Thursday, February 16, 2012

Embracing.

Ok. Ok. Ok.

Now to get back to blogging and share all the wonderfulness with you!

So…the cruise. Great fun! Once on the ship, I felt like we could soar! We had unending ice cream cones, soda galore (for Cale), and ocean all around us. Yes. please.


{us right before getting to the ship!}


{Yay! We're on board}


{the boy, the girl, and Chris August}


{the boy, the girl, and Chris Sligh}


{beautiful.}


{again, beautiful. all around beautiful.}

Day 1 we swam with dolphins. On our last cruise we thought we were going to swim with dolphins, but ended up without realizing it that we were only offered a dolphin encounter. Although it was still really exciting, we were both a tad disappointed! This time we swam with them! We sat on a ledge and had to drop into (freezing!) deep water. We had put a life jacket on Cale, but I was nervous it wasn’t going to be enough. Just the drop into the water I thought would cause him to freak out along with me. Well, with help the drop in was successful, but yes, the water was freezing and Cale was not to fond of it! We had to swim a little to get to the right place with the dolphins, but that was a challenge because we couldn’t use the wall. Cale was pulling me down along with Janis, so one of the girls in the other group brought me a life jacket. We were all set to go, but the waiting and cold water took its toll on Cale and he said he was done. No! Right when we were going to work ourselves back to the ladder to get out, it was our turn to swim! Cale stayed in and did AMAZING! I had to pull him around and help him stay up, but he also had to use his flipper covered feet!




It was a lot of work, but he did it, and loved it. After a time of swimming around with them, we also did tricks with them and then got some hugs and kisses! Cale said it was the best part of the trip and he STILL remembers them!



{the boy, the girl, and Bob & Larry!}



We also went on a jeep tour and a boat ride. The rest of the week was full of concerts at night and activities during the day. We met some of the artists and ate tons of food! Two of the days our lunch consisted of ice cream…isn’t that what you do on vacation?!










When I’m asked what the highlight of the trip was for me, I say the dolphins was definitely on the list, but most of all it was the changes I saw happen with Cale. Some of it I can’t even explain except to say he’s different, but the other part was all that happened right before me. His initiation, memory, toleration level, endurance, comprehension, coordination, balance, focus, and so many more areas seemed to have a switch flipped into a higher functioning level! In the whole picture of his recovery these might be technically small pieces, but for me seeing and being with him every day, they were HUGE! And when you add them all together it’s a very noticeable difference. Even his therapists on Monday were so surprised!

His mood over all is another area that we can all see a change in. Things that would normally set him off haven’t affected him as much. He’s been able to work through his “fits” and express more clearly with how he is feeling. Man! Thing after thing!

I love it.

I needed it.

We needed it.

We had another appointment last night with the neuropsych. Eventually we’ll be seeing him every week, but he’s about to go on vacation himself so right now his schedule is full so we’re just seeing him every other week. If you remember our last session (and first one) I was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling…this one wasn’t the same, but still good. It’s interesting to dig into Cale’s thought process. First, it was clearly pointed out that although he can understand a lot more than he can speak, there’s a lot that he still doesn’t understand. Even simple concepts.

It’s also another area that is very in and out. Through one part of the session, Cale kept telling Dr. L that he was very confused and didn’t get it, but during another part of the session, Cale, through Dr. L asking questions, got out that he doesn’t want to do therapy because he wants to be normal. As long as he’s doing therapy, he’s not normal. Same goes with his cane. He doesn’t want to use it because he wants to be normal. He doesn’t get his brain injury or see anything wrong with himself, BUT he does know that he should be walking on his own and he should be working not doing therapy. Even when the fact that his therapy is work right now, he knows that he was a soldier. He KNOWS work.

Tough stuff, but so good. Dr. L pushed him a little last night and even though hard, it was needed. Cale is a stubborn (VERY stubborn) man, so once stuck on something he’s pretty much been dipped with Epoxy and has no plans of moving.

This makes for um…fun. Ahem.

Our Valentine’s Day was wonderful. I had signed on to decorate for a big dinner we had at church, which was super fun, but since I was gone the whole week before, it got a bit crazy. Still fun. I had spent all day at church decorating, but that night we got to dress up and go to a really fun classy dinner. We both had fun and loved it! There was swing dancing at the end, but at first they were teaching us and all the steps was too much for Cale, so after about 10 minutes or so he was done with that. He said he likes us dancing together at home better. ;o)

I had a moment while lying in bed that night that made me think a lot more than my tired brain had wanted to. See, Facebook was loaded with pictures and comments of what everyone’s valentine had gotten them, but I didn’t have anything. Want to know why? It was because no one took my husband to the store to get anything for me. I’m not saying that in a poor me I didn’t get anything way, rather, I’m stating that for Christmas, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, our Anniversary, or any random surprises, Cale can no longer go out and get me something on his own or even remember it’s a day or moment that he normally would have, but that doesn’t make him less of a great husband or not as sweet as he was before.

It’s fun when he comes back from the store with Mama and hands me flowers or his therapist helped plan a date night for us and took him to the store to pick out a gift and flowers for me even though I know it wasn’t his idea or something that he came up with. That never matters because I know he loves me. I know that he is an amazing man and it has never been or will ever be based on what he purchases at the checkout counter for me or not. I am so blessed to have him as a husband and every day that goes by I hope and pray that he feels and understands how much I love him and how much of a gift he is just being him to me.

I can’t say that I don’t miss his surprise flowers and sweet things that he would just do to help me out around the house, but I do still get surprises in a new and different way.

One of them has been all that has taken place in our relationship since leaving for the cruise. Like I said in the last post, we had refreshment that we both needed. It’s not even like we had a not so great relationship or that it seemed like anything was even wrong, but what has been restored is unexplainable! Simply lovely. With all the ups and downs (and spirals!) this life we live has, I’m choosing to embrace these moments and this special connection the Lord has given us right now. It may last a couple days, a week, a month? However long and whatever it looks like, all I can do is embrace the now; enjoy today.

Cale has had a couple great days. He just finished up doing PT and he was a lot more willing than just a couple weeks ago! It was a great session! Praise God!

I’ve been trying to catch up on rest. Yesterday I couldn’t wake up and spent almost the entire day in my pj’s! I think I got dressed at 4:30 and that was because we had our appointment with Dr. L! Today has been a bit better, but I still feel lazy.

Just a reminder to mark your calendars for the 5k! You can find the page on Facebook by looking up 5k Fun Run to benefit The Darling Project Date is April 21!!!

Also, please continue to pray about how you might be able to help with the Darling Project! Click the button on the top right of the blog for more info. :o)

5 comments:

  1. Oh, Kathleen, what a joy to read this entry. I am sooooooo blessed you had such a wonderful time. I did pray for that very thing. You know, I didn't get anything for Valentine's Day either. But, you know, I have my husband's heart. That is more important than a Facebook full of what was given to any one else. My Ben wants to do the race. We don't and won't do facebook. So we will just get our info another way. I rejoice with you and all that Father is doing. I love you, Marion

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  2. I love the love you have for Cale, I saw The Vow last night and I found my self feeling so much for the character Leo, because I have been invited in to share your love and life for the last 2 years, all I could think of was you, your strength, love, faithfulness, faith in the Lord, and positive attitude. You always teach me more about patience, acceptance, and love. Love, hugs, and Prayers, Casey Q

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  3. Kathleen, I'm so glad you had an amazing time and how Cale remembers the dolphins! Isn't that just huge in itself? I'm so thankful that the Lord is continuing to heal and mold Cale. On another note, you gave me yet another reminder to keep trusting in the Lord with whatever the day holds. He is our Provider, our Refuge and He has the plans for us... Amen! So glad you had a great time, and welcome home to a brand new phase of life.
    Hugs and prayers to you both,
    Terri

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  4. Thank you for sharing all the fun photos! They were great to see and I could tell you were having a fun time! Thanks for the reminder about the fact that Cale can't just drive to the store and get you flowers for Valentine's...my father is disabled and my mom is his caregiver and love of his life. I don't live near them so I can't take him to the store but maybe we can get creative and come up with ideas on how he can "surprise" my mom with sweet things like flowers or candy or something. I know she doesn't expect those things but ohhhhh how sweet it would be to receive a surprise occasionally. Thanks for the reminder!
    Emily Jordan
    Sanford, NC

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  5. I am sure someone has already told you this- but have you thought about compiling your blog posts into a book? I know you radiate Gods glory through all the difficult and fun times, and I think many many people would be inspired and propelled forward to seek a wonderful God through the midst of pain and joy like you two show.

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