Friday, May 29, 2009

Exciting news all over!

First and foremost! Sam is the middle cadet in the front row AND Sam is going to Cadet camp in Penhold, Alberta!! We are so excited ( i am extremely excited for him but also nervous-- he will be 2 whole provinces away from us if he has any problems...) Dennis and I were driving home on Wed, and were just saying how we need to find out when camp was so that Sam could be packed just in case he got a last minute call to go-- then we were home for all of 10 minutes and the phone rang!! It was one of the CO's calling to say that Sam was accepted AND he is going with his best friend!! WHOO HOO boys!

THEN!!!! Last night at the cadet annual-- Samuel not only got an honour roll award-- but he was promoted to Flight Corpral!!! That makes 2 -- YES 2 promotions in one year!! We were so proud of him. the night ended on a bit of a low note when once the festivities were all said and done, Sam started to feel ill and pale. I watched him during the ceremonies and saw that he was swaying, and tried to get his eye to motion for him to sit, but no go. He was fatigued and over heating-- so we got him outside to cool down and then we got him home to rest. We will see how he is this morning. It was interesting to see how the grandparents reacted to Sam's 'spell' and they all assumed it came down to the heat of the room--so i dont think they quite got that this is normal for us... sigh

I have a doctor app tonight for me-- albert (my ulcer) is back with avengence and the meds arent keeping me comfortable anymore. I have been gaining weight (not good when i am wanting to lose!!!) even tho i have been watching my calorie intake, exercising and drinking my water! sigh-- good thing i have a few things to cheer me up. Like Sam's promotion and camp and ----> follow me and find out!!

Well today is my last day at work (and when i say work i mean the paying kind...) and i am excited to be staying home but i will miss my job. I love the work that i do and getting to deal with people and computers but i know that this is the right thing for our family. i have some "big" plans for our summer and what the kids and i are going to do! (wath this space for our summer fun!lol) But i will be busy too with computer stuff -- so i will still have the best of both worlds... let me explain why (no not hours on end on FACEBOOK--lol)

I am on 2 TBI social netowrking sites WEARETBI and learningtoliveversiontwopointzero. these are aweseom sites for support for not only survivors but for care givers too! I have made a few friends that have been great encouragers for us! Well i got an email from the lady that is the administrator for The learningtolivewersiontwopointzero and she asked if i would be interested in starting another one for Canadians! it isnt a paying gig or anything but it is an excecllent way to get more awareness out there for ppl and support to families. i need to do a few things for it first (first one is to think of a name...)and then we will get it up and running! I thot it was a great idea especially since....

the day before the email, we had a phone call from a local lady who has a son with a brain injury (he is grown) and she gave me the name of a couple that have a group for parents of TBI and is going to arrange for them to visit with me. they have a group but due to the distance that everyone lives from each other they dont actually meet too often. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO my thot was if i can get this social networking site up and running this would be a great way for them to still remain connected and get the support that is needed.

whew... this has been alot of typing so early in the morning!

I was going to delete this blog and just forget about it as i am not sure who all is reading (if any really) then the call about the networking site, the call about the group and then i had a post from a mom in the US and how they have a son with a TBI and i decided to leave it for now. if i get to a time that it becomes unnecessary for me to type out my blatherings i am sure God will give me my proverbial ear flicking and that will be it! But for now it is almost theraputic for me and hopefully educational or at least amuzing to others!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spring is here... i think

We are supposed to get to 23* today. SO maybe, just maybe.... spring is here. We are going to plant out our transplants for the garden and I am going to get my flowers into the half barrels done. I might even just post a picture or two if i can remember! lol

We thot we would plant the plants (is that a double negative or entandre? lol) today since there is no frost in the future (we are beleiving the weather guys here) and they need to get into soil. They are going to either die in the shop (where surprisingly there is no sun...) or out in the garden (where today it looks like there MIGHT be some sun...) Time will tell if it is spring or not i guess... cuz the calendar sure isnt!

Today Sam and I are at the church for the morning with a funeral doing the sound system, Dennis and Ike are at home working on the gardening stuff, Josh is sick with the flu (yes -- it has struck our house again) and Hannah is at a friends house for an overnight. Tomorrow we are just as busy with getting Sam off to cadets for a trip to Brandon to go gliding -- in a plane, at 7.30 AM... sigh apparently another early morning for us.

The puppies are all growing and eating and sleeping and pooping-- yuck so that is almost a full time job just keeping the papers changed! Dixi isnt feeding them as much now that we have them eating softened food. I think she is waiting for them to leave so she can have her life back! lol They will be able to go to homes the first week of June -- so not much longer now!

I went for a dentist appointment yesterday for my wisdom teeth. Well more the gum over the teeth that have erupted (2 bottom ones) and the dentist discovered that the reason they are not fully erupting is that my jaw bone is over the edges of them! So now I am having to go to Wpg. for dental surgery. Good news about this tho is that it will be a 2 day trip. Day one will be xrays and stuff and the next day will be the surgery-- so no driving back and forth! AND hopefully it will be soon!

oh we ordered the itouch for Sam. It will be here next week. So i will play with it for the first bit and get it setup with is music and alarms, then we will give it to him. So we will see if it does anything for mankind...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sam's story in the Neepawa Banner.
Thank you to Ken Waddell and Kate Jackson!!

“I remember getting hit [by the scope] and then...”
Boy was in hospital fighting for his life

By Ken Waddell The Neepawa Banner

Talking to 13 year-old Sam Ginter, it’s hard to believe that less than a year ago the Neepawa area boy was in hospital fighting for his life after a traumatic brain injury. The accident that came close to taking Sam’s life took place on July 29, 2008. On that day, Sam was out target shooting with his older brother Josh at their grandparents’ farm just outside of Kelwood. He brought the gun up to aim the scope at a bird and misjudged, hitting himself in the head with the scope. When the scope hit his head, he dropped the gun and it fired, sending a .22 caliber shot into the right side of his head. Sam said, “I remember getting hit [by the scope] and then...” he trails off where his memory ends. After the accident, he says, “I remember a lot of wires and not much else.”While Sam may not remember anything from right after the accident, he picked up his gun and went back to the house. Such a reaction isn’t uncommon after a traumatic brain injury.Sam was then rushed to Neepawa hospital and then on to Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. He stayed at HSC for 12 days.

Four hour surgery
After an hour and a half surgery turned into a four hour surgery to clean and stitch the wound, Sam’s parents, Jodi and Dennis, were given the initial prognosis. Initially, Sam had lost half of the vision in his left eye (peripheral vision) and was paralyzed on the left side of body. They expected that he would have limited mobility and walk with a limp.As Sam healed in the hospital, his prognosis improved. The paralysis went away and the peripheral vision on his left side came back.
While Sam’s long-term prognosis had improved, the effects of his brain injury meant that Sam had to re-learn skills he used to take for granted. He had to re-learn basics such as how to walk and feed himself.Things could have been much worse. Dennis explained that had the bullet followed its path of entry, it would have gone through his brain and exited the back of his head. The bullet did not follow this path, instead, it turned and stopped. Once inside his head, the bullet broke into three fragments.Dennis said, “Had the bullet crossed his brain or the occipital lobe (located in the rear-most part of the brain), it would have been very different.” Had either of these two happened, Sam would likely have died or been paralyzed. The bullet’s path was a bit of a surprise. Jodi said, “They [the doctors] were surprised it was not a through and through.” The bullet’s path meant that damage was limited to the right side of the brain, which affects the left side of the body. The bullet will remain in Sam’s head, as Dennis explains, “It does more damage to take it out.” He added that the practice of removing bullets from patient’s heads stopped 30 years ago.

Recovery when they left the hospital, Sam’s physiotherapy ended. Jodi said, “They said he was fine and sent us home... we did physio at home.” To help rebuild his strength, Jodi said he would wear his cadet boots and walk down their driveway and down the road to the stop sign. Now he can bike to town and back.Almost 10 months after the accident, Sam says, “I feel pretty good about how I’ve come along,” but the road to recovery isn’t yet over. When he gets tired, the left side of his body gets weak and Sam describes it as being “droopy”. Other than when he’s tired, Dennis says that Sam is “physically 100 per cent” although he does sometimes suffer from headaches and vertigo.
Sam was able to go back to school this year, starting with half days in mid-September. At this point, he goes for four full days, spending Wednesday at home resting for the later half of the week.Sam and his family are still working on getting the nerves in his brain to realign after the injury. This is a process which should be done in the first 18 months after injury. Dennis says, “It’s a learning process. He’ll be doing tasks and hit a mental road block and not know what to do.” To overcome these, Dennis says they explain the task in a different way and “it’ll click”. Repetition and routine are important for helping Sam’s brain heal. Sam continues to make progress, but after the rapid advancements made shortly after the accident, Dennis says these days, the progress is “small”.Sam will always be at risk for an infection from the foreign material in his head and seizures, but as time passes and neither of these things happen, Jodi says, “The risk will become very low.”The biggest challenge now is for Sam to learn to self monitor his condition, especially his fatigue, and rest when he needs to.

For Jodi, the goal of stepping forward with her family’s story was to bring more awareness to the issue of traumatic brain injury. She says, “That’s the ultimate goal.”Jodi would like to see more knowledge about traumatic brain injury and describes it as “a silent crippler of families”. Despite the fact that brain injuries are not uncommon, a concussion is considered a brain injury, Jodi says, “I’m surprised, with this being a hockey town, that there’s not more awareness.”Many people with traumatic brain injuries appear fine on the outside and some, like actress Natasha Richardson, even feel fine after the accident.Those with brain injuries often have many different after-effects, however, survivors frequently have difficulty with memory loss, impaired reasoning skills and a tendency toward one-track thinking. They may have physical disabilities such as paralysis, loss of vision and/or hearing, varying degrees of speech impairment, headaches or seizures. Some may have cognitive impairments and have difficulty organizing their thoughts into meaningful speech. In addition to physical effects, emotional effects such as changes in emotional control, depression, difficulty remembering ideas and communicating them coherently and logically, and the loss of subtle social skills are common.Not only is there a lack of knowledge about brain injuries, there is also a lack of support. In Westman, there is only one support group and it’s only open to adults (over 18) who have had a traumatic brain injury; there is nothing for parents or children. Jodi said, “We have had to do our own eduction on the internet.” The internet has proven to be a great source of support and information. Jodi said that she can talk to other parents and find out “I’m not crazy”.June is brain injury awareness month in Canada. You can find more information about brain injury from the Brain Injury Association of Canada (

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

to ipod or not to ipod

We are trying to find ways to help sam with his memory and organizational skills and have discovered that PDA's are basically a thing of the past and the "new thing" is (so everyone tells us) is to just get him a cell phone-- well NOT! First of all he doesnt NEED a cell phone and secondly-- that is jutanother monthly expense that is not needed in our house!
So here is our idea... Sam needs something with multiple alarms so that we can set alarms for each class mid way (so that he is reminded to take a break and go for a walk -- here is where we would make a few different play lists of songs so he can listen to one and when it is over that would be his 'signal' to return to class), an alarm that goes off at the end of class to remind him to write down his homework, an alarm to remind him of other things that may be needed through out the day. Also something that would be able to hold his books that will be on MP3.
A watch was not really an option as he would still have to carry an MP3 and if he has too carry or look after too mant hings something is bound to be lost or forgotten.
Dennis and i think the best idea for him will be this beautiful little piece of equipment ----->
an ipod touch!!! we priced them out today and to say the least... ouch! $250.00!! We looked at a refurbished one from itunes store but to save $50.00 and not get the same warranty... is it worth it?
I need to find someone that has one so we can see what all it can actually do and how loud the alarm is and allthe ins and outs of it. most of the sales people today told us it was quite similar to the iphone--- but there is still differences from what we found.
it would be nice to get him one now so he can use it for the rest of the school year but how do you justify one if you dont know if it will work? and if we can justify it... where do you find the extra $$ to buy one?!
sigh.... maybe i will win the lotto this week ... LOL

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Interesting Video...

bush ex...and other weekend challenges

sam went to Bush Ex with his air cadet squadron on Sat morning. Bush Ex is where the cadets take off overnight into the bush and sleep in 'tents'(made from tarps), eat IMP's (Individual Meal Packets), do 12 mile hikes, play soccer and other sports, and capture the flag. We (meaning me) were hoping that he would want to come home for night-- but he stayed all night. We had his Squadron leaders keeping an eye on him and helping him to remember to do self checks. They had tylenol and our phone numbers... just incase. we called him at 8pm to make sure he was ok (and to see if he wanted or needed to come home to sleep)... no go he was staying and that was all there was too it.
When i dropped him off it was incredibly hard to not cry. I drove off and thot i was doing well till i got onto the highway and the tears hit. i tried to stay calm and not worry about all the things that could happen to him while he was out there. a few deep breaths, a prayer and i was doing better...not great but better.
But he did really well. He was not over tired when we picked him up this afternoon but he did fall asleep by 6pm on front of the TV. So we got him off to bed and there he remains.
I am finding it hard to let him go and have other people watching out for him (other than the grandparents) -- i need to work on this. I think this might be why my ulcer (which i thot was better) is drving me insane these days...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

half empty...

this time it hit sam. we left for winnipeg yesterday morning at 5.40 and by 10.30 he was feeling sick and not the best and by noon he wa throwing up and fevered... and we still had our big appt. with dr. goldberg to go thru! we got to the appt and got right into the office so sam could lay down and sleep.
so i am working from home again today so he can sleep and get better. he had a fever so hopefully he feels better this morning ...

I want to say that i had a good feeling after all our appt.s but i think i am becoming a pessimist. Not my usual area of 'expertise' but where i slowly feel myself drifting towards. I am just tired of talking to doctors and feeling like we are going backwards. dennis thinks that our visits finally got thru to them and that they finally are 'getting' what we are talking about and that we need support and help... but i just feel blah.
we did get some good news and here it is:
1.) sam is now 'all clear' for activities-- with the understanding that he has to be smart about things and wear proper equipment (helmets, etc)
2.) there is very little risk of infection now
3.) sam will not only be taking wednesdays off at home to rest, but he will also be done classes every day at 2.30. he will stay at school but he will be resting and trying to give his brain a rest before he comes home
4.) his exams will all be written in the morning
5.) we will be hearing from the psychologist again for another evaluation

Dr. Goldberg thinks that with these last 2 new routines that they will help with his fatigue and help elevate his melt downs at home. so we will see. both dennis and i have noticed a big difference in sam over the last month that we have kept him home on wednesdays but he still has his moments.
there was also a 'break through' with sam when he admitted to the doctor that he doesnt realize when he is losing control. he doesnt know when he is fatigued either. so maybe with teh psychologist he will learn how to recognize them when it starts.
the TBI co-ordinator was not impressed with how little help we have had thru all and then went on to say how she didnt like how i was getting my info from the internet-- but then if we are not getting help from the doctors-- where else are we to get help for things from!? i was just a bit frustrated and my general feeling yesterday (and still today) is too little too late for us. we are 9 months from the accident and just starting to get the doctors to help us. school is almost over and we are moving into summer so tha means a new schedule and then we are onto high school-- more new schedules.
i am trying to adopt dennis' optomism but it is a struggle this time... right noal i want to do is cry and throw things. maybe things will look better tomorrow.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I love God's Sense of Humour

I laughed as I read this mornings devo from Psalm 31 Woman. How appropriate! I got Hannah to the doctor last night and she has URTI (upper respirtory tract infection) but it was 'irrated by the fact that this past week she had her 3rd dose of Hep. immunizations -- prime example of getting sick to stay healthy!? Isaac is still not well. He had stopped throwing up yesterday afternoon but still wasnt eating and very pale and warm. So he is home again today. Joshua went to the chiropractor and was bent back into shape-- now if only he will listen and lift with his knees!!!!!
Samuel went to cadets last night. They are preparing for 'annual' (thier big wind up 'do' before summer)... which means that they are doing alot of drills (marching) and last night he started to sweat, get tired and apparently he turned a shade of green. So he did a SELF CHECK and sat down until he was past that moment! I am so proud of him to realize that he needed to sit out and take it easy! I pray that he continues to do so! (SIDENOTE: Dr. Chapman asked if we had heard from the sleep clinic yet since he had wrote them another letter!! Whooo hooo!)
I can feel the stress in our house depleting... maybe it is just me. There has been a change in our home in the two weeks. We have been trying to get the kids to work more on thier respect towards each other. We started a can that they were to put in it when someone was helpful or kind to them -- it could be in words or actions. So far one child has been very receptive to this idea-- the other 3 mildly so... hmmmm need to continue the work on this!

Anyhow... the following is this mornings devo. I hope that others find it as helpful as I did-- I even saw the humour in it as this was the way I was feeling this morning!lol God is not only God but he is the One that will give you the proverbial 2X4 when needed!

Cast and Present
8 May 2009Melissa Taylor
"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22 (NIV)
We were driving home from my mom's house when it happened again. I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw my son Hayden. His eyes were fluttering and his face was pale. I could tell he would be out in a matter of seconds.My husband stopped the car and I crawled quickly to the back, shouting Hayden's name. His body went limp. Although he was only out for about twenty seconds, it seemed like an hour. This was the third time Hayden had passed out in the last two weeks. I was so scared about his condition. He had some tests scheduled, which hopefully would tell us and the doctors what was going on.What was causing him to pass out? Would the doctors be abl e to help him?The next morning I opened my Bible study book, eager for some time with God. I could not believe my eyes. The title of the lesson was The Great Physician. Immediately I felt a sense of comfort and peace over me. I know the Great Physician well. And I trust Him. At that moment I was no longer worried about Hayden. I knew he was in very capable hands, the mighty hands of the Great Physician. Regardless of what happened, I know the Great Physician had great plans for Hayden, no matter his condition.The Great Physician is here for all of us. He wants us to come to Him for healing. How stubborn we can be sometimes. I remember once when I was sick. I needed to go to the doctor but didn't feel like making an appointment, passing hours in a waiting room, and spending money on a prescription. I figured I would feel better eventually. I put it off each day until I was so sick I could hardly get out of bed. Finally I went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with strep throat, administered a very painful shot, and I was better within twenty four hours! If only I had gone sooner I would have saved myself a lot of trouble!The same is true with the Great Physician. How many times do I worry for days or try to solve a problem on my own? When I finally release it to Him, I think, Why didn't I turn it over to Him a long time ago?God's Word tells us to "cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall" (Psalm 55:22). It also reads, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Philippians 4:6).We aren't supposed to fix ourselves. We aren't supposed to worry and fret. We are supposed to "cast" and "present." Cast our cares and burdens to God, and present our requests to Him. When we do what His Word tells us to do, we can then experience peace and comfort (Philippians 4:7).I'm happy to r eport that Hayden is fine. I can hear him in the next room right now talking and laughing with his little sister. I'm so thankful for the laughter. I'm so thankful for the Great Physician who has given me a peace so that I can enjoy the laughter.Dear Lord, in our lives there will be times of trial and fear. Remind us to cast our cares and present our requests to You, and leave them there. Thank You for the peace only You can give. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

sick.... ugh

"Someone is sick!" and the blankets flew and the bed jumped... that was my wake up call this morning. In the wee early hours of the morning, Isaac did his best to make it to the bathroom but before he could... it all hit the floor.
Both mine and dennis' feet hit the floor at the same time and luckily I didnt make it to Ike before he threw up. I tend to be one of those people that have good intentions of helping the physically sick-- but fail once it actually is 'out in the open' and then i am a contributor to the clean up. But as I said I was a step or 2 too late. (thankfully!)
So every 1/2 hour from them on the poor boy was throwing up. Not a happy camper.
Last night Hannah came home from school with a very sore throat and when i looked at her throat I saw all sorts of pretty colours... white, red, pink... so she has a throat infection then woke up this morning with very little voice but also a sore ear. (Dr.appt at 3:00).
Now add to this that I am not feeling so hot, Dennis is having bouts of "yeck" too. It seems we may have the flu bug in our house! I am trying to work from home today and thanks to the wonderful guys at the computer "fix it place" CN suppliers-- my computer this morning is running so super fast I am so amazed! I have been able to get alot more accomplished today than I did yesterday when it was not running quite as nicely. (thanks Jayden and Chris!!!)
This afternoon not only will I be taking Hannah in to see the Dr. Chapman, but I will have to take Josh in to see the chiropractor because we think he has pinched a nerve in his back. Not too hard to see him doing considering he is 6'2" and likes to use his back to pick up heavy stuff instead of his knees!
So in looking back at this week so far... Sam is the only healthy one, out of the lot of us! Which is good since someone is going to have to look after us while we all recouperate! lol I see alot of mac'n'cheese in our future....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Final Countdown...

hey that should be a song! Oh wait it is!! lol reminiscing the 80's...

Actually what is means is that next week on May13, Sam will be seeing the neurologist (the surgical one) for his "all clear". From what we understand from the last time we saw him this date is when now Sam is at the lowest possible risk for infection (which he will have his whole life due to foreign objects in his brain) and his lowest chances for seizure (which he has never had!! Hallelujah!). It means he can go back to gym class, bike riding (we have already been doing -- erp) and things the like. All this is as long as Sam is able to do some self awareness checks (which he has a hard time doing right now!) He still gets headaches, dizziness, his appetite is iffy, his fatigue is not much better now than when it was in November-- maybe summer holidays will help with that and he concentration is not the best. All things I hope will be improved by my being home all the time (if he needs to stay home other than Wednesday than there is no issues to deal with) and that i will be home all summer to help keep him in a routine of organization. By this i mean we will have time each morning to clean rooms, and tidy the house, in the afternoon we will have 'quiet time' and then there is physical activity that i will be sure he is doing. If i were to remain at work it would be hard to instill this if I were not home.
I am almost done the scrapbook i started for him in Wpg. I need a few more letters to get from people and i think 1 or 2 pictures. I cant wait for it to be totally done and I think Sam wants it done too. He keeps asking to see it, but i say no since I would like it to all be new to him when he sees it! I wish there were a way to post the blog in the book and some of the responses that i have had. But i am not that technologically ept! (I am lucky to be able to post in here some days! lol) The book is photos of Sam with people that were involved with us during the whole 'episode' in Winnipeg. I have pictures of him with nurses, doctors, OT's, PT's, friends, family, people that gave their time, money and prayers to us! It is amazing the number of people that were directly in our path during that time! I wish I could get pictures of everyone that sent cards, foods, flowers or gifts! I hope that some of them see this blog and this post in particular and know that we gratefully and most humbly appreciate them for their caring words and actions! You were all such a blessing to us! Thank you!

ok enough sappy... tomorrow is Sam's weigh day! Please pray for good news!