Tuesday, November 30, 2010

GO Wings!!

What an exciting day! Cale wore his Red Wings hoodie and I wore my Red Wings jacket with my red scarf...we were ready for the game ALL day! Cale was able to consistently say that we were going to the Red Wings game today! Yesterday he wasn't able to, so just that little bit shows he's progressing with carrying over information. Yay!

For those of you that don't know, Cale is a HUGE Red Wings fan. In fact, out of all the sports, he is "ok whatever" with all of them except for hockey! We never had TV the whole time we were married, so whenever we would go somewhere that did have TV, Cale would get really excited and hunt for hockey if it was the season. He was really good about letting me have a little Food Network time too :) Cale and I had been trying to work it out to go to a Wings game on our trip around the US before our accident, but it didn't look like it was going to work out-but we were going to try. When I found out there was a game here, I HAD to find a way for us to go. Praise God that we were able! TBI can't stop the enjoyment of watching a good hockey game!

One of Cale's PT's came along to the game with us. He's from Detroit so he has cool points with Cale ;) I love that God has placed therapists in Cale's recovery that share the same love for hockey that Cale does. In PT, Pat always talks hockey with Cale and then went to the last game with us, and Puwan is a hockey guy too :)

Honestly, hockey is more Cale's thing and through him and all the games he made me watch with him, I came to love the game too. The Red Wings is only the team I LOVE because that's Cale's team and they're the ones that we watched as much as he could! Well, I found myself a little star struck when I saw Datsyuk and Zetterberg. These two guys are amazing at hockey! I've watched them on TV so many times...how neat to see them right there! Part of my over the top excitement tonight, might have been partly because, this was a part of Cale-preaccident Cale. I know that might seem silly, but that's kind of where I caught my heart at the beginning of the game. I miss Cale's excitement for the game. I miss how he would talk so much about playing, learning more, and one day teaching our kids hockey. Even though he's not back to that point yet, it was so special to share tonight with him. We had a blast!

It was a great game with lots of action! It was pretty intense at a few points, so if you were watching and saw a blonde on the edge of her seat...that was me! :) I have been told (by Cale and many others...) that I get too wrapped up in whatever movie or game I'm watching and can become, um, entertaining myself. Thankfully my craziness is a little more accepted at a sports game :) I'm pretty sure after tonight I can officially say I'm a Wing's fan. Not just because of Cale, but because I think they're pretty awesome!

Cale was still a little wired when we got back to the hospital. At 11pm, he's usually sleeping away...tonight we were still cheering about hockey :)

Cale's "we won" face :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Awesome...he's (and He's) awesome!

Some days end with me in tears, some end with smiles. Some days end with a loud sigh, and some with giggles. Sometimes my days end with me and a pile of chocolates, and some end with eyes that won't stay open. Tonight my day is ending with smiles...lots of smiles. It has been a beyond great day!

It started with some testing in OT. Monica has Cale do a few things to test on his fine motor skills every couple weeks. The first test is taking really small objects and as fast as he can put them in a little container one by one. The very first test was 7/31 Left hand he did 42 sec and right hand he did 65 seconds. On 11/8 L-22 R-38, and then today L-21 R-29! He's doing great! Another part is with little blocks that he moves from one side to the other, one at a time, for one minute. This works on Dexterity, attention span, and eye-hand coordination. On 11/8 L-39 R-22 (goal to get as many as possible) 11/29 L-39 R-24...Go Cale! getting two more with his right hand is a big deal!

THEN, in ST he did another test. First he worked on some swallowing stuff because Saturday at lunch we had a little scare. Cale choked on a piece of pineapple and wasn't breathing. Right as the nurse got to him, he coughed and out flew a big chunk of yellow. The wife was a bit freaked out...but it's all ok :) Patty wanted to look more into how he is swallowing and if there is anything we can help him with. After that was over, she started the Orientation log. This is a way to monitor where Cale is at with being able to know the month, year, state and city he's in, what kind of place...Well, Cale did fantastic! I was holding back from bursting at the seams with squeals and shouts! For example, Patty: "What kind of place are you in?" C: "I don't know." P: "Like, is it a school or a bank" C: "Hospital" and then Patty asked him what the name of the hospital was and he didn't know. P: "Well, who can go here?" C: "People that are hurt" P: "If Kathleen gets hurt can she go here?" C: "No, she's not in the Army." Ahhhhh! What?! Oh my stinkin' goodness! Are you kidding me? He totally knows that this is a hospital for people in the military! This is crazy amazing. The whole time he did sooooooo great!

Here's a chart of his scores from 9/16 (first time he was able to participate in the test), through today. Do you see how high that last x is? Thank you Jesus!

It didn't stop with him doing so great at the test! After that she showed him more pictures and had him say the names for the object or for whatever was happening in the picture. Cale has such a hard time with word finding, so usually this part doesn't go over so well. Today, Cale named off so many! With out any cues!!! All I can say is my husband is AWESOME! He's working so hard and doing so great!

Along with all of the excitement with how great Cale is doing, I had a very encouraging phone call today! Kathy (Cale's mom) called with some news that can really help Cale and I. I'll put on more details later, but I want to check a few things before I get too ahead of the game :)

“When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, is with you! When you prepare for battle, the priest must come forward to speak to the troops. He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!’ Deuteronomy 20:1-4

When all of Cale's therapy's were over he had a dentist appointment. I have gotten a couple days behind in my Bible reading plan, so I brought along my Bible to read while I was waiting. First I had the phone call, but then I still had time after to get some reading done. The first verses I read were the ones above. Talk about really being encouraged!! I had said once before about how Cale was the soldier and how now it was my turn to be the soldier and fight for him. Well, when the Lord gives me verses like these, I can't help but picture myself suiting up and heading to battle. Of course, I picture the olden day battles with the horses and adventures! Heehee! There are times like the Israelites that we feel helpless and overwhelmed against something going on in our lives. Sometimes it feels like there's no way to claim victory in the midst of whatever situation and trial we're facing. Sometimes there's a trial in the midst of a trial (I've faced this quite a bit!), BUT, even when all the odds are against us, God speaks confidence in our hearts because we may not be able to overcome it all...BUT He can!

I'm one of those people that show my emotions and how I'm feeling on my sleeve. Anyone, even people that don't know me well, can very quickly and easily figure out what kind of day I'm having or if something is wrong. After the eventful day with Cale and then the very exciting phone call...AND the scripture, I was um...unsuccessfully containing my super hyper excited emotions from all the dental staff. Maybe they think I'm just very happy Cale is getting his teeth worked on? Haha! Thank you Lord for VICTORY!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What it feels like...

What It Feels Like- FFH

So this is what if feels like to walk the wilderness
and this is what if feels like to come undone
So this is what if feels like to loose my confidence
unsure of anything or anyone
So this is what if feels like to walk the desert sand
and this is what if feels like to hear my name
and to be scared to death cause I'm all alone
but feel love and peace just the same

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
but it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
So this is what if feels like to be led

So this is what if feels like to just fall apart
to be totally unglued
to find out if I accept my brokenness
I get more of me, I get all of you
If this is what if feels like to be on shaky ground
Careful of every step I take
Realizing as I stop to look around
I look around and see everything a different way

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
but it still feels right somehow
and I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
So this is what if feels like to be led
and this is what if feels like to be led

So this is what if feels like to just walk away
from everything I thought kept me safe
to depend just on you for every meal
and find it's better this way
oh it's better this way

And this may not be the road I would choose for me
but it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
like i do right now
And this may not be the road I would choose for me
but it still feels right somehow
And I have never felt you as close to me as I do right now
And this is what if feels like to be led
And this is what if feels like to be led
And this is what if feels like

Today I told Cale "You're amazing." C: "You're amazing too" K: "You're more amazing" C: "You can get there."

It's been a good day. Instead of hurrying to the hospital to be in Cale's therapy, I stayed in my room and watched our church in NY online. It was awesome and always so great to be a part of. God is working like crazy and it's the coolest thing to hear about and see! Right after I bought a ticket to visit NY next month...yikes! :) I have to visit another facility so I added a stop on the way-clear across the country! That's what happens after seeing faces that I miss so much!

On the way to PT, Cale walked down the hall with a cane...the whole way! Usually, he's afraid and grabbing onto everything, but he did so great! Once we got to the gym, Cale had a test. He was back on the machine that he's done before to help with weight shifting and balance. For the test he had to hold as still as he was able while it was being marked. He had even weight between his left foot and right, but had a little more weight on his toes. Next he had to close his eyes and do it all over and then another part, the wall around him started to move. The last part of the test, the thing under his feet started moving. I am so proud of how GREAT he did! After the test was all over, we were able to look back over everything and see what areas Cale still needs help with.

Cale was saying he was sad and wanted to go home today. I asked him "What's something at home that you miss and want to do?" C: "play games" K: "What kind of games?" C: "Xbox" This is so great! Up until today, he hasn't had any interest in Xbox (which he used to love to play!), but he now remembers! This may be the only time I'm actually excited he wants to play...haha!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Covered Porch

It was a full Saturday! I drove one of the patients mom to the airport this morning, so I missed his therapy's. He was up and working early this morning! It was a good thing, because we had an afternoon full of playing to do! :)

After the airport, I stopped at the store and picked out a Christmas tree for Cale's room! It's adorable! He helped me fix the branches and put the lights on! It was so much fun. I usually never have my computer at the hospital, but today was a day I wished that I had it. We needed Christmas music to enjoy while decorating!

When our tree was decorated, we headed over to another part of the building for some festivities! A very large biker group that comes every year, came and cooked lunch, played Bingo, and did a raffle. On the third game of Bingo, Cale won! He was so excited! It was harder than our Wednesday night games. This time we had to have three bingos on the same card before we could yell out Bingo. After the third game it was time to get black out. I've been going to Bingo on Wednesday nights since July and have never won the black out, but today Cale did! Right after blackout it was the raffle and Cale won that too! Yikes! He was a pretty happy man! :) We gave most of the goodies away, but there were a couple ornaments that we put on our little tree and some tiny candy canes that we put underneath. It looks great now!

The fun didn't stop! We left a little early from the Christmas party so that we could get back to Cale's room and bundle him up! Tonight was the Stanford vs. Oregon State game. I think the afternoon fun wore Cale out because we had just gotten to the game and I could tell something was wrong..."Are you ok?" C: "No." K: "Why?" C: "tired." When Cale gets tired from being overstimulated, he kind of shuts down. He used to get agitated though, so this is much better! He had some fun during parts, but when it was time to go, he was passed ready! It was an extra special game because we had TJ and Kristen with us!

I've thrown myself headlong into your arms—
I'm celebrating your rescue.
I'm singing at the top of my lungs,
I'm so full of answered prayers.
-Psalm 13:5

I was sitting outside this morning, drinking a cup of warm coffee and watching the rain come down. I had some time to pray and really look at where Cale is and how great things are. I know that they're not perfect, but I wanted to take time to think about what it is that I'm missing right now in Cale. I know he's very different, but we still laugh and play, we still cuddle, we watch movies and play board games, we eat together and talk. So, rather than thinking about how much I miss him, what's an area that I miss? I'm so grateful for how far he has come and I'm so thankful that he's here and we can be together, but I miss the "man" in Cale. I'm not sure that I can explain my thoughts very clear, but I'm going to try...right now, Cale is more like a child then a man. He's still my husband and I love him like crazy, but it's me taking care of him. I miss him being a leader, being unafraid of everything, being...manly. My attempt to get my thoughts out is failing, so I'm just going to ask that along with the many other things I've asked you to pray for, will you add that? God knows the meaning of my heart even without my words :) Aside from those thoughts...I'm so incredibly thankful for my sweet Jesus and all that has happened in our lives. Cale is making progress (STILL) every day and there are so many blessings that have been poured on us. Our time together as husband and wife is just a part of it!

My time with the Lord this morning was so special! I decided that one day, I'm going to have a house with a covered porch. I want to be able to sit outside with Cale or just with the Lord and watch the rain fall from the sky or the snow sprinkle from above. It was beautiful!

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Oak and a Diamond

"When you long for life with out difficulties, remind yourself that great oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are formed under great pressure" -Peter Marshall

Yesterday was such a great day. I honestly didn't even think about the fact that it might be hard because it's our first Thanksgiving since the accident. I was with Cale and that made me happy. I realized late last night, that there are so many reasons it could have been a really hard day for me. Thank you so much everyone that was praying for us! It was a huge blessing to truly have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I was so mixed up all day on what day it was. It didn't feel like a Friday at all! Cale had OT, Speech, and PT and then we were free to hang out at the Fisher House! :)

I'm so excited for what's happening in Cale. He has been talking like crazy and asking question about things. I'm doing a horrible job at writing everything down like I said I would when he started talking, because there are so many things! Today when we got to my room, Cale said he was sad. K: "Why are you sad?" C: "I'm here" K: "You in my room makes you sad?!" C: "No." K: "Why are you sad?" C: "I'm here in California"-WHAT?! He has not been able to recognize that he's here in CA yet! If asked, he always says WA or he doesn't know. Sometimes when given a choice of a few places, he'll pick CA, but not very often. It's slow, but things are definitely happening! We might be going through muck right now, but I know there is glory ahead!!

If Cale and I were turkeys, this would be us :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

a REAL holiday

Happy Thanksgiving!! Today Cale had a real holiday! It was his FIRST day with out any therapy since July! Every time we thought we were going to have that, there was either an appointment or he ended up with therapy. I am totally ok with him having therapy every day because it's good for him to progress, BUT it was super nice to just have a great time together all day with out him having to work so hard. The morning started off with me getting to the hospital early and crawling in bed with him! We cuddled and talked for a while and then read the Bible together. It was so relaxing :) Then, at noon there was a huge lunch at the Fisher House. A whole bunch of volunteers cooked tons of food, and we filled our tummy's with it! There was a little foot ball watching before the meal...and then we pigged out!

With our full tummy's, we cuddled up on a couch in the Activity room and watched a movie with some of the other patients. It was Julie and Julia, which, seemed like somewhat of a perfect movie for a food day. I can't help but get hungry and want to eat every time I watch that movie!

One thing I'm thankful for is technology! We were able to use Skype and see Cale's family today! It's such a simple thing, but I always forget about it! Cale loved getting to see his family! After we were done, I asked how he liked it and he said "It was so good!" It was good for me too! :)

Not only did we have one super yummy Thanksgiving meal...we had two! Early evening we hopped in the Honda and went to the airport to pick up TJ! We had dinner with the Andrion's (family that has Basil). It was such a fun time! Cale was so funny! He was very involved in the conversations too. I'm pretty sure he's loving Thanksgiving because he had 3 slices of pie today! I'm pretty sure I did too...! On the way home, Cale was talking about something, and my mind was starting to drift and then Cale said "Did you hear me?" I had heard his voice, but was very guilty of having no clue what he had said..."What did you say?" "I said, Hip Hip Hooray!" Haha! I didn't figure out what he said that about because he had forgotten by then, but it was so great that 1) he noticed that I didn't respond and asked if I had heard 2) has added hip hip hooray back to his vocabulary :)

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Acts 17:24-28

We discussed this verse this morning. We both agreed that this seemed to pretty much some it up. I love that the God we serve is not built by human hands. He gives everyone life and breath-He's giving Cale every breath, just like He's giving me every breath. He's given us life-not just life on this earth, but life forever with him. Cale and I took a little time today and rejoiced in the love that God has for us and that one day, Cale will be 100% restored with no more scars, pain, TBI, infection, medal, limitations-he will be whole. There will be no more tears of sadness. No more pain!

25) I am thankful that I got to spend the whole day with Cale. I was at the hospital early and stayed late. Last year, he was deployed eating a some what put together Thanksgiving dinner. We were really missing each other and kept reminding each other that next year we would finally be together. I love that we were. It was such a great day! Tonight when I was getting Cale into bed, he looked at me and said "You're amazing." My heart was melting into the sweetness of his words. I love him so much and I'm so thankful that I got to spend turkey day with him :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

He's a chatter box and I'm lovin' it!

Today is Wednesday and what does that mean? Bingo! Haha! Yes, the event of the week that we get crazy excited for! Cale is ready to play tonight. He was already warming up to call out Bingo! I feel like we just played...this last week has flown by!

The doctor came in to check Cale out and listen to his lungs. He also will ask Cale to do different things, like, it used to be asking Cale to make a fist, or raise his right arm. Things like that used to be so difficult, but now he asks Cale to name different objects. He first held up a pen and Cale said "cookie...cookie...pen!" He got it on his own! He was able to name a few more objects too! It's so exciting for me to think about how far he's come in even his short moments with the doctor :)

I was standing in front of Cale's chair this morning talking with him. All of a sudden, he wrapped his legs around mine and said "trapped ya!" Haha! He is so funny! He told me I couldn't go anywhere with out him...good thing for me, he has therapy's so we weren't going to be stuck like that for long!

Wednesdays aren't just exciting because of Bingo...it's also hippotherapy day! Cale is all smiles through every session. He just loves it! I'm on a mission to find somewhere in the Tri-Cities that offers it. There has to be somewhere- right? He loves, loves, loves it! He's doing great too! Today they had him trotting a little! I asked him afterwards if he was nervous or scared when they did it and he said "It was good!" By the time I was able to get video, they had moved on to something else, but I did get a little video that shows them walking pretty quickly!

On the way to Hippotherapy, Cale helped me with directions and pointing out colors of cars. He also again, would help me with lights changing and this time he even pointed out a stop sign! He said "ERRCH! Stop." Haha! So great! On the way back, a very bright yellow Prius passed on the left, Cale said "Ha. Yellow." and then started laughing so hard. The way he said it and was laughing was just like before the accident! Especially the fact that both of us were laughing so hard over something like that...! :)

Another big day in PT! Pat cleared Cale to walk in his room from the bed to the toilet with a CANE! He needs to have someone with him and he still needs a little help, but it's a start of getting him walking on his own! Pretty soon, his walker will be history! Can't wait!

For speech, Cale had a swallowing xray done. Patty wanted to be able to make sure everything is happening like it should be, so she had to give him this white chalky looking stuff while he swallowed. After he was done with the torture, we watched it! The body is the craziest thing to me-no joke. I must say, even seeing Cale as a skeleton, he's still a pretty handsome guy! He's got some good lookin' bones ;) From what we were able to see quickly watching, everything looks good. Cale is doing things to help himself already so that's cool! We'll find out more details later and if there's anything that he can fix!

After all of his therapy's were over and we had a break before dinner. We were cuddling, and I was telling Cale that he was an amazing husband and I am so proud of him. I said that he is brave, strong, and courageous! He said "I want people to know that." I let him know that there are so many people praying for him and that think the same things I do. I showed him the prayer chain around his room again and how all those people know about him and are praying for him. He said "Wow. Yay!" I was also talking to him about plans for tomorrow. I was all done and then he asked "What do you want me to wear?" Hahaha! This is totally an answer that he would have given before the accident! I asked him to take a few more sips of his drink at dinner and he always asks how many. I first said 170 sips, but Cale didn't like that answer..."NO, too many. 3 max." Ha! Now he's giving me the max amount! Go Cale!

24) I am so very thankful that Cale can talk! It was miserable going through all of those months with out hearing anything! Even moans! I love getting to hear his voice and even more, I love getting to hear all of the things he says! He has been a chatter box the last couple of days and I'm having a blast with it! I asked him what we should pray about tonight and he said "sleep" and then when I asked if there was anything else he said "bless me" It took me a little bit to understand he was saying bless because all I was hearing was plus, but we finally got on the same page :) He has so much in him to say and it's finally all coming out! Thank you Lord for giving Cale his voice back!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time to CHEER!

Pat asked "What's next?" Cale said "Cheer!"

It has been a cheering kind of day! Lots of moments that are so happy and exciting! I have a crazy amazing husband and I am so very proud of him. Go Cale! I will be your cheerleader every day!

Cale and I played video games today! Monica wants to try to work on his arm strength again, so first she had Cale do this hand/bike thing. It's kind of like the one he did when he first got here, but it's bigger and I think more challenging? Well, it seemed like a lot of work! Cale started out to do 10 minutes and then added a minute at the end that he did as fast and hard as he could! Right after that with just a tiny break, he played the video game again. It's a lot more work then with a regular controller because he has to turn the handles. After he did it for 10 minutes, I took a turn at it for just 2 minutes. It's difficult! I'm impressed with how good Cale is at it!

The family meeting was right after OT. There was a time when these meetings (here and at Wake) were hard. They were full of news that was tough to hear and almost impossible to process. Now, Cale is constantly making progress and the therapists are always so encouraging. There is so much here that is offered to Cale for the stage that he's in, so it makes the meeting lately...um, a little easier to swallow :)

The meetings always start with the Doctor (Attending or Resident), Nursing, and then each of the therapists will take a turn. For the Medical part, we discussed briefly the mass in Cale's nose. I'm not sure that I've given an update on what had happened with that...pretty much, they had said for the size of the mass, Cale's option was going to be surgery. The specialist that had Cale's case said that with the extensiveness of the surgery and where Cale is at with his brain healing, doing the surgery at this time would most likely set Cale back. Of course they're not able to say how far or if at all, but it's something to think about. After talking with them more, I had decided to wait for the surgery until at least a year after the accident to give Cale's brain time to heal. Well, here in the near future, I will be talking with the specialists and re looking at options for removing the mass sooner than I had been planning. After the meeting at Stanford, I will update some more on this! When nursing started to share, she started with "Your husband is amazing" I already know this, but like I've said before, I LOVE hearing the staff say it! It encourages me so much!

In the meeting PT shared that instead of focusing on getting Cale to walk longer distances, Pat wanted to work on getting Cale to a point that he's comfortable walking just in his room to start. When he came for PT today, Cale was in his chair by his bed, Pat asked him to walk to the bathroom. Cale stood up and walked to the bathroom! His steps weren't perfect, and he was still unbalanced, but he did it! He did it 3 times and I got one of the tries on video! :) This is such a HUGE deal!!! I almost can't believe it!

Do you see how good he's walking?!

(It's kind of long, sorry for my sniffles, and try to let it load before watching!)

After that, Pat had Cale walk with him to the gym and then got him on the treadmill. Cale did so great with that too! He started at a slow speed and then Pat increased the speed to 3 so Cale was walking very quick! He did it two different times!

After PT, Cale had vision therapy. Corrie had Cale work with a board that lights up in different spots. This will help Cale work on being aware of different things at the same time. When he's walking, he needs to be able to focus on his steps, know if a door opens near him or somethings in his path, and his direction. At first Cale said it was boring and he didn't like it, but when Corrie switched to another exercises on the board, he seemed to be enjoying it. I could tell by the big smile on his face while he was working with her! :)

In group they played Wii bowling. Cale is doing so great in even that area! He played standing the whole time, was able to follow when it was his turn, and he was able to (with a little help) use the controller the right way. He had fun playing too! Mama reminded me of when she was here and he played that he had gotten so frustrated because he wasn't able to understand what to do. This time he came in second place! :)

Another one of the many things that we are spoiled with here, they have massage therapists! A few nights out of the week, Cale (and sometimes me!) gets a short, simple, but very relaxing massage! Some times things get so busy around here, we miss out, but we try to make sure it happens! Cale gets so tight between his shoulders from using the walker, so it's nice to get those muscles rubbed a little and relaxed! We're usually cuddled in Cale's bed when they come in to do the massage, and tonight we were caught again! I was showing Cale his Facebook page and she wanted to take a picture of us all snuggled up! :)

"Circumstances and situations do color life, but you have been given the mind to choose what the color shall be." -Robert Holden

It was a great day filled with smiles, laughter, and kisses! :) Cale and I both have to make a choice every day to work hard, keep fighting, and be joyful! There are tons of things to be so thankful about and get so excited about! Cale is healing with time and doing so great! There are also lots of things to be miserable and grumpy about...BUT we will walk in the light and praise God for every step Cale takes!

One of the exciting things to start the morning off was a phone call I made to purchase the tickets for the Red Wings game!!! Two of Cale's therapists have been contacting different people to see if we could get the tickets donated, but that wasn't happening and I knew that it would be totally worth it to make sure Cale was at the game. Yesterday after a couple tries he wasn't able to get even two seats together, so action had to be taken! I called this morning and the Lord blessed us with three seats in the wheelchair section! I think they're pretty good seats too! I managed to get them at a fairly good price, and again, it's totally worth it for Cale to see the Red Wings! :) I couldn't wait to get to the hospital this morning and tell him the exciting news!

23) I am thankful for the ways that the Lord has blessed this journey. One of them being the facilities we have ended up at! All three of them have been top notch with very supportive staff. The first hospital was Pitt Memorial in Greenville, NC, then Wake Med in Cary, NC, and here at Palo Alto VA in Palo Alto, CA. They've all been very clean, amazing with Cale, super great staff, and places that I feel safe and comfortable. I was on the phone today sharing about all the stuff this rehab here has to offer. Cale has come so far and they keep adding to the list of equipment, therapy's, opportunities and so much more for him! It's such a blessing! I know we're not going to be here forever, and at this point we'll be in at least one more before being able to go home and I know the Lord has already gone before us preparing the way!

Monday, November 22, 2010

a game with Mr. R

I'm laying here with my eyes half open and a stuffed up nose. Just a couple hours ago, I was saying how I was feeling so much better...yet, right now my head feels like it's a 100lbs all by itself! I think it's because I'm tired and ready for sleep :) I really have been feeling better today! The morning started out a little rough, but as the day went on I perked up!

Cale was quite the chatter box today! It was really funny all the things he was coming up with. Bad part, is that I didn't write anything down and with my head full of cotton all day, I don't remember even one of his funnies! Hmm...

For RT Cale played "Sorry" with one of the other patients. Rebecca wasn't there, so I got everything organized and kind of let them have control. I had to help a little, but for the most part, Cale ran the game! Mr. R (this is what I'll call him) is a little more slow going and easily distracted. Cale would take his turn and Mr. R would forget to take his, or start talking about something random. I'm good with it, but Cale was pretty focused on the game. At one point he picked the card up, told Mr. R how many to move, and then moved him! It was fun to watch them play together and very interesting all at the same time! I enjoyed a yummy cupcake while watching :)

Psalm 136:1-9
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night.

His faithful love endures forever

22) I am thankful for Who God is. I am thankful for all that He has done, is doing, and is going to do in our lives. I'm thankful for Who He is in my life, Who He is in Cale's life, and Who He is in this journey. He is good! He has done mighty miracles and continues to do them! It can be so easy to get wrapped up in what's going on every day and look at all the things that aren't going the way we want, but when I stop and look at WHO God is and all that He is and everything He has done, I can't help but stand in awe of Him. Every time I'm reminded, all the things in my life, don't seem like such a big deal. If He placed the earth among the waters, then who am I to question if He knows what He's doing with Cale? Does He know that we were perfectly happy? Does He know that Cale likes to run? Does He know the kind of job Cale was applying for? Does He know that Cale is one of the smartest people I knew? Does He know we loved Him and were serving Him? Does He know...? Yes! He does, and His faithful love endures forever-and I am so incredibly thankful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Caught a Nasty :(

Cale has been doing some exciting things lately! Again, it might seem like little stuff, but really it's all huge! And, all this stuff adds up to equal my Boy getting better! :)

Monica said in OT, Cale did great in the shower! She first asked him to wash his legs and then he said "then my arms and back!" I think he's finally over the bump of hating the shower and not wanting the water to hit his skin. Also, when she helped him shave this morning, he's still having trouble doing it himself, but he helped poke (not sure what you call it!) his bottom and upper lip out for her to get those areas good. He has done this once before...I think we were at Wake still? Not sure, BUT he did it again today!

Today was an outing to the movie theater. I've been unsure how it would go, because even now when we do watch a movie, we're cuddled in bed and he can stop watching anytime he wants to. I was on the phone with his mom and asked him what movie he was going to see. I said "un" to give him the start to find the word and he said "stoppable" He had only heard this a few times yesterday and was able to remember! This is a big deal! When he gets to the point of being able to gain more memory, it's going to be another big mountain in his recovery!

Cale walked a lot in PT today. Mitch gave Cale two canes and had him do several laps walking with just a little help. After Cale would do a lap from his room to the gym and then back, he gave Cale a 2 minute rest break. The first break, I asked Cale how he was doing and he said "bad, sad, and mad." He was saying he didn't like walking with the canes because it was hard. We tried to talk to him and point out that the walker he has now used to be hard, but now it's easy. Cale wouldn't believe us! He kept saying that it's easy and this was hard. When I reminded him that he's working hard to get better so he can go home, he was more willing to keep going :)

Cale keeps asking "when?" When can he go home? When will he get better? When will we leave here? When will he be able to walk? When will we be in Washington? I wish that I had all the answers for him! He doesn't realize that I ask the Lord those questions often. When will this all be over Lord? When will we get a life out of the hospital? When will we be able to start a family? When will Cale's memory come back, if ever? There are so many questions that I wish I had answers to, but God doesn't just give us answers because we want them. He's asking Cale and I to trust him and be obedient. He gives me a peace every day that reminds me that he's holding us in His hands and He can see the whole picture and not just the tiny dot that we are seeing right now. We can stand firm and believe that he has mighty plans for us and He will receive the glory from Cale's recovery.

Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:7-8

I caught a nasty cold. It started yesterday with sneezes and then all night I was awake with a constant dripping nose. This morning when I got out of bed, it had turned itself into an ugly monster and was trying to wipe me out. I wasn't at the hospital much today and didn't get to go to the movie. After lunch, I took some meds and conked out for the day. I went back over around 6pm and they said Cale wouldn't eat dinner. If I'm not there for a meal, he's decided he doesn't need to eat. I cuddled with him for a while and then said good night. I don't want to make him sick, but I had to get in a little cuddle time! I asked him if he had gotten popcorn at the movie and he said no he had gotten candy. I asked another patients mom that had gone, what Cale had and she said he bought a box of candy! Good job Cale! Another thing to show there's a little memory gain!

21) I am thankful for medicine. Not only has medicine played a large part in Cale's recovery, but I plan on taking some more and kicking this yuckiness out of here! Tomorrow is Monday which is always busy around here and it's going to be a full week, so when I wake up I'm praying I'm better! Thankfully, the meds I took earlier, helped me sleep really good this afternoon and has helped dry my nose up! Achy muscles, red nose, soar throat, and heavy head...all signs of an unwelcomed visitor! :(

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sleepy Saturday

On Saturday mornings I try to let myself sleep in a little and enjoy the warmness of my cozy bed. My eyes flew open at 6:30 this morning and was followed by a very firm "No way!" I was once again determined to stay in bed and not start my day before 8am. Eventually I was able to drift back to sleep :) much enjoyed!

Cale had OT at 10, which is a nice break from is normal weekend schedule with OT at 8am. Today, we played three rounds of memory. I just watched the first two games and then joined in on the last. Cale is doing much better since the last time! We did 20 matches today, which is a lot more than he used to be able to do. Monica and I were making it more challenging by asking Cale to name what the picture on the cards were. He needed help, but a few he did with just giving him the first letter!

In PT Cale was worked so hard again! Pat had him do a lot of walking and then after, he had Cale get on the elliptical. Cale did awesome with both! Please pray for his confidence with walking. He would be doing so much better if he could just get passed the fear of falling. We worked on getting him to keep his head up today. He always puts his head down to look at the ground, and when we try to put something up high for him to look at, he's been consistently telling us "no." Today I put my hands in the air and gave him a number that he would have to say out loud. Cale loved numbers before the accident and still loves them, so finally we have something that he will agree to do! I just kept changing the number on my hand and he kept his head up to keep figuring out what number I was going to do next. Perfect! It was good for today, so we'll see if it sticks! ;)

After therapy's we had lunch and then have been hidden away in my room. We haven't done this in over a month, so it's extra special! Cuddle time is always needed! :)

I messed up yesterday and put my email for the addresses. This still works because I still get them, but if you can send them to prayingforcale@yahoo.com that would be great!

The picture at the top of the blog is one that TJ had taken of us last month! I love that I've been asked if it was one from before the accident! :)! There are more to come and I can't wait to see them! TJ is an amazing photographer! He was also so great and helped me fix up the blog a little...much better than before!

20) I am thankful for clean water to drink! This morning I was so thirsty and couldn't wait to get my bottle filled with ice water. A lot of places around the world, aren't able to get as much good tasting water as they want when they want it. We are so blessed in America to have it so freely! In fact, there are many who don't enjoy it like they need too! My silly husband is one of them. He thinks water is gross! Even before the accident, he would hardly ever drink it. He did say when he came home in December that he wanted me to help him drink it more so he started to drink less Mt. Dew, but unfortunately, his memory of that moment in deciding is one of the things that is gone...completely. Maybe a little by choice? ;)

Friday, November 19, 2010

feels like a Friday!

Cale is done. He almost didn't make it through dinner tonight! Poor guy has been worked this week! I asked him if it's a good thing or bad thing and he says it's good! I'd have to say I'm in agreement with him-done.

Today started out such a great morning within the first 30 minutes of me being there! First we cuddled (which is always the best way to start the day!) before it was time to get up and get going. After about 10 minutes or so, Cale said "Pee!" Now, I don't talk about this much on here because in this area I want to respect Cale, but I'm going to brag for a minute...it's a pretty huge thing for Cale to initiate to have to go to the bathroom-especially when we're cuddling! THEN, we were at the sink brushing his teeth, and Cale spit! This may seem like a small thing, but again, it's huge! Every time he "spits" he just opens his mouth and everything runs out. When I asked him to spit this morning, he did a real spit! Patty and Monica have been working with Cale to be able to use his muscles like this. It's so exciting! I had him spit several times in a row, just so I could make sure I wasn't making things up! Spit away Cale! haha!

In OT today Cale became a chef! After doing some reaching and bending to get different things in the area that's set up like a kitchen, Cale made pudding :) Monica said afterwards that he did so well because she didn't really know what to expect when she had him do it, but he did better than what she was thinking! We would try to remind him or help him do a few steps and he would tell us "I know." He even stirred the whole time by himself! He ate some after lunch and shared with another patient :)

In PT Cale had pool therapy again. Just in a week, he's already made improvements from last time. It's exciting to see! He loves it so much too!

I wish that I could get inside Cale's brain and know what he's thinking or what is running through his mind. Last night I had woken him up from sleeping so that I could cuddle. After just a couple minutes, he had forgotten he had been sleeping. He forgets everything within minutes...and his long term memory isn't completely working yet. He really does live in the moment and it's not by choice! I'm intrigued a little and find the brain and how it works more fascinating every day. I will just continue to take lots of pictures and capture the moments for him as best as I can :)

Meet Steppy...

This is the newest addition to the Darling family. It's a part of my mission to get exercise! I am going to try to become a multi-tasking queen with this little guy. If you're on the phone with me and I sound out of breath, it's probably because Steppy has become a part of our conversation! :)

There's a little delay for what I had planned on mailing out to everyone, so if you haven't yet, please email me your address or the address to your church or a church that you know is praying for Cale! My email is darlingkathleen@ymail.com Thank you!

19) I'm thankful for a place to stay so close to Cale! I can look out his window and see my room! It's right across the street, and the street is a 15mph road through the VA campus. I am incredibly blessed to be able to stay so close to the hospital! The Fisher House is a beautiful building that is totally free for me to stay here! I have my own room and bathroom, I feel safe, and I don't have to use lots of gas. :) I haven't counted how many steps it is to Cale's room, but it's close enough that I can! Here is the website about the Fisher Foundation http://www.fisherhouse.org/

After dinner I helped Cale get ready for bed. Once he was laying down, I asked him if he was comfortable. He said "no" K: "What can we do to get you comfortable?" C: " I need you to cuddle with me!" So...I'm getting off of here and going to cuddle! :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heavy Heart Tonight

My heart is so heavy right now. I was just on Facebook to check a message real quick and noticed that a lot of people had posted about praying for the Westlake family. I did some digging to find out what was going on. I found out that she's 17 years old and then my heart dropped as I read that she was killed in a car accident. Her name is Danielle Westlake and I ask that you would pray for her family and friends. My mind quickly goes back to laying in the ambulance wondering if Cale was still alive...I think about how our family and friends felt when they received the call...Cale's life was saved that night, but Danielle is home with Jesus. My heart is full of pain for everyone that has to continue life with out her.

As for our day, Cale did good. In speech Patty was working on sequencing with him. She asked Cale what he would need to do to make toast. Cale said "chop the meat", "for toast?" Patty asked. C: "yeah" P: "then what?" C: "put it in the toaster" P: "what is toast? Is it a banana, orange, bread, or meat?" Cale said "meat." Hmm...

I'm having a hard time writing tonight. Note to self...don't check Facebook before writing blog...

18) From what I read, Danielle knew Jesus. I am thankful that right now she's having a party in heaven. She's being held in the Father's arms and will never have to experience pain or sadness again. I'm thankful that at 17 she is dancing with the angels. I'm thankful that even though I have never met her, I can see by the people that did know her, that she was a wonderful young woman that was a light to others.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

a wonderful walk hand in hand :)

When I got to the hospital this morning, Patty had already had a 30 minute session with Cale. He was going to be out during her normal hour time, so she got him early. She was just leaving when I arrived and had written me a note about the session. Her note started out with a note from Cale that said " Dear Kathleen, I love you so much my girl! Hot, you're hot. Love, Cale :) so sweet!

After I had a few minutes of cuddle time to start our day, I helped Cale get ready. I've been laying everything he needs to get dressed out on his bed so he can work on picking the right article of clothing and sequencing. This morning, he did everything himself! The only thing I did was make sure that he wasn't going to be standing on his pants leg when he stood to pull them up and then I helped tie his shoes (we're working on that!). I'm so proud of him! He's come so far in just that one little area!

In Psych he was able to remember the three words that were given after 2 minutes. This is the second time he's been able to do it with out any help! Dr. Howe tried again for 5 minutes, but that was still a little too long. Praying for consistency in memory gains!

Today is Hippotherapy day! Cale was doing so great that today they took him outside of the arena and walked him on part of the trail. Cale does so well following directions while on the horse and watching him, I can see he's really trying hard to do everything she's asking. Getting him to sit really tall and straight is a big one that we work on at the hospital, especially while he's walking, so hopefully this is going to help a ton!

On the way back from the ranch, Cale and I were in the car listening to a Jeremy Camp cd. "Walk by Faith" came on and as the both of us were singing along, I was reminded how faithful God is to meet us right where we're at. He knows our thoughts and the condition of our hearts when we come to Him. I was struggling so much yesterday with not getting the answers I was hoping for, again not knowing what I should be doing/planning next for Cale, and wondering why I had picked up the burden again. The chorus says...

Well I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me

Help me to win my endless fears
You've been so faithful for all my years
With one breath You make me new
Your grace covers all I do

Hearing Cale singing those words with me, on top of every word speaking right to my heart and then through my lips to the Father's ears created such a sweet tender moment. I can't see what's next, but He is preparing the way. The cry of my heart is that these endless fears would be taken captive and that I would not be bound by them. I am choosing to walk by faith in this and trust the Lord. There is so much more I could say with all the thoughts in my mind, but I'm going to end with repeating that God is so faithful.

In speech/rec group today, they first played hang man and then a game of Uno. This is Cale's "I won Uno" face :)

To go right along with the special moment in the car...the Lord blessed me with another walk! I wanted to show how far Cale has come and each step he's had to get through to be able to see where he's at today...

After all of this, we were able to do this...

...our first walk hand in hand. Amazing.

17) I am thankful for legs! It was so so so so great to walk next to Cale today! It was a little bit of a challenge (I'm not going to lie, my heart was beating kind of fast!), but we did it. It was such a wonderful walk getting to have my hand in his. No one else, no other device, just us. I am so thankful that he still has two legs and while I'm at it...I'm thankful that he has all of his limbs, and his two eyes! His brain might have been shaken up a little, but it's still there along with everything else. I'm thankful I'm not missing anything either :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Steak and Randomness

Every time I give everything to the Lord, I feel complete peace. Every time I pick it back up, I feel like I'm going to break in half from the weight of everything. Why then do I continue to pick it back up instead of leaving it with the Lord? Such a simple thing to know, but yet can be such a challenge to actually do. In Matthew Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Again in Matthew he says " Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Will I ever fully get it? It would make this whole thing a lot easier on myself...I think I've written these same thoughts before. Just surrender Kathleen! Golly Gee Willikers.

Today was one of the patients birthday so a small group of us went for a birthday lunch! We loaded up in the wheelchair bus, and headed out. Cale ordered his first steak in 9 months! I asked him after a few bites, "how is it?" before his next bite he said "yummy, really yummy!" In OT he wrote in a card to give the birthday guy. It was a lot of fun! Since we were out for almost two hours, Cale didn't have much therapy today. I'm pretty sure he wasn't disappointed about it ;)

Random thoughts that may not be worth reading, but are on my mind~

* Fall feels good.
* I have always been scared to death of change and not a big fan. I like to get in a rhythm and stay there. I think I've been stretched quite a bit with this over the last 9 months!
* Over the last year, I've gone through stages of liking coffee and then hating it again. I'm going through another stage of liking it...cup of coffee with some yummy flavored creamer-it's nice for now :)
* I love pink. It's such a happy friendly color! Same with daises, so happy and friendly!
* I've never been a good writer or speaker. I know you might be thinking the opposite because you read this blog-and I write a lot, but this blog is a total God thing. Total! He gets all the credit for using me in this way. If you don't believe me about not being a good writer-ask mama!
* I love people. Relationships are a HUGE thing for me and always have been. If you wanna have a coffee (or tea if I'm not in my coffee stage anymore!) date, let me know...I would love to get to know you!
* I really like to go running, but never wanna go by myself. It's just way more fun when you have someone working so hard next to you.
* I enjoy wearing skirts and dresses all year! I told Cale when we were first married that we couldn't move somewhere that it rained all the time because rain and skirts do not mix.
* The Lord really is my strength and the reason I can be joyful even through all of this (Nehemiah 8:10). I know there are a lot of people that don't know the Lord personally, but I couldn't imagine not having Him. Since I was a little girl, he has held me through trial after trial and never has he forgotten about me or left me hanging.
* I am crazy in love with Cale and have been since we started dating. I had never dated before him. I knew that God had a prince for me and I wasn't going to date a whole bunch of peasants waiting. Cale, he's my prince!
* I love, love, love pie! Well, sweets that is...I have horrible self-control so I eat way too many. You would probably be sick if you really knew how bad I've been at times. Part of me says, oh well no big deal because I'm young and can get it together later...the other part says, I need to start now so I can be good later.
* I want to be a mom. I've wanted to be a wife and mom since I was so young and the desire has never settled down. Cale and I had decided to wait until after the Army. It was extremely hard, but I knew it was wise.
* Mama is my best friend. She's amazing and we have a ton of fun together. I can tell her anything and know that she's going to tell me what she really thinks. She's been there and supported me in times that I needed someone the most.
* I was in Malawi for 6 months and didn't want to leave. I still think about holding all the babies and playing with the kids everyday. It was so hard to leave and not know when I was going to be back. I pray that one day, Cale and I will still get to go together.
* I wish that God would give me a drawn out plan/map that I could look at daily and know exactly what I need to do, what things are going to happen, and what it's all going to look like. Instead He says "Trust me."
* I just found out tonight that three of my closest friends are going to be coming in December. I am beyond excited and can't wait for them to see Cale again! Yay for Rachel, Joe, and Beth coming!

16) I am thankful for how beautiful this world is! I am always amazed at God's creation and the details of everything. Cale and I watched Planet Earth in January and after we would finish watching some, we would sit and talk for an hour about how thought out and crazy every little thing is. Plants to insects, to animals, to humans, to space, it is truly amazing! I love getting to see the sunrise (I'm not usually up for this...) and sunset. I'm thankful for the sound of the birds and the color of flowers too! We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much beauty!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Space Adventure!

I was cuddling with Cale tonight and we were talking about how it's almost Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and right after Christmas, it's my birthday! K:"What do you want for Christmas?" C: "This." K: "What else besides cuddling with me?" C: "Cake!" Haha! He used to not even like cake very much, so I'm guessing that's not what else he wants...I'll have to keep trying! :)

Therapy's seemed to fly by today. It started with OT, which I was kicked out of, so Cale could make a card for me :) Everything he's making for me has a nice place on a wall in my room. He's getting pretty good with hand writing, if he can get his right hand to do what he wants! Some days he has no problem, and then some days his right hand has a mind of it's own. One of his OT's gave me a stack of tracing papers to work with him on. For some reason, after a full day of therapy's he never seems interested in doing them ;)

Today in Speech, Cale was having such a great session! I was so proud of him! Patty started off with giving Cale single words for him to make a sentence. He still needs help, but for the most part he's doing great! Next she gave Cale single words and asked for the definitions. Cale did Awesome! We were both really impressed with how well he did with that. It's pretty clear when he's getting tired or worn out, which Patty and all the therapists do such a great job of switching to something else to keep Cale going. Reading was the last part of the session. It's hard for me to know how he's really doing with reading even though I'm in the session with him. He seems to do a lot better when Patty spells the word out rather than read it on paper. I'm thinking it's because his vision? He's still making progress though! :)

For PT we had a little adventure! Mitch fills in for Pat every Monday. Today, Mitch came in Cale's room a little early and asked if I would get Cale in shorts. Sure! When he came back to get us, we walked to another building and Mitch showed us a new machine he was going to trial Cale on. First, we had to put these tiny shorts over Cale's shorts...

then, we helped Cale climb into this machine, zipped him up, and started the vacuum! Crazy! It was the weirdest looking thing, and I was wondering when I was supposed to start the count down for Cale to blast off! Haha! I'm sure he was wanting to blast off if it was going to take him north to Washington! :)

Once everything was good to go, Mitch started it and Cale started walking. It's called an Anti-Gravity Treadmill. Before Cale started walking the machine weighs him, and then Mitch is able to set it so Cale is walking with only 40% of his body weight. Cale did super good! Through out the time, Mitch switched the speed settings and at one point, Cale was walking so fast! It felt like any minute he was going to start running (I just had a dream a couple nights ago that he was running with me!). After Cale had been walking for awhile, he started adding Cale's body weight to see if Cale was carrying over and he was still doing great! I kept telling him that I was so proud of him and he was doing such a good job, and every time his whole face turned into a huge grin :)

He did 30 minutes today and Mitch said he wouldn't have been surprised if Cale could do 60! He did amazing!! Go Cale! This machine was also really neat because when Cale walks, his right side turns in towards the left. This throws him off when he's walking, but if we try to fix it, he says it's scary. In the machine, it forced his body to stay straight and he walked the whole time with out looking at his feet! I'm a huge fan of this treadmill...can you tell?

15) I am thankful for good health! Cale has TBI, but at least he is a healthy young man! He is able to push himself and work so hard because he has a good heart and lungs. He's not always sick and everything seems to be working great in his body. I was told many times in ICU that Cale's age and good health were on his team! I'm good with that, we'll take anyone on our team that's going to help him! :) Also, I'm healthy too. Last week, I was starting to notice I was slipping on taking care of my health, but I'm still healthy! If I were sick all of the time, I wouldn't be able to be with Cale and help take care of him! I thought I was getting a cold in NC one time, but that ended up being allergies and only once here there was a day that I seemed to have a cold, other than that, I have been able to be next to Cale everyday and help take care of him. I'm so thankful that I don't have any major health issues to deal with on top of all of this! A healthy husband and wife can one day have healthy babies :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a Sunday afternoon outing :)

On Friday our social worker approached me with tickets to another 49er game! They had been donated (just like the ones that were given when I went with Rachel!), so...I of course said yes! Cale wouldn't have let me turn them down! He was sitting behind me when I was asked and he was saying yes over and over! Haha! I still had my shirt from Rachel and Cale had his hat that he had won at Bingo a couple weeks ago, so we were ready! He still had PT and OT this morning before we left at 11am, so he was pretty tired before we even made it to the game. He did really good though. By the end of second quarter, he was ready to leave, but was so sweet and willing to stay until after the third quarter when we had already been planning on leaving.

It was so much fun being with him. I love getting to be outside of the hospital with him, surrounded by "real life." It's not always easy because I am reminded of what has happened to Cale, I see other couples and how perfect they seem (on the outside...), and people don't always have the kindest reactions, but I love so much just being with him. He's amazing and fun and I'm so very proud of him!

There are so many little moments that might not seem like a big deal but they are HUGE to me, because they are a glimpse into a life after the hospital. Right before we were leaving for the Sharks game a couple weeks ago, I was sitting in the car with Cale waiting for Pat and Cale was holding a cup of hot chocolate. I snapped a picture because even though there's no way to capture the emotions of the moment, I want to capture the memory and reminder for myself that the time will come! Well, at the game today, Cale was sitting next to me eating a bag of chips. I turned to look at him, and I had that moment...he was enjoying the game like he would have been doing preinjury. I whipped the camera out and snapped a picture, but Cale put his hand up and said "Not fair!" I didn't understand at first but after having him repeat, I figured it out. "Why are you saying not fair?" he has never not wanted me to take his picture! He looked at me and with his mouth made the chewing motion. He didn't want me taking the picture while he was chewing! He finished his bite, wiped his mouth, turned and smiled for me to take another! Haha! This was the picture he approved :)

This was one last shot after we arrived back at the hospital. :) Cale was soooo tired. We walked in right in time for dinner and after I took Cale to his room, got him all ready for bed, and told him I was going to my room for a tiny bit. I wasn't gone very long, but when I walked in this is what was waiting for me...

I made noise when I clicked the light off so he woke up and we still had our cuddle time :) I showed him the video and he said "Aww cute!" haha.

Trust-Kristene Mueller

It's the sweetest thing
to trust you
just to know
You got everything under control

it's the sweetest thing
to trust you
just to know
You got everything

and You are making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be shaken

well You are making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be moved

high up on a rock
looking out at the horizon
watching as the storm rolls in
wondering if my heart will survive it

as the waves crash all around me
and can't remember what it feels like to be free

i know You're making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be shaken

oh You are making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be moved

You say, I've got you my baby
I've got you
it's quite the mess you're in
but it's nothing Love can't fix

so sit here upon my shoulders
and watch as it all unwinds

You are making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be shaken

I know You're making me a mountain
making me a mountain
that cannot be moved

I love this song. It honestly is the sweetest thing to trust God and to know that He already has everything figured out. He's growing and stretching me everyday and everyday He is so faithful to carry me through.

14) I am thankful for family. Cale and I both have wonderful families! We're all quirky and strange (on both sides!), but we all love each other. When the accident first happened, my brother had only met Cale twice before, but was instantly a part of Cale's life in a away that was never expected. He was there to help in any way he could physically help. Cale's mom and my mom both flew out right a way, his brother came as soon as he was able. Family is there through all the good stuff and bad stuff. Hard stuff and the easy everyday life. Family is such a blessing and I'm so thankful for the family that both of us have! I love all of you!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Welcome to the Gun Show!

In PT today, Pat took Cale outside to check out some weights. Right before the entrance into Cale's building, there are a bunch of exercise weights for people in a wheelchair to use. Some are focused on strength and some are more for Range of Motion. Cale has been so focused on so many other things in his therapy's and by the time they're over, he's wiped out, so since we've been here, Cale hasn't touched them! Today was a good day to try. At first, everything was so easy for him because he's come so far with being able to use his arms, but then as we kept trying different ones, he got to a couple that he wheeled his wheelchair on, and had to lift his weight. He loved one of them so much! When he started, a huge smile spread across his face and he kept going! Pat asked if he was going to stop and Cale said "No! Keep going!" I asked him if it made him feel like a man and he said "Yes!" He has a shirt that he wears a lot that says "Welcome to the Gun Show" with a picture of a stick man with muscles. Pat always asks Cale to see his gun show, so today, Cale showed it off! :)

Here's the first one that really worked him. He didn't seem to be the biggest fan, but still thought it was a work out!

This one was Cale's favorite! He LOVED it! We'll be working on how many he can do!

Cale showing his gun show! :)

Basil came to visit today! I didn't get one stinkin' picture, but it was a nice visit. It makes me so happy every time I get to see him...I have a crazy attached relationship with that dog. I was telling someone today about how many of my tears have been soaked up by his fur, how many times he's made me laugh, and how he was my cuddle buddy when Cale was at the hospital and I was alone at the hotel. We have a very special relationship :) I miss him so much. It will be a wonderful day when I get to bring my husband and dog home with me! Can't wait!!

Earlier this week, God brought a very special woman into my life. Her son was injured 6 years ago and she is FULL of wisdom and tons of info! She is such a huge blessing! Over the last few days, I've been talking with her and listening to different ideas of things that might be options for Cale and just a bunch about TBI stuff. Last night and this morning, I was feeling overwhelmed and out of place. As many of you know, I'm a planner and sometimes, God likes to show me how my plans are not always His plans...I'm learning...well, immediately I listen to all of this stuff, my brain starts processing it, and then, yep, I start planning and when there's a lot of new stuff or even a little, that might seem like a lot, I get overwhelmed very fast. It's always been that way. The reason is because I hear the voice of other people and my voice, which together, is very loud. I have to constantly remind myself that in the midst of all of the voices (which are good voices!), I need to listen for God's voice too. This amazing woman has a ton to share, but if I don't listen for God's direction in it, it ends up being hindrance, instead of a blessing. So, I'm praying about everything and talked with her more today and I feel much better now that I'm laying in bed and have taken my deep breath. :) Now, I'm getting really excited for all the Lord has planned!

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. Job 37:5

The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” Psalm 29:3-9

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

His voice is the voice that calms the storm that rages within me. His voice is the voice that speaks peace in my heart. His voice is the voice that comforts me when I weep. His voice is the voice that fills me with strength in my weakness. His voice is the voice that guides me on the right path when I feel lost. His voice is the voice that shines light in the darkness I face. His voice is powerful and majestic and He does great things beyond our understanding. I am His sheep. He knows me and I will follow Him where ever He leads us!

13) I am so thankful for laughter! It feels so great to be able to laugh! I remember right after the accident, all of our friends had come to be with me and Cale and in the waiting room, we were telling stories about Cale. I started laughing so hard-and it felt good. At the time, I was thinking how sad it was that I was sitting there laughing and Cale a couple days before had been fighting for his life...how could I be laughing? Until I realized what a blessing it was to look into each of the faces of my friends and family sitting with me in the hardest time of my life and I was laughing with them. Right after Cale deployed in 09' I was laying in bed with Mama, wondering if the tears were ever going to stop, and she made me laugh! Now, Cale and I laugh all through out the day and it's such a blessing! Laughing with him is such great medicine for me...and him too! :)

Here's so you can laugh too :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

He's gonna be a fish!

He's a hockey playing, boat riding, hamburger eating, Wii playing, zoo going, bike riding, football watching, basketball playing, treadmill using, ice cream making, video game playing, horseback riding, swimming kind of a guy! :)

Cale LOVED getting in the pool! This was the first time and will not be the last! It's been a big week for him. During his time in the pool, Pat kept asking him if he wanted to stop or take a break and Cale kept telling him no! Finally, because he had the next therapy, they had to get him out. This is so good for him! Another therapy that gets him away from the hospital (even though we're technically still there!) and changes things up a bit. It was so great!

The best part of it that I noticed, was Cale getting to have guy time. At first, I was a part of all the excitement, but then I noticed how much fun Cale was having with both of the PT's. They were guys and he was having a blast. One of the thoughts I had last night was that "guy time" was needed before the accident and brain injury doesn't change that. He still needs it. Part of what happened last night was that Cale was having problems with me leaving. That wasn't the whole story, but it was some of it-enough that I know I need to give him more time with out me there. This isn't easy for me, as all of you know...but it's needed for him to continue healing. It's not that I need to miss therapy's because I need to leave, but I think more that he needs enjoyable time with out me there. Therapy's are not very enjoyable some days! I talked with another patient here and asked if he would be willing to play cards or something with Cale a couple times a week, and that will give Cale something to do and have fun too! When I leave, Cale gets so bored! He doesn't like to just sit in front of the TV, and doing stuff by himself gets boring really quick, so having a friend will be good. This will end up being a great thing when we finally get to go home...guy time :)

This morning I gave Cale a really big hug when I saw him. As we were hugging he said "Girl, you feel so good!" There have been so many times since the accident that I've held him and have said those same words to him. Even when he wasn't responding or communicating, it felt amazing to feel him and know that he was still here with me. Sigh...I love him.

11) Yesterday I meant to add one last time that I'm so thankful for veterans and all that they've sacrificed for us to be the nation we are.

12) I'm thankful for Medical Staff. There are so many different therapy's available now then there were even 10 years ago. Medicine has come so far and because of the help of medicine and all the therapy, Cale has come so far! All of the doctors, nurses, therapists, surgeons, nutritionists, social workers (and more!), have been such a vital part of this journey that we're on. Not just for Cale, but for me as well! Even just to think of the surgeon that did Cale's brain surgery. It was a risk that night, but she did it and Cale is alive and doing so much! I know that God is in control and He's carrying Cale through this, but He has given the ability for people to step up and fill a role in health care. These amazing people have been dedicated in their jobs, and because of it, my husband is gaining back his life everyday! Thank you to all the Staff at Pitt Memorial, Wake Med, and the staff here at Palo Alto VA. Cale and I both are so thankful for all of you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Hero

he·ro -a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

There is not enough time in one day to be able to express how thankful we are for the men and women that have served and are still serving this country. As a military wife for 5 years, I can say first hand that it's not an easy job. It requires long hours, lots of training, sacrifice of time, of family, friends, pleasure, and so much more. We had some really hard years of missing each other a lot, but when Cale joined the Army, it was a moment that I felt I couldn't be any more proud of him. Every day that he put on his uniform and every time we had to say good bye, it felt like it did that moment he joined. Caleb Darling, I am so incredibly proud of you.

We thought today was going to be a day with out any therapy's and the plan was to stay in bed ALL day and relax. He still hasn't had a day with out therapy or appointments since we got here. When I got to the hospital this morning, PT had already seen him and OT showed up about 30 minutes later...so still no day off! At 11 there was a Veterans Day ceremony and lunch and then after that-we cuddled for 4 hours straight! It was wonderful! We both felt spoiled which Cale fully deserved for today :)

I wanted to share something that Cale and I did in January. Our church in NY was going through a series that was encouraging every one to think about what their dreams and goals were and go after them. One Sunday, Pastor Kirk had people just shout out their dreams. Some people said write a book, some said own a business, or finish school...there were lots of different dreams filling the church. It didn't just stop there, the church had set it up to really help people finally achieve their dreams. Pastor Kirk had every one write out their dreams in 3 different categories, I don't remember now what they were though. Cale and I new we were going to be moving, but we wanted to be a part of it too. I had already written a list in my journal a couple years before, so I pulled that out, and Cale took time to write his. Yesterday I read in Haggai and saw where I had written what Cale and I had come up with...

January 2010 Pastor Kirk "Dreams Being Fulfilled"

Haggai 2-
1) See it finished- vs. 3
2) Be strong Against Dream Killers- vs. 4
3) Work for it- vs. 4
4) Do not fear- vs.5
5) Provision-It's all His- vs.8
6) Look at the greatness God can do- vs. 9

Our Dreams

1) Get better at hockey
2) Get a good job that pays well and still allows time for family
3) 2 good cars
4) Own a home
5) Start a family

1) Be a great wife
2) Be a great mom
3) Have a loving and welcoming home
4) Be a family to our children's friends that don't have good families
5) Be a part of a ministry for single moms
6) Something with desserts and cakes

Things changed pretty quick the next month and I think some of our goals have changed a little. I'm going to be praying about and working on a new list for us as a family over the next couple weeks, but I thought it would be fun to share with you where we were at in life just a few weeks before the accident. :)

I realized I wasn't very clear on what I meant for addresses...I would love for you to send your home address because I have a little something to send using good ol' snail mail :) I've already been sent some emails, but several of them were for me to get your email address. Sorry I wasn't very clear! Also, if your church or you know of a church that's praying for Cale will you send that info too? That would be so great! Just send the email to prayingforcale@yahoo.com I'm the only one with access to the email so no worries!

A have a very specific prayer request tonight. I've mentioned how Cale is saying he's sad that he's here and wants to go home. Well, it's getting worse. His Neuro Psychologist said that because his memory span is so short right now, if he gets in that mood, change the subject with something happy, and that will get him off of those feelings and on to happy feelings. All day it hasn't worked. He wasn't even able to enjoy the ceremony very much and for the most part while we cuddled he was fine, but he did bring it up a few times. Tonight, I was getting him into bed, and he had a really sad moment. My heart is aching for him. I know that this is partly a good sign because he's becoming more aware, but tonight was awful and there's no way for me to fix it. I also know that the answer is not to just bring him home to make it better, because he won't just be better. His brain is healing and this is part of it, I just really don't like it. Please pray for peace in his mind, comfort when I'm not there with Him, understanding that this is a blessing to be at this great rehab, strength to keep fighting, endurance to continue on through this journey, continued joy that only the Lord can provide, wisdom for me as I'm by Cale's side encouraging him as he walks this long road to recovery.

Here's a video that I watched and wanted to share. It reminds us of what holidays like today are all about! Let it load all the way before starting it. It's way better that way!

Happy Veteran's Day!