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Thank you so much for love, concern and prayers on their behalf.

Friday, December 31, 2010

1 Month, 4 Weeks, 30 Days...How Do You Measure A Miracle

Looking at this picture hurts my heart. But it also strengthens my testimony of prayer and fasting, and ultimately the Lord's power over all things.

I took Mark for a walk over to the ICU yesterday. We saw his respiratory therapist, a few of his nurses, and Bob, the trauma nurse practitioner. They were astounded by what they saw and heard. Bob told Mark he hadn't expected him to live. And today he walked out of the hospital and thanked all of his nurses for their love and concern. For any who may doubt the existence of God, I give you my Miracle Mark.

Thank you, everyone, for your continued love, support and efforts on our part. We are only partway through our long journey, but what great strides we have made. I don't think it's any coincidence the picture that is hanging behind us. There are GREAT possibilities for us ahead. We will grab each and every one as they come along. This is not the end of this blog. The description says this is for Mark's journey back to his family. We've only just begun. Please hang on with us for the rest of the ride! We love you all!

p.s. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mark Davis!

And what a birthday it's been. How's getting a discharge date of Friday, December 31st, for a birthday present? Happy New Year!

Woohoo....we're going home!

I couldn't believe how alert, aware and cognizant he was today. Quite an improvement even over yesterday. Which I guess is why they decided to discharge him. We'll continue with speech and occupational therapy 3 times a week to begin with. We'll do that as long as we need to. I will be taught how to do therapies with him, so he'll get it at least every day. This is going to be a lot of work and I'm going to need a lot of help. To start with we will still be on 24/7 one-on-one time. I'm so afraid he's going to fall and hit his head. And there are things he cannot do: drive, tend kids (not because he's a danger, because it's too stressful), cook, work. Needless to say, I'm extremely nervous about this move.

There is still lots of recovery to go on and I want Mark to be safe and healthy and happy. I hope I'm equal to the task at hand.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'....Keep Them Doggies Rollin'

Mark was busy again with therapies today. I went to speech with him and I'm amazed at what a difference a few days can make. He's reading more and doing better with matching the words to the pictures.

I'm also amazed at how much he's remembering from one day to the next. He's getting the day of the week right every time. Starting to get better with the city he's in and that he's in the hospital. He told me that he thought he was "up north". I said, "Do you mean Salt Lake?" He nodded yes. I don't know if he thought that because he had worked in North Salt Lake the day it happened or if he's just confused. Time will tell.

He's very frustrated with the left side of his face. From what he's communicating, it's numb from his upper lip to up around his cheek bone and eye. I'm hoping this is just from the surgery and the nerves will regenerate themselves and it'll come back to life. He's extremely frustrated that he can't see out of left eye. He asks the nurses everyday for something that can fix it. Again, time will tell.

The girls came for a visit today. He was happy to see them. They hugged and kissed and shared clementines. It was typical Daddy/Daughter time. I spoke with the charge nurse about getting a "hall pass" so that we could roam the hospital or even go outside. We're really getting sick of our four walls and the second floor. He doesn't spend hardly any time in his room during the day. I completely understand. It's been 4 weeks since he's breathed fresh air. They were going to discuss it in tomorrow's meeting and let us know. Cross your fingers for us!

The physical therapists took away his wheelchair. I guess he wasn't being very cooperative about getting out of it for therapy this morning. Once he was up, Dario took it and hid it. All day Mark was trying to talk the nurses into going downstairs and getting it. I know he gets tired from walking so much, but doesn't want to rest in his room. Hopefully the "hall pass" will come through and he won't feel so caged. If it does, we're walking over to the ICU and showing off!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knock, Knock....Who's There....

Mark....that's who.

We had a great day. After my concern that he wasn't showing much emotion, he showed some. The first was when I broke down crying and he asked me what was wrong. I told him this was hard for me. He asked what was hard and I said, "What Chuck did to you is hard for me." He said, "Because he has his freedom?" I told him that he had been arrested and was waiting for the trial, but that he would go to jail. And he said, "He should go to jail." He wasn't angry when he said it, but showed that he is aware and has an opinion and feelings about it.

The best was his sarcasm making an appearance....or three. While Mark was walking the loop with Alan Taylor, Kim and I were sitting on the couch outside his room. We were laughing about something when they came around the corner and he looked at Alan and while rolling his eyes said, "I don't know what they hell is going on with them." On the next round he made this sarcastic hand gesture (no, not the bird) that was SOOOO Mark. But by far the best sarcasm of the night was while looking at pictures of him in ICU. The physical therapists were helping him stand up for the first time and the gown was up and showing his "briefs". He pointed to the nurse in the picture and said to Cindy (Kim), "This is probably you trying to look at my naked." We all had a good laugh. Welcome back, Mark Davis.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Mark is definitely making new memories. Today he was concerned that his brother get arrested. I'm so glad he's remembering things, but know I'll probably still have some explaining to do.

It was a quiet day overall. With no therapies, it can get a little monotonous. But with few visitors it's nice time for us to spend together. Before this happened we didn't get too much of that. I wouldn't trade one for the other, of course. It's just nice to have some time together alone.

The doctor came in today and asked Mark some questions. When he asked him how he was doing, Mark said, "I'm ready to go home." I think he's realizing that he has to stay in order to heal properly because he doesn't try to do the escape thing. The doctor asked him what day it is and he said it was Sunday. He asked him the month and he said it was October. He's still not getting the "city" or "building" he's in, but I think it's coming soon. Those may be reception problems - not understanding the question. I work with him on this everyday.

We got to go to sacrament meeting in the hospital chapel. That was nice, but noisy. Didn't know if Mark was going to make it through. It's only 30 minutes, but that can be a lot for him to take in. There were 2 noisy babies in a confined space. But I will say this.....wish ALL sacrament meetings were only 30 minutes long. It was awesome! Then his doctor's kids came up to the rehab and played some Christmas music on the harp, guitar and piano. That was really nice. By the time this was over, Mark was trying to get back to the room. TOO MUCH STIMULATION!

He recognizes people, for the most part. Getting their name right can sometimes be a challenge. For some reason he has 2 names of choice - Cindy and Sandy. I correct him hoping that the cylinders that are working that part of his brain will "click" and get firing correctly again.

There will be cognitive testing done on Tuesday and a meeting of all his doctors, nurses and therapists on Wednesday morning. I'm hoping they can give us a tentative discharge date. I know he's not ready to go yet. He's impulsive, meaning he doesn't realize that there are things he could do before the injury, that he can't or shouldn't do yet. Such as drive, or even walk alone. The sooner he understands this, the sooner he'll be able to come home. I have to admit that I'm scared to bring him home. I don't know, right now, exactly what that will entail. I'm basing my fear on what I see today, and that's not realistic. But I'm afraid, none the less.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Good day today. With no therapies on the schedule for today or tomorrow, we made and are going to make, many loops around the 2nd floor of rehab.

I did Christmas at home with the girls and Grandma, and then went to the hospital. He had a headache, so the girls couldn't stay long. Nothing like a 10 minute family Christmas. It's just too much for him sometimes. He opened a couple of gifts, but that was it. I'll save the others for his birthday on Wednesday. He did tell me that today was Saturday, without me prompting him. I was pleased.

Visitors were minimal today, which was good. Mark and I had some good conversations and alone time together. One particular conversation was THE conversation....Why am I here?

He didn't pose the question directly. He was concerned about his eye and I asked him if he knew what happened. He said no and I asked him if he wanted to know. He said yes. So I told him. It was difficult, to say the least, for me to get through it. I'm not sure exactly how he was handling it because he hasn't shown any emotion thus far in his recovery. He is sweet and concerned about my needs and feelings, but no anger, crying or even laughter. I showed him the pictures from ICU and he couldn't believe it was him. He said he doesn't remember any of it. He said it doesn't make sense. And he's right. Later when 2 other people came to visit, he asked if they knew what happened. I'm hoping he'll remember at least some of this conversation tomorrow. And I'm hoping it won't be as difficult for me to get through it as it was today. I know it's hard for him to see me cry.

He was listening to one of my conversations with another visitor, but we didn't know he was paying THAT much attention. He was quiet the entire time and then commented on the things we were discussing. I was amazed! It's good to see that he was REALLY with me today. I hope it's that way from now on.

It's getting more and more difficult to leave him. He told me about me leaving last night and how hard that was for him. He said our family is the most important thing and he wants to be with us more than anything. He said it's despairing when I leave him even for lunch. This breaks my heart. Tonight I laid in the bed with him until he fell asleep. I hate having to "trick" him, but it's very difficult for me to stay the night. I will try and get there very early tomorrow.

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes and your efforts to make this a Merry Christmas. It was, to some extent. But thank you, most of all, for your many prayers on our behalf. I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it: THEY'RE WORKING! Please keep them coming.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All I Want For Christmas Is....

Challenging day...for all of the Davis family.

You can't quite grasp how heavy my heart is. The tender words spoken to me by my husband tear at my heartstrings. I want only for our family to be whole again. It is coming...but oh so slowly. If ever I needed your prayers, it's today.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

He's A Super-sneak, Super-sneak, He's Super-sneaky, Yow

Mark had a quiet day. Both of his speech therapies went very well. The doctor would put down four pictures of items and then give him a card with a word on it, and he had to read the word and match it to the picture. I was amazed at what he could do. He even phoenetically sounded out "potato". He didn't get them all, but at least 80%. I was beaming!

He likes to play hide-and-seek with some of his pills. If he doesn't think he needs them, he fakes taking them and slips them into his pockets. Then he tries to take them later. Part of the reason he had a quiet day is because he didn't take one of his brain stimulators. I had to coax it out of his mouth later because he had already taken one and it was too soon to have another. We really have to watch him and do a "cavity" search of his mouth to ensure they went down. I still think he tricked them with that at least once.

When I got to the hospital the first thing he said to me was, "I remember last night that you were crying. I feel so bad about that." My husband is making new memories!!!! That is a huge step to his recovery and being able to come home. We're still a long way from him being "safe" to come home, but it's a start!

We met with the neuro-psych doctors to go over his condition and talk about where he is and what is to come. They didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know, except the following. I inform you of this as a concerned wife who wants the best recovery possible for my husband.

You and I don't really notice the clock ticking, the furnace kicking on and off or blowing air, the hum of the lights, the television or radio, or even the brightess of the lights. We are able to filter those things out and focus on a task at hand, such as a conversation, tv show, or cleaning the house. Mark's brain is unable to filter out this excess information right now. All of these things would be stimuli for his brain that would put him into overload. While he's recovering there has to be a minimum of stimuli. Mark is in therapies most of the day, and between therapies he needs to rest both physically and mentally. In the evening he is tired and restless. If you'd like to come visit with Mark, please call me first to schedule a good time. His visiting hours are between 4:00 and 6:00, and 6:30 to 8:00. There are to be no more than 2 visitors at a time, visits should be brief, and keep the conversation to a minimum. Cell phones should be turned off.

I know you are all concerned about Mark and our family and wish him the best. We are so grateful for your love and support. The doctors have ordered these changes because it's what's best for Mark. He has so many that love him and want to give him well wishes that it's becoming overwhelming for him. Please understand that this is for HIS recovery! We love you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Only Have Eyes For You

Mark was the bearer of bad news today. He complained a lot about his eye. Mostly that he can't see anything. I even covered his right eye and asked what he could see and he said, "That's just it...I can't see anything." My heart fell. But as my mother keeps saying, "If that's the worst of it, then it's okay." He kept asking about having the doctor come fix it. He's frustrated at not being able to understand fully what's going on and not being able to communicate what he wants.

When I arrived he was fully engaged in occupational therapy. I was amazed at what he could do. I stayed behind him and peeked over his shoulder so that I wouldn't be a distraction. I missed his morning speech therapy, but the doctor said he was reading a little bit. THAT IS AWESOME!!

Today's funny incident happened over dinner. His aid was trying to get him to eat something and he kept saying no. He finally blew on it, stuck his tongue out and did the "spit" noise, all the while with a smile on his face. He did it several times. It gave us a good laugh.

If we walked to the elevator once, we walked to the elevator a 1000 times. He knows how to get out and he wants to go home. He whispers to me to show him the code or the real door that gets him out. He told me several times today that it's ridiculous that he has to stay there. I told him he needed to get better and he said, "That's just it. I am." When I was preparing to leave tonight, he had a girl in each hand and said, "Okay, let's go." It broke my heart to leave him. The silver lining in all of this is that he loves us and wants to be with us.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

He's Baaaaack!

When I walked in today, the first thing Mark said to me was, "Where have you been? I have missed you all day." Need I tell you what that did to my heart and spirit?

He had SUCH a great day! During occupational therapy he was matching colors and shapes, and putting blocks together at different angles. The aid said she believes he is using his left eye. Don't know yet for sure, but I'm hopeful she's right!

Forgot to tell you yesterday that during occupational therapy he was playing UNO with the therapist and he was cheating. He kept pilfering and hoarding the WILD cards. Had to add this just for you, Brit & Steph. (But he never did admit to it)

Mark was very engaged in conversation today. He could carry on about the same subject for quite some time. He still uses made-up words for some things, but it was pretty easy to understand most of what he was talking about. This language issue is called Aphasia. The therapists believe that it will eventually go away. It can be frustrating at times as I don't always know what he's trying to say. Time will tell. He did remember how long we've been married and that he has 3 girls. He recognizes them and loves on them, it's just whether or not he can answer questions about them. He actually snuggled in the bed with each of them a little tonight. They ALL enjoyed that favorite past time.

Two funny things about today. One of his meds is a powder and so to kill two birds with one stone, they sprinkle it onto the top of his yogurt and spoon it to him. After the third bite he made the "gross taste" face and said, "That tastes like sh*t." Then later while he was trying to get comfortable on the bed, he pulled his pants down in the back and was flashing us his butt. When I told him he was mooning everybody, he said, "That's some good stuff." Kim, Steve and I had a pretty good laugh.

My heart was breaking as I prepared to leave tonight. We had the best day and I told him it was time for me to leave. He asked where I was going and when I told him "home" he asked the nurse, "Do you think it would be okay if I went home with her?" While it was hard to hear, it was GOOD to hear. My baby is coming back and everyday he get's a little stronger physically and mentally. I look forward to what tomorrow may bring.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Escape from Alcatraz

Therapy, therapy, therapy. Mark's day is filled with therapy. Speech, occupational, physical. Then they do it all over again. By the time they do the afternoon sessions, he's wiped out. He doesn't really sleep, but you can tell that he's mentally finished.

He ate at 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. But has had nothing else. That's hardly the 2400 calories they want him to have. The speech therapist said that our brains use 1/3 of the calories we take in, and 1/2 of the oxygen. So he NEEDS TO EAT!!! Very frustrating for me to try to get him to eat. He's a man that knows what he wants (or doesn't want) and has no problem telling you. I can get him to drink pretty good, but it's just not enough. But I think today he was bugged by his aid. She was starting to get on MY nerves and I don't have a brain injury.

For a while he was fixated on leaving. He rolled his wheelchair over to the elevator and wanted us to punch in the code. He went over to the stairwell and wanted us to swipe the pad to open the door. He's installed these kinds of door locks and knows how they work. He was really frustrated that we wouldn't give him the code. He goes down the elevator to do physical therapy, so he knows how it works. It was really hard to leave because he went with us to the elevator and we slipped out the stairwell. He did, however, kiss the girls and told them he loves them. It melted my heart, again.

We had more quality time together today. I was staring into his eyes and he said, "What?" I told him I loved him, then started to cry. He pulled me onto the bed with him, wrapped his arm around me, stroked my back and said, "Tell me what's eating at you." I cried and cried and cried. He just held me and rubbed my back. I asked him if he loved me and he said, "Yes." I asked if he loved me the mostest (that's our family word) and he said, "Of course." I told him I missed him and needed him to come back to me. I believe I actually had my husband back for a full 5 minutes. We just layed there together as if there was nothing wrong with our world. I truly believe it was a tender mercy from Heaven. Even now as I type this I can't control the tears. All I want is my husband back.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Ya Gonna Do, Mr. Independence?

Mark pulled his feeding tube out last night. It has been bugging him and bugging him. I'm hoping this is going to be a good thing. They left if out throughout today and possibly tomorrow, to see if he'll get hungry enough to eat. While I was there today, he did eat a little mashed potatoes, orange sherbet, and I broke off small pieces of homemade gingersnap cookie and gave them to him (thanks Barb!). He didn't eat a whole lot, but he ate. Crossing my fingers and praying that he'll be ravenous tomorrow and want to eat everything in sight so they won't have to put the feeding tube back in.

There are no therapies on Sunday. Which was good for me. I got to spend a good portion of the day "alone" with my husband (there's almost always an aid in the room with us). When I wheeled him out of his room to see the girls, he looked at them and said, "Hi, beautiful." This was my Mark talking. He ALWAYS says that to them. He pulled them in for hugs and kisses. He even said Madison's name. I can't remember what he said to her before her name because I was having an emotional breakdown. My heart was so relieved to know that he recognizes them. That fear has weighed very heavily on my heart. He tires easily, mentally, if there is too much stimuli: too many people, tv, noise. His visit with the girls didn't last very long. Afterwards, he took a good nap.

I told him several times that today is Sunday. Then a few hours later I asked him what day it is and he said, "Sunday." I hope it wasn't coincidence. My time with him today was medicine for my soul. He talks a lot about work and most of our conversations are not meaningful. But when I get that small glimpse of my Mark in those brief moments, it gives me hope that he'll eventually come all the way back.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Families Are Forever

Just a quick post today. Everything was good today. Mark had 2 bouts of physical therapy that worked him over pretty good. Upon his return, we (me, the girls and my mom) were waiting in the rec room. He wheeled over to say hello. He saw Madison first, smiled at her, and pulled her into him for a hug. He then pulled in Olivia, then Avery. He didn't really say anything to them...just hugs. It was an answer to my prayers.

Physical therapy was good. Speech therapy was pretty good. He drank from a straw, ate a bite of pudding, and chewed on a cracker. He's ready for pureed food. Needs to get his chewing down before they'll remove the feeding tube. He also needs to be consuming enough calories with just food. I want so badly for him to make this improvement.

Mark had a good vocal day. Lots of dialogue with complete sentences. Had a great moment with the girls and an even better moment with me. It's too tender to share here. I got just a minute or so with my husband as I remember him. It was food for my soul. I need to use it to curb the anger I feel that my children are being robbed of their daddy, especially at this time of year. Christmas morning is his favorite and it just won't be the same. My girls need their daddy back. I hate having to answer questions like, "Is Daddy always going to talk like that?" or "Is Daddy going to come home in a wheelchair?" No parent should have to answer these questions to their precious tender daughters. I'm tough and gritty and can put up with a lot. But it breaks my heart to have to prepare my girls for what is to come and what changes may be permanent. It just shouldn't be like this. Not for us. We've been robbed....we've been cheated....we've been devastated. And I'm angry.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Movin' On Up, To The Top

Title must be sung to the tune of the theme song for The Jefferson's.

Mark moved into rehab today. His catheter was removed, his oxygen was removed, and they'll be taking out his picline tomorrow as he no longer needs antibiotics. He used the bathroom 3 times today. The literal bathroom. While this may seem gross or trivial to some, it is amazing to his nurses, and to me. People that have a catheter in that long don't usually start using their bladder as quickly and efficiently as Mark. Because his catheter is gone he'll now be wearing pants. To each of you that were privvy to his synchronized swimming and ballet apologies.

His feeding tube will be moved from his bowel to his stomach and they'll be starting him on food tomorrow. They leave the feeding tube in to make up the difference in calories from what he eats. I'm sure he won't eat too much to begin with. I would bet that his stomach is the size of a walnut (wish mine was). I gave him an ice chip and he took it out and gave it back to me. Hopefully food will be a different story.

He has to have a constant companion in his room. He's so active and wants to get up and down so much that he is a "fall risk". He can take steps very well on his own, he just has balance issues. He took a walk around the 2nd floor of the rehab unit today that was 150 feet. Any time that he wants to get up, they assist him and encourage his activity. There are no more restraints. I am amazed at the difference from the hospital to the rehab, as far as their theories on care.

He pulled me in for a hug today. When I told him I was leaving for a little while he said, "I love you." These are the things that help me get through my nights without my husband. I'm looking forward to Christmas with my boy. I'm hoping he'll have improved as much over this next week as he has the last two. Hug and kiss the ones you love. A little more today than you did yesterday.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

These Boots Are Made For Walking

And that's just what he did. Mark walked across the room, out the door, down the hall and back to his bed. Twice! Ahhhhhhhh! The nurse was so impressed with his improvement, they are possibly going to move him to rehab tomorrow. He was very vocal today, too. Here are some of the highlights:

Dr. Watts: "Hi, Mark."
Mark: "Hi. How are you?"
Dr. Watts: "Good. Can you shake my hand, Mark?"
Mark: Shaking hands says, "Thank you for your kindness."

Mark: "Scarlet, I need to go to the bathroom. Pull me up."

Mark: "Scarlet, I need to go pee!"
Scarlet: "Well, just go. You have a catheter."
Mark: "Come on, let's go."

Mark: Mumble, mumble, mumble, "In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Mark: "Scarlet, come here. This is what I want to do. I want to get out of my bed, say my prayers, get cleaned up and go home."

The speech therapist visited while I was there and put a piece of ice in his mouth. She's looking for a reflexive swallow, which is triggered by having something in your mouth. When she tested him two days ago, the ice just melted and ran out of his mouth. Today he maneuvered it around and swallowed. When she asked him if it was gone, he stuck his tongue out and right there in the middle of it was the little pebble of ice. He ended up swallowing all of the water. He's one more step closer to removing his feeding tube.

The occupational therapist came in right after his walk down the hall, so he was a little tired. She gave him a wet washcloth and asked him to wash his face. He washed his hands instead. She then gave him a swab that they use to clean out the patient's mouths and asked him to clean out his mouth. He needed help getting it to his mouth, but was able to swab it himself. That was cool. She also had him lift his arms and moved them across his body. He needs to regain his upperbody strength to use a walker. I can even work with him when I'm in there.

I can't believe the VAST improvement he's made over just these last few days. Monday they took out his respirator and Thursday he's walking down the hall and telling me he wants to go home. He's not ready to go home, but at least he knows he's NOT at home and has a desire to be there. Days like today do my heart good. People keep asking me how I'm doing and my response is and always will be.....If Mark is having a good day, then I'm having a good day. Today was a GOOD DAY!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Journey of a 1000 Miles Begins With Just One Step

Or 5 or 6, as the case may be. You guessed it.....Mark walked today. With the help of his physical therapists, Mark walked forward 5 steps, then backwards 5 steps. Twice. Then this afternoon, he did it again, and I got it on video. They're weak, slow steps, but steps, none the less. The trauma docs, ICU nurses and the neurosurgeon are baffled by his progress. Prayer can move mountains.....and today it moved my Mark. Thank you , thank you, thank you.

He didn't communicate a lot today, though. But that's okay. HE WALKED!!!!

When the speech therapist came in this morning, Mark looked at him and said, "Hi. How are you?" What little talking he did to me, I couldn't understand. Then they moved him to the IMC (intermediate care unit) and when the new nurse came in he said, "Hi. How are you?" When my brother Quenten came to visit this evening he said, "Hi, Quenten." They had a bit of a conversation, some understandable, some not. Q said that Mark wanted his restraints off and he said, "I want to go home."

Did you catch that they moved him out of ICU? Woohoo! We're on our way, Baby!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

More Than Words

Wow, wow, wow! Did I mention....WOW?! What a glorious day! MY many prayers were answered today.

11:00 a.m.
Me: "Mark, can you tell me you love me?"
Mark: No response
Me: "Can you say, I love you, Scarlet?"
Mark: "I love you."

12:00 p.m.
Speech Therapist: Points at me and says, "Mark, do you know who this is?"
Mark: "My wife."

1:45 p.m.
Therapist: "Mark, let's stand up."
Mark: Pushes with his legs and stands up.
Therapist: "Mark, can you tuck you bum in and stand up straight?"
Mark: Tucks his bum in and stands up straight.
Therapist: "Mark can you stand up, again?"
Mark: Pushes with his legs and stands up.
Scarlet: "Give me a kiss, baby."
Mark: Puckers up and kisses me.
Therapist: "Mark, can you stand up again?"
Mark: Too tired and wants to go to sleep.

7:00 p.m.
Scarlet: Points at Steve Mazzzzen (Madsen) and asks, "Mark, do you know who this is?"
Mark: No response.
Steve: Removes his hat and says, "I'll take off my hat and maybe that will be easier."
Mark: "Put your hat back on."
Scarlet: "Mark, can you tell me you love me?"
Mark: "Yeah."
(Sense of humor in tact.)

7:30 p.m.
Scarlet: "Mark, I have to go now and pick up the girls, but I'll be back in the morning."
Mark: "Okay. I'll see you later."
Scarlet: "I love you."
Mark: "I love you, too."

While his speech is slurred and raspy, and most of what he says I can't understand, each of these things were very distinguishable. I actually got to have a conversation with my husband today. Prayer works mighty miracles. Thank you all for giving me these miracles! And please, please keep them coming. Love you all! all y'all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stand By Your Man

Good, good day. When I got to the ICU today they had removed Mark's ventilator. Woohoo! He looked so different with all of the tubes removed. He does still have the feeding tube, but it goes down his nose. Needless to say, it was a VAST improvement.

When I got there it took him a few minutes to focus on me. I talked to him about the girls and that is what seemed to draw his attention towards me. I got another kiss during this brief interchange.

The physical therapists came by and decided to do a little work with him. They lowered the bed, unplugged a lot of his "attachments" and moved his legs to the side of the bed. They helped him sit up and said that he was holding himself up pretty much on his own. They asked him to lift his head (with no movement for almost 2 weeks, his neck muscles are weak) and he did it several times in a row. They then told him they wanted him to stand up and he moved his feet underneath himself just as we all do when we prepare to stand. They lifted him a little and he pushed up with his legs! He was standing with just a little bit of support and shifted his weight from one leg to the other. They asked him a couple more times to lift his head and he responded. I was standing in front of him cheering him on. I told him I wouldn't sell his motorcycle if he kept up the good work. At one point I asked him for a kiss and he lifted his head and puckered up! I made sure all the nurses and therapists knew what he had done. They sat him down and tried to get him to stand again, but he was tuckered out. As soon as he lay back down he was out. He looked as if he had just run a marathon. Before the therapists left I asked them what they thought. They said, "He did a lot more than we thought he was going to do."

Mark is able to respond to commands, such as a "thumbs up" or giving me a kiss, but he doesn't respond EVERY time they ask, or even consecutively. The doctors are looking for a consistency in those responses. Which is why it is so great that they asked him several times to lift his head and he did it every time. I'm praying and hoping that he'll get more consistent with each passing day. The speech therapist and the rehab doctors will be evaluating him over the next day or so to determine if he will go to rehab or a long term care facility. Please, please pray for Mark that he will be strong enough and coherant enough to go to rehab and keep progressing as well as he has been.

Thank you everyone, for your kind words and prayers. After yesterday, today's events were a much needed charge for my batteries.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


It was a quiet day for us today. I started out with a heavy heart and ended with an even heavier one. I know this is going to be a long journey with many ups and downs. It's only been 11 days, but today it feels like 11 months. I miss my husband. I miss what our life was before that horrible day. I fear what is to come for us in the next year. I worry that I won't get my Mark back. I worry that my girls won't get their daddy back. I miss my husband. I miss my husband.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Christmas List of Blessings

My Christmas List is more than just a way to keep track of the special people God has brought into my life to love. It's like a treasured scrapbook filled with pleasant memories of all the times God's answered prayers through friends and family.

Every name's a touchstone that leads to a place and time where God has used another's heart to reach out and touch mine. It may have happened years ago or even yesterday, but every person on my list has changed my life some way.

Through simple conversation, a warm hug or a shared meal, every person on my list has helped me grow or heal, or laugh, or love, or learn, or smile...the blessings never end as God allows our paths to cross as family and friends.

So please know that this greeting is more than a Christmas wish. It's a "thank you" card to God for putting on my list each and every one whose name I've come to hold so dear...those who've shown me Christmas joy each day of the year.

Author: Vicki J. Kuyper

This will have to suffice for my Christmas card this year. I didn't get one out last year as my Dad passed away on December 8th, and this year....well it's obvious why it's not getting out. My mom said that if something happens next year in December, she's writing Christmas off for good. Thank you, to all of you, who truly are a Christmas blessing to us this year.

Kiss and Tell

What a good day. Mark had a CT last night since he got his ICP drain out and everything looked really good. Dr. Gaufin came in while I was here, which is the first time I've seen him since the morning after his brain surgery. I asked him if Mark was his miracle man and he said, "Yes he is. I am so pleased with how he is progressing." I was beaming from ear to ear.

But not beaming as much as I was when I asked Mark to give me a kiss and he picked his head up and puckered his lips. I cannot describe the love that filled my heart. And just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I asked him to do it again, and he did it....again and again and again.

Mark's niece Colleen was visiting and when she said that she was his favorite niece he gave her a "thumbs up". Alan and Kim were visiting and talking with him, as well. Kim brought him a squeeze ball and when we placed it in his hand, he tried to sit up to see what it looked like. We took it from him and showed it to him, then put it back into his hand. He squeezed it for a second and then threw it. We had a good laugh and then he did it again. Kim was holding his hand and when she told him that she hoped he knew how much they loved him, he squeezed her hand. As Alan was leaving, Mark's eyes followed him around the room. When Alan said he'd be back soon, Mark gave him a "thumbs up".

I don't think there's any doubt, anymore, that my Mark is in there and wanting to come out. He recognized me enough to kiss me. I thought my miracles may have been used up for this week. He has proved me wrong.

The Fonz Is In

I apologize for not getting this posted yesterday. I swore I wouldn't miss a day, but by the time I got home last night I was too exhausted to get it done. I'll not do that again. : )

Yesterday Mark had his best day yet. When I arrived at the hospital around 12:30, I went straight in to see him. He responded to my voice and holding his hand by opening his eyes. I was elated to be able to talk to him. I told him about the girls, the puppies, and general things that were happening. I gave him a rest between 1:30 and 2:00 by going out into the waiting room to eat. When I got back to his room with Camille and her parents, Dr. Cook came in to check his eye. His report is that there is some movement, so not all the nerves have been damaged and he is hopeful that the eye will be saved. Cautiously optimistic. Dr. Cook and Dantzel, the nurse, were standing on his left side, and I was standing on his right. After Dr. Cook checked his eye, Dantzel rubbed Mark's chest and asked him to give us a "thumbs up". HE DID IT! Not a wimpy little flicker of a thumbs up.....a full on, purposeful, hand in the air, fist gripped, thumbs up! I nearly passed out from excitement. Dantzel was worried she was going to have another patient on her hands. I think I was hyperventilating. I was so excited that I got in his face and told him how much I loved him and how excited I was that he had done this. He lifted his face up towards mine as if to give me a kiss. TWICE! So I let him have them. The only thing I didn't get from my Fonz, was an "ehhhhhhh". That will come later.

Jamie, the neurosurgeon's PA, came up a little later. She had heard the good news and was going to tell the neurosurgeon. Because Mark had been doing so well the last few days with his ICP, Dr. Gaufin decided it was time to take out the drain that releases the pressure from his brain. I watched her do this and my thought was that it was in there about 2 inches. It just kept coming and coming and coming. I think it was in there about 8 inches. Amazing. Amazing. And then she got out her staple gun and promptly shot him, twice. He didn't even flinch. Hard-headed Davis boy.

Dr. Gaufin said he wants to hold off on the tracheostomy until early next week, and we may not even need to do it. Mark's respirator is set so that he does all of the breathing himself during the day and they give his muscles a rest during the night. If he continues to do well with these CPAP tests, they may remove the respirator on Monday. And if that happens.....we'll be moving out of

I KNOW your prayers and fasting are working! Dr. Gaufin is so amazed with Mark's progress. He almost can't believe it himself. Mark is a fighter and a stubborn one, to boot. With his iron will and your prayers, he has HIGH chances of making a great recovery. We love all of you and are so grateful for your love and support. I truly could not be doing this without it. Keep them coming so Mark can keep improving.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 8

Mark had a quiet day today. They took him off of his sedation meds last night at 11:00 and he hasn't been back on. As long as his heart rate, ICP (inter-cranial pressure), and blood pressure stay stable, they will leave him off of them. When he gets agitated from too much stimuli, or starts to realize he's awake and gets frustrated because he can't do certain things (talk, move, etc.) then they may have to sedate him again. These agitations make his heart rate, ICP and blood pressure rise.

Dr. Cook said he was doing fantastic 24 hours after surgery. There is no noticable swelling, which is quite amazing as they put so much titanium into his face. I found out the long sutures from his eyebrow to his bottom lid are to keep his bottom lid from sagging due to swelling. They went in behind his lower eyelid to put in screws. I asked if they were planning to do anymore surgeries, and they said no. The neurosurgeon put a titanium plate in the left side of his head before he closed his last surgery (Dec. 2nd). He needed the plate because just above his ear it had "shattered like when you drop a glass bowl on the floor".

The respiratory therapist is really pushing to get him off of his ventilator. Mark needs to have control of his airway which means that he could protect it by coughing or gagging if he were to vomit or have any kind of secretion get into his throat. He said there's a 50/50 chance they will have to do a tracheostomy (put a hole in his trachea/throat). I paniced, but it's really not that big of a deal. When he gets fully recovered as far as his airway is concerned, they just sew it closed and it heals just fine. He may have a little scar.

He has not had to have any cerebral fluid drained from his skull for 60 hours. I'm hoping they pull that drain in the next day or two. Once that happens, and he's off of the ventilator, he will probably be moved to another floor. Woohoo!

Mark slept a lot today, but during his alert time he really seemed to want to get his gown off. I call it his dress. I think he can feel the catheter and he wants it OUT! I don't blame him. I swear it's as big as a water hose. I really have to monitor him when he has visitors. If I don't, they'll have to give his room an NC17 rating. That's my Mark!

There is a journal in his room where visitors can write a note to him. I encourage all of you who read this to post a note here or in the journal if you visit his room. If not for him, then for me. I am so grateful for all of your concern and prayers. I would not be handling this well without them. I feel their power and influence, and I'm sure Mark does as well.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 7

Because of Mark's restful night and stable CT scan he was able to go into surgery this morning for the fractures on his face. Dr. Cook said he put in quite a bit of titanium in his face. He has 4 screws under his left eye and 6 screws above his eye. He placed a 'Y' shaped plate on the bottom portion of his cheek bone. He said that when he starting putting things together, all the "puzzle pieces" came together fluidly. He was able to go in under his top lip and through the crease in his eyelid, so he will have no visible scars from this surgery. He does have some long sutures from his lower eyebrow to his eyelashes which I have no answer for, and the sutures in the crease of his eyelid are so small that I can't even see them. Dr. Cook said he is pleased with everything.

While the doctor was in there the thought occurred to him that maybe his eye was so swollen that it had wedged itself into the eye socket. He was able to loosen it and thinks the nerves have not been damaged beyond repair. We're praying that he will regain use of his left eye. He has an ice pack against his cheek, but so far has no visible swelling. That could come later.

His white blood count was elevated before the surgery and a little more afterwards. They are running a blood culture to find out why. The respiratory therapist pulled some goo from his chest this morning to analyze it for the possibility of pneumonia. His initial reaction was that it did have some white blood cells in it, but it didn't look too bad.

Overall, Mark is doing pretty good. When the trauma doctor pinched him yesterday to check his reflexes, Mark yanked his left arm up like he was going to punch him. I tell myself that my Mark is in there and exhibiting his usual self. We all had a good laugh.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Girls

My girls have been given a very limited amount of information concerning their dad. This is a sensitive personal circumstance that I'm trying to handle with as much care as I can to avoid increasing their struggle. They miss him terribly and I'm trying to protect their innocence for as long as I can. I am so appreciative of the help, love and concern, I am just asking for everyone to be sensitive to the situation.

Day 6

Mark had a good night and day today. His CT scan was stable again, which means no new bleeding or increased swelling. He was physically active today, moving his arms and legs and also crossing his legs. He opened his eyes and mouth and moved his head back and forth while my friend Kim was there with me. We were both talking to him as he was furrowing his eye brows at us. I left the room for a minute and Kim said it seemed he knew I had left. It was exciting! He keeps pulling his pulse/ox monitor off his finger, evidently it irritates him.

The neurosurgeon determined he is stable enough for the reconstructive surgery for his left cheek bone tomorrow. This is good news as his stability has increased enough to go back under anesthesia.

We will report on his surgery and his bionic-man face as soon as we can tomorrow!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Please Help

A fund has been set up through Paypal for Mark, Scarlet and the girls. With him in the hospital and SO VERY MANY bills piling up, they could use any little help you can give. Mark will be out of work for a very long time, and Scarlet is by his bed side constantly. As their friends, family, and even strangers, I know we can help them and I know they appreciate it very much.

Click here to make a donation:

Login to your paypal account or just click on the "Send Money" tab. You don't have to have a paypal account to donate.

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If you have any questions or if you don't want to donate by Paypal, then email:

Thank you so much for your continued love and support on Mark and Scarlet's behalf.

Best News Yet!

Mark had a great night and morning, the CT scan was good so the drains can stay out. The neurosurgeon saw Mark this morning. He sat in the chair across from him and just stared at him. The nurse came and asked him what he thought and his only reponse was, "I am so impressed, I am so impressed."

They removed his internal blood pressure gauge, so he just has a cuff on his arm now. But the best news so far is that when they woke him up during his "sedation vacation" he opened his eyes! He looked around and was "awake" as the nurse described it. They were open for about 20 minutes. By the time I got here, they were closed, but the nurse said he was probably just very tired. But I opened his eyelid and talked to him. He looked at me and looked at the light. They will try and wake him up again around noon. He also keeps crossing his ankles, and the nurse asked me if he likes to relax that way.

I'll post more later on the rest of the day's happenings. We continue to feel your prayers and appreciate all the love, support and fasting yesterday.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 4

Mark had a great night. The neurosurgeon removed both cerebrial drains this morning. He said he is pleased with his progress. He removed his bandages and Mark has 2 horseshoe shaped incisions, one on each side, above the ear. The facial reconstruction surgeon, Dr. Cook, said his eye is doing okay. The sclera (the yellow part) is so swollen that it is protruding through the eyelids. They are applying 2 ointments, one is an antibiotic and the other is a lubricant to keep the sclera from drying out. We will not know if the eye is working until Mark wakes up and can tell us what he can or can't see.

They've reduced his sedations meds from 50mg to 10mg because they had to increase his pain meds. But the pain meds don't keep him as sedated, so he seems to be a little more alert. Not awake, but alert. He is moving his right leg A LOT, even trying to hang it off of the bed. He's even adjusting his hips trying to get himself more comfortable. During his sedation vacation this morning he moved his left arm very strongly. We're pleased as the movement on his left side has been minimal.

His urine output has been high. The nurse said that our brains produce a hormone that tells out tissues how much fluid to retain. Because of the swelling in his brain, this hormone may not be being produced so they gave him some along with more fluids to make up the difference. They decided today that because he has had so many fluids since surgery and he's was bleeding so much that they are reducing his fluid intake to see if he can regulate his urine output on his own.

While nurse Leah was washing his face this morning he was squirming and she thinks he tried to open his eyes. He's still not responding to commands, but is responding to pain stimulus.

We're pleased the drains are out and he's moving more. We celebrate each little improvement and count them as miracles that move us hopefully toward a full recovery. Cautiously optimistic.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

56 Hours Post OP

Mark is making incremental improvements everyday. Last night's CT scan was good. No new swelling or bleeding in his brain. The neurosurgeon said that the swelling in his brain has reached it's peak and is starting on the downhill side. The cranial bleed on the right side has slowed significantly and the drain may be removed tomorrow. The cranial bleed on the left side has slowed, but not as much as the right. This is fabulous news as the bleed on the right side was the worst of the two.

The facial reconstructive surgeon said today that as soon as he get's the ok from the neurosurgeon and the trauma doctor that he can go in and fix his left cheek bone that has fractured in two places and is floating in his cheek. I told the doctor that I fully expected Mark to look different after the surgery. His response: "I don't." He thinks he can restore his face and skull to normal. Good news!

Every morning the doctors take him on a "sedation vacation", which means they stop the sedative drip for 2 hours. They test his cognitive skills by holding his hand and asking him to squeeze it. As of yet he has not responded to this test. They then poke him directly on his hands and feet and he has responded EVERY time! By "responding" I mean that he moves his arms and legs away from the stimulation. This is a good sign that his brain is recognizing an irritation and able to make his body respond. The nurse said that they won't want to fully remove him from sedation until he responds to commands.

The nurse practitioner told my mom today that he will be in ICU for weeks.

The officer that arrived on the scene and filed the police report has called every day to check on Mark's status. He was at the hospital late last night while my mom was on night duty. He told her that he is not LDS, but he put Mark's name on his church's prayer list. My brother that left for Afghanistan the morning of the assault is a First Seargent in the Army. He is over a company of 160 men. He said that all of his men will be praying for Mark. A friend who has a son on a mission in Hawaii said they would tell their son about Mark and I'm sure the missionaries there will be praying for him. I know that many of you are praying for us, and we greatly appreciate it. Every one counts. We can feel it's influence already.

Friday, December 3, 2010


On Wednesday, December 1, 2010, Mark was assaulted by his brother. He was hit in the head with a shovel handle and punched in the head repeatedly. He was taken to the emergency room due to bleeding from his ears and nose, and he was incoherent. By the time I arrived at the hospital, he was sedated and intubated. He was taken to have a CT of his head when 2 brain bleeds were discovered. He was rushed into emergency surgery to try and stop the bleeding. After 11 hours and 3 different surgical attempts, the bleeding was contained. He was taken into the OR a 4th time to relieve the pressure of a blood clot on the optical nerve of his left eye. He has multiple fractures in his skull and face. Once he is stable from the brain injuries he will need facial reconstructive surgery.

Currently, he is still in critical condition. The nurses and doctors say that all of his numbers are good (blood pressure, heart rate, intracranial pressure, sodium). Today they inserted a feeding tube through his mouth because there is too much facial damage to risk going through his nose. He is sedated and still intubated in order to keep his brain from working too hard and increasing the cranial pressure. There is no timeline for anything at this point. We are taking things hour by hour and day by day.

We appreciate all of the kind words of support and offers of help. We know there have been many prayers said on our behalf and we know they are helping, not only with his condition, but with our hearts and souls. Please continue to remember us in your prayers. There will be a family and ward fast this Sunday on our behalf.