Monday, January 31, 2011

Give Me Your Eyes

The announcement of the night...

We leave the 15th of February! The plane tickets haven't been purchased yet, so...this still has the possibility of changing, but as of right now, it's the 15th. If we were to leave the 7th, Cale would not be getting a private room, which they are trying hard to do. I think for that, it's totally worth the wait! Of course I don't mind staying that much, but Cale...yep, that's a whole 'nother story! He actually took the news well. I think partly because he doesn't remember.

This morning A congressman came to visit. I would love to tell you he was, but I honestly don't remember! I know, that sounds horrible! I was going to ask for his name again this afternoon, and completely forgot! If only I had even something to guess! Anyways, maybe you know?


He presented Cale with a certificate and a box of chocolates! We like him! :) Heehee! I always love seeing Cale respond to people who are outside of the hospital. He can always pick them out! Haha! The girl in the picture is 17 years old and made it a goal to write 11,000 cards and send to soldiers that are deployed! She made her goal too. She also had a card for all the guys on the unit. I thought that was pretty neat! That's a whole lot of cards!


The day was all mixed up, but we took advantage of it! For lunch we went to the Cafeteria with a friend and Cale enjoyed a slice of pizza. Right after we ate, I wheeled Cale upstairs for his ENT appointment. Note to self: Do not eat lunch right before visiting the ENT. Today I actually thought I was going to lose everything I had just eaten! I was so fascinated so I couldn't get myself to stop looking at the monitor, but I really should have. Cale's nose is healing great! In fact, there is an area where they had gone all the way to the bone, and is now swollen tissue. They were surprised to see that, and said it was really good! Of course! What else would we expect? Also, as far as radiation goes...the ENT doesn't think it will ever have to be done! He said that even though it's aggressive, if it starts to grow back, they should be able to go in and pluck the growth right out...like I said, what else did I expect to hear?! I won't go on to tell you about what I made myself experience today. All I can say is I'm sure Cale's nose feels a lot better! Yikes!

So, even though Cale is having to relearn a lot of stuff(like everything), today he taught me something! In PT, we played pool! I've only been once before with Cale when we were dating and well, I think I talked the whole time! I was late to the room where they were playing, and when I walked in, one of the other patients was persistent that I have a turn. Uh, how do I hold this thing? I had no clue what I was doing, so Cale, so sweetly and patiently showed me where my fingers needs to go. At one point I asked, "Is this the right way?" Cale looked at my confused fingers and said, "No, that's far!" Haha! He finally got me to understand!


Once I was lined up and ready to go, I moved the stick, aiming for the white ball (which apparently you have to hit first...) and made the red ball disappear into the hole in the corner! Yay!!! I did it!

Cheer!


Cale was pretty tired today after everything was over and we headed to his room. For the first day in a long time, Cale took a nap. As he snoozed, I took advantage with some quiet time with my Bible. It felt nice to relax. I was sitting in his wheelchair with my feet up on the bed, and the whole time he was sleeping, he had a firm grip around my foot. This was his plot so that there was no way I could sneak away! Good thing for him, I had absolutely no plans to go anywhere except for right where I was at! :)

I ordered pizza tonight with the idea to put some in the fridge so Cale could have yummy pizza for another meal. The drivers always get lost and confused of where to deliver the pizza. Tonight, I was looking out the window and saw the truck flip around in the parking lot, so i rushed outside to help him out. By the time I got outside, the truck was gone, so I went walking. I must have terrible night vision, because as I was walking though the grass, I saw a lady with something in her hands. She seemed to have the right color of shirt on (well it was red and supposed to be green, but that's pretty close...), so I called out, "Is that my pizza?" Oops. Nope, it sure wasn't. It was just a little ol' lady walking with her coat in her arm back to her car. Uh, um...ok, thanks! Sorry about that one...awkward.

I did finally find the missing pizza guy around the corner. Who would have thought he'd be sitting in his truck with the little pizza thing on top? Haha!

We're trying to think of ideas that will keep Cale focused on his therapy's. His tolerance level has lessened quite a bit. One of the reasons I think is because he's not sleeping. I know he's having trouble sleeping because he calls me. Please pray for good rest for him and that he would wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day!

I wanted to share tonight a little about what's been pressing on my heart. I feel at moments so consumed and desperate to do something-I'm still not totally sure what it all looks like right now, but I know that even before the plans are in place, I can start now. I don't need to wait to see how the Lord is going to use me, He wants to use me right now! I can take the step now, and begin to make a change.

My heart is so heavy for people that are hurting. There are a lot of people in this world and a lot of them are hurting in some way. I've always, at least for as long as I can remember have had a thought process when I see people. Wherever I'm at or what ever I'm doing, I always think about what that person (or people) is really thinking. What's their story? I always want to find the realness of the person. Maybe because I love people so much? I don't know. It might even be from how I was raised and my life that I grew up in. Or maybe it was because God put a passion so deep within my heart to encourage people when they are going through a tough time, or when they know of someone going through something. I'm sure that I haven't come close to everything that I could be doing, but I have tried so hard to see beyond just what's going on in my life.

I'm not going to have enough time to write about it all, but at least you can begin to see where my heart is at.

The last week especially, but many times before, I have just sat and cried for other people. I sit and think about Katie and Amy and my heart falls to pieces because of what they are experiencing. I think about a family that I know in NY who had gone through a sister with TBI a few years ago. Another friend from NY that I've never met has a husband that has TBI. Another dear friend who lives in WA, her son has TBI and his injury was several years ago, and Cale has progressed farther then him. Then, I just watched a clip on Youtube of a guy that was on American Idol who has a fiance with TBI. My heart breaks and the tears flow. There are so many emotions that come with TBI and it's not a cut and dry prognosis. Doctors tell the truth when they say they just don't know.

When I hear of people that have lost their job, or are tight on money. When a friend finds out her husband is deploying, or there is an outbreak of protesters and war and people are dying. My heart breaks. When a friend finds out that the baby she's about to give birth to, has no heart beat, or a marriage fails, my heart breaks. I was talking with a nurse the other night and her dog had passed away. Her dog dying wasn't what was so sad, but that her family is all in Chicago and she's here. She was so sad that she had to come back here to work and leave her family all for a job so that she can provide for them. There are so many hurting people and so many that don't know Christ the comforter (You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me. Jeremiah 8:18). When I think about that-about people that don't even have the Lord for comfort and have to take on this bitter hurtful world alone, I feel as though all I can do is sit before the throne. Only He can bear the hurt of the world and only He can be the true comforter.

As much as I hurt for people and hate when people have to feel pain, how much do I actually do? If I only sit and cry for them, but do not take a step to do anything for them, is anything helped? If I ask that the Lord gives me His eyes for the people around me, I think I would have no other choice but to act! So, I'm praying and have been for the last week that the Lord would use me-use Cale-use our marriage in mighty ways for His glory and that I would not just say the words, but would allow myself to step out in obedience for the things the Lord will do with my willing heart. It's only the beginning of great things to come!

Yes, it's another song that gets me on my knees often...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mountains



You (the accident) intended to harm me (us), but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done (so much!), the saving of many lives (Praise God!). Genesis 50:20

If you've had a chance to chat with me within the last couple of days, you've been a victim of witnessing me all fired up! I can't even begin to write and explain all that is taking place, because of what the Lord is doing in mine and Cale's lives. TBI, is a dirty terrible rotten thing to happen to someone (and family), but by God's grace, I am able to face it head on and say that it is good. Hopefully in the next couple months I will have lots to share about all that is on my heart and will be taking place! I'm so excited! Goodness! There are so many blessings! I shared with Macy and Melody yesterday, and thought I would share with you also, about mountains.

When I was a little girl, my dad shared with me many of his theory's and ideas about the Bible. He had many. One of them he would talk to me about was the parable in Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” My dad would point to the mountains (hills) we could see looking out of our apartment window, and tell me, "Leena, if you have faith as even as little as a mustard seed, you can look at that mountain and tell it to move, and it will."

There were several times growing up that I wondered, why isn't my faith enough to move a mountain?

As I've been thinking about the last year, and I've even mentioned on here about how it's not just TBI that we're going through. For my head to grasp any of this, or to try to rise above the waves, I have to break it down...everyday. There are so many mountains that come along with one accident. Just like if you found out that you lost your job, or that you or a loved one has cancer, or you've lost someone really close. Whatever the situation is, it happens and then there's usually a ripple of events that take place afterwards that you still have to get through. If you lose your job, the initial hurt or shock is that you don't have a job, but what comes after, can be a lot harder to handle than the original news. It takes time (sometimes lots of time!) to find another job. How will you pay for food? How will you pay the rent or mortgage? What about gas for the car? If you find out you have cancer, that news is hard, but what about all the treatments? What about the effects the radiation has on your body? What about the fatigue? If someone close to you dies, yes, that moment is incredibly hard, but how do you wake up the next day and continue on? How do you go through their stuff? How do you plan the funeral?

Our car accident was horrible. I'm sure the news for everyone that knows us and cares about us was really hard to hear. When I was told we were in a car accident and that they weren't sure about how Cale was doing, it was a minute, hour, day? of shock and pain. Nothing could have compared me for all the mountains we were going to have to climb and get over, after that first night. That is, everything except the Lord.

For myself to grasp for strength that no family, friend, or even Cale could have given me, took faith that the God that I had asked to take hold of my life so many years ago, and use for His glory, was really in control and that He knew what was going to happen to Cale. He was going to give me and Cale, every breath along the way.

It has taken faith in Christ alone, to move every mountain that we've had to come against, and conquer. We've been able to claim victory along the way! I can picture so clearly and often can feel so perfectly, the way someone must feel after climbing a mountain. Back home, we have Mt. Rainier, and even closer we have Badger Mountain, which is nothing like the monster peak of Rainier, but when you hike it and reach the top, you are out of breath...at least I always was! You're tired and your heart is beating a little harder and faster, but excitement is racing through you veins-because you did it. You reached the top!

Time after time, day after day, Cale and myself are breathing a little heavier, our hearts our beating hard and fast, and we have excitement racing through our veins because the Lord has once again moved mountains out of the way, and we (because of our faith in Him) are claiming victory!



It was a beautiful day. I had to get some packing and organizing done, so Cale came to the Fisher House with me and relaxed on my bed. He was so sweet! Every couple minutes, he would snap at me to get my attention and then when I looked at him, he would send me a kiss. :) Way better than being in my room all by myself doing the work!


In a time when nothing is more certain than change, the commitment of two people to one another has become difficult and rare. Yet, by its scarcity, the beauty and value of this exchange have only been enhanced. ~RS

Saturday, January 29, 2011

So Blessed!

A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. -AU

Girls Night was great! :) We watched Despicable Me, painted our nails, and of course there was lots of talking! I had a dog in bed with me all night, which was a bonus for the night! Heehee! I know that lots of people think it's a terrible idea to have your dog sleep with you, and there was a time that I had told Cale no way will our dogs, but Basil won my heart when we were in NC! Now, it's one of my favorite things. That's most likely because Cale isn't with me...!

The morning for Cale was really rough again. It makes me so sad for him! He didn't begin to really cheer up until I told him we had visitors that were a mile from the hospital.

I should start at the beginning of this story...

So, yesterday Glenn had asked if I was fine to leave my car in the shop all weekend. I said it was no problem at all because I don't leave the hospital much. Well, at 10am this morning I realized that I had forgotten all about Cale's dentist appointment at 1pm! Uh...what do I do? Thankfully, Macy and Melody (TJ's parents) were already planning to come visit today! Rather then them meet up with us after the appointment, I had to ask if they would come earlier and give us a ride! Haha! It worked out perfectly because Cale still has trouble with lots of talking, so that gave us plenty of time to visit.


I enjoyed it so much. The visit was such a blessing! I was able to share everything on my heart, all that the Lord has been speaking to me about, and some of the things I've been struggling with. They were also able to share what's been going on in their lives. As the three of us were sitting in the dentist office waiting for Cale to be done, we grabbed hands and prayed. It was so great and very special! Before they left for the night we were able to go out to dinner. Cale was tired and I had seen it coming on. He finished his steak though-every bite! :) I have to say, I ate enough pasta to feed 4 people...gross.

Thinking of this last week and then yesterday and today, I was once again reminded of how blessed I am. God is doing so much and is still working miracles! There are so many things going on and so many ways that he's worked in my life, and so many lives around me, that I can't help but be in complete and total awe of Him!!

He has also blessed me with incredible friends. Whether I've met you or not, I'm so very thankful for you. I treasure you and how you've been a part of this journey with me. Thank you!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Footprints.

Footprints In The Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you.”


I've been thinking about this poem today. The words are so encouraging, and I love the visual picture that it gives!

It's been a weird rocky kind of day. The morning started off rough. Cale is at a point that he knows when he needs to use the bathroom, but sometimes it's not in time to get to the bathroom, this lately leaves him grumpy and embarrassed. As the janitor was in the room helping with clean up, Kathleen decides to tip her coffee cup over! Cale and I watched as suddenly the floor in his room was covered in my yummy (and much needed) coffee. Oops.

Therapy's were a little strained too. It was just a really off day. When things are getting Cale too upset, the therapists have started playing cards with him to cheer him up. I think Cale won in almost all of the games played...me, not so much! Of course, I had plenty that needed to get done today, but couldn't seem to pull myself away. Next week I'll start!

Bad news for the day...I had a good friend here take our Honda to a mechanic that he trusts in the area. It needed an oil change and the breaks have been squealing. Mama is getting ready to drive our car to Seattle for us, so I wanted to make sure everything was checked up on. I haven't kept up on making sure things are done with the car and checked. I did have the oil change done in NC, but that's about it. Well, like always, there turned out to be a list of things needing to be done :( It's a bummer, but I know it needs to be taken care of. I don't want to get to Seattle and have something happen and me be stranded all alone. Boo.

The happiness of the day...it's Friday Night Family Dinner tonight. The menu is Chinese food, which I love, but Cale's not a fan. He has pizza rolls as a back up! ;) I'm also staying the night with our friends here, for a girls night! :) I'm really excited and could really use one!

Please be praying for Cale. He still doesn't understand whats going on. We went to the main hospital for a date with our Bingo bucks. We were both chilly (sun disappeared and the fog came in!) so I told him we should run up and down the halls of the hospital to get warm. He said, "let's go!" he doesn't understand things have changed or that he can't do something until he goes to do it. It's not always like that, but a lot of the time it is. He gets frustrated when suddenly he can't do something anymore, it's really hard, or he's not as good as he used to be. It's hard not knowing why! We talk about it a lot with him, but his memory doesn't retain so, the whole thing causes him to be agitated and frustrated...I can only imagine! That's what's so great about my reminder through the poem. I can't do anything for Cale right now to make everything better and go away, but it's ok because God is carrying him, both of us!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A bow and arrow

Remember how I wrote last night that Cale has been calling people? Between 5am and 8am this morning, he called my phone 9 times! When I got to the hospital this morning, the first words out of my mouth were, "It's a good thing I love you!" Haha! Before I left tonight, I worked out a morning plan, so we're testing the memory! I'll let you know how it goes... ;)

After getting Cale ready for the day, Dr. Howe came in to do Neuro Psych. I left right away to have coffee with a very sweet friend I've met here. Her husband has a brain injury, but is much farther a long in time and in progress. I love so much getting to talk to her. I wish I could pack her in my bag and take her with me! I wish that about a lot of people so be careful...! I found Dr. Howe later to find out how Cale did in therapy and she said he did great! She's still working on the PTA testing, and today he got an 87! Yesterday he got a 74. The great thing was that she said he answered each question quickly! I think it might have helped that I wasn't there. I always hate to admit that, but sometimes he just does better with her with out me hanging around. I think the other therapy's he does just fine with me, and sometimes better, so at least I'm not getting kicked out of all of them!

I had mentioned to Patty yesterday how Cale has become very interested in sign language. For ST, she used it! I love so much that I mentioned something to her, and she knew that it's something Cale is interested in, so she included it. It meant so much to me! Cale was having fun too! He was working on word finding (he's gotten so much better at this!) and spelling on top of signing! He's been asking me lately what words mean. This morning he asked what "so much" meant. At first, I was thinking how sad it is that something so basic, confuses him and he doesn't understand. How many other things do I say that he doesn't know? Then, I realized how great it is that he's asking! He realizes now that he doesn't know, and initiates to find out. This is so amazing! A huge deal in the recovery process is initiation, and I can see it happening so much more lately! Yay!

We were supposed to have a teleconference with Seattle today, but it was cancelled. We haven't found out when it's going to be rescheduled. Hopefully soon because they're supposed to be giving us our date to leave. I found out today that we're going to be going commercial, so instead of continually being delayed and then taking 3 days to get there, like last time, it'll be a nonstop flight!

Since the meeting was cancelled, we had more time for our outing today. I just want to say that I felt like a warrior princess...



Ta Da!



The Darling's did some archery! We have a friend from back home, that is amazing with the bow and arrow. I know why she loves it so much now! Cale went first, and I was so nervous for him! My heart started beating fast...oh dear. I have no idea why! Once he shot the first one, I immediately felt the excitement-that was cool! He did a couple, but very quickly his arms and back could feel the work and strength it took. He was tired. So, my turn! I would love to say that I was confident and controlled, but rather, the moment I released my fingers and the dart flew, out came a very loud squeal! Yep. That's why it only felt as if I were a warrior princess! Haha! I'm lacking in the muscle department as well. We both had so much fun! The plan is to do it one more time before we leave here!

Along with the fun of archery, we had our 0.5 second of fame tonight! I was told as we were going to the Fisher House for dinner tonight, that the VA story was going to be on NBC. It was a blast watching it with Cale! It showed all of his therapists, and Dr. Scott. It also showed of course the gym and the hospital area. Cale was saying, "Hey! Yeah! I know them!" As we kept watching, for a quick snap it showed us. Cale shouted, "Hey! Hey!" and then started clapping! :) He's great!

Just click the link below to watch! :)
*I just realized there is two clips! The second one, Cale gives Dr. Harris a hug!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34276015/vp/41302668#41302668

Fun stuff :)

Tonight after I did Cale's nose rinse (he hates this with a passion), he was upset and said it hurt. I asked him, "On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being eh, not so bad, and 10 being the worst you've ever experienced, what would you say the nose rinse is?" Cale very quickly replied, "100." Oh my! He has NO idea what he's gone through! Haha! I would hate the rinses too. They seem so miserable.

We were cuddling in bed tonight, after turning off a pretty terrible movie, and I asked Cale if there was anything he needed. He looked at me so sweetly and said, "I have everything I need right here." Aww! Well, he manages to melt my heart, yet again! I love him so stinkin' much!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Beautiful Reward

Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones. Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

This morning in my bible study, I read Psalm 127. Beth Moore had pointed out how children are a reward. It doesn't say they are the reward, but they are a reward. This caught my heart like a fish is caught when my Father-in-law Dennis goes fishing. I felt like it was hooked and stuck. This verse has a brand new meaning to my heart like it never has before. I have wanted to be a mom for so long! There was a point in my life that I was saying I didn't need to go to college because I just wanted to be a wife and mom. That of course passed and I realized, taking some classes wasn't going to hurt anything! November 08, Cale and I were driving home from a small group that we were a part of in NY, and Cale said out of the blue, "I'm ready. I want to be a dad! I'm really excited!" It took everything inside of me not to scream and cheer like a crazy woman (I did later...). I had been ready for so long, but Cale wasn't quite there. He wanted children, but he also didn't feel ready. Finally he was ready! Of course, he was deploying for a year less than 2 months later, so we waited. As soon as he came home December 09, we had decided it was time. Things were still up in the air for what things were going to look for him after the Army, but we knew it could take awhile anyways.

On February 8th 2010, my friend Shawna took me to a doctors appointment for a blood test. We were leaving Ft. Drum that night for good, and I felt like there might be a good chance I had a baby in my tummy. It was crazy to wait! I wish that as soon as they took the blood they could have told me, but instead I had to leave with knowing I would be receiving a call. Early the next morning my cell rang...yep! It was the hospital. They called to let us know that the results from the blood test were negative. Even though we hadn't "officially" started trying, we had hoped so much that it was going to be positive. The night before the phone call, Cale had been rubbing my tummy while we were cuddling in bed. We talked about how crazy it was that there might be a crazy little Darling being knitted together inside of me as we laid there.

We didn't receive the results that we had been longing to hear, but at that time we could only see the small picture. All we knew was how we were feeling at that moment and how things looked at that moment. We had no clue that the very next evening, Cale would be fighting for his life, our family preparing to say their good byes, and that I would be praising God from my inner most being that the results had been negative.

We've been on a long journey and our plans had changed so quickly. Cale has been working extremely hard to recover and I've been right by his side. How awesome that after everything, we can still claim in our hearts that our one day children will be a reward!

I was sharing all of this with Cale this morning while I helped him get ready for the day. I looked at him and said, "Who knows, we may have a baby reward this year!" Cale looked at me and said, "How many do we get this year?" Uh...one is a good number to start with! ;) Haha!

For those of you that just read that and are wondering if we're trying right now, we're not. It's just a nice thought that it can all still happen! :)

One really hard thing for Cale being at the hospital is that he's so bored! He doesn't rest through the day like he used to, and there's not anything that he can do that will hold his attention. We try TV, but he never liked TV before, and still has no interest. We have his Xbox now that I had been hoping would help, but he's only good with it until his guy dies and then he's done. Even when we're playing together or he's playing with someone else, he only handles it for a very short time. He can't really read yet. He can do single words, but a mix of his vision and of his understanding, that's not an option right now. Any other things I think of or try, he will do, but only for a couple minutes and then he's done. I feel so sad for him! That's one of the reasons that I never want to leave the hospital if he's not in therapy (and I like to be in those!), because then he's so miserable! If he still slept through the day, or if he was in to TV, then it would be easier. I know I would be crazy miserable too, if I just sat and did nothing.

Cale is a people person. He always has been. I am too, so sometimes this was bad when we didn't have anyone to hang out with! I think that's why we bought a pet bunny at one point...I love being around people, but I don't always have to be doing something. I'm totally content, cuddling up on the couch and watching a movie. Cale would rather be doing something...always with friends. Well, it's still the same and that's one of the biggest things he talks to me about when he's sad and wants to go home. He keeps asking where his friends are and wants to hang out with them. the last couple days, he has starting using his cell phone to talk to people! If your number is in his phone...expect a call! :) He just wants to being talking with someone. His mom one morning, had run out of things to say and so did Cale. It was so great for him to just know she was there so she had him start humming and then they hummed together. He loved it! For the most part, all the calls are before 8am!

We are still loving the weather here! It's so nice! In fact, all of his therapy's were outside today! We even took our lunch to the garden and ate! Like I said before, we have to soak up as much sun as possible! It's really good for Cale to get out of the hospital and get fresh air. I know the therapists like it too! :)

In PT, Pat wanted Cale to walk on the grass. It's harder than walking in the building or on the sidewalk. Cale walked the first part by himself, but on the way back he had a little helper ;) I'm not sure if you remember the last video we did when we first walked outside together, but this time he did so much better! I had to remind him a couple times to hold my hand sweetly and not use it for support. For a good part of the morning, he had been walking without holding on to anything, which takes a lot more energy and concentration. So he was tired before PT even started! I remember this happening when he first started using the walker to go everywhere, now he uses nothing! Yeah!



I asked Cale what happens on Wednesday nights? Usually I have to say, "B" and then he will say, "I N G O!" Today was the first time, on his own that he said, "Bingo!" I was so amazed! Wednesday the 12th was the first night after 6 months of Bingo that Cale won the black out. All of us at the table had wished that we would have had a camera to capture the look on his face. I had been saying we couldn't leave the hospital until we won black out, so now it's time to go! It was really neat because it was right before his surgery and his mom was here with us, so she got to see him light up! Tonight, he got 7 bingo's and I got 1...he's good!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Believe what you read...it's TRUE!!! :)!!

No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (The Message)


The massage therapist snapped this photo tonight! So special! That's one thing that Cale is going to miss like crazy when we leave...I know I will! This facility has spoiled us with massages several times a week! Marge, the MT who took the picture, has shown me a few things I can do with Cale, so I can continue to spoil him! :)

I missed out on OT and ST today. I have to make myself leave so I can get stuff done! It's a lot harder then it might seem...I love so much getting to be a part of all his therapy's and to see the miracle of it all everyday. It's not going to take a ton of time to pack, although, I can see myself putting everything off until the last minute. It's mostly the organizing everything part that's tough. I have this pretty basket near my bed that works as the perfect place to put everything-and I mean all the mail, documents, notes, cards, and whatever else works it's way in. I was very tempted to throw it all in a box and send it, but I knew I was either going to have to do it now or later, and I might as well start off somewhat on top of things when we leave here. I conquered. Yep, it took me almost the full 2 hours, but I did it, along with a few other things on my to do list!

The great thing about not getting to be at his therapy's is that I always get little treats! He made me a card in OT. It's soooooooo cute! I love it! The little rabbit on the bottom right is Monica's but the flower and the face right next to it is from Cale!


Inside the card, Cale wrote,

Dear Kathleen,
I love you
We are going to Washington
Yah
Glad you are my wife
Cale



And, Patty left a note with Cale's packing list on it!

Things To Remember To Pack:
(by Cale and Patty)

-Xbox
-games
-clothes
-computer
-shoes
-pop!
-pictures
-hockey stick

Aww! He's so stinkin' adorable! I love him so much! He's always so sweet and tender. Even when he gets really angry, he usually will grab me and hold me. Today, we had given something to one of the staff, and after they walked out, Cale said, "I'm sad." K: Why are you sad? Usually he always says because he wants to go home. C: We're leaving them (the staff).

He wants to get out of here so bad, but I know even though he may not always admit it, he's going to miss the staff here as much as I'm going to. Like I said before, I have to keep reminding myself that I went through the same emotions at Wake. It was so hard to leave there, but it was ok when I got here and it will be ok when we leave here!

So...REALLY BIG, HUGE, CRAZY, PRAISE GOD NEWS...

As of today, Cale is CLEARED to ambulate around the unit WITHOUT a device!!! Yes! He's walking (with someone next to him), around the unit all by himself! No wheelchair! No walker! No cane!! Just him! Ahhhhh!!!!! Oh goodness! WOW! It's such a big deal! He's doing it! It's very slow going right now, and again, only with someone right next to him and only on the unit, but that's where it all starts! Eeeek! I go crazy every time I think about it! As we walked past people in the halls, I tried (not having to try too hard!) making it a big deal to people, so that Cale would be encouraged. He said tonight, "It's a huge deal!" Yes it is Cale! A HUGE deal!

Amazing.

...and there was a time that fear was festering inside about him backsliding after his surgery. I am so incredibly thankful that God sees the big picture and He just asks us to trust.

I forgot to update last night, NBC was postponed so it didn't air last night. I haven't been told of a new date yet!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What to do with my imagination?

Happy Monday!

Our Monday wasn't as busy as some have been in the past. I've been working on a little project for the last couple weeks, so I mostly focused on that through out the day. Cale had good therapy. He did get really upset in PT, but was able to bounce back pretty quickly.

We had an ENT appointment. There are still microscopic cells left of the tumor. Since it is such an aggressive tumor, they want to finish the job with radiation. I was told by the ENT here (before the accident), that if radiation needs to be done, the best place is Seattle. So, that's what we're planning. It will be nothing like what it would have been if the whole tumor was still in place. After numbing Cale's nostrils. I got to watch again as the scope went in. It's so bazaar. After he did some looking and some pulling out of yuckiness, they had to do round two.

It was like a horror film. He first put the scope in Cale's nose and then inserted another tool. It was a medal scissor thing (I'm sure there must be a proper name for it!), that when seen on the video, looked like a creature. There was a bunch of junk (dried blood), in one spot that the doctor was trying to get to. This medal creature looked like it was trying to eat a feast...so creepy. After it was all done, I made the statement, "As cool as that was to watch, it didn't inspire me to become an ENT." I'm not sure the doctor got the humor of it all...I was really grossed out! Haha!

The packing has started...Yeehaw!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Soaking up as much sun as possible!

Another day of lots of sunshine! We have to get as much sun as we can get before we leave for Seattle! Only 2 weeks left here...uh...yikes! I keep saying that I'm going to be crying and Cale's going to be doing a happy dance! :)

After OT and PT (both good sessions!), we spent about 2 hours in the garden. I brought out our Ipod for some good tunes (instead of all the one's I make up!), and of course a deck of cards! I love that before the accident, playing games was such a big thing for us and it still is! We were always playing something together, and several times we would stay up really late into the night playing. For awhile we just sat and talked. It's mostly me that does all the talking, but I'm not sure that has changed any!

For lunch there was a football party with lots of food! Cale had pizza so he was a happy man! We didn't watch any football, but we did play Yahtzee with another patient. Next, we went outside so Cale could play ball with Kovin. Last time he played ball with Kovin, he was in his wheelchair the whole time...not today!


He stood the whole time they played and then he was daring enough to get on the tandem bike with me again. It was so much fun! Before, Cale would only last a short time because he would get tired so easily. Every time I asked him today if he wanted to stop, he would say, "No, let's go!" Before we had finished our first lap, I said, "My legs are burning! Are yours?" C: "Nope" K: "Don't you feel the muscles in your legs working so hard?" C: "Not really." Darn. I am out of shape...haha!We went for a good amount of time and I managed to last! I'm going to have to invest in one of those bikes. They are too much fun!


After our bike ride, Cale ran a couple errands with me. One of our stops was Target. I was so proud of him because usually when we go out, we take his wheelchair unless it's something that we're going to sit right away. He can use his walker, but his legs get tired really fast. I thought it was risky because he had just worked his legs on the bike, but I want him to get to a point of walking longer distances. Why not give it a try? He walked all around the store with me! By the time we left, he was exhausted but he stayed with me the whole time, even when I offered to let him sit and take a break.

I also found a picture for when we get our own house. I know it might be silly to be buying stuff for a house that we don't have, but, I'm praying eventually we'll have one, and, well, I'm a girl. That's my only excuse! It's kind of like buying baby clothes before your pregnant...right? I know I'm not the only one that has done that!!

This picture was perfect for what the Lord has been working on my heart about...


The last two days have been amazing with Cale. Perfect. We've had other good days before, but my heart has been through a little class about loving Cale-with all of me. If you have read anything I've written on this blog, I hope that you can see that I love my husband. I'm crazy about him! Cale kissed me the other day and I realized something. I haven't been kissing Cale like I should be kissing him. Huh? Try to follow me...while my lips were sealed so sweetly with Cale's, a thought occurred to me. If all of a sudden Cale was 100% back to himself, how would I be kissing him? As many times as I have told myself, and even written on here, about how I'm learning to love Cale how he is now, and how I have fallen deeply in love with him (with the TBI), and how he still takes my breath away, I'm still holding back. There is a chunk of my brain that is still expecting and waiting for Cale to be 100% better and back to how he was before the accident. I realize that I've been praying for full recovery (and that's not a bad thing), but I can't miss the now. I can't! I think part of me is still thinking of Cale as a different person and I can't fully give myself to this Cale because the other Cale is still coming back...am I making any sense?

Every time Cale kisses me, he doesn't just kiss me. All of his kisses are so full of passion. Even just a peck, he grabs my face or the back of my head. He holds me tight and really kisses me. I of course kiss him, and again, I love him so much, but I cheat him when I continually reserve myself for what is yet to come. Through our whole marriage, I've been in a wrestling match with learning to live in the moment. Cale and I have had so many late night talks about it. We were both constantly waiting for the next thing. He was gone on deployments so much so we were always waiting for him to come home, for us to be together. Then we waited for us to be out of the Army and start a family...always waiting on the future to happen. We worked really hard on trying to remember to enjoy every day. I don't want to continue our marriage waiting for him to be restored. The Lord has blessed us more than our human minds can grasp by allowing us to still have every day together. We praise His name for every ounce of healing that has happened with Cale and that can't be forgotten. God didn't make a promise to me the night of the accident that He was going to give Cale back to me in a perfectly wrapped gift with a pretty bow on top-but, He did give him to me.

It was like a light bulb being turned on inside of me. Once that happened, I've had two tender loving days with him. Cale has still had his hard moments and it hasn't been all flowers and rainbows, but it's been real and that is the sweetest gift I could ever ask for.

Now do you see why I had to buy a picture for a house I don't even have?!

I also couldn't help but think about how many times do I cheat the Lord? His love is full of passion and blessings for me. He desires me with eyes that are only for me. When I go before the throne in prayer, or read my Bible, am I all there? Is my focus on the moment sitting at my Father's feet and wrapped in His arms, or am I looking ahead to what the day will bring me? I know the answer and it hurts to admit it...

After all of that, my day ended with going to the movies with Kristen. I have been wanting to see Tangled since I first saw previews! One night after it had first come out, I had myself a little pity party because I didn't have any friends here to see it with. Uh...yes I do! Kristen! :) Just for the record, I loved the movie. I thought it was great! I felt like I need to be wearing a dress with flowers in my hair. Since I'm in bed about to drift to sleepy land, I figured that wasn't very practical. While I got ready for bed, I couldn't help but throw a few twirls in my routine... :)


Us with our very cool 3D glasses!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A date day...I like the sound of that!

I slept in this morning...can I just say, it was so nice?! It wasn't that I got a ton more sleep, because I didn't go to bed until after 2am, but just being able to wake up without my alarm was splendid! :) Heehee!


I took my time getting ready and then headed to the hospital. Cale had already finished PT and was in his speech group. I waited in his room and had myself a yummy bowl of granola to start the day. When he was done, he found me and greeted me with a huge smile! I will never get sick of that! Then we were off to OT. I talked with Pat about PT quickly as we were walking to the gym. He said that Cale had a great session. Not once did he say he was sad or mad, and he was smiling and laughing. Yay! Monica did a little bit of testing in OT...that kind of got to Cale, but it wasn't a big blow up, just him making it clear he was done. Monica at one point said, "I know this is a pain in your..." we were thinking Cale was going to finish with "butt", instead he said, "a pain in my brain!" Haha! So true!

We're working really hard on trying to get Cale's foot straight when he walks. Right now, his right foot turns out and this causes him to lose his balance more. He can do it, and he knows what to do, he just needs to be continually reminded. As we were walking down the hall, I started singing a little tune to help him remember, "We need a straight foot, as we're rockin' down the hall at the VA." If only you could hear the lovely tune to go with it! ;) Haha! It's quite catchy and Cale sings along!

As soon as lunch was over, we had a pass for the rest of the day! Our first stop was to Starbucks to get some yummy drinks! Then, we headed to the Bay. On the way there, we had one of those "perfect day" moments. The windows were down (my hair was blowing around like crazy!), music was on with us singing, and my hand was in his...Aww! It was beautiful outside, so we took a blanket to sit on and played cards for a long time. There were a bunch of people out enjoying the sun and a kayak race going on, so we had some fun entertainment too! After we hung out and soaked up the sun, we left to visit Alana and Kristen (the family that had been taking care of Basil for us). We're going to miss them when we leave! While we were here, we spent almost all of our holidays with them and they've been able to see and be a part of Cale's progress!


Cale has been very interested in sign language lately. I think that he's starting to remember some that he already knew. I have a book in the car about signing that I had purchased in NC. He wasn't talking at that point, so I thought it would be good to teach him. Because of his memory, that didn't work at the time. He started signing while we were driving and asked me how to do something. He reminded me that I had the book, so I had him get it and look through. He enjoyed it so much! There's a section of the book that has a bunch of words and then right next to it, it shows how to sign it. Cale started reading the words! While he was reading them, I would ask him every now and then what the word meant. His reading has gotten better, but a lot of times, if he reads the word, his brain doesn't process it. He did so great tonight! He was having so much fun and had no idea that he was learning new stuff! That's always the best, isn't it?

All of our visiting and fun worked up a pretty big appetite! For dinner we ate at Chilis. Yum! Cale has been wanting steak again, and I've been craving Chilis, so it worked out perfectly! After ordering, we were looking at the little book with how many calories were in each menu item. We found what I ordered and then what Cale ordered. His had a higher amount of calories and he said, "I win!" Haha! I think that was a time that I was totally fine with him winning! ;) It was such a special dinner. We cuddled in our booth and shared his lemonade (and fries!). I loved it! I love him.

Our date still wasn't over after dinner! When we got back to the hospital, we had time to spend in my room. So special! :) We talked about our day and how amazing it is that we get to be together. Cale wasn't the happiest camper when it was time to head to the hospital, and I can't say I was either! Neither of us wanted our sweet day to end!

Before I left tonight, Cale had another episode. It's so sad. I tried to remind him of our day and how much fun we had. He said, "With you, fun. Great! Here, dumb. Bad. I'm mad." :( I understand. Even though I'm not the one that's hurt and in the hospital, I understand. I tell him that if I could trade places with him, I would, in an instant. He thinks it's a terrible idea and says, "No way!" every time.

I'm so thankful for such a wonderful day! Especially after the week we've had! I needed it. I needed so many sweet moments with him. We both needed a super duper wonderful day. :) TBI isn't stopping this girl from living a Fairytale...I am the luckiest woman alive!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above" James 1:7

Friday, January 21, 2011

Smiles...the light!

My day started with dancing around my room while getting ready this morning. Yes, I had the hair brush microphone and everything! ;) My music was playing and this song came on...



So much fun! Always a good one to have on your playlist! It's fun and upbeat with so much encouragement. I love it...and I loved dancing in my pj's too! :)

Cale's day started like this...


I had walked down the hall for something and started talking to his nurse. When I came back in his room, he was as comfy as could be! I know he was wishing with all of his might that the whole day could be like that! Instead there was work to do!! I'd say, for being the wrong way in bed, he looks pretty darn relaxed.

I wanted to share a story from Cale's speech session yesterday. I wasn't there, because of meetings, but Patty left me the story to see what they worked on. It's cute!

A Story
by Cale and Patty

P: Kathleen was having a really bad day.
C: Cale walked up to Kathleen to kiss her.
P: The kiss made her feel a little better.
C: Cale was sad for her.
P: Then something amazing happened.
C: Cale looked around. Cars. Fast driving.
P: One of the cars drove right up to Cale and Kathleen
C: People jumped out of the car.
P: It turned out to be Cale's favorite hockey players.
C: Pavel Datsyuk. Cale said, "hi!"
P: Pavel told Cale and Kathleen he was taking them on a dream vacation.
C: The Red Wings games. They win!
P: After the Red Wings games, Pavel took Cale and Kathleen to Disneyland.
C: We went to the rides
P: One of the rides got stuck.
C: Cale held Kathleen still
P: They were stuck there for 3 hours
C: Cale and Kathleen went to get dinner
P: Cale picked his favorite, pizza.
C: Drinks! Pop!
P: Pavel came too.
C: (Munch Munch) I ate the pizza! Tasty!
P: The End


So...kind of exciting news! NBC was at the hospital today doing interviews and doing some filming. I'm not sure that we're going to be in it, but it's still cool that it's going to be on TV! When we were asked to be filmed, I asked Cale if he could at least pretend to be happy here. Well, a couple minutes later, the whole crew came and had to set up the cameras. Cale's memory is still under 2 minutes, so, what I had said was out the window! UH OH! While they were filming, the doctor asked Cale how he was doing. Cale said, "Sad. I hate this hospital!" Um...I don't think the Darling's are going to be on TV! haha! ;) Oh my! What an honest man I have! It's going to be on NBC, Monday night. I don't have a time, but hopefully you can check it out!

Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. ~Mother Teresa

Cale smiled today. I have been getting smiles out of him over the last week, but for the most part, it was only when I was trying! He just has been so miserable that smiles haven't been coming as easily. He still had some moments today that were hard and he was angry, but his smiles through out the day-they were the light at the end of the tunnel. We may not be there yet, but I see it's coming and when it does, it's going to be a beautiful time for us! My heart quickens at the thought! We also had about 2 hours that we spent outside playing cards, talking, and laughing! It was soooo much fun! One of the staff came out and took some fun pictures of us that helped me to capture the sweet moment we were having after such a gloomy week. I'm so blessed with him. Even with the hard week, he's been extremely sweet with me! Today he looked at me and said, "You are the prettiest in the whole world! Out of everyone, all people." :)





Tonight before I left, Cale and I had such a great talk. The devotion we read tonight was talking about how Jesus suffered and how Mary suffered. It was talking about how our suffering can make such an impact and God can do mighty things through it. That reminded me of John 9:3 “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him." I had been told a couple times right after the accident that it most likely happened because of sin that was in our lives, or that God needed to get our attention because of something we had done wrong. I don't believe that. I don't. Cale and I have passionately sought after the Lords will for our lives, and our desire was to serve Him. The time between Cale coming home from deployment and the accident, I could honestly say that we were more intimate with Christ then ever before. I do believe and am claiming God's word! The accident happening doesn't have to mean it was caused from anyone's sin, but because of it, God's power could be seen in us! We talked a lot tonight about what that means, and in times of us suffering (Cale angry about being in a hospital), what are some ways that we can allow Christ to shine through us. I'm praying that the words that were spoken tonight would not be gone 2 minutes later, rather, they would attach themselves to his heart and be a ready weapon in times when the battle he faces seems to be too much to handle.

The three things Caleb thought of to pray for:
1) Joyfulness (This one is neat because he's been saying happiness and then I talk to him about how through the Lord we can have joy even when we're not happy)
2) For all people to want to go to Heaven (We spent sometime talking about what that means and what needs to be done so people can go!)
3) Forgiveness for our sins (This came from our discussion on how we can allow Christ to shine through us...being disrespectful is not something that's of God)

We are so thankful for all of your prayers. I could feel them this week in so many ways! Thank you for walking this journey with us...good and bad days! You have blessed us beyond measure.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Three are better



“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Today was different. I'm not sure if it was just because I was able to get a little more sleep last night, I was more prepared for what's been going on, or if God was at work...my guess is that it was all three! I walked into the hospital with a little more bounce in my step. God is good!

I wouldn't say it was a better day for Cale because he still had a really hard day, but I think it was better in the way that I was able to handle it better than before. My thought process had to change a little so that I could step back and look at what's happening with out being in the thick of it. This of course always seems to happen when I'm laying in bed at night and can't fall asleep! Things are tough right now, but we (Cale and myself) are not easily broken! When man and woman are joined together when they say "I do" there is something very spiritual that happens! God designed marriage...he designed the love between husband and wife. After He created Adam, He said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” With the Lord as our focus and the center of our lives, we are not going to be easily broken. Cale does not have to go through this hard time alone and neither do I! I will continue to love him more and more, everyday though the muck. When it gets harder, I'll be by his side. When it gets ugly, I'll love him more. When it gets dirty, I'll hold his hand. When it gets painful, I'll hug him tighter. And in every moment, the Lord is with us and never leaves!


I was in and out of several meetings today. Two of them had to do with what's going on with Cale right now. Please continue to pray for him to have peace. He's facing so much right now, in fact there's a list! We are going to be looking at meds for depression when Dr. Howe gets back next week. I'm not against the meds, but...I also believe that God can deliver Cale out of the pit! Cale is in pretty deep, and that's not an easy place to be, but I do know that God is bigger and can bring Cale out of it unharmed by the lions!

Cale did have a very exciting moment today! Pat had come in his room to get him for pt. Just a couple minutes before, Cale wasn't too excited about it...he said, "Never! I never want to go!" When Pat walked in, I knew Cale was going to be ok. He really likes Pat and seems to have a special bond with him. After they talked for a minute and Pat had Cale sit up, Cale spotted a visitor outside his door...Kovin! Cale's face changed within a second! He started waving to Kovin and saying hi. Pat helped him up and walked him over to pet his tail wagging friend. A few minutes later, Cale had the leash in his hand and took Kovin for another walk! He loves that dog, and Kovin helped make Cale's day!


(sorry it's not the best quality! I had the wrong setting on my phone!)

I was able to sit in the garden this afternoon for one of my meetings and soak up some sun! :) It was sooooo nice and needed! This evening, after all of Cale's therapy's, I brought him to my room and let him relax while I worked on a couple things. I also cooked him dinner! It didn't go over well, because he's still not wanting to eat anything, but at least it was something outside of the hospital! I also made a "To-do" list, hoping that it would help me not feel so overwhelmed, but as of right now, I didn't have a chance to cross anything off! It'll come!


What's something that I love? Flip Flops in January... :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Held

With my puffy eyes, I walked to the hospital this morning. It was so great walking into 7D, rather than the main hospital. I had no idea what the day was going to be like, but I knew that today was the day that the Lord made and I was determined to rejoice in it! It didn't hurt that it was beautiful out! ;)

It was another hard day as far as emotions. I tried to show him all the comments that were left for him on the 4th, but it didn't go quite as I had imagined it. He's just mad.

Cale did great in PT! Pat had him walk to the gym with out holding on to anything, and even with him being out for almost a week, he was able to do it! I am so proud of him! Since he's a little on the edge, he wasn't pushed too much today, which is ok because he's still pretty tired.

I'm stepping out, my hand is in Yours, and I'm not going to fear. You lead the way; my eyes are closed. I will not fall because You Lord, are holding me up! I praise You for every breath; for every step! I trust You.

My eyes are fighting to stay open, so this is going to be a short update. I wanted to share a song that has encouraged me so much in the past and then again tonight. When I'm having a hard day, I don't feel good, or I'm really sad about something, Cale has always been able to just hold me. In his arms I've always felt so safe and could always feel everything slip off my shoulders. When he has been deployed, I have always been able to picture myself walking up to Jesus and saying, "Hold me." Even though Jesus isn't sitting in front of me in a human body, I have always felt satisfied with just the picture in my heart. He always holds me! Right now, Cale can still hold me, but it's not the same the last couple days. He's angry and can't comfort me like before.

There's so much going on right now...we just finished up the surgery, Cale's going through this hard stage, I'm over tired, we're getting ready to move to another hospital, and I'm having to work through Army stuff. Sigh. I know that most of everyone that reads this blog, has something they're going through too. Something is going on in your life that leaves you with the desire to crawl up on Daddy's lap and be held. He wants to. He longs to hold you. He wants to hold you! Dear friends, take a big breath and allow the Lord to wrap His arms around you and hold you, no matter what you're facing right now...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back Home (or at least what feels like home!)!

You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. Psalm 92:4

My alarm went off at 4am and almost instantly I had worked myself into a frenzy. I had decided that Cale needed to be back on 7D, and I was going to make it the mission of my day. During my shower, I realized what I had done, and started to pray that God would help my flesh to simmer down, and that I would be led by the Spirit. There is a balance between needing to fight for what's best for Cale with my flesh, and allowing the Lord to lead the way for what's best for Cale's needs. My walk over was refreshing and I felt as though I was ready for the day. There was a little incident that made the day a rocky start. I knew that I needed to talk to the doctors because the room we were in, just wasn't working for Cale. When I walked to his side of the bed, and he opened his eyes, he smiled, and then the first words out of his mouth was, "this place sucks!" :(

On my walk over, I had prayed that wherever Cale needed to be, that God would pave the way. He has been so faithful to go before me and this was another time I trusted He would. Cale was upset again all morning, but was able to sleep for a little while as I laid next to him. Pretty soon it was time for breakfast and time to get things started for the day. The ENT Residents came, instead of the unit doctor like I had thought, which was perfect because they were the ones that I really needed to talk to! I didn't have to mess with going through anyone else like I had thought was going to happen. Then when I asked about what the plan was for Cale, they said if his labs came through and everything was good, we'd be able to go back to 7D today! Yay! All I could say was, "Thank you Father!" Not too long after, the nurse came and said that there was an order for us to go back. So awesome! He paved the way! I didn't have to fight, I didn't have to be worked up, and I didn't have to make a fuss about it! God went before me (again!) and paved the way in His perfect timing.

This was us right after the nurse said we were getting out of there!


Cale was so excited to leave that room! I was describing his room on 7D and he had the biggest smile! Some of the therapists had come to say hi before we had found out we were going back today, and Cale's face lit up! He loved seeing them! This seemed good to me that he was so excited to get back!

When we walked in his room, we had a special message on his white board waiting for us!


It felt so good to be back! Even though it's still a hospital, it feels like home. I know he loved getting to see every one's faces, but so did I! The staff have become such an important (and very special!) part of our journey! It's going to be so hard to say good bye when we leave for good!

One of the staff walked in and said to Cale, "You're back in your room with your pretty view!" Cale pointed to me and said, "She's my pretty view!" Oh my goodness. He melts my heart and turns it into Fondue!

At that point in the day, all was seeming to be happy and a piece of cake. Cale was smiling, we were back, and things were going to get normal again.

But, it didn't last too long. I think Cale realized that this still isn't home. He's angry and miserable and he's doing a great job with not bottling it up. I know that this isn't going to last, and there will be an ending, but it's so hard. I also know that it's not at me and that he's not trying to be mean to me, but I can't turn my emotions off.

I have been so blessed with the man that I married. Cale and I started dating May 2004 and the whole time that we've been together, he has never raised his voice at me-not once. I've never seen him angry! I know that he gets angry and has had some pretty hard days at work, but when he walked in the door at home, he had already let it go. Many times at night when we would talk about our days, he would tell me about how frustrating work was or something that happened that had made him so mad. I asked him once why he hadn't told me earlier. He had said that he didn't want to bring his anger from work home with him. He made sure before he opened the door that it was gone. This is a whole new emotion that I'm having to learn with him, except that it's very different then it would have been! This time, he doesn't realize. He knows that he's angry and mad. He knows that he doesn't want to be at the hospital anymore!

As I helped get him showered tonight, tears found a quick stream down my cheeks. I love this man so much and I know he's hurting. I hate that there's nothing I can do to make it all better for him. His frustration is taken out on me because I'm the only one there, but I'm also the only one that can calm him down. His emotions change so quickly, but for me it still hurts...

Dr. Howe will be seeing him tomorrow and I'll be talking with Dr. McKenna. It's a new day and hopefully both of us will get good rest! We're both so tired and emotionally exhausted. Tonight I had him pray again and reminded him to tell God exactly how he was feeling. Cale prayed, "Dear God, I'm mad at the world. Not Kathleen, she's good, but the world, yeah, I'm mad at all of them." Poor guy.

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Psalm 34:1-4

Monday, January 17, 2011

The valley is a dark place.

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3


This morning started out great! Cale was awake when I got to the hospital at 6:30am. They had just gotten him freshened for the day and into a chair near his bed. I helped get his teeth brushed and hair combed (something very important in ICU!), and then I helped him eat some breakfast. He ended up eating the most that he had been able to, so that was a good start to the day. We had time to play cards and hang out before things started to get busy. About 11:30am we were moved out of ICU and in to a step down unit.

In this picture, Cale was saying, "Good bye ICU!" :)


The whole ICU stay was very draining. It was so loud and busy the whole time! It was very different then our first visit, that's for sure. I was hoping that getting moved out, things would calm down for Cale. No such luck. He's in a room with three other patients so he can be closely monitored still. Hopefully it's just for tonight! There was a special Soup and Bread lunch for Martin Luther King Day, so I went downstairs to get us some yummy soup. Everything up until that point had been going pretty well...

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

Cale had a horrible afternoon/evening. It's the worst I've seen him and it was really bad. My heart hurt for him in a way that caused me so much pain, it felt like I was being stabbed. I'm not trying to be dramatic, just honest. He had gotten himself so worked up that he almost hit the nurse, pulled out his IV, and kept hitting himself. At first I just wrapped my arms around him and started praying. I wasn't quite sure what else I could do. Then he began to say that he was mad, angry, sad, hurt, scared and that he quit. He even said that he wanted to die.

I know I've said it before, but I just can't imagine what he's feeling. He still doesn't understand that he has brain injury and he's hurt. He doesn't remember he had surgery, so to him, he feels like he's being held here. He asked me to run away with him...Oh how I would love to and make everything go away! The look on his face and the emotion I felt from him made everything else we've gone through so small. He's so tired of being poked and messed with.

There's no way to reason with him because at this point he still doesn't understand reasoning. I prayed with him and had him tell God whatever he was feeling, but that lasted a minute and we were right back to the beginning. He had scared the nurse so she had the nursing assistant step in, but he got just as mad at her. He said he never wanted them to touch him again.

Part of this I know is from him being really tired and he's over stimulated. I also know that this is an expected step in his recovery and something very normal. Wasn't it last week we were going through this? It has just gotten worse. I thought since he'd been fine the last week, that we had gotten past the rough stuff. Nope. Even with knowing all about what's going on and not to take anything he's saying personally, it doesn't make it easy for me-it's so hard.

I had finally gotten him to calm down for a couple minutes and what came to mind was Psalm 23. I'm not going to fear this valley. The Lord is with me! I felt like I needed someone, someone to help me, but there was no one around...until I reminded myself that I'm never alone. God is with Cale and myself every step of the way. Not too long after, Cale got really upset again. It lasted until about 3pm and at that point, I wrapped my arm around him and we fell asleep. When we woke up an hour later, I had pillow lines pressed on the side of my face, and Cale had a smile. The rest of the evening was still rough and I'm emotionally drained, but we had another really good prayer time. Cale is questioning a lot and in those moments, me saying that people are praying for him and that God is with him,seems to only make him more frustrated because he can't see it.

Tonight as I fall asleep, I'm thanking God that my husband has emotion. That he's at a point that he can experience anger and frustration. Praise God that he's not laying in bed anymore not able to express anything! I got sweet and spicy today!

On top of it all...I accidentally knocked a whole cup of water into my shoe. Ha.

I still have not been able to show him all the comments because I don't have internet in the main hospital like I thought I was going to have. I haven't had any time to try to print some off, so, that will come hopefully this week!

I'm thanking everybody in advance for praying. You are all amazing and have blessed us so much.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Phenomenal!


phe·nom·e·nal/fəˈnämənəl/Adjective
1. Very remarkable; extraordinary.

During rounds today, another ENT resident spoke with the team and described Cale as doing phenomenal. Wow! I love it! I love that everyone is looking at Cale and even medically saying this is crazy that everything went so perfectly! Praise God!

It's been a much better day! NO seizure activity, no high blood pressure or heart rate, and no throwing up! Cale's been (for the most part), pain free! She had to give pain meds twice, but other than that, he says his nose is uncomfortable. They figured out that the seizure he had yesterday was not because of the surgery, but because of his meds being all switched around. They checked his levels of one of his medications, and it was really low. They've upped that med for a few days and will then recheck. There was no sign of seizure activity at all today, so it seems to be under control.

They kept him in ICU for another day to monitor for any more seizures and also because he was showing symptoms of Diabetes insipidus. The test came back with unclear results and it seems to have resolved itself through the day. If everything stays stable through the night, he should be moved out of ICU tomorrow. We'll both be very glad for that!

A few things great for Cale...he's on a regular tray today! He wasn't too impressed with either of the lunch or dinner trays though. Of course when I asked him what sounded good, he said, "Pizza!" It's a praise that he's swallowing just fine! Patty was a little nervous about this and had planned to come on Tuesday and do an evaluation. The great thing is that since it was all through his nose, it's not as much of an issue, compared to if they would have had to cut his lip, or break his palate. Such a blessing that didn't happen! Also, out of 5 IV's he now has two. Those two have been replaced and seem more comfortable to him. He also sat in a chair for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's so good for him to get out of that bed!

Kathy left today. It was sad to see her go. Cale was droopy and minutes from a nap when she said good bye so he didn't take it too hard. It's been a pretty quick adjustment to it being the two of us again. It's always sad to see people leave though!

While Cale was eating lunch today, my eyes started to do something weird. I told Kathy about it, but I had a hard time explaining it. Out of my right eye it was like a static TV...black and white fuzziness. After a little bit it went away, but it had left me with a headache. Not too longer after, it was time to take Kathy to the airport; by the time we were to the elevator, the headache was turning into a migraine. Ugg. Kathy said that made since of what my eyes had been doing. As I drove her to the airport, it was getting worse by the minute. I was afraid of driving back because it hurt to keep my eyes open and I was afraid of throwing up. The whole time I was thinking it was crazy and very inconvenient because I had to get back and be with Cale! I made it back to my room and felt like I couldn't move! Terrible. I laid my head down for an hour and drifted to another land. When I woke up, my head still felt heavy, but I had to get back and be with Cale. Thankfully the nurse said he had slept most of the time I was gone. It was not a fun experience at all, but I'm sure I needed a little rest.

When I did get back, I climbed in bed with Cale for some much deserved cuddle time! :) He keeps telling me I'm sweet every time I help him with something! It warms my heart so much!! After dinner we played some cards again. Yesterday he was too unstable, but today was great. He was tired though so we only made it through one game. After that I talked with the nurse and we were able to work in Cale's normal bed time routine. He has had awesome nurses taking care of him! The nurse he had the last two days has been incredible and has been on top of everything he has needed. She's also fought for him and supported me on what I thought was going on. It means so much to have such great staff taking care of my husband! We have been so blessed with that at each hospital!

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

I've been talking to Cale a lot about prayer. Not only has God worked AMAZING miracles the last couple days, but He's been working them all along! Cale doesn't get to see it like I do, and I know that's so frustrating to him. He was really sad tonight that he's in the hospital. He was tired before his surgery of being here, and the last couple days hasn't helped! Poor guy has been poked and prodded so many times that he just wants to be done with it all! Before I said good night, I prayed with him and when I listened to his prayer, he prayed again that God would help him to be happy. We didn't talk about that specifically before, but it was on his heart. I talked with him about coming to God confidently asking and His word promises that if it lines up with His will, then we can know that we have it! I'm still in awe of how the Lord worked on Friday! And then, yesterday was such an off day, but today was great! That's not all just the medicines doing! ;)

It's one of the best things getting to talk with Cale about God's word and His promises for us. I love when we can read scripture together and claim it again as husband and wife!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unbelievably Well!

The doctors are amazed! All the doctors that saw Cale today were so amazed that the surgery happened the way it did, and that Cale looked as good as he did! After the doctors rounded, the ENT doctors came and again couldn't believe how great Cale was doing. In fact, we over heard one of the ENT Residents on the phone say, " He's doing fantastic!" and "It's actually unbelievable how well he's doing." Those are two really encouraging things to hear! :)

He seemed in a good mood when I saw him this morning, and as the day went along, he became more awake. For the most part, today was a good day. It's been a challenge though. Cale has been having seizure activity which causes his blood pressure and his heart rate to rise. He's had a fever which got up to 100.2. It felt like all day, we would get him calmed and everything settled and then it would all spike again! Between the seizure activity, pain, him being miserable, and the fever, he was tachycardic most of the day. This meant that he did not get moved out of ICU like planned. He's also peeing way more than he's taking in, and because of the seizures, his lactic acid levels are high and then his potassium and calcium levels were low.

He did get to drink some juice and eat a little bit of ice cream. He was saying of course, that he wanted pizza, tacos, and soda! Haha! They were able to start giving pills whole which is so much nicer then putting it through IV. His veins are small with a larger sized gage needle, which caused him to be pretty uncomfortable. Not to mention just being in ICU! We got him up out of bed and into a chair for a little while this afternoon, which was so good for him!

As far as his cognitive status, he's doing great! He was able to answer all of my questions and understand. The ENT had said more then once to not be surprised if the first two weeks or so, that he goes backwards. Well, it's the next day and there was no sign of it! This evening he was even telling us jokes and we had some good laughs! His voice is not as clear because of the breathing tube he had in for so long. After 9 hours, my throat would be sore too! Yikes!

Keep praying for his recovery and all that's coming with that! I want you to know that it means so much to me to know people are praying for us. Thursday night when I had asked Kathy to update the blog, at first she wasn't able to get the internet to work. I couldn't help since I was at the hospital so I said I would do it in the morning. When I went back into Cale's room to cuddle, at first I laid there with so many thoughts running through my head-I was so worked up that the details weren't going to be on the blog for people to know what to be praying for. After a couple minutes of my mind going crazy, the Lord spoke so clear to my heart, "I hear them." In my little world, I was so focused on getting the details out and specific prayer needs, but that wasn't needed. God heard your prayers and He knew the details! All along, I had no idea until I left for the night that Kathy was able to post! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, for praying for us. We are so blessed!

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40-28-31

I'm a tired girl and am planning on getting some good sleep in! The nurse called me right before I was in bed. She said Cale wanted to talk to me. When he got on the phone, I said, "how are you?" C: "barely alive!" haha! Uh...you ok?! What had happened is the nurse needed to give him his 9pm meds, but Cale didn't want to take it. He wanted me, so she called so I could talk to him and get him calmed down. He was really sweet and sounded good. He told me he'd try his hardest to get good sleep too, so we could have a good day tomorrow! :) and he took his meds with me on the phone!

Friday, January 14, 2011

VICTORY!!!!!

I will proclaim the name of the LORD. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! Deuteronomy 32:3

The wait...was long, but not too bad! After Cale went off, we came back to the Fisher House to update the blog and then we went to the cafeteria for some breakfast. Or did we do breakfast first? Hmm...Anyways, after our little break, we sat in the waiting room. A little bit after we had been sitting in the room, we received a phone call from the OR that everything was progressing nicely and he was stable. Such a great phone call, and needed! It was extra special that they called because we had asked a couple times before and were told that we wouldn't hear anything until the surgery was over. I appreciated so much that they saw how important it was and made the effort!

A while later some very special friends came to visit! It was such a blessing that they were willing to come sit almost the whole time! They had taken Cale at 8:30am and said it was going to be a full day. The second phone call came about 20 minutes after 1pm with same news and the nurse said, "It's going to take time." Kathy and I were already prepared for a long day, so that didn't surprise us. After the call, we were able to leave and enjoy a lunch outside and get fresh air, knowing that if there was any news, Glenn would come get us!


Glenn and his wife Sharron :)

We also had some other visitors! There are a team of therapy dogs that come by and visit families as they wait. I loved it! It was cheerful and helped give us something to do for a while. I wore my comfy black pants today which happen to be the worst at collecting dog hair! haha! I didn't mind though :) Meet Prancer and Molly...


After waiting a lot longer...one of the members of the team working with Cale came in and said they were almost finished with Cale. Just a few minutes later, Dr. Sergani came out. He's the man! Whenever I see this man, even when we first got here, I feel relief (that's the only word I can think of to describe). When he walked in, I jumped up, ran to him, and gave him a big hug. This was even before any news! Haha! Then he proceeded to explain how it all went...

PRAISE GOD!!!

Oh goodness! If I would have tried to type this even an hour ago, there would have been no way to get everything out! The only reason I can get through it right now is because the rush of the day has worn off, and I'm now at the point I feel like I'm going to crash!

So, the surgery was awesome! Better than that! First, they got everything out through the nose!!!!!!!!!! Yes! I have been praying, I've asked you to pray, and friends, God delivered the answer that my heart had so hoped for! No cutting. No breaking. This is a miracle!! Not done yet...they got it all. Everything that is visible with the human eye is out of Cale's nose. He said there might be some particles left, so they took a sample of tissue. We have to wait for 7 days and then we'll see the results. If there is some strands, he will have to do radiation, but nothing like it would have been if it was the whole tumor! There was no CSF leak either! The two areas that were of great concern (carotid artery and the area behind the left eye) are out! Not only are they out, but Dr. Sergani said, "They (the pieces of tumor) fell out easily." WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Thank you Lord!!! A few hugs later, Dr. Sergani left.

At that point, we thought it was over. We had our exciting dance and were just waiting for the Resident to come and fill us in on the details. We waited and waited and then about an hour later, he came in. He said they had just finished up! It was almost 6pm! He reiterated that it was a large mass. Larger than a normal JNA.

Kathy and I were both about to jump out of our bodies! The Anesthesia provider came in and said that Cale was very out of it, but when he asked him questions, he was able to give a head nod or a thumbs up. He pulled opened his eye and asked if he could see him. Cale nodded yes, which is another really good sign! He also had good news. They didn't have to do a blood transfusion! This was a very expected thing, and not once did they have to do it!

By the time we went into see Cale, he was snoring so loud! He deserves to sleep good and hard! His face is swollen, but other then that, I think he looks great! He's got IV's everywhere too. We gave him our kisses and I told him I'd be back later, just in case he could hear me at all past his out-of-the-worldness. ;)

This is the sign hanging in his room!


Thank you for praying. I felt them! I have felt so much peace all day about it! Having peace didn't mean that it was going to turn out the way I wanted it to, but I trusted God with the peace He gave. Not only were we given a good report, we were given the best report we could have been given!

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Deuteronomy 8:10

The taste of victory is so filling and I am satisfied! I praise the Lord for the miracles he worked today. I praise Him because he surpasses them all!

Also, thank you for all the comments, texts, emails, messages, calls, and whatever other way that you've contacted me! I haven't been able to use my phone too much because I don't have service in the main hospital, so if I haven't answered sorry! There's no internet there either. I am so thankful though!!! Some of you asked how I was really doing through the day. I can honestly say, I was ok! I had no worry or fear all day! That too is a miracle! I hope that the ones with me could say the same thing about me. It was a really good day! Some of the 7D staff stopped by, and that was extra special too! The Lord is so faithful, isn't He?