Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wanna know what I realized yesterday?  When Leslie doesn't have a moment to "think", she can hold a conversation as if nothing was ever wrong with her brain.  It's the times that there are silences in the conversation that she starts to throw out questions about things to keep things straight in her mind.  If the conversation is busy, she is able to contribute in a meaningful way and again, you'd never know anything was different.

Part of her brain injury means that she becomes fixated on things.  A thought will cross her mind, and she almost becomes obsessed with it.  That is one reason why I am careful about things I tell her.  For instance, if it's something that isn't going to happen for a few weeks, there is no sense in telling her, as it will tumble around in her head and she will be consumed with it.  This observation of mine pretty much just proves what we already know.  Her short term memory is obsolete, while her long term memory is still intact.

Yesterday we celebrated my mom's 50-something-th birthday!  It was a very nice time.  We ordered pizza, Jay and I (okay, Jay only) brought a homemade salad, and Leslie and George brought a Bumpy Cake from Saunders.  Yum!  Part of Leslie's gift to my mom was a DVD George had put together with some very old movies (1980-1981) that were found in my parents attic.  They all featured Leslie as the star, and it was amazing seeing videos of her!  I've seen many pictures of her as an infant, but to see her on video was incredible.  She was a gorgeous baby and it's so fun to see how her mannerisms as an infant are pretty consistent with her mannerisms as an adult:  sweet and gentle.

In other news:  some friends of ours got a trampoline.  The immature part of me just HAD to jump on it and I was quickly reminded of what birthing two babies does to your body.  I know you might be thinking TMI TMI TMI! ...but I also know there are women out there that are saying, "Girrrrrrrrrl, I know whatcha mean!"  Kegels, anyone?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jay said to me yesterday, "You haven't updated your blog in a while.  How come?"

This was such a surprise to me, as I didn't even know he read my blog!  Anyhow, it made me realize I should post an update.

Last week, we went on vacation.  More of a "stay"-cation, really, as we just went up to Jay's parents house near Ludington, and did some day trips here and there.  The first night we got there, we got this awful phone call letting us know that Jay's best friend was in a motorcycle accident and was in critical condition.  He was the passenger on the motorcycle.  The driver died en route to the hospital.

Hearing this news brought back similar emotions from when I got the awful call about Leslie.  I remember with her, my mind would only allow me to think, "I must get to her."  Because I remember feeling this way so clearly, I made sure Jay knew that if he needed to leave to be by his friend's side, it was okay and he could go.  I understood.  He didn't go, but he remained in constant contact with close friends and family for frequent updates.

When we got home, we went to see him.  Amazingly he was already moved to a step-down unit, but he was in rough shape.  His jaw underwent major reconstruction and was wired shut.  Because of this, they had to put a trach in his neck to maintain his airway.  He also had major pelvic reconstruction, and had external and internal pins keeping his pelvis in position.  He didn't have any other major injuries, but he had major "road rash" from head to toe, with some incisions closed with staples. 

This was when the thoughts of Leslie REALLY came flooding back.  With Les, she was so unstable, and had wires everywhere.  If I was with her, I was touching her.  I would rub her arms, scratch her back, wipe her face with a cold washcloth, or just hold her hand.  When I saw Bryan, I just wanted to touch him to let him know it was okay.  Of course, I didn't really feel it was appropriate, so I resisted, but the urge was so strong.

When someone is in critical condition, the feeling of helplessness is so overpowering.  You want to do SOMETHING.  With Leslie, it was braiding her hair, and attempting to maintain range of motion in her extremities.  With Bryan, it was making sure his syringe was full, as he was allowed to have small squirts of water in his mouth.  You just feel so, so helpless and desperate.

I can say with such joy that he is recovering amazingly well.  The trach is now plugged off so he is able to talk (as best as one can talk with their jaw wired shut), and despite the pins, physical therapy has been getting him up and out of bed.  It's unbelievable.

I have genuine happiness that he not only survived, but that the injuries he sustained are healing incredibly fast and he could quite possibly be back to his normal self sooner than anyone anticipated.  I'd be lying, though, if I didn't admit that a part of me thinks, "How come Leslie's injuries couldn't have taken the same route?"  Here we are, nearly 2 years later, and she still suffers the effects of the brain injury.  She wasn't riding a motorcycle, she was putting her Master's degree to work and teaching students Spanish.  Why can't she catch a break, too?

Aside from that, all is well in the K household.  The kids are happily enjoying summer.  Jay has been traveling a lot for work, which makes for a little extra chaos at home, as I am still working full-time.  Work is good.  Leslie is good.  My parents are good.  I really can't complain!