visiting his patients, but of course, he can’t do that and his hands are tied in that arena.

I have a feeling I’ll be fielding any insurance correspondence in the future. I don’t know a lot about how it works, but I’ll learn.

I just hope today’s episode doesn’t hinder his coming home tomorrow. By all accounts, the doctor said everything looks great at this point. Kevin’s blood levels are now over 11 (excellent news), his bone-building enzyme is still high (more excellent news), his proteins are climbing and he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He did say stress could cause someone to feel faint and though he wasn’t going to rule out a medical reason why he felt faint, he wasn’t going to rule out the stress factor, either.

Stress does strange things to people.

I confess, today’s drama gave me pause. Do I have what it takes to take care of him at home by myself? What if something like this happens at home? This is a big responsibility. I can do this, I CAN do this, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m just a teensy bit nervous actually doing it.

The ramp our family built is nearly finished!

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Life

Stuck on Autopilot

You’re in your car. You have everything you need. You’re confident you’ll get there on time; you’re feeling relaxed and you let your guard down for a short amount of time while you allow your brain to day dream about nonsensical things because there’s really nothing more to stress about in life other than should you clean the bathrooms later today, or wait until tomorrow when suddenly …

You miss your turn off. But instead of calmly waiting for the next driveway to turn around, you slam on your brakes, your car tail spinning a bit as it struggles to decrease it’s speed, and your world is suddenly shaken from it’s safe little cocoon as you make the hair pin turn to try and keep on your course.

You accidentally drive into someone’s yard, scarring a pretty lawn with your ugly tire marks. A dog barks and scrambles to get out of your way as you struggle to regain control of your car that now seems to have a mind of it’s own.

Your heart skips a beat and your adrenaline spikes at the unexpected change of course.

That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now after Kevin’s accident.

Life threw us a curve ball and WOW. Can someone tell me what the hell just happened?!?

This whole … experience, (nightmare?) totally and completely threw me for a loop. That fly ball not only came out of left field, it conked me in the temple and I’ve been living life through a hazy fog ever since.

I’m just sort of existing right now. I’m waiting for my equilibrium to right itself because my world has just been knocked off kilter.

Actually, I’m on auto-pilot. I get up. Run through a quick email check. Take a quick shower. Run the kids to school. Go to the hospital. Give Kevin a sponge bath. Change his clothes. Help transfer him to his wheelchair. Set up the laptop so he can work. Sit around while he works. (WHY does a body get SO TIRED just sitting around?) Wheel him around the hospital – mainly just to get him out of his room (if it’s a nice day, we go outside. If not, we sit by the window and watch traffic go by). Help him transfer back to his bed. Make sure he’s peed and is comfortable enough for his afternoon nap. Go back home. Go through mail and email, throw a load of laundry in the wash. Clean up the kitchen. Maybe take a nap. Pick up dinner. Take it back up to Kevin. Watch a movie with him. Then make sure he’s comfy and has everything he needs within reach for the long, and lonely, night ahead.

That has been my routine since getting back into Springfield two weeks ago.

In fact, it’s now been over four weeks since Kevin’s motorcycle accident. It’s been one helluva a ride and one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I would never wish for anyone to go through the sheer terror of wondering if a loved one, a person who I fiercely love, would live or die. Or not knowing if that loved one would ever walk again. Of living through three surgeries and then wonder if somehow the anesthesia didn’t somehow erase his memory and he doesn’t know who you are, or what he’s doing in the hospital, judging by the bewildered and scared look he gives you after coming out of his drugged state.

Or following that loved one in an ambulance back to Springfield knowing that every bump of the truck was probably causing him excruciating pain. Of seeing numerous nurses and doctors (so many, in fact, that they all start to look alike after a while) come and go in and out of his room so many times that it’s almost a shock when we’re left alone.

I never, in my wildest dreams, ever imagined anything like this would ever happen to us. When I got the phone call, the one every wife dreads, my brain prevented me from processing the full impact of what I was hearing. Even though I heard the sirens in the background, heard the urgency in the guy’s voice, even calling the guy back and finding out that Kevin had been hit head on, then flew through the air to land on his lower back across a concrete guard rail, did not really shake me out of my horror-induced, dream-liked state.

When I saw Kevin, he looked fine. The witness and the doctors all told me, he was moving. He never lost consciousness. In fact, the first thing he did was raise his arms and wiggle his fingers, just to ensure he would be able to play guitar again.

Even when they handed me his clothes, helmet, boots and gloves in a “Personal Belonging’s” white plastic bag and I pulled them out to see they had cut Kevin’s jeans and t-shirt in half, the face of his helmet scuffed and scarred where he landed on the gravel, a huge hole in the palm of his right glove, did it really dawn on me that this was serious.

He looked fine. He was breathing. I thought we had dodged the bullet. God had protected him. He would be fine in a day or two. Doctors would talk about his miraculous recovery from such a serious accident.

Our lives would not change. Things would be fine.

It wasn’t until he had been wheeled into the Intensive Care Unit and the doctor called me and the boys to the side to show us his pelvis x-rays did it truly HIT ME that things would not be fine – at least, not for a very long time.

Kevin was seriously injured. His pelvis had shattered – he compared it to a bag of glass.

And it wasn’t until the doctor looked into my eyes and told us, me, the boys and Kevin, that no one in Springfield would touch him, that no one in Springfield had the skills necessary to put Kevin’s pelvis back together again did the seriousness of our situation truly, and honestly, hit me.

Kevin may not walk again.

Even though that sounds serious, it IS serious, I’ve never taken it seriously. I’ve never really entertained the thought that Kevin wouldn’t walk – I’ve always just thought it would happen at one point. I’ve never really toyed with the idea that he could remain in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. And throughout this whole ordeal, I’ve never really allowed myself to think “what if” because there was one part of my brain that simply refused to go down that dark road.

Yes. I’ve had moments when I thought of everything that could have happened – he could have been paralyzed. He could have had brain damage. He could have had internal bleeding. He could have damaged an organ.

He could have died.

And I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that there were moments that took me by surprise and I simply broke down and cried. Not the silent, tears running down my face sort of crying, but the ugly, I’m crying so hard I’m hiccuping sort of crying.

The first time happened after his first surgery. The anesthesiologist had gone over all of the risks of putting him under and even though I’ve heard it all before through various avenues throughout the years, it was quite different when it applied to someone I loved with all my heart. It was scary. I was scared. So I was on edge before he even went in for his first surgery.

I tried not to be nervous. I tried to be brave. I tried to distract myself. But inside, I was unraveling. A small, insignificant thread of control was beginning to loosen so by the time his first surgery was over and they told me that he was in recovery, I simply lost it.

I cried so hard I couldn’t even catch my breath.

I had sufficiently regained control of myself by the time Kevin was wheeled back to his room.

I was relatively calm after his second surgery. I think I was stuck on auto-pilot at that point. I was focused entirely on Kevin – making sure he was as comfortable as humanly possible. Everything, and I mean everything, even the boys, faded into the background and all I could think about was being there for my husband.

I lost it again after his third surgery. We had been told that the third surgery would be no big deal – a piece of cake compared to his other two surgeries.

They were wrong.

The bone that anchors the ball joint of his leg into his hip had shattered. They had to take the tiny shards of bone and screw them together again. They had to insert two small plates in order to reconstruct what should have been there.

The surgery was considered a success and the doctors were pleased, but it was the last straw. As soon as the doctor left, I broke down and cried again.

The last time was when the family all came up to Columbia to visit Kevin the weekend before he was released. Their love and support simply took my breath away and their overwhelming sympathy was my undoing.

I lost it a third time.

I had to step out of the hospital at one point because I started feeling claustrophobic. I don’t know what was going on that day, but the stench of sickness was simply overwhelming. I couldn’t breathe. My heart started beating fast and I had to step out of the hospital and sit on a bench, gasping for fresh air.

It gave me a moment to clear my head. I regained control of my raging emotions and prayed for strength.

These are really the only moments that I can recall really giving in to my emotions. The rest of the time, I’ve been on autopilot. Yes. Our situation has been stressful. Yes. There have been moments that I’ve been scared and unsure. But for the most part, I’ve simply functioned, concentrating instead on trying to take care of myself, getting enough to eat, trying to find a quiet place to sleep, so that I would have enough strength to take care of Kevin.

It’s been four weeks and two days since Kevin’s accident and I still find myself on autopilot. Though life is starting to slow as we near the time for Kevin to come home and I have the time to reflect on my life, both past and present, I’m still stuck in that mode.

I think it might be safer that way. At least, for now.