Sunday, May 30, 2010

Holiday Weekend

I just talked to Fred, and he had a nice Sunday in Denver. They went to REI, a great Mexican restaurant and an outdoor oriented coffee shop. He was impressed with the REI store and wished he could have used their climbing wall. It seems like he is doing well with taking a rest when he needs to, especially when his shoulder starts acting up. He also wants to stay on the schedule he has set up for himself and gets worried when he is not back at the time he said he would be back by. The hospital had told me it's not a problem if you are later then when you said you would be back, but I take it as a good sign that Fred is paying attention to details like what time it is and when he said he would return.

Kalyn and I went out to breakfast with a friend this morning and then our neighbors took their daughter and Kalyn on a hike. I had a couple of weekend hours to myself to pack for our California trip tomorrow and stabilize the German Müller-Thurgau wine that I had started brewing before our lives got turned upside down. We made it last year and enjoyed it, and even though Fred isn't able to drink it right now, I'm looking forward to the end of July and August when it will be ready. You are all welcome to come over and have some with me and visit with Fred at that time!

I am really looking forward to going to California tomorrow, spending the week with my family and focusing on my sister's wedding. I feel like it will be both relaxing and therapeutic for me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I realize I haven't posted pictures in awhile, so these are from last weekend, but they show Fred up and walking around.

This is us with Fred's mom and step dad.
This is my whole world.

I have no explanation for the next three other than a loving mother!

Playing with Daddy at the playground (I made him wear the hat to protect his ear that they had to stitch up.)


I know I've said this before, but it bears repeating because it doesn't seem like it is happening enough for me lately. What a difference a good night of sleep makes! I only had a half hour in the night where the dog woke me up and I dealt with him and was able to fall back asleep, and Kalyn even slept in! My outlook on life is so different today! I feel like I can handle what I need to and let go of what will be too much. I can see that I'm off the fast lane in life and feel good about that. The recipe is 31 years of trying to be an overachiever, a husband in a traumatic accident, a month of turmoil, one good night of sleep, and suddenly I feel acceptance. Please don't take this as a promise because tomorrow I'll probably be falling apart again!

I went to the pool today with my friend and her daughter who is Kalyn's best bud. Usually Fred is with us whenever we go to the pool, but it didn't feel like we were leaving him out because it worked out to be a girl's morning, and we had a fun time. We met up with Tom, Mamar (Tom's mom) and Jim (Mamar's husband) for lunch. They bought Kalyn a new jigsaw puzzle, and she was happily occupied with that for an hour. Kalyn has become a puzzle master in the last month.

I talked to Fred last night around 9 and this afternoon around 3. What a difference in him when he is rested too. When I'm tired, I'm sure people can hear how overwhelmed I am. When Fred is tired, I can hear the brain injury, but when he is rested, he sounds like himself. This afternoon he sounded like himself. His mom and step dad took him to the Body Exhibit today. He said it was very interesting and bought a book on keeping the brain healthy and active. His plan is to donate it to the fire department, and I told him that's fine after he is done studying the entire thing!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Missing Out

Fred is missing another family event today. My brother's graduation is today, and these situations magnify for me that he is missing out while he is in rehab. We missed his sister's graduation earlier in the month, and I canceled his flight for my sister's wedding today. The silver lining in the fact that he is missing these events is that he will be here with us for future events and celebrations. I had realized before the accident that Fred and I were a good team, but his temporary absence makes me appreciate all the things he does.

Today Fred was going on an outing with the therapists to walk along some canal and have lunch. I haven't heard yet how it went, but I know doing little things that feel like a normal life are important to him right now. Even going to the grocery store can be exciting when you're stuck in a hospital/rehab day and night. The occupational therapist had asked Fred what our division of labor was at home. He was honest with her and said I do most of the day to day cooking, and he told her I get mad at him if he starts a load of laundry because that's all he does is start it. Then it sits in the washer until I discover it moldy and smelly. I think I'll have a talk with the OT and see if she can work in the therapy to have him be better at household chores when he comes home!

It's my first weekend being home since the accident. I feel a little guilty enjoying being away for the weekend. I miss seeing Fred and having Kalyn and Fred visit, but I don't miss being inundated with emotions as you see other people that weren't as fortunate as Fred to come out of their accidents with the potential of returning to their prior lives. I am so thankful that Fred gets to be there to do his rehab because I can see that it is one of the best places in the country to be, but I'm a dangerous combination of a curious person with very thin skin, so I walk around the halls overwhelmed with what everyone else is going through. Being home is good, but it's another reality that everyone else still has a life that they are living day to day. My whole world came to a stand still last month, but everyone else has kept moving.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I started off the day feeling down at it took me looking at the calender to realize that Fred's bike accident was on the 27th of April. After my dad died, I would notice how anniversaries would creep up and I would feel them emotionally before I would realize the relation to the date. Last night I was turning off the sprinklers in the dark, mad about doing something Fred would normally take care of. Then in the middle of the night the dog started freaking out, probably because the bear that was in the neighborhood the night before was back again, and I got frustrated about Fred not being here. Fred has always been my protector and kept me safe, but I'm learning how to be strong for myself in this process.

This morning I had coffee with Jody, a woman whose husband was hit by a car while he was bicycling almost 2 years ago, and it felt so good to connect with someone who had shared the same experience. Their injuries are completely different, but she has been the whole process and seen the other side. It felt so supportive to talk to a spouse that has survived all the trauma that we remember but the patient forgets.

Today I realized a mistake I had made at work. It's nothing that can't be corrected, but I really don't like making mistakes and overlooking things. I feel like I'm overlooking about 80 percent of my life right now. My life has been reduced to feeling a sense of accomplishment if I keep our daughter safe and fed by the end of the day. The pets usually get fed on a regular basis too, and my next focus is remembering to bathe our daughter.

Fred has been taking any kind of encouragement from his doctors and thoughts from his therapists, like referring to him as a short-timer, as a sign that his discharge date is being moved up. Today he was talking to me about dates, when I get back from the wedding, when his dad is leaving and was saying they were talking about a meeting for Tuesday to possibly change the date he can come home. I called the case worker after I got off the phone with him, and he doesn't have anything scheduled. The doctors and therapists meet weekly to discuss the patients, so that might be what he heard and thinks they will change the date he gets released. They told me they were trying to be encouraging to him but also realistic, and right now, I can see that is a very hard line to walk because all he wants to hear is he is ready to come home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Our Community

It cracks me up how much I fought moving to this town as a teenager many years ago. My parents had decided to move there, and when I came to visit in the middle of February from southern California, it seemed like such a small little town that I didn't want to move with them. I even worked out a plan to stay one more year in California and live with a teacher while I finished out the last year of the school I was attending. The plan was for me to spend the month of August here and go back to California at the end of the summer for school. My sister, whom I had never been close with growing up, had the same plan. Suddenly, she and I were 10 miles out of town with just our parents and our two year old little brother, half camping, while our dad built the house. It was an amazing month, full of good family stories, but, by the end of August, I had an amazing connection with my sister, and both of us didn't want to go back to California for school. Through many tears and lots of drama, we both stayed. Other than one semester abroad in college, I haven't left since.

Every time I travel and come back into town, I always have this sense of home and being so thankful for living here. For as much as I fought the move to this town, it certainly has a hold on me. There are so many small communities and groups that mix up and make this community such a wonderful place to live. Both Fred and I have always felt this amazing pull keeping us in here.

Fred has always been better than me at being social and joining various groups like volunteering for search and rescue and the fire department and playing in a band, to name a few. After having a child, I must admit to some grumblings from me about the amount of time he has been gone being a part of organizations outside of the home on top of working 40+ hours a week at his day job. Now all I can say is how full I am from eating all of my previous complaints because of the amount of energy, time and money these places are putting towards helping us.

It didn't take this accident for me to love this town, but I do see that once our life settles back down, I will want to find my own ways to give back to the community because they have given so much to us.

4 weeks later

Yesterday Fred was sent to the grocery store with his occupational therapist to shop for the patient cooking day. Since he is the former chef of the group, he was put in charge. They had decided on a menu of burgers, potato salad and a dessert. Today was the actual cooking day, and Fred did a good job of managing the kitchen between the other patient/cooks and figuring out where it would be easier to just do something himself. I wish I could have been there to watch the whole experience!

When I saw Fred's primary doctor on Monday, he was asking me if I could see a big difference in Fred after being gone for almost a week. My answer was yes, but really now that Fred's physical trauma is healing, I can see more of the brain injury. The first few weeks he was tired and in so much pain from everything that was trying to heal on his body besides the brain, that I could ignore everything else because who can really focus or be that attentive when you have a lot of pain.

Now I can see how is slowed down a little and needs to spend the time right now at rehab and getting better. I'm trying to face my day to day life which includes trying to remember Fred coming home not being easy, especially for me, insurance billing confusion and a two year old that tells me that daddy is getting better at the hospital. She is a princess obsessed little girl, so we have a plethora of magic wands in the house, and I'm still looking for the one that actually works! Everyone has been wonderful wanting to help, but what I really need is a way to shut my brain off from the hours of 1-3 a.m. and let me sleep.

It has officially been 4 weeks since the accident, and it is amazing to look back and see how far Fred has come. He has made amazing progress week by week, but the future is still so uncertain and scary for me. I can still hold on to my belief that this whole experience will be a positive one for us in the long run even while I am gripped with terror from my life being turned upside down and scattered. It's a pretty wild ride to feel such opposing emotions at the same time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

I have a tendency to either cry or laugh in stressful situations. It really isn't my nature to get angry, and often when I am given nasty news I get emotional but then just find it hilarious. I probably look a bit crazy at times laughing when things are not going well, but I take it as my body's defense mechanism.

What a day today...I woke up emotional because Kalyn and I were leaving and won't see Fred for at least two weeks. We got Fred and had breakfast together, and as we are sitting there, Tom gets an email that the house we had rented to stay at for my sister's wedding was a scam. I felt awful when I heard that news. I had been looking forward to staying at the house and having Emily's bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner there. The thought of having to tell my sister about it made me feel awful. She is less than two weeks away from her wedding, and I remember the nerves of the final weeks before the wedding.

At his first class the case worker, Melissa, wanted to meet with me. She is an amazing advocate for us and basically does all of the arguing with the insurance company and applies for anything and everything for us that might help. I told her I had already started receiving things from the insurance company and also told her I got a bill from the Denver ambulance company that transported Fred from the airport. She told me to bring everything to her, and she would work on it. I went back to the apartment and opened all of the pieces of mail I had brought with me but hadn't felt like opening yet. The ambulance ride wasn't *that* expensive for an 11 mile trip, but there was also a bill from the medical flight that took us to Denver. I feel like we should own the plane we flew on for the cost of that bill! When I opened that one, I just started laughing - it says it was submitted to the insurance company. I hope they work out a deal on that one.

We said our goodbyes to Fred and were off to the airport. I am getting better at navigating the airport with too much luggage and a toddler, and it helped that the airport was quiet. The wind was blowing really hard, so a lot of flights were canceled or delayed. Luckily, we were just delayed, and Kalyn was a trooper once again and had multiple people commenting on what a good kid she was.

We're home for the week before we go to my sister's wedding. I think they were able to find another house on short notice that hopefully isn't a scam because it looks beautiful from the pictures.

A friend sent me an email today that just made me laugh because it was funny too. She was commenting about how I have said I didn't think the universe would give me more than I could handle. She said she had a friend that is going through a hard time, but her friend knew that God would not give her more than she could handle. Then her friend added that she wished God did not think so much of her! It was the perfect day for me to hear this and get a good laugh at how much I can relate.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Slow Weekends

Being here on the weekends has been a big lesson for me in slowing down. A weekend for us was always packed with getting house projects done and both of us getting out to get some exercise. It felt like we did a lot of tag team parenting on the weekend days so we could each get things done and then we would all spend the evenings together. Now there aren't unfinished projects or a dirty house staring us in the face, and the pace has slowed down considerably. Here's a little glimpse of our weekend days:

Kalyn is an early riser, so we spend a little time in the apartment until around 8 when Fred is getting up. We pick him up some juice and fruit to take his meds with and give him a 2 year old wake up visit. There is no such thing as get up and rush out of the hospital. We have to wait for the nurse to bring his morning meds by, and getting dressed is slower when you have broken ribs, scapula and clavicle. We head over to the apartment and have a little breakfast and coffee. Today we went out to breakfast at a local place with some friends that live nearby.

To try and wear Kalyn out so she will nap, I like to take her to a park. There are numerous parks nearby. Kalyn describes parks by the color of their equipment, so today we went to the green park. It is funny and a little frustrating at the park because Fred seems overly cautious about Kalyn's safety at the park. He is worried about her falling off things that she is completely capable of doing on her own, yet he doesn't see that he can't do everything.

I'm happy when I get Kalyn to take a nap, and it's a good time for Fred to rest while she sleeps. Naptime is a wonderful time for me to have some real quiettime. The afternoons are generally mellow in the apartment and then we figure something out for dinner. I think tonight will be Whole Foods!

That's about it. Quite a different pace than what we are used to at home, but slowing down in life is not a bad thing, and when I feel myself getting frustrated that something is taking so long, I have to realize that there isn't anywhere else I'm supposed to be right now.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Being Realistic

I had a realization last night that I was setting myself up for another major disappointment. At least this time I caught it before it was a major blow. People have told me that even after Fred gets out it is going to be a tough process getting readjusted back at home and that I will need help. I realized I had been ignoring that and assuming once they released him from inpatient care that he would be ready to get back to his regular day to day schedule.

It's hard to get a real answer out of anyone around here on time frames because they either don't know or they don't want to tell you one thing, have it not happen and have you sue them. Tom was finally able to get someone to talk to him about a possible scenario on Fred getting back home, getting to work and his old schedule. Her input was to start thinking about the long term in seasons, not weeks or months. I know we will look back on this time years later and it will feel like it flew by, but that was a wake up call for me and what my expectations had been. I am very thankful someone could finally give us an idea of what we might be facing because it made me realize I needed to change my expectations or just let go of them completely. I haven't brought this up with Fred at all because he needs to focus on being here and getting better and as we get closer to him coming home we can start talking about how that will be.

Today Fred told me how astounded he is with the amount of support and help we have gotten from everyone. He told me he is going to be paying people back for the rest of his life. I tried to tell him that everyone is just happy he is still here and doing so well. Then he gave me the greatest gift and told me that he couldn't have done all of this without me and he owes me the most. That was all I needed to hear from him and made me love him even more. I was never keeping score, but just saying that made it all worthwhile.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Single Mom Traveler

Kalyn and I flew back to Denver today to be with Fred for the weekend. I am such a cheap person that I will do anything to not check a bag if they are going to make me pay. I already had to pay for my two year old's seat, so I'm allowed 4 carry-ons, right? Too bad I tried that on the way down and nearly broke my back and had a breakdown in the middle of the airport since I also had a clingy toddler and a car seat to haul.

This time I decided I was being smart, so I packed light, for me, and only brought one wheeled bag to check plane side, a heavy backpack, a shoulder bag, and the toddler and car seat. We did better in the sense I could manage on my own at least, but I was asked about 20 times if someone could carry something for me. I really need to work on my initial instinct to say no! The walk to the gate in Durango is not bad, but I need another massage after walking the entire length of DIA.

I know I still have one more solo flight scheduled with Kalyn and my (too) many bags, but I am realizing I don't want to make a habit of this. I am grateful to know that Fred will be back traveling with me eventually and helping with the bags!

Once again Kalyn was a trooper on the plane and did great through the airport. Fred's mom and step dad got in last night and picked us up from the airport. I thought we were going to miss Fred as he was being picked up for his afternoon appointment with a neuro-opthamologist doctor, but they were late picking him up and we got to spend about 15 minutes with him. It was great for Fred to see Kalyn, and his mom and step dad got to see him and chat with him for awhile. No matter what I say here, being able to see Fred really helps people believe that he is going to be fine, so I was happy his mom finally got that peace of mind.

When we walked in he was up and about walking around his room and getting packed to go to move to the East wing. The notice we had received the week prior was a mix up and he is just now getting moved over to the East wing, but he will be in a shared suite with another patient, and we do not have to move out of the apartment. I knew there was a reason I didn't have to get upset when we first got the move notice because it all works out, and the staff here is very good and understanding our individual situation and working with us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Tribute to Tom

Tom came into my life when I was about 4 years old. I tested him and fought him being a part of our lives as any headstrong 4 year old would with a new man in her mom's life. He has since proved himself to be such a strong father figure and friend in my life time and time again, and this recent experience has been the most meaningful.

The afternoon of the accident, standing in the ER, figuring out going to Denver with Fred and my mom taking Kalyn was decided fairly quickly, and Tom immediately offered to get on the last commercial flight out since there was no room on the medical flight. We have had so much support from so many family and friends since the accident, but the way Tom has put his regular life aside to be there for myself and Fred has been extrodinary.

The first week, and even now, I was in such a whirlwind of emotions and lack of sleep. Not only did I have someone there to drive me around, keep me fed and cry with, but Tom was always there to ask the important questions to the doctors and be Fred's advocate and encourage me to get away.

These past few days being home has been very restful and therapuetic for both myself and Kalyn. I was given some very good advice this week to not listen to my mind when it is freaking out and can't handle the situation, to find space within myself and lead with my heart. My mind is what wants to plan and figure things out, but my heart will always know what to do and go with grace. After I was told this, I realized how much Tom has been able to be there for Fred and myself with just his heart. The first week, we spent about 12 hours a day sitting at the hospital while nurses and doctors came and went and Fred mostly slept. If you had asked me a month ago if Tom could have sat in the hospital doing pretty close to nothing all day long, I would have told that would have driven him crazy. But this entire time he has been patient, loving and there to help myself and Fred in any way he can.

Having Tom be there and not leave me alone to deal with anything but also know when I needed space without me having to ask was an amazing gift. I have thought of Tom as a father to me for many years because he helped raise me and was there for me as a dad many times when my own dad was not. These past few weeks have made me realize how much your family is not just defined by who you are related to by blood, but the friends and community that step up and support you just like your family. I feel like our family has grown at an exponential rate in the last few weeks, and it makes me feel truly blessed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I (we) love Fred

It's been on my mind a lot lately about Fred coming home and getting back to all of the things he loves. He has already stated that he is going to want to get right back on his bike, and lamenting the fact that how did he get so hurt doing something not that extreme. I have to battle with my protective instincts and know that he will need to get back on his bike and be active because that is who he is, and it makes him the man I love.

I didn't know Fred when he was in an avalanche on Engineer Mountain in 1995, but I was in Durango and remember hearing about it. I know that he got back within a year and climbed that same mountain again. I think it was one of the things that really drew me to him in the beginning, knowing he could come back from something like that and not let fear run his life. Some of you know, but he proposed to me on Engineer Mountain, on Memorial Day, two days after he did the citizens ride with me for Iron Horse. He could have raced it, but he spent the day with me struggling up the passes, and two days later he made me climb to the top of Engineer to propose. I had no idea and didn't feel up for going to the top, but he talked me into it and surprised me up top!

I have no doubt that Fred will make a full recovery, no matter how long it takes. I also have such a strong feeling that no matter how hard this experience can be right now, day to day, we will come out of it stronger and see it as a blessing.

I know Fred will get back on his bike, play the guitar, climb mountains, be an active member of both Durango Fire and Rescue and Search and Rescue, work hard in his career, be a wonderful father and husband and do whatever new things he chooses to pick up in his life.

Fred is not one to sit around. We have gone on vacations where I am perfectly happy to sit on the beach in the sun, but he pushes me to do things like scuba diving, exploring and stay active. I had to laugh as he was just starting to wake up and be himself; things that would have annoyed me in the past, made me overjoyed to see my Fred still kicking.

No one is perfect, but when it comes down to the core, Fred has an amazing heart. He has given himself to so many things, and I have seen that come back as the number of people that want to help. Fred has taught me so many things over the years, but I have always admired his desire help others and his passions in life. I can't wait for the many more lessons I get to learn from him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Three Weeks

Three weeks ago right now I got an email from Fred at work with a quick by the way update letting me know what time he would be home from work. He did not mention in his email he was heading out on a bike ride. He doesn't remember even leaving work to go on his bike ride, but I'm assuming he sent that email and went and changed and got on his bike. Obviously everything changed about an hour later, but here we are three weeks later. It is a little strange being home today, trying to have a regular day and not think about that afternoon phone call I got from the ER.

I thought I would try and explain better where Fred is at today, three weeks later. He is walking, talking, reading, writing and carrying on normal conversations. He remembers everyone and can go through the exact steps of how to tend to a newborn as an EMT in an emergency situation (one therapist had him go over this). There are definitely points in the day where he seems completely normal and ready to bring him home, but there are also times that you know his brain still needs time to heal. It is especially hard on me that the part of his brain that was injured is the part that would understand he is still not 100% and he doesn't see when something is difficult for him. I'm glad I am getting a break because as his wife, he's trying to get me on his side to check him out of there, and there's only so many times a day I can have that conversation with him.

He struggles with short term memory loss at times, but for the most part these days he can recall what happened the day before. His response time slows down throughout the day if he is tired or the situation is getting more complicated. The therapists are working with him on things like reading and answering questions while there are conversations going on around him.

Since Fred doesn't think he is injured at all, he doesn't notice when his balance makes him drift off to the right while he is walking. He thinks he could run 3 miles if he had to right now and pass all the field sobriety tests a cop would give a suspected drunk driver (Tom had him try and walk a straight line, and he couldn't do it).

On a normal day, Fred has never been a highly emotive person. Unless he is mad or worked up, he normally talks quietly, but he seems quieter to me. The part of his brain that was injured can make a person seem flat, and even though he seems subdued, he gets excited to see Kalyn and does show some emotion.

I feel like I am betraying Fred by putting this kind of information up there, but I also realize I have left out these kind of details, so people are now confused as to what he can do. He'll probably be mad at me if he ever reads this whole blog someday...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Home for a few days

Kalyn and I came home for a few days today. It was a little hard to leave, but now that we are here, it feels right. I wasn't thinking when I booked an 8:15 flight by myself with a 2 year old, but we survived with the help of a lot of strangers. Kalyn had a rough night last night with the biggest meltdown so far as I was trying to focus on wrapping a few things up and she was exhausted from not really napping that afternoon. It wasn't the best night of sleep, but we all got some sleep and up at 5:30 to get ready to go to the airport. I was a sight to be seen going into the airport because I had a 2 year old in pjs and slippers, four carry on bags plus a car seat. I got one of the push carts, but apparently you can only take those up to security? When the security guy told me that, I said "ok" with probably a very bewildered look on my face because his next question was "do you need some help?" I should have used Fred's response for when someone asks me if I want some wine, "is the pope catholic?" Instead I was feeling emotional and just said yes and kept my tears at bay. We got through security without upsetting too many Monday morning business travelers and timed it perfectly to be waiting with a nice older lady that needed a ride in the cart, so we were able to hitch a ride on that and made it to our gate on time without me losing anything, including my temper!

Fred called to check in at lunch. He still sounds quiet and subdued, but said everything is going well. I told him to keep working hard so he can get home as soon as possible. He said it will be a long week without us up there, but I think we all need it.

It's great to be home and see what everyone has been taking care of for us. We definitely feel very loved!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Stubborn Family

Fred and I shouldn't be surprised that our daughter is so stubborn. Usually we try and blame it on the other, but she obviously got it from both of us. I think it can be a good trait, but sometimes someone else knows better than you, like your mom or your doctors. I finally won the stubborn battle with Kalyn and got her to take her nap. Fred's stubborn battle is that he thinks the doctors are wrong and he should be able to go home tomorrow.

I spent yesterday evening and this morning discussing with him how I want him to be home too, but he is not ready and it will be better if he spends more time here. He has the doctors and therapists fooled around here because he goes along with what they are asking him to do, and then he comes to me at the end of the day and tells me how ridiculous it is. He also can't see when he is having a hard time with something. He will tell you he had to do a stupid computer came with 1970s graphics, but he doesn't see that it was difficult for him as it got more complicated.

Kalyn and I got him this morning and had bagels together, and then we went to a school park that is in walking distance. I had to argue with Fred about his ability to play with Kalyn on the equipment, and I finally won because he takes her safety seriously and that wasn't a fair choice for me to have to make about who I can keep from falling. In the end, we were able to have a nice family outing with some sunshine and fresh air, and I got a good workout pushing Fred and Kalyn in the wheelchair.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rolling with it

It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do for your ability to cope with change. Last night we took Fred out to a great thai restaurant right across from the hospital, and we all enjoyed feeling slightly normal being out. I was able to get a really good night of sleep last night. I woke up feeling refreshed which was a good thing because we got served another curve ball this morning.

Fred will be moving to the east wing on Monday, which is a good thing for his recovery because it means he is less of a medical patient and just focusing on rehab and moving towards independence and going home. The down side is we have to move out of the apartment and move in with him, so we will be living in a hospital too. Even though it felt like unexpected news that I wasn't ready for, I felt much better at going with it and not getting upset. I do see that among the many lessons we will learn from this, being more flexible and being able to roll with whatever comes our way is going to be a big one!

Today we took Fred out for a haircut and then I left Kalyn for nap time and got a massage. I might have to sign up for those once a week for awhile! Some friends from Boulder came over for a visit this afternoon, and we had a great time catching up with them.

Fred is having a hard time contemplating being here until the end of June. He forgets a little but then will be reminded and wants to argue himself out of here. Not being able to go to my sister's wedding at the begining of June upsets him, and he's trying to convince me he should be able to go home sooner than what the doctors say. I agree with him that I want him to get through this quickly, but I also see that him coming home right now would not be a good thing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Break

This morning I woke up still feeling really raw emotionally, so I stayed at the apartment and got work done. It felt good to actually accomplish something, and then I took Kalyn to a nearby park because the sun was finally out. There were a couple of other girls close to her age there, and she had fun playing with some kids and being outside in the sun.

We came back to have lunch with Fred, and it sounded like he had a good morning of classes. Tom and I are now approved to let him take walks around the east and west wings or around the apartment. The next level of clearance for us will be driving in the car, but I think they need to train us on how to break down the wheelchair first.

One of the main things they talked about in the meeting yesterday is the area of his brain that had the injury is the part of the brain that would comprehend that he is hurt and not 100 percent yet. He already tried to push the limits last night of what he is allowed to do by himself. Everything here is very safety oriented, and they are only trying to avoid having him fall and hit his head again. Hopefully he will understand that he needs to play by the rules so they don't have to put restrictions on him.

He is almost done with his last class for the day, and then the weekend is all free time. There is a barbershop in walking distance that we were thinking we could take him to, and we heard there is a great thai restaurant in walking distance as well, so maybe we'll all go out to eat!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So many emotions for one day

Fred was so bright eyed and up beat today. He knew and understood about the meeting today. Tom told me he even put in an extra shave in before his last class before the meeting, and he said something to me about being able to impress them and get out of here sooner rather than later.

I had been holding in my mind Fred getting discharged in the beginning of June, so hearing June 25th as a tentative date really took the wind out of my sails. I broke down in the meeting as soon as the doctor said that date. Even though I know no one is leaving me alone, my husband, my partner, the father of our child, is not going to be there for me. No matter how much help I get from all of you, I will always want him back to whatever "normal" was before even if that was a place where I would get annoyed from not getting as much help from Fred on the parenting front as I would have liked.

I had to go through some anger at Fred today for putting me through this. Even as I felt anger, I know that it is also hard on him to think about being here for so long and what we are all going through. I can't help but relate to the emotional turmoil that I'm sure my dad went through just over 3 years ago, and I have such a huge fear related to that of Fred getting depressed and ashamed of what he is going through.

The doctors were very encouraging for me to go home and get some normalcy in my life and Kalyn's. I feel like that has been one of the scariest things for me to face because it is supposed to be "normal" but it won't be while he is up here or even after he comes home. It is like I am on some weird vacation that isn't really fun, but it's far enough removed that I can also look forward to getting back home to a regular life.

This blog has been such a good way for me to vent and release my frustrations, knowing that so many people that care about us are listening. I'm not very good at completely letting go emotionally to anyone, so this allows me to let go on my own, but share with all of you what I'm going through. Fred's brain injury makes him shut down once he gets fatigued or has too much stimulus. There are times where I envy that ability to stop taking things in and tune out right now.

Tonight we had a nice dinner, and there was a little music session on the therapeutic rec room. I was just a group of about 6 people playing guitars and singing, and it brought me back to my days at Santa Barbara Middle School and singing songs around the campfire. It was beautiful, but it also broke my heart to have Fred sitting just outside the circle and not playing a guitar himself. Someone asked him if he played guitar and he mostly shrugged off the comment, but I know in time he will be back to playing. Here's to a good guitar solo from Fred coming soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Family Meeting

We had the family meeting today with all of Fred's doctors and therapists. It went well in that they all had positive things to say about him and the progress he has made. The hardest part for me was when they brought up the tentative discharge date of June 25. I realized I had been holding onto a quick recovery and discharge. I know in the long run it is the best thing for him to maximize his time here and get the most out of it he can, but it is just one more adjustment for me in a long line of emotional adjustments I have gone through since the accident.

The doctors recommend stepping away and giving Fred more independence and space to start doing things himself while he is here. It will be hard to find the balance of being here with him and being home, but at the moment, I have no energy to figure anything out.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two Weeks Later

It has been two weeks since the accident, and I am feeling the strain and emotional exhaustion while Fred is starting to wake up and be more alert and in less pain. His therapy is going well. He was up and walking the halls for about 15 minutes with a normal stride and looking good. His testing for speech therapy was finished today, and he is doing well. They want to work on his concentration and speed of processing information, but it all seemed like things that can be worked on and improved with time. I have not noticed anything so far that seems like it would be impossible to overcome with time and hard work. The neuropsychologist is looking into Fred being able to sit in on some of the EMT courses at Swedish when he is processing information a little faster. This morning Fred was not as interested in following the safety rules of having someone help him. I can see we are about to enter a new stage of therapy where he might disagree with being here. It is also a good sign that he is starting to heal but doesn't mean he is ready to go home.

Yesterday afternoon was tough. We were all tired, and Kalyn did not take a nap, so the evening only got worse. I was feeling overwhelmed as my to do list kept getting longer and no break from a very needy Kalyn. We went to the grocery store in the afternoon to break it up a little, but by the evening I was spent and just wanted my husband back to normal. Not that I don't have nights like that at home between trainings and meetings and busy schedules, but the two week accumulation was taking its toll on me. I was still feeling that way when I woke up this morning, but seeing Fred doing so well this morning helped lift my spirits. I still believe the universe will not give you more than you can handle, but I do feel like I've come very close to the line of what I can handle many times in the past two weeks. We will still have evenings that are off, and I'll make it through as long as there are positive times between the tough times.

It rained here yesterday afternoon and evening with a dusting of snow overnight. Kalyn is tired today and went right down for her nap, and I was able to get a few things crossed off my list.

Tomorrow is the family conference with all of Fred's doctors and therapists. We will set a goal discharge date for him at that meeting, and I'm assuming we will get a lot of information about where he is at and where we heading. Kalyn and I are coming home for a few days next week which will be very nice, but I am expecting it to be a little difficult to be away.

Selective Memory

Fred is either having very selective memory loss about how long we are going to be here, or he is just choosing to ignore the truth. He keeps thinking he'll be back home by the weekend and be ready to go back to work. He is making progress, and his balance is improving. His sarcasm is still doing very well.

This morning Kalyn crawled into Fred's bed and helped him eat his breakfast. She is her father's daughter and loves bacon. There is a little grill kitchen on Fred's floor of the hospital that cooks up one specific thing for each meal, and it is at least a step or two above hospital food. The bacon comes in nice thick slabs, and Kalyn and Fred are enjoying that. Kalyn loves to help push her Daddy and push the buttons on the elevator.

Fred had his EEG today. He said he got in trouble for rubbing his head during the hour long test. His direct quote had a lot more sarcasm in it which I can't exactly recall. Fred can joke around so much that sometimes it is hard to tell if he is being serious or just sarcastic. Most times I blame it on sarcasm. He does get confused at times, especially when he first wakes up he says some random things, but that usually just makes me laugh even though they aren't funny things. My emotional reaction is to laugh first and cry later.

Fred is missing his guitar and ready to play. Once his shoulder heals a little more, playing will be a nice way for him to not get bored and do something he enjoys. He has on his Fender shirt today and the equipment guy in the PT room saw him and said "I knew you played guitar!"

I am feeling a litte scattered today, but that may be related to getting up at 5:30 this morning. I was able to sneak away from Kalyn while she was still asleep and get some exercise and be back before she woke up. Her mama-radar is on high alert right now, so last night when I disappeared for a few minutes to get the laundry out of the dryer she had a full on meltdown. My mom and brother went back home today which was emotional for me, but also good that they can get back to somewhat of a normal life (whatever that means now!) for a few weeks.

Monday, May 10, 2010

So Thankful

I'm crying as I write again today, but not tears of frustration, just thankful tears for all of your love and support. Fred is an amazing man, and always gives so much of himself, and it is so beautiful to see that all coming back to help him. He sees it, knows it, and completely appreciates it. As our daughter puts it so well in her two year old mindset of "I can do it by myself." I can't ever wonder where she gets that from because both Fred and I do everything we can to not ask for help. It has been amazing these past two weeks because we haven't ever had to ask for help, whatever we need is there for us, and I can't wait to give each of you big hugs and bring Fred home to see all of you.

Fred got to take a bath last night, and soaking in the hot water really helped loosen up his tight muscles and joints as well as relax, so he had a good night of sleep last night. He needed the rest because today has been a busy day. He was booked from 9-12 with his therapies, and all the therapists could see a difference in his alertness and how well he does when he is awake and not focusing on pain. Fred passed his post traumatic amnesia test this morning which was a test he had to correctly answer a certain percentage of a series of the same questions 3 days in a row. He doesn't remember the accident at all or even going out to go on a ride, but I think that might be a good thing.

Kalyn is still having separation anxiety from me, but she does fine once she gets away and starts doing fun. I went with Fred to a few of his morning classes, and we are both impressed by the staff and what the facility has to offer. Today we toured the Therapeutic Recreational Room which has everything from games, movies, art or gardening supplies to a pool table or foosball. During his lunch break I brought him to the apartment and a few of our friends that he works with were there to visit. He was happy to see them and already talking about stopping by the Denver office to say hello.

Fred had an hour class after lunch and then an appointment with an ear doctor at another hospital this afternoon. I let go a little bit and decided I didn't need to be there for that appointment as they would transport him, have someone with him at all times, and it didn't have anything to do with his brain injury rehab. The appointment was to get the stitches out of his right ear, clean the blood out of his left ear that drained out from the contusion and also check out his eardrums. I know the doctors will get a full report here and let me know anything crucial.

Instead of going to the appointment, I put Kalyn down for her nap which is my favorite quiet time of day. I even got a few minutes of work done! I thought having a part time job and being a mom was a lot. Now I feel like I have 3 full time jobs!

Tom gets back this evening, and it will be interesting to see the changes he sees in Fred after a few days away. A week ago right now we were getting checked in at Craig, and he has made so much progress in one week! Getting past the physical pain is going to be a huge step in Fred being able to make big strides with his therapies.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tough Love

Today Fred and I both woke up with a big of the case of the grumpies. He's tired of being sore, tight, in pain and in the hospital. I tend to set myself up for disappointment on holidays that are supposed to be, in my mind, "all about me" i.e. my birthday and mother's day. Even though I know these are really extenuating circumstances, it doesn't stop me from waking up this morning and just thinking "this sucks." Then a good dose of guilt comes up for even thinking that because you see a lot of less fortunate people around here, but I guess I just have needed to throw myself a pity party for most of the day. For as lucky as we are, it doesn't take away from the fact that this really does suck at times. It's hard for me to share that with all of you. I have gotten so many comments about how strong I have been, and I am able to hold on to that for about 80% of the time, but this is never something anyone asks for or wishes to go through. I apologize for the downer post, but I think I need to vent these emotions a little too.

My mom is up here this weekend, so it is good to spend Mother's Day with her, but of course I feel guilty for not doing anything for her or all the moms in my life. She's here supporting me, and I'm an emotional basket case. We went over to a friend's house this morning for brunch which was wonderful, and Kalyn was able to play on the swing set with the girls and have a good time without me. I had a hard time relaxing because even though I know I needed to get away, it was so hard for me to leave Fred on a weekend "holiday" even though the holiday is technically for me. As soon as we left the hospital I started feeling anxious to get back.

We got back and I felt pulled in 3 directions: Kalyn needing a nap, needing to get Fred out and about and needing to have some time for myself. It ended up working out because my mom was able to get Kalyn to sleep, and Fred was still napping, so I went outside and vented to my sister. I was able to get Fred out of bed after that and get him a little time in the sunshine. He was uncomfortable and sore, but I made a deal with him that if he walked his way around in his wheelchair or stretched out his hips for a half hour, I would let him get back into bed and take a nap. I really feel like I have to give him tough love at those times and even though all he wants to do is crawl back into bed, not take him there and make him move around for awhile because the soreness and tightness is not going to get any better with napping all day neither is it going to make his nights any easier. He could see that at the end and said it was helpful.

I feel much better after venting. The days are filled with such a roller coaster of emotions. When I don't just go with whatever I'm feeling and let it out it just gets worse. I appreciate everyone listening!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reading with Kalyn

Here are some pictures from our afternoon outside with Kalyn. They have beautiful gardens that are full of blooming tulips right now.

There's nothing like a riveting princess story to capture all of our attentions!


There are no classes during the weekends, and Fred is free to do whatever he feels like within limits of course. It is nice to have the flexibility to take him outside by myself.

Fred was too wiped out in the afternoon to have any of his classes, so he took a long nap, and my friend from Durango brought me more of my things and took me to run a few errands.

Kalyn got her yesterday evening, and she has hardly let me get outside of a ten foot radius from her. She does not trust that I won't go away for an extended period again. Yesterday I was so excited after I saw her, and I went to go get Fred, I had to really focus on not rushing him and being cautious. I can't wait to see what healing powers it has on Fred being able to see her. We had a nice dinner at the apartment and then took Fred back to rest.

This morning Fred was in a lot of pain with the tightness in his hips and wasn't in a very good mood, and I felt a little grumpy myself. It is amazing how quickly I can go from really extreme highs to lows emotionally. What he really needed was a couple of good naps. My brother and his wife sent over 2 dozen bagels, cream cheese and lox for Fred and all of us to enjoy with extras for the staff. It was a nice treat for us to share and made Fred happy.

While Fred was napping we took Kalyn to a nearby park and let her run around outside. I even went on the swings myself. I had forgotten how swinging up really high is quite a mood alterer! We came back to the hospital and brought Fred outside for a little sunshine, and he read Kalyn a story while she sat in his lap. He gets worn out quickly, but hopefully this weekend we can get him some nice rest broken up with some family times together.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Something to Look Forward To

Kalyn is on her way to us as I type! My mom and brother are driving up with her today, and both Fred and I are anxious to see her. This is the longest we have ever been away from her. Fred has been saying it will be the highlight of his week. Seeing her is really going to motivate a speedy recovery for him. It will be interesting to see how much commotion she causes at the hospital because she will want to get into everything as a typical almost 3 year old would.

The afternoon yesterday was much better, and Fred really perked up. I took the afternoon off and went for a run outside by myself and then Tom and I went to Whole Foods to stock up the apartment. For the birthday dinner we had a whole selection of foods for him and had a modified picnic in his room. Our friend Michael came by and spent some time with Fred. He was in a good mood and not grumpy about spending his birthday in the hospital. The above picture is from yesterday.

Fred got worn out after about an hour, so we let him rest, and I came back by at the end of the night. Last night he got a decent night of sleep and was not as restless. Today has been another good day as Tom and I are getting trained and cleared to take Fred around and outside on our own. Hopefully we will have the doctor's orders for that by the end of the day because they do not have classes all weekend. It will be great to get him out during the day this weekend with Kalyn here and have some free time.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Happy Birthday To Fred!

You certainly get a lot of attention for your birthday if you have a traumatic brain injury a little over a week before your birthday. His room is full of balloons, flowers and goodies.

Last night we went to an old family friend's house with three little girls. It was great to see them and have some nice family time. She made an incredible dinner and we sat and talked for hours. I have always looked up to her as a big sister, and it was very special to have her welcome us into her home.

This morning I woke up grumpy and emotional. I usually have a hard time emotionally on my birthday, and it breaks my heart having Fred be in the hospital on his birthday because I don't know what I can do to make it special and fun for him. I went over and saw him first thing in the morning to see what sounded good for a birthday breakfast. Of course, he asks for a bagel with lox, which was a bit beyond my abilities today, so he settled for a regular bagel with cream cheese from the coffee cart.

He was a little confused when he woke up this morning and ranting a little about something which I did not grasp, but once he woke up some more he was talking about normal things. We have started to see more of the things that are harder for him to do today which I needed to see to start understanding it myself, but I don't like writing about the things that are hard for him and it feels better for me to focus on the progress he is making.

He sat up and ate a good lunch and stayed up talking to us for his whole lunch break until his next class. I'm getting laundry duties done now and taking a little break this afternoon, but we are going to pick up a nice dessert from whole foods for tonight.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Last night I went back to Fred's room around 9 to hang out with him for a little bit before I went to bed. I have felt much better leaving knowing I am steps away and can come and go as I please. I slept much better last night. I woke up a couple of times and thought I was in a bed next to Fred's, so my unconscious is very aware of being closer to him. Fred didn't sleep that well last night, but he was able to get a little bit of rest.

There is a gym in the basement of the hospital, so I was able to stop in first thing this morning and say hi to him as he woke up and then get a workout in. Tom brought me coffee and breakfast for Fred. He is starting to at least eat something 3 times a day.

It is amazing how busy they keep Fred during the day. Today we have already had 5 "classes" as they call them here, occupational therapy, physical therapy, met with the neuropsychologist, speech therapy, and another round of PT. Right now they are in half hour blocks, and they are just evaluating and testing him mostly. He's still really sleepy, so sometimes it's hard to tell what is more difficult for him, staying awake or what they are asking him to do.

When we met with his neuropsychologist, he said Fred was "exciting" because of the rating he got in the field was a 7, and how well he is doing just over 1 week since the accident. He showed Fred his MRI and CT scans, and Fred talked with him a little. He has really shown a special interest in Fred. The staff already love Fred because he is so appreciative of everything they do for him. I've never seen him so humble and accepting of help before and incredibly gratious.

Fred is very impressed with the great team they have here, but he is also tired of the schedule. I am hoping to get him outside a little this afternoon since he hasn't been outdoors for over a week, and that's just not normal for him! A little sunshine would do him a lot of good.

My moments of panic creep up when I think about what our future holds or will look like, but I know we will make it work no matter what. I'm just the type of person who likes to have a plan in place, so my old plan is so far out the window that I just have to let it go, know that everything happens for a reason, and something positive always seems to come out of even the hardest of situations. Sometimes when we're in the physical therapy gym I look up and watch the other patients around us and feel so thankful that Fred was not more seriously injured. I doubt our life will ever look 100% like it did before the accident even if that only means we wake up each day so thankful for everything we have, and that includes all of you! It's hard for both Fred and myself to ask for help, and he is very apprciative of everything everyone is doing. I haven't even told him the half of it because if I do, he's going to start trying to way to make it up to all of you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rehab Begins

Fred's day was very busy getting shuttled back and forth for different tests and also beginning the rehab. They really wore him out today, so hopefully he can get some rest, eat some dinner and get a good's night sleep.

His whole body is sore and tight and it's hard for me to see the repercussions of the brain injury right now. Mostly I just see him with the broken bones and really sleepy. He doesn't keep his eyes open for long and rarely opens them all of the way, but each day is improving in that sense. I definitely have moments of thinking he will just be able to pass all of their tests and move on out.

He told me today that he is tired of "this." Healing takes so much energy. I can't imagine what he is going through. I think about when I have had just one thing be painful for me and how draining it is, and his body is trying to heal on so many different fronts.

Right now we are trying to keep him positive and help him understand he is doing a great job. I keep hearing from the staff that often they don't see someone until a month or so after their accident, so we have come a long way in a week. This time last week I didn't even know that he had been in an accident.

I asked him what sounded good for dinner, and he said pasta with a meat sauce sounded good. I have been waiting for him to ask for some pasta!

Settling In

It has been one week since the accident, and sometimes it feels like hours and other times it feels like is has been years to me. Fred had some good times yesterday being up and alert. His constant joking around keeps me positive. Yesterday when they were getting ready to take him over to Craig I said his chariot awaits in reference to his wheelchair, and he makes a motion with his hand. We were all thinking he was having a hard time with depth perception, but he was pretending to polish his chair as a joke!

Once we got over to Craig someone was talking to him and was asking him how old he was, and he said 40, and I corrected him and said he was 41, and it turns out I was wrong! There are definitely times when his brain is functioning better than mine!

We were talking about being at Craig, and he asked how long he was going to be here, and I said probably about a month. He wasn't too pleased to hear that and responded, "I guess I'm not doing the Iron Horse." I kept my response to myself after that.

Fred's appreciation for what everyone is doing for him and for us grows everyday. Yesterday he was urging Tom and I to go out and do some fun city stuff while we are here. He said, "Tom has really been amazing, you guys should go out to dinner on me." I told him I had his wallet, so maybe I would take him up on that!

Yesterday our friend Lisa brought over a whole bag of goodies to welcome us to our new apartment and help us settle in. The extra effort that everyone is putting in for us brings me to tears, and I am at a loss for words as to how to thank everyone for their help.

Last night was not a good night of sleep for Fred or myself. I feel like I get a good night about every other night right now. I've started keeping a notepad and a pen by my bed, so I can write something down and hope my brain will let it go until morning.

It feels really good to be settled in the apartment a block away from Fred and be able to come and go from the hospital. Today has been filled with more tests as the doctors want a complete evaluation of Fred now that he is their patient. This morning he met with the speech therapist, and he was falling asleep, but she asked him what his name was, and he gave her this look that said, "why are you asking me such a stupid question?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Settling in at Craig

We are getting settled in at Craig. It is very different than the acute care at the hospital, all in a good way. It is quiet and does not feel like a hospital. I almost feel like we're getting settled at some sort of a school! The doctors and nurses all wear street clothes and know their patients very well. The attention to the patients and families is overwhelming, and it is all focused on brain injury.

They are very "safety first" here, which helps me relax and know I can leave and not worry about him. While we were at Swedish, I felt like me being there was important to help keep on top of his pain meds and know he was getting everything he needs. Now he is in a room with an attendant watching him at all times, so he can't get out of bed by himself and risk a fall.

I'm sure tomorrow will be a flurry of things going on, but it feels good to be getting to a place where we can settle in a little bit.


Fred had a much better night last night. I talked to the nurse around 10, and he had perked up a little and was opening his eyes more and talking to them about the paramedic program here. She said it was the first time she had really seen his personality. After a little time of being up, he decided to go to bed and actually had a more restful night. I got a huge adrenaline rush after talking on the phone with her and hearing how well he was doing. It was nice to go to bed smiling versus worrying!

I was able to do get a good night of sleep myself and woke up around 6 this morning arguing with myself as to whether I should get up and get a workout in or get up and head straight to the hospital. I'd say the smarter part of myself one the argument because I decided to get the workout in and just call and check in with the nurse. She told me he had been able to rest better that night, so I got a good workout in guilt free!

He was asleep when we came into the hospital and when he woke up his head was really bothering him. He seems more aware of the length of time that he has been in constant pain. He was telling me he wants to feel better and go home and hang out with Kalyn. He told me the hospital seems good and asked how things were going at home. He also told me a good story of the previous night after we had left the hospital. It was nice to have more of a normal conversation with him as I have really noticed how much I miss being able to chat with him and normal conversation every day. It makes me realize how important he is in my life and in my day to day thoughts.

This morning his headache was bad and he was complaining about the pressure in his eyes and ears. The doctor said this is normal and gave him a steroid, hoping that would help relieve the pressure. It did seem to help a little as now he is resting better.

They were ready to transfer him to Craig today, so I spent the morning waiting for the insurance to come back with the approval. The wait was stressful for me because of how important this rehab will be. The approval finally came in around 11:30, and we should be transferred in the afternoon. There is an aparment opening for us too, so we will be within walking distance of him at all times.

I spent the morning doing crosswords. I am horrible at crossword puzzles, but my sister sent and EASY crossword book and it has all the answers in the back, so maybe I can learn how to be better at them and try and keep my brain active since I can't finish a sentence or thought lately!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Fred had a rough night last night because he was in a lot of pain, mostly headaches. He was not able to rest much and seems to have his days and nights confused so he wants to sleep all day but is having a hard time getting a long stretch of rest in during the day because someone is constantly coming in to mess with him.

I really liked his nurse yesterday, Shannon, and she is his nurse again today. She is very good about consulting me on Fred's care and a very attentive nurse. We have a few things in common as she has a two year old boy, so it has been fun talking with her. Tom has been sure to buy the nurses chocolate and cookies to thank them for all of their hard work. Thank goodness for Whole Foods! We've been well fed without having to deal with restaurants all week.

I woke up at 5 this morning and was not able to sleep anymore, so I went to the hotel gym and got a workout in. It felt really good to breathe deeply and move and work some stress and emotions out in a way other than crying!

My sister sent me a care package yesterday that was full of the perfect combination of distractions and goodies. It has truly been amazing the amount of love and support I feel. I would not be functioning at all if I did not have my step dad here with me to keep me fed, drive me back and forth to the hospital, sit with Fred and give me breaks and have someone here to talk to and cry with. I can't imagine going through this by myself, but I also know I would never have to because of all of the family and friends ready to do anything they can.

This whole process has really been a helpful lesson in staying in the present and just being wiht whatever emotion comes up. Right now the future is so uncertain and scary for me to think about that I am able to keep myself in the present.

Fred's short term memory seems to be improving. He does not remember the accident, but he remembers that we have told him he was riding his bicycle down hesperus hill and hit a rock.

Fred's birthday is on Thursday, and I had already given him his present of new bike pedals which he was using when he crashed! We were just talking about his birthday and he said he hoped he wasn't still here for his birthday. I had to tell him that he wouldn't be in this hospital but next door in a rehab hospital, but I told him it should be nicer.

Fred's sense of humor is still very much intact after the head injury and even being in this much pain. He had us laughing today, but we haven't really gotten him to laugh but I'll settle for the smiles for now until his ribs are healed!


Friday night was up a few times and needed more morphine for pain in the middle of the night, and he was asleep when we came in. The physical therapist came in and had him walk up and down the hall. He is wobbly, but he did it on his own. The next visit was from the speech therapist and mostly worked with where he was at chewing and swallowing. He was really worn out after walking, so it didn't go that well and they wanted to keep him on a pureed diet at least until he was more alert to make sure all the food gets chewed and swallowed correctly. It has been hard to get him to eat anything, so sticking with driking things might be better to get some caolires and protein in him.

After taking a nap, he wanted another shower, but he also asks for that most times he wakes up. They told us that brain injury patients seem to find one thing to focus on, and taking a shower has been Fred's. I asked him if he wanted to talk to Kalyn, and we called her and had a little conversation with her. His speech is quiet and a little slurred at times, but he can carry on a conversation.

The occupational therapist came in right as Tom was getting ready to help him shave, and she wanted to see how much of it Fred could do himself. He did a pretty good job considering he had a 4 day old beard and he's a hairy guy to begin with! We're making a bigger effort to stay on top of his pain management, and it seemed to help. The doctors don't want to give him any more morphine because they want him to be more alert so they can start getting a better assessment of how his brain is doing.

I was sitting in his room typing while he was having his shower and the trauma doctor and the charge nurse come into the room and sit down with me with very concerned looks on their faces and say Fred had an accident in the shower. I must have had an awful look on my face because they immediately said he's alright (which would have been nice to hear first). The tech that was with him in the shower had turned around to get the nurse and told him to stay put, but he moved to the chair and slipped and fell down on his butt and his head hit the chair, so they sent him in for another CT scan to make sure there was no new injury to the brain.

The scan came back fine, and there was no new injury, and his original injury is healing. After that experience, he has been tagged as a fall risk and the nurses are taking extra precaution with him.

Fred had two visitors in the afternoon and talked a little with them and even asked good follow up questions when he was talking with them.

I ordered him some cream of potato soup and an ensure for dinner and he said the soup tasted nasty and the ensure is like old lady formula. So his taste buds are still intact!


Fred was in and out of bed a lot on Thursday night and kept the nurses very busy, so he was sleeping soundly by the time we got in on Friday morning. I was thinking Friday was going to be a long day sitting around in his room with not much happening, but there were plenty of doctors and therapists coming and going and working with Fred.

We were told that he should be transferred to Craig on Monday to begin his rehad, and a couple of the doctors and the head nurse all came over and met with us and we got a very good feeling from them and are really looking forward to him being there. The rehab process at Craig will probably be about 4-6 weeks long, but they have apartments right next to the hospital that I can stay in.

Fred had a phone conversation with a friend back in Durango and he and I talked about Kalyn. He misses her and was talking about her in the same tone of voice that he uses when he talks to her. He has started to say thank you and be more aware of when you do something nice for him. He is also aware that as he puts it "this sucks."

By Friday afternoon, he had done a lot and a bad headache came on. He hadn't had any pain medication all day, and all the activity really wore him out. He was really struggling with the headache, and the pain medication they gave him wasn't helping, so they ended up giving him morphine and he finally relaxed and fell asleep. Watching him be in pain and not be able to do anything about it was so hard for me. I was so relieved to see him relax. He was still sleeping peacefully by the time we left him that night.

Fred's good comment for the day: "Mental note to self, don't to this again"


Wednesday night we had gone to stay with Tom's brother and had a yummy home cooked meal and cocktails. I was so tired from not sleeping much the night before and the emotional exhaustion, so it was very nice to zone out and listen to family talk as a distraction from what was going on in my life. I was able to get a little more sleep that night, but was wide awake by 4 a.m.

We had a little longer commute into the hospital that morning, so we got on the road around 7, and of course it was snowing!

We got to the hospital and the whole morning was busy with activity. Fred's neck brace was really bothering him, and they finally cleared him to have that removed and that helped with his agitation and discomfort related to that. The next thing he was focused on was having a shower.

He got into a chair and ate a couple bites of applesauce and then he got to have a shower (in a chair). His brain injury is affecting his short term memory, so about an hour after his shower he didn't think he had one.

He was doing well enough on Thursday to be moved to the Multiple Trauma Unit (step down ICU). The move was hard on me after all of the attention and nurse/patient ratio of the ICU, to be sent to a room that is down the hall from the nurses station in the afternoon and then think about leaving the hospital for the night myself gave me a lot of anxiety. The night nurse put him in a floor bed since he was being impulsive and trying to get out of bed and the risk of falling and hurting his head again.

Fred's friend came by on Thursday afternoon and Fred really seemed to make a connection with him and talked with him and even joked around a little which was very refreshing to see!

Between exhaustion and needing a break, I managed to make myself leave the hospital and eat some dinner which included my medication - wine!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


After not much sleep on Tuesday night, I got out of bed around 6 and called the hospital to see how Fred had done the night before. He had done some voluntary movement and was being taken into his second CT scan.

We got to the hospital and the team of doctors made their rounds in the morning. The comparative scans were good and the brain swelling had not increased and he still did not need surgery.

They started to reduce his sedation and he slowly started moving his limbs and opening his eyes. Later that day they removed his breathing tube and sutured up his right ear which was really scraped up in the fall.

The day was a blur of different doctors and case workers, but he was making good progress and would talk some. He had not recognized me at all and thought this was his avalanche accident from 1995.

There were no visiting hours from 2:30-4:30, so we went out to get me a change of clothes and some food. By the time we came back at 4:30 and walk into his room, he was sitting up in bed with his legs over the side like he was about to stand up. I called to the nurses and they came over and got him back into bed. After that, he had his bed alarm turned on to alert the nurses if he tried to get out of bed and they moved his bed to a room where they could see him from the station in the middle of the night.

Trying to get out of bed, yelling at the nurse to stop touching him and get away from him were all good signs that Fred's stubborn nature was still very much intact!

Accident and First Night

Fred was in a bicycle accident on Tuesday afternoon riding down Hesperus hill. He was alone and wearing a helmet. We think a rock caused the crash. There was a car behind him that saw the whole thing and called in the accident.

The accident happened a little before 4 in the afternoon, and I got a call from the emergency room a little before 5. What an awful call to receive. I was told that when they got to him he was unconscious and not doing a very good job of breathing on his own, but they intubated him in the field quickly. Between the time of being told he was unconscious and that they were taking him in for a CT scan to look for brain activity I went into shock. I called my mom and she planned to meet me at the emergency room and I would go pick up Kalyn. Having Kalyn in the car on the drive helped me maintain some sense of calm and carry on a conversation with her.

When we got to the hospital my mom and Peter and Tom were already there and the doctor came to talk to us. Honestly, I don't remember much of what they said other than the fact that they wanted to send him to Denver. He had a broken scapula, clavicle, a deap puncture wound on his elbow, road rash and bruising over his entire body, and most serious of all, a head injury.

I was able to fly with him on the plane as copilot and there were two nurses in the back with him. They said his vitals were good and stable during the flight. I was still feeling pretty numb but able to hold a positive outlook on what was going to happen and I could also feel a lot of love and support holding me up as word was spreading.

An ambulance picked us up from the airport and took us to the emergency room at Swedish. At the ER there was a whole team of doctors and nurses waiting for him and began to examine him. That part was hard to watch and I nearly passed out. The doctors talked to me and again, a lot of it went over my head, but I did gather the fact that the swelling from the brain injury was not bad enough to require surgery at the time.

He was put into the Critical Care Unit (ICU) and the nurse was able to get him to move his arms and legs. Family and friends started to arrive shortly thereafter and helped keep me company. My step dad had flown in that night and we got a hotel about 3 miles away from the hospital around midnight and were able to get about 2 hours of sleep that night.