Wednesday, December 31, 2008

blindfolded with mitts on

my mom called me this morning to tell me that my cousin in Ontario that has cancer is not doing well. the doctors are not doing anymore treatments with him. I was hoping for a more positive start to the New Year.
I know a while back i had said i needed to stay real with how i was feeling about things in our lives and family... well here it is....
My kids are all a bit different right now . Josh is sick with something (kinda croupy coughs and just feeling like garbage) and quiet alot more--but still has that new nervous habit of making noise, Sam is NOT sleeping well at all and so he is exhausted all the time, Isaac seems to be more emotional and dramatic about almost everyething and Hannah is extremely clingy and emotional.... I would like to say it is just the Christmas blues...but i know better. I know my kids and what they are like.... this is not my kids. I think we need to all sit down and talk and try to get to the bottom of things and let some of this emotional "bottling up" that we all like to do, out. I think it is finally time to set everyone down and talk about what has happened with our family since this summer. I laugh sometimes about the counsellors that we talked to shortly after Sam's accident and how they all said "oh you are handling it all fine!" maybe they should see us now... it feels like my family is falling to pieces and slipping thru my fingers! I feel like I am trying to put together a puzzle in the dark .... with mitts on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sam's Surprise Party


We were actually able to pull of the BEST surprise for Sam! We had a surprise party for him on the last day of school before Christmas break! I picked up all his friends from school and then Dennis had Sam in the shop "finishing Grandpa and Grandma's Christmas present" while I filed them all into the house.Dennis then sent Sam into the house for fishing line... and there were his friends! They are such an awesome bunch of kids! They were all so excited for him and they seemed to have fun playing the wii -- Boogie (Karaoke game) and Dance Dance Revolution!

This Christmas season was busy for us all and Sam is showing the signs now of his exhaustion. When Hannah took some pictures of us all on the 27th Sammi was back to a 1/2 smile... the left side was too tired to smile. So we have been at home trying hard to get him back into a relaxing and "stress free" life.

It was hard to see how hard he worked to keep up with the other kids at the farm on Boxing Day. He was outside for about 5 hours with the kids building a snow fort and when he came back in he was so tired but in order to keep up with everyone else he let his mouth run off and get himself into trouble. But Dennis and I understood what was happening -- unfortunately others didnt and there were thoughts that he was being disrespectful and a trouble maker.... sigh... lets just say that the "mother bear" was having a hard time trying to hold her tongue!I can fractionally understand how tired Sam is most days, since I find it emotionally draining and physically exhausting to try to keep up with his moods and tiredness! If I am feeling this-- then -- what does this boy go thru on a daily basis!? I am just surprised tho at the reaction of family members to his coping skills -- I had hoped that they might try to be a bit more understanding and not see everything as "bad behaviour" and see it from his perspective. Maybe I expect too much from people?

I pray that 2009 is a year filled with healing for Sam. He is still so far from where he used to be, but so much farther from where the doctors thought he would be! Praise God!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It is almost here...


yes it is almost here. Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas. I am still not in my usual Christmas mood but Iam excited for tomorrow. I feel a peace that hasnt been in me for a long time. I feel happy about tomorrow coming but I am mostly sitting in a comfortable peace. It is a nice feeling . But tomorrow is the day that our children will open their gifts that we have bought them, it is the day that they will open the gifts that their siblings so carefully chose for them.
Tomorrow is Christ's birthday-- everyday i thank him for his wonderful gift of life -- in so many ways!

First, for his gift of everlasting life! Without that, these last few months, would not have been as bearable as they were. Without knowing that I will be in Heaven with Him, with my wonderful husband and my children, I dont know where we would be today ... literally. It was thru Christ that I was able to survive the drive to Winnipeg to Sam, the drive to Neepawa to my Mom when they both needed me. It was because of HIM that I was able to be who they needed me to be! Thank you Lord for that gift to me! You knew what was coming down the way at us before it all happened and You gave me the strength to stand thru it and not (totally) fall apart.

Second, He gave the gift of LIFE to my son, Sam! He gave him to me not only once as a baby, but again on July 29 when we werent sure if we would see our Sammi again! I will never be able to explain the fear in my heart as we hit the perimeter of Winnipeg and it all came to me what had happened-- but then I will never be able to explain the joy I felt when Sammi looked at me in the emergency room and he smiled with his lopsided,half paralyzed face. All I can say is this: God is so good!

I want to take this time to thank everyone! For the meals, the calls, the visits, the inquiries, the smiles, the hugs, the prayers...this list could go on forever! I know I will never be able to show you all just how much you mean to us and how much your care and concern for our family has touched our hearts...but thank you. I thank you all for being you and for allowing God to speak into your hearts what we needed to hear, see and expereince thru you all!


May you have the merriest of Christmases and a very healthy, happy and joyous New Year!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can Christmas be over?

i am feeling increasing overwhelmed with Christmas and life in general. I am normally a huge fan of Christmas and all that goes with it, but not this year. I just want it all to be over with and life to return to whatever normal I can find. Between our spring, Sam and Dwayne I am finding it very difficult to be "merry"-- I just want Christmas to be over.I have to force myself to be socialable. (those who know me-- know that i am a VERY socialable person). I cant explain it ... just not me.


And, apparently, Albert (my ulcer) and I will be together for another year. Yesterday at the doctor (our monthly visit to see one of my favourite persons in town) he told me that I am still producing alot of acid in my stomach due to the stress that still has a hol on our household. (i guess then that he (Albert) and I will have a long and not very happy life together-- when is there never stress!?) So another year of med's to try to control him and possibly "divorce" him by next year.


The doctor is also going to have Sam go for another round of sleep clinic and we have to keep a dream journal for him (Sam not the doctor). Sam has never been one to talk of his dreams. He says he never remembers them, so maybe this is why the poor kid is so tired all the time. So we will see. he had a very emotional morning today and i was in tears as he left for school. He says he doesnt know what is wrong but he just feels down. he says there is no trouble or anything at school, so i am not sure. Hopefully when we get in to Wpg to see the "head doctor" (no not the neurologist either) she may have some useful tools for us to use to help him. It is heartbreaking for me. I just want to keep him home and let us both cry it all out til we are bone dry and cant even spit.


I have been extrememly emotinal myslef these days. I made an idiot of myself last Thursday by crying about some paper work for Sam that i forgot to mail. And i was at work... I find that i am crying at the stupidest times and for the dumbest reasons, commercials, songs, and not the sappy ones...just for no reason. So i have made an idiot of myself on a few occassions i guess...just not prepared to name them all.


Tonight is the Ladies Banquet at the church and I am in charge of the program. I shose to decorate in the Winter Wonderland theme, and found a great poem about snowflakes and uniqueness and thanks to God for the differences in snowflakes and in each person. Then there is a skit about "how to mke the perfect Woman" and how we are all unique and perfect in our own way... there is no recipe for THE perfect woman-- just perfection in God's eyes. It all tied together really well i think considering i took ideas from about 3 or 4 other programs. Then i had some awesome friends that offered to help me to decorate and sut up. They all showed up last night after supper to help and (again i wanted to cry... I never expected the extra help-- but God knew that I needed it!) the men helped to set up a background for photos to be taken. The whole overall effect is amazing! Thank you so much for all the help Barb, Rick, Harris, Jenn and my wonderful husband, Dennis. you have no idea how much it all meant to me last night!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

just not there yet...

I am not too sure why but I am not in a "Christmassy" mood yet this year. I have my Nativity scenes out, and I know it is not the main reason of Christmas- but i have done most of the shopping, I have been listening to music and blah blah blah and all that jazz, but i am just not there yet. I honestly can say that if Christmas were to be over tomorrow I would be ok with that. OUr tree is not up (which for those of my friends and family who know me-- know that I BEG Dennis to let me get it up the last week of Nov and hold out to the first of Dec) But i even told him that I was ok with NOT having a tree or anything. I am working hard on trying to make things happy and cheerful for the kids but I really would love to skip it this year and crawl into bed for a good loooooong sleep!
We were at Mom's this weekend and got her tree up and her house decorated and it looks fabulous--even that didnt help to move my spirits. I think that it is just maybe too much for me...not sure. A friend who went thru a pretty traumatic and stressful summer and I were talking and i wonder if she didnt hit the nail on the head when she said that possibly we (she and I) were experiencing PTSD (post traumtic stress disorder) I know we are supposed to keep an eye on the boys for it (not too sure what it 'looks' like...) so maybe I am. I know that we have way too much going on and we are (Dennis and I) ready for a winter hibernation ...lol..but then who isnt...

I have one thing I am a bit excited over and it is about Sam's birthday. I cant say anything else tho incase he reads this OR someone else tells him about it--but rest assured he is going to love it!And THAT i am happy/excited about.

Sam has been really tired alot lately. Too the point where he is ready to sleep at 5.30pm, he is sleeping in longer in the mornings, and is just plain beat. I was worried he was coming down with something last week as he had a slight temperature and was white, but a day at home resting on the couch helped him to feel better. (we are not out the woods with fevers and infections...so he needs to stay healthy!) In a meeting with the teachers at school they all seemed to feel he was back to his normal self, and sometimes I see it too, but then comes the majority of the days where he is quiet, tired and withdrawn. I wonder if he is putting SO MUCH energy into "being normal" that it is what is wiping him out everyday. I watched him on Friday at my mom's while we decorated the tree, and he put on a few decorations and then just sat in the chair or laid on the couch and watched. I brought tears to my eyes when i watched him, because my bouncy energetic Sam was not there with us. I miss that Sam.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

from one end to the other

yep... with one its his head and the other its his posterior, his backside, his sittin place-- are you intrigued!?

We were finally able to get into see a doctor that would actually give us an answer as to why Josh had had so much trouble with sitting since spring...and the answer was...he broke his tail bone! Way back in APRIL!!!!!!!!! Just after we had reshingled the house he began to complain about how sore his tail bone was and how painful it was sitting, so we did the usual "what have you been doing", "you probably hurt it playing football" blah blah blah, "lets just give it a few days and it will probably be fine..." well it never did get to be "fine" so we went to see Dr. Chapman and he had thought it might be a "dimple" at the base of his spine(kinda like an extra fold of skin) and he sent us to a plastic surgeon in Wpg.... who disagreed with him and said it seemed to be more of a bone issue and sent us to another surgeon--but a orthopedic one...who took a fabulous xray, which revealed the broken bone! (whew-- that was a long winded story!) So now to make this long story just a bit longer, Josh has no idea as to how he broke it, but for the next few months he is to use a doughnut for sitting on to see if it will heal. If it is showing no improvement in 4-5 months we are to go back to otrhopedic doc and he will perform surgery and cut the bone out so it isnt so painful.
So we will see...
Now my big query is this: any suggestions as to how to get a 14yr old to use a doughnut in jr high?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

sleeeeeeeeeeep.......zzzzzzzzzz







Sam and I were in Winnipeg on Thursday night for the sleep clinic. I found it amusing to call it a sleep clinic when that is the last thing that a person does! Ok well the last thing that I did. The whole process was over and we were "finalized" and ready for "sleep" aka bed by 10.30 pm-- so a half hour of trying to watch a movie (we never got to see the end of it --or the beginning for that matter due to Sam getting hooked up to machines-- since i turned out the lights at 11 and sent him off to la-la-land) As you can see from the pictures... Sam had a nice normal bed-- i had a chair that folded into a "bed"... sleep was a low commodity i tell ya.

We were supposed to be "kicked out" at 6 am but since we got such a late start with sleep and the tech's were waiting for the respirology lab to send up someone to do oxygen level tests on Sam's blood Sam was able to sleep in until 6.45 and the booted us out at 7.00 instead!

We were told that he had no episodes through out the night-- which is good but also kind of bad in the fact that if he doesnt have sleep apnea then why is he so tired and sore when he sleeps at night...does this mean we are going to have to have more testing done? So basically we are at square one again...stay tuned to this blog for future updates... (LOL I crack me up... i know i know i need to get some better material...)
So as for now until we hear more from the doctor we know no more than we did before we had our sleep over. I really hope that there are some answers to why Sam is so tired and sore all the time. Poor kid-- some mornings I would LOVE to send him back to bed...then follow suit by crawling back into my own!






Thursday, November 13, 2008

i am still a work in progress... and i am ok with that! (are you?)

After my last post, i wrestled hard with myself on whether i should leave it there or remove it. But my husband says that when people ask how things are going with us now, tell them the truth, no"fine" so i decided to leave it posted. And in keeping with being me. I am sincerely sorry if i have hurt anyones feelings with it, but that is how I WAS FEELING! I am still a work in progress when it comes to life, but i am also entitled to my feelings!
With that of my last post being said, i did take a few positive steps myself and have found that I feel better for it and think that if people have issues with us (or me) then either talk about it or suck it up and get on with life! As we have learned this summer, life is too short to be spent worrying on stuff that we cant control! So on to new topics....

Yesterday we had another CT scan in Wpg and athe god news is that it was all clear of infection!! YAAAAY! (not that there was any before but all the small victories make each day smilier!:) i wish i knew how to mkae emoticons on here!) BUT the new news was that ONCE AGAIN we are not out of the woods. **sigh** We are now on a 6 month "wait" before we are clear of infection risks. (granted he will always have a small chance of risk of infection since there is a foreign object in his brain...) but in 6 months we will be the clearest we are going to be! WHOO HOO!!
So we go back in to Wpg in May for (i hope) our last CT!!! Sam and I may just have a small party on that trip! lol
There was a small side effect tho yesterday and it was due to the contrast they had in the IV that Sam had. After we left the hospital and headed to the mall for lunch, Sam felt sick after he ate and he had a pain on the left side of his chest and left arm the rest of the day and he was EXTREMELY tired all of a sudden. So we ended our shopping and headed home with a bottle of pepto, a cup of steeped tea and Sam's jacket as a pillow. We were intending to do some grocery shopping and just hanging out together but he was in no shape to do so. He slept all the way to Portage La Prairie and then dozed off and on til Austin. He was beat and white as a sheet. I felt so bad for him. He looked even smaller than usual.
This morning he went to school but was tired and ALOT grumpy, but i asked him to at least give it a go since there is no school tomorrow for the kids. He can sleep all he wants!

I am really enjoying being back to work too!I think my job has changed a bit in that I have a bit more responsibilty when it comes to the planning of the worship service (the powerpoint part i mean) I cant explain it but i will be doing more reading and a bit of studying and a whole pile of praying that I do the right thing when it comes to choosing scripture. I am going to enjoy the challenge i know and once i have things organized in my head and in the office I hope to have it running smoothly again-- well a girl can hop can't she!?

My new leaf is I am trying to stay smiling and positive!

I have seen what a laugh can do. It can tranform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.
~Bob Hope~

Monday, November 10, 2008

another casuality...

No... no one is hurt, not physically anyway, but its seems like we have lost a few friends since July 29th. I am not sure why this has happened (friends for a season perhaps) but for me it hurts (I cant speak for Dennis).

How is it that something that is traumatic to my family, has caused people who we considered close friends to drift away while other friends that we not have expected it from have become closer? Are they scared that they will be asked to do something? Do they not care about us as a family (and some friends were just like family)? Are they worried that our "bad happenings(or luck)" will some how transfer to them? Maybe they are just dont understand what goes in our house now? Could it be that they think we are making a big deal of it all? Maybe the thought is that we some how deserve this-- that Sam and Josh deserved this? Or that we are bad parents for letting him"play" with guns? Or maybe it is just that they think my children are bad influences for this to happen? I would really like to know...

In reality, this summer has been a HUGE change for our family and yes we have had to cut back on some activities (not to mention spending since I was not working) that we did so that we could let our son heal . Things like going out (Sam still cant be left alone and it STILL makes us nervous to leave him with Josh), visiting at others houses (Sam's social problems tend to shine when we are out-- so til we can get a system with him it is difficult to relax and enjoy time out!), but we can have people over, they could phone or email. Now please dont think I am so self centered as to think that other people dont have lives and their own stuff going on, we have tried to reach out to friends and have been met with awkward coffees, no answers to questions, or follow up to phone calls and if there is things going on in their lives ... no one will say (granted if they are trying to spare us any other "worries" isnt friendship a give and take: if you are down and out I am here for you not matter what i am going thru at the time... maybe its just me...

Yes we were busy with appointments and visits. Yes we were keeping our heads down for a bit, but with it all we still relied on friends to help keep us from drowning in it all. Maybe for some that is just too much responsibility. Maybe people dont want to talk about it and that is ok (I dont want to talk about it sometimes too!) It is not the center of my conversations, but if someone asks I will talk about it!

I am at a loss and it wouldn't matter what the reason, it still hurts. And if I have said or done anything to cause these feelings I personally would like to know so I can apologize and try to make things right, but if it is due to other reasons... I wish people would talk more about what they think and how they feel because being ignored is more painful then the truth i think. Maybe it is just me and I am too sensitive or read to much into stuff. Maybe I expect too much from a friend...I wish someone would tell me because it hurts....alot.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

and another few pounds...

I would LOVE to say that it is a another few pounds gone for me but it is for Sam! He has gained a few more pounds and is 12 away from being his weight of 112lbs on July 29th. So eat more he must (my best Yoda impression.)
Things here are going well I guess. Today was my first day back to work and to say the least it was quiet, but busy! I spent a good deal of time re organizing things and getting things straightened up on the computer and my desk...all of it with a pounding headache but I got it done.

We have meetings next week with teachers about Samuel (and possibly Josh) and what they see happening and how he is coping, new learning technique, etc. So we will see... that seems to be my "new" motto " we will see--one day at a time". Even though Samuel is in classes full time he has yet to make an entire week of school. Usually by wed or Thurs he is so tired and wore out that we keep him home and have him try to get caught up on his rest and a bit of school work. (I find i have to keep reminding myself AND Sam that we are just over 3 months even though it feels like years!

Everyone but me seems to be slipping back into a regular routine and I will get there too-- soon i hope! I havent spent much time since July with friends but that is my own fault. It is just easier to not have to talk to people, and anything i have to talk about seems to revolve around Sam. So here is hopin' that now that i am back to work that I will become a more rounded (and i am NOT talking in pounds) person (and i want to say again but I am not too sure if i ever WAS!)

I learned today that we are going to be seeing our Doctor every month for a long time (a year maybe) -- just like when Sam was a baby! lol He is great tho and seems to be one person who really understands what i am talkinga bout when I talk about what I see. And on Wed we head back into the city for (what i hope is the last) a CT scan. This one is a "biggie" and Sam will be slightly sedated so they can inject him with a dye to see how things are progressing. Our next rounds of appt will be possibly a 2 or 3 day stint in Wpg for neurologists and the sleep clinic.

I think that our postings here will be few and farther in between now that we are on to the "small steps" of healing but there is still healing none the less. Dennis and I see the "mini miracles" (whether others see them...) every day and every week. And it makes me so proud of him and all the he has accomplished! Samuel has definitely changed through all of this...some days it seems that it was not for the best, but then just like that -- kind of like when you have a colicky baby that cries for days and you want to do nothing but sit and cry ... then they look at you and smile and are happy for a few short but quiet moments-- that is what it is here quite a bit. But i will take it, because Sam is an amazing kid that is handling this with grace and humour and I find i am learning alot from him!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hunting



Yes, my men of the house are hunting-- muzzle loading. I am not having a good time with this. I know that they will be with Dad, but it still makes my stomach flip flop and nauseous. Also, on Sunday the .22 came home, i was unaware of this and when i picked up the gun (just not thinking) i walked to the house and loked down and saw what i was holding. It hadnt been cleaned... my heart dropped and i literally thought i was going to throw up OR pass out. When i got into the house (I was trying to not too make a scene since kids were around...) i feel against the wall and started to shake. I dont want it in the house. It is just makes me cry... then Dennis, Josh and Sam headed out last night after school to go hunting...it was a very long few hours til they came back...too long for my liking.
Sam didnt go out today because of the rain and he is tired from starting full days at school yesterday.(I am very happy about this!)
Yes Sam started full says yesterday and it so far is going well. He was in bed early last night and I am going to take a wild guess on this one and I bet he will be there each night this week until he gets into the groove of it all.

Our trip to Toronto was fabulous! We relaxed even tho we were on the run all the time! We had a great time visiting with family in Paris on Thanksgiving, and we had an awesome time with friends in Cobourg, Uxbridge and Toronto! It was just what we needed.
The kids and Grandma all fared fairly well, with the exception that kids are mean. Josh has been having some trouble with bullies at school. One kid in particular decided to take it upon himself last week to talk to Josh about "going home and shooting his brother in the head"... This child is not working alone tho, which makes me worry about what else has been said to him that Josh is not telling us. As it was Josh and this boy got into a fight (the boy hit Josh and according to Josh's friend Josh cocked his arm back to pound the kid and didnt. He just dropped his arm and said that the kid wasnt worth it!) I was proud of him for not giving into the (I will use this word 'tongue in cheek') pleasure of beating this kid up! But like i said, it makes me wonder what else has been said to him and what other weights of the world are on his shoulders?! He is not a talker and wont say if there has been other instances of smart-alec remarks. The incident was dealt with at the school and by the school (since we were away) and I felt that they handled it great...i just hope that this kids' parents are aware of how the thoughtless words had affected not only Josh but his friends (that are tired of the "Crap that keeps being said to Josh" direct quote) It also makes me wonder if Sam has had to deal with any of it. He used to tell me everything but these days he tends to be a bit more subdued about things, like he is trying hard to not tell me things in order to protect me or not stress me out.
It is now time to come back from our holiday and back to reality... I am homesick for ONT and would love to pack up ad move to there or anywhere that people dont know the summer we have had and my kids could go back to being regular teens... if only...

Friday, October 10, 2008

today is the day...

I am picking up the kids are noon and taking them out to Dennis' parents so we can leave for Wpg when Dennis is done work. We are flying out to Toronto tomorrow morning and will arrive in TO at 9.17am. I am a bit excited at this point but more apprehensive.. I am worried about leaving the kids... mostly Sam and Hannah. Sam still has so far to go with things and Hannah is just my baby-- she stayed up til almost 10 last night with me snuggling and crying- it broke my heart.
I had a meeting with the school yesterday about Sam and I was told not to worry about things that he will pass grade 8 (they are going to concentrate on his core subjects). So apparently i have to stop stressing about it. I was again reminded of how far he has come and where we THOUGHT he was going to be. So note to self-- "relax and try to enjoy this trip! Sam will be fine. Grandma is looking after him and she will be fine too with him!" (this will be my mantra all day today and tomorrow and for the rest of our trip)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Everybody wants to go to heaven...

Preacher told me last Sunday mornin`
Son, you better start livin` right
You need to quit the women and whiskey
And carrying on all night

Don`t you wanna hear him call your name
When you`re standin` at the pearly gates
I told the preacher, "Yes I do"
But I hope they don`t call today
I ain`t ready

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Have a mansion high above the clouds
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Said preacher maybe you didn`t see me
Throw an extra twenty in the plate
There`s one for everything I did last night
And one to get me through today
Here`s a ten to help you remember
Next time you got the good Lord`s ear
Say I`m comin` but there ain`t no hurry
I`m havin` fun down here
Don`t you know that

Everybody wants to go to heaven
Get their wings and fly around
Everybody want to go to heaven
But nobody want to go now

Someday I want to see those streets of gold in my halo
But I wouldn`t mind waitin` at least a hundred years or so

Everybody wanna go to heaven
It beats the other place there ain`t no doubt
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now

Everybody wanna go to heaven
Hallelujah, let me hear you shout
Everybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wanna go now
I think I speak for the crowd


Sam was telling Dennis the other day about an assignment they are doing in LA (Language Arts) and they have to choose a song and write about it. Sam has chosen this song by Kenny Chesney. He said that it was first out when he was in the hospital and that was the way he felt: he wants to get to heaven-- just not now! Dennis said he was so serious about it. Sam has definitely changed in his attitude towards his beliefs, he has had such a life altering experience and he seems to have given all that could have been a great deal of thought. He used to tell us he was a believer but now there is a difference in his tone and his attitude when he talks about it. He feels it more now i think.

Last night Dennis and I were talking about Sam and everything that is going on now. It suddenly struck me that his accident was just over 2 months ago! Time has gone so slow for me that I feel like years have gone by when in reality 8 weeks ago we were in PICU with our boy, not knowing where we were going or what we were doing-- just praying! And God answered those prayers and so many more than we can even imagine! We laugh at the prayers that we never thought to ask and that were answered for us! Everyday i am amazed by Sam and what God has done for him and our family, everyday i thank Him for allowing Sam to stay with us, but at the same time the whole ordeal seems so surreal to me... when I look at Samuel it is so hard to believe that this young man was laying on a stretcher, covered in blood, telling me that he hurt his head. That Dennis and I rushed to Wpg to learn from the surgeons what to expect and what was the probable outcome for our son and family. That he was in the PICU and looked so incredibly small and fragile with all the tubes and monitors hooked to him--being able to look at him but not hold my boy... even writing it, it seems unbelievable-- then i look at Sam and where he is now!

But in with saying all this we may be now entering the PTSD part of our family's journey thru this. Samuel seems to be showing signs of Post Traumtaic Stress Disorder. Which is normal with TBI survivors. I cant explain it all but lets just say that there are signs and here are a few of his : Irritability or crankiness, Changes in performance at school, Lack of interest in favorite activities, Tiredness or listlessness, Light-headedness, dizziness... there are MANY symptoms and just when i thought i was done with researching things-- i have new one, just when we thought we were able to settle somewhat into a routine... To say the least things get a tad bit "stressed" here with the new development.


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and don't lean on your own understanding. In all things acknowledge him, and he shall direct your way. [Proverbs 3:5, 6]” has always been a powerful scripture for me... but it is even more so now. I will lean on the Lord and He will take us through this journey

Saturday, October 4, 2008

just small reminders

It has just been over 2 months--2 MONTHS!!!!--since Sam's accident and I have found that we are all leaning more towards the "forgetfulness" that it happened as life goes on. But then there are those moments that are a knee jerk back into reality about it all. There have been quite a few of those this week.
Sam's temper can flair up so fast.. faster than it ever did and he can get very hurtful with his words and attitude. He and I have been butting heads alot these last few days and I am finding it so tiring both mentally and physically! I tend to want to fly off the handle too when he gets like that but then i remember what has happened and try to keep my cool and handle it in a mature and reasonable fashion... but it is so hard and discouraging when it happens over and over again! I know that people (or teens) lash out and that we all have our moments of flaring temper, but it seems like i get the brunt of Sam's flare ups. I will admit there have been a few times I am sure I could have handled it better ...and i am trying to prepare myself for future episodes... but i am tired and i will admit-- i am human.
This is one of those things that most people dont see or understand when they look at Sam OR Dennis and I.They see the physical outside of him and think he is great! and Forget that there is 3 fragments to a bullet and multiple skull fragments in his brain that will be forever lodged there! They are going to create some sort of change in him. I must admit it is hard, but I do know that it will get better with time. HE needs to learn how to control these out bursts-- but how can i get him to do that when no one else really seems to see that side of him? Someone told me this week that i am so close to the situation that I may not see it all in perspective... I agree with that but on the other hand it is because i am so close to this situation that I see what others don't see and may NEVER see if I can help him to relearn this... I dont want this behaviour to be another "new norm" in our life, if there is a way to help him to overcome it.
I am trying so hard not to be one of those over protective fantical mom's with him, monitoring his every movement. I am trying to give him the space and freedom he needs to gain back some independence but there are days when i find that i spend most of my 60,000 words a day saying "Sam, you need to think that one thru..." "Sam, should you be up there...""Sam, you are almost 13..." "Sam, Sam, Sam, SAM!!!!!!"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

no catchy title today...

This week has been interesting for many reasons!
First, the school division and myself have been looking for a tutor for Samuel for the afternoons and we have come up empty handed. I dont blame anyone, who wants a part time job for only 3-4 weeks!? We just need a tutor for afternoons so that Samuel can keep up his mental processes (building up endurance still) so that he will not be as tired when he starts full time. So i guess I will be his tutor for the next week and a half and while we are in Ont. he will be at home with grandma doing-- whatever. He has been doing great in school so far and i am so tempted to just have him go full time so that he (and the rest of us) can get into a regular routine-- but Dennis says to follow what the doctor said... Sam has started some testing and apparently is doing great in it! So there is no damage intellectually (which is a common myth with TBI) and I knew this from the start when he was moved to ward CK-5, but it needs to be verified with tests (so there is a base line to work from if needed in the future).
His moods are still all over the board-- well at least here at home with me. Not at all at school, or really much with Dennis. So maybe it is just me...

This week has been busy with getting things ready for winter:pickling, canning to be done, yard work to do, clean up garden and I am trying to get the house ready for our trip to Ontario. (washing blankets, pillows, sheets, etc) dusting where i dont usually, blah blah blah., butchering lambs for people and ourselves and all that fun stuff that is usually called life. Now I will add tutoring Samuel in the afternoons to my routine.

I was quite hoping to start back at work soon but that wont happen until he is in school full time and we (Dennis and I and the school) knows he can handle it. THings are tight here and I need to help with my wage. It stresses me out that I cant help, and I want to get back to normal.

Sometimes I think that everyone else in the house here is back into their normal routine (exempting Sam) and it is just me that is still stressing. I must say tho that Arnold (my ulcer) is starting to settle down. (Although, he does act up when i am in town and people stop me and ask me to explain about Sam or Dwayne. (hence the trip to Ont.)) I try to find time everyday for sitting and reading my Bible, but the phone rings or my day starts earlier than i expected it... how early does one need to get up to get some time to themselves!? I used to get up at 5-5.15am but the last few months i havent been able to sleep thru the night-- i wake up every time i roll over! So i have been 'sleeping in' til 6 and then Dennis is home still (cant read with him here) then when he leaves the kids keep popping in the bathroom. excuses i know. Maybe today will be the start of my new routine and i will get time for me and God and for me...

Friday, September 26, 2008

finally something happy to think about...

Yep , you are hearing it here! (not first either! lol thanks to Facebook) Dennis and I are heading to Toronto on Thanksgiving weekend to visit with family in friends in Brantford and Paris, then up to Coburg then to Uxbridge and finally ending in TO to stay with my cousin (who btw is wanting to take us out somewhere "swanky" were her words!LOL)before heading home. I had to tell her that we are from Manitoba and we dont do swanky... so i need to raid a few closets and find some stuff to take. Our family had all been returned to the airport on Monday to go to their respective homes and it was so incredibly hard for me to not climb on a plane and so somewhere--anywhere! So i came home and talked it over with Dennis and it was decided that Ontario is just were we need to be right now. I cant wait to see my cousin Andy (havent seen him in 20 yrs or more)and his wife Barb and my other cousin Melanie and her gorgeous 10yr old Jade! I will also get to see my aunts and my great aunt and then there are all my old school chums that i havent seen since grad in 1990... sigh (i want to be 10lbs thinner and more fit but i cant see that happening in 2 weeks!lol) I am just a bit excited to go as you can tell. I havent been home since Josh was just a few months old (he is 14 now) and Dennis has never been! He will get a bit of more understanding of my life i think (yes even after 16 yrs together) and why i am the way i am!

This summer has really made us all realize that we need to enjoy and appreciate our family and friends while we are all here! Not just expect them to be there. Yesterdays funeral was hard. There were about 500 ppl there and with Rdg Mtn being a small town alot of the ppl at Dawn's funeral had just been to Dwaynes...

The kids have all been told that it is just a mom and dad trip and they all seem to be ok with it. Grandma and Grandpa will look after them so all will be well on that front. But even tho i am so excited to go home and see my old friends and family i havent sen in 20 or more years-- I feel so guilty about it. (darn the "mom feelings") I am trying to relax more about Sam (he went on his first sleep over last night) and the other kids, but as we all well know... being a mom seems to automatically make our middle name "guilt". I am trying to give the "giddy-let-get-going-on-the-plane-and-relax"felling more free reign so it will hopefully drowned the guilt... we will see how that works for me.

Sam and I were in WPG on Wed for appt's they started at 10 and were solid thru til 2.30. (we finally ate lunch at 3.30 on our way out of the city). He will be doing a sleep study (overnight) in Wpg sometime before Christmas, at that same time we will be seeing the neurologist again. The neurologist on Wed told us to hold off on the full time school for now for a few weeks. Keep him at 1/2 time and let him get his self sorted. Sam had a couple of full time days at school but he was so tired by afternoon he was short and snippy with ppl so 1/2 days til he can gain control of his emotions when tired. We have had a few episodes with his lack of social skills and emotions, but for the most part he is Sam again. So when we get back from TO we will try full days again. Nothing has changed on the physical activity front-- no football, hockey or other contact sports til spring, no biking, swimming etc til spring either. His OT had said that he scored lower on his tests she did with him last week and will be sending things thru to the school for some help with it. So hopefully he can get back to his normal self both at home and school a bit quicker. He aced the communications tests he did. His therapist said he had amazing vocabulary for a 12 almost 13 yr old (Happy dance here!lol) and she wont need to see him again! He also needs to go for psychological testing to see where he is at mentally i guess. (so much info on Wed i was losing my train of thot!)
So that was Wed in a nutshell.
Overall Sam seems to be healing and reacting to everything that has happened this summer well--but there are days where i wonder still. He can be very emotional and touchy. Those days make me want to crawl back into bed (since back in time isnt possible...)and wait it out there...but, in being the mom i cant. They are draining for me and I am sure they are draining for him but he doesnt seem to understand when he gets into those moods so we have to teach him how to watch for them and know when he is tired before he gets to that point and how to either deal with it or work his way out of it. I have a hard time when i am like that... how do you teach someone else!?

One Wed night he was getting ready to go to bed after our trip into the city and he hugged me and said "thanks mom" and i asked for what. He said " for all that you have done today and this summer for me." I looked at him and said "Sam, i am just glad to have you here to do those things for!" his reply...he leaned back and looked up at me and said "I am too." he hugged me again and went to bed. I stood in our room and held back a waterfall of tears...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the surreal life

This last week has been just so surreal. It has been impossible to think of it any other way. It has passed by so slowly. Dwayne's funeral was Friday and it was a hard one. The church was full and emotions were running high for everyone-- even the 'tough' construction guys were crying.
I was proud of Joshua. He stood so tall and proud as a pallbearer, but tears were running down his face. He broke down just before everyone got to the church for the private viewing. He broke down at the cemetery but he walked and carried Dwayne not only physically but totally in his heart to the hearse.
My mom has been just like a Chevy truck - "like a rock". At the funeral luncheon she was comforting everyone and doing Dwayne proud. He was smiling on us i know. It is going to hit her hard on the holidays when he those were times he was always home for. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... I thin that is when it will all hit my Hannah too. She is very confused right now and not really understanding what is happening.
Isaac is taking it hard since he is very emotional and very in touch with people's feelings. But he went up to the casket and said in a small quiet voice" i love you uncle Dwayne, good bye."
Samuel was overwhelmed and sat beside me, holding my hand crying and he kept asking if i would be ok. What an awesome man he is growing into. I was so proud of all my kids on Friday. They were great supports to Dennis and I, My mom and to others.

WE came home from mom's yesterday around noon and we were trying to relax and take it easy when we got a call from a friend that was calling to tell us of another friend that had a massive heart attack last the night before. It just never seems to stop! She was 45-50yrs old. She has a teenage daughter and a husband... i cnat even describe what is going on in our heads and hearts this week. It is hitting Dennis hard as he played broomball with her and her husband, they were at our wedding, she used to run the cafe in Kelwood where we would have coffee and meals... to much.
Then this morning my mom passed this email on to people. I am posting it cuz it is so true... I cried, so maybe grab a kleenex or two first...

Maybe... we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that,when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe . . . when the door of happiness closes, another opens; but, oftentimes, we look so long at the closed door that we don't even see the new one which has been opened for us.

Maybe . . . it is true that we don't know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Maybe . . . the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can't go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

Maybe . . . you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

Maybe . . . there are moments in life when you miss someone -- a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a child, a cousin -- so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

Maybe . . . the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

Maybe . . you should always try to put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that something could hurt you, it probably will hurt the other person, too.

Maybe . . you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone.

Maybe . . giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but, if it doesn't, be content that it grew in yours.

Maybe . . . happiness waits for all those who cry,all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried,for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives.

Maybe . . . you shouldn't go for looks; they can deceive; don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.Find the one that makes your heart smile.

Maybe . . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy

Maybe . . . you should try to live your life to the fullest because when you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling but when you die, you can be the one who is smiling and everyone around you crying.


Things can only get better right!?
Samuel told us a couple of weeks ago that he was going to be going to school full time in 2 weeks-- that was his goal.Well tomorrow he is going to go for his first full day. He is so excited. I pray that all goes well for him and that there are no side effects of the florescent lights or noise or that he gets too tired! I found out on Thursday from the school too that he will be back in his regular class (the band class) and he is going to be on percussion instruments (he was a trombone last year-- but it is too heavy for him to handle right now! He will be very excited when i can remember to tell him... :-D

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

same -- title 2 posts down...


DWAYNE DALE UNGER -- Dwayne Dale Unger, beloved husband of Debbi, father of Darren and Tanya, and stepfather of Jodi Ginter, entered into rest in Neepawa, MB on September 14, 2008 at the age of 55 years. Funeral service will take place on Friday, September 19, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. in the Neepawa First Baptist Church, 219 Highway 5 North, Neepawa, MB. Interment will take place in the Riding Mountain Cemetery, Riding Mountain, MB. If friends so desire, donations may be made to The Harvest Sun Music Festival (support of local farm aid) in care of Kelwood Improvement Society, P.O. Box 36 Kelwood, MB R0J 0Y0 or The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, 824 - 18th St. Unit 3, Brandon, MB R7A 5B7. White's Funeral Home Neepawa - Carberry in care of arrangements. (204) 476-2848. (from http://www.passagesmb.com/obituary_details.cfm?ObitID=140639)


in a nutshell that was last weekend for us. Again... i want to cancel all weekends.
This is just too much. I know that there is a plan in the works but how much emotional pain can one family take!?
Dwayne was combining and got out to help unplug it and walked behind the header and had a massive heart attack. He was gone in seconds.
He is leaving a huge hole in my mom's heart, my kids and mine and Dennis'. He will be missed by alot of people. Tomorrow is the funeral and it is going to be large 600-700 ppl or more. I dont know how but we will all get thru it.
I am worried about Joshua. He idolized Dwayne (as did all the kids) but Josh was his shadow. He is going to be a pall barer and I know he will do it because it is "uncle Dwayne" but he hasnt cried or anything yet. I just pray that when (if) he breaks down that Dennis or I are there to help him thru it. This is the first time he has really lost someone he loves. I think the other kids will all be ok (well as ok as to be expected) But Josh... i am not sure.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

still here...

i have been finding it hard to sit and write anything here these past few days. I will get a thot that I would like to express and find that it sounds either too "poor pitiful me" or too personal to write. This morning I was up earlier than everyone else (something that is rare these days) and in talking with a friend on-line found that she seemed to hit my feelings on the head. She said that is is hard to get going forward when i know all that could have been-- I am suffering from "too much info". I have a few minutes of 'breakdown' if i happen to be 'struck' with the "gurly bug" as Hannah and i call it. But then take a deep breath and carry on... or try too. Please dont get me wrong, i am extremely thankful for his life and improvements that have baffled doctors and therapists, but somedays it is hard to process it all. Sometimes i wonder if i am waiting for the other shoe to fall...
This week is going to be a busy one as Sam is going to school for a part day on Monday and then starting to go for 1/2 days right now and then from there we will go forward. He is ready to go . He needs the structure and the socialization with his peers. As much as i am excited to see him go it is extremely hard! I have only really been gone away from him for one day since July 29 and I went to Brandon to go to the dr. and do some shopping. It was so hard to walk out the door-- but on the other hand it was hard to come home again to the stress (not that the stress was gone while in Bdn). But to go to school is difficult too. The kids are all there, the busy halls, the fluorescent lights, the noise, the stress for Sam (and Josh). But as Dennis says 'we wont know if we dont try with him'.
I asked his tutor to please text me once or twice to let me know how he is doing thru the morning. ( I am sure that Lance [the tutor] thinks i am nuts -- which IS true...) We also learned on Friday that Lance has been traded (he is a hockey player), so he will be leaving at some time and i pray that someone else can be found to work with Sam at school. He is still realy needing work on his social skills and the left side is still weak ( I notice of slack in his face still alot) and he drags his left foot slightly when he walks. I hope that if they can find someone else to take over the tutor/mentor position that they are able to connect as well with Sam as Lance has.
This week is also another round of doc appt.'s in Wpg on Tuesday. We see the OT, PT, Ophthalmologist, etc and then we have an appt for Josh at St. Boniface. So it will be an early morning, busy and long day for everyone.
We are still waiting for doctor reports too, from Winnipeg for ... basically everyone. Our home doc, the school, us... No one has seen really anything of any importance...bureaucratic 'planning' i guess. Maybe these next few rounds of appt will bring in the paper work!
The rest of the kids are handling most of this very well. Hannah has her moments tho. I am not sure if her moods and moments of tears are due to this past summer or to her age(9) (and having 'gurly moments") It is hard to deal with somedays since everything and anything can set her off!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cancelling all weekends...

they are too emotional it seems. This weekend was not the best i have had (nor was it the worst...) but this was the Saturday that for the first time we went in different directions -- since July29. Saturday Josh was all geared up for his mentor duck hunt and Sam was preparing for the "Banjo Bowl" in Winnipeg(for those that are not football fans-- the 2nd of 2 games between Saskatchewan and Winnipeg). We are big RoughRider fans here and this was Sam first time to a game!
I had been preparing myself all week for Josh to go on his hunt, but nothing prepared me for how it was actually going to be on Saturday when we woke up and he was getting ready to go (Packing his overnight bag, clothes, shotgun...) I was ill, anxious, i had a headache, my stomach was turning. I couldn't eat so i did what i could... i took my pills from Dr. Chapman and i slept, i cried when i was awake and i slept a bit more. I wasn't ready to let him go out (without Dennis) and shoot a gun. Even tho there was going to be a mentor with him -- one to one-- i was so scared. Not that he would do something , but what if someone else did. Accidents happen.. we well know that. Dennis tried to calm my fears but i was still very ill for the rest of the day. We sent Dennis' cell with him and he texted us frequently and told us everything that was happening (going to see the field where they were hunting, saw his blind, lots of geese in the field, going to eat, going to bed and the most important.. I love you mom.) I prayed and Dennis prayed for and with me , and i made it thru Saturday night, but the anxiety got the better of me as we drove out of Neepawa. Now we were going to be in Winnipeg if he needed us... but he is a strong kid and handled the whole thing great. He kept me posted thru out the day (texts started at 4 am!!) and called me when he got home. It was hard to let him go out there and hard to leave him to take Sam to his football game, but we all made it thru. Joshua texted us that he got 2 geese and 2 ducks! Good size ones -- so now i have new recipes to work with.

The game between Sask and Wpg is a touchy one with Bomber fans in the city. We got many dirty looks and gestures over our Rider flag on the van and our shirts and hats... but we just smile and say"cant take the cup from us!" or" 7 wins (8 after last nights win!!!!)and 2 losses... not bad for the under dogs!"
WE got sorted at the stadium and found our seats (waaaaaaaaaaaay to the top of the stadium near the top of the bleachers). We got to watch the Riders warm up before the game ans Sam was getting excited. He really wanted to see Darrian Durant (his favorite player-- Quarterback) and Weston Dressler (receiver) but Durant is out with an injury. He was quite excited to see Congi practicing his kicking. Once the game started tho it was a bit different. The crowd was too loud for him and i think the Bomber fans yelling obscenities to the Rider fans got to him. Sam was sitting in front of me and about 5 minutes into the game i noticed he wasn't watching the game . he was huddled into his sweater. When i asked him what was wrong he cried and said "i cant see!" (here i panicked and thot he couldn't SEE). He couldn't see over peoples heads and bodies and he was so confused or ooverwhelmed maybe, that he didn't think to say anything to us OR to stand up or move so he could see. We moved seats and he was able to see but needed to be reminded thru out the game to more around to be able to watch the game. He really didnt like the noise of the game either. He sat with his hands over his ears for most of the game. Sam says he had a great time and i am sure he did but i am sure the overwhelming noise and crowds and verbal abuse that was being bantered back and forth kind of wrecked what he was hoping it would be.
There were 5 minutes left in the game (score was 31-31) and we got up to walk to the west side of the stadium to the Rider's tunnel exit, so Sam could see the players up close. We ended up sitting right by the entrance of the exit for the last 2 minutes of the game and had a great view of Congi kicking a field goal for the winning points 5 seconds left in the game for the score 34-31! It was a great end to an awesome game and I think thot that was the highlight of Sam's day... until Dressler(#7) was walking in and autographed Sam's hat for him! James Johnson(#19) (defensive back) signed Isaac's hat for him too! (both boys were flying high then!)


Today i feel like i have been thru the wringer a few times and am exhausted. Sam started his tutoring today and after what we saw yesterday at the stadium, I am glad we aren't pushing the going to school thing. When he gets overwhelmed by things he retreats and gets very emotional. I am not sure how well that would go over in a Jr. High school with other students. So we are going to be working on strategies to help him with this. So i will be surfing the TBI sites for any info to help him to deal with it. This is my new "norm" new things crop up and i am surfing TBI sites... how much info can one brain hold!? :-D

Thursday, September 4, 2008

and so it goes...

School has started and Sam went for 15 minutes on Wed. just to see his friends and for them to see him, to get a bit of work to start on until the tutor is available to come and start school work (which hopefully will be on Monday).Sam was very happy to see the kids at school and i was so proud of one friend that greeted Sammi at the school door with a big hug! (Thanks Tiff!) I found it incredibly hard to stand off and not hover over Sam and the kids while he maneuvered thru the crowds of the halls and the classrooms! I wanted to follow him and make sure everyone gave him a wide berth... but i didn't. I wanted to tell everyone to back off be sure to be nice to my boy and no snide remarks and sideways glances at him... but i didn't. I wanted to take him home and place him in my invisible plastic bubble...but i didn't. He has to have his independence and freedom -- he IS 12 after all.("almost 13 mom!") and he has to learn to stand on his own (fully knowing that we are here for him if he does have to have someone who has is back) Then tonight we left him at cadets (after briefing the leaders about what to watch for if he gets tired and if his social skills start declining). I found that extremely hard to do-- leave him in a room full of hyper teens... "normality is good... just breathe and walk out the door, Jodi."(breathe... in and don't forget to let it out!)

Dennis and i were "counseled" by the counselor (well duh!) that we need to find time to do things together. Not as easy as it sounds or as easy as some people seem to think it is. First-- have you ever tried to find a "sitter" (for lack of a better word)to stay with your 14 and 12 yr olds!? These are kids who were, until recently, babysitters themselves!
It isn't easy to find the 'sitter' that is able to fully understand about seizures and what can and cannot happen (We have grown used the ever so NOW popular "well he looks fine to me type-phrase [ and what they really want to say i am sure is "stop babying the boy"].
Secondly, it is also not so easy to convince the kids that they aren't being "babysat". Now, you can tell them all the stories and explanations that you want but there is still that look of "give me a break" that makes you want to cry, stay home or lock them in their rooms -- either way-- none of these are actions that will end in a nice relaxing night out! SO once all this is accomplished-- who really wants to go out and try to relax? (FYI-It was way easier when the kids were younger (doing this the first time around) and getting someone to come in and watch them -- back when they were cute and sassy. Now they are all just plain sassy... lol

Today was just another reminder that people that don't always understand what occurs with TBI survivors. They tend to look at the outside of the person and the family and see "all is well". Not realizing that there is alot going on beneath the surface-- stuff that we as a family will see but not noticeable to the outsider's eye.
I am not trying to whine or look for sympathy or anything... just informing people. Tonight Dennis may have hit the nail on the head when i told him that i wished (sometimes) that we were still in Wpg at the hospital because there it was far easier to deal with things because everyone there seemed to understand that this is all a learning process for us ALL(no long -- or short-- explanations of things) . Dennis said "maybe we are going thru this so that we can help someone else to get thru it in the future or possibly right now" (and of course we dont know it!) If this is a plan of God's (and i doubt we will ever really know) I believe like Mother Theresa said "I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much."

Today was one of those days, it seems, that just passes you by and at the end of the night you are left sitting there in bed wondering" Did i manage accomplish anything today? Did i manage to make it thru another day unscathed by the remarks of others? Did i pass on any words of kindness or love to anyone if they were brusque, rude or snide? Did i brush my hair!?"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ARGHHHHHH...

Samuels recent mood swings are beginning to get to me. I know that they could be attributed to:

A) his personality
B) his brain injury
C) his age
D) slep apnea
E) all of the above (this is my choice)

but today i just want to sit and cry! 'Everyone' is making him mad, 'everything' is putting him in a foul mood. He might be upset about school starting tomorrow and i am hoping i am able to drive comfortably so i can take him in for a bit to see his friends... but that is NOT helping him or me with this attitude and moodiness. I am feeling very frustrated and irritated by his mood. I have tried to explain that he needs to go to his room for a bit to get away from everyone until he feels he can deal with what ever was bothering. He can pray, punch a pillow, cry, write, draw... whatever it takes but all i get is silence, crossed arms and glares. But he goes to his room and i pray... or i try to ...
My brain is so full of everything that has gone on, is going on and what is coming up with not just Sam but with the other kids, Dennis, my mom and life in general, that i keep feeling like i am losing this battle. I am so tired of smiling and telling people that all is fine and we can handle this... some days i am not so sure-- other days i am positive we can.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Santa does in the off season...


Christmas in August?!?! huh?
Yep we tend to do things rather different here in the Ginter household and this year we really played head games with the kids and had Christmas in August! (well minus the snow, the tree, the cold, the food, the visitors...)
Dennis and i had decided to buy a Wii for the kids for Christmas so that they could get some physical activity in the winter (and we could do the Wii Fit too and hopefully lose a few more pounds that tend to accumulate around the middle.... of winter [HA!]) but then after Sam's accident we decided to step it up a bit and get it earlier (which was good cuz it was really hard to get now let alone when the Christmas rush would hit!) and then Sam could use it for building strength and endurance for himself while the other 3 are in classes (Sam will also use it for "gym class" here at home while tutoring-- i am always thinkin' of ways to keep him busy! lol).
So we bought the Wii, hid it for a bit of time (about 1-2 weeks i think) and then we wrapped them up in Christmas wrap. I had the kids all come out to the deck for a "family photo shoot"-- and Dennis brought the prezzies out while i was snapping pics. To say the least, they were a tad bit confused about it all. So we explained that this was part of their Christmas present (well more like the BIG one) and to please have fun and enjoy!
Once th gifts were all opened we explained the plan for it -- and i think they all heard (well Dennis heard) I am sure they heard more of the Charlie Brown teacher talk coming out of our mouths as they were all so excited about the Wii (Dennis is NOT a fan of video games and the likes... but i think we have him now... he was on the Wii Fit this am before the kids were even up!lol)
SO we got it all set up and running and Thursday night was spent racing cows, shooting ducks/balloons, playing pinpong, tennis, bowling, boxing and all that you can imagine!
My 3rd knee surgery on Friday has come and gone. As it turns out my cartilage was torn so they cut the 'snag' off and tidied it up -- so hopefully we are done with knee surgeries (and my left knee better start letting the right one take up some slack or else it will be following suit and heading under the doctors knife too!)
We are starting to prepare the kids for school and what they can say to someone if there is talk that they arent comfortable with. Hannah and Isaac have opted to say "that is not what happened and i dont want to talk about it" and they are to walk away. But they do know that they can tell the right story too if they feel like they want to share. I am not too worried about what will happen at their school since it will blow over in a day or 2 if it comes up at all. They both have someone (an adult) at the school that they can talk with if they are having trouble with anything.
Josh is still getting geared up for the duck hunt. (I secretly hope that if he does shoot anything he doesnt bring it home-- duck!? yuck! lol) I know he will have a fun time and he is really looking forward to it!
Sam is getting himself ready for the big football game next weekend too! He is so excited! Actually we all are! I love watching football games in person... much more excitement!
I am so thankful that we were able to get these tickets and they seem to be not too bad of ones- because it was all that Sam could talk about in the hospital "when we get out of here I am going to see the Riders!" "When we go to see the game can I try to see if I can talk to the players?" LOL It was his incentive to get up and get walking and get home!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Good info

I have been trying for a few days to get this pdf file printed so i can give it to family members, and friends-- but it is 117 pages (not all those pages are needed) so i thought i would post the link here and those (if any) are reading this blog and are interested in learning a bit about what we are and could be heading toward i have added this link...

http://www.hoteldieu.com/cdcabi.pdf


I am trying to compile a few good sites that are easy to read and understand and i want to add them to the layout for easier reference for people (and yes for me... since i seem to be losing more and more of my thought process these days!)
My goal is to find a site that have the mild TBI (traumatic Brain Injury) symptoms, as some sites have all the gamits of possiblities and it can be EXTREMELY overwhelming and a tad bit scary to read and try to process.

I am going to fill a few people in on things as i have had a few questions about how I am coping with it all. First of all, Aug 4 was the 12 th 'anniversary' of my dad's 'accident' (he was beaten up and left a paraplegic and severely brain damaged) So my family has had a bit of experience with TBI. When i was in college I decided to delve farther in to TBI and how and what happens to people and families that are SURVIVING it, i wrote my major paper on it and learned copious amounts of information that really helped me to understand what the doctors and nurses were talking about (medications, therapy, prognosis'...) I am not saying i am an expert on TBI's but i have a fairly extensive insight and knowledge to what can be the 'worst case scenario' (short of the obvious). I truly believe that we were being prepared for this with our last 12 yrs. Although, in spite of all this knowledge, i still worry and am scared about stuff ( i have an ulcer named Arnold that can testify to this!) I try to not do either, but I have discovered i am NOT Supermom... i am human and fall to the same tempations and issues with said humanness as rothers do... (sure wish my super powers would magically appear tho most days)

Just a blurp that might bring a smile to a face today... Anyone who knows Sammi will know what i am talking about with his sense of humour...
I was scared as we drove to Winnipeg and all the pennies started falling(this will be another posting for a different day when i am able to type it out without getting too emotional) and I was praying to God, but once i walked into the hospital and I saw my son laying there and his first very quiet words to me were " mom.... i think Josh $h!t his shorts" i knew that we were going to be on the up swing of the ball this time around. God was letting me keep my son and Sam was going to keep his (now more warped) sense of humour.


Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event,
deal with it and then move on.
~Bob Newhart~

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A rose by any other name... still stinks

I am not a fan of roses. I mean i like them, they are pretty but not really 'my thing'. I don't really like their smell (maybe too many scratch and sniff stickers as a kid... who knows...) But I was just trying to say that not matter how pretty things look -- they can still stink! (not all my thoughts are rabbit trails-- ok well they are alot lately but not ALL the time ;-D ) there is a point sometimes and here it is...
Even though we are home and the doctors are impressed with Sam recovery, things are still healing, he is having to come to terms with alot of things and relearn stuff. As a family we are having to do the same.
Josh is quite determined to go on the mentored Duck Hunt on the Sept7 weekend. We are rather worried how he is going to react (or if he will) when he is there shooting the ducks. He is going on his own since these were plans we had originally made months ago. Sept 7 is the 'banjo bowl' (Sask/Wpg football game) and Sam chose the football instead of the duck hunt and Josh wanted the duck hunt. But that was all before July 29... he assures us that he will be fine but we are still very concerned. Grandma and Grandpa are going to pick him up from it and they will be the contacts if he needs. We have also started to prepare him for some of the things he will encounter when he goes back to school: rumours, ignorant remarks, anything! He hadnt heard any of the rumours and I want to thank the parents of his friends that he has been with since the accident. The kids were great and never talked about it or asked about it! It made me cry to know that these teen boys are aware of what their friends need right now -- but sadly not all kids are going to be like that and there will be some that choose to try to make life difficult for the boys.
Sam seems to be taking things slower. He wants to see his friends but seems guarded too. I know he is worried about what will be said or maybe not said. Hopefully once we are in the full blown counselling mode things will even out for him... for all of us.
I had posted before that things were quiet around here but things change in the blink of an eye (as we all well know) and the typical teen attitudes and sibling rivalry and life started this week with the kids and to say the least-- i wanted to run away, but then who would make all the arrangements for everything!? *sigh* Samuel seems to be even quicker to snap at someone or get mad (which is normal for a head injury) He becomes irritated faster and very angry very fast. I need to help him to learn to control that and what to do when he becomes so. This was a problem he had before the accident but it is much more intensified now. He reminds me of my dad and sometimes that scares me as i know that in the anger he lashes out at the nearest person(sometimes physically) so i hope to help Sam get a griop on it before he gets to that point.

I would love to say that we are getting back to normal, but as Patsy Clairmont says"normal is just a setting on the dryer". Normal is not somewhere that we are even close to yet i dont think. Things are still incredibly fresh and hard to work around the emotions some days. This makes it hard to get organized with everything for fall when we are all so tired and so far behind it seems like we are first. We are slowly getting things done but there are other things getting left behind... which i am sure will all work out for the best because God knows his plans and He is the Master Planner.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

This has been a fairly emotional week/weekend (well for me anyway-- mind you comparing me to Dennis and 2 teenager boys). And this week is seeming to start out to be the same!


Friday we saw Dr. Chapman and he hadnt seen any paper work from Wpg yet (which is funny since Wpg told me to make the appt and they would be sure to send it all to him...) so Sam and i filled Dr. Chapman in on everything that has happened since we left the hospital in Npw on July 29th....EVERYTHING. Sam is doing great and is now weighing 91.25 lbs! that is almost a 2lb gain from when we left Wpg!!! YYEEAAAA Sam! (now eat some more spuds and meat! :-) )

This week is filled with appointments for orthodontist for Josh, school supply shopping for everyone (gold nuggets needed here), school meetings to arrange tutor and possbile EA for SAm, we start family and possibly individual counselling this week, getting all the kids to their schools to see who their teachers are (and having meetings with teachers and principals to discuss the situation), a card makig gurly session for Hannah with Mrs. Sue on Wednesday, company Wed. night (so a hot tub session for us... whew!) hair appointment, canning of tomatoes and then ending off this wonderfully crazy and nutty week-- my 3rd knee surgery. sigh

The kids all seem to be quite excited about school starting. I think they want to get back into a routine and i know Sam will appreciate them not being here so he can have some quiet time. People have been asking how he is doing and i say he is doing great physically and the rest will come. Not that he has any mental issues per se... more some slight social skills that need to be re adjusted. He is also a much more subdued than before (i know this is only to be expected-- but some days it is very unnerving for me)

The other kids are all quieter and calmer too (for the most part) and some days i just want to scream "GIVE ME BACK MY KIDS!!" but then i think we are all in a new learning curve and God put us here for a reason... just wish he could fill me in a bit more. But i also know that GOd doesnt give us more than we can handle:

1Corinthians 10:13 - The Message
13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CT Scan pics and other new updates...

Here are  Sam's pic from yesterdays scans. The bright white flecks on here are the bullet and fragments. the small dark bruise like looking spot(above the smaller fragments) is where the bullet entered his skull and where they will put the steel plate if he chooses to do so.


The light scatter is just light reflecting from the lead of the fragments...but there is no white "blobs" or cloud like spots -- this means no pooling blood... YEA! (The bright white spot is a fragment)

We also learned some new info today from samuel. We havent really asked him much about he remembers of the day of the accident but today he was telling us AND showing us what he was doing. As it turns out he WAS NOT practicing an air cadet move as we had first thought. he was actually practicing aiming as he was taught to do (using both eyes to focus on the target). He brought the rifle up to centre is target as he was aiming, but sam miss judged and brought the gun up too fast to aim and did hit his head with the scope (this explains why the gun was cocked -- he had a bird in his sites to shoot it). When the scope hit his head it must have dazed him and he dropped the gun and as he leaned over dazed the rifle discharged.
Sam described everything he remembered right up until he was hit with the scope.

As dennis and i spend time talking and remembering the last few weeks, i have realized there are things i had forgotten about and didnt journal them! Like one day after Dennis had come home to look after the other kids, samuel turned to me in the hospital bed (I had fallen asleep in my chair) and asked who was sitting with him. I told him no one there was just me and him in the room. He told me that he had felt someone sit down on his bed and they were still sitting there beside him. I cant beleive i had forgotten that, but dennis said whenever he tells people about the miracles that we have observed he thinks of that and knows that Sam was being looked after and there was no worries (well not no worries... but you know what we mean)

Today again we were shown how God was watching over us. Our 'neighbours' at the RMH were a couple from Bdn. their son was in the hospital ungoing cancer treatments. we never once exchanged names, but we spoke to each other everyday and we were praying for each others families! Today i recieved a card in the mail from the couple and it turns out that friends of theirs are friends with some of our friends and these 'mutual' friends were praying for Samuel too! with this new and awesome info it was shown how God does work in amazing and mysterious ways!


I so look forward to every day and seeing what new and wondeful things God has in store for our family!

God is so amazing

Our trip to Winnipeg was not only a good one ... it was a great one!
We had Sam's CT scan done yesterday and an hour later we were in the doctors office talking about the results. (Dr MacDonald is the pediatric neuro doc) He was awesome. He was so patient and sat with us and answered questions and set our minds at ease about what our plans are and how we are doing things! He told us that Sam is still not to be doing any physical contact sports, or jumping or anything that requires quick reflex (balancing) for now. He will be back to his normal (he will be at the time)13 yr old self by next spring-- even be able to try out for the high school football team!!!!!!!!!!!! We were very happy to hear that , as Sam has been waiting for years to play!
Dr.MacDonald answered Sam's questions about the "hole" in his head (where there is no bone anymore) and once the risk of infection from the bullet is gone (about 6 months) if the "hole" bothers him he can have a metal plate put in so it is not such a constant reminder. This will be up to Sam if he wants to do this-- although it can leave him open to another infection after the surgery but weigh that against him always having that reminder there... peace of mind can't have a price put on it.
We also learned that Sam is still not out of the woods totally yet as he is still at risk (a small risk-- but one none the least) for infection since there ARE foreign objects embedded in his brain. That risk will be dropped to next to nothing after 6 months, but it will be something that is there his whole life.
The bullet will not move either. Where it is, is where it will stay. We were so happy to hear that! SO there is no fear of football or any sports jarring it and it moving to a new locale...whew!

We saw the first CT Scan that he had done when Sam came into the hospital on July 29. There was alot of "white blobs" on the scan... this was blood pooling. Their main concern was that the pool was going to remain pooling and cause problems... so when we saw yesterdays scan... no "white blobs"!!!!!!!!!! The blood was gone and his brain was lookin good!
)
But here is the piece d'resistance... Dr. MacDonald informed us that yesterday after the blood had cleared and they were able to see things clearer.... the bullet had CHANGED DIRECTION when it entered his brain. That means that if it had followed the STRAIGHT PATH that bullets usually do, things would have been alot different, BUT it changed direction and CURVED as it entered in his brain! God was most definitely watching over our son on that day. So many different endings could have happened July 29, but God choose one that would be miraculous! GOD IS SO GOOD! I had a very hard time trying to stay composed as he told us all of this ... and i am still in shock as i type this out today. Just when i Think we have reached our quota (so to speak) on blessings with this ordeal ... God decides to throw yet another shocker in this story and prove that Proverbs 3:5-6 is so right:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge him,
And he will make your paths straight.”

I know that our paths are not going to be easy these next few months, but with God as our pilot He will make sure we will come out better for it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

new name... same old blog

I changed the title of the blog because it struck me that this isnt just a journey for Sam, it is for the whole ginter family, me, dennis, sam, josh, ike and hannah.

i was reading my post from yesterday and realized that I have been making everything sound rosy and happy-happy-cheer-cheer... i think that i hav been doing that so i will feel better but i realize if i am not going to be honest about what is happening in our house then how will Sam ever be able to see how far he has come when he wants to look back. With saying that things are not horrible and unliveable but life is as it is - real- and i need to keep it all real here too.

Sam IS gaining strength and endurance everyday but we are noticing other things that cause us to go "hmm". His concentration level is not where it should be with a 12 (almost 13) year old boy. yesterday we were trying to explain to Sam about his energy and trying to use it in ways that will help him to get better and he started to do what any normal child would do - pick at scabs, and try to ignore the discussion- but he did it so intently and did not make any eye contact at all and barely would answer our questions. Then when we talked about him needing to work on his concentration and really put some effort into it so he could get ready for the school year. he suddenly could not keep a straight face and when we asked what was so funny he had a hard time talking (with out laughing) to tell us that he had suddenly wondered what dad would look like with a big red nose. I know that this sounds like it is goofy and trival to some but that is not Sam. Yes he was a goof off at times but he knew when the times were to be serious and take responsiblity. Yesterday wasnt the first time that this had happened either. He will suddenly start laughing at something when there is nothing to laugh at or at very simple (2yr old) humour.

He also is extremely quiet for himself. Sam is a very outgoing kinda guy. It is only 3 weeks so i am trying to not put too much presssure on him to see the old sam shine thru but there are times during my day that i really miss my son. I have so many questions for the doctor tomorrow and i know it will be a very emotional day for us all-- note to self... no makeup tomorrow :)...

With everything that has been hapening since we got home i have not yet been able to make appointments for the boys or our family for conselling. I know we need to do it , but some days it is just the one thing that keeps getting dropped to the bottom of the "TO DO" list.

Joshua seems to be fine with things but he is a 14yr old boy and he is his fathers son.. so i am betting that he is trying to not let us see if anything is bothering him so he doesnt stress us out. We figure that he saw the whole thing as it happened and has blocked it out. He says he saw the scope hit Sams head but that would have been before Sam's gun went off -- so he has some feel pretty traumatic things going on in his head. And one day something is going to happen and it is all going to come out.

Isaac is handling it well it seems too, but he is an introvert and will not talk until it gets so bad that he wont eat (and if my ike isnt eating-- it cant be good) but he is not one to talk about things either.

Hannah is a mother hen most of the time but then gets mad at someone for whatever reason.(no syrup for her waffles or she doesnt want to shower 2nd....)

So seeing all this i will have to see where we go for this counselling. Our family is in such shock still that no one is dealing with things and i am scared what will happen when we do... I think we all need to have a melt down together and let out all that we are feeling and build this family up from that point...

Monday, August 18, 2008

what is normal?

well the last few days have been busy with our garage sale and trying to stay cool.
Sam is doing awesome! He is getting stronger everyday and I can see his endurance building He still gets tired and has to rest and we are still having to be very careful with fevers (seizures can occur)and him getting hot and having his brain swell, but i am hoping we are now on the upswing of the recovery.
We are into winnipeg on wed. for his next CT scan and we meet yet another Doctor (and for the life of me i cant think of what kind of doctor he is... sigh... i think i am losing more of my thots than necessary) We hope he can answer some questions that are very heavy on our hearts.

I will try to get some pictures posted of Sam this week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Traumatic Brain Injury Info

I thot i would give a bit of what sam is going to be living with -- permanent or not. When i was in college my term paper was on TBI.

I have found a few good sites that have awesome information. they have links to click on that will go into more specific details on areas and types of injuries. I hope that some will find it interesting and very helpful.



http://www.neuroskills.com/tbi/injury.shtml

http://www.birf.info/home/library/pediatrics/ped_chiltrau.html

if anyone finds a great site please email it to me so i can (hopefully remember to) add it here to the blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

a good day

today was a good day for Sam. there was no headaches, no dizziness, but he did nap for 2 hours after lunch. he helped a bit in the morning with cleaning the shop up -- carrying light things and sweeping up a bit. We didnt walk since he was on his feet quite a while in the shop. In the afternoon he helped with picking some peas and beans. So he had a very active and productive day i think.

Yesterday we made all our next appointments for being in Winnipeg and they may just be our only sets! I am not going to name the ladies i spoke to (mostly because i cant remember the names or the positions) but i felt much better after talking to 2 contacts for appointments yeterday. I now know that i am on the right track for Sam and what i am seeing him do. All the little changes that i see in him are all normal with head trauma -- so i can stop wondering if i am over analyzing. Both of these same ladies thot that our plan to just see how sam is inSept (strength and endurance wise) and have him go one class a day when he is able-- was a great idea. That way he is working at his own pace and we can encourage him with small steps instead of giant leaps.
Which brought me to today's tasks... i was in contact with the schoool division to set up a tutor for when he is at home, an EA in case he may need one during school and to fill them in on his situation. Now all this is based on HOW WELL sam is emotionally and mentally (meaning his concentration level, headaches, dizziness etc) come sept. He may just totally shock us yet again and be ready for school with everyone else... who knows!?

My job has given me leave from work until the end of Nov. so i dont have to worry about that and i can concentrate on samuel and josh (who i have been trying to set up councelling and help for him too). there is alot of stuff going on in my teenagers heads that they arent talking about right now and i am trying to prepare them and the rest of the house for it, if it suddenly gets to much for them. I know most people are looking at them and us and thinking that everything is fine and dandy... Josh is smiling, sam is walking and talking, sam is home... but there is alot going on in heads and hearts in our house and we are far from being back to normal... maybe one day but not yet.