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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Moon River....

We heard back from the occupational therapist about Mark's driving. After she conferred with the rehab doc they decided he needed to do one class with a driving school instructor and get his opinion as well. So I'll be scheduling his appointment tomorrow. That sounds to me like good news. While he is thrilled to be able to drive, I'm a little nervous. There will be restrictions such as no night driving, or freeway driving, and only in familiar locations. I'll probably go with him for the first little while just for my own peace of mind. This is one step towards him regaining his independence. For his own mental state, I hope it comes through for him.

Mark complained that his left eye is hurting pretty bad. It's also pretty red. Those are signs of gout that the eye doc told us to watch for. Guess I'll also be scheduling him an appointment with the eye doc for tomorrow. It freaked me out when the doc told me to watch for it because it's very common with eye injuries. At his last appointment he didn't see any sign of it coming on, but he said it can move pretty quickly. There are medications that can treat it and a last result would be to remove his eye. But the doctor said that is VERY rare anymore with the breakthroughs in medication technology. Mark is afraid they're going to "cut out my eye". I can't imagine the fear he must live with being completely out of control of everything that is happening to him. It's no wonder he doesn't want to smile or laugh anymore.

We saw a 1 minute glimpse of our old Mark tonight. My brother, his wife, my Mom and Mark and I were in the kitchen talking about bikini waxes and how painful they are. Mark got this big grin on his face, turned around, started to moon us and said, "Want to see mine?" We all had a good laugh. One more piece of evidence that he's still with us.

Blessing of the Day: medical technology

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I filed the SS paperwork for disability two weeks ago. I just received more paperwork that I need to fill out to further explain how Mark's injury has affected him. I thought, "Doesn't 'Severe Traumatic Brain Injury' say everything?" But as I sat down and started to answer the questions and explain, in detail, how his life has changed, I was overcome with grief...again. It's almost like I relived it all over again. I guess it's still part of the grieving process. Grief for what we've lost. Not just Mark...all of us. I think it even solidified MORE in my brain that Mark will most likely never run his own business again. And that will be a very hard pill for him to swallow. I, for one, am happy to see MD Electric go away. But I wonder if it's only because we were running our own business in the most difficult of financial times. It was stressful and maddening to watch what we'd worked so hard to build over the last 7 years just dwindle and disappear. It's probably too early yet to say that he'll NEVER run his own business, but I have a hard time seeing it in our future.

And so I start looking for work. We can't live on social security disability and we can't live here forever. I'm in no real hurry to move out, but know that it won't ever happen if I don't step up to the plate and MAKE it happen. I was given a promise in a Priesthood blessing that my education would be used to bless my family and those around me. So I guess it's time to put it to good use.

Blessing of the Day: education

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Busy, busy day today. We started with speech therapy and Mark did really well. The therapist was testing him so he can determine what direction to take his treatment. The homework we had this last week was pretty difficult for Mark. He was given famous phrases and one or two words were left out and he was supposed to fill in the correct word. He couldn't get any of them. I don't think he recognized the phrases, so he had no idea what he was supposed to do. Phrases such as: Time ____ all wounds. Look before you ____. Common things that anyone should know are missing from his database. He also struggled with determining what two objects have in common. For instance: table and horse both have _____. Plane and bird both have ____. He couldn't figure it out. And he's embarrassed that he can't. He apologizes for me having to help him with his homework and that he's not as smart as me. He is still wondering when I'm going to reach my limit and "dump him for someone better".

We had a quick lunch and were back for his driving evaluation. This was a 2 1/2 hour process, so I left him there and went & ran some errands. When I got there to pick him up, the occupational therapist went over his testing with me. He took some cognitive thinking tests and visual cognitive tests. She said he obviously struggles because of the language deficiency. He did ok on the tests and very well on the driving. He struggled with understanding the directions she was giving him. Not physical directions, but understanding what she wanted him to do, both on the written tests and driving. She said she needed to talk to the rehab doc to see what he thinks about his abilities. Right now it's more about his thinking and processing abilities than his actual physical driving abilities. He was a little bummed she didn't give him a thumbs-up, but I prepared him well for that possiblity. He said he was so frustrated and embarrassed that he almost started crying during the test. I can't tell you how much that hurts my heart. It's difficult to watch someone who was vibrant, confident, strong and fully functioning be reduced to a quiet, unsure, weak and feeble human being. I know it frustrates the hell out of him and it breaks my heart.

Blessing of the Day: unconditional love

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Kiss...This Kiss

This picture was taken on December 11, 2010. Only ten days into our horrific ordeal. Our niece, Colleen Barry, was in the room with us when I asked him for a kiss and he responded like this: he turned, lifted his head, puckered and kissed me. I'm so grateful she was there and offered to take this picture. It truly means more to me than I can adequately express. And as a side note, there was only one nurse in the ICU that I didn't like, and she told me he wasn't responding to commands. Does this look like he wasn't responding to a command? He just didn't like her either.

I re-visit this day and share this picture because Mark has been very loving the last few days. He has felt an overwhelming sense of closeness to me and gratitude for all that I've done for him and our family. We have snuggled and shared our feelings and kissed A LOT over the weekend (this is a family show & is G-rated). It's nice to have that part of my husband back.

I was discussing with some friends how Mark's "affect is flat". That's what the doctors call it. It means his personality isn't really there. Not much expression on his face or in his demeanor. I expressed that it's probably not going to return and a friend asked if maybe it could be due to depression. I hadn't really thought about that. I assumed it was the brain injury and all was lost. But I saw some of his personality creeping back in this weekend. He was trying to make me laugh. And tonight he put his pajama bottoms on backwards and asked me to look at something on his back so that I'd notice them. I laughed out loud and told him they were on backwards and he said he'd done that on purpose. So perhaps some of it is depression and all of my Mark will eventually emerge. I can only hope. It felt really good to laugh with my husband.

Blessing of the Day: laughter

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Sorry...So Sorry

Emotional day. Up until now this nightmare has only affected me during the day. I'm sure, due to the use of sleep aids. But last night it infiltrated my dreams. I woke up sweating with my heart racing and I was madder than hell. That didn't put me in a great frame of mind for the rest of the day. My poor family had to deal with my moodiness. One minute I'm mad, the next minute I'm crying. I'm seriously starting to lose it.

Then we settled down for family scripture reading before the girls headed off to school. Remember the article I talked about yesterday? Well this morning's chapter in The Book of Mormon was part of that article. Coincidence? I seriously doubt it. Madison asked me why I was crying and I told her Heavenly Father was talking to me and I needed to listen.

Then we were off to the LDS counselor. We explored our financial situation, discussed our application for Social Security, and not letting Mark "drift" because I'm too busy with the rest of life to get him involved. Then the waterworks started. I won't go into great detail, just sufficeth it to say that I'm in the second stage of grief...ANGER. What should have been an hour session turned into an hour and a half. I felt much better afterwords. Still ANGRY and sad, but better.

Our last appointment of the day was with the prosecutor. After another hour and a half, I was still ANGRY and sad. I can't tell you what we discussed. It was ugly and hurtful, again. Mark wanted to see the pictures of himself from the ER. I didn't know how he was going to handle it. We both did pretty good. I didn't even cry. I think it's because I can see those pictures anytime I DON'T want to by closing my eyes and remembering EVERY minute detail from that horrific night. I watched him as he looked at the pictures, expecting to see something. Nothing. I believe it's still too surreal to him because he doesn't remember it. He didn't feel the pain, didn't go through the emotion, doesn't know what true hell it was. He does now, for sure. But it was almost as if he was looking at someone else. I think that must be a blessing for him. Difficult for me, as I sometimes still feel like I'm handling the emotional side of it alone. And that's a great cross to bare.

After we got home Mark kept apologizing to me. He apologized that I had to endure all of this and continue to deal with it. He apologized that he can't remember how it went down. He apologized that because he doesn't remember that we may not get the justice we deserve. He apologized for being a burden to his family in that he can't take care of us. He apologized that he doesn't make me laugh anymore. And I cried...again.

Blessing of the Day: arms to hold me

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In The Strength of The Lord

Quiet day today. We only had speech therapy on the docket. But that went really well.

The therapist at LDS Social Services gave me an article to read. It's a talk given by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, given at BYU on October 23, 2001. It's titled "In the Strength of the Lord". He spoke of the enabling power of the Atonement. He described it as: "There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that your or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. Non one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, and succor -- literally run to us -- and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying only upon our own power." He listed examples from the Book of Mormon of prophets calling upon the Lord to not take away their burdens, but to give them the strength to endure, or take care of, their burdens or what was required of them. It really spoke to me. I'm so consumed with anger and heartache that I haven't relied too heavily on my Savior as of late. I am weary from it all. I'm not ready to give it to Him yet, but know the days of healing will come. And they can only come through Him.

Blessing of the Day: the Atonement

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

See Jane Run

Mark was gung-ho to get some speech homework done today. He has paragraphs that are missing two key words that he has to fill in from a group of four words. You know...multiple choice. It's for his reading comprehension. Last night his reading was spot on, minus a few fumbles. Today...not so much. It's hard to believe how this roller coaster dips and turns. There's no real rhyme or reason to it. Same meds, same times, same amount of sleep. I can't figure it out. But he's got some serious motivation to get better, so he's doing everything he possibly can to speed it along. Maybe the challenge of it will help him improve more quickly.

It was a relatively quiet day. Planning to get the appeal letter written for Crime Victims Reparations tomorrow. We're also meeting with the prosecutor on Thursday. That's a meeting I'm very much looking forward to.

Blessing of the Day: motivation

Monday, March 21, 2011


I talked with Dr. Cook today about doing Mark's surgery to remove the screws and plates. They don't want to schedule it until we hear from Crime Victim's Reparations. I told her I'd get back to her on that. Even though I got the confirming phone call today from IHC that they're writing off what we owe the hospital, I want to appeal the state's decision. If there's even a remote chance that they could pay something to these wonderful doctors and facilities that have been so crucial to our recovery, it's worth it to me. And I want there to be some accountability. I'm not sure if the next surgery would be done if we get denied again. I'm not sure how much charity work Dr. Cook is willing to do.

Mark practiced his reading out loud today. He did MUCH better than he was doing last week. I praise him often during these exercises so he knows how well he's doing. But even though I praise him, he knows he's nowhere near where he was before the injury. He told me he sounds like a 3-year-old. He's embarrassed. He's humiliated. And that makes me ANGRY!

The neuro/psyche counselor, Dr. Gregory, talked to us about "normal". He's trying to get Mark to understand that what he thinks is "normal", is not "normal" anymore. We have to find a new "normal" right now, and that "normal" will evolve and change throughout his recovery. We have to understand that we will never be what we were before. We have to adapt to our new situation and be willing and open to change. That's hard to accept. I want more than anything to have my old Mark back. Knowing that's not going to happen and ACCEPTING that's not going to happen are two different things.

I laid in bed tonight thinking about how much I do for my husband. He frequently needs assurance that I DO love him and I'm NOT going anywhere. He wonders why I would stay with him and endure this ordeal when I could go and find an "easier" life with someone else. As I thought about this I wondered, "What would he do if he didn't have me to love and care for him? Who would do this for him?" And sadly...there's was no one. And so I guess I'll keep doing for him not because there is no one else to do it...but because I want to...and I love him more than life itself.

Blessing of the Day: someone to love

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mama's Day Out

Pretty good weekend! It all started with ME having a girls' day out with some VERY fabulous people on Friday. We have been friends for 6+ years now and we try to get together at least once every 3 months. It was usually for an overnight scrapping event, but in light of recent events we've moved it to a "day" event. We met for a pedicure, had lunch and spent the rest of the day laughing, crying and scrapping. Love, love, love these ladies!

It felt WONDERFUL to have a day to myself. I will admit that I worried about Mark the entire time I was gone. He had to go to the doctor for a UTI, speech therapy, and then home to spend the afternoon/evening with the girls. Grandma did a great job filling in for me. And Mark handled it quite well. He only called me twice. But as I sat flipping through photos of days gone by I was reminded of how life used to be. There was Disneyland, the Easter egg hunt in the backyard of our Salem home, and having bottlecap races down the creek on a camping trip. The light that was reflected in Mark's countenance was a stark reminder of what we've lost. The energy that exuded from him as he helped the girls find their eggs and chase their bottlecaps downt he creek. That's all gone now and I don't know if we'll ever get that back. One of my dear friends talked about how we all mourn different things at different times. Mourning is not just for death, but for the things we have lost. And it's so true. We are in mourning. And it hurts like hell. I received great news about the medical bills and I felt that joy slip from my soul as I looked at the evidence of our life before this stupid, unnecessary, horrible tragedy. I got more angry as I helped Mark do his speech homework and struggle to remember the name of a flower. I got more angry as he looked at me and called me another name, then realized it wasn't right and then couldn't remember what my name was. I got more angry when Mark asked me to take him home before Priesthood meeting because he was embarrassed that they might call on him to pray or read a scripture, and they would laugh at him because he "sounds stupid". I struggled in Relief Society meeting as the teacher talked of living worthy to have the Spirit: letting go of the anger so that the Spirit can be unrestrained. I'm ANGRY, ANGRY, ANGRY! And my heart hurts.

Blessing of the Day: wonderful friends

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Remember just a couple of posts ago I was pretty upset that Crime Victims Reparations denied our claim? Well that must be the third of "bad things come in 3's". I got a phone call today from the hospital and they said that due to our current financial situtation they are going to write-off EVERYTHING we owe them. And to boot, because Mark is still going to speech therapy, he can continue to go at no expense to us. She also said that if we give a copy of the letter stating that they're writing it off to the other doctors and clinics that we owe, they generally match what the hospital does. ... ... ... ... Yeah, me too. I'm speechless. I knew they did this kind of thing as they are a non-profit hospital, but to actually be on the receiving end of it is quite astounding. I was overcome with emotion for this priceless gift. A great burden has been lifted, especially from Mark's shoulders. I don't adequately know how to express my gratitude to the hospital, doctors, all of you...there are no words. Just a simple, humble thank you.

2-week stay in ICU - $150,000
11-hour brain surgery - $65,000
Facial reconstruction - $10,000
2-week stay in Rehab - $50,000
3-months therapy - $13,000
Receiving end of the Lord's Blessings - Priceless

Blessing of the Day - the Lord's hand in my life

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can I Get A Noun...Pat?

I don't know if I've blogged about this or not, so if I have, skip this paragraph. Mark seems to pick a "word of the day". Today it was "grandma". Yesterday it was "onion". The day before it was "rabbit". For several days in a row it was "policeman". It's interesting to note that most of the time he doesn't "hear" himself saying his words. Sometimes he catches himself and knows he said the wrong word and it frustrates him, but most of the time he doesn't. I try to PATIENTLY correct him or direct him otherwise. I told my Mom yesterday that if the Lord was trying to teach me patience He could have picked a less traumatic & devastating way to do it.

Mark and I went over his picture flash cards for him to name his nouns and he didn't get any of them. He can describe to me what he sees in the picture, but he can't come up with the actual name. When I turn the card over so he can read the word on the back, sometimes he reads it and says, "Right. That's what I said." Most of the time he is frustrated that he knew that was the word he was looking for, he just couldn't get it out. My Mom said maybe his vocabulary library is the part of the brain that was macerated and removed. I don't know if that's the case. It's extremely frustrating for both of us because you can tell he's trying to go through his library and get the right word out. It just doesn't come. Truly aggravating.

We'll be gathering the last of the medical records tomorrow to turn everything in to the SSA on Thursday. Pray for us. We REALLY NEED that money.

When I logged on to FB I saw this quote by Harold B. Lee, former President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

"Rarely, if ever, is there a truly great soul except he has been tried and tested through tears, and adversity---seemingly pruned by the hand of the master gardener. By applying the knife and the pruning hook the branch is shaped and fashioned to God's omnipotent design, in order that its full fruitage may be realized" (Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 191).

If this is the case, I should be translated next week. :)

Blessing of the Day: prophetic counsel

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's Your Name?

We had a great day today. For the most part. Speech therapy was interesting. Mark has trouble naming things. I knew this, but the interesting thing is that it's nouns he has trouble with. He only gets 10%. But when naming verbs it's 80%. The therapist didn't have a particular title for this deficiency. Just part of the Aphasia he has. So we brought home some flash cards for our homework so we can practice naming nouns. Guess I better get the sticky notes back up on all the household items.

The kids were out of school today for a snow make-up day. We rounded everybody up and took them to the dollar movie in Provo to see Tangled. They'd already seen it, but I hadn't. It's definitely on the "must buy" list. Very cute movie. It was fun to be out as a family. And of course not cooped up at home.

Mark's energy level has been much improved since I changed his meds. It really went through the roof after I spoke to Crime Victim's Reparations. They denied our claim to pay the medical expenses because "Mark went over to Charle's home to confront him. Therefore he contributed to his injuries and the statute states that we cannot cover any of the medical expenses when the victim could have avoided the injuries." What?!? Do they also deny the claims of women who are raped because they "could have avoided the injuries" by not going on the date? We're beyond angry and frustrated. We're feeling very much the every way. Everytime we turn around this assault is hitting us head on. I feel like we're NEVER going to get away from it, heal from it, have closure with it. I guess it's our new BFF for the rest of our lives. Have I mentioned that this sucks?

Blessing of the Day: family time

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Great Unknown

We had a lovely weekend. I was able to get out for a few hours to go to a bridal shower, put up the trampoline, skipped church and had Davis Family Day in the Bed. It was good.

Mark's doing well with only having his meds at bedtime. After a few days of that he's much more alert during the day. He has more motivation to get some things done. He came outside and sat with us on the patio tonight while we enjoyed the beautiful Spring weather. We talked about all the things we need to do to my Mom's yard to get it cleaned up. There's a lot of work. We should have plenty to do to keep up busy this season. And it will hopefully help build up his strength. He's kind of a wimp now. Okay, not kind of. He's a full blown wimp. But it'll come back. It's just his least favorite thing to do...exercise. Oh well. At least he now has the TIME to do it.

I'm really starting to stress about what to do for us financially. I'm sure I'll be going back to work. I just don't know when or how. It could take 6 months for disability to kick in, assuming we get approved the first go around. Eventually SOMEONE has to go back to work. I HATE living in the unknown. I feel like I can't make any decisions for our future because I don't have all the information. It's extremely frustrating. And scary.

Blessing of the Day: Davis Family Day in the Bed

Friday, March 11, 2011

We Are Family

It was a quiet day at home. Thank goodness! When it came time for us to go to speech therapy, neither of us had it in us. It felt good to not HAVE to go somewhere. Seems like that's all we errands that HAVE to be done.

I didn't give Mark any of his meds this morning. He was perky all day. He changed the tubes on Avery's bike, cut down a shrub, and we went out to dinner. It was so good for him to be alert & active. He was ready for meds by dinner time and bedtime, but what a difference it made for him!

I worked on the disability paperwork again. I'm going to gather the medical records myself and include them with the application. I know the SSA will still request them, but they can get started on the case instead of shoving it in the "TO-DO" corner while they wait for more information. I scheduled an appointment with them on Thursday of next week. I'm hoping they tell me I have all my ducks in a row and things will proceed smoothly. Cross your fingers & PRAY!

Mark expressed some of his frustrations today regarding his family. I told him maybe it was best to just take a break from them for a while until we have TIME to deal with those emotions and things have been closed. It may take 6 months to a year for there to be closure, but we'll get there eventually. He knows of my love for him and my family's love for him, but it's still disconcerting how he feels about his own family. I wish I could take that from him.

Blessing of the Day: activities

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movin' And A Shakin'

Mark keeps me hopping. He doesn't want to "hang out" at home. It gives him anxiety. He needs his own space and we're all a little cramped here at Grandma's, so he feels the need to be out and about. But when you're the chauffer, it can get a little exhausting. But after a trip to Home Depot to get some new rakes, lawn bags and gloves, he started working on the pine needles in the front yard. It didn't last long, but he at least got started. He's been really sleepy lately, probably due to the changes in his meds. He's not tired, he just can't keep his eyes open. So he crashed on the couch for a little while, which was great for me so that I could get started on the disability paperwork. More on that in a minute. Anyway, when he woke up he was energized and ready to start moving furniture and televisions around. He can't see very well as he's trying to retrain his brain to work with only one eye. So he put our 50" plasma tv on the dresser in our bedroom so he can read the DirecTV guide. I feel like I'm on the front row at the theater! Didn't take long for the nausea to set in. Gag. But I am glad that he had a project to do and was able to accomplish his tasks. Hopefully he'll get back to the raking tomorrow so I can get everyone's belongings a little more settled and we won't feel like (as Avery pointed out) we're camping.

The diability paperwork hasn't been too bad. It's a 14 page report that asks for all the doctor and medical record information. It says that if I don't currently have the medical records from the doctors that I shouldn't ask for them. The SSA will contact them and request the records. I feel like if I get them first and then send them in with the application it would go through much quicker. But I don't know what I'm doing. Anyone out there got experience in this? I know it's going to move slowly because it's the government, but if I can make it go even THAT much quicker, shouldn't I at least try? I know the SSA wants statments from the docs about Mark's condition and his ability to work. But if I could get them the actual records it might expedite things a little. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated!

I actually feel like I should be making a cake. I've had so many these past couple of weeks that I'm going through cake withdrawal. I'm sure Mark will have me moving and shaking tomorrow. Heaven forbid we have a quiet day at home!

Blessing of the Day: sarcasm

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So Far, So Good

We've started Mark on his "detox" of meds. He was very nervous about how difficult it was going to be. So far, it hasn't been bad at all. But over the coming weeks it may get more difficult. I'm here by his side 110%, but I can't do anything to alleviate the physical and emotional impact it has on him.

It's amazing how his countenance and presence has changed since we started this. He's more upbeat, more active and more Mark. I couldn't get him to SHUT-UP today. And that's my real Mark poking through.

I had to make a cake today and Mark didn't want to hang out at the house. I dropped him off at the movie theater and left him my phone. Before I left he recited my Mom's phone number to me and I showed him which speed dial # it was on my phone. As I started to worry about why I hadn't heard from him, I got a call from my sis-in-law saying that he had called her house and talked to her son and poor River was freaking out. I called Mark before I left the house and he was telling me all about everyone he had talked to, but couldn't remember the house number. Guess I'll be getting him a bracelet that has information on it so we can avoid this in the future. Whew!

We'll be meeting with the LDS counselor again tomorrow. Looking forward to that. I've got to get started on his diability paperwork and it's going to be a monstrous task. For one, they require everything but rights to your first born. And secondly, it's all in the storage unit in a box. This is going to be fun!!! Guess I never lack for something to do....

Blessing of the Day: family

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Amazing Brain

We were sitting together around the dinner table and Mark was remembering. He was asking me if I remembered our black Nissan Sentra. He asked me if I remembered taking it on a long drive. I thought he was talking about our trip to Texas. He asked me if I remembered going to Yellowstone to go snowmobiling with my Dad and how it was so cold that it would never warm up and how he had to put a piece of cardboard in front of the radiator so that the heater would work. Really? I DO remember that trip and all of what he talked about. I'm astounded that HE does. Once again proving how absolutly AWESOME the brain is and it's ability to recover from such traumatic circumstances. Including losing part of itself. Just amazing.

We met with Dr. Gregory, the neuro/psyche therapist today. It went well in that he has the background with brain injury patients to better help us move forward. He gave us some valuable tips on helping Mark to bridge the time from now to his full recovery in a year. I need to be more organized (shocker) in how I manage his time. He needs activities on the daily calendar so that he has something to look forward to each day. Some of that needs to be exercise. He can't do much, but we'll start with walking and some light hand weights. I also need to rely more on outside family and friends to help with some of his activities. He can't do EVERYTHING at home. It's no wonder the man is going crazy! I'm hopeful that we can introduce some of these new ideas and it will make a healthy difference to Mark. The weather isn't cooperating with us, though.

Mark's been nervous all day about getting rid of meds tomorrow. I don't blame him. It's not the most pleasant of experiences. But with a doctor's help it shouldn't be nearly as bad as going it alone. He's ready, but worried. I'm ready, but worried. But for different reasons. He doesn't want to go through hell. I want it to work and stick. Perhaps we'll both get our wish. Until tomorrow....

Blessing of the Day: memories

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Moving Forward

We had, I believe, our last Sunday in Salem. It's been a difficult transition, to say the least. Usually when you move it's a decision you make after much thought and prayer, with a plan in place, and time to make the mental and emotional adjustments. Since we were literally ripped from our home, packed up and moved by other people (thank you VERY much to all that helped), and displaced into a home that is not ours, we have had a hard time letting go. It's difficult to leave the ward family that has helped us so much through these tragedies, and of course our sweet Bishop that was there for us with much needed counsel and strength. He was released today. And with each growing week, I have felt the need to move forward. It is difficult. It is with a heavy heart. But it is time.

After therapies tomorrow I'll be visiting the new school that my girls will be attending to get a feel for it. I want to transfer them, but have had mixed emotions about it. It's getting to be too costly, both financially and time wise, to keep taking them to Salem. And if we're going to be here for several months, they need to move on as well. As someone who moved every 2 years, on average, I know what this means for them. And I will have much anxiety throughout their first week of school.

Mark starts his counseling with the neuro/psyche doctor tomorrow. I am excited for that. I hope it will be what he needs to come out of his slump and recognize his need to move forward, at a slower pace. I'm also very interested to know how this counseling will be different from our regular counseling. The therapist we saw on Thursday said he has helped a lot of people fill out and file their disability paperwork, so that's one project we'll be working on. He thinks we will be able to get around $2,000/month when we get accepted. Could take up about 6 months, but that money would be VERY beneficial when trying to get back on our feet. I just have to wade through much STUFF in the storage unit to find the paperwork needed to attach to the application. Such fun things to look forward to!

Blessing of the Day: children - Happy Birthday, Madison!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Told You So

Since Mark is unwilling to choose an activity for himself, I chose one for him and finagled him into doing it. I called his brother Alan to see if there was a trucking run Mark could join him on. He said he was actually going to the BYU game to man a booth selling hotdogs and he'd be more than happy to take him along. Mark wasn't really clear on what exactly he was going to do, just that his brother was picking him up and taking him to BYU. He kept asking me if he needed to wear his boots because I think he thought he was going to be doing some kind of electrical work. He was gone from 10:30 to 4:30 and was royally pooped when he got home. But he said he had a good time and enjoyed being gone all day. I didn't say anything to him, like I TOLD YOU SO, even though it was screaming in my head. I just smiled and was happy for him. He didn't do anything for the rest of the night. Which was just as well as I had to finish Madison's birthday cake. I even got to enjoy an hour of running errands ALONE! I treated myself to some Old Navy and Michael's. Good day.

Here's a picture of the cake. Not the best picture as I had to use my phone because I can't find the chord to my camera. Hazard of moving. It was a BLAST to make!

Blessing of the Day: talents

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

Pity Party...that is. Call me impatient and uncompassionate. Whatever.

Okay, maybe I am. But when he won't even LISTEN to any of my suggestions is what drives me CRAZY! Mark is really mourning his losses. His life, as he knew it, is DRASTICALLY different. I wouldn't say it's "over", just not remotely the same. He wants to feel productive and useful. He wants to go to work and support his family. He wants to live in his own house. He wants his life to have value. But what he doesn't understand, or can't see at the moment, is that his life DOES have value. I am very sympathetic to his plight. It's just frustrating when he only wants to whine and complain and not be willing to change his circumstances with even the smallest activity. I tried to tell him that he wouldn't "feel" so bad about things if he'd just get a little physical activity. It's amazing what that can do for your psyche. I know I need to be a little more patient. I try to imagine myself in his shoes and wonder if I'd be doing even HALF as well as he is. I'm sure I wouldn't be. So I bite my tongue and try to offer encouraging words instead of letting out my own frustrations.

Living with a brain injury is a very difficult thing. Mark is not the same. I have my husband, but I don't. I mourn losses, too. I want the man back that you see in this picture. He is not the bright, vibrant, passionate person he used to be. I long to see his huge smile and sparkling eyes. I miss his laughter, his giggle, his playing with the girls. They miss him, too. It's just not any fun. It's stressful, emotional, sad, frustrating and exhausting. I'm trying to keep my chin up for all of us.

We saw Dr. Cook, the facial reconstruction surgeon, today. He said he wants to take out the screws and plates in Mark's face. The bones have all healed and they tend to be like sheetrock screws and can work themselves loose, or even out. So in a few weeks he'll go back into the OR and have them removed. That makes me very nervous. I got the OR notes in the mail today from the 11 hour brain surgery. I quote: The contused and lacerated lateral temporal lobe was coagulated. The macerated brain was removed. I went down to the white matter (under the grey matter). There were 3 different pockets of intracerebral hemorrhage and these were removed (blood clots) and the macerated brain was removed until we got back to what appeared to be more normal brain. The macerated contused brain with intracerebral hemorrhage was like toothpaste. Instead of having a custard like consistency of normal white matter, it was almost liquefied.

The mere fact that he can argue with me is a miracle in itself.

Blessing of the Day: patience

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Something To Talk About

Sorry for the absense. Been a busy week. We are basically back to normal in our marriage. At least as normal as you can be with a brain injury person.

We did attend a conseling session today at LDS Family Services. I didn't know if Mark would attend with me, or if he would understand why I wanted to. It took us the full hour to explain what's going on in our lives. Mark was emotional as the therapist shared a scripture with us: 2 Nephi 28:30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; Mark is struggling with the fact that he can't do a lot of things he used to before the injury. The therapist said that it was remarkable he had gained back as much of his independence as he had, and that just like in this scripture, Mark will eventually gain all of his independence back. He just needs to be patient as it will come "here a little, there a little". Then he showed us a picture of people ascending some stairs towards a bright light. The person on the top was reaching back to help the people on the lower steps. This really touched Mark. He asked why the top person was helping the lower person. The therapist told him to ask me what it meant. I explained that the person at the top loved the other person very much and wanted them to enjoy whatever there was to aspire to, together. I told him the Lord had given us to each other in order that we may help each other. I help him because I love him. Overall it was a really good exprerience. He was still confused as to why we met with him, but said it was good and he'd like to go back. a little, there a little.

I've noticed that in his speech therapy we seem to have taken a small step backwards. I spoke to the therapist about it today and he said it is likely several things: depression, change in meds, the stress of the move, and maybe the seizure. His speech was faster, he was more animated in his expressions, and he completed his speech tasks with more ease....before the seizure. The therapist wasn't too concerned, but was glad that I had noticed it as well. He also said that before he was listening more attentively. Now he wants to talk more. Wow...that's a surpise.

We're going to get him off his pain meds and try to do something else for his back pain. It's in the thoracic region of his spine, so there's not a lot of options at this point. But he wants to get rid of the meds and I'm ALL for that. That process starts on Tuesday. Wish us luck!!

Blessing of the Day: communication