Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Houston Trip

Now that Jeremy has moved to the rehabilitation phase I don't feel the need to do daily updates about his recovery. I will post as there is information and progress to share. I'm so glad we have moved past the phase where I needed to post daily mostly to keep family informed that he had survived another day. I'm also glad we have moved past the stage where Jeremy was doing something new each day. Right now he remains stable and continues with 3-4 hours of therapy a day, including occupational, speech, and physical therapy.
Carter eating lunch in Uncie J's room with Uncie J and Opa.
We have had the pleasure of visiting Jeremy this weekend. The kids and I arrived Friday evening and will leave tomorrow morning. Jeremy's schedule is a bit lighter on the weekends so we were able to spend a lot of time with him. I was impressed to see how far he had come in  just a week at this facility. He is beginning to regain his filter and knowledge of what is appropriate in social situations. He no longer blows kisses at the nurses and doesn't talk about how pretty they are anymore. He still wants to come home but is more appropriate with his requests and understands why he can't go home. He even said, I appreciate what this place is doing for me and am not in a rush to go home, I just want to be home. From the behaviors we are seeing, it appears he is around level 6 of recovery from a TBI. The doctors haven't mentioned where he is on the continuum as their main focus is what his deficits are and teaching him how to work around them. 

It is interesting to see where the holes are or, more accurately, what information he is no longer able to access. He still has a vast knowledge and understanding of the workings of the body, brain, and psychology as that was his area of focus and study in school. He was even talking about one of his medicines, saying it was a serotonin reuptake inbibitor. He remembers a lot of facts about music and musicians. He remembers past memories up until New Year's Day which was the day before his accident. Surpringly he has been regaining his short term memory and can remember events that occurred earlier in the present day and the day before. 
Elise eating dinner in Uncie J's lap.

With everything he remembers and is able to do it is surprising to encounter a deficit which seems to be something much less complicated and difficult to understand. Carter has been fake sneezing quite a bit and Jeremy will tell him, "Cover your mouth, Carter." I can tell he's not just playing along, he really doesn't understand Carter is pretending. One day my parents took him down to the store and he couldn't understand that it was closed so he couldn't buy what he wanted. The most noticeable deficits have been in social skills. In a group therapy session they were playing Trivial Pursuit and Jeremy would jump in and answer other people's questions and then go into long explanations as to why his answer was correct. 

We know his story doesn't end here and there are more gains to be made. It is my hope that as he makes the transition back into society, people are understanding of his differences. There is a lack of understanding about TBI in the public in general. I didn't know much about them until experiencing one first hand with Jeremy. I hope people will be able to understand that he is not trying to be rude or mean. He is just relearning a lot of skills. I'm hopeful people will be open and welcoming to him. We have been amazed with outpouring of love and support for Jeremy over the past, almost, 2 months and I hope that is the case even with people he does not know. The plan remains for him to transfer to an outpatient facility next week. That is exciting and scary for us and we are unsure of what to expect! I think at the end of the day all any of us wants is for the ones we love to be loved and accepted by others. That is my hope for Jeremy as he moves forward with the next phase of recovery.
Carter enjoying a book read by Uncie J.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Houston, Here We Are!

We survived! Carter, Elise, and I made it to Houston. We left at 9:20 am and arrived at 7:15 pm. The 8 hour drive took much longer with traffic and we stopped a few times. I figured we would stop every 2 hours or so for a potty break and to stretch our legs. I had to laugh when we hadn't even made it past the Wal-Mart we normally grocery shop at before Carter asked to stop for a walk and to stretch his legs. We made it 3 hours before stopping for lunch. There was about a 30-40 mile stretch with no exits right before we stopped and, of course, that was when I noticed I needed gas and Carter decided he was starving but we both held it together and arrived at a little picnic area with our packed lunch in one piece. After we ate I let Carter run around in the grass while Elise crawled all over the place. It was quite a bit of fun. Then we were back on the road for what I hoped would be naptime. I think Elise napped because she was quiet and I can't see her but Carter did not nap. He played with his buddies, making them dance and then he played with his interactive world map his Gigi and Papa got him for his birthday. It was cute to hear him say, "Russia is far away from us! Is China far away too?" He loves to touch the countries to hear their names. When he lost interest in his toys I started pointing things out that we drove by. I pointed out some goats which he didn't see so he said, "I see no goats! You are kidding me! There are no goats! You are kidding me!" So then after that he kept telling me he saw a deer and then would say, "I'm just kidding you!"
Elise enjoying our picnic lunch.
After another hour in the car my phone died and I plugged it in to charge but it didn't turn on after 15 minutes. I panicked because I was using the map on my phone and had no idea how to get there without it. I tried plugging it in to a different spot and decided to stop at a gas station to walk around a bit and let it charge to make sure we didn't miss an exit. I let Carter pick out a Powerade and I got a soda because I felt the caffeine was needed although I rarely drink any caffeine. It was nice to use the restroom and walk around a bit. Back in the car we  made it another 2 hours while Carter read books and Elise possibly took another little nap and then talked her little head off. I watched Carter suck his thumb and then finally drift off to sleep at 3 pm. He napped for about an hour and woke up scream crying which caused Elise to cry. I talked to Carter and calmed him down. When we hit an exit we stopped. I was hoping for a play area but settled for a Dairy Queen with a "pet playground" in the back which was a fenced in grassy area. Carter's leg had fallen asleep so he didn't want to get out of the car. I was tired and didn't want to fight so I bribed him with an ice cream cone. We used the restroom, got some ice cream, and headed to the play area. We had so much fun playing chase and running around. Elise would laugh so hard when I carried her to chase Carter and then when I chased her she'd crack up when I caught her. It was a blast!
Playing in the pet park.

From there it should have taken around 2 hours but ended up taking over 2 and a half hours due to traffic. When we pulled into the parking area for Jeremy's facility it was almost 7:30 and the kids hadn't eaten yet. Mom, dad, and Jeremy met us at the doors and we all went to the cafeteria for dinner together. Carter was so excited to be out of the car and to see his Uncie J! Jeremy was looking good and was quite talkative! The facility is amazing. We got to see the gym where he goes for workouts and I was really impressed. This facility is out of network so the copay is 50% but it is worth it to be somewhere that specializes in TBI and has the resources and staff to meet Jeremy's needs. Just in our short visit I was so pleased with what I saw.
So excited to see Uncie J!

Jeremy's big new is that he is now up to 115 pounds! I can't believe I weigh more than him. I can't think of any other time in my life that has been the case other than possibly when I was in 4th grade as that was my chubby year! A sweet friend of the family suggested we start a Go Fund Me page to help Jeremy with the expenses of his hospitalization and rehabilitation after the accident. We met last night to put it together and she had written a very sweet and informative explanation of Jeremy's accident. I've had people asking how they can help and now we have a way for them to do so. I thought I'd share the link on here for those who have expressed interest. Click here to access the fundraising campaign for Jeremy's Medical Expenses.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Funny Stuff Carter Says

Jeremy Update:

Jeremy has been eating really well and is now even taking his medications by mouth rather than them crushing them up and giving them to him through his feeding tube. Last night his nurse checked his feeding tube and his stomach was full. During OT yesterday they asked Jeremy to put his medicines in some kind of order expecting him to do them in alphabetical order or order them by the time of day he takes them. Instead he started discussing what the medications did, referring to the brain and chemicals. We found out that Jeremy will not be able to go outside without staff during his stay because of his leg so he won't be able to get a green wristband like I had mentioned earlier. Today during OT he got to go outside and play with some dogs. They are projecting that Jeremy will be able to leave by March 8th. My secret hope that I haven't shared with anyone is that Jeremy will be able to attend Elise's first birthday party on the 19th. It is looking like that will be a possibility!!!
Jeremy during OT.

Now on to a post of funny things my little Carter man has said...

As I was getting ready to type this post using the notes I jot down about what Carter says, I thought, I can't wait until Elise is thrown in the mix! It will be so much fun when she is talking and saying funny stuff too! But what will be even better is the goofy conversations she and Carter will have. I actully can wait because I love the stage she's in right now, but it will be fun when we get there!

"The stars are pretty. They are all up there making flowers and things. Watch Lion King!" His seemingly random comment is most likely because Mufasa talks to Simba about the stars in one scene.

"Did you hear my stomach? It's making lots of noises because I ate so much food!"

He had climbed from the toilet to the bathroom counter.
"But I can't get down. I might fall and bang my head and crack my head and get blood all over the place!"

To Elise: "You're a brave girl!"

On a particularly difficult morning...
Me: Are you going to brush your teeth or go to time out?
Carter: I'd prefer to not brush my teeth, not get a spanking, and go to time out!

"It's like when I was riding my bike and I goed in the driveway and then I goed in the grass. I goed back on the concrete. That's how you solve your problems. Now you need to solve your problem like I solved mine!" Sometimes he's like a miniature life coach, lol!

"You're going to sleep with me and then you will play with me while daddy sleeps. That's the plan. Okay!"

"Let's talk more about the Earth. Some stars live in planets and some stars live in casseroles."

"I'm excited to eat cake! Delish!"

"Here's the deal. Daddy you go with mommy. I'll stay with sissy and we'll eat some cake." I die laughing every time I read this one. We didn't even have any cake!

While running down the hall with a flashlight, "No, shadow, don't follow me!"

Carter: What are you doing?
Me: Cleaning kitty litter.
Carter: Why?
Me: Because there is potty and poop in there.
Carter: I like poop!
Me: Really, why?
Carter: It's smelly and shiny!

Carter had used a walking stick on a hike and I made him leave it when we got in the car to go home.
"I'm sure, I'm sure I want this stick. I'm afraid someone is going to come and take my stick and I will cry for it."

We were listening to a Frank Sinatra Pandora station when "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Vallie & the Four Seasons came on.
"That sounds like dragon land!"

While we were doing puzzles, "Good! Good team! Work hard!"

Me: You look like a cool dude. He was wearing sunglasses.
Carter: Don't call me a dude. I'm not a dude! Call me a snuggle bug!

Carter: When I get older I want to run races and catch butterflies and visit Uncie J and drive cars! Can I drive cars when I'm older?
Me: Yes.
Carter: Where will you and daddy sit?
Me: It just depends.
Carter: Okay!

We were driving home from the grocery store where we had splurged on some Oreo cookies.
"I need to see the cookies to see if they're safe. Can you turn on the light?"

"I shouldn't sing Twinkle Twinkle because it's a night night song. I'll sing ABCs because it's a daytime song."

We were at Jeremy's house taking care of his cats when Carter said, "Look at my big, big penis!" and I looked over to see this...
I didn't realize these kinds of jokes started so young!

One day he woke up from his nap and cried for 30 minutes saying something I couldn't understand because he was crying so hard. It turned out he was crying because I had put my hair in a ponytail while he was sleeping and he wanted me to take it down so he could play with it. I'm not exaggerating, he cried for 30 minutes!

He says moss for floss and calls his putty yolk which cracks me up every time!

Random funny story not about Carter:

One Saturday morning Carter and Ty were playing in his room. Then Carter asked me to come play cars with him so I did. While Carter and I were playing cars, making our cars talk to each other, Ty was laying off to the side playing cars by himself. He was even making them make noises as they drove. It was just about the cutest thing I've ever seen!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Jeremy Update:

The big news from my parents today was that Jeremy's doctor said he expects Jeremy to make nearly a full recovery as far as his brain and functioning goes! That is what we have been hoping for but have known the possibility with the extent of his brain damage was unlikely. We continue to be amazed and in awe of how our bodies and brains are created in such a way to be able to recover from such intense trauma. It is truly amazing and goes to show how important it is to exercise regularly and take care of your health as all the doctors have said Jeremy's good health has significantly contributed to his body's ability to recover from his trauma and injuries!

Carter and Jeremy playing a new game.
Going on a walk with Jeremy at the hospital.

Elise's big after-dinner Buddha belly!
Elise eating regular oatmeal for the first time.
Carter's favorite animals at our most recent zoo trip were small turtles.
Carter trying to climb a wall at the zoo, the girl beside him was giving him pointers.
He made it to the top with minimal help!
While I put Elise down for her morning nap, Carter got into my vitamins, eek!
Elise excited to see the sharks.
Carter decided he wanted to sleep in daddy's lap for the night.
Carter pretending to make a phone call using his cinnamon roll "phone".
Carter playing with his My Little Pony castle he asked for for Christmas and Jeremy got him.
Ty trying to take a nap with Skippy on him.
Dinner outside on a beautiful day!
The kids were so excited we found a 3 seater cart.
Bedtime book reading in the morning.
My little froggy!
Hanging out with Mr. Jones at Jeremy's house.
Elise eating grapes for the first time.
Carter and Elise playing cars together.
Morning runs mean the kids get to ride in pajamas. Carter wanted to walk the dog after our run.
Carter singing along after a book reading at a Talking is Teaching event.
Pete the Cat was the first character Carter actually wanted to take a picture with.
Elise reading her free book after the Talking is Teaching event.
Ty met us at the event and took Elise to the newborn room while I took Carter to the 3 year old area.
Aqua Tots at the aquarium.
Storytime at the library.
Putting puzzles together at the library.
Carter picked out his outfit and put a tie on.