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Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Miracle Man

Day 1 - 11 hours of grueling brain surgery, expected to die
Day 6 - Opened eyes from coma
Day 11 - Thumbs-up and a kiss
Day 13 - Stands up
Day 16 - First steps
Day 17 - Moved to Rehab
Day 20 - Wants to go home
Day 27 - Sarcasm returns
Day 31 - Walked out of the hospital, on his own accord, to go home

I chronicle this now because Mark's really struggling with where he's NOT. I know it's difficult for him, but he doesn't quite realize where he's come from because he doesn't remember it. And I'm SO grateful that I thought to take pictures and even some video so that I had proof to show him EXACTLY where he's been, which proves just how FAR he's come. He was having a particularly hard time one day this week and I remembered that I'd taken some video of his first walk. As he watched this video on my little Sony camera, the tears were relentless. When I asked him if he was okay he said he was just really grateful for the miracles that had been performed on his behalf. And as you watch this video, you will see the miracles as well.

Blessing of the Day: permanent records

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Deja Vu

Mark had the plates and screws removed from around his eye today. He was a nervous wreck going in. The procedure lasted about an hour and we brought home the hardware.

I'm grateful that there are no more surgeries. It was really hard to be in the hospital again today. I even got emotional before he went in for the surgery. It's still too raw and real. Fortunately, it was same-day surgery and we were home by 1:00. The first thing he said to me when I walked into post-op was, "I don't ever want to do this again!" My sentiments exactly.

Blessing of the Day: awesome doctors

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Way We Were

I should be so happy today...and I was a few hours ago. Somehow my mind has wandered and I'm pretty down. I was driving around alone tonight and passed a ball field where little boys were playing their first games. Families were crowded into the stands with blankets draped over them cheering on their boys. I had a brief thought: "I'm glad that's not me." But another thought quickly followed. "If it were me, it would mean that my life would not be in the mess it is now. I would be happily living in my own home, my husband would be well and fully employed, we would not be so heavily financially burdened, and we'd be happily enjoying our children and the extracurricular activies they love." And I wondered again how I got here and if it's ever going to end.

We went to Salem today to pick up our work truck. We were driving through town and Avery saw a house that had a "For Sale" sign in front. She said, "Mom, no one lives in that house. We could buy that one and live there." It's heartbreaking to ruin the innocence of my children by having to explain to them that it will be a long time until we're in a home of our own again. It's difficult to look them in the face and tell them we can't afford piano lessons, or horse riding lessons, or tennis lessons.

I don't know why today was the day, but it was. I want my life back. I want to go back to November 30th and skip all of the tragedy. I have so much to be thankful for, but today I just want to grieve all that I've lost. I am sad. I am broken.

Blessing of the Day: cleansing tears

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where Do We Go From Here?

Mark has been a little emotional as of late. Today's speech therapy wasn't so much about speech as it was trying to get control of his emotions. But I did garner some good information about vocational rehab and a brain injury support group at BYU. I'll be making phone calls over the next couple of days to get him into both of these programs.

Vocational rehab will do an assessment of Mark's skill set and try and help determine if he's really ready to go back to work, and what exactly he'll be able to do. The question as to whether or not he'll ever be an electrician again is weighing heavily on his mind. And I'm pretty certain it won't be in the capacity it was before the assault. So we probably have to find something else for him to learn how to do. They do help pay for schooling if there is a change in vocation. We won't know until we get him evaluated and then we can move from there. And it may even be that he can still be an electrician, just not right now. He may not REALLY be ready to go back to work.

I want to get him into the support group so that he can understand where he's at. I told him about Representative Gilbert from Arizona and how she had a very similar injury (same side of the brain) and she's still in the hospital doing rehab. Mark spent 2 weeks in rehab...she's spent 3 months. He knows he's a walking miracle, but it's still hard to accept his current state. It still sucks. And I think that if he can meet others who have been where he's been or are even at the same stage of recovery as him, it'll be easier to keep going everyday. And easier to be patient with himself. His ego is really suffering as I've been out looking for work. It really bothers him that I'll be working while he's at home. The speech therapist told him that he may not be ready to go to work yet, so he needs to realize that his "job" is to get better. I think they may have helped him a little.

I'm praying for sunshine tomorrow and hoping that it'll make a difference in how he feels. I'm grasping at straws, anymore. Anything at all that can help him I'm willing to do. Anything.

Blessing of the Day: miracles

Monday, April 25, 2011

'Ere You Left Your Room This Morning

It was another down day. Even despite his freedom in being able to drive and the couple of hours he was able to work. Mark's really struggling. I only ask that you keep praying for us. And I say "keep" because I know you haven't stopped. And we are so very grateful for your prayers. He is a testament that prayer works miracles.

Blessing of the Day: prayer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

What a great weekend. I love celebrating Easter. For the REAL reason for Easter, and the fun part of Easter. It's just a great holiday.

Mark's been really tired these last few days. I think he must be going through some brain recovery period. He hates it that he doesn't have any energy or stamina. He feels like a bum. And today he's been particularly down. We all got up to get ready for church and he decided he didn't want to go. I came home after Sacrament meeting to put out the Easter basket treasure hunt and get lunch started. He was up and about, but kind of mopey. He got into the spirit of things and was excited for the girls to get home from church. The treasure hunt was a HUGE success (our first time) and he thanked me for being a great mom and making sure his babies had the best Easter. We enjoyed a WONDERFUL lunch and then the melancholy set back in. He was very emotional wondering if he was ever going to "be a man." He was asking the adults at the dinner table if they thought he was a good man, if they thought he was good enough for me, if they thought he was ever going to be the husband and father we deserve. Then he decided he needed a Priesthood blessing.

My mom called the Bishop over, as he's her home teacher. He was thrilled that she called him because my mother has NEVER asked for help from her home teachers. He listened as Mark tried to express himself through tears. I ended having to tell the Bishop what's been on Mark's mind. He was too emotional. The Bishop counseled him and the he and my brother Tye gave him a beautiful blessing. Sacred words spoken to Mark directly from his Father in Heaven. The Spirit was very strong. Peace and comfort were provided. Things were even said that I wish were admissable in a court of law. Unfortunately, they will have to wait until they are spoken in the Lord's court. And truly that is the only one that matters. After the Bishop left, Mark was overcome with extremem fatigue. I think this must be why he was so exhausted over the weekend. He's been carrying around this stress and worry and self doubt. What a relief to know that his Father in Heaven is aware of him, loves him, is blessing him every day, and knows the truth of the events of the assault. He slept for the rest of the afternoon.

I can't adequately express what it does to my heart when Mark feels this way. Under normal circumstances when a person has a down day, they can get counsel or say a prayer and things can look better. When you're faced with extreme odds that were no fault of your own, it's maddening. And I get angry and sad all over again. Mark has had a miraculous recovery. And for that we are so very grateful. But it's still hard, everyday, waiting patiently for his body to finish recovering, and wondering how far the recovery will go. There are still so many unknowns. We are still on a roller coaster ride. Two steps forward, one step back. And we can only take it one day at a time.

Blessing of the Day: priesthood

Friday, April 22, 2011

On The Road Again.....

Strange things happened today. But monumental ones, as well.

We went to the grocery store this morning and on our way home Mark was trying to tell me something. He started a sentence and then just stopped. I thought he was trying to think of the right word so I started throwing some out that I thought were appropriate. But that wasn't it. I stopped in the middle of the road to watch his physical demeanor for signs of seizure. He was producing small noises, but no words. He was looking at me while he was trying to actually speak. NOTHING WAS COMING OUT! This lasted for about 15-20 seconds, and then he said, "What the hell was that?" He said that he knew what he wanted to say, he knew who I was and that he was still with me mentally, but he couldn't make his mouth work. Needless to say, it freaked us both out.

As we pulled into the driveway, tears welled up in his eyes. He said that experience really scared him and wondered if this was how it was going to be for the rest of his life. He wondered if he was ever going to get his life back. He wondered if he was doomed to be an "unemployed, stupid talking idiot".

I thought I needed to let the doctor know about this, so I left him a message. He called me back shortly after that to discuss his driving abilities. He said he got nothing but rave reviews from everyone that drove with him, and that the OT said his mental capacity had improved greatly in just the 3 weeks between his drive test and her discussion with us on Tuesday. He asked about his visit to the hospital in February and whether or not it was deemed an actual seizure, was he on seizure medication, was he required to see a neurologist. We went over everything, including his little episode this morning, and then he asked me what I thought. He asked me if I was comfortable with him driving. After much discussion, he gave us the thumbs up. Mark is legal to drive again!!!

I found Mark playing checkers on the computer and told him I'd just talked to the doctor. I told him the doc said there's no way he's ready to drive. You could see the red moving from his neck up through his face. He wanted to know WHY he said that, WHAT he said, and declared it was "BULLSH*T!" I had a good laugh at his expense and he was not happy. But after putting up with 18 years of his teasing, I finally had an opportunity to get him back and I wasn't wasting it.

It was then that he decided to go on a roadtrip. He was gone for 3 hours, and although he had his phone with him, I was a bit nervous. He did call me a few times...not while he was driving. That is a BIG no-no. He was so happy. He was free. It made up for the emotional let-down he'd had earlier. He told me when he got home and he was exhausted that it had been a really good day. And I'm so glad. He needs a few more of these.

Blessing of the Day: teasing

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Calm After The Storm

Mark's had a quiet couple of days. On Tuesday he was busy working in the yard, and coupled with his busy day on Monday, he needed a break. The tornado can only spin for so long.

His speech therapy was AWESOME on Tuesday. I almost thought they might say he was done and it was time to move on. He still really struggles with naming things. He looks at the picture, DESCRIBES what it is, but hardly EVER gets the name right. But it's also interesting that in describing it, he sometimes says the name and doesn't even realize it. When he struggled with the name the therapist would give him the first sound of the word. Only once out of 10 did he get the name. When the therapist gave him the first couple of letters, Mark was able to get the name about 70% of the time. His brain isn't listening very well. So we'll continue with speech therapy. Praying that one of these days everything comes back.

Mark's been complaining that he can't hear very well. Both of his eardrums ruptured during the assault. He was bleeding from both ears. I'm getting him in to the audiologist to get this checked out.

Mark was trying to read through some of his work e-mails. He told me he didn't understand them and wanted me to explain them to him. After trying to explain it 3 or 4 times, he finally said to forget it. He said it's obvious that he'll never be able to run his business again when he can't even comprehend what's in an e-mail. That realization took a toll on his self esteem. He was pretty melancholy the rest of the day. When I approached him about what was wrong, all he could do was talk of how worthless he was as a husband and father. He can't provide for us and we would be better off with someone who could. I understand how he could come to these conclusions, but what HE doesn't understand is how so very much we love matter what. I'm beginning to think that the physical toll was much easier to handle than the emotional toll. The physical wounds heal much more quickly than the emotional ones. We have much work to do.

Blessing of the Day: promise of better days

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Flush Your Life Away

Mark had a GREAT day today. Even though he didn't sleep very well, he jumped out of bed and was ready to go for the day. After we dropped the girls off at school, he plunged (pardon the pun) into replacing the toilet in the upstairs bathroom. Then he was off on his driving test at 11:00 with A-1 Driving School. I wasn't home when he got back and he tried to fib to me and tell me there's no way he passed because he went up on the sidewalk. But he's convinced he passed with flying colors. I'm a little irritated I had to spend $100 for something I already knew. But I guess it's a CYA kind of thing. The driving instructor said that if Mark drove before he was cleared by the doctor and got into an accident, the doctor could be sued. Hmmmm.

By the time I got back from the store, Mark had the old toilet removed, the floor cleaned up and ready for the new one, and was chomping at the bit to go to Home Depot. He was sweating and dirty. And he was SOOOOOOO happy! Being able to work really energizes him. When we got back from Home Depot we had to wait a little bit for my brother to get home so he could carry the toilet into the house. Mark's still pretty wimpy. Hasn't gained his strength back. Since his back was hurting pretty good, he sat down on the couch for a few minutes and he was OUT. He only snoozed for about 15 minutes, but it was cute to see how all the stress from his driving test, the exertion from removing the toilet, and the excitement from being able to get something done really pooped him out. But once the toilet was in the house, he was back up and running. We got it all installed, kids fed and put to bed, and he didn't waste any time getting HIMSELF to bed. Good, good day. Let's hope we get a call from the doc tomorrow telling us he can drive. It will be the greatest day for him since getting out of the hospital.

Blessing of the Day: sweating

Sunday, April 17, 2011

One REAL Friend Is Worth More Than 1000 Relatives

We had a really good weekend. On Friday we took the girls to see Rio, on Saturday we did some necessary running around (I even got some sun), and Sunday we went to church and then had dinner with some dear friends. While we didn't go anywhere for Spring Break, we enjoyed our time together as a family.

Dinner with our dear friends tonight was a walk down memory lane. There was recognition of the real love we share with these people as we talked about everything we have been through together. We have been there with each other through literally, EVERYTHING. Our weddings, vacations to San Francisco and Lake Powell, first home buying, child births, fights with our spouses, Priesthood conferences, fixing cars and pouring concrete, fights with our parents, many Christmas's and birthdays, deaths of our fathers, and now this life altering challenge. We have been there for each other. We love each other. Water is sometimes thicker than blood. And to quote one of my other dear friends, "One REAL friend is worth more than 1000 relatives." And that's what we have together. REAL friendship. And I, for one, couldn't have survived this without them.

There were people who saw Mark over the weekend who hadn't seen him for a couple of weeks or so, and they were astonished at his progress. It really wasn't too long ago when I was talking about his affect being flat. Well it's not flat anymore. It's very lively. He's been cracking jokes, smiling and laughing, and been EXTREMELY sarcastic, as of late. Everyday he becomes more and more like himself. So much so that I even asked his brother, after one of Mark's particularly sarcastic (and dirty) comments, "Why was I praying for him to get better?" It's so good to see my husband again. He's been gone for WAY too long.

I talked last Sunday about the lesson we had in Relief Society on the Atonement. I was moved to sobbing tears in that lesson, feeling my Savior's love for me and our little family. The lesson talked about how the Atonement is for so much more than just sin. It is for any hurt, wrong, pain, worry, sorrow or INJUSTICE we suffer in this life. We need only partake of the mercy given to us by Him to heal our wounded hearts and souls. The teacher played a song called Mercy River. I don't know who the artist was that sang it, but it spoke to me. I knew my Father in Heaven was talking directly to me, pleading for me to come to Him and give my sorrow and pain over to Him. As Mark and I talked about our lives this weekend, and talked about what may or may not happen in the next few months, we've decided now is the time to draw the line in the sand. We are moving forward, as best we can, and no matter what happens, we're putting it all behind us and starting over. Does that mean we don't still Does that mean that future events won't hurt It just means that we're not dwelling on it anymore...not letting it consume us anymore...we're picking ourselves up and, saying goodbye to hurtful things and people, and moving forward with the Lord on and by our sides. And it feels really good.

Blessing of the Day: friends

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fear Not Little Flock...For I Am With Thee.

Mark must have really overdone it yesterday, as he slept until 11:00 today. He was not happy when he woke up and realized what time it was. He felt he had wasted his entire day. I had to remind him of how much he had done and that that work comes at a price. And today he's paying the piper. It was interesting to see that his brain was also muttled. Since he's still in the throws of the healing process, he's going to continue to have good days and bad days. We're encouraged by his good days, but recognize that they can't be SO good that it wipes him out the next day. I'm glad to see that he wants to be busy, feels good when he's busy, and does well. He just needs a governer installed so he doesn't overdo it. I guess that would be me.

We had a fun evening with some friends. They remarked on how much Mark has improved, even in just the last couple of weeks. It was nice to get out of the house, reminisce, and laugh.

Since our lives are now consumed with what happened to us, it seems to be all we talk about. After an evening of laughing, and then talking about our situation, I was pretty down. I even got a discouraging phone call after we got home. We need for this trial to be over so we can move forward. Or maybe I need to listen to my husband and move forward without the trial...letting go and recognizing that no matter what happens, we are not defined by this. Easier said than done. I take great faith in knowing that our Father in Heaven is a man of justice. And what we are lacking in this life, He makes up the difference. He makes ALL the difference. I'm clinging to that with all that I am. It's all I've got.

Blessing of the Day: good friends

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hi God...Are You There? It's Me...Mark.

I got a call from the Crime Victims Reparations department with the State of Utah. They want me to write an appeal letter. They've spoken with the prosecutor's office and the detective and they think I may be able to get the denial reversed based on new information. It took me 3 hours to write a three page letter outlining our thoughts and actions. She should turn it in to the director tomorrow and hopefully we'll have an answer within a week. I so hope they reverse their decision. The many doctors that saved Mark's life and continue to help him with his recovery deserve to be paid. And accountability needs to be rendered.

Mark got himself a burst of energy today. I don't know where it came from, but it was there. He washed some windows, helped clean up the kitchen, vacuumed some floors, picked up some tree limbs. He was a busy bee. It was so good to see him in good spirits, as well. It's amazing what a few endorphins can do for your mood. He was talkative and energized. I think more and more of my husband is emerging every day. He told me that he was getting a little down and feeling like his Father in Heaven didn't care about us and what's happening to us. Then he remembered that I told him his speech and reading had improved much over the last week or so. He received confirmation from his Father in Heaven that He DOES care about us and love us. We may not have our home or business anymore, but He's watching over us and blessing us with the things we REALLY need. And right now that's healing and recovery to that we may be able to earn those THINGS again. And after all, they're just things. Necessary for life, but still just things.

Blessing of the Day: personal revelation

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In All Of Living Have Much Fun And Laughter...Life Is To Be Enjoyed, Not Just Endured (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley)

Have you ever been in fear for your personal safety? Have you ever worried that someone might hurt your children? Have you ever been afraid to go anywhere with someone other than your spouse or close personal friend for fear that you might be taken into a situation that you have no control over and have no ability to remove yourself from said situation? I'm talking about REAL fear. Heart pumping, mind racing, overwhelming fear. That is what Mark is living with.

Mark had an excursion over the weekend with someone other than me and he was in panic mode the entire time. When he got home he told me it was a horrible experience for him. He was so worried that they were going to end up in Provo and there was nothing he could do about it. He is truly afraid. I guess that's natural when you're almost murdered by people who are supposedly loved ones.

The worry invades our lives. We went to the zoo today and Mark was worried that these people could possibly be there. He goes over in his mind what he will do on the off chance he might run into these people. He watches for them. I told Mark that we are NOT going to live our lives based on the POSSIBILITY that we might have an encounter with people we want nothing to do with, who have hurt us beyond repair, and who we will never have a future relationship with. We are going to live our lives and live them well. We are going to be happy and celebrate the miracle that he is still with us, and enjoy our lives together, DESPITE the horrific circumstances that have gotten us here. We will triumph over all that has been handed us.

My sweet sister-in-law reminded me today why I need to smile. Quote: Because I have a gorgeous smile. Because I have beautiful daughters. Because I have a husband who loves me so deeply that he cries when he talks about me. Because I have been blessed with an eternal family and the knowledge of what is to come. Because I am strong. Because I am not alone. And she is right. THIS will not beat us. THEY will not beat us.

Blessing of the Day: pep talks

Friday, April 8, 2011

Many Hands Make Light Work

I am so glad Friday is over. Got the wedding done and wore Mark out at the same time. He was a trooper. He helped me with everything. It's been a long exhausting week for both of us. At 5:00 he asked me to take him home. So I ran him home, picked up the girls and headed back to the reception. He went straight to bed. Here's a picture of our hard work.

Court was on Wednesday. He declined an offer to plea down to a 3rd degree felony. Preliminary hearing set for May 11th. It finally begins.

Blessing of the Day: working hard

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Learn As If You Were To Live Forever

I should have posted about his last night, but put in a 12 hour day doing 4-tier wedding cake and 400 cupcakes. Needless to say, my bed won over.

Mark had an AWESOME day at speech therapy. My mom took him because I was chin deep in cake batter. He was being tested for evaluation. The speech therapist raved about how well he did. He was able to read and answer 100 questions in 59 minutes. You don't know how great that really is. He was only 65% correct, but was able to do it. I am SOOOO proud of him.

Interesting fact about Mark. Mark does better at inferring the answer to a question, rather than having the answer in a paragraph above and having to find it. When we read scriptures this morning, he read 5 verses and only needed help with about 4 words. He is slow, but concise. He is truly kicking butt!

Blessing of the Day: progress

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Welcome Back

My husband was back in full force today. I was crazy busy with cake stuff and usually when that happens, he gets a bug up his butt and makes himself busy, too. And that bug came today. He was talking out the wazoo, he was cleaning windows, doing some laundry. And he was making me laugh. Oh how I love it when he makes me laugh.

He wanted to help me with my cake stuff, but it's kind of a one-man job. So he sat at the table and we worked on his speech homework as I caked. He was lively. He was alert. He was funny. He was Mark.

Blessing of the Day: restoration

Monday, April 4, 2011

Come Listen To A Prophets Voice

Not much happening here on the Davis front. It's crazy cake week, so I'm going to be in the kitchen for most of it. I've only made one cake layer and my back already hurts. Sucks getting old.

Our weekend was wonderful as we listened to Prophets and Apostles speak to us. We were able to snuggle together and listen to prophetic words while kids danced, argued, colored, whined, painted and interrupted the entire thing. But we were all together...and that is our greatest blessing.

I've taken Mark off of some of his meds. I think he's doing better without them. We got him a GIANT Book of Mormon so that he can see the words better and now he can participate in family scripture reading every morning. He only does about 2 verses, but he's doing them. Olivia or Madison will sit by him and help him with the words he gets wrong. It's a very tender thing for me to watch. He's humiliated that his 7-year-old can read better than him, but it makes my heart melt to witness this beautiful part of his healing. I just decided that I'm going to video it for posterity's sake. He'll probably balk at that, but I don't care. I'm the boss of him.

Mark and I discussed our challenges tonight as we pondered the challenges of others. And as hard as this is, we still wouldn't want to trade them for someone else's. Our life has been turned upside down and inside out, but it's still OUR life. We are intact. We love each other. Our kids are healthy. We have a roof over our heads. Our bellies are full. Our backs are clothed. And for each of these blessings we are profoundly grateful. It's a challenging life, but it's OUR life. And we are blessed.

Blessing of the Day: perspective

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

As I listened to General Conference today, my heart was full. I felt the Spirit. I felt my Savior's love for me. I felt as if each and every person that was speaking knew me personally and all that has transpired in my life as of late. I felt that they wrote those talks for me personally. I felt my Heavenly Father's love for me as they delivered His messages to me. But nothing touched me more than the words of this hymn that the Tabernacle Choir sang in the morning session.

I know that my Redeemer lives. What comfort this sweet sentence gives.
He lives, He lives Who once was dead. He lives, my ever living Head.
He lives, to bless me with His love. He lives, to plead for me above.
He lives, my hugry soul to feed. He lives, to bless in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to guide me with His eye.
He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to hear my souls complaint.
He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart. He lives, all blessings to impart.

He lives, my kind, wise Heavenly friend. He lives and loves me to the end.
He lives, and while he lives I'll sing. He lives, my Prophet, Priest and King.
He lives and grants me daily breath. He lives, and I shall conquer death.
He lives, my mansion to prepare. He lives, to bring me safely there.

He lives! All glory to His name. He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives. "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
He lives! All glory to His name. He lives, my Savior still the same.
Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives. "I know that my Redeemer lives!"

Blessing of the Day: Jesus Christ