Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Anniversary!

On June 25, 2005, Greg and I were married! So, this year we celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary! Our wedding day was the best day of my life! I decided that we should do something to celebrate, so I took Greg out to dinner! We haven't been on a "date" since before the accident. We always loved going out to dinner. We went to Lucille's and had a great time. I think going out made Greg feel "normal," so it was good for him. I had fun was nice to be able to go out with my husband....but it also made me feel a little sad. I miss the "old" days. The first few years of our marriage were probably the best years of my life up to this point. On every anniversary, I like to watch our wedding DVD. When we were planning our wedding, we thought that we wouldn't need a videographer. But, thank God, we ended up getting one. Our wedding DVD is so special to me and I am soooo happy that I have it! This year, it was even more fun watching our DVD because Ellie is so interested in it! (She has taken an interest in "getting married" the past week. Even before talk of our anniversary and watching the DVD, she put my shirt on her head like a veil and said "I got married!") She sat through and watched most of the DVD. She has asked to watch it a couple of time since. She tells me that she want to, "watch mommy get married!" I think Greg enjoyed watching it also because today he told me, "I had fun watching our wedding DVD!" Greg also keeps telling me, "Happy Anniversary" even though it was a couple of days ago now. :) I love my hubby and I am so happy to be celebrating 6 years!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A LOOOOONG Overdue Update (Part 3)

April 2011
On April 1st, Greg FINALLY had an appointment to be evaluated for physical therapy through Kaiser. He had not had any therapy since December. So, now he is getting therapy one time a week for 30 min...not very much, but it's something. I really wish he could go back to Casa Colina, but it is not covered by his insurance. PT is really working on getting Greg to use a walker. Greg learns through repetition. The more he does something, the more it "sticks." So, we just keep working on using the walker and do things the same way every time. It is still a work in progress, but he is improving. I am continually praying about this...commanding all his muscles to loosen and declaring that HE WILL WALK!
Later in the month, Greg also had an Oc
cupational Therapy evaluation at Kaiser Fontana. So now he is also getting OT one time a week for 30 min. The main focus right now is getting his arm straighter and loosening arm/shoulder muscles.
April 2nd was the 2 year "anniversary" of Greg's accident. All I will say about that is that it was a tough day (actually even the week leading up to it was tough) for me. The very next day, we went to Arrowhead to visit our friend Miriam. This is the same hospital that Greg
was airlifted to. This was the first time I had ever been back there since the accident. I really had to work at holding it together. Actually, my dad drove us there because I wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. The thing that saved me is that she was in a different ICU than I didn't wait in that waiting room (actually I refused to go in there)...or walk past the room where he was.
April 15 was a GREAT day!! My brother and sister
-in-law welcomed their first child into the world!! Baby Ethan is just perfect! He was 3 weeks early and had to stay in the NICU for a week because his lungs were not completely matured. But now he is 9 weeks old and I think he is probably the BEST baby EVER! He's just so sweet and we love him sooo much!

At the end of April, Ellie got sick AGAIN! Ahhhh....I was sooooo frustrated! I HATE sickness and I HATE having a sick baby girl. She had a high fever for about 3 days and then broke out in a rash. So, we're pretty sure she had a virus like Roseola. Once Ellie was all better, she got to hold her baby cousin. She absolutely loves him and she loves holding him!

Something we don't get to do very often is go on "outings." I had Spring Break this month and I really wanted to do something. So, we went to the zoo! My mom and dad, Greg, Ellie, and I all went. It was nice to so something somewhat "normal." Greg still talks about going! I love that he his able to handle more and more lately!

May 2011
On the 2nd, I celebrated my 28th birthday! It wa
s great that Greg was home for my bday and I love that he is able to tell me Happy Birthday, but something about it still wasn't the same. The day after my birthday, we were on our way to Kaiser Fontana for Greg's therapy and were rear-ended. The damage was minor and no one was hurt...but just another thing to deal with. And...we didn't make it to Greg's therapy. :( May 26th was the last day of my temporary contract, so back to unemployment.

June 2011
So here we are in June! We are just trying to enjoy summer! There are no big updates on Greg...he's just continuing his one day a week therapy. Today he had therapy and he had a good day. His OT started by working out his arm and getting it as straight as possible. We have a lot of work to do in this area. Then they worked on transferring from the wheelchair to the commode and back. The OT is trying to help Greg to become as independent as possible, so he's trying to teach Greg how to do this on his own. Greg does not transfer completely on his own yet, but he's getting closer and closer! Then PT helped Greg use the walker. Often times, he forgets to push the walker forward. He'll just keep steppin
g forward and neglect the walker, but then he ends up leaning back completely. This of course would cause him to fall if someone wasn't there supporting him. Today, Greg pushed the walker forward completely on his own!! The PT said that this is the best he has ever done with the walker. I love hearing things like this!

Well, I have to apologize for being so wordy and long-winded! This turned into more of a family update than a Greg update! Hopefully, I can keep this up a little better so I don't have to write such long posts!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A LOOOOONG Overdue Update (Part 2)

Ok...I think I'm finally ready to start on my second part of this update! I got a little sidetracked the last couple of days with trying to plan Ellie's 2nd birthday party! In my last update, I brought you up to speed with some of the most important things that happened in are you ready for 2011?

January 2011
Not only was Greg's right ankle tight (he had surgery in Dec. for this), but his right arm is also very tight at his elbow. He can't completely straighten his arm, so this makes it very hard for him to do many things. It is tight for a couple of reasons. Since he was in a coma for so long without moving his arms, this tightness formed. Also, it has been explained to me that with traumatic brain injury, the brain basically sends signals to some of the muscles to tighten. So, in order to fight this tightness, Greg got a splint to wear on his arm. It has a spring mechanism, so every so often, I can increase the tension so we can get his arm straighter. I started off by putting the splint on him for a few hours every day, but it was really uncomfortable for him and kinda made him grumpy. So now he wears it at night and it seems to work better. I'm just now trying to add in a couple of hours during the day.

Another big thing that happened in January...I got rehired! All of the teachers who were laid off are on a list called the 39 month list. This list is ordered by seniority. So, when the district needs to fill a position, they use this list. There were approximately 20 people still ahead of me, but they all turned down the job that I ended up taking. The job was a temporary, part time English Language Development position. It was turned down by other teachers because they could make more money subbing (w/ their teacher per diem), but I didn't really want to sub and work full days. So, this position seemed perfect! I worked 3.5 hours a day. I had 5 groups of kids for 30 mins a day (each) and taught English Development lessons. It was challenging, but it was nice to be in the classroom again. I have always thought that it would be wonderful to be a stay-at-home mom at least for a few years, but now that isn't a reality for me. With Greg not working, I don't have a choice....I HAVE to work. I'm not really sure what is going to happen with my job in the long run, but the Lord has provided thus far and I know He's not going to leave me now!

February 2011
Greg got a cast on his leg after the surgery in Dec. and we finally had an Ortho appointment to have it checked out again! It's sometimes difficult to schedule appointments with his Ortho! She said that the cast was ready to come off, but decided to keep it on until Greg was fitted with a brace. So, on Feb 17th, Greg FINALLY got his brace and his cast came off for good! The purpose of the brace is to hold his ankle in position so that it doesn't drop again. He wears it for several hours a day. Now, we are ready to focus on getting him walking! We try to get him up and walking several times a week. He needs a lot of help right now with the walking, but he is making improvements. Feb. also marked one year since Greg began to talk again. It was 10 months after the accident when his first word was spoken. For Christmas, we got Greg a computer game that is supposed to help the brain. He plays the game for 15 minutes each session. I try to get him on the game several days a week. I think the game has been really good for him because we started to see a huge improvement in his short term memory! He didn't used to remember things that happened the previous day, or even several hours before. Now, he is remembering A LOT MORE!! Since the time of the accident, Greg has not had control of his bladder and bowels. One of the biggest barriers is the fact that he will not tell me when he needs to use the bathroom... he'll tell me after, but not before. So one day in feb., we had just finished eating lunch and Greg told me, "Okay, I think I'm ready to use the restroom now." So, I said. "Okay!!!" and took him straight there...and he went. It might seem small, but I was SUPER proud of him for this! This is still a struggle for us, but Greg does tell me sometimes when he has to go. It's a work in progress (and a prayer point)!

March 2011
This month started out a bit challenging when Ellie got sick with the stomach flu. Not fun...but she got over it quickly! We got a great surprise this month! Some friends of ours from the church that we used to go to (Claremont Foursquare) threw us a surprise party! It was meant to celebrate the progress that Greg has made and to just get everyone together again. What a great time we had! We even had a couple of friends who traveled out from Colorado! It was so great for me because it showed me that people do still think of us and care about us. Life goes on for everyone else, but this is my reality, this is my daily life right now. So, it is awesome when others take time out from their daily lives for us. This really touched me! The rest of the month was a bit challenging for me. I had to deal with medical bills and collections. Also, my baby girl got sick again! This time she had a fever. I took her to the doctor and he prescribed antibiotics. Well, she had a reaction to the antibiotics...I think she was having severe pains in her tummy...and she SCREAMED for probably 6 hours straight. I almost took her to the ER because I didn't know what was wrong and obviously this is not normal. But, she eventually went to sleep and seemed better. So, I took her back to her doctor the next day and we came to the conclusion that the antibiotics were more than likely the culprit. Her fever had already broke, so we stopped the antibiotics and she was soooo much better! Then, on March 31, a family friend was in a severe car accident. She is home and doing better now, but she is still recovering. Of course this all hit home because it happened 2 days before the "anniversary" of Greg's accident.

See part 3 for more updates!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A LOOOOONG Overdue Update (Part 1)

So, it has been nearly a year since my last blog! My intention was
to keep up on blogging...but obviously that didn't happen! I am going to TRY to do a better job...but I won't make any promises. Since so much has happened in the last 11 months, I am going to go month by month and give the highlights of what happened. I will try not to be too wordy because this could be a VERY long blog! When I last wrote, Greg was at the Casa Colina Rehab Hospital and he was just beginning to eat. So here is what has happened since then!:

July 2010
Greg quickly got the hang of eating. He (still to this day) eats every single drop of food on his plate! We had a home visit by a couple of Greg's therapists. They wanted to see if our home would be a safe place for Greg to be once he was discharged. The visit went well and we didn't have to do any major renovations. On July 30th, we celebrated Ellie's 1st birthday!! We had a huge first b-day party for her that Greg was able to attend! He wouldn't have wanted to miss his baby girl's birthday party!

August 2010
Greg did such a great job eating, that they were able to take him completely off tube feedings AND he got his g-tube out!! He had not had a single bite of food for 15 months and had the g-tube for 16 months. So, it was a HUGE deal that it came out! It felt like major progress! Greg was also starting to get himself around in the wheelchair really well. So well, in fact, that he had to wear a bracelet that would alarm when he went through certain doors of the hospital. The alarm system failed and Greg got himself outside of the hospital! Then he went down a short flight of the wheelchair! He was okay, but got scrapes on his forehead, right arm and knee. At the end of the month, Greg was moved to the Transitional Living Center (TLC) at Casa Colina. The TLC is a more home-like environment. It's meant for patients who don't necessarily need to be in a hospital anymore, but are not fully ready to go home. He got several hours of therapy a day and he was able to interact with other patients a lot more. The end of August also marked the beginning of the school year. I was still laid-off. The district does their re-hiring using the seniority list of teachers who were laid-off. I'm pretty far down the list, so there was no job for me. I subbed two days the first week, but then decided that I couldn't handle it. So, I didn't continue subbing for the time being.

September 2010
Greg continued with therapy at the TLC. Once a week he got to go on outings: bowling, Victoria Gardens, Montclair Plaza, etc. That was really good for him! A big thing that happened this month is the close of escrow on our condo. We bought our condo brand new in 2005. It was the only place we ever lived together. We have so many memories there. It was such a difficult decision, but I knew there was no other way, I had to sell. It was a short sale actually (we owed more than the house was now worth). I knew that I couldn't afford it since I was laid-off. Plus, when Greg came home, I knew he'd be in a wheelchair...stairs and wheelchairs don't mix well!

October 2010
At the beginning of the month, I was told that Kaiser would no longer cover the TLC, so that meant Greg was coming home! It was wonderful to know that he'd be home soon (after a year and a half!), but it was also a little disappointing because he definitely still needed therapy and the TLC could really help him more. Then, I found out that Casa Colina was going to allow Greg to stay for 2 extra weeks...on them! Greg's doctor allowed this because of the fall that he had down the stairs. He should not have been able to get out of the hospital. Their system failed. So, this was their way to compensate for the fall and the set back that he had because of it. Then on October 18th, GREG CAME HOME!!!! It was quite an adjustment for me because Greg needed help with everything and he couldn't be left alone. I also had a 14 month old who needed help with everything and couldn't be left alone! So, it was a challenge! But, living with my parents has been great because they are always willing to help out when needed. Greg's parents also live around the corner and are willing to help out whenever. Overall though, the adjustment was pretty smooth. Greg did perfectly fine with it!! He's happy to be with his family! :) I love having him home...I especially love seeing his smiley face first thing in the morning!

November 2010
Greg was able to go back to Casa Colina for outpatient therapy! It was wonderful and I really liked all of his therapists! On November 18th, we celebrated Greg's 28th birthday! The day after Greg's b-day, we had some family over to celebrate! We had a great time...I think Greg felt pretty special! Of course, we also celebrated Thanksgiving. It was just awesome to have Greg home for the holidays! This month, we also had a friend of ours take some family pictures for us. It was a challenge!! But, I'm happy with the pics and will always treasure them!

December 2010
This month started off with a surgery for Greg. He has a lot of tightness all over his body, including his right ankle. He had a contracture that was pretty severe. He couldn't put his foot flat on the ground. When he was standing, it basically looked like he was standing on his tip toes (rt foot only). So, he had his Achilles tendon lengthened. The surgery included a one night hospital stay. But, Greg did wonderfully! He didn't have any pain and he really didn't complain about it at all. His therapy at Casa was stopped and he also had to wear a cast for awhile. But, the surgery was successful and his foot is now flat. Then, we celebrated Christmas! What a wonderful holiday it was!

Well, I'm getting a bit tired of typing and I'm sure you're getting tired of reading. So, I'm going to end my post here and continue on with another update later!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Update to come!

I realize that I have totally failed with this whole blog thing! In the next couple of days, I will post a complete update and hopefully some new pics! I'm actually kinda upset with myself that I haven't been able to keep this up...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Greg is starting to eat!!!

This week has been a really good week for Greg. He has made so much progress in the (almost) 3 weeks that he has been at Casa Colina. Last Friday, during his speech therapy session, he ate a spoonful of vanilla pudding. I was sooooo proud of him and it was very neat for me to be there and see him do that. I love his speech therapist and the way that she interacts with him. Then on Monday, they stopped his tube feedings in hopes that he would get hungry enough to eat some real food. Also on Monday, the physical therapist put a cast on his right leg. The cast is the first of a series of casts. It's called serial casting. Greg has a lot of tightness in his right ankle and this will improve his range of motion. This cast will come off next Monday and a new cast will be put on. We were concerned that Greg would put up a bit of a fight when the cast was being applied. But, he actually did really well. He doesn't really like the cast. He says, "It sucks." It makes it harder for him to move his leg because it is so heavy, but he is doing just fine with it on. Tuesday was a big day....sort of a turning point! He ate a WHOLE cup of pudding during speech therapy! Now, remember I was excited when he took one bite? So, imagine how exciting it was to hear this! He not only ate the pudding, but he also fed it to himself. The speech therapist held the cup, and he scooped! Since Greg did this, the speech therapist decided to put him on a diet. He is now getting three meals a day...and tube feeding only at night. All his food has to be pureed and his liquids have to be nectar consistency. Someone has to be there while he is eating and we cannot just bring him food yet. Greg doesn't cough or show any other signs of aspiration (meaning the food/liquid is going into his lungs), but they are still taking precautions in case he is a silent aspirator (which I believe he is NOT!) On Wednesday, I got there at lunchtime and the nurses were struggling with getting him to eat. So, I said I would help him because I knew that he would do better with me. He ate a whole cup of pudding, a whole cup of orange juice, and half of the mashed potatoes on the plate. Today, I was also there during his lunch. He ate cut up strawberries with his speech therapist. He also ate all his pudding, some applesauce and about half of the pureed chicken. So, we are off to a good start with eating! He is still getting 50% of his calories from tube feeding at night.

Not only is he doing good eating, but yesterday during physical therapy, he did a great job walking! He used the walker and walked a good 20 feet, maybe more. It's always exciting for me to see this! The physical therapist said this was the best she's seen him walk because he kept his trunk straighter than before.

Greg is just so cute! He says the sweetest things! I love him soooo much! Ellie is not allowed inside the hospital (kids under 14 are not allowed) so we have to visit in the cafeteria or outside. So, she doesn't get to go with me everyday. Greg always tells me, "I miss that baby girl." This week he started telling me, "I thought she was going to be a boy, but she's a girl. That's a good thing!" Last week, I was able to bring her on Fri, Sat, and Sun, so Greg was really happy about that! He told me the other day, "I love you and Ellie together." One day, he didn't want to give the CNA his arm to take his blood pressure. So I had to tell him that he had to have it done. The nurse said, "Wow. You really listen to your wife." He said, "She's my wife." Then he said, "I have to listen to her. You can't be mean to your wife." Oh the things that he says just bring a smile to my face. He always says he want to marry me again and renew our vows. So I tell him that we'll go to Hawaii and do that!

Greg is such a sponge! He is relearning things at a fast rate. He copies things that are said and done, just like a child would do. It is so important to be careful about what you say and do around him. The nurses and therapists (and me too!) work hard at discouraging any bad behaviors or things that he should not be saying/doing. He has to learn what is appropriate. This is REALLY important to his recovery. But most of all he needs encouragement and positive reinforcement. He responds so well to a simple "You're doing good Greg!"

Although this has been a great week, I have been going through a lot of different emotions. Greg and I dated for 6 years before we got married. One of the things that I really looked forward to when we were about to be married was the fact that I would be able to wake up next to him every morning for the rest of my life. For the past 15 months, we have not been able to do that. Every day I miss him being by my side, but the other night as I was trying to sleep, I REALLY missed having him next to me. But, as my best friend told me, I have that to look forward to again. When you share every intimate detail of your life with someone, like Greg and I did, it's hard to suddenly not have that anymore. He was the first person I would talk to about everything and I was the first person that he'd talk to about everything. He is recovering and we will get back to that, but that doesn't make the mean time easier. So tonight as you fall asleep next to your husband or wife, thank God that you have him/her by your side!

By Jesus' stripes, Greg WAS healed! Greg has the mind of Christ!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just an Update....

Hello all! I just wanted to give you an update on what has happened the past few days. I was told that the average stay at Casa Colina for a traumatic brain injury (TBI) patient is 4-6 weeks! Greg has a lot to work on in that time period!! When I got there yesterday, he was in the standing frame. He was doing really well and he was standing pretty straight. The pictures show him in the standing frame. In the one with me, he was showing me that he's taller than me!

Greg has been pretty happy at Casa Colina, but he keeps saying that he wants to go home. He says, "My baby is waiting for me." Everyone keeps telling him that he's here to work hard so that he CAN go home. He has to do this therapy first and there are a lot of things that he has to do (like walk, eat, etc, etc) before he can go home. I don't think this concept has completely sunk in yet, but we'll just keep repeating it.

Today when I got there, Greg was sitting in his wheel chair in his room, watching TV. There is a phone in the room and it was on his lap. There's an on/off button on it and the phone was on. I asked him what he was doing with it and he said, "Calling you." Also today, he drank water from a cup! This is something that sounds so small to most people, but it's a big deal for Greg because he has not done this in 15 months. You can see him doing this in the picture to the left. He put the cup up to his mouth, tipped his head back, and put the water in his mouth. Then...he swallowed it!! Yay! After that, Greg had to go to Audiology. They check the hearing of every patient who is getting Speech Therapy. The woman conducting the hearing test put earbuds in both of his ears and she explained to him that he needed to raise his hand when he heard a sound. I was kinda wondering if Greg would perform correctly. I sat right next to him and watched him intently because I couldn't hear what he was hearing. It was so cute to watch. He was really concentrating...then I'd see him lift his hand every few seconds! He did great! And his hearing is normal as well. After Audio, he went to PT. He was very sleepy in PT today. Oh well, he'll do better tomorrow. He was supposed to get a cast on his leg today. His right ankle is very tight and he doesn't put his foot flat. The procedure is called serial casting and it is a noninvasive way to improve his range of motion. He didn't get it today because the Physical Therapist wanted to hold off a few days. She thought it might be a little too soon and she wanted to speak with the doctor about it first. She is thinking we'll go ahead with it on Monday though.

Another thing that Greg did on his own today was brush his teeth! He also gave himself mouthwash out of a cup and then spit it back into the tray. It is so great to see him doing things for himself. I am learning a whole new approach with Greg. He used to not be able to do anything for himself, so everyone did everything for him. He has become a bit lazy. He'll even say, "You do it for me." So, now we have to MAKE him do things on his own.

I'm almost done...I promise! Since I was taking pics, I gave Greg my camera. If I would've done this a few months would've ended up on the floor...broken. Anyway, he took a pic of me! It's not a great pic, but I like it because Greg took it. I didn't even have to show him how to take the pic...he knew what to do! Ok...I'm done...THE END!

"Greg can do all things through Christ who strengthens him!"