Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soup, Pie, and Pumpkin pancakes...oh my!


Fall tastes and smells so good. Period.

Sunday we had gone to a park in Seattle and I was able to soak up the beautiful trees that were dressed with golden leaves.

Monday I was able to wear my rain boots which I love.

We had acorn squash for dinner last night.

I could smell and feel the crisp coolness this morning and evening.

Don’t even get me started on all the yummy smells!

I. love. fall.

Monday after getting home from Seattle, I was wiped out-to the extreme. I don’t like to say that Cale is a lot of work because first of all, I love that I’m the woman that gets to take care of him. Yes, I want him whole again, but I wouldn’t change being his wife for even a split second. I am honored to be the one to care for him. Secondly, I am reminded often that it could be a lot worse. One huge thing is that he doesn’t need his wheelchair all the time and that takes a load off! Even though his struggles are a lot more mentally than physically, it’s a blessing to have him so mobile!

It’s easy to think that since he’s not so bound physically that life is on the easier side, but it isn’t so! The mental side of the house can be draining and take so much strength and energy, it’s just in a different way. This has taken time for me to really realize and come to grips with.

So…after the long week/weekend, I needed a break from Cale…just a little time to catch my breath. It sounds horrible for me to say and type this, but it’s so true and even before the accident, we needed time apart-although it didn’t come often that we wanted it, it did come.

Tomorrow I leave for Spokane for a conference for a couple days and on Monday had been thinking that this weekend was perfect timing. I still think it is, but since Monday after Cale’s nap, it has been wonderful with him! We have been having a great time together and like I wrote yesterday, Cale’s humor is making me laugh constantly!!! He was always known for his silliness and being goofy and I see that coming back more and more every day. I love it! I enjoy being with him so much! At dinner tonight I was looking at him thinking about how much I’m going to miss him over the next couple days. The conference is going to be great…at least I’m hoping! :) It’s another writers conference so be praying for me!

This afternoon a few girls came to visit for a while. I love each one of them and each one has a special place in my heart. All three of them are on the edge of a new season in their lives; one is getting married in a few months, another is getting ready to move out of state for a job, and the other is getting ready to possibly start a new job here in town. It’s all so exciting!!! I was so blessed to have them over and catch up with some amazingness in human form! :)

Cale had PT tonight. Carly just came back from backpacking around Europe and we’ve missed her! Of course, we were missing for part of the time…haha! Cale wasn’t excited for PT in the slightest, but eventually we were able to get him on the elliptical. The goal was 10 minutes because he didn’t want to do anything, but he ended up topping the goal and did 13! He also did it with a resistance that he hadn’t tried yet! I noticed that so much in San Diego that even though he really didn’t want to do something, he did it and gave it his best! That’s my man!

We’re going to cuddle up and spend the night being together since I’ll be gone the next two nights. I’ve talked with Cale about me leaving and when I explained why I was going he said it was ok and it was good for me!

Didn’t I just get home?!

Ha.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Catching Up!! Whew!

Oh man. This is going to be a nutty post as I try to fill you in on the last part of the Sports Clinic, coming home, leaving again, Cale’s neurologist appointment, and being home again. Yikes!

Here we go!

Friday…

Was sailing! I was hoping this would be a relaxing time for Cale and something that he would enjoy. I remember before the accident talking with him about someday sailing. This wasn’t going to be a romantic time with just us, but still had lots of potential for fun. He already wasn’t too in to it before getting on the boat and once he was off, he had the same excitement for it. Although, I was on a boat following him and the other vets and every time we saw him he had a smile on his face!


They did a race and for almost the entire time Cale was in first place, but towards the end another boat came up and Cale ended up in second. It was still great though! Of course the competitive side came out when everyone mentioned how awesome it was for him to take second he said, “First is better.”


He told the guy that had helped in the boat with him that cars were better and faster. Haha!


The second part of the event was supposed to be our turn on a really big sail boat with the team all together, but Cale had enough of the water, people, and sailing. I knew even though he was able to sleep in, he still needed a break. When we got to our room, he immediately went for our bed. I went on the balcony to make the room quiet until he fell asleep. After talking with Mama for a while on the phone, I went back in the room as quiet as I could so that I wouldn’t wake him. He looked so comfy and peaceful. A couple minutes the silence was broken with, “quack, quack” I only thought he was resting! Haha! We ended up being goofy and ran out of time to get ready for the awards ceremony! We managed to freshen up a little-at least changed our clothes and then off we went!

Each veteran received a metal for completing the week. It was really neat to watch Cale walk up the ramp all smiles and receive his.


After the awards ceremony there was a small break where we were able to clean up a little more and then off to the closing ceremony we went! It was beautiful; dinner on the roof top and flags everywhere. Shortly after arriving, Cale saw some guys in uniform and lit up! He wanted to go say hi so I walked him over to the guys and he introduced himself as Sgt. Darling. After dinner they were all willing to get a picture with us. :)


As soon as we were back in our room, I went into crazy mode trying to get everything ready to go and us in bed asleep as quickly as was possible! The shuttle was picking us up on Saturday morning at 4am…yikes! That meant I was going to have to get up while the people outside our hotel room were still partying. Cale told me it was time for sleep as I was trying to wake him up and I wanted so bad to agree with him! Haha! I think I had one of those nights when I was so afraid of missing my alarm that I didn’t sleep all night!

Delta was incredible with how much they helped the early group of us through getting our baggage checked, security, and to our gates. When they announced that it was time for our flight to start boarding, they also announced about the group of veterans we were with and everyone clapped! This made my heart fill so full as I watched a smile cover Cale’s face knowing that they were clapping for him. So special!

On the way back Cale also did great in all the airports and once again walked to the gates instead of taking the wheelchair. I know he was tired, but he was being such a sport! We also just had a good time being together.

The whole event was amazing. We both met some really awesome people and I hope I’ll get to see all of them again. The opportunity to go and be a part of the week was outstanding and the week altogether was a huge blessing! I’m so thankful that my husband has something like that to go to and be a part of and that it wasn’t just for him, but that I was able to be so much a part of everything as well. A week I’ll treasure!

One of the other parts of it was how many times I was stopped and told how honorable it was that I was still with my husband. In fact, Friday night when we were leaving the roof top, a guy stopped and asked if I was Caleb’s wife. We both answered yes and then he asked if we were married before the injury. I again answered yes. He went on to tell me how after he was injured his wife left him and has never looked back…this breaks my heart. I have heard of this happening way too often and there are no words-sometimes just tears and so much thankfulness that Cale is alive and that I get to still be with him. One of the reasons I’ve been working on this book I’m writing is to hopefully be able to put hope in writing and to be available to a woman (or man) that is hurting so much and being faced with something that threatens to wipe her out whether that would be a family member with TBI, loss of limbs, deployment, death, cancer, whatever it may be…my prayer is that God would use my book as a tool to bring hope to the hurting and confused and that eyes would be turned to Him.

A few things (really cool things!) that happened on the way home…

We were sitting in Salt Lake waiting for our flight. I had gotten Starbucks and Cale was drinking an OJ. It wasn’t a particular special moment, but Cale turned it into one when he asked if I had his PSP!! He asked for it! He hasn’t had it for very long (but he remembered!) AND when I told him yes and asked if he wanted it he said, “Later on the plane.” AHHH!!! He was thinking ahead and already had thought process that the flight was going to be boring and he would need something to do! This is such a big deal!!

On our last flight there was a very sweet older lady sitting behind us. Through the slit between our seats we started talking with her. She has lived in our town since 1949 and told us how things have changed. We had a really nice conversation and then it was time to land. When we were walking to baggage claim, we each gave her a hug and said good bye and when we walked away, Cale asked what her name was. I told him I wasn’t sure and asked if we should turn around and ask. Cale said, “No. That’s an awkward question. Uh…what’s your name?” Because we had already walked away! This cracked me up and the way he said it was so much like how he would have before his injury!

While we were waiting for baggage, Cale asked me what ours looked like! I thought this was so neat and showed great skills to be able to ask what the bags look like so that we could find them.

Exciting stuff!

Home for a night and then off again!

We came home to her…


…and him….


Saturday night we were both exhausted! And we weren’t going to have much time to rest because on Sunday we left for Seattle! Neither of us was excited about having to drive all the way there, but I was excited to see our friends that we had met there in February! We had arranged to stay with them for the night which I liked way more than if we would have had to get a hotel! We had dinner with them and watched a movie. Cale was actually able to last for the full movie! There were a couple points that he would start to fall asleep or decide that he was done, but then something adventurous would happen and that would catch his attention again. He doesn’t handle new things very well and this was a movie he had already seen so it was perfect.

Another early morning came with his neurology appointment at 8am and we had to leave an hour before that! This was a very important appointment though, so I was game for it! First, it was a bit of a shocker. I’m used to going along and needing to explain what was happening and what the nurse/doctor was asking him to do and helping him out with everything. This time, the nurse called him over to get his weight and instead of me helping him, he turned around, handed me his cane, and walked with her to get his weight! Then, we went to the little room to get his vitals and again I was left at the doorway with my mouth hanging open wondering what I was supposed to do! Haha! It was GREAT to see him be so independent!

Of course when it came time for her to ask about the flu shot, I stepped in. His immediate response was “no” but I encouraged a little to which he again said, “no.” hmm…I moved a little closer and encouraged a little more! He said, “ok” :) When she gave him the shot he said ouch, but then didn’t say anything again. The nurse had us go back to the waiting room to wait for the doctor to call us so when we sat down, I asked Cale, “Are you ok?” Cale answered with a duh tone, “I have a hole in my arm. It’s not ok.” Haha! What?! Oh goodness!!!! He makes me laugh!

The appointment was full of testing which Cale did very well at! I was surprised to see him be able to do some of what was asked. He did struggle at quite a few things, but the doctor was great at not making it noticeable that he was messing up. We talked about his seizure meds and the different options for them. Right now Cale is taking 2 different seizure meds and one of them he takes 9 pills a day! As of yesterday we are weaning him off that one which will be SO nice! I can’t wait for him to only have 2 more meds! Soon!

The drive home took a lot out of me. By the time I walked in the door at home, I looked at Mama and said, “I need a break!” It was good to be home again for sure! I unpacked our bag, Cale went to sleep, and then Rachel came over for a bit which was refreshing! As soon as she left I had to get myself in gear again because we started a couples small group last night and I hadn’t been home to get the deck ready! Up went tables and I pulled out chairs and had to clean them off. All of it was so worth it after last night! Cale was even able to join in and make some jokes! We have a pretty neat group and I think this is just what we both need. It’s perfect being here so that when Cale needs a break he can just go to the room which he did need to do at one point. I’m excited for the special friendships the Lord grows out of this!

Home is good.

Some randoms things…

One of Cale’s favorite times while in San Diego was in the elevator. We were on the 18th floor and he would watch all the numbers and count either up or down.

On Friday Cale asked how old he was and when I told him he was 25 because he just had a birthday he answered with a really confused look, “I feel older than 25!” I told him I totally agreed!

Here is a link to some videos from the Sports Clinic. We’re in the kayaking one, but I would encourage you to watch all of them and being amazed! It really was a great week!!

http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/ssc/2011/video/index.asp

Here is a link to a story the local paper had written up. The lady that interviewed us was really sweet!

http://coronado.patch.com/articles/vets-receive-extra-care-at-sports-clinic

On the way home yesterday we were listening to Cale’s favorite music group. One of the songs was about the guy singing about someone that had died and how he misses them. They specifically sing about how they miss them on Wednesdays and Saturdays. When the song ended and the next one started, Cale hit the power button and asked, “Why Wednesdays and Saturday?” Hmm…good question! I love that he was able to catch on and pick out that line!

Last night in the room, I was busy doing something so I could get in bed and told Cale that I still really needed to use the bathroom. He then proceeded to offer to pay me $2 if I would pee in my pants!!!! Haha! Don’t worry; I did NOT take him up on the offer! It was very entertaining for me to listen to him try to bargain with me!

When I finally did make it to the bathroom and was washing up for bed, I noticed a spider on the ceiling. I couldn’t reach it so Cale came in with his cane and was going to try to kill it for me. When he came in and tried, he said it was hard, so I took the cane and tried. This would have been perfect except that I kind of freaked out and hit the cane on the ceiling and then during my screeching I brought the cane down and accidently hit Cale right on the nose! This of course made the moment even more…insane with me running over to him to comfort my husband who at this point was holding his nose yelling, “Ouchy! Ouchy! “All while jumping up and down trying to now kill the spider that had landed on my bathroom floor. Oh man. We thought Cale had a bloody nose, but thankfully there was no blood! I just about knocked him out though! Haha! During the little episode I had also thrown his cane across the floor so when I suggested that he go lie back down he said, “Hand me my weapon!”

Both animals were in the room with us today. I commented that our animals love us and Cale said, “I know, it’s good.” And then he added, “If only they knew how much I love them then it would be really great. I love them so much!” This was so sweet! He really does love these animals of ours! :)

Here’s a moment I captured right before we left for Seattle on Sunday…


There have been so many changes in Cale over the last week! It’s been remarkable to see the way his humor has come out like crazy and how he’s been able to join in on conversations. It was a challenging week, but I think it did him some good for sure!

One of the veterans was quoted at the closing ceremony Friday night, and his words have stuck with me in a surprising way…

“The revenge of war is to live life well.”

I think after the week of seeing all of these men and women take on thrilling tasks and do it with such joy and determination after being stripped of a life that seemed to be what everyone deserves…

I can’t help but think that same thought and say, “The revenge of brain injury is to live life well.” Yes, it would seem that something so devastating could take away the very things that we held so dear, and in fact it did, but does that mean that we can’t keep going and enjoy life? This is our life-every day we are so blessed and every day I count it as a miracle to have my man with me-to have us together!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Smiles! Yay for smiles! :)

Tuesday when we arrived back at the hotel around 4pm, Cale was so exhausted! He was asleep by 4:30pm and then didn’t wake up again until 7am Wednesday morning. I had woken him up to take his meds and after swallowing all 6 pills, he rolled over and was out again! No dinner that night!

It was a good thing he had gotten so much rest because yesterday was cycling. I had been told that we were going to have a tandem bike like what we had used in Palo Alto when we rode side by side, but when it was time to hop on a bike, the only ones were tandem that are back and front. I knew Cale wasn’t ready to hop on one of those! He doesn’t have great balance or control of his right foot. Eventually that might be a good idea, but not yet. The next option was him alone. Oh man. The last time we tried this while still at Palo Alto, it didn’t go too great. Cale had fun, but steering and control was a struggle. We decided with his vision issues and lack of his hands working together that tandem was going to be the way to go. Well, ladies and gentlemen, Cale not only rode by himself, but did it amazingly! We even had to ride on the street with cars, cross streets, AND did a total of 11 miles!!!!!!!! Yes! He did! Can you believe it?! I think the only reason he needed to turn around was because he needed to use the bathroom. I really think he could have done the full 14 miles. Either way, it surprised-shocked me that he went so far! GO Cale!!!

One of the other things that we all noticed a change in was…

Smile…


Smile…


Smile…


He loved it!

As many of you know, Cale lives very much in the moment. Even if the whole day had been absolutely perfect, if you ask him how the day was and in that moment he’s bored, then his answer for the whole day is going to be that it was boring. If his stomach was killing him in the morning and a few hours later it stopped, when you ask about his stomach hurting that morning, his answer will be that it didn’t hurt. This also happened with surfing on Monday. While Cale was surfing, he had a huge smile and loved it, but when he wasn’t surfing he was cold and miserable. So, his answer for how he liked surfing would be that he didn’t.

Yesterday he actually would say that cycling was good! This is going to be my new mission once we’re home; to get him a bike! We’ve been trying since March to get the tandem bike for us and now that we don’t need it, we can work on getting him a bike!

Funny story about my bike…

So, while Cale was in his single bike, I followed behind (or in front for part of the time) in case something happened and to help guide him. They had a ton of bikes to choose from but when I went up to get fitted, the lady had me sit on a dozen different bikes and none would work! Even with adjusting the seats, my legs were just too short! Haha! Uh…we finally found one though and I was good to go!

Every day after the events, Cale has been coming back to the room and passing out from exhaustion. We really are on the brink of it being too soon and all of this too much and then it being perfect timing. Yesterday after all that cycling, we had time to get to the room and have a couple hours before going to a big block party for the event. Cale kept trying to fall asleep and I kept being the annoying unwanted obnoxious woman and kept him awake.

Between the time of getting back to the hotel and leaving for the block party it had gotten extremely cold outside. Extremely might be a little exaggeration, but it makes my point. After getting our delicious plates of food, I scarfed mine down and Cale couldn’t eat! He was so cold! We ended up leaving pretty quickly after getting there and headed back to the room so we could crawl under our warm blankets!

This morning we got up and ready and then headed for some kayaking! Some of you might remember we did this in Seattle when Cale was going through radiation. He enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. The paddling takes a lot of coordination and strength which is very challenging for the Boy. Today we went in a double that had foot pedals! This was brilliant! We had a blast!!! At first we all hung around in a group to get everyone in their kayaks and make sure everyone was comfortable. When we were all ready, the whole group headed about 1.5 miles out and then back on a long ride. Cale and I were the first to the buoy on the way out! This of course made him smile so big because he’s really competitive. On the way back we switched it up and tried paddling…yep, that’s not our thing. We ended up going back to using our feet! :)



All was good and Cale was happy until we switched to the games after lunch. Instead of me going with him for the football game, a volunteer went with him. It started out really well with Cale still smiling and ready to win, but it didn’t take too long for it all to be too much. There was a small outburst of frustration so John brought him back in and I was able to remove him from the situation and he cheered up. He was still really tired though!



The rest of the day has been great! We’re ready to cuddle in bed and enjoy sleeping in a little tomorrow! So far it’s been all early mornings, but tomorrow we don’t meet up with the team until 10:45! Woohoo!!

Cale has been wanting ice cream since after the bike ride. Finally today there was some for all the guys and he enjoyed every drop of it! He even tore off the top of the little cup at the end and licked the entire inside! Haha!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

“Fresh”

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.

Break time.

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...



Javelin...


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!

www.va.gov

Monday, September 19, 2011

Birthday and Surfing!

At 1:00am on Saturday night (or I guess Sunday morning...), I felt Cale roll over and suddenly my eyes popped open; I quickly grabbed my cell phone to check the time. The alarm had not gone off, but for some reason I had in my head that I slept in and had to hurry to get ready. I was about to bounce (or fall) out of bed to get in the shower before everything came together…it was one in the morning! With a big sigh I said, “thank goodness!” which then Cale responded with, “huh?” followed by him rolling over again most likely trying to escape the crazy woman next to him!

First on the agenda yesterday was a trip to Naval Base Point Loma for the opening ceremony for the clinic. Before boarding the bus, Cale’s coach had written all the names of the team down and selected Cale to draw a name because it was his birthday. Whatever name was chosen, that person was going to be the one to walk in the ceremony and be given the team flag. Right before Cale drew, one of the other guys shouted, “He’s going to draw his name!” Cale pulled out the little paper, pulled back the fold and then he shouted, “Caleb!” This of course made him smile so big! He thought it was so neat to have grabbed his name even though he had no idea what it was for.


Here’s us right after getting the flag from Secretary Shinseki of Veterans Affairs


Look at my face…what am I doing? Haha!



The ceremony wasn’t Cale’s most favorite thing. We ate lunch there and with all the talking, it became too much for him. In fact, he didn’t touch his lunch plate and it was steak! He started to shut down, but then it was time for him to get the flag which gave him a boost!

We left the ceremony and went back to the hotel for Cale to rest. I thought it was going to be a quick nap because he was supposed to get a visit from TJ his friend, but he ended up napping for a few hours because TJ came later than planned. He is so tired already and the week hasn’t even started! Rest on his birthday was needed!

After the both of us had some chill time, we had dinner with TJ! It was really exciting for Cale to see his friend and very special. After we finished eating the waitress came with ice cream and a candle and we all sang Happy Birthday. The last time they’ve seen each other was Christmas! I wish that we would have had more time to actually do something, but that’s alright. We had to get to bed because this morning came early!



At 6:45 am we met with the team and then loaded on a bus to the beach where Cale went…SURFING!!!!!!! It was so cool! On the ride there, Cale was in a grumpy mood and saying he wanted to go home. I even sent a text to the coaches giving them a heads up. Once there, he seemed to get a little more excited but was still saying he didn’t want to do it. I asked if he would give it a try and do it for me. After he was dressed and ready to go, there was no turning back! At this point he had a smile on his face!



He had some awesome instructors that worked so well with him and did a great job of encouraging him along the way. The whole time he had a HUGE smile and right after he seemed so pumped!




We had to bundle him up in between it being his turn to go out. He was freezing! We covered him in blankets and he was still shivering!


I can’t even believe it. He did it! He surfed!!! I did ask one of the instructors if we needed to worry about sharks since we just watched Soul Surfer a few weeks ago…uh?! Haha! She reassured me we did not have to worry!








Chilling on the beach waiting for his second turn!


The first half of the day he went out twice before lunch and that about did him in. Right after he was done eating I found an empty tent and this is what happened…a much needed rest!


He was done after that and decided not to join in the last few times in the water. I am so proud of him for doing it that I didn’t mind him wanting to sit out! He has been really scared of water lately so he really didn’t want to do it, but he did. He fell off the board and went under one time each time out. When I watched him go under, I cringed thinking he was going to be done and be angry, rather he got back on the board and kept going! Awesome! He’s awesome!

This is his team and all of the coaches,instructors, and volunteers


Such a fun day together! :)Maybe one day he'll be able to surf again and stand!

Tomorrow is coming even earlier…we’re calling for room service or pizza; something that will come to us!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

San Diego Time!

Yesterday was crazy! It wouldn’t have been as crazy if I wasn’t so crazy myself, but everything worked out and I had a good time being a part of it!

Our Women’s ministry puts on a Spa night every year for women to come and be pampered. This was my first year being able to actually go. When I was home in 2009 while Cale was deployed I made dessert for the night, but then had to get to work. This year I made dessert and enjoyed the event! I had in my head (this is where I’m crazy) that I wanted the cupcakes I was making to taste really fresh. I also made a dessert for the silent auction and wanted them to be “fresh” as well. On normal days this might have been completely fine, except yesterday there were several things on my list that needed to get done including packing for our trip today! Yikes!

I started making the flowers that I topped the cupcakes with the other day. I went downstairs and dug into all of my old baking stuff that I haven’t touched since 2009. As I opened my tub that holds all the tools, the smell of sugar and gum paste filled memories to what feels like a whole different world. I told Rachel that it wasn’t a good or bad moment necessarily, it was just different. Thinking back to when baking filled my free time and frosting, flour, butter, and powdered sugar were common ingredients found all over the kitchen counter…a time that feels so long ago; a different life time. I feel like a totally different woman. It felt really good to create something again that even though I wasn’t sure about the taste, it at least looked pretty! :)Haha!


I spent all morning/afternoon in the kitchen baking while also trying to keep Cale entertained. I offered the idea of him helping multiple times, but he didn’t think that was such a great idea…haha! When I tasted one of the cupcakes, I thought the cake part tasted like pancake batter. With a slight panic I went to Cale to have him taste and told him what I thought it tasted like, his response was, “I don’t know, I don’t eat batter.” Uh…good point. ;)

I wasn’t able to give him much attention and he actually did really well finding things to do. He ended up taking a fairly long nap which helped pass his time. I had the mixer on at one point and when I turned it off, I heard the toilet flush, so I knew he was awake. A couple minutes later Cale came down the hall and told me that he had fallen! I hate those words and immediately I think about him hitting his head. When I asked, he was able to show me where he fell and as much as he could he explained what happened. My heart was beating super fast, but thankfully his arm was the only thing bumped.

Even though it stunk that he fell, a couple things were totally awesome about the situation; Cale was able to get back up all by himself, he still went to the bathroom, he came and told me, AND he remembered it and details about it!!!! These things are high functioning abilities! Just him being able to remember was such an exciting event all on its own and then on top was everything else. About an hour later I asked about it and he had absolutely no memory of it, so at least the part of him that had been shaken up about it was ok. :)

We also went to pick up his glasses which he is not a fan of. He has prescription in both his glasses and sunglasses. They are waiting to try the prism until he’s able to do some vision therapy with it. I’m not too sure yet how much the prescription has changed life for him, but hopefully after he adjusts it’ll be for the better!

I left Spa night about 8:15pm last night and still had not started packing! We had to leave our house this morning at 5am so that did not leave me much time to pack and sleep. If I was a guy it would have been a whole lot easier for sure! I didn’t spend too much time getting stuff figured out, so hopefully I have some items of clothing that actually go together and if not, I’ll just look artistic!

When I woke Cale up this morning, he gave me a grunt and I imagined that’s all that I was going to get. To my surprise, after mentioning that we were going on the plane to San Diego he started moving pretty quickly. He was a hoot before leaving the house. When he walked to where Mama and I were sitting at the table, I asked if he had put his deodorant on. As I was asking, I was also smoothing his hair so when he answered he said, “On my hair, no, on my armpits, yes.” This came of course with a grin from him. There were a few more things that I can’t remember, but he sure was making me laugh!



Something new has been happening today with Cale. He’s taking more of a…um…leader roll? I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s like, even with simple things, he’s telling me what to do. Friends, I’m a mess. I just am. I can try to do better and really control this woman that I am, but then I end up doing something that shows exactly who I am. It’s usually me saying/doing something at the wrong time. Unfortunately this happens a lot. Cale has always been so good about containing me and keeping me from walking right into someone/something, not knocking a rack of something over, catching things I’m dropping, preventing messes, and so many more things. Since his injury, well, those things just happen and it’s gotten even more obnoxious because he has become part of these really embarrassing Kathleen moments. It all makes life…fun.

So, today he’s been giving me direction again. Like I said, its simple things, like when I’m trying to talk to him and the person is talking on the intercom while sitting at the airport. He tells me to wait. Or like while standing on that belt thing (that gives you a ride through the airport) today, we were standing next to each other and there was a guy behind me that I didn’t know was there. Cale nudged me and told me to move over. It’s so comforting to see him step back into this role that he so sweetly had before. Very neat to see the “man” come out!

Speaking of man…

Cale is awesome. Just saying.

Hmm…more than awesome…no words.

I am so so, SO incredibly proud of him. He continues (daily!) to amaze me and show me how strong of a man he is. I’m so blessed to be his bride. When he’s given the easy way out, even in a situation that it makes complete sense for him to do so, he chooses to be brave.

Yesterday after he fell, I gave him the cane to use if he wanted it. I thought he would definitely use it, but instead he said no. I asked if he was being brave and he said, “yes!”

I had called the other day making arrangements for the airport and getting to our gates. When we landed in Salt Lake, the guy came with the wheelchair for Cale and to get us to our gate, which was a good distance away. Cale told him he didn’t need it. I was at first a little nervous because the guy had already said it was kind of far and I knew Cale was already tired from lack of sleep. I also didn’t want to push him so much that he would crash and have a meltdown once at the sports clinic. He was very determined and said, “I want to do it.” How could I say no? So, he walked…ALL the way AND did an escalator which we haven’t done since we were in Seattle with his OT. The last time he did them it was still a challenge and he wasn’t ready to give it a try with just me and no therapist. The opportunity presented itself and although my heart raced and I was shaky afterwards, he aced it.

I’m SO proud of him!!!! Did I say that yet?!

He could have just as easily taken a ride on the wheelchair and that would have been just fine. That was a super long walk for him and not only did he do it, but he did it so well! With the help of the cane and putting quite a bit of weight on my arm, he made it and kept going through the day strong! ! Determination baby!

Once we arrived at our hotel and walked around with our mouths hanging open (well, that might have just been me…Cale’s polished enough to keep his closed…) and eyes opened wide in amazement of this super nice hotel, we went to our room and crashed. Somehow we ended up with one of the best located rooms…yay! The view is beautiful and we have a nice balcony to sit on and enjoy it all!


A few hours later we woke up right in time for dinner! It was a bit of a walk to the restaurant that we went to outside, but so yummy! Sitting in the pool area is like a trip to the tropics…who doesn’t like that?! We’re being spoiled for sure!




During dinner we met another couple who has been to a sports clinic before. She kind of filled me in on the week briefly and pointed out that towards the end the guys are exhausted! I can imagine after looking at the schedule. Each day we get up early and have an event. Depending on the day it’ll be surfing, track and field, cycling, sailing, and kayaking. Cale was put on a team today…GO Titans!

Tomorrow is Cale’s birthday. Every time he hears or sees the date he gets really excited and says, "Hey! Yay! It's my birthday tomorrow!" Tomorrow is going to be fun with him realizing it’s his birthday all day long! Heehee!

Internet is really expensive here and every 24 hours we have to pay again, so I’m not sure how often I’ll be getting on to update through the week. We’ll be getting LOTS of pictures though!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hi!

I’m tired tonight and have to get up really early in the morning for a busy day tomorrow, so tonight is going to be a quick recap of the last couple days…

Yesterday Cale had Speech at 9:30am which is an early day for him. Getting up and ready by that time is challenging stuff, but he was a good sport and was able to get up and be ready on time. While he worked hard on word stuff, I went next door to the neighbors and worked hard doing Pilates! I think by the time we were done, we were both ready for a nap, but not so! We had errands to run and ended up being busy for most of the day.

OT came and took Cale for another errand to the store. When they came back, Teresa said Cale did great! It was extra exciting because our day was so packed full and I knew Cale was tired, but he was still able to have a good session! He’s working so hard!

When he came back from the store he handed me these (so sweet!)…


Today was another busy day and again Speech started at 9:30am. He woke up because of Basil so I wasn’t the bad guy this time! Haha! He was in a good mood and had a great session once again with Doreen. Rachel was back in town today so I was able to see her quickly before Cale was done with speech and we were on the go again! We had a few more things to get done before our trip this weekend.

We took advantage of a few minutes that we had in between errands and his next therapy and had fun with some of the things from his party…



It wasn’t all hard work…therapy today was us and Jamie getting Pedi’s!! :) Yes, Cale was included in this little spa treatment! Heehee! He actually enjoyed it a little and laughed when his foot was tickled by the lady scrubbing. I can’t say that he’ll ever do it again though…


After I was done I went to the little thing they have you stick your feet in to dry. Cale had stayed in his chair even though he was done, but once Jamie was done, Cale needed to get up. There’s a big step coming off the part where our spa chairs were so I went right over to help him down. All the workers kept saying to watch the step and finally to one of them I replied that we were ok and I knew it was there…right after I was speaking we flew…kind of like we were slipping on a bar of soap and even though it was happening really quickly, it also felt very slow motion. I pictured us wiping out the manicure table across from us causing all the tools and polish to go crashing to the floor right before us. Thankfully before the dramatic fall, I was able to steady us and just cause gasps to fill the room. Yikes.

I almost killed us, but at least we had pretty feet!

Right after walking in the door from being with Jamie, we had to turn around immediately and head to the church for Drum with Sonny. Cale was just about done with the world at this point, but he still let me lead him to the church and attempt a session. He has been saying a lot that he wants to do guitar, which he does have one, but it’s still in NY. He’s just not loving the drums, but I do feel like he really didn’t enjoy it today because of how tired he was. We’re going to keep at it for now, and eventually bring the guitar into the mix!

His mom was at home waiting for us when we walked back from the church. She was able to visit and hang out with Cale while I mowed the lawn.

This is how I found Cale and Basil once our day was coming to an end and it was about bed time…of course, for them it was already bed time! ;)


I'm going to try to post tomorrow night, but if I'm not able to, the next post will be from San Diego!! For those of you that don't know, Cale was accepted to an adaptive sports clinic for a week! I'm really excited about the trip, BUT slightly nervous as endurance and fatigue are two key frustrations for him right now. If you think about it in the next week, please be praying for us!