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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Power of Reaction

The words "the power of reaction" have been floating in my mind for weeks. I would randomly think about them and a few times thought about it in the middle of different situations. I've had no idea that a blog post was going to become of it...

Each of us from the time we are just naked little baby's react. Even while in the womb babies move and kick. From early on they can react to the food the mother is eating or the feeling of being uncomfortable.

From the minute we're born the world around us floods our senses constantly. We are bombarded with a life full of moments that we react to.

It's cold. We're hungry. Something is funny. We're mad. We're in pain. 

The list can go on and on.

One thing with being human that is truly a gift is the power of how we're going to react to any given situation and the power each reaction has. It's something that we become in control of. We learn how to appropriately react and we learn when to react. 

I am not the first wife by any means that has had her husband holding hands with death. When every breath has become unpromising and forced by machine. 

The way I reacted to that specific situation was very different than a lot of wives have. And since that instant when my whole world shifted...I've had to face so many more situations that depending what my reaction would be would determine the direction my life was going.

I know even that statement is true for many of you living with brain injury or not.

One of the many things that have changed between Cale and myself is that Cale no longer has the control of reaction. He can no longer think things through and decide how angry he's going to get, what words he's going to say or how happy he's going to be. 

This morning I went to the hospital with a huge smile. Packing happened, flights booked, and home was soon. We were scheduled to discharge the hospital tomorrow morning at 11:30. The smile wouldn't leave my face. I kept talking to Cale about going home, bringing it up often to watch him get excited all over again. Like a fool I walked around the unit telling everyone how happy we were and announced to all the staff with a cheesy smile "We are now packing Cale's bag! It's a big deal!" I was confident. Ready. Focused.

A couple hours later one of the doctors came to talk with me about this last weekend. Sunday afternoon was really challenging for us. Cale had a terrible episode that resulted in a dangerous situation. I won't go into the details but it was difficult and reminded us that as great as Cale is and as far as he has come, his brain injury is severe. There are times that we just have to better prepare ourselves safety wise. 

The doctor explained that even though they have been doing a great job at getting things into place to help Cale, they still need to work on ways to help me and to get these episodes he has under control. 

The meeting ended with the knowledge that our discharge date has been extended. At this time we're unsure for how long or what this new plan looks like. We will hopefully know more tomorrow. It could actually end up being just a few days or a few more weeks. 

Of course I was disappointed in the whole idea of staying here longer especially because we were so close to home, but my heart mostly hurt for Cale. I hated the thought of the doctors telling him. He wants to leave here so desperately and because he is unable to comprehend why he's here in the first place, it makes it even more difficult. The benefit with his memory is that by tomorrow he may have forgotten that we were extended but still have the issue with being here in the first place. 


As I walked out of the doctors office and the tears were building up from the shock and the ache for Cale, I thought to myself, "I have the power to control how I'm going to react." 


Do we get that?

From the most simplistic things like an annoying driver, slow cashier, rude comment, noisy kids, a lie, long shift at work, flat tire, burnt dinner, spilled milk and all the way to a fight with a spouse, small paycheck, stacks of bills, diagnosed with illness, lost job, or injured husband.

Most of you reading, in fact I can just about say all of you reading this little post of mine have the power to react to any situation. You have the power to brighten someone's day or tear them a part. The way you react carries power.

How often do we let our emotions control the situation rather than what we know is better?

Cale is someone who has no control. 

He is stuck in a hospital so far from home because his reactions hurt people. 

Every reaction to every moment through each day is going to affect someone and we have no idea the power it may have in this world. 

I was just recently told how great it is that I share so openly on this blog because my openness and honesty can impact so many lives that I will never know. 

My reaction is powerful.

This thought blows my mind and suddenly becomes a big deal to me when I realize first, the gift that it is but also to see Cale's life without it.

I knew everything was going to be just fine because I know God is in control. I know I can be confident that His ways are higher than mine. I know He has every detail planned; I just need to trust.

I went for a really quick hard run and while running I just started to yell out, "You are my comfort. You are my strength. You are my Shepard. You are my healer. You are my friend. You are my hope. You are my joy. You are my peace. You are my shield. You are my leader. You are my voice."

How different would my life be if my reaction was not to run to Him?

Does all of that make sense?

I ask you to face tomorrow with that thought floating through your are you going to react? 


A few more updates...

Speaking of reactions- Sunday after the crazy episode with Cale, we had some visitors on 7E! There are frequent visits from the President, actors and actresses, singers, and other well known people but they never come to our unit. It can be frustrating especially when you know they're just a few floors down! We were told that Katy Perry and John Mayer were in the hospital. After a little bit of workings the news quickly became them coming to see us! Whether we love their music or not (which we do like John Mayer's voice!) it's just cool to meet them. Fast forward to Katy and John standing in front of Cale, Katy shakes Cale's hand and asks how he's doing, he says, "bad" and then someone asking "aren't you a John Mayer fan?" and Cale then says, "eh, not really." to which John Mayer took very well and replied, "I feel that way about myself most days." Leave it to my man to keep people humble and not be disillusioned with them being anything that special. He also had no interest in Katy Perry. Didn't even give her a second glance! Some of the other guys had googly eyes for her but not my man! I also had on my sweats and a big ol' baggy sweater...felt a little...frumpy next to the perfectly put-together Katy! ;)

Extra funny: The next morning when I asked Cale who he had met he couldn't remember and asked for the first name. When I said John, he thought for a few more seconds and then added, "Hancock?" That's close...but not quite! Haha! He was so serious with his guess! Hancock is just a wee bit older of a man...

A few weeks ago we started Cale on a new fluids plan. It's a part of his point system so every 500ml he drinks of water or a gatorade like drink he gets a point. So far it's going well although often he'll let us know the whole thing is dumb and all he needs is Mountain Dew! Haha! We use Propel packets to flavor water which before never worked but now with his points system it's working! He has even drank two bottles of water without any flavoring! 

Hockey is back! Hockey is back! Hockey is back! I have a very happy man...

There was a wheelchair hanging out in the hall that somehow Cale and his buddy got their hands on and thought they'd have a little fun!

I've been so thankful lately as I think about every hospital we've been to the Lord has provided ladies that have become so special to me; so dear to my heart. Last night I was able to go out with two of them and enjoy a little treat as well as much needed conversations. 

Also, as of Saturday Cale is back to his own room. It became known he doesn't do well sharing a room. There may have to be shifting if we're here for a few more weeks and someone else comes, but thankfully the staff is awesome and really care. They're trying to help him as much as possible. 

I have to say that it was tough hearing the news today. Right when home was in reach, it was pulled away. And like I already said, my heart hurt so bad for Cale...but when I came out of the office with the doctors, the nurses already knew and were right there to comfort me and let me know they were there and they had a plan already of how to tell Cale. Through the rest of the day they made sure to give him extra attention when needed and be there for him as well if he was upset. It was such a blessing to feel such strong support. I couldn't help but be reminded of all the other times while inpatient that I've listened to news that was hard to hear and the staff were right there to listen. We have truly been blessed by the care that Cale has always received and the nurses and therapists that have worked with him. Feeling extra thankful today. 

I also ate some chocolate. 


  1. Kathleen! How neat that you and Cale got to meet Katy Perry and John Mayer. How super awesome is it that they take time out of their day to brighten the days of others? I found myself laughing out loud at Cale's reaction to John Mayer's music! ha! I bet you had to force that laugh back!!

    <3 Always Reading and Praying!


    1. Yes! It was very kind of them...especially since people never come up to 7E! They both did a great job with the patients...a new respect for them. And...yes! I had a hard time not laughing so hard in that moment! Thankfully I was behind them and could let at least a little giggle out! :)

  2. Absolutely you were entitled to some chocolate! We love you and Cale so very much and we are praying for you (just finished our family prayers for the night and you were both definitely included). Your words about how we react were so very convicting to me and I will be remembering them for a long time to come. Keep running the race and keep relying on God's strength when you feel weak. Love, Bonnie and Ryan

    1. Thank you Bonnie! The funny part about the chocolate was that I bought it as a gift for someone else...but I ate it! Haha! The chocolate was in the wrong place at the wrong time! ;)

  3. Oh Sweetie, Father knows and that is enough, sounds so trite. That doesn't mean we don't feel the pain of what happens. This is a little extreme, maybe, BUT Jesus knew what going to the cross meant. He said "Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39. What I am getting at is Jesus wanted something different IF it was Father's will, BUT was willing to do what was set before Him. You TOO!! You wanted something different, yet you are willing to do what Father has before you. Jesus felt agony, you feel disapointment, and hurt for Cale. This is a kind of mixed up way of saying "Jesus understands". I love you and am trusting Father for you and your sweet husband. Not to change the subject, but who are Jhon Mayer and Katy Perry. I guess it was agood thing I wasn't there. I wouldn't have known they were anyone special either. THANK YOU for the words about our choice how we react AND how it impacts others. I have a story for about that one when I get to talk to you. With a hug, Marion

    1. That verse has come to mind time and tine again throughout this whole journey...yes, once again it applied! And, JOhn Mayer and Katy Perry are music artists or could I just call them singers? haha! I don't really know Katy Perry's music but I do happen to like John Mayer's voice. It would have been hilarious with you and Cale meeting them together!

  4. I love that you ate chocolate. : ) Kathleen... you are such an encouragement. Right now we are without a job and house (I know we are where the Lord wants us, but it's not happening as we expected it would) - and I confess our situation has not elicited the best reactions from me. You have convicted and motivated me! I love you so much! I will be saying extra prayers or you today my friend!

    1. Chocolate has no chance with me! Haha! Thank you for the prayers! I know that I don't always have the best reactions so it's a challenge for me as well!

  5. Wow Kathleen Wow. I'm speechless with emotion over what you wrote yesterday, but asked my girls to read it and will be sharing it with someone who works with me who is in trouble. Thank you, Kim

    1. Kim, I'm so thankful that what I wrote has been used to encourage you! Such a blessing to me! I pray that when your girls read it along with the person that works with you, it encourages them too!

  6. I'm always so amazed by God! I had to go back to my email "sent" box and see what day I sent you an email. It was Saturday night at 11:34 PM. I was not sure why at that point but I just really felt strongly I needed to pray for you that were heavy on my heart as I mentioned in the email. Then when I read this email I read that Sunday afternoon was really rough. God stirred in my heart to pray for you all before that even started happening! To me those things are just amazing! God is amazing. Anyway...thank you for writing what was on your heart. I think we all need to hear that.. probably often! :o) I went to a funeral today...just reminded me of how thankful I need to be.
    Emily J.

    1. YES! Emily I was so thankful for your email when I read it, but how much more knowing what was to happen! I feel so blown away when the Lord puts us on someones heart. the thought gets me all tangled in awe! Love you and thank you SO much for the prayers!

  7. I love you my darling daughter, my reaction was to get prayers going. :)

    1. Love you Mama! AND thank are amazing!

  8. Thank you so much for bringing how much I take the ability to control my reactions for granted by forefitting (spelling?) that blessing. I had never really thought about it in that light before and it is a lesson that I know will stay with me always. Even in the midst of hardship, I am glad that you guys are able to finance medical care for him. It is important and I really think that the things you are learning while he is there will help build a solid foundation/structure that will allow you guys to flourish on your own (with the assistance of loved ones to allow you to engage in essential self-care).



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