Oh man. This is going to be a nutty post as I try to fill you in on the last part of the Sports Clinic, coming home, leaving again, Cale’s neurologist appointment, and being home again. Yikes!
Here we go!
Was sailing! I was hoping this would be a relaxing time for Cale and something that he would enjoy. I remember before the accident talking with him about someday sailing. This wasn’t going to be a romantic time with just us, but still had lots of potential for fun. He already wasn’t too in to it before getting on the boat and once he was off, he had the same excitement for it. Although, I was on a boat following him and the other vets and every time we saw him he had a smile on his face!
They did a race and for almost the entire time Cale was in first place, but towards the end another boat came up and Cale ended up in second. It was still great though! Of course the competitive side came out when everyone mentioned how awesome it was for him to take second he said, “First is better.”
He told the guy that had helped in the boat with him that cars were better and faster. Haha!
The second part of the event was supposed to be our turn on a really big sail boat with the team all together, but Cale had enough of the water, people, and sailing. I knew even though he was able to sleep in, he still needed a break. When we got to our room, he immediately went for our bed. I went on the balcony to make the room quiet until he fell asleep. After talking with Mama for a while on the phone, I went back in the room as quiet as I could so that I wouldn’t wake him. He looked so comfy and peaceful. A couple minutes the silence was broken with, “quack, quack” I only thought he was resting! Haha! We ended up being goofy and ran out of time to get ready for the awards ceremony! We managed to freshen up a little-at least changed our clothes and then off we went!
Each veteran received a metal for completing the week. It was really neat to watch Cale walk up the ramp all smiles and receive his.
After the awards ceremony there was a small break where we were able to clean up a little more and then off to the closing ceremony we went! It was beautiful; dinner on the roof top and flags everywhere. Shortly after arriving, Cale saw some guys in uniform and lit up! He wanted to go say hi so I walked him over to the guys and he introduced himself as Sgt. Darling. After dinner they were all willing to get a picture with us. :)
As soon as we were back in our room, I went into crazy mode trying to get everything ready to go and us in bed asleep as quickly as was possible! The shuttle was picking us up on Saturday morning at 4am…yikes! That meant I was going to have to get up while the people outside our hotel room were still partying. Cale told me it was time for sleep as I was trying to wake him up and I wanted so bad to agree with him! Haha! I think I had one of those nights when I was so afraid of missing my alarm that I didn’t sleep all night!
Delta was incredible with how much they helped the early group of us through getting our baggage checked, security, and to our gates. When they announced that it was time for our flight to start boarding, they also announced about the group of veterans we were with and everyone clapped! This made my heart fill so full as I watched a smile cover Cale’s face knowing that they were clapping for him. So special!
On the way back Cale also did great in all the airports and once again walked to the gates instead of taking the wheelchair. I know he was tired, but he was being such a sport! We also just had a good time being together.
The whole event was amazing. We both met some really awesome people and I hope I’ll get to see all of them again. The opportunity to go and be a part of the week was outstanding and the week altogether was a huge blessing! I’m so thankful that my husband has something like that to go to and be a part of and that it wasn’t just for him, but that I was able to be so much a part of everything as well. A week I’ll treasure!
One of the other parts of it was how many times I was stopped and told how honorable it was that I was still with my husband. In fact, Friday night when we were leaving the roof top, a guy stopped and asked if I was Caleb’s wife. We both answered yes and then he asked if we were married before the injury. I again answered yes. He went on to tell me how after he was injured his wife left him and has never looked back…this breaks my heart. I have heard of this happening way too often and there are no words-sometimes just tears and so much thankfulness that Cale is alive and that I get to still be with him. One of the reasons I’ve been working on this book I’m writing is to hopefully be able to put hope in writing and to be available to a woman (or man) that is hurting so much and being faced with something that threatens to wipe her out whether that would be a family member with TBI, loss of limbs, deployment, death, cancer, whatever it may be…my prayer is that God would use my book as a tool to bring hope to the hurting and confused and that eyes would be turned to Him.
A few things (really cool things!) that happened on the way home…
We were sitting in Salt Lake waiting for our flight. I had gotten Starbucks and Cale was drinking an OJ. It wasn’t a particular special moment, but Cale turned it into one when he asked if I had his PSP!! He asked for it! He hasn’t had it for very long (but he remembered!) AND when I told him yes and asked if he wanted it he said, “Later on the plane.” AHHH!!! He was thinking ahead and already had thought process that the flight was going to be boring and he would need something to do! This is such a big deal!!
On our last flight there was a very sweet older lady sitting behind us. Through the slit between our seats we started talking with her. She has lived in our town since 1949 and told us how things have changed. We had a really nice conversation and then it was time to land. When we were walking to baggage claim, we each gave her a hug and said good bye and when we walked away, Cale asked what her name was. I told him I wasn’t sure and asked if we should turn around and ask. Cale said, “No. That’s an awkward question. Uh…what’s your name?” Because we had already walked away! This cracked me up and the way he said it was so much like how he would have before his injury!
While we were waiting for baggage, Cale asked me what ours looked like! I thought this was so neat and showed great skills to be able to ask what the bags look like so that we could find them.
Home for a night and then off again!
We came home to her…
Saturday night we were both exhausted! And we weren’t going to have much time to rest because on Sunday we left for Seattle! Neither of us was excited about having to drive all the way there, but I was excited to see our friends that we had met there in February! We had arranged to stay with them for the night which I liked way more than if we would have had to get a hotel! We had dinner with them and watched a movie. Cale was actually able to last for the full movie! There were a couple points that he would start to fall asleep or decide that he was done, but then something adventurous would happen and that would catch his attention again. He doesn’t handle new things very well and this was a movie he had already seen so it was perfect.
Another early morning came with his neurology appointment at 8am and we had to leave an hour before that! This was a very important appointment though, so I was game for it! First, it was a bit of a shocker. I’m used to going along and needing to explain what was happening and what the nurse/doctor was asking him to do and helping him out with everything. This time, the nurse called him over to get his weight and instead of me helping him, he turned around, handed me his cane, and walked with her to get his weight! Then, we went to the little room to get his vitals and again I was left at the doorway with my mouth hanging open wondering what I was supposed to do! Haha! It was GREAT to see him be so independent!
Of course when it came time for her to ask about the flu shot, I stepped in. His immediate response was “no” but I encouraged a little to which he again said, “no.” hmm…I moved a little closer and encouraged a little more! He said, “ok” :) When she gave him the shot he said ouch, but then didn’t say anything again. The nurse had us go back to the waiting room to wait for the doctor to call us so when we sat down, I asked Cale, “Are you ok?” Cale answered with a duh tone, “I have a hole in my arm. It’s not ok.” Haha! What?! Oh goodness!!!! He makes me laugh!
The appointment was full of testing which Cale did very well at! I was surprised to see him be able to do some of what was asked. He did struggle at quite a few things, but the doctor was great at not making it noticeable that he was messing up. We talked about his seizure meds and the different options for them. Right now Cale is taking 2 different seizure meds and one of them he takes 9 pills a day! As of yesterday we are weaning him off that one which will be SO nice! I can’t wait for him to only have 2 more meds! Soon!
The drive home took a lot out of me. By the time I walked in the door at home, I looked at Mama and said, “I need a break!” It was good to be home again for sure! I unpacked our bag, Cale went to sleep, and then Rachel came over for a bit which was refreshing! As soon as she left I had to get myself in gear again because we started a couples small group last night and I hadn’t been home to get the deck ready! Up went tables and I pulled out chairs and had to clean them off. All of it was so worth it after last night! Cale was even able to join in and make some jokes! We have a pretty neat group and I think this is just what we both need. It’s perfect being here so that when Cale needs a break he can just go to the room which he did need to do at one point. I’m excited for the special friendships the Lord grows out of this!
Home is good.
Some randoms things…
One of Cale’s favorite times while in San Diego was in the elevator. We were on the 18th floor and he would watch all the numbers and count either up or down.
On Friday Cale asked how old he was and when I told him he was 25 because he just had a birthday he answered with a really confused look, “I feel older than 25!” I told him I totally agreed!
Here is a link to some videos from the Sports Clinic. We’re in the kayaking one, but I would encourage you to watch all of them and being amazed! It really was a great week!!
Here is a link to a story the local paper had written up. The lady that interviewed us was really sweet!
On the way home yesterday we were listening to Cale’s favorite music group. One of the songs was about the guy singing about someone that had died and how he misses them. They specifically sing about how they miss them on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When the song ended and the next one started, Cale hit the power button and asked, “Why Wednesdays and Saturday?” Hmm…good question! I love that he was able to catch on and pick out that line!
Last night in the room, I was busy doing something so I could get in bed and told Cale that I still really needed to use the bathroom. He then proceeded to offer to pay me $2 if I would pee in my pants!!!! Haha! Don’t worry; I did NOT take him up on the offer! It was very entertaining for me to listen to him try to bargain with me!
When I finally did make it to the bathroom and was washing up for bed, I noticed a spider on the ceiling. I couldn’t reach it so Cale came in with his cane and was going to try to kill it for me. When he came in and tried, he said it was hard, so I took the cane and tried. This would have been perfect except that I kind of freaked out and hit the cane on the ceiling and then during my screeching I brought the cane down and accidently hit Cale right on the nose! This of course made the moment even more…insane with me running over to him to comfort my husband who at this point was holding his nose yelling, “Ouchy! Ouchy! “All while jumping up and down trying to now kill the spider that had landed on my bathroom floor. Oh man. We thought Cale had a bloody nose, but thankfully there was no blood! I just about knocked him out though! Haha! During the little episode I had also thrown his cane across the floor so when I suggested that he go lie back down he said, “Hand me my weapon!”
Both animals were in the room with us today. I commented that our animals love us and Cale said, “I know, it’s good.” And then he added, “If only they knew how much I love them then it would be really great. I love them so much!” This was so sweet! He really does love these animals of ours! :)
Here’s a moment I captured right before we left for Seattle on Sunday…
There have been so many changes in Cale over the last week! It’s been remarkable to see the way his humor has come out like crazy and how he’s been able to join in on conversations. It was a challenging week, but I think it did him some good for sure!
One of the veterans was quoted at the closing ceremony Friday night, and his words have stuck with me in a surprising way…
“The revenge of war is to live life well.”
I think after the week of seeing all of these men and women take on thrilling tasks and do it with such joy and determination after being stripped of a life that seemed to be what everyone deserves…
I can’t help but think that same thought and say, “The revenge of brain injury is to live life well.” Yes, it would seem that something so devastating could take away the very things that we held so dear, and in fact it did, but does that mean that we can’t keep going and enjoy life? This is our life-every day we are so blessed and every day I count it as a miracle to have my man with me-to have us together!