Tuesday, August 31, 2010

...and the blind WILL see!

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him." John 9:1-3

There are so many things that happen in life that are kind of, well...miserable. There are children with birth defects, some are born and grow up with out a parent or both, sometimes it's cancer in a family member (or yourself), a natural disaster destroys life as you know it, you lose a job, someone very close to you dies, or a car accident forever changes your life. None of these things are fun, and I know the first question asked is "why?" I don't believe that there is always an answer like we would like, but I do know that there was a man born, many years ago that was born blind. The reason? So that the power of God could be seen in Him. If that's the only reason that the accident happened, and the only reason Cale is having to go through all of this, so be it. I pray that the power of God would be seen though Cale, through me, through our marriage, and through every part of this journey. I pray that God receives all the glory for every continued breath that Cale takes, and for every day that I get to see his smile, be wrapped in his hug, feel his kiss, and hold his hand.

“But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” John 9:25 Praise God for all the blessings!

Today for PT and OT we went on an outing to the Stanford mall. Cale did so good! We were out for a long time, so he had to use his legs to move the chair (still not using arms to help...) and there were people all around. it wasn't too crowded so that was a good thing. Before we left we stopped at a yummy dessert place and Cale picked out a 3 Layer Chocolate Mousse :)

Cale loved it and gave it a thumbs up when I asked how he liked it :)

Yay for us!

After enjoying his delicious dessert (I helped a little...!), Patricia worked with automatic things, like counting. She said singing, counting, and saying the alphabet, all use the right side of his brain so maybe we'll get something from that, as far as some voice! He didn't get any sound, but he did really well! He starts out with "one"...


A Forever Friend...
"Everyone needs a forever friend" this is what I was told a couple weeks ago. "Do you have one Kathleen?" "Well, I most certainly do, quite a few in fact!" I replied with a cheesy smile. "I know you might have a lot of friends, but do you have a friend, that has been there before this situation in your life, and before married life? A friend that will continue to be there with you, through anything life brings, no matter the distance between you?" Again, with a cheesy smile, I replied "Yep! I sure do!" :) I'm so blessed aren't I?!

Meet one of my forever friends...

Her name is Rachel. She flew out right after the accident to be with me, a month later, again in July, and tonight I get to see her again. She's an amazing friend and I'm truly blessed. We have a a few adventures planned while she's here, of course that means I'll be away from Cale a lot. It's going to be a challenge for me and him, but it'll be good. I've talked with all the staff about it and I've talked to Cale several times, trying to prepare him a little. I've probably been a little crazy with the preparation actually...I have set a whole bunch of stuff up, wrote a list of stuff for staff to try if he gets worked up while I'm gone. I was given a recorder to record my voice that they can play for him, I've been working with him to use his cell to call me (he needs help with this), all the therapist and nurses know to write notes of therapy's and other things I miss, in a little journal, and of course there are pictures and scripture all over the room for him to be reminded. I realize it's all a little over the top, but...I know he hates it so much when I'm gone even for an hour, so, if I can try my best to make it as comfortable as possible I'm going to try my hardest! :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Treasure Like No Other

Yesterday, I was informed by Rebecca (RT), that her and Cale had a "Top Secret" project to work on in their session. So, for an hour I had gone back to Fisher House to get a few things done. Well, today I was allowed to see this project...

Rebecca said that she let Cale choose the color and then he painted it, with just a few ques when he needed more paint on his brush. She also put out a whole bunch of stickers for him to choose. He picked the ones he wanted and she said he put them all on, changed them a little and made it clear to her that he had it done, just the way he wanted! It's perfect! I can't believe he did it! She said at the beginning she had told him that the project was for him to decorate the frame for me. She said he was so focused the whole time and didn't get frustrated or distracted! this is a huge thing for him because...that's what always happens :) He made something for me, and even the stickers are so perfect. He is amazing!

1) a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage
2) advancement in general.
3) growth or development; continuous improvement
4) the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.
5) forward or onward movement
6) the forward course of action, events, time, etc.

I love progress. Everyday Cale is doing something new. Sometimes, even though I'm with him every day I miss things, until it's been a couple days. Most of the time, i'm the first to point something out. Either way, I love it all. Today was the first day Cale used both hands to put his socks on. So far, we have to put the socks over his toes, and he'll use his left hand to pull them up. Monica (OT) handed Cale the sock (instead of starting it for him) and encouraged him again to use both hands, and he did! Yay! Good job Cale! Also, he's been controlling his drool a lot! This is a big deal because it means he's swallowing more. For him to start eating good and on his own, he needs to get those muscles working...the way to strengthen the muscles is to swallow! :) Dr. Ryan (the Resident) has left and now we have Kathryn. She came in and introduced herself (and Cale shook his head no when she asked if I was his wife...!) and did the normal check up on Cale. For every check up, they put the stethoscope to Cale chest and then his back and ask him to take a deep breath. He used to not be able to do this when asked, but every time she asked, Cale took a deep breath for her. It brought such a BIG smile to my face...way to go Handsome! Every little step is a miracle.

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. Job 5:9

Sunday, August 29, 2010


This morning I went to church with the Andrions (the family that has Basil) and it was so nice! I know there are some people that just don't want to have anything to do with church. There are some that believe they can still have a walk with the Lord with out ever going, and there are some that go just to go. For me, I believe there is something very powerful and refreshing when a group of people, who all love Jesus get together and worship Him. I love it. I can count with my fingers all the times I've gone to church since the accident, and it's not very many. With all the hospital stuff and finding time to get away for a service, it gets tricky. Now that there is Chapel that Cale can go to, I've been wanting to do that. It's not my normal choice of a service, but I know that the Word is read, and God promises it will not go out void, so I know it's a good thing for Cale to be a part of! My thought and plan in motion is to go out to a church every other week, and go to the chapel with Cale every other week. Of course, eventually, I want him to go with me to church! :)

This morning we studied in Genesis 25-27. The sermon was about Isaac, but I was reminded this morning of something that even though I've told myself so many times, and I've heard it so many times, my heart was open to actually receiving it this morning. I was able to hold on to the truth in the statement, which springs so much more hope! Pastor Jim (it would be very embarrassing if that's not his name...) was talking about Rebekah (Isaac's wife) and how she wanted to have children so bad. My ears perked up when that topic started...then he said, "God will always answer your prayers. It may not be what I want, but it will always be better." Again, I've told myself this a bazillion times since February, but hearing the words today, challenged my heart so much. Do I truly believe that? Do I truly believe that God's answer to my desperate prayers are going to be better than what I'm asking? I think that Friday, when all I sang over and over was "Have Your Way" (the song on my video), gave me the open heart to hear and be challenged today. Hmm...I hope this all makes sense!

After church I went straight to the hospital to be with Cale. I love when I walk in, and I see his big smile and arms open to hug me!! I was giving him a hug at one point with my head was on his chest, and he kissed the top of my head! Awe! I love, love, love it! I was also reminded today when I was talking to Alana, that it's such a change from when he was pushing me away not too long ago. Now he won't let me go! Praise God that season is over, and I pray it doesn't come back! I'm completely spoiled now with all his lovin' he gives me! :)... :)!!!

After all of Cale's therapy's he wanted to go outside for a little while. I had seen some skateboarders outside so I knew Cale would want to go watch. I was right ;) I found him a good shady spot (eyes still hurt from the sun) and pointed out for him to watch one of the guys. At first he didn't seem to know what was happening, but when the guy jumped (or whatever they call it!) on the rail, both of Cale's arms flew up and he was pointing and waving...so cute! He knew! He remembered and it made him happy :) Every time the guy would mess up, Cale would shrug his shoulders and when the guy landed perfectly, Cale clapped for him! He hasn't done much skating since he's been in the Army, but he used to be quite the skater! I told him I will try my hardest to find a skate park around here so when I have the pass to take him out, we'll plan a date!

After the guys left we went to the Fisher House just to grab some food for my tummy, and Cale wanted to stay. I transferred him to the bed and we fell asleep for 45 minutes! He usually will get in bed with me and 15 minutes later, he wants to leave, but this time, I had to get him back to the hospital for his meds. He would have stayed a lot longer. SO great...

Here's us back at the hospital :)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A little cuddle time with Basil :)

Last night I got away. In NC I would stay with Nikki on Saturday nights and it was such a good break away. It was usually hard, I would call the hospital a lot checking on Cale and I thought about him constantly, but it was always great to have girl time with Nikki :) Well, the family that is keeping Basil for me, just happens to be a family with 3 girls! That's automatically fun! heehee! One of the best parts of the night was getting to cuddle with Basil so much! I really miss him. It's such a crazy great blessing that he gets to stay so close to us! He's so stinkin' sweet!

This morning, I was wondering how Cale was doing. I called and asked if I could talk to him, just so I could let him know that I love him and would be back soon. Well, when the nurse said he was on the phone, I said "hi!" and...Cale said hi back!!!! Again, it's still with his breath, but I got to hear him say "I love you" and everything I was saying he answered back! I'm with him all the time, and I've heard him say all those things, but it was such a special moment to talk to him on the phone! If it was this great with just breath, I can't imagine what it'll be like when I can hear his voice!

I stayed away for a good part of the afternoon. By the time I left, I had to keep reminding my foot that we weren't at a race track...I couldn't wait to get back to Cale. When I walked in his room, he had the biggest smile and was waving his arms. When I got closer he reached out for me and hugged me so tight! After that he wouldn't let me go! I love him so much.

Yesterday afternoon before I left, I was given two free tickets to a concert for tonight. Kristen and I went and had a fun time. Neither of us knew the band real well or that many of their songs, but we stayed for a while. After doing our bobbin' and woohooing, we decided we had gotten our fill and headed out early. Now it's time for some sleep :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm SGT Darling now!

First, THANK YOU everyone who took the time to watch the video! It means a lot to me. Just so everyone knows, I didn't make the video out of sadness. The night before I was all worked up about the family meeting (like I shared), but yesterday morning as I was getting ready, the song "Have Your Way" by Britt Nicole came on, and the Lord used it to take hold of my nervous heart. I believe the idea for the video was all God's doing, in fact, I had NO idea even how to make one! haha! I'm not too great with computers...even with the blog, TJ did everything, and I just had to learn how to write a new post :) It's been a hard road, but a beautiful journey. Yesterday was a bit weepy and so is today. I miss Cale, BUT look at how much we have fun together now! Everyday I feel like bits of the man I married shines through and is a reminder to my heart that he's still there and recovering more and more every day! I love the line that says "Remind me You'll take broken things and turn them into beautiful"...He already has.

Also, thank you to everyone who reads this blog. It's a place that I can pour out all my thoughts about the day, the way I'm being challenged, and all the great things that are happening in Cale's recovery! I know that there are lots of other blogs out there (I had no idea until TJ made this one!), busy schedules, and lots of commitments, but you take the time, show that you care, and spend a little time with me :) Thank you just doesn't show enough how much it touches my heart!

Well, I think we're hitting a point in the journey that Cale is deciding to make it known again what he wants and doesn't want. He's always been pretty good about it, but it's gone to a whole new level! Therapies today were a bit challenging. First, yesterday he had an eye appointment. They want to figure out if he's seeing double, if things are really blurry, or what else is going on. After about 20 minutes or so of the optometrist asking him questions and making him do stuff, Cale whips off the patch, unlocks his breaks, and starts to take off! haha! He did it in such a quick motion too! We both laughed and agreed that he was done for the day :) Today in PT, Puwan was having Cale side step, trying to strengthen his right side. Cale was holding onto the bars and Puwan was right there giving ques, but when Cale felt he was done, he turned his body and starting walking forward. Again, it gave us a good laugh. When Puwan was having Cale do some balancing, he was trying to get Cale to sit up straight and Cale was shaking his head "no"! He was not going to have any part of it! I told Cale at one point today, "I am SGT Darling now, and if you wanna get better, go home with me, and have babies, you have to get to work!" I think...well...it didn't really phase him! We did have a really good talk right before speech, which, I think it helped!

Today ST was outside, and Patricia brought ice cream. Cale did so good! The goal to start off was 10 bites, and Cale ended up finishing the whole thing! He took hold of the cup, took his own bites, and swallowed with out Patricia having to give him ques!! On his birthday, the idea is that I'll be able to take him out for ice cream, and he can have some outside of therapy. Patricia knows the goal, and she's helping us work towards that :) He also tried peaches for the first time! I was so excited for him to try it, but my heart was pounding because I didn't want him to choke! He chewed it really good, but I think it freaked him out. The second time he did try, but it was so uncomfortable for him. We'll try that again another time I think. It's gotta be weird!

The morning started off a little rough.

I was going to the BOK Ranch to ride Ranger again, but when I went to start the car...it was dead. Blah. By the time I could get help, I had missed the ride, and had to take it to the shop. Turns out I had to replace the battery (so...um...CA isn't cheap!), and get a something, something done. After several hours I picked up my little car. Hmm...wasn't I just having thoughts about trading it in? "Cale, since the Honda took time a way from us being together, can I trade it in for a Toyota Tacoma now?!" I was sure this was going to get the answer I wanted, instead...he shook his head "no". ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In an Instant.

Everything seemed perfect. He was home. Finally, we were going to be able to start our new life together. I had even titled a Facebook album, "A new life :)"...I was ready to have my husband home and not have to worry about the next deployment.

Our plans were in motion, February 8th we left Fort Drum and were headed for our across the country trip. We had planned to see the US and all that it had to offer. The second day on our trip we got a call that the blood test to see if I was pregnant was negative. We were disappointed at first, but since we were waiting to see what the next job was going to be like, we were ready to live on cereal and Ramen noodles if we needed...it didn't matter as long as we were together :)

February 10th, we were visiting friends in VA and received a call that our train to WA was going to be delayed. Before getting on the train we were going to visit with my brother in NC. Since we were not leaving for a couple days because of weather, Cale was wanting to stay in VA for another night, and I was just wanting to get to my brother's house. We ended up leaving and getting through the snow just fine. As we crossed the boarder into NC it was beautiful! We stopped to get gas and some yummy Krispy Kreme donuts to share. Life was good...and I knew it was only going to get better. The car was full of light and exciting conversation, we talked about anything and everything.

Beulaville is a small town near Jacksonville. My brother was meeting us there and then we followed him to his house. I was sending text messages letting Mama and friends know that we made it! Finally! My brother turned right on his road, and we followed behind, "Haw Branch Road" we shouted! Isn't this what perfect is like? It didn't matter that Cale no longer had a job, it didn't matter that we had been traveling and our train was delayed, which caused plans to already change...we were together, laughing, singing, and smiling.

In an instant it all changed.

There was no rewind button to push, nothing to make everything disappear. I was in an ambulance and Cale was no where to be seen. "Where is my husband?", "What happened?", "Is Cale ok?", so many questions running through my head. How do I make it go away?

Everything changed in our lives, and there was no choice to be made. It was made for us...Cale has made lots of progress and God is working so much. I'm blessed to see the miracle and be a part of it. I know that God is not finished, He's in control, and that I need to trust Him. I also know that I miss Cale and I together having fun, where time, even though short was-perfect.

I've always been very honest with letting everyone know how I'm really doing. You see when I have good days and when I have bad days. You've walked this journey with me, prayed for us, and continued to be a HUGE blessing. I am trusting God, and He has given me amazing peace from the beginning, but there is deep layers right to my core. I made this video today, hoping to show you right into my heart.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I scream, You scream, We all scream for ice cream!!

Wasn't it just yesterday that I was saying that before Cale can get on any kind of diet, he needs to be swallowing more consistently without queues?! Well, he did it today! Quite a bit actually! :) Not only that, he ate ICE CREAM!!! Now, when I made his birthday board (last week I think?), I had first put the second goal would be that he can have ice cream on his birthday. Patricia was very unsure, and said maybe we should just put, that he can have some kind of a birthday treat. She did say that it would be great if he could have ice cream, but maybe that's not a very realistic goal. Well, ladies and gentlemen...Caleb Michael Darling will be having a nice bowl of ice cream on his 24th birthday!!! Yay!! Thank you Jesus for caring about all the small things in life as well as all the big stuff!

Here's us enjoying our first bites :)

Yay!!! Such a happy moment! :)

This morning in Psych, Dr. Howe asked Cale to tell her two words, any two words. So far, Cale hasn't tried to say anything with out first being told a specific word, but when she asked he said something. We have no idea what it was, but we asked several times, and when he would say it again, each time sounded the same. It's the beginning of so many possibilities!

Tomorrow is the family meeting. I can feel in the pit of my stomach the feeling of knowing that they're just going to continue to get harder. I know I shouldn't go in with that attitude, but with knowing that the days are counting down, and that plans are already being set up for a new place...and the questions start pouring in my heart, "what if Cale doesn't meet the goals?", "what if he never becomes independent?", and then all the "what about..." questions...the Lord is my safe place when I start feeling the anchor hook in the pit of my stomach, holding back the hope that is trying so hard to shine through all the darkness. When I start to get scared about all the thoughts of the future, God is open for me to run into His loving arms, and He promises that He is my strong tower and, there, in His arms, I will be safe and so will Cale. I know that I can confidently walk into that meeting tomorrow, knowing that God, whom created Cale, is in complete control and has the final say. My hope and peace, that only God can give will continue carry us through this journey! I'm claiming it! I will have and hold onto the courage that Jesus has given me, to fight for Cale when steps are being made that aren't what he needs! Yeh!!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ready, Set, GO!!

Tonight I start off with asking for prayer for sleep. I know I've asked before, I know lots of you have been praying, but I come asking again. Usually, since the accident, my 'no sleep' comes in waves, and really, for those of you that know me well, sleep is actually something I've struggled with for a VERY long time. Well, it's not getting better. During the day, I'm so tired and as soon as I get to my room-my eyes stay open. The last couple days, I have to try so hard not to fall asleep, in the middle of doing something, but a few times, when Cale lays down to rest, I fall asleep with him. That parts not so bad though ;) I know that I won't be able to function if it keeps going like this, so if you remember, please pray for good solid sleep for me and Cale :) Thanks!!

Now, about the day...it's been good. Cale actually had a good psych session this morning. He's been having a few moments that for me, are sometimes funny, but for him, I know it's been frustrating. He's becoming even More aware of what's going on, so things are bothering him that weren't before. Sunday night, he got pretty upset that I was eating dinner and not sharing with him. I first had asked him if it was ok for me to eat in his room and he nodded "yes", but when I started eating, Cale was tapping and shrugging his shoulders. When I told him that I couldn't share with him, he got really sad and kept shrugging his shoulders. I explained everything to him, and then offered to eat somewhere else or throw it away. He didn't want me to do either, but as I kept eating, he was making a horrible face. "Cale are you ok?" He shook his head "no". "Are you hurting anywhere?" I asked. He nodded
"yes". "Can you show me where it hurts?" He tapped his heart twice, his head, his heart again, and then his head. "Your heart hurts?" "yes" he nods. "Oh dear, should I get the doctor?", he shook his head "no". Hmm...it clicks for me..."Cale, is your heart sad because I'm eating and not sharing with you?" -"yes" he nods. Poor guy! This morning, we had the same kind of thing. We've been starting to ask him to pick out what he needs to do a task, like, to brush his teeth, we'll show him, soap, lotion, toothpaste and tooth brush, and a razor, then ask him to pick which one he needs to brush his teeth. Well, he doesn't usually get it right so we have to show him the right object, and then explain why. When he pointed to the lotion today, and I showed him the right thing (doing it in a way that doesn't make him feel embarrassed) his mood and face changed right away. After that, he didn't want to do anything. "Cale, are you ok?", "no" he shakes his head. "Are you sad?", "yes" he nods. "Are you angry too?", "yes", "Is it because these things are hard for you to do, and you think it should be easy?" "yes". And then he looks at me, and I can tell how hard this all is for him. I can't imagine what must go through his head sometimes. When Dr. Howe came in for his psych session, I told her about all this, and she had a good talking time with him. It's all good stuff, just hard! :)

In OT they put him on the machine that works his right hand. The very first time they did this with him, he could barely keep his right hand on the handle, but now, he keeps a good hold of it the whole time! Good job Cale!

RT was really exciting today! Cale got to ride a bike outside! It was so much fun! On Sunday, we should be able to go out in the parking lot and then around the campus. He seemed to really love it, and he went pretty quick too. It was a hot day out, and he was wearing a black shirt, but as far as getting too tired, that wasn't a problem. Here's a video of us riding real fast! :) Like, speed racers!


He's still been doing good with swallowing. he almost ate a whole container of
pudding again. I was talking to Patricia (ST) about it, because right now, he will swallow every bite good, but he needs the direction for every step. So, when he takes a bite, we have to say "Caleb, close your lips and swallow." and then he will do it. If we don't say anything, then it just sits in his mouth and he doesn't know what to do with it, so eventually, it just drools out. I was wondering if he had do be eating consistently without the queuing before he can be put on any kind of diet, and yes, he does. It's ok, I know he's going to get there! I'm just really wanting it to be before his birthday!

Which, if you wanna send a birthday card to be apart of his special day, you can! It doesn't matter AT ALL if you don't know him! He will love getting to open all the cards and see how many people care about him! :)

Also, just within the last couple days, I have gotten some very encouraging and wonderful emails! Thank you SO much! They are just what I needed! I'm not getting discouraged about his recovery, or feeling anything negative, BUT I am very tired. Getting away from the hospital isn't the problem, I just really need good sleep, so with being so tired, it's easier to feel like this journey will just keeping going and going and going...I just said that out loud as I was typing with the voice from the guy that does the dry eyes commercial! haha! Oh dear.

Oh! I almost forgot! After lunch today, I walked in Cale's room (the door was shut) and this is what I saw...

It startled me at first and then I started laughing. I asked him "you just sitting there hanging out?" "yes" he nods... :) haha!

Monday, August 23, 2010

applesauce...of course not!

Some things will never change. When Cale was in ICU, and we were still expecting the "wake up", I had been told that sometimes after brain injuries, the person heals, liking different foods, music, activities, and things like that. Well, one of my jokes (yes, I still had silly jokes, even in ICU!) was that maybe when Cale woke up, I could tell him that he LOVES salad and veggies-everything healthy! TJ and Joe would joke and say, we needed to put Mt Dew and donuts in his IV...bad boys-that's not healthy! Cale (for those of you that don't know him), will almost NEVER touch anything that comes even close to being good for you, well, I take that back, he did like lots of fruit...but usually would add sugar! In fact, after the accident, one of the soldiers he was deployed with commented on how Cale would just sit and eat a container of frosting-gross! But, I love him still...

In ST, Patricia wanted to try some more eating because Friday was so great. I have been hoping, wishing, praying, and whatever else people do, that today would be just as great with swallowing as Friday (or better!). The session didn't start off too great. When Patricia first came, she told Cale that she was out of pudding, but she had applesauce, yogurt, thickened juice, or jello. First try, applesauce; yucky face and then out it came. Second attempt, thickened juice; yucky face and then out it came. Third attempt, offered yogurt; head shake "no". Patricia said "pudding?" Cale nodded "yes" and off she went to hunt some down! It was so funny for me to sit and watch this. He is STILL a picky eater! That stinker! She returned with vanilla pudding and he ate about half :) That part wasn't as good as Friday, but after that she tried some water, which, usually they have to have thickened liquids before but Cale did great! As long as she would ask him to close his mouth and swallow, he did so good! The forth try with water, she wanted to see if he could do it by himself, but that's when he ended up coughing. Even with a rough start, it ended up being a very successful session!

Later this afternoon a special visitor came! Kevin Edwards came to see Cale. This was Cale's closest friend in NY. They were deployed together and pretty much spent every moment together the whole year! Even when they got back, they still wanted to hang out! :) haha! It was fun getting to hang out with both of them the month before we left Drum. It was good to see his face for me and for Cale. This morning, I told Cale, Edwards was coming and asked if he remembered him. Cale nodded yes so I asked him to point to him out of all the pictures and Cale pointed right to him. When Edwards walked in Cale's room, Cale's eyes got big and he waved hi, then of course came the hug! So sweet...I feel it was extra special because since the accident, Cale has now seen his brother, TJ, and Edwards...so great!

We played a fun game of Chutes and Ladders. Cale was laughing through the whole game!

Cale was about to give him bunny ears :)

Still so silly...

When I was growing up, we always had a picture hanging in the kitchen that said "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it." -Jesus. My dad used to point this out to me all the time, and with some things that I went through with my parents, that would always come back to me. After all these years (I say that like I'm 50!), that's been coming back to me in a whole new way. Some times when I really sit and think about all that is happening and all Cale is going through, I get so frustrated. Katie and I went to dinner the other night (ended up not going to Great America) and I was telling her about a conversation I had with Rachel back in March (I think) about how at times I felt like Cale is so cheated, our marriage is so cheated. I know that through this, we have become so much stronger as husband and wife, but at a time when I see a couple being so sweet with each other and getting to do fun and great things, I'm not thinking about how this is strengthening our marriage, I'm thinking about how I miss my husband the way he was. It's hard. I'm so blessed that I can laugh with him and cuddle with him now! I love it sooo much!! Anyways, it's not easy. This whole journey hasn't been EASY, but God never promised me it would be. I just need to keep trusting, believing, and holding onto ALL of God's promises and that one day this will all be worth it, if I choose to let him take the wheel. Already so many amazing blessings has come out of this 'not so great situation' and I know so many more are to come. There will be beauty instead of ashes!

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3

My alarm that I wake up to every morning is Rita Springer "Worth It All" -such a good song!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Off to Stanford with a Basil and a Boy :)

Today was our second outing! Cale didn't enjoy it as much this time. He was again, really tired before we left the hospital, and then it was a little warmer today. A hot tired Cale and a hyper curious Basil, made for an interesting adventure! It was still fun and so great to have Basil for a couple hours.

We're a little dark in this picture, but the back ground was really neat! It was really great because Cale was trying to get Basil to look at the camera! He did that on his own!

I would like to point out how tan my arms look compared to Cale's. This is a first! Cale ALWAYS tans so great in the summer, and well...I stay...very white. I happen to be getting a little color this summer, still not as much as he usually gets, but with him in the shade all the time because the sun hurts his eyes, he's staying white...a little tidbit that you probably didn't care to know-I'm just proud of these arms ;)

Basil was too interested in a tour group to join the family picture :)

...for 5 seconds we managed to get a shot of all of us, before a little boy walked by, and Basil forgot all about us! I know we're far away, but the building was so cool!

I sure do have myself a handsome fella ;)

This next week has so much potential for lots of BIG things to happen! Tonight as I was getting Cale ready for bed, I think the both of us feel tired. Not just tired, like, we need to get a good night sleep, but also tired of this journey. It's long, draining, not exactly pleasant, and quite bumpy. I know that I felt it, but I really believe that tonight, Cale was having the very same feelings. As I was having all these different thoughts, I transferred Cale to his bed, and looked up at his wall. I have lots of scripture on his walls around the room, and tonight Psalm 31:14 stuck out to me. "But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."-as I read it, I could feel my heart soak every word up like a sponge. I trust Him. I don't understand, there's a lot of unknown, I miss Cale, but I trust the Lord 100% (or at least really try hard everyday too!) with every part of this, no matter how long it takes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

healed with a kiss...a very sweet kiss :)

This evening when Cale and I were having some good cuddle time (which he always says is his favorite time of the day!), he was trying to tell me something with pointing and tapping, when his finger happened to point right into my eye! My hand immediately covered my eye and I put my head down. Cale lifted my head, kissed the tip of his finger and then touched my eyelid!!! He's so sweet! We would always kiss each others ouch-spots before and say how they were healed, so this was an incredibly special moment.

Katie and I were talking about how the Honda is a small car, and I was joking about how I should trade it in for a Toyota Tacoma. I've always wanted one, but Cale would rather have a SUV than a truck. One of my many missions in life has been to convince Cale that we NEED to have a truck, and if it happens to be a silver double cab Tacoma, well, that's just all the better :) During the conversation with Katie, I came up with my newest proposal to Cale. I was saying that it would be so much easier transporting the wheelchair, and they have a tandem bike that the therapist are going to try with Cale next week, that we could take places and ride together. I think it's a perfectly good point...when I asked Cale, he didn't seem to think so. Me: "Cale, I was thinking, well, you know how you have a wheelchair?" Cale: head nod "yes" Me: Hmm...I was thinking, can we trade the Honda in for a Tacoma?" Cale: shook his head "no" Me: "are you just saying that because you don't like trucks?" Cale: "yes"-HA!

I'll win him over at some point. The Honda just isn't fit for our new life.

Here's a little video to all of you that are so faithful about reading this blog and praying for us! "Thank you" hasn't quite made the "I'll attempt this" list, but here is; "hi", "stay", and..."I love you"


Friday, August 20, 2010

A horse ride, an empty pudding cup, and an "I LOVE YOU"... :)!!!

After spending over an hour with Cale this morning, I headed off to the ranch for my Friday ride! I love it so much! This time Katie came along for the ride. She has experience with horses so, she's ready to get the horse movin'! We laughed about how she's going to be the one going fast saying "Come on guys!" and I'm going to be the one saying "Ahhhh!!!" haha! Good times we'll have! :)

The day was all jumbled up because Cale had another MRI done. Last time the meds they gave him didn't help him relax at all so through the whole thing, Cale was moving. This time, they upped the dose quite a bit so we're hoping it knocked him out enough ;) I should hear soon if it turned out good enough to get a plan going. I just want the darn thing gone! Poor Cale. We're all thinking that's why he's having such a hard time with certain mouth functions. He's trying really hard still!

At about 3:30pm, Patricia (ST) came in to see if Cale was ok to at least do a short session. The Nutritionist cut Cale's feeding from 720ml 4 times a day to 480ml 3 times a day. He's gained 20lbs since we've been here, which it's now been a month! He's still underweight for what he should be, but stuffing him with tube feed, isn't a very good way to gain his weight. They're also hoping this will give him more of an appetite to eat. Well, I think this afternoon he had two things helping him and I'm so excited because of it! First, the Ativan (med to calm him for the MRI) wasn't completely out of his system so he was still pretty relaxed, and also he was hungry, SO...Cale ate pudding! Lots of it! He went from 8 pretty small bites yesterday, to ALL of it! :)!!!! Patricia said she's hoping that it stays that way next week, and if so she will start giving him other stuff, which will lead to getting him on a diet of food!!! Yes! Yes! Oh yes! :)

If I had to choose my favorite pudding cup, out of all the pudding cups in the world, this one is it!

This evening when I was with Cale, I asked if he wanted to go outside for a while, and he shook his head "no", then I asked if he wanted to go to bed and he nodded his head "yes". I said "Ok, let's go to the sink and brush your teeth." Cale didn't want to go, even with me saying that before he would be able to lay down, his teeth needed to be cleaned first. We sat talking for a few minutes, and at one point I looked at him and said "I love you" and then Cale said "I love you"...!!!! It was with breath again and not very clear, BUT he tried, and this time I could make out more clear what he was trying to say. After some more tears and hugging, I told Cale he could do whatever he wanted! :) Later this evening he was on the phone with his mom and said "I love you" to her. Because it's just his breath, she wasn't able to hear so I took a little video. There's still no sound, but TJ is trying to help with it. As soon as we get the sound problem fixed, I'll get another video on!

A little encouraging message...
Hannah Hayner posted a comment on yesterday's post with a verse. Today I got a message on facebook that encouraged me so much!

Psalm 52:8 And I'm an olive tree, growing green in God's house. I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now. 9 I thank you always that you went into action. And I'll STAY right here, your good name my hope, in company with your faithful friends.

This was her message...
heyyyy! so that Scripture i just posted on your blog made me smile, because i looked up olive tree, and one thing an olive symbolized was reproduction! hehe!
also, the promised land was fulllll of olive trees! yes!!!! you're headed for that promised land!

Caleb, we're headed for the promise land! Yeehaw!!! ;) I also happen to really enjoy the "reproduction" comment! Heehee!

A few specific things to be praying for:
* Continued healing for Cale's brain-the connecting would continue!
* Apraxia (look back to my "Apraxia is the Enemy" post)
* Bowel and Bladder control-This is my biggest frustration right now...I try so hard to not show it to Cale!
* Voice!!
* Swallowing-This we are already seeing! Pray for consistency.
* Perseveration- is the repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder-VERY much a wall we keep hitting...
* Endurance-Cale is working so hard every day and things that were nothing before, are so hard for him now. It's tough.
* Memory-Post-traumatic amnesia is one of the many things Cale is battling.
* Sleep for the wife :)(I know that many of you have been praying constantly for me, for this...thank you so much!)
* Focus-that for both of us, our focus would remain on Christ and not stray away. So far, with the Lord's help and all of your prayers we've been able to keep our eyes on things of the kingdom, and I don't want to loose that. God is bringing me so much closer to Himself every minute-yesterday was such an example of that! He's also drawing Cale and I together to Him, we had a very special moment reading scripture this evening!

That's a lot more than a few...but, what can I say?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Real Life Roller Coaster

I'm not even sure where to start tonight...it's been an up, down and all around emotional kind of day. Going to a theme park is fun (Katie and I might be going Saturday!), but this journey is a real life roller coaster!

First, before I forget, yesterday Dan Wheldon, former Indy 500 champion came to visit! It was really neat! Cale who loves racing and hockey, thought it was pretty cool that this guy came to see him! I didn't have my camera with me for this first meeting, because the car was supposed to come later, so my thought was to get a picture with him and the car. Well, when we were talking to Dan, he informed us that the car wasn't coming! Oh no! I don't have my camera (this seemed so dramatic at the moment, but really my camera was right inside...), so Rene, one of the staff was sweet enough to take this picture for us. She emailed it to me today, so here we are :)

When I got to the hospital this morning, Cale was already awake in bed waiting for me. I think he hears my flip flops coming down the hall and watches for me to come :) I was just finishing getting my good morning hug and kiss, when Dr. Scott walked in. I've been waiting to talk to him more about Cale's recovery and progress that he's made so far. Why do I do that to myself? All I can think is that I want to know so I know specifically what to be praying for. Well, he told me everything and again, I really felt like he did it in a very caring way, but there is nothing easy about hearing how your husband will most likely never be able to take care of himself. As he was talking I realized something today, that wasn't the most fun (totally just typed funnest! haha!) thing to hear. When Dr. Wilhelm talked to me about Cale's prognosis, I took it as she was saying that he was going to stay at level 3 on the Rancho scale, so when they said Cale was above that, I was thinking he was already better than his prognosis. Actually, as I was listening to Dr. Scott, it was the same things that Dr. Wilhelm had told me. I remember her even saying that their hope would be that he would start to walk and become more aware. Now, I'm not saying that Cale hasn't gone further than expected, because God is doing amazing miracles, at the same time, his prognosis (medically speaking) is still the same. The mountain I thought we had already conquered, we haven't yet. There were a few tears as he was talking, and then he asked if I was ok. I said yes, and turned to look at Cale (the whole time Dr. Scott was talking to me about Cale's future, he was also talking to Cale, and encouraging him during all of it!) and Cale shrugged his shoulders. Oh dear. I love him.

I was looking back through scripture and journal entries and Matthew 6:34 was put on my heart. I love the wording of this passage from The Message; "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." WOW. I feel like this is one of those verses I have to look at EVERYDAY. Jesus always meets me where I'm at and He's very straight forward most of the time. All the good that is happening right now, is amazing, He's doing a mighty work in Caleb (what I tell Cale everyday) and that's what I need to give my entire attention on.

Cale of course has been faithful about making me smile and laugh all the time. In fact we had a pretty funny moment this afternoon. I was sitting on the side of his bed, he was in his wheel chair and I said "do you love me?" Cale shrugged. "What?! Caleb Michael, do you love me?!" Another shrug, so I threw myself backwards (to be silly), forgetting that the side rail was up on the other side...I smacked my head full force on it. Ouch. Haha! When I sat back up, both of us were laughing, and I said holding my head "Cale, do you love me?" and he nodded his head "yes" and then tapped his chest and went to tap me...but hit me in the face! This time I threw my head back, again both of us laughing! This time, Cale grabbed my head, pulled it to his chest, and started to pet my head! Awe! haha! He was comforting me :)

Later, I was reminded of our first kiss. It was the night before he was leaving to visit his friend Ben, and I was going to Kenya. While he was gone, I covered the walls of his room in post-it notes that said "I miss you" on each one. I also covered his bed in Hershey's hugs and kisses and left a card. In the card I made a comment about kissing him. Well, when I was on my way home from Kenya, he made a comment about my card and getting to kiss me. The whole flight home I was so nervous because we had only kissed once before, and I didn't know if he was going to kiss me again, and when! I was later told that him and mama had a discussion about who was going to hug me first at the airport! haha! Thinking about these special memories, makes me miss him so much! How great that even now, when he's signed off as incompetent, we can still make these sweet memories. We have some of the most amazing sweet times together and it doesn't matter at all that it happens inside the walls of a hospital...

He did a little more talking in speech today with breath! Most words that we try to get him to say, just come out as an exhale, but "stay" comes out so clear! He also ate 8 bites of pudding today! Yesterday was 4 and that was the most, until he doubled it today! Woot! He also had his first "group session" today for RT. It was him and an older man. They played balloon tennis :) Cale seems to be having a hard time with vision when both eyes are open. The therapists are thinking maybe double vision, but we just don't know yet.

Our day ended with a very special moment. I wrote a while ago about a wonderful lady in NC that contacted the Red Wings (Cale's FAVORITE hockey team!) and they were sending a signed picture of his favorite player. It came in the mail right before we left NC and all of our mail was going to Ty and Nikki's so this whole time it's been across the country. I got the package today with all the mail this evening, so I took the picture to Cale. They sent one of Pavel Datsyuk, one of the whole team, and then a really sweet letter to Cale. When I showed him the picture of Datsyuk, Cale smiled so big, and was pointing and tapping the picture! He knew who it was!!!! When I showed him the one of the whole team, he was looking at it, pointing like crazy. I read him the letter and he smiled more. He LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it!!! Thank you Michelle!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Forever I will STAY.

Ahh! Oh how sweet the day was! There's a whole story I have to get through before I can get out what happened! Eeeek! Ok...here I go! So, therapy's today were all switched around so Caleb ended up having therapy straight through lunch even. By 2pm right after PT, he was wiped out. Pat (PT) and I took him to his room and got him all situated in bed. Pat left, and I asked Cale if he wanted some quiet time. He nodded yes so I asked if he wanted me to leave, he nodded yes again. Well, his head nods aren't always correct with what he's really wanting so I asked if he wanted me to stay and he shook his head no. When I tried to get up, he grabbed my arm tighter and pulled me closer to him. I asked the same questions and he gave me the same response. Because he was not letting me leave, but saying with his head that he wanted me to go, I said "Caleb look at me. Do you want me to go or to stay?" He opened his mouth and whispered "stay"!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahhh!!!! Yes! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Thank you Jesus for such a sweet word! I jumped on his bed, tears streaming down my cheeks and hugged him so tight! "You said stay Cale! You said stay!". I was crying and hugging him, which because of my reaction, Cale started laughing at me! The word was just with breath and no voice, BUT his laugh was full of voice! I then said "say wow" and he did that too! Next I said "say love you", which he did try, but didn't come out to clear. I ran...literally...RAN out of the room hoping to find Patricia (ST), but on my way down the hall, came Dr. Howe (neuropsychologist)! I went to her, tears still coming down my face, all out of breath, and said "Cale is talking!!!". I attempted to explain to her what was happening, as we walked (very quickly!) down the hall and when we got to Cale's room, she said "Caleb, I hear your talking!" and Cale shrugged his shoulders! haha! I asked him to do it all again, and he did! Dr. Howe kept saying "Caleb, this is huge!" Awe!

The best thing about it was that his first word was "stay". I've been told A LOT lately that I need to get out and get away. With out having to take care of Basil now, I'm, for the most part, at the hospital with Cale all the time. I keep being told that it would be a good thing for me to get a way for a couple days, or take more breaks. I have been feeling completely fine with staying with Cale, and I know that I need to take care of myself, but I don't think that means that I can't be with him as much if I'm doing okay. Anyways, I have been planning (or trying to) a few things to get a way for different times during the day, but for me, I love being next to my man. I don't want to be anywhere else with out him. One day, hopefully soon, he'll be able to come with me and "get away". One of the concerns that was brought up to me was that with me being with him everyday, I'm not taking the time to nurture my friendships. Well, my prayer is that my friends will understand that this is a season I'm in; staying with Cale, being by his side, and that you will come along side me (as SO many of you have!!!) and walk this season with me. I really feel truly blessed with ALL the people that God has brought into my life, before and during this journey. You are all amazing, and because of your faithful prayers, support, and God's amazing love, I'm able to have the strength and endurance to stay beside my husband. And Caleb, that's just what I'm going to do. I will forever STAY with you, don't you worry! :)

Cale's birthday is in 1 month, it's September 18th. I want to make it a REALLY special day for him, and I would like all of you to be a part of it! Within the next month, for anyone that would like to, please show Cale how much you care about him, and send a birthday card! You can send it to the same address that's on the blog, but if you remember, please put his name instead of mine, so I know it's a birthday card. This will be something so special that he'll get to enjoy! I'll keep putting reminders so it's ok if you forget!

Here is a short video of a few things Cale said! You have to listen very closely because he says it with his exhale, so it's VERY quiet. You should be able to hear my voice for sure, if the sound isn't working, I'll try to figure out with TJ's help what I'm doing wrong all of a sudden!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I REPEAT, I am NOT a cow.

Me: "Cale am I getting fat?"
Cale: shoulder shrug
Me: "Like, do I look like a cow?"
Cale: shoulder shrug
Me: "Caleb Michael, look at me, do I look like a cow?"
Cale: His shoulders started to shrug and then he gave me a good solid head shake, "no"
Me: So many men would have been dead...

i love him.

I was looking at pictures from the first few days after the accident. I remember so clearly, the thoughts, feelings, prayers, and the smell of Cale. You might be thinking, "smell?", and yes, that's what I mean. His smell while he was in ICU, was very weird, hospitalish/something else smell. At first it was so sad, and then as days went by, it became a comfort. I have moments with Cale now, that sometimes make everything seem better, and other times, it makes my heart ache so much because I miss him.

I wanted to share this song that is so full of the Lord's promises. He is faithful!

Everything Falls-FEE

You said
You´d never leave or forsake me
When you said
This life is gonna shake me
You said
This world is gonna bring trouble on my soul
This I know

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on

When I see
The darkness all around me
When I see
The tragedy has found me
I still believe
Your faithful arms will never let me go
And still I know

When everything falls apart
Your arms hold me together
When everything falls apart
You´re the only hope for this heart
When everything falls apart
And my strength is gone
I find you mighty and strong
You keep holding on
You keep holding on

Sorrow may last for the night
But hope is rising with the sun
Its rising with the sun
There will be storms in this life
But I know You will overcome

It was a good day. Nothing very eventful, but all good. Cale and I are making each other laugh a lot through out each day (which I think is absolutely incredible!) and with that comes laughing for the staff too! :) He swallowed a couple more bites of pudding AND has started mouthing more words! He's done this with the word "what" a few time before, but twice now he's mouthed "hi"! Once was today to Dr. Howe (psych)! This afternoon, Cale and I sat outside for a long time during an unexpected break, the whole time I was thinking I was getting tan, until I was later told, that nope...I'm still a white girl! While I was so focused on getting tan, I was trying to get Cale to do use his lips for other words and he did several! When it was time for speech, I asked him to show off for Patricia, and he did! That's what I'm talkin' about! haha! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Calling in the troops!

ALL prayer warriors are needed! I don't have details, but just know that Adam and Amy need prayer. I will update as soon as I know something.

As for today (which sounds so horrible to write about right now...), it was a good day for Cale. Personality is coming back a tiny bit, and I LOVE it! :)

We've started figuring out ways to help Cale a little more as far as knowing where he's at and remembering dates. We also set a couple goals that we want to see happen by his birthday next month.

We put this map up because Cale consistently answers "no" when asked if he's in America...this might help him to realize that we indeed are :) I haven't marked it yet to show where we are in the country, but he pointed today to WA where we grew up!

My heart is really heavy tonight for the Root family, so it's going to be a short post. Thank you for praying.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will NEVER forget!

Cale and I went to church again today. The first song we sang was "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul". The very first line made me hopeful that it was going to be a really good day, and it was! Thank you Jesus!

Cale hit a new record! Yeah! He stood for 5 minutes all by himself! Last time, he did 1 minute! That's a big jump!! I'm so proud of him! That was right after Mitch (PT) worked his legs really hard. His balance gets better everyday!

We had our FIRST outing!! We went with the Rebecca (RT) to a park near by that was right along a beautiful lake, and the bay. Cale did really well too! I had first pictured a quiet park with just the three of us, instead there were tons of people and sail boats :) It was good exercise too! We walked the whole time and I worked my legs pushing Cale's chair up hill...yep, I'm pretty strong ;) HA! It was crazy being in the car with him again!

Rebecca went to take the picture and Cale did a thumbs up! I joined him because this event deserved two thumbs up!

yes, I know, I'm picture crazy all the time. Cale once guessed what his anniversary gift was going to be, by saying it was something to do with a picture. I asked why he was guessing that, and he said "for every gift you give, there's at least a part of it that has something to do with pictures." Well, he guessed right for that one, because I had sent him a blanket with one of our funny pictures on it...What can I say? I love pictures! :)

We also had fun getting to visit TJ, Kristen, and Basil. I've heard so many times that it's really helpful in the recovery process for Cale to see people that he knows. With us being so far from everyone, it's been a little hard for that to be consistent. It's been a huge blessing for everyone that has been able to visit and so great that now we are so much closer to TJ! Cale sat with us outside, out of his wheelchair, just like he was chilling like always with friends :)

I've been asked a few questions of things that I should clarify, so rather than answer each person, I'm going to cheat and answer them on here!

Q. Is Cale talking?
A. Nope, not yet. He has made a few spontaneous sounds, but nothing purposeful. His communication right now is tapping with his hands, or nodding and shaking his head. Did you know that if he is trying to say no, that it's "shaking" not "nodding"?! This whole time I've been saying he's nodding no!

Q. Is Cale eating yet?
A. Nope again. I wish! He did take his first 3 big bites of pudding yesterday though! That's a start! So far he just spits everything out. We will get our date though! I guess that doesn't have to be out to eat...I do love food though!

Q. Does Cale know who you are?
A. Yes! In fact, the last couple days, when I come back from being gone, he is smiling when he sees me! Awe! That makes my heart so happy! He reaches out for me or waves at me too! He hates when I leave. The nurse said today (when I was only gone for 15 minutes!) that the whole time I was gone, Cale wouldn't move or let anyone touch him! He just waited where I said good bye near the nurse station. Poor guy!

Q. Have you tried a picture board/letter board?
A. I was going to bring it up to the staff because it had been suggested to me, but the they already had it in the works! So far, it's hasn't been successful. Cale hasn't reached the point that he can point to the correct picture that relates to what he is needing. If you ask him which one would he point to for sleep, he may point to the toilet. He will get there with time!

Q. How long will you be at that facility?
A. No idea ;)

Q. Cale seems to understand everything now, is that right?
A. No. It's hard for me to write details about what everything is like during the day. It's kind of one of those things, you just have to come and spend a day with us. He is still VERY confused about things and has a hard time with motor planning. Every time he goes to the bathroom, we go to the sink and wash his hands. We do this everyday, several times a day, and he still may not know where the sink is. If he does go to the sink, he may not know what to do when he's there. If I have him turn on the water, sometimes I have to show him how, or sometimes he just needs to be reminded that he needs to do it. This is the process with every part of his life right now. Some days are smoother than others, but everyday there is progress. One thing he never forgets is when I ask for a kiss, his lips are always ready! Heehee! As far as understanding whats said to him, for most of the time, I would say yes he does, but again, he's still very confused. Some of it might just be that he only hears part of what we say, so all the words aren't being processed.

Q. Is Cale walking on his own?
A. No, but when he gets to that point, trust me, there will be a video!!

Q. Is the tumor something from the accident?
A. We were told about it after the accident, but Cale has always had problems with his nose. For those of you who know him real well, you've probably noticed that he always sounds stuffed up, and he's had problems with nose bleeds-yep, it was because of the tumor!

Q. Is he out of the coma?
A. This has been the hardest question to answer. It's a long, slow, and confusing process. When we left Wake, he was coming to this facility in the "Emerging Consciousness Program" but, I think the trip here, with all the flights, and stimulation, Cale changed so much even before we got here. The first time Dr. Howe saw Caleb, she said "I would say he's not even in the EC program, he's already pass that." So, yes, Cale has emerged! Now, it's the part of the journey, where everything needs to reconnect, and reprogram. Not an easy thing to do...

Q. Is there anything you need?
A. Actually, I am so blessed! Thank you to everyone that has already been so helpful, and great about making sure I'm taken care of! I know that this answer doesn't satisfy a lot of you (so I've been told!!), but I am doing really great. For those of you that will roll your eyes at this answer and send me a lot more emails asking what you can do, I will make a list of things I like, but DON'T need. :)

* I love dark chocolate! There are these amazing dark chocolate covered almonds, from Whole Foods, that Amy's friends introduced me to, and after the first one in my mouth-I became addicted! Before those, and even now, I just love chocolate.
*Cards-I love mail (well, happy mail!), it cheers me up so much when I come back to my room, and have a card or package waiting for me :)
*Cookies :) Homemade cookies are the best! (kind of shows how I have a sweet tooth here...chocolate cookies, and if pie could be sent in the mail, I'd say that too!)
*Music. Through this journey so far, music has been the sunshine in so many hard days. God seems to swoop in and carry me to another world through the songs that he's anointed people with their writing and singing.
*For those that have asked about sending gift cards, there is a Target and Trader Joes, and Whole Foods near by. I know there are lots of other places, but those are the three that I've enjoyed so far :)
REMINDER These are just things I like and DON'T need! I'm doing great and am already so blessed.

God is the Shepard who guides, the Lord who provides, the Voice who brings peace in the storm.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Hope For Chocolate Pudding :)

In ST Cale swallowed three (not so delayed) bites of chocolate pudding!!! On June 25th, my post on chocolate pudding, was...well, a very different experience! :) I'm so excited! He did really good! Go Cale! This next week, there will be many more swallowing trials, I'm praying big time for everything to go down, and to go down the right way!

Most of the day, was spent just being lazy. Cale and I got to cuddle for quite a bit, and both of us really conked out for about 15 minutes. My head was on his shoulder, so I woke up to him shrugging, trying to get my attention. I responded with a grumbled "what..." haha! Soooo wonderful! Heehee!

We sat outside and enjoyed a little sun (that was right before the nap) and read some scripture. Lamentations 2:22-23 says "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Another version says "They are fresh every morning" I love that! This makes me think about how God is nothing like a slice of stale bread. His goodness and mercy, His compassion and love NEVER fail us and it's fresh every morning for us to receive! After talking to Cale about it, I was thinking about how the reminder of this for him, must me so encouraging like it was to me!

The night ended so happy :) I took Cale to the activity room where there are a couple couches. Instead of leaving him in his wheelchair, I transferred him to the couch so we could cuddle. I had my laptop, turned on some Itunes, and we looked at pictures. Ahh! I love it. I love him. The day was full of Cale laughing at my silliness. When we were looking through pictures, this was one that gave both of us a smile...

We are so fit for each other ;)

For all the moms- we were at a stoplight when we took this!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Determination Baby!

I think when I cut into an orange thinking it's a lemon, my tiredness is starting to show...especially when I cut it open and say to myself "Hmm...this is a weird looking lemon, maybe it's overripe." Oh dear.

It's been a busy long day. I feel like I was gone for most of it, but really I was only gone from the hospital for a couple hours early this afternoon. There's a ranch near by (not the one I went to last week), that has been wanting to reach out to the families here at the facility. It was really great! They showed me first how to prep the horse for riding and then we went on a trail for about 40 minutes. My horse was Ranger, he was very sweet! This is available for me to go every week if I would like. As I keep going they will teach me more things about riding. It was such a nice getaway from the hospital too! It's another one of those things that I'm just in total awe of God. What a blessing! FREE horseback riding lessons...what?!

This is the website to the ranch http://bokranch.org/

Cale had a mixed day again. Last night when I got back from dinner, the nurse reported that Cale was searching for me all over. He was throwing a fit and even had them call me! They called my room at the Fisher House, which I was out to dinner so I missed it. Cale wouldn't go to bed last night and kept throwing stuff off the bed. When I walked in the room, he reached out for me and as soon as I walked to the bed, he grabbed me and gave me a hug and kiss. I put my arm on his right after, and he pushed me away. This time not letting me close to him. I asked if he wanted me to leave and he nodded "no" and then grabbed my arm. When I asked if he was mad at me, he nodded "yes". Eventually I was able to get him calm and we cuddled for a tiny bit. When I was trying to fall asleep last night, I was thinking about how him doing that makes me never want to leave! I know I need to, and I know he's ok. I also know that when I can't be with him that God is, but I hate that he has to experience that emotion. I was reminded today, that it's a good thing. It means we're taking steps in the right direction, Cale is starting to realize more. Still...it makes me sad for him!

He seemed fine today. I missed two of his therapy's and on Fridays he only has 3. Speech was good, but he won't swallow food! It doesn't seem that the swallowing is the issue. It's hard to explain what's going on, but he even has the therapist stumped. We've talked about several possibilities, but nothing quite fits. We also had the ENT appointment. Right now, they couldn't say much because the MRI needs to be redone. He'll have to get knocked out for the next one because he moved the whole time on the last! So, we wait.

I watched a video on Facebook this morning that brought tears to my eyes instantly. It probably wasn't the best idea to start my day with it...puffy eyes for a little bit. This is what my comment said about the video:
"Oh my goodness. I just watched this video and tears keep coming. There was a couple times that Cale surprised me when he came home. One time he had gone to FL for a month for training, a couple days before he was supposed to be home, he sent me a text to call him when I was leaving work. I told him I had brought clothes to work so I could go straight to the gym after. He asked if I could run home and look something up for him first, I was a little bugged because the whole point of changing at work was so that I didn't have to go home! Well, I ran in the door, trying to go as fast as possible and there is my husband!! What an amazing feeling...what I would do for that feeling again...Lord, you know my heart and everything in me. I surrender it ALL to you. Thank you for the sweet hugs and kisses every time I walk into his hospital room!"
I remember how those days, whether he was gone on deployment for a year (or more), at school for a month, in the field for a week or two, or on Staff Duty for the night, I ALWAYS missed him so much. I hated it! Then I think about now...oh how different everything is. I really am so grateful for every step of progress. I can see determination in Cale's eyes sometimes. He's my soldier fighting the battle and being so strong!!

Make sure you have tissues...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Apraxia is the Enemy!

The first half of the day was very slow going. If I could drag out the word "slow" like the way I'm saying it, might make it clear how slow going Cale was. Maybe like, s-l-o-w? Hmm...anyways, he was so tired and didn't want to do anything! Psych was so great yesterday, but today it lasted about 2 minutes. It's just the roller coaster of progress. Even during RT he was so tired and not really wanting to do anything, but we did play UNO and he actually made a couple plays with little help from me, that really impressed us. The afternoon was a little better for him. The schedules were all changed around so, that made things a little off, but he actually did awesome for OT, which was moved from 10 to 2 and then he did great with ST. Patricia (ST) heard Cale laugh at me today which was so good! Ahh! I love when he laughs!!

Today was the Family Meeting. I was kind of dreading it all day, while still trying to be positive about it. I was expecting to hear what they are thinking as far as how long we'll be here and what they're thinking with Cale medically. Again, so far these kind of meetings have all been "bad news" kind of meetings, but things have changed lots for Cale, and I have to remind myself Who is in control. Well, they ended up saying they still are not sure what it's going to look like. The social worker said that Cale is changing daily, so at this point it's still too early. I am totally fine with no date or guesses as to what everything will look like. I am completely flexible and willing to take every day as it comes! It was a good meeting and I'm starting to become really close with all the staff. They are all so great here!

One of the things that we talked about in the meeting and then more in depth later with the Speech Therapist is the apraxia. Ugg. I hate that word. It's a battle that Cale is up against. It's a problem in every area of his recovery and it's so frustrating! Here is a definition from Wikipedia:
Apraxia is a disorder caused by damage to specific areas of the cerebrum, characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements,[1] despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements. It is a disorder of motor planning which may be acquired or developmental, but may not be caused by incoordination, sensory loss, or failure to comprehend simple commands (which can be tested by asking the person to recognize the correct movement from a series).
This comes from Cale's injury not only being Severe Diffuse Axonal Injury, which is damage that occurs over a more widespread area, he also has very severe damage to his left frontal lobe. This is one of the reasons for the fight and struggle between the left and right hand. The Apraxia is just annoying to me right now. Everything he is doing involves the motor planning. I wanted to write some specifics about it, and a little more detail, so that you can all join with me and be praying against it! Other than it's another part of Cale's injury and it's all sad, right now I just feel like it's an annoying pest. Too bad a fly swatter won't help with it...

Cale and I read John 3-4 today. I know I keep saying it, but I LOVE getting to discuss scripture with him! John is an awesome book for basics and foundation. I was asking Cale questions about salvation and if he believes that Jesus died on the cross for him. I know that he believed all of it before, but who knows what he understands or remembers. I spent some time on John 3:16 and went through all of it, God loving him so much that He sent his Son to die on the cross to save him. Cale seemed to understand and agree with all of it. Another verse that I talked to him about was John 3:30 "He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." Such a humble verse. It's not a popular thing to become "less" but that's what we are called to do. I love how this verse is worded in the Message "That's why my cup is running over. This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines." WOW. I talked with Cale about how right now, all that we're going through-EVERY step in this recovery, how we need to step aside and let God shine through. It's all for His glory and it's going to be worth it.

I got out of the hospital for a few hours tonight! A group of wonderful ladies took me out to dinner. It was very special and my tummy is VERY full! It amazes me so much when I meet people that don't know me or Cale personally, but they are reading the blog and praying for Cale. I was talking to two of the ladies on the drive back to the hospital and one of them commented on how many people are reading and the other said that I knew, but really, I don't. I know so many of you are great about telling me, but so many times, I let thoughts of how it's been so long and are people really still reading? Are they still praying? It's a blessing to be reminded that yes, people are! Thank you!

I meet with the ENT tomorrow at 2:30 so please be praying. The ENT doctor took Cale's case to the tumor board today, and from what I had heard before, all the options that had been listed of possibilities of taking care of the tumor were all going to be going backwards for Cale. It's just not a fun thing to think about, but how great it will be for Cale once that's all taken care of. I know the process of doing that isn't going to be fun, but what a blessing once it's all gone! I named his tumor Gus.

I'm not sure if I've put this song on the blog yet, but it's set as my alarm on my phone so I wake up to it every morning :) I was reminded again by a discussion with one of the ladies of how even now, I know it's going to be worth it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Do you Kathleen take Caleb to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?

On March 17, 2005, I said "I do". I didn't just say it until we had a bad fight and I was mad. I didn't just say it until I got bored, and wanted a change. I didn't just say it until it became a challenge and I wanted to give up. I didn't just say it until we were in a terrible car accident and our lives forever changed. I said "I do" as long as we both shall live. I was talking with Cale today about our marriage and all that we've already had to go through with deployments and different things. Before he fell asleep tonight, I told him how I think he is the most amazing man and I'm so very proud of him. He's working so hard and even when he's worn out and probably would like to just give up on everything, he keeps going, pushing himself every day. The times, when everything around us fades away and it feels like we have a taste of "normal" life again have been a lot more often lately. He's laughing at me quite a bit...which could be saying something about me, but it's okay. :) I don't mind if he's laughing at me or at a fly on the wall. It's so great to see laughter! I am so in love with him and so incredibly blessed that he said "I do" too.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Today was such a good day for Cale! When I walked into his room this morning, the nurse was just finishing giving him meds and getting him all washed up. I jumped in, and helped him get dressed (today's goal was to get his shoes on while sitting on the side of the bed) and his teeth brushed. He started to tap his chest and then point to the door.I told him he had Psych in a few minutes so we should stay in his room. He kept tapping so I asked if he wanted to leave and he nodded no. His head nods aren't always correct for what he's trying to communicate, so I asked him to show me. He used his legs, and headed out into the hall. I followed saying, "I guess Dr. Howe will find us!" This led to therapy outside :) He did so well too! I was really excited for him. It's a tough job, being the wife and have to hold back all my happy squeals! I don't want them to kick me out of therapy!!

He also did so good with OT, PT, and ST. After all the therapy's we went to my room and looked through some stuff. I showed him his wallet and he looked at his license and military ID. I also handed him his dog tags, and he put them around his neck. It was a good thing to see those on him again. It was going fine at first, as he was looking through everything, but he has a hard time with it. I'm not sure if it's because of memories and it's hard to think about them, or if it's just too much stimulation for right now. I was also shown a way to get into my Army email. After the accident, there were things I couldn't remember, and the password to my email was one of them. Since we were getting out of the Army, I had already created a new one, but some things were still going to that one. I had over 400 emails! There was an error box saying I went over my max storage space...oops! haha.

We played Candy Land, which Cale won when my guy wasn't even through half the board. Next we played a game of Chutes and Latters, and again, Cale won! It was so fun getting to play with him. On Wednesday nights they have Bingo at the hospital, so tonight Cale and I went. He didn't quite make it through the whole game. Just a little too much stimulation still. Such a good day though!

Here are a few funny questions Cale answered in Speech. It's kind of not funny because he's still very confused, but...how can you not giggle? Poor guy was so serious when he was answering. He is doing way better though!
Do people eat rocks?-yes
Do people drink water?-no
Do people eat with shovels?-yes
Do you hear with your eyes?-yes
How many eyes do people have?-10

Can you imagine having 10 eyes?!