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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Get Away

We had a fantastic camping trip. It was too short as we were all loaded up on Friday night ready to pull out and Mark couldn't find the keys to the trailer. He was the last one to have them. We ended up taking out a window, Madison crawled inside and could only unlock one of the locks. Mark crawled inside and had to take the door handle off. By this time it was 10:00 and we called it a night. On Saturday morning we went to the RV store, installed a new door handle, and off we went. Since Mark had the seizure, he was instructed not to drive until we can see the neurologist. So I had to pull the trailer for the first time. I was nervous, but competent. Still haven't found the keys.

Normally Mark is the one to load the 4-wheeler onto the back of the truck. But I had to step in this time and do the boy job. It freaked me out. I don't like that. He did, however, unload it. And he even took the girls for a couple of short rides. I was a nervous wreck the whole time he was gone. But he took his time, was very careful and all arrived back safely. Overall we had a great weekend.

Mark's really been struggling with our life changes. As much as I try to empathize with what it must be like to be him, there is no way I can understand. And it's not just his deficits from the injury. It's the last 3 years of our lives. We were prayerful and did what we thought the Lord wanted us to do, yet we've lost everything. And because of the injury, we have no way to really pull out of it. Extremely frustrating on a temporal, as well as spiritual, side. In talking to my mom about it she said something that I've never really thought about before. She said that sometimes understanding doesn't come in this life. That's part of the test.

Mark asks me at least once a day, sometimes more, if we're ever going to get our lives back. I tell him the same thing everytime...we WILL get our lives back, but it's going to take a while. We worked 18 years together to get where we were. I hope it doesn't take another 18 to get back.

Blessing of the Day: hope

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Checking In

I have been working 12 hour days for 2 weeks, so I've been a little out of commission. Thought I'd better at least check-in.

Things have been relatively quiet since the seizure. Mark went through a terrible bout of depression and anxiety. I was told I have post traumatic stress disorder lying just below the surface, waiting for an opportunity to rear it's ugly head. I'm trying to get into some counseling. I think it would do us both some good.

Mark's driving priveledges were taken from him because of the seizure. That is terribly discouraging and debilitating. He hates having to ask someone to take him places. I'm not there all day. He's been trying to stay busy working in the yard. I'm scared to death he's going to overdo it and have another seizure. It all just sucks.

But we're going camping again this weekend. So here's to some much deserved family and relaxation time.

Blessing of the Day: sleep

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I love this man so much that I would willingly give up my life to ease the fear and hurt in his heart. Things have changed drastically since Tuesday nights seizure. We may never be the same. Please, please continue to pray for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Have Become...Comfortably Numb

It's been a traumatizing couple of days. I don't know if I jinxed us because of my post about things being quiet, or if Mark needed a wake-up call that he's nowhere near ready to go back to work. Either way, it was horrible.

Last night I was folding laundry in the bedroom and complaining to Paige that I seem to be the only person in my family that notices the mountains of laundry. Mark was in the kitchen and I thought I heard him fall. At that exact moment of thought, Madison came running in and said that Daddy was crying. I went out to the kitchen to check on him and he was laying on the floor, hands and arms curled in towards his body, eyes rolled back into his head, his head banging against the floor as he convulsed. I screamed as I ran for the phone to call 911. My mom took over the call with 911 as I slid my legs underneath Mark to keep him from banging his head on the floor. Paige had gathered the girls into the bedroom to try and keep them calm. She thought Mark had died because there was no color in his face and mom and I were trying to figure out if he was breathing. Paige had gone outside to get Tye and he came in and gave Mark a priesthood blessing as he lay there convulsing. Mark's breathing was very ragged as he sucked air in though his nose and out his clenched teeth. There was saliva and blood blowing out of his mouth as he had bitten his tongue. After the blessing, Mark started to calm down and relax his extremeties. We had to keep him on his side so that in case he vomited, he wouldn't aspirate into his lungs. We laid his head on a pillow and let the EMT's come in and take over. They were taking his vitals and his blood pressure was extremely low. Mark opened his eyes and sat up. He was looking around at everyone, not really knowing what was going on. I tried to get him to look at me so he wouldn't be frightened, but he didn't really see me. He looked through me. The EMT's got him on the backboard, out into the ambulance, and then took him to the hospital. I followed them in my car.

When I got to the hospital they were just bringing him into the ER. Mark was fully awake and aware of what was going on. He was hysterically sobbing and repeating, "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" In the car on my way to the hospital, I was very emotional as I plead with my Father in Heaven to bless Mark and help us get through this situation. I had called Kim and Alan and asked if they could come down. But when I saw Mark laying on that gurney, terrified and pleading that he wouldn't die, my emotions flipped a switch and I became the strong one. I got right into his face so that he could see and hear me, and got him to focus on me. He recognized me right away and kept sobbing and pleading. He said over and over again, "I'm so scared. I'm terrified I'm going to die. Please don't let me die." Sometimes he was sobbing so hysterically that I couldn't understand him. After a dose of Adavan and some comfort from me, he was able to calm down. He didn't know what had happened, he couldn't remember that he'd been assaulted and spent a month in the hospital. It was truly the most terrifying experience of his life.

Madison had seen him convulsing on the floor, heard me screaming to call 911, and evidently I had pushed her out of the way as I ran for the phone. She was the most upset and before I left for the hospital she said, "Why does this have to happen to my Daddy?" I hugged her tight, told her Tye had given Daddy a blessing and that she should say a prayer for him. After Mark was calmed down, he asked about the girls and I told him Madison was pretty upset. He called her right then and I know it was what she needed. He was able to talk to her and tell her he loved her and that he was going to be okay.

We stayed at the hospital until 12:30 so they could monitor him and we could have the frank discussion of starting him on anti-seizure medication. This means that he won't be able to drive until he's had a 6 month stint with no seizures. We scheduled an appointment to see a neurologist and they let us go. I got him home and put to bed, even though he said he was afraid to go to sleep because he didn't want it to happen again.

We had an appointment with the new doctor already scheduled for today, so we went. As he is an expert on the brain, Mark wanted to get some answers. He described a seizure as an electrical storm passing through the brain. There's nothing you can do but make the person comfortable to keep them from injuring themselves, and let it pass. I described the seizure to him and he said it was a Grand Mal seizure. I found the following information about them.

Grand mal seizures have two stages.

Tonic phase.
Loss of consciousness occurs, and the muscles suddenly contract and cause the person to fall down. This phase tends to last about 10 to 20 seconds.

Clonic phase.
The muscles go into rhythmic contractions, alternately flexing and relaxing. Convulsions usually last for less than two minutes.

The following signs and symptoms occur in some but not all people with grand mal seizures.

Aura. Some people experience a warning feeling (aura) before a grand mal seizure. This warning varies from person to person, but may include feeling a sense of unexplained dread, a strange smell or a feeling of numbness.

A scream. Some people may cry out at the beginning of a seizure because the muscles around the vocal cords seize, forcing air out.

Loss of bowel and bladder control. This may happen during or following a seizure.

Unresponsiveness after convulsions. Unconsciousness may persist for several minutes after the convulsion has ended.

Confusion. A period of disorientation often follows a grand mal seizure. This is referred to as postictal confusion.

Fatigue. Sleepiness is common after a grand mal seizure.

Severe headache. Headaches are common but not universal after grand mal seizures.

I consider it a blessing that Mark only experienced 3 of these symptoms.

The Aura: he said he remembered standing in front of the pantry and then the food started to go up as if floating in the air. He said he felt strange and then remembered waking up in the ambulance. I believe he was falling to the floor when he described the food as floating.

Confusion: he couldn't remember the assault.

Fatigue: he was exhausted immediately after and all through today.

We were told that being on medication didn't mean that he wouldn't continue to have seizures. They have particular triggers that can set them off. Some of them are hunger, sleep deprivation, fatigue, light sensitivity, etc. Mark hadn't gotten much sleep the two nights before, I don't know when he had eaten last, and he had been working hard all day on several things, just having mowed the front lawn and half of the back. In assessing Mark's situation, he's only had 2 seizures, both with definite triggers. They are common among brain injured patients, so it's not a shock to anyone that he's had them. But they have been few. We're hoping that they can be controlled by the medication and we can continue on with as normal a life as possible.

I worry about my husband every minute of every day. I'm trying very hard to not let his disabilities debilitate us and keep us from living. If seizures are going to be a part of our lives, I guess I need to get some thicker skin, educate my girls and pray that we can keep them at bay. I do know that I don't ever want to witness that again. As terrified as Mark was, I don't know if he was as afraid as I was. It's a horrific thing to watch. And as more and more things such as this infiltrate our lives, the thicker my skin gets. The harder I get. The only way I can continue to go on after so much pain, fear and sorrow is to become numb. I have become...comfortably numb.

Blessing of the Day: priesthood blessings

Monday, July 11, 2011


I apologize, again, that I've been a little sporadic with my posting. I seem to be a little grumpy about things, and I've also been working a lot. It's been a relatively quiet week. We have several things coming up this week that will be "postable", so you'll probably see me a little more.

Mark's been busy working at my mom's house. He's been fixing the sprinklers (splinkers as he calls them), he hung a new microwave/hood, and had to put up a temporary fence yesterday after the wind blew down the other one. It's so good for him to be busy. Both physically and mentally. Mark doesn't do well when he has time to sit and think.

He's been contemplating his family dynamics as of late. He's recognizing some very disturbing things. Attitudes that were always there, but weren't brought to his attention until such devastating actions forced them out of hiding. See, Mark has always been the peacemaker in his family. He has always seen the good in people. He's always the one willing to give others the benefit of the doubt and a second chance. It's difficult for him to cut ties with those who are showing their true colors, because he has a generous heart and wants to "fix" what's wrong. Which is why we go so well together. I have no problem cutting ties with those who give lip service. You know the old adage "Actions speak louder than words." Well their actions are SCREAMING! And it's time to accept them for what they are and move on without them. This late in the game it's not going to make a difference. He's starting to realize that you can't help people who don't want to change themselves. It's really sad. Because he loves them.

Blessing of the Day: little girls

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I wish I had a photo to post from our AWESOME camping trip, but Murphy's Law claimed the battery on my camera.

It was a rough start to get out of here on Friday, but we finally left around 5:00. It took us forever to get there because we had to make a few stops along the way to gather things we had inadvertently forgotten. The first trip out is always the roughest as we forget at least 50% of the things we need. You would think after all these years that we could get it together, but we can't. We were worried that because we left so late that we wouldn't get a good spot. We have certain "spots" we always go to, and low and behold, ours was still available. I think because of all of the late spring snow and rain that people were leery of heading up those roads. But not Mark! They actually weren't bad. We had the usual mud holes to go through, but they were pretty easy to get through. It was such a great trip. It was quiet, peaceful and stress free. For just a few days we were able to escape from the world and all the ugliness it has held for us as of late. We didn't want to come home.

On our way in we almost hit a deer, and from then on we were counting all of the wildlife we saw. We ended up seeing 54 deer, 1 elk and 2 russet colored cranes. At least I think they were cranes. We even saw a doe and her twins. We adopted a chipmunk we named Charlie, and we fed him bread and graham crackers. The mosquito's were too numerous to name.

We sat around the campfire, built mud pie volcanoes down by the creek, went on hikes, counted deer, slapped mosquitoes, slept past 8:00, and laughed together as a family. It was a much needed break and felt really good to do something normal. Something we did before our lives fell apart. Something we will continue to do, as a family, for the rest of our lives. It felt really, really good. We're counting down the days until our next trip.

I did discover something, though. The girls were in the camper watching cartoons and Mark and I decided to go for a walk. We were talking about "things" and I had a breakdown. It's all still so raw for me. I think that I've been so busy handling everything, doing everything, that I haven't dealt with any of the emotions. I've crammed them into a jar labeled "December 1" and stuck them on a shelf. I think I probably need to get some myself. I can talk to Mark about anything in the world, but I need this for ME. Talking to him used to be so easy and comfortable. It's just not the same. I think I need "professional" help. But I'm not sure I'm ready to start dealing with it. I feel like if I do, I somehow give away the accountability of the guilty parties. I don't know if that makes sense to all of you, but it's why I hang on to the anger. But Mark did say something to me that was profound. And I will try to heed his counsel and move on. For me. For Mark. For our family. For our future.

Blessing of the Day: helpmeets