Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And How are You Doing?

Fred had an appointment with a primary care doctor today since we never had one here. It is a doctor that has seen other Craig patients, and we loved him. He had a great bedside manner and seemed to get Fred right from the start. It seemed like the visit was mostly to catch him up to speed and setup the relationship so if there are any questions as we go forward, we know who to contact. At one point he looked at me directly and asked how I was doing because he felt like doctors forget about the spouses that have witnessed the whole process. Putting a spotlight on me like that almost made me cry, but he just wanted to make sure I had whatever support system I needed. I feel like I have the support system, but I do feel the speed of life increasing and just trying to continue to find the time to let myself process everything as it comes up. The good news is I am sleeping well and not having any nightmares!

I will be Fred's chauffeur for about another 2 weeks, and right now it has made us spend a lot of time together. I've never been to the grocery store with Fred this many times in a two week stretch! One hard adjustment to being home is having him be home when I am used to having the house to myself to get work done. I have come to really cherish my quiet alone time in my own home, so it is taking a little time to get used to that, but I do feel fortunate that this is the only thing I feel like I am giving up right now, especially because it isn't for the long term!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Good Visits

Fred got a nice surprise from his best friend from growing up. He is out here with his family on vacation, and I knew about it, but Fred did not know they were making a stop in Durango. He called this morning on his way over from Moab, and Fred was pleasantly surprised. We had a nice visit with them this afternoon, and this evening we had a family outing to the fire department. They had their quarterly meeting tonight, and Kalyn and I were invited to join them too. We had dinner with them and stayed for the whole meeting because Kalyn wanted to see the fire engines. Fred gave a nice speech thanking everyone for all the help and support. It was great to see how happy everyone was to see Fred and how well he is doing.

I'm wiped out, so that's all for now. Thanks for the notes about still listening!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Getting Back to Life

I don't know if anyone is still listening, but I'm still talking! It has really helped me process everything by writing on this blog, so I'll continue to keep writing. We are probably done with a lot of the major hurdles, but life being what it is, there will be more challenges and uphills in our future.

We had a fairly normal Monday other than the fact that Fred didn't go to work. The doctors really want him to slowly start getting back into all the different elements of his life before he adds work and work stress. It makes sense to me because when you have a full time job, you spend more waking hours doing that than anything else, and Fred has been away from so many aspects of his life for two months. There is a lot of catching up and getting settled back in for his brain to do.

Tonight Fred is going to the Search and Rescue meeting to say hello to everyone and reacquaint himself with that group. I find it slightly humorous that the training they are doing tonight is related to the life flight company which took him to Denver.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two Months

In the past Fred has referred to the avalanche accident anniversary as a second birthday. I don't know if this accident will become a third birthday, but here we are, two months out, we are home, and it feels like a good time to look back and process everything we went through. I gave Fred permission to read the blog today. It will take him awhile to read the whole thing through to the present, but I think it will be good for him to read about the first couple of weeks of which he doesn't have many memories. Now that I'm relaxing into this stage, a lot of emotions are fighting to come up for me. Part of it feels like I am processing all of the scary moments I had to embrace over the last two months, and part of it is feeling so fortunate. A lot happened in the last two months, and there could have been so many worse outcomes. We all survived this, Fred had the physical trauma, and I had the emotional trauma. The insurance company covers his rehab, and they don't take my rehab into account.

For the past two months my life has felt anything but normal. I spent a lot of time just trying to get through each moment, and now I am having a hard time with the transition to us getting back to a normal life. I'm not fighting it or upset that we are here, but I am a little lost. I understand that no one wants or expects us to stay in the place we have been in, but right now it also feels strange to move on with life. I don't feel like I am making a lot of sense right now, probably because I am having a hard time putting into words where I am at. This whole process has been such an unknown as to what the future holds, but the truth is, none of us know what we are waking up to each day of our lives. What an amazing lesson this has been about being in the present moment. My present moment has my daughter wanting to cuddle for one more minute, so goodnight everyone. Thank you for listening!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


We're home! It was a nice drive today with no major drama. We were all in good spirits, and Kalyn could feel the excitement as we pulled into Durango. From her perspective of having Fred be gone for two months, she is acting like he needs to be reacquainted with the whole house and all of her toys. Lucky for her, he is happy to play along. Our biggest drama for the day was Kalyn peed on our bed during her nap and the dog peed outside when he saw Fred. After the last two months, I'll take those as the big dramas for the day!

It feels so good to be back in our happy home. We are together, healthy, happy and where we belong. You can't ask for much else in life!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Getting Closer

Last night when I was falling asleep, I felt like it was Christmas in June because we were on our way towards home the next day. It was almost hard to fall asleep! I did doze off for awhile, but an hour later, things started to fall apart. Fred was either hit with a stomach bug or food poisoning. We're not really sure because we ate the same things from lunch on and my stomach was only mildly upset. Kalyn at the same dinner as us and seems fine. Fred is being put through the wringer. I didn't get much sleep, and Fred didn't really get any at all. We had to move out of the apartment by 10 this morning, so I pulled myself together and went to pull the car around to start loading it up. I unlocked the car and found the front passenger side window smashed in and the glove box open and sorted through. Luckily, there wasn't anything in the car worth taking, so all we had to deal with was a smashed window. I was able to find a glass store in the city that had the part and could fix it that day. We got all packed up, Fred went to his classes for about 10 minutes, but they sent him away when they heard how bad he was feeling. We spent about 2 hours at the glass repair shop, but were able to drive away with the car completely intact.

We had originally planned on staying the night in Salida, and I am so happy we made that choice. I was too tired to safely drive to Durango tonight, and all of us were done with the car after 3 hours. Plus, it is always fun to stay in a hotel with Kalyn because she calls them Who-tells, so we always get a good laugh out of that one. I told Fred he wasn't in very good shape when we brought him up to Denver, so it is fitting he is not in great shape when we are bringing him home. At least this is something that will pass on its own!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Almost Home

Our daughter, Kalyn, is an emotional sponge. When I'm having a bad day, she's not very fun to deal with. When we're in a good mood, she picks up on it and is fun to be around. Tonight, my little sponge, my weather vane of where I am emotionally is running around hyper and very happy. It's not surprising that she is picking up on our good mood about packing up and moving towards home tomorrow.

Fred has two meetings tomorrow and then we are on the road. We're breaking up the drive, but we're all excited to check out of here. It has been a fantastic week just the three of us reconnecting and spending a lot of time together. We're ready to come home and move to the next stage. The road to recovery is not done because there will be adjustments when we get home, but I have faith in the healing powers of being home and getting back to our life, no matter what that means moving forward. I remember thinking this would be a scary moment, checking out, but it feels like such a joyous moment.

Today even felt fairly normal for the three of us doing our own things. Kalyn played with some kids this morning, I was able to run errands and Fred did his classes. Fred and I went out to lunch by ourselves. We were walking back to the car and passed a bike shop. I stopped because they had kid bikes outside, and I wanted to get Kalyn a balance bike for her birthday in a few weeks. I don't know if I'm being ridiculous or realistic about buying our 3 year old a bike. Yes, Fred just crashed on a bike, but I don't think I'll be able to keep this girl off a bike. Every time she sees another kid's bike, she tries to ride it. I figure we are safer teaching her how to ride, with a helmet at all times, rather than trying to avoid the subject. We bought the bike, and Fred will put it together when we get home, and we will buy her a helmet before we give her the bike. I'm not going to lock the doors, shut the curtains for the rest of our lives hoping we stay safe by not living our lives. We're going to live our lives, being safe, but not hiding from the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Helmets and Play-Doh

Our friend let me borrow his car that is way nicer than mine and has more room for the drive up here and back in exchange for me taking it to get serviced up here since there are no dealers in Durango. This morning we all loaded up in the car, dropped it off at the dealer, got put in an even nicer loaner car and went out to breakfast at a little mom and pop type diner that was great. We got Fred back in time for his PT and then met up with him for his meeting with the doctor. It was our final meeting with the doctor before we head home, and it went well. We should be able to put Fred on a plane by the end of the summer, and he thought Fred should give up scuba diving. When you look at how much he could have lost and that's all they are suggesting, we feel very lucky, blessed and fortunate.

Fred has gotten to know a lot of the other patients in the time I've been gone, and it is amazing how many guys are in here from motorcycle crashes without wearing a helmet. After Fred's accident, everyone would ask if he was wearing a helmet, he was, and I realize now how few people, especially on motorcycles wear helmets. I feel like the helmet Fred was wearing either saved his life or is a big part in him not having significant life-long disabilities.

One of the speech therapy things this week was for Fred was to pick out a project to do with Kalyn. He chose making play-doh from scratch and then playing with it. They did that today, and she had a blast. It was very fun to watch the two of them playing together and see how much this whole process has brought the two of them closer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wrapping Up

We're getting close to being able to come home and everyone keeps asking Fred the seemingly rhetorical question, "Are you getting excited to go home?" Pretty soon he might start responding to that one with a lot of BS until you realize he is just making a joke. We're getting ready to head back home in a few days, but we'll be back up here in three weeks for another check up and hopefully get Fred cleared to drive.

We took Kalyn to a friend of a friends that is a nanny today, and she was very happy to get to play with other kids for the day. I was happy for the time by myself to focus on work, meeting with Fred's therapists and getting dinner figured out.

The meeting with the occupational therapist and social worker went really well today. There will be another meeting tomorrow with the doctor and a family meeting on Friday morning, but we started to go over the plan for going home and having a non-structured life, as they put it. Fred and I are both itching to get back to whatever a non-structured life means. I know there will be failures, frustrations and road-blocks, but we will be home and will work through them. Things like cooking in your own kitchen, working while Kalyn is in daycare and sleeping in your own bed go a long way towards making things easier in day to day life.

They told me a scary statistic today. 87% of patients with a Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) of 8 or lower take two years to get back to work. Fred was rated at a 7 after the accident happened. Everyone here is in awe of how quickly and how well he is recovering. They are attributing it to his positive attitude, good genes and good family support. Ok, maybe they didn't say family support, but he has told me how much getting himself better so he can come home to Kalyn and me has been a motivation. To show you how well Fred is doing, we're looking at him being able to come back to work in August. Less than four months is a lot better than two years! It's amazing how people can get frustrated with work, but at the same time, when it is taken away, you realize how much it defines you. Fred really wants to get home and get back to work, but we're going to take the doctors and therapists recommendations and have a slow integration back into life in Durango. It's hard to argue with someone who is sitting across the table from you with 25 years of experience with brain injuries.

Monday, June 21, 2010


The pace of the day changed this morning away from the easy family time during the weekend. Fred didn't have anything first thing this morning, so we ran some errands and took Kalyn to a park. We got through the day, but there was definitely more stress for me with trying to juggle so many things. It's a short post today because I'm spent and ready to have a quiet evening. It wasn't a bad day, but I just don't have any energy left to tell you about it!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I just reread what I wrote on Mother's Day to reflect a little and see how far we've come. Wow. All of the emotions are so close to the surface for me. It feels like it has been 6 months not six weeks with all that has happened since then. To realize that on Mother's Day Fred spent most of his time in the wheelchair and was constantly sore and tired and today for Father's Day we spent two hours at the Denver zoo feels like a lot of progress.

We had a lot of fun at the zoo. I was amazed how many animals we saw. My memories of going to the zoo always have the animals you want to see hiding out. We saw giraffes, a peacock with his tail feathers all out, a polar bear, lions, tigers, cheetahs and elephants to name the big ones. Kalyn was only scared by the howler monkeys, and I don't blame her because the sound they made was not very nice. Fred seemed fine going around the zoo. Our roles are a little reversed now because I'm the driver and he's the navigator. We felt lost a few times today on the road, but we figured it out and always got to where we were trying to go. Going through this whole experience has really made me be more aware of when I start to feel overwhelmed with a situation or overstimulated in an environment. Since Fred had a brain injury, he is more likely to not be able to deal with a situation when there is too much going on, but I have noticed myself be the first one to get overwhelmed and need to remove myself. It just makes you realize that multitasking is really hard and usually makes you miss something, brain injury or not.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Catching Up

I have been so happy for the last 24 hours. Kalyn and I woke up early and in good moods on Friday because we were both so excited to see Fred. She was a champ on the drive to Denver, singing with me, eating snacks, watched a movie and took a nap. What a trooper! For me, it was an enjoyable drive. I felt like it gave me time to process the last 2 months a little. Reflecting on how far he has come, the really scary moments I went through and the strength of our community. It is a beautiful drive, but every town I went through, no matter how scenic it was, the community support wouldn't compare to what we have felt from Durango. We are so lucky to be where we are and have all of you!

We pulled into the apartment parking lot, and Fred was outside waiting for us. He picked Kalyn up and she snuggled right in for the biggest daddy hug/snuggle that brought tears to my eyes. Since we got here, she won't let him out of her sight. I have to say it is nice to see. Fred appreciates it, and I appreciate having a break from being number 1.

We had a nice quiet evening together where Fred and I got a chance to catch up, and Kalyn laughed a lot while playing with balloons with Fred. It is amazing the difference I see in Fred after being gone for more than 3 weeks. He is back! I haven't seen anything related to the brain injury other than the fact that he still doesn't want to admit to what was difficult for him a month ago. He was trying to argue that his balance wasn't that bad a month ago, and I told him to just accept it and move on because he is doing wonderful right now. I'll know more next week about what their recommendations are for Fred, but it seems like their only concerns are when he gets overwhelmed with distractions or an overly stimulating environment. He is trying to find ways to show them he is fine, and I suggested telling them he is aware of when he reaches his point of not being able to focus might be the best way. Knowing when he reaches that point before it becomes a problem seems like what they want him to be able to be aware of and step away from whatever is the cause.

This morning we went and got bagels and then went to the Children's Museum. At first Kalyn was being timid and cautious, not thinking that she could touch anything. I had to tell her everything was here for her to play with and she could use whatever she wanted. The first exhibit was a real fire engine, and she got to put on a hat and jacket and play with the engine. Next we went to the bubble exhibit, and she really started to have fun. This girl loves bubbles, and this was a really fun place to play. We built a big train track next. Between the three of us, we made a nice one and had a hard time pulling her away from it. Luckily, she got to dress up in a bug costume next and crawl through tunnels in a make believe bug environment. We made one last stop at the fire engine to turn on the lights and sirens and pretend-drive the engine. After all that is anyone surprised that she is sleeping now? Fred did really well with all of the stimulation and tons of kids running around. I might have been the first of all of us to get overwhelmed with the whole environment. They would have stayed longer, but I was the one that said it was time to go.

I feel like I have my family back. The three of us are all so happy to be together again, and there is such a difference in Fred actually being better and showing up mentally. When I last saw him, he was still checking out a lot mentally. He hasn't done that once that I've noticed and has been very engaging with Kalyn and me. This transition period is good to get reacquainted just the three of us before we are flung back into home life with other responsibilities and chores. In a week we should be home, and we are ready to take the next step!

He is reading a book right now that had a quote in it about a story not meaning anything unless it is told. I thought it was a good sign that he liked that quote because I'll come back and remind him of that if he doesn't like the story I've told here! He hasn't read anything I've written yet, and I told him I'm not ready for him to read it yet. I think this makes him more nervous about what I've written.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Together Again

It's a short post tonight because I want to get back to family time. The three of us are together again, and we're doing great. Fred is doing wonderful. He is going to have a great re-entry into real life in Durango because he is doing so well on his own and he understands taking it easier while still being himself. His biggest concern is the "big deal" of him coming home, which is so Fred!

I don't have the time to describe the love, relief and happiness of seeing him today and how well he is doing. I'll take more time this weekend to go into my usually sappy details. I'll leave you with the fact that I am feeling VERY positive about coming back home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On the Road

Kalyn and I are on the road tomorrow for one week in Denver before bringing Fred home. This evening I was getting things ready around the house and wishing I could have things in better shape. I had to stop myself and realize he will be so happy to be home, it won't even matter if everything is put away perfectly.

It was a busy day, but a successful one, so I'll end now so I can go to sleep and update you when we are in Denver and can see Fred with our own eyes!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a day

I feel like everyday I should start my post with "what a day!" Now that I'm through the whole day and have a quiet moment to myself I can see that most people say that at the end of the their days. It has been hard lately to realize everyone else still has a life that is moving forward and has it's normal ups and downs. I don't assume everyone else is afraid to walk into the grocery store because she might run into someone she knows and burst into tears.

The day did start out nice for me. It was mellow yet productive, and I even got outside with the dog for a run/walk. Things started to slide downhill from there. I got a call from the insurance company case manager thinking that Fred was home because she saw he was discharged from inpatient status, and she was calling to check on how it was going to have him home. It wasn't the same case manager I spoke with before, and I was a little thrown off with her thinking he was home, not knowing he was still at outpatient therapy in Denver. I have been told that the insurance case manager is a person that is there to help us and make sure we are covered, but I have an inherent distrust of anyone in the insurance industry and feel like I should be holding my cards close to my chest. The whole conversation just sent me in a little bit of a tailspin of who is checking with who about what is covered and what is not. She's asking me lots of questions and talking about durable medical equipment, and it took me multiple times of saying, physically he is fine, right now it is just the brain injury. When she asked me who was paying for the patient/family apartment Fred is staying in right now I just told her I didn't know and I thought it was us, but it is cheaper and closer than a hotel. Did I also mention that I found a letter from the state about our tax returns saying we owe them 100 times more money than the tax software we used to file said we did? Luckily, we have a CPA friend that read the letter and translated for me what to do to hopefully clear up the misunderstanding, but it is little things like this that would get me upset on a day in my old life and send me into cannot deal territory today.

Tonight I had a my monthly board meeting for work, and that always ends up as a stressful afternoon for me. Today was not any better. I was trying to pull together dinner while managing a child and talking to Fred on the phone while he told me about the testing they had him do today and why the testing was flawed. My patience was running thin, so I just reminded him that he is at a place that specializes in brain injuries, so I think they know what they are doing. One thing I did agree with him on is hopefully they start packing his day a little more. If he is only getting 9 days for now in their outpatient program, I hope they start filling it up some more to maximize the benefit.

The big issue right now for Fred is that he isn't going to be able to drive a car when he gets home. To both of us, for different reasons, this seems like a big deal. It is frustrating to me that he seems fine. He can carry on a conversation just fine; his memory is fine; physically he is fine. His brain is doing a REALLY good job of covering for itself and hiding its injury. My brain wants to cover for him and tell me that he is fine and ready to come home to his old busy schedule. Today I started a list of projects that he can work on when he gets home. He might even want to go back to Denver when he sees his list of honey-do's!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

7 weeks

Tuesdays still seem a little off to me since the accident happened on one, but I was able to not dwell on it today. Fred slept well last night outside of the hospital. Even on a sofa bed and not quite home, it was better than a mechanical hospital bed. He had his first day of outpatient therapy today. Most of it was filled with introductions to the new therapists and going over his goals and list of activities for when he comes home. He was able to get another workout in the pool. Fred and Tom went out to eat tonight at a new place for them and thoroughly enjoyed it. A waitress at the restaurant recognized Fred from over 10 years ago when they worked together.

Over the weekend when Kalyn was playing in the sandbox at my mom's house, she found an old toy army soldier of my brother's buried in the sand. One of his arms was missing, and she called him the broken man and said he needed to go to Denver to get all better. Her specific orders were to fix him with tape because in her eyes, everything can be fixed with tape. It was an interesting and rather humorous example of her understanding of the situation.

I was able to focus on work for most of the day today, and I am starting to feel a little less behind. I will just try and get used to the progress of two steps forward, one step back. My big adventure of the day was opening all of the medical bills and trying to match them with the EOB paperwork from the insurance company. Luckily, I am meeting with the benefits specialist at Fred's work on Thursday to help me try and make heads or tails of everything.

Fred's Aunt in New York passed away today. She had a long happy life and died peacefully. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to see her this year, but our last few visits with her had been very nice. No matter how full of a life someone had, it's always hard to say goodbye and know that you will never see them again or have a chance to talk to them again.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Fred is moving to outpatient status today. He will continue to do his various therapies during the day, but they will have more of a focus on doing things in real life and finding what works and what doesn't. Tom flew up to Denver this morning, and Fred was packed and ready to move out of the hospital first thing this morning when Tom arrived. For the first time in about 7 weeks, Fred will not spend the night in the hospital tonight!

This is a big step towards coming home, and we're all excited. In two weeks, Fred should be home sleeping in his own bed! The doctors and therapists feel like Fred could probably use so more time up there, but his attitude towards wanting to come home would take away from any benefit he could get in more therapy. Honestly, it would be too much of a strain on me too, so I'm looking forward to the June 25th discharge date.

I waver back and forth between just wanting him to be home and being anxious about the battles we will have after he comes home and wants to do everything. I realize that this time is probably when I will need the most help and breaks. Fred doesn't need to have someone taking care of him every day, but I will need help keeping him busy while keeping him out of trouble. Someone was telling me about how brain injuries are hard because it is such an internal injury. Fred is lucky because what he really needs for his brain to heal is time. It's not that he can't ever get back to everything he was doing before, just maybe not this summer.

So I'm putting out my call for help and assistance this summer. I don't know what it will look like or what I need, but I know that I will need help, especially in July and August keeping Fred occupied, happy and safe. If you decide you want to help, you have to promise you won't let Fred talk you into letting him do something he's not ready to do, like drive a car. I am really not looking forward to having rules or arguments like this with him. I want to be a wife and not a mother to my spouse, but I also need to do certain things to keep him safe so he doesn't get hurt again or have someone sue us in this sue-happy world we live in today. Somehow I still have to be a mom and work too. I know it will all work out. I'm learning to slow down and just go with whatever comes up, but I still have moments of panic. I'm letting go of the panic right now because my present is peaceful.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mile 20

In the beginning of Fred's recovery, someone related Fred's recovery to running a marathon and said he was at about mile 5. I feel like the last few days for me have been about mile 20 of a marathon. I have done two marathons as a participant that is just happy to finish. I'm not fast, and I never will be, but I like having an event to get myself out there and train for and have a goal. Mile 20 of the marathon is where a lot of people "hit the wall." Last year I did a marathon with two friends in Victoria, BC. We spent all summer training together, and did the race trip just the three of us for a long weekend. At the 20 mile point we were all on our own, but I have a memory of running along the ocean, through the pain and through the wall, knowing that the finish line was closer with each step I took. Right now, our finish line is getting Fred home, and there will be adjustments, just like the sore muscles after a big event, but coming home will really be crossing the finish line.

The tough time I've had the last few days is very similar to how I felt at the last stage of a marathon or getting out of the Grand Canyon. Sometimes it just takes putting your ipod on, head down and focusing on taking one step at a time because even though you only have a few more miles left to go, your body is tired and the goal still feels too far to grasp.

Since I'm on the marathon analogy, I'll tell more of my long race/Fred stories (I hear a collective groan from everyone listening ;).

Fred had done the Grand Canyon run for awhile before I met him, including the regular south rim routes and the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim which is essentially a double marathon, or more when you consider elevation gain and loss. Needless to say, Fred is an amazing athlete. A little over a year after we started dating, I decided I wanted to do the Grand Canyon run too. I did my best to train for it, but it's a hard thing to train for, especially in the middle of winter. It is 16 or so miles but harder than a marathon. Fred stayed by my side the entire day. He could have done it in about half the time it took me to do it, but he was there for me as I pushed myself to do something really hard but also truly amazing.

My first marathon was the first Durango marathon. I had a low around the middle, and Fred drove up to cheer me on a few miles later with some moral support and Green Machine. I came out of my slump, found a group to run with and finished feeling good.

Today I got Kalyn off to my mom's first thing in the morning and spent the entire morning weeding my flower bed with my two marathon buddies that I trained with last year. I had a wonderful morning with them talking about all things other than Fred's recovery and being a mother. As much as I love them both, having a morning to dig my hands in the earth and not have my main focus be them felt really good.

Tom flies up to Denver tomorrow and Fred will have his final day of outpatient therapy. Kalyn and I will drive up to Denver this Friday for his final week of outpatient therapy and then drive home the weekend of the 26th. We're almost to the finish line of being apart and Fred being away from home. I know we'll be starting a whole new adventure when we get Fred home, but we'll go through it together just like we've gone through all the challenging times in life.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Fred read the accident report yesterday, and an eye witness said it looked like he hit a patch of gravel and crashed. He said he has a vague memory of coming down Hesperus hill, hearing a car, looking over his left shoulder and moving over to the right. He feels like this memory is close to the accident, and I told him he hadn't done that ride in awhile, so it is probably right before his crash. For Fred, this helps him wrap his head around crashing on his bike. He has been riding a road bike for about 20 years, and he hasn't ever crashed other than one that was from riding in a pack. Getting out of the way of a car and hitting gravel that was deeper than appeared makes more sense to him than somehow not seeing some large rock in the road. I drive past where he crashed a few times a week, and I have constantly been looking for some large object he could have hit. I never found anything, but even I noticed how much gravel was leftover on the side of the road from the heavy winter we had.

I'm pestering Fred with phone calls a few times a day. It's really wearing on me not seeing him for so long. Kalyn is getting quite good at a phone conversation. She'll talk to Daddy, tell him what she's working on and then abruptly end the conversation with "I love you, bye." I can see her missing her daddy time in the way she is connecting with other friends of ours that are dads. From the day she was born, she has been a mama's girl, but she and Fred really connected when she came out of the baby stage. He is more fun than I am at the park and doing active things with her. Yesterday she was telling me about how Daddy had taken her to the yellow park which is what he did with her for a few hours the Sunday before his accident. I'm trying to explain things to her in a time line she will understand about Daddy coming home. Today we were at a birthday party for our close friends' kids that are turning 8 and 10. She told a 10 year old today "my Daddy is in Denver and has lots of owies."

We went to farmer's market this morning. I'm still feeling raw emotionally, so running into people can catch me off guard. I wore a hat to try and be a little incognito. I always think I'm in disguise when I am wearing a hat and sunglasses, so when someone recognizes me when I have a helmet or hat on and sunglasses, I'm always shocked.

I'm sleeping fairly well at night, but still feeling drained throughout the day. I tend to be able to push through a tough time but once things start to slow down, all the emotional stuff I've kept down to deal with the emergencies comes up. I guess that's what I'm doing now, so it's good to have some quiet time to process all of this because even I'll admit, I've been through and seen a lot in the last month and a half. Yesterday Fred was apologizing that he was sorry I had to witness one of the many scary moments in the first few days, and he said it was worth a good cleaning of my car by him. I let him know that he is in debt a little more than a simple car cleaning with me!

On a side note, I think I made it easier to comment on the blog. Your comments and/or emails help me get through the day, even if it is just to say hi!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Still Down

I'm still feeling down today. This is the longest I've ever been away from Fred, and I still have another week to go before we see him, and I am really not enjoying being a single mom. It's hard for me to go to parties and events right now too because they just make me miss Fred more. I feel very fortunate that he gets to come home in two weeks, but that isn't making me not miss him now.

I have been able to sleep fairly well the last couple of nights, but I'm just feeling emotionally drained and exhausted. It doesn't take much to make me cry right now. A new neighbor who is actually an old coworker of mine from the Durango Bagel some 15 years ago went out of her way to mow my lawn for me, and this made me cry. I feel so appreciative that she did it and also a little stupid that I've never mowed a lawn in my life! I've always had a brother that had to do it or Fred and just never learned how to run the thing. I did wake up this morning feeling very happy to see clean cut grass.

Thank you to everyone in Denver that have been bringing meals by for Fred. He is mad at me for asking, but he is enjoying the visits as much as if not more than the food. He has his one and only quiet weekend by himself this weekend, and I sent him a care package with note cards to start writing to everyone. I don't even know where to begin with the thank you cards myself, so obviously I haven't started yet! Fred is upbeat and tolerating the last of his inpatient testing today. Having the transition to outpatient status will be good for him on Monday to start moving in the direction of home.

I am hoping to get out to my flower bed this weekend and do some weeding. My definition of a weed is now anything that grows faster than the things I want to grow. Yikes! I'm sending Kalyn off to my mom's on Sunday morning and will be out there weeding if anyone wants to come join me, I would love the company and the help ;-).

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I should have known, posting about positive attitudes the other day that a bad day was coming. I had just enjoyed a nice long string of good days, so having a day where I feel overwhelmed, unable to do anything right and no idea how to get through isn't very fun. I'm going to try and vent here and see if that will help me move on to a better mood.

Everything is going fine and moving in the right direction, but I think trying to return to normal life is making me feel very not normal. Last night on the phone with Fred I was able to talk to him about a frustrating situation in my day. It felt really good to be able to have Fred just listen and sympathize with me over what was really a minor annoyance for me that I just needed to share with someone. It was a window into how much I've tried to not have him see the emotional roller coaster I've been on while he is healing. I realized how hard it has been to not have Fred involved in my day to day life for the last 6 weeks to share the little things we find funny that nobody else gets, have someone to vent to about anything that bothered you during the day or just share a moment of quiet together.

Thanks for listening - I'm feeling better now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Accepting Help

I know I have posted about this before, but it is so hard and overwhelming emotionally for me/us to accept help, even when we really need it. It's hard enough for me to ask for help on a project or task that I used to be able to take care of myself but now feel completely overwhelmed, but what's even harder for me is accepting financial support that has come in with no requests from me from all aspects of the community. Every time I receive something it just makes me cry, in gratitude, in thanks, in happiness that Fred is going to come home.

I feel I have been very inadequate in my thank yous to all who have helped so far, part of this is because I barely have time to make sure we get through the day properly clothed, fed and bathed, but mostly this is because I don't feel like I have adequate words to describe that appreciation I feel.

I do know at some point we will be able to thank each and every one of you individually, but for now, please accept my bulk-blog-thank-you!

Thank you to both of our families and our friends. I would be in a crumpled heap without you; thank you to everyone at Mercury Payment systems where Fred works; thank you to Durango Fire and Rescue; thank you to La Plata County Search and Rescue; thank you to Kalyn's daycare and the generous families; thank you to the Durango Hundred Club; thank you to my work for being so understanding. I hope all of you can feel my big teary hug I'm sending out to all of you!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Positive Attitudes

Fred's dad left this morning, so he has a week of only hospital food to eat. If you are going to be in the area and want to bring him a non fast food, non hospital food meal, he would be forever grateful! He lost over 10 pounds with all of the initial inactivity, and he wasn't a big guy to begin with. I worry about him not eating that much if all he has to eat is hospital food.

Fred said he woke up with a positive attitude today. Having the plan come together for his discharge date as an inpatient and also a plan to come home gives him a lot to look forward to. He said he was thinking last night about how much he has in life with a lot to look forward to.

Fred prepared another lunch today for some of the patients. It was a chicken curry salad that he had to get up early to cook the chicken for so it could cool and then prepare the salad for lunch. They have been doing more testing with him this week to see where he is at compared to when he was admitted. Next week when he is doing outpatient therapy it will be more simulated to life at home. They will work on setting up a simulated work environment, and they are working on having him sit in and audit some of the EMT refresher courses at Swedish. All of these situations will help to find out what he needs help with and how his learning style works now.

After Fred's avalanche accident, he had problems with fatigue and a short temper which he didn't attribute to the head injury. All of the work they are doing with him is to try and avoid that happening this time. When I talked to Melissa this morning, she said that with Fred's physical capacity and how well he is healing in that aspect, he could be a real bear to work with right now about the head injury. She said he is really doing a good job of staying positive, and when you sit and explain everything to him of why he has to stay and to certain things, he understands and agrees it is for the best. It lifts my heart up so much to hear this. I know we both have many frustrating moments ahead of us, but really, who doesn't in life? To know that my favorite side of Fred's personality has survived the accident and is showing itself most day to day makes me feel so blessed. We all have our moments in life (especially me) of being down, grumpy and short-tempered, but I'm overjoyed to hear that Fred's day to day attitude is still upbeat.

Now that we have a tentative plan in place, I'm starting to feel much more positive myself about spending the last week in Denver. I know I'll get through it and survive it because it too shall pass. I can also start to picture coming home and know that we will make it work. The hardest part will be Fred not being able to drive himself for a few months due to liability, but that also feels so minor right now. I have faith that the time spent at home will be a wonderful bonding time for us as a family.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Trying to Plan

I feel like I am asking for trouble with trying to make a plan, but a tentative plan has to be set to figure out Fred's final weeks at Craig, so I'm diving in and trying to look into the future for a few weeks. Here's the plan, knowing that it will all probably change tomorrow.

Fred's dad leaves tomorrow, and Fred would spend the next week in the actual hospital room. Tom will go back up to Denver on the 14th when Fred would be discharged as an inpatient to stay at the patient/family housing with Tom. Tuesday he would start outpatient therapy where they will really work on pushing him to his point of failure. The point of this is to get him to see he is not ready to jump right back into the life he had on April 26th.

I have a work meeting that week, so I will drive with Kalyn that Friday, and Tom can go back home. Fred will still be doing his outpatient therapy for the final week, without much help from me. This is all to start figuring out coming home, what works and what doesn't with the help from the therapists as the bad guys, so I don't have to be the one pointing out problems.

Even though I am feeling an aversion to having to uproot myself and Kalyn and spend a week in Denver, I know this will be helpful in our transition back to home. It will be a simulated home environment with the support of the hospital. This sounds totally ridiculous as I write it, but I am relating it to after we had Kalyn. She was born at 6 in the morning, and we wanted to go home that day. We started talking with the doctors in the morning that if everything was fine with both myself and Kalyn, we wanted to go home that day. They definitely wanted to keep Kalyn for 12 hours after she was born, so we spent a lot of time thinking we were ready to go and waiting for some final authorization that she could go home. I forget what time it was when they finally discharged us, but it was sometime around 7 or 8 that night. As soon as her baby alarm bracelet was taken off and we were cleared to go, my only thought was about her being so tiny and why are they letting us take her by ourselves???

Fred is not tiny or fragile right now, but I am glad for the transition time to coming back to home. Fred is a busy guy, and the last time he was home, we were in our normal busy schedule. Everything is so different now, and I am not upset that we got off of the fast lane in life. I just hope that Fred will be so happy to be home and not be too upset that no one will let him jump right back into the life he left behind 6 weeks ago. I try to be a patient mother and wife, but I know I have my limits. Coming home as a family sounds equally wonderful and scary, but the whole plan I've just outlined will probably change everyday, so I guess I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I feel like I am processing a lot right now, but it feels more related to having spent a week with family for my sister's wedding than it does have to do with Fred's recovery. It was such a fun weekend, but I'm tired, so that makes me much more emotional.

Fred is really in the same space as I am right now. He is tired of being up there and ready to come home and get his life back. I want that right now too, so it's easy for me to want to agree with him. After all of the travel and time being away from home in the last 6 weeks has really worn me out. I feel very torn between what I want and what I need. I need a quiet week and weekend at home, but I also don't want to go a month without seeing Fred. It keeps working itself out, so I'm trying to just let it go, but I'm not being that successful at the moment.

When I talked to Fred tonight, he was very tired of the opinions of everyone else, and he thinks he is fine. I haven't seen him in 2 weeks, so it's hard for me to weigh in on how I think he is doing. The hardest thing for me is he sees that I am worn down and need a break. He told me as much as he would love to see us, he's ready to wait to see us for when we come pick him up to bring him home. I appreciate that he is being so thoughtful about what I need, but I also feel like part of that is related to him thinking he will be checked out sooner than the tentative discharge date.

Now I'll switch subjects and highlight the fun points of my weekend at my sister's wedding. Friday night we hosted the rehearsal dinner that house we had been staying at. It was a great party and Uncle Jerry did a fantastic job grilling up the kabobs, Aunt Barbara managed the whole kitchen and my brother's girlfriend Becca was an invaluable help the whole day. Scott's parents had gotten Emily a room at the hotel she was getting married at for that night, and she wanted me to stay with her. I got to leave Kalyn at the house and have a night off myself. Our wild bachelorette night was staying up until 10 watching the tv show about brides finding their perfect wedding dresses. It was a nice mellow night for us both, and she was able to get a good night of sleep before her wedding. We took a nice walk on the beach in the morning and got our hair done. It was a nice slow mellow morning and everyone commented on how calm she was.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful and Kalyn did a great job as flower girl. She even dropped a few handfuls of petals. We had practiced the day before, and as she was walking down the aisle, she looked up at me and said "look mom, I'm dropping petals!" I had also hidden a little box of candy at the bottom of her basket of petals, and she found that right at the end of the aisle and said "look mom, I found candy!" She sat down and ate her box of tiny candies, one at a time, during the whole ceremony and nobody heard from her!

The reception was very fun, and Kalyn had little girls to play with and lots of family to watch over her, so I was able to have fun while being there for my sister. I love weddings because so many people are coming together for such a happy reason. I was very emotional at the end of the evening saying goodbye to the family, but I just have such an appreciation for family after this whole experience with Fred. As I said in my toast on Saturday, my definition of family is not about who is blood related to you. It's about the people that are there for you through the good times and the bad. Right now I feel like I have a huge family.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wedding Mode

We're in full wedding mode here, so I haven't had much time to talk to Fred and catch up with him. I did talk to him briefly yesterday, and he was talking to his doctor about the meds they are giving him to help him relax and sleep better at night. Fred feels like it keeps him from feeling fresh in the morning. He also wants to review his xrays with the doctor to see which ribs are broken and where his clavicle and scapula are broken. I see it as another stage of his recovery that he wants to participate in his medical care.

Fred is planning his weekend activities with his Dad. He is trying to avoid large crowds because he worries someone will run into his shoulder. I think the brain injury makes him a little more focused on the worrying part of being injured and not getting re-injured.

I have to run and change gears into helping my sister get ready for the big weekend. It's time to focus on just her and the wedding for me now and not think about insurance paperwork until Monday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A New Plan

This morning I got a call from the hospital about setting a new plan for Fred's discharge. Fred has been lobbying hard to not have to stay until the end of the month, so they are trying to appease him slightly while still getting him the therapy he needs for his recovery. The new plan would be to have Fred be an outpatient for the last 2 weeks of his time at Craig, and we would live in the patient/family housing with him while he still had therapy during the week. This is good news in the sense that it will be easier for me and allow him to be more independent and get a good sense of what it will be like to be home. The partial downside is that he cannot stay at the apartments by himself, so someone has to be in Denver for the final two weeks with him.

I feel like I can't make a plan any more because every time I make a plan too far in advance, everything gets turned upside down. I am feeling a lot of resistance inside myself towards going back to Denver and spending over a week there. I want to see Fred, but trying to get work done and manage a toddler at the same time is not very easy to do at the apartments.

Life has felt very surreal the past few days while we get ready for my sister's wedding in California. I feel very relaxed and very far away from life at the hospital. I have been spending a lot of fun time with the family and Kalyn has been wearing herself out in the pool everyday. I took her to the beach for the first time today. She thought the water was too cold. The waves were big and breaking right on the shore, so I'll try another beach with better conditions for her to play in the water another day.