Several times within the last few days the word fresh has been used to describe Cale when people have heard the date of his injury. I can honestly say that it doesn’t feel like it to me in the slightest. So many nights when I’m trying to fall asleep, I think about how long it’s been since I’ve had my husband the way he was before TBI. It feels like ages since I’ve been able to talk to him, laugh and play with him, dream with him. Although I’m now able to do that with Cale again, it’s very different; not bad-different. I love the man he is now because I knew that man he was before. I’ve learned (and am still learning!) how to love this man that he has become with so much passion and life because he’s still my husband…still my Boy.
When I look around at this remarkable group of men that are here at the clinic and hear some of their stories of what they’ve had to overcome, it helps to put things in perspective and remind me that we ARE early into his recovery and he’s come SO far! It’s of course been causing me to think a lot about stuff…my mind is turning and the wheels are rolling! :)
It’s been a blast being here so far. I think I’m enjoying it a lot more than Cale though…he’s been having a hard time with all of it. I sent the application in knowing that it could be a challenge for him, but what is recovery without challenge right? I still think it’s a good thing we’re here and I’m not regretting it, but it is a lot for him. Please still be praying for endurance!
Even with the early mornings, long days, and over stimulation, he’s still pressing on! Today he didn’t want to do any of it. Since he ended up enjoying surfing I was hoping for the same today. We went to the United States Olympic Training Center and met Coach Cruz who is the coach for the paralympics and took a team to Beijing in 2008. He took all the guys out that were ambulatory and had them run the track, stretch, and then warm up before racing. When it all first started I was getting really nervous knowing that Cale couldn’t run. We ended up staying with the group though instead of going with all the guys in wheelchairs. Cale wasn’t able to run the track, but when all the guys started running, Cale handed me his cane and while holding my hand he walked as fast as he could get himself to go! Then came stretching and again he was really trying his best. His body just doesn’t move like he wants it to, but he at least tried. When the warm up first started, he was able to do as best he could everything being asked, but then it became more complicated. He kept going even though he was the last one to finish and all the guys were so great cheering for him and encouraging him to the finish. It didn’t take long for him to get upset when things became too complicated.
One of the things I love about being with this group is that I don’t have to explain everything and feel bad for the way he’s reacting. They get it. They understand what it feels like and in some way even if they don’t have TBI, with whatever injury they do have, they’ve been there. After he had a little rest, he was good, but I still stepped back and let his coach step up and let him have his guy time. He hung out with him while the other guys raced.
Next up was rowing. Cale seemed to be engaged as we went into a room and watched a short video and discussed what was involved in this sport. After all the talking, the guys all got on machines for a practice to give the feel of what they were going to experience in the water. Just watching Cale on the machine I was thinking how perfect this was for him. He didn’t seem to agree…haha!
All the guys loaded up in a training barge and off they went. I climbed on a motor boat and followed behind getting to take pictures and encourage Cale with continual thumbs up! At one point we went to check out some of the other guys and when we saw Cale’s group again, he was in the back with the nurse. I was afraid that maybe it had gotten too hard and he had given up, but later found out that he had just gotten really tired and to keep everything going for the other guys they had Cale move. This made me feel so much better to hear! I can imagine it made him tired! That’s a lot of muscles he doesn’t normally use!!
You can't see Cale very much because he was on the other side, but here's his group going!
With all the hard work for the first part of the day, it was lunch time! We were all invited inside the Training Center for an incredible lunch! Out of all the food and choices, Cale went with a bowl of cereal…gotta love him!
When all of our bellies were full, it was time to try shot put, discus, and javelin. This part of the clinic was definitely not my cup of tea…although I have hidden muscles that are not seen with the eye, I would not have been able to launch any of these!
Cale doing shot put...
Cale tried (again even though he wasn’t crazy about the idea) and did really well I thought. He is so hard on himself (which can be really good) and said he didn’t do good so it made him sad. Bravo to him for trying ALL three!! He did better than I would have!
I’m not sure at what point it was, but they had a time to talk about goals and motivation for all the guys. I was sitting on Cale’s lap as we’re listening to a lady speak about her story and then she asked all the guys questions. One of them she asked was, “What motivates you?” All the guys are taking turns yelling out things like, desire, fear, determination, and then Cale yells out, “kisses!” Oh man! Haha! Of course then all the guys had fun with that…and I turned red.
Just a couple hours later you wouldn’t have known that I was embarrassed and red because I now look like a lobster with the lack of sunblock…I am very roasted!
Me getting baked...
Here is a picture of Cale and a guy named Chris.
Chris has TBI and was injured in 2000. He is awesome. Cale doesn’t totally get that they both have TBI and Chris understands what he's going through, but I think he does to a point, at least in moments. Chris constantly encourages Cale and helps out. It blesses my heart so much to see them together. I think it’s so great for Cale to have that “guy” friendship that pushes and encourages him to keep going and not give up. His mom has also been so encouraging to me and is packed full of info and resources. Total blessing!
You all will be proud to know that I have not cried yet even with all of the amazing things taking place! I’ve gotten teared up, but NO sobbing! Haha!
Oh! Also, Cale was on the front page of the VA website today surfing!