Sunday, October 24, 2010

Part 2 of reflecting back.....

Ok one correction I need to make from the prev. post is that we called from Okaloosa Hospital and not Pensacola, which is where we ended up. And I did start part two over the weekend but just didn't get it finished, so here goes.

It had been arranged for us to stay at the Ronald McDonald House while we were in Florida. I think it is a great place set up for families, but it just wasn't working for us. Some of the rules were that you had certain chores that you had to do everyday within the household and at that point in time it was all we could do to even walk and all we wanted to do was get up in the mornings and go to the hospital and stay til time to go to bed that night, we didn't want to have to worry about was our chores done or not. We did stay there the first night, and I remember that the three of us just sat and cried together. A few of the sisters from our church had went and gotten us some clothes and toiletries to get us by a couple of days. We didn't have anything with us, it was all still in the car. My mom and Sis. Karen Willmon went with me the next day to help me get the room cleaned and the chores done so that we could check out. We were then set up at a hotel nearby and the staff there was great to us. They even kept so many rooms set aside just for visitors to stay in when they came to visit.

The only way that we could stay with Kensley at night was if we didn't go to sleep. There is some sort of rule that if the patient is on a ventilator that the person staying can't go to sleep in case something went wrong they didn't need to be trying to work around you. So because Dustin needed my help getting ready in the mornings we would just go to the hotel each night and go back early in the mornings and stay til visiting time was up that night. But once Kensley was off the ventilator she got moved to a new room and I was able to stay at night. Me and my mom took turns staying the nights. We were told that when patients with brain injuries starting yawning that it meant the swelling was going down. We were watching for that every minute of the day. It was now time to be moved to Birmingham where she would go through rehab. There were two ladies that transported us. And on the ride up there the lady in the back with Kensley told me that she had been yawning. I knew then that things were looking up. When we arrived at B'ham, we were once again joined by family and friends. We were greeted by Dr. Law and the news that we had gotten from him wasn't what we wanted to hear, but his training is to let us know what the future might hold for us and not to get our hopes up for something that might not happen because it is a waiting game with brain injury pts. Not even doctors know what the outcome is going to be because all pts are different. But at that point in time the news was just gut wrenching, but now I look back and see where he was coming from. From that day forward she began to improve, it was hard to go to therapy with her, they would push her to her limits and it was just hard seeing her in pain, but we knew that was what was going to get her to where she is today. The therapist were great, everytime we have an appt back in B'ham we go and visit them. They were such a big part in her recovery and we want them to see how far she has come.

We were in B'ham a couple of days and Kensley's 6th b-day was here, but she was still unconscious and never even knew that she had a b-day. Gifts and cards began to pour in and it was just one of the highlights or our days to open up the cards and read the encouragement that everyone was sending us. As she was winged off of her medicine she began to wake up, she still couldn't talk, but she had full use of the right side and would give us hugs. On October 30th of last year, several had came to visit including Joe David, Drea and Kaylee. They had stayed for awhile and then left because the weather was about to get bad. Konnor was there and he began to try and play with Kensley and she started smiling. It was so amazing, we called and gave Drea 'em the news and if the weather hadn't been bad I believe they would have turned around and came back. But here is a pic of her first smile in the hospital.

Progress was being made each day, there was a patient being discharged and we were offered their room because it was a little bigger and they knew we always had a lot of visitors and could use it. The staff at the hospital was so good to us and never complained with how many visitors that we had. I think they liked it too because we kept them fed quite often. :) Kensley kept pulling out her feeding tube and you can't really blame her for it, who wants a tube stuck up their nose? We were finally able to convince them that we thought we could get enough food down her to where she didn't need and they give us that chance. Once the feeding tube was out she began to talk. I remember staying the night and I was getting ready to go to the hotel and shower and get Dustin and she told me bye. I got to the hotel and told Dustin and he didn't believe me. Before we could get back she had started talking more and more and they called and told us to hurry and get there. We were amazed, she was saying all kinds of stuff, her poor little voice was just very faint, you had to listen real close to hear what she was saying, but it didn't matter, she was talking. Her short term memory still wasn't there, but believe me when I say that isn't the issue now. She can just about tell you anything you want to know and if you are around her any length of time she will ask you when you b-day is and how old you are and she will be able to tell you the next time she sees you, just amazing. She didn't know why she was in the hospital and she couldn't even remember our Disney trip. She was so funny, she would flirt with any boy that walked in the room and loved playing with all the kids that came in.

Kensley's left eye would stay shut all the time, but we were told that over time that should heal and it has, her pupil is still dialated, but she can see fine out of it. You can tell when she gets tired that the left eye gets a little droopy. She had to go to the eye doctor in Birminham a couple of weeks ago and he said that at this point they would consider putting a patch over her good eye so that she could strengthen the bad one, but she was doing so well that he didn't think anything needed to be done. PTL!

I hate to make this a novel, but I won't to write as much as I can remember down so that I have it to look back at when my memory starts to fail me. :) I guess I'm going to have to make a part 3 cause I'm not finished and don't want to put so much in one post that no one wants to read it, so I will finish up with the next post soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reflecting back part 1......

On October 7, 2009 our lives changed. I still remember the day so clearly. We were driving down the road in pouring down rain and I had considered telling Dustin to pull over, but little did I know that wasn't meant and you'll see why a little later in the post. Next thing I knew we were laying upside down in the car and I couldn't find my kids, I hope no one ever has to experience that, and I couldn't keep my husband conscience. I didn't care who was around me or who heard me, I was calling out to the Lord to please spare my husband because he was lost and to please help my kids. I remember looking up at one point and seeing Dustin's phone laying there and I grabbed it and was gonna call someone but just hesitated because I didn't want them to panic on the phone with me cause I myself was already in a panic. They wouldn't tell me anything about the kids other than Konnor was ok and they were working on Kensley, but I had no idea of the extent of it. Apparently I was up against the culvert so no one could get over to that side of the car and at first they didn't even know I was in there and I was trying to scream and tell them, but it was hard to holler, I just didn't have the breath, but thank the Lord someone heard me. I helped them unbuckle Dustin so they could pull him out. Then they were able to get me out. The pain was so unbearable, it hurt to breathe or move.

I was asking for my kids, but they kept telling me that I had to go to the hospital and that they were being taken care of. They put me and Dustin in the same ambulance together and about the only thing I remember of the ride was thinking if I can just go off to sleep cause it hurt so bad to breathe. I remember holding Dustin's hand on the way and telling him I love you. We had no concept of the time frame that all of this was going on. They took Dustin to the same hospital that the kids were at and I was left by myself. The weather had gotten bad so they just decided that they would just transport me by ambulance, which was at least an hour away. I was still on the back board and still had a neck brace around me and it was all so uncomfortable.

We went through numerous x-rays and scans, but all came back good. Thank you Lord! Once we arrived at the ER at the same hospital as the kids Dustin was given a phone to call someone. He got a hold of his mom and dad, but they were so upset that she passed the phone over to Bro. Steve Mahathey, I remember talking to him briefly. At that point me and Dustin were in separate rooms but we could see each other through the window. Sis. Mindy Holman and Sis. Heather Riggins came to stay with me in the ER and the Lord came by and I'm so thankful for that. Holly and Heather were also vacationing at the beach and were able to get to my kids and stay with them. Uncle Leonard was with Dustin. They moved us to rooms and I was able to get me a shower with some help from Sis. Jenny Harkins, bless her heart, but at that point I didn't care. I had mud madded all up in my hair and all over me. They didn't allow me to go see Dustin, it was over in the morning by this time and I just had to go to my room cause both of us were sharing with other pts. Friends and family started pouring in, the support was so overwhelming. I never would have dreamed all of those people would come to see us, but they did and I don't know what we would have done without them there.

We rested for a couple of hours and the next morning they wheeled Konnor up to see us. It was such a great feeling to see him there and doing well, just a little sore. I remember just hugging him and crying. They came in and discharged me so I went over to sit with Dustin until they discharged him. I didn't want to go alone to see Kensley, we really had no idea how bad she was, most of it had been kept from us. Once Dustin was discharged we immediately went to see Kens. I can still remember the first time we saw her, it was just heartbreaking seeing her lay there with all of her hair cut off and tubes running everywhere. She was just lifeless and I was just helpless. All we could do was wait. We then headed to Konnor's room to visit and soon after he was discharged. There are so many details that I feel sometimes I could write a book. To go back a little, Konnor had some cuts that were pretty bad and they thought he might have to get some stitches, and he heard them talking about it and began to pray that he wouldn't have to and the nurse came back and said he didn't. The Lord hears their prayers and I'm so thankful he knew to pray about it. I want my kids to know that the Lord can give them whatever they need.

Here is a pic of how Kens started out. This picture doesn't do justice of how she really looked. I go back to those days so many times and am so thankful that he carried us. And I do mean he carried us, I look back and think we were upset and didn't know what to do, but I find myself struggling more over it now than I did then and I know it was the prayers and the prescence of the family and the Children of God that helped us through each day. We only went one day out of the whole eight weeks that we didn't have any visitors. What a blessing to know that we have such great family in the Lord.

I'm going to make this part 1 of my post and finish it up maybe tomorrow or before the week is up.