Friday, July 30, 2010

Safety Princess

I found this picture amusing, so I thought I would post it because it seems to define our family well right now.

Here is your safety princess!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three Months

We are three months out from Fred's accident, and the progress is amazing. It's scary to look back to where I was sitting three months ago, and each month just keeps getting better. As soon as I knew we were out of the really scary days with Fred, I have tried to look at each day on a positive note and find the good with everything we are going through. It's easier to look back and realize you are past the hard times than to see them fade while you are going through them. I still feel strong emotional waves hit me from time to time, but they are fewer and farther between and less likely to occur at an inopportune time like while standing in line at the grocery store.

Fred goes back to work next week. He will start back part time for awhile and work back up to full time, but just going back to work and getting a normal schedule in place will be great for all of us.

The benefit party put on by the fire department, search and rescue and Fred's work was last weekend, and it was a blast. It was amazing to see how many people showed up (especially when we were all forced inside by the rain) and all of the community support. Fred gave a great speech and even played some lead guitar with the band.

Here's to moving forward, and to Fred's mom on her birthday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

To write or not

I felt like I had been blogging nonstop, save a few days here and there, since Fred's accident happened, and this weekend, I decided to take an unannounced break. It felt really good because my life also had some semblance of a new normal. Fred drove himself around to his own things, we had nice family time and I got to work in the garden and have time by myself at home. I'm still up and down and all over the map emotionally, but things like being done with going to Denver, getting a life schedule back in place and having time to myself is huge for my sanity. I also took a break from writing because I started to feel embarrassed about pouring my heart and emotions out on the blog. It felt a little overexposed, and I didn't feel like broadcasting every troubled emotion I had for a few days because all in all, we are doing wonderful. I know I still have a lot to process, but I'm not sure the blog is the appropriate place to do that. So I'm feeling self-conscious, which is completely normal for me!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


As the doctor put it, Fred passed his driving test with flying colors. Hopefully we can get through the night without any food poisoning, car break-ins or last minute mishaps and get on the road in the morning for home. They haven't said anything about having to come back for any check-ups, and I think we are both too afraid to ask. Cheers to going home!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thick Skin

Everything is so different now. Before when Fred would get frustrated, I would tell myself, it's not about me, let him work through it himself and be there if he needed me. Now I feel the mother hen side of me wanting to protect him and intervene. I think the reintegration into normal life is going to be hard, on me especially. It's so hard to find the balance of getting back to normal and taking it easy. Fred wants his life back, and generally speaking, he has it, but the taking it slowly part is very foreign to him. I vacillate between wanting him to have it back and wanting him to stay in a bubble. It's so hard to let go of control, but that is life. I have joked with Fred that if he does this again, he has to find a new wife because I can't go through this again. The reality is, I've grown from this experience a lot, and even though I don't want to go through this again, I know life continues on. Hopefully Fred won't put me through a similar experience, but I know I'm probably not done with my share of tough times because I want to have a long life, and I'll take the hard times to also have the wonderful times. Although, between my Dad committing suicide and Fred's accident I am hoping for fewer traumatic experiences in the rest of my life.

It is really hard being back here at the hospital. We are so fortunate with how well Fred is doing, but my skin is not thick enough to be here for too long. I know we have gotten through this stronger and closer, but it is so hard to see other families suffering through even more life upending traumas. I was in the elevator today with a woman whose son is here at Craig. She was a little discombobulated and very briefly told me about her son having a hard time and taking it out on her. They do warn you that the patients take it out on the ones they love the most, and I had very few moments of Fred getting upset with me through this whole ordeal, but this trip, I feel like am being hit over the head with grown kids that are in rehab getting upset with their parents. Today there was a teenage guy walking down the hallway getting mad at his dad for trying to hold on to his arm and help him keep his balance. For me, it brought up when Fred was at that stage and thought he was fine to walk on his own, and it is also heart wrenching to watch a parent try to keep a child safe when a child is trying to become an adult. It makes me realize how much I have to let go of because I have no control. I cannot guarantee that Kalyn, Fred or myself will stay safe every day, so I just have to be in the present moment with them because we have no control over the future.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Here and Well

It's a quick post tonight to let you know things are going well, Fred's driving certification is moving along fine, and we are all doing well.

This time we are staying on the fourth floor of the apartments (we were on the first floor for the first 2 months), and we have a little view of the mountains and the sunset. I appreciate being up here on the fourth floor and feel it is nicely symbolic of us getting ready to move upwards and onwards with our lives.

I feel like a lot is coming up for me being back here again. This blog is changing from Fred's recovery process to my recovery process. Anticipate a nice long, processing, emotional post from me within the next couple of days!

Monday, July 12, 2010


We're off to Denver for Fred to do his driver certification (please let him pass) and have a clinical checkup with the doctor. It's a short trip, and hopefully without too much drama.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thank you friends

Thank you to our friends that have made my week easier by taking Kalyn for play dates, bringing us dinner and taking me out for friend time! Life is starting to feel more normal around here, and when Fred gets certified to drive and goes back to work next month, it will really feel normal! I do see why they don't want you to go back to work right away because there has been an absence of stress for Fred that comes from working full time on top of everything else in life. Fred seems great to me, and the only ways I notice that he is still recovering is either the amount of sleep and rest he requires or when I try and say something to him while he is talking on the phone. In retrospect, Fred has always loved to take afternoon naps and probably never really paid any attention to me when I talked to him while he is on the phone with someone else. You try and pick out things to blame on the brain injury, and you realize how many silly things you do in a day with no injury to blame them on. Did I tell you they told him to make a list of things he needs to do everyday? I can get through brushing my teeth and making a cup of coffee without a list, but beyond that I need a list to function everyday.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Good Day

I feel like I need to report to all those still listening and possibly worried about me, that I had a really nice day today! Kalyn went and spent the morning at a friend's house and Fred's boss picked him up this morning to take him in to work to visit with his coworkers. I am realizing that a key piece to my sanity is having time by myself at home. I will always be a homebody, and I love the peace and solitude of being by myself during the daytime at home. I don't like it at night, but a quiet morning at home is wonderful!

Next week we go back up to Denver for a clinical check for Fred, and he gets to take his driver certification testing earlier than expected. I am really looking forward to him being able to drive again. I have never liked making more than 1 trip to town in a day, and I like to have days where I never have to go to town at all, so I'm glad I won't have to make 2-3 trips a day for much longer.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Kalyn

Dear Kalyn,

You are three years old today, and I'm so happy to be your mother. Your laughter can brighten my darkest of moods, and your cuddles are the greatest gift you could ever give me. You are wise beyond your years with a depth that is amazing and a little scary at times.

Since this blog has mostly been about your Dad and how he is doing, I'll write about the two of you. For most of your 3 years, you have been a mama's girl. I was your constant, and you spent the most time with me, so you tended to prefer me. As soon as you would spend a lot of time with your Dad, you got over needing me as much. Then you realized that he does fun things with you and didn't care as much when I left you two alone.

If you hear anyone talking about the accident, you ask if Daddy crashed his bicycle. Your Daddy really hopes that you don't remember this time in your life, but I know you will remember the best part and that is how close the two of you have become. You don't want him out of your site and get mad at me if I drop him off somewhere and start to drive away.

I'm sorry for the confusion you experienced right after the accident. Leaving you with my mom in the emergency room was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I didn't know how long it would be until I saw you again and I didn't have any idea how much of our family life we would get back. You were perfectly happy to go spend the night at your Nana's house, but it only took a couple of days for you to realize something wasn't quite right.

I'll never forget the afternoon you pulled into the parking lot at the hospital and jumped into my arms. My life will forever be a struggle of loving you and holding on to you but not too tight so you can live your life. I guess that's what you sign up for when you decide to become a parent.

Know that I will always love you, and you will always be my sweet girl. May you find your way in peace and continue on your beautiful path.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wear a Helmet

Today Fred got back his helmet and bike jersey he was wearing during the accident. The helmet doesn't look that bad when you look at it from a distance, but a closer inspection shows a lot of cracks, and the foam on the side of his head that took the initial impact is very compressed compared to the other side. His jersey has huge holes in it along his shoulders and back where he skidded along the ground. After seeing his helmet and knowing how badly he was hurt even with wearing a helmet, I hope everyone puts on a helmet when going out for a ride. Fred was going fast on a road bike, but it scares me when I see people on motorcycles riding down the highway with no helmet.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Gift

Now that the major trauma is behind us, the experience isn't bad. I would say it is scary because everything in the future is up in the air. But that's true for all of us. Nothing is guaranteed, so every day can change and get turned upside down no matter how many plans you have made. I'm taking this experience as a gift because it is changing the way I try to go about my day. I'm learning to not fight things anymore. So many events have started out as an upset but worked out fine when I look back. I'm trying to float with the current and enjoy the ride. There's no point in thinking about what we would have been doing this summer if Fred hadn't gotten in an accident because that's not our reality. We were talking the other day about movies like Sliding Doors and The Family Man where a movie looks at how a split second can change your life. I think our life is better from this experience in the way that I feel closer to Fred and the tighter bond we share from going through this. I am also trying to not fight the lows in life. We need to go through the lows to enjoy the good times. I would never want me life to be a constant shade of gray, so I will take the darker times to make the light times that much brighter.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Flight

I read something today that said to recognize one's own insanity is the arising of sanity and the beginning of healing. If that is true, I don't feel so down about where I'm at right now. Before I read that today, I had already decided to set my intentions on healing and moving forward with life. This morning Kalyn woke up early, but she still wasn't feeling 100%. This was obvious to me when she crawled into my lap on the couch and fell asleep in my arms. She hasn't done that in so long, and it forced me to sit on the couch and be quiet and do nothing. It was a beautiful gift she gave to me today. I have always loved holding a sleeping baby, but it is a rare gift to hold our busy little girl that is turning 3 on Wednesday while she sleeps. The three of us are similar in the sense that it is hard for any of us to sit still and do nothing. I'm happy that we are busy, active people, but right now we seem to be in a space of learning to sit and do nothing. The evening of the accident when we were on the plane to Denver was an amazing lesson to me. Fred was in the back of the plane with two nurses attending to him, the pilot was flying the plane, and I was sitting copilot. I had gotten a hold of Fred's Dad and a coworker of Fred's that is a close friend of mine while we were still in Durango. I had spoken with so few people by the time I got on the plane, but it was an amazingly spiritual experience for me on the flight to Denver. There was nothing I could do but sit there. The whole flight up there I didn't cry, and I didn't think about the future and what might be wrong. I stayed positive, sent Fred healing thoughts and messages to stay with me. I had no idea at that time how quickly word had spread about Fred's accident from all of the people he knows, but I could honestly feel the positive thoughts, prayers and healing energy being sent our way. I have always had my own personal definition of spirituality, but for me, when there is a ray of sun shining down through a cloudy sky, it feels very spiritual and profound to me, and I gather a lot of strength from those moments. The majority of the flight to Denver, there was a ray of sun peeking through the clouds and shining down on the earth that moved along next to us as we traveled north. I don't wish this experience on anyone, but the lessons, blessings and closeness I feel to those that I love is amazing. Thank you for being a part of this journey with me.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I have written before about a brain injury being hard for other people to understand the healing process because it is internal. There is no open wound to put a bandage on or cast or stitches to attend to. Most people like to be able to fix things, and dressing a wound feels like you are making things better. What Fred and I both need right now is time and patience. Fred's brain and my emotions need the time to heal.

Kalyn woke up with a mild fever today, so we've taken it easy today. I got out in the garden and worked on my flower bed with my gardening buddies, and Fred and Kalyn had a quiet morning together. Yesterday we took a little hike with our friends from out of town. Here's a picture from yesterday.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Time

I have to confess that I am being more honest about how I am feeling and what I am struggling with on this blog than I am with Fred or anyone else who asks. My excuse is because it is rarely convenient and never fun to go into how I'm really doing unless I've made an hour appointment with a therapist. For the record, I like to process things by myself, so this blog has been my way of processing things by myself but sharing how I am feeling and what we're going through. Fred has started reading the blog, but as far as I know, he only got through about the first week when it was all clinical details. I haven't pushed the subject to find out if he is still reading because I figured he would say something about it if he had kept going. I've spent so much time trying to be strong and not show Fred that I'm struggling when he was in the initial recovery stage when I didn't want him to worry about me, so it makes it hard for me to switch gears and open up to him about what I'm going through which can be summed up as - yea! you are home, but I feel like crap most of the time.

Fred is doing wonderful. I feel like he is changed, but I think there would be something wrong if he came out of this exactly the same. He's been reintegrating himself back into his life at home really well, running into people who haven't seen or talked to him in over 2 months and not pushing himself too hard or trying to do too much. People are amazed and surprised with how well he is doing when they see him and talk to him. He is definitely an outlier in the statistical range of how long it takes to recover from the serious injury he had.

I get a little neurotic about making sure I get the time to sit down and write on the blog because it is the only time I give myself to really check in with the side of myself that wants to spend the day by myself, curled in a ball and crying. I may be grumpy the rest of the day, but I try and function as a wife, mother, friend and also get a little work done. I will promise that I will make a therapy appointment for myself because I obviously need it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things I'm still processing

I can't keep these things down anymore, so here we go with some of the things I still need to get out:

The misunderstanding when the emergency room first called and told me they were taking Fred in for a CT scan to check for brain activity. Later I learned they wouldn't check for activity with a CT scan but an injury. I know the person who told me that was not a medical person at the hospital, so who knows if I was told the wrong thing or I heard wrong. Regardless, I spent the next 5 hours not really knowing if Fred was even in there.

Being in the ER in Denver as the team of doctors and nurses examine him. His feet were yellow and he was shaking. It could have been the medication or he was cold, but I was by myself and scared out of my mind.

They extubated Fred on the second day in the ICU, and nobody asked me to leave the room for this procedure. Big mistake. The whole medical piece of it was not that nasty but seeing Fred in pain while they took the tube out hurt my heart and still makes me cry.

The fear of leaving Fred each night for the first week when he was being impulsive and having to trust that he would be safe.

Fred started coming out of sedation on the second day, but it took him a few days to recognize me. He was highly medicated and confused with what year it was and where he was, but it was hard to not be able to see love or recognition in his eyes. I'm not mad at him about this because it wasn't intentional. I'm just trying to process that pain.

The emotional pain of watching someone you love be in physical pain and not being able to anything for him. For me, this was sitting by Fred's side while he has to ride through the pain of nasty headaches because he was maxed out on pain meds.

My life felt like a piece of paper that was torn up into tiny pieces and thrown into the air like confetti. I had to let go and know there was no way I would ever catch all the pieces and put them back together the way they looked before. Life is fragile and beautiful. I'm putting my pieces back together. I no longer have a simple piece of paper, but a beautiful piece of artwork that is my life.