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 2010...so are you ready for 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!
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)!
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!