Sunday, March 24, 2013

Farewell and New Beginnings

5 months ago we walked through the doors of 7E. At the time I was desperate. The night before had been awful; scary. We needed help. I needed help.

Mama was with us and having her help was vital to the events that had transpired in the few days leading up to walking through the doors. We were all exhausted but as we were greeted with smiling faces and led to a room across from the nurses desk, I knew everything was going to smooth out...eventually.

The first several hours were full of questions and more questions. At that point I still wasn't able to voice all that we were dealing with. Emotions were wild and rest was so distant.

As time passed there was a lot of behavior training taking place and eventually a med change. At one point the Resident created a task list for Cale which has all of his ADL's written out for him along with extra things for him to choose to do. With each task he completes he receives a point. His points add up and then he gets a reward. When the idea was first given to me, I thought it was dumb. I didn't think Cale would take to it at all, but I was willing to try anything!

Well, he loved it. He thrives with it.

So...apparently I don't know everything! Ha!

Going from him never wanting to brush his teeth, shave, shower, eat, exercise, or take his meds, to now willingly doing it every day-yes please!

AND, he drinks water now.

Need I say more?!

This whole list thing so far has proved to be an answer to prayer!

Mama has been so sweet! I called her asking to make a big checklist to have at home and explained how I wanted it done. We kept making changes, so it turned out to be a more difficult project then planned. Later I called telling her I had a great idea and asked if she was willing to help make travel sizes...the projects continued. Thank you for helping Mama!

The med change happened after the doc decided to extend us this last time and I think it was the best idea. I can tell a difference in his mood but also it's fascinating to watch how he responds to different challenges and stimulation now.

All of it is good stuff.

Although Cale is still very much Cale, he has changed SO much! He's way more engaged in conversation. If he's in a room with others all talking, he may not quite be able to follow what's going on, but he doesn't automatically shut down anymore or get really angry and yell. He doesn't have to win every game he plays; losing a game isn't the end of the world! He's able to find a way to entertain himself on his own without having to have someone else entertain him constantly. He's built relationships on his own. He's able to take a minute and talk about why he's angry rather than automatically explode. He can be angry and not instantly want to put his hands on anyone.

These are HUGE things in the life of someone with a brain injury! He's had to relearn and it's taken time but he's come so far! I bet I could add several more things to the list!

With all that has taken place and the changes we've seen in Cale, we all know that we're dealing with a severe brain injury and that means he's not just "fixed." There will be more outbursts. There will be times that he will protest and fight so he doesn't have to brush his teeth and there will even be more times that when I get in his way, he may try to hurt me.

Over the last couple months we've been able to create a solid safety plan. I've thought over all the different possibilities and tried to prepare as best as possible, including talking with the police department. The last two times we were about to discharge, I didn't feel peace about it. I wasn't confident and wasn't quite sure I was ready. This time I feel confident! This is the right time and both of us are ready to start this new chapter in our lives! 

The exciting news is that we discharged Thursday afternoon!!!!!!!!

Cale prayed Wednesday, "Thank you God for helping me make it."

We're done. We're actually done. 

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Pictures & More...



Cale enjoyed getting his picture with these two...although he made sure to let Mrs. East Coast know that the West Coast is better. :)


Cale was excited the other day when he realized friends are free. He said, "Yay! I like free things!"

We met these two. And, we love them. I was so blessed watching Cale and Mike interact. Mike is very aware of his injury and would ask Cale different things like, "Cale, do you have problems with your memory too?" Cale would reply, "Nope." Haha! This happened several times and each time I had to giggle. Cale is oblivious most time that anything is different. He did try to help Mike a few times though! :)




The weekend after I last posted about my struggle with wanting a baby, Jessica came to 7e to be with her husband...and they have a 5 month old baby. Oh goodness. Thank you Jesus!
Every chance I got to hold him-I took it! He was such a cutie! Patrick and Jessica are two amazing people that have continued to fight for life back after injury. I treasured the time I had to talk with her and am so thankful we finally met!


One of the nurses helped Cale make a count down for discharge. It was perfect! We were originally going to discharge on Wednesday but the final discharge ended up being Thursday.


We're just...us.



















There were a TON of good byes. I hate that the accident happened but we are so blessed by all the people that we've been able to meet! So many amazing people are apart of our lives in some form now, and we wouldn't have met them otherwise! You know me...I teared up a time or two while saying good bye and then quite a bit after we left. I may be a fruit loop.

Before we actually left the unit, there was a ribbon (hospital bracelet) cutting ceremony!


Seers was even a good sport and wore Cale's Wing Nut hat ;)


...and then there was a farewell to 7E...


...and the very sweet cleaning ladies.



Cale was so super excited to get out of there! On the way out he yelled, "Freeeedooom!"

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We are now in VA until tomorrow! Stay tuned for an update on this weekend AND Cale seeing his new home for the first time!!!!! Eeeeek!

Just a funny to leave you with...

On the checklist for Cale, one of the tasks that he needs to complete each day is 30 minutes of exercise. On 7E he had the bike to ride but while we've been in VA we haven't worried about making it a priority. Yesterday when I realized we haven't taken time for him to do any kind of exercise he asked, "Does sex count as 30 minutes of exercise?"


4 comments:

  1. Oh Kathleen, so happy for you in all of this!!! Going home!! I know "there is NO place like home! Glad you are seeing more progress as well, that is awesome.
    Love,
    Julie H.

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS on the discharge! You've been there quite awhile...I don't blame you for tearing up when saying goodbyes and then boohooing after!! You really got to know those people well and they seemed so sweet. Wow...what great photos! The "funny" you left us with...how hysterical...that is great!

    Now I will really be praying for your travels and adjustments back home. Please know I will be praying. The Lord goes before you!

    And...what a sweet Mama you have...what would we do without them???!!!
    Emily J.

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  3. Kathleen!!! I am so blessed to see/hear how Cale is doing. Father is faithful. I felt as if I was walking out the door with you, with the way you had the pictures lined up. Thank you. As to Cale's last question....uh....I have heard yes is the answer. I continue to trust Father for you and your sweet husband (and the little Darling). I love you, Marion

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  4. SOOO Happy for you guys!! I know Cale was more than ready to leave 7E.. Trust me I know ; ) Mark

    Wishing you guys the best!

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