Friday, March 25, 2011

Members Statement by Stu Briese

This is the Members Statement that Stu Briese (our local MLA) took to parliament in Nov'10.
I have omitted the corrections that were in his actual speech (misspoken words etc).
I am deeply touched that Stu did this, among other things, for our family at this time and for the things he offered to us during our stay in Winnipeg at the hospital. It is encouraging for me to know that there are politicians  out there that ARE aware of BI's and the struggles that the survivor and the families face.
Now to get this awareness out more into main stream society.... I am working on it!!

Mr. Speaker, in the summer of 2008, Sam Ginter recieved and accidental gunshot wound to the head while he and his brother were tarfet shooting. Sam's grandparents rushed hi to Neepawa hospital. When it iwas discovered that his injury was extremely serious, he was immediately taken to Winnipeg. After four hours in surgery and several days in recovery, Sam was sent home, While he still looks like an ordinary teenage boy, he lives with a traumatic brain injury that create a unique set of challenges for Sam.

throughout his recovery period, Sam has been bright and optimistic. Eeven immediately after his surgery he enjoyed talkig to his family and as in high spirits. After coming home, Sam began the recovery process and satarted setting goals for himself to master. The first was to start going to school by himself in November. After several months of attending  school part-time with the help of a peer tutor, he worked hard and by November he had reached his goal.

Another goal was to go to the Banjo Bowl that his family had tickets for. sam was determined  to walk up the stadium stairs  to his seat and with determination, he made it all the way up. Throughout his recovery, Sam has been setting goals and reaching beyond them.

Sam has had tremendous support from his family; they've come up with creative ways  to help him through the recovery period. Using tools like the Nintendo DS and other games, he works on fine motor skills. He does word searches and sed te iPod touch to work on organizational skills.  Because  the connectinos in his brain need to be remade, he has to re-understand things that he may have already known.Some of the challenges he faces may appear to be common traits but his family understand it  is heightened because of the injury and they are very supportive of Sam in his continued recovery.

I want to congratulated this courageous young man and his family for working through the difficult times that brain injuries present. In May I attended the Air Cadet awards evening, and I was thrilled to see Sam receive one of the awards. Because of his bright spirit and determination and with the help of his family, Sam is enjoying life and is an inspiration for many others who are struggling with brain injuries. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sam is an air cadet... wait let me rephrase that... Sam is a Flight Sgt. in air cadets. That means he is serious about air cadets. he has been promoted a few times and once he was promoted TWICE in one year! AND that happened to be the year after his accident! Amazing eh!?
He has also been to cadet camp 2 times since the accident, has participated in almost EVERY activity and is on the drill team. He has marched indoors, outdoors, carried stuff n  his back, traveled distances, ate military food, and now that he is a Flt. Sgt. he is in charge some days of organizing activities and what not.
All this is amazing as we (Dennis and I) feel that it was partly because of air cadets that Sam's recovery was as fast and amazing as it was/is! He was treated like everyone else, he used his combat boots to help him to walk (they were very heavy) and to build up his muscles in his legs.
Sam also is on the football team. He plays on the offensive line as a half back.
He is in school full time, granted he just returned to full time this year...but still.
He works on the farm driving tractors, quads, trucks, etc. He helps with all farm work-- calving, chores, fencing, baling, feeding cattle, etc. He is a normal kid for the most part with a few areas of 'issue' that we deal with as it is necessary!

I am writing all this awesome stuff down because he has applied again for cadet camp this summer and I had to fill out all the necessary paper work. Which resulted in a letter coming home to us from the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Head Office (the military basically). The letter was about Sam's medical summary.
Here it is:

-must be within 30 minutes of a physician
-unable to board a small watercraft
-unable to go swimming
-unable to participate in underwater activities
-unable to participate in field training or exercise
-unable to participate in hiking, trekking or climbing
-unable to carry a rucksack or lift heavy loads
-unable to participate in a high altitude activity
-unable to participate in sports or PT
-unable to participate in drill and parades
- unable to fire a rifle or handle explosive devices
-unable to fly an aircraft
-unable to work high above ground
-unable to participate in a ship deployment
-may participate in sports and PT at own pace
-unable to jump with a parachute
-unable to do significant classroom work or studies
-unable to remain alert or vigilant
-requires extra assistance
-requires close supervision
-should wear medic alert bracelet

I finally -- after 3 days of phoning-- got it sorted out and it was explained that there is a new computer system that just starts adding limitations with certain 'issues' the CWO that I spoke too told me that there was actually 126 limitations on Sam! I had to laugh as I told him about most of the ones I was looking at! No sports!? He is a FOOTBALL player! No jumping with a parachute!? So we just shove him out the plane and hope for the best!? lol
The CWO felt bad about it but when I explained Sam's story and situation now he laughed too and I told him that if for nothing else we all had a great giggle over it all! Sam sat and shook his head over the 'limitations' and laughed at no rifles or explosives... he was right back to hunting the fall after his accident!

Some of these are so funny that we are thinking of framing the letter for future giggles!☺

BTW-- ALL the limitations were removed except for wearing a medic alert bracelet!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Me!? Give a speech?!

Ya.. I know! Probably the same thing I thot when I was asked! "Are you sure you want me to talk!?"
I know I gave a talk with the Parent Council but this time is it different...
First I knew most  of those people...
Second, it is a college class of nurses...
In an actual college...
with nurses...
I am trying to wrap my head around it.
I was asked to be a guest speaker to this class and talk about the caregivers end of things. What we think, go thru... you know the stuff that they can't really teach.
My mouth said YES before my brain caught up to it! ☺
I am not worried about it per se, more apprehensive about what they will think of me and my stories... sigh
Honestly I still get a bit worried that people will think I am a complete idiot AND a bad mom for letting it all happen.

Anyhow, it will be in May and so I have lots of time to sit and think about what I am going to say. I am going write it all out and possibly make a PowerPoint Presentation to go with it... we will see what kind of time and creativity I can come up with before calving season starts!

Has anyone reading this life story learned something that they really never knew or were able to use with other survivors or caregivers? Have I wrote anything that made you go "wow!"? Any prayers, thots and/or ideas for this is greatly welcome.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teens, young adults and thot processes

Just when I thot my biggest worries were that of Sam, Josh pulls a dumb ass...
If you remember back to a few short weeks ago, my son got his license. YAY for us! Someone to help with driving on and off the farm.He is a very responsible kid, hard working, blah blah blah...
but he IS a 16yr old boy and that should trump it all!
On Sat. night we let him take the car to Neepawa with a 'friend' to go to the movies...
sigh... I was leery about letting them go for a few reasons. One, the 'friend' has a habit of getting into trouble (alcohol, drugs, fights, etc) and while Josh may hang with him at school, this kid has never been to our house or vice versa. BUT we know his parents and they were happy to have their son going out with our responsible son...and we thot "ok we trust our kid and we can only let him go out and trust he will make smart choices"
Not only did he NOT make good choices but the ones he did make were extremely STUPID! It apparently all started on the Thursday before when Josh went to his cousins house while waiting for his brothers to be done at cadets... and he got the cousin to buy a 15 pack of beer for him and his friends for Sat. night.
Then after he picked up friend #1 he proceeded to pick up a friend#2 (female). I have no issue with the girl except for the rumours I have heard about her... not nice. They all then went to cousins house and in 1.5 hours my son drank 2 beer  and the 3 'friends' left the cousins house with the remaining 5 beer -- of 15...
Then they DROVE around town for a few hours. Josh then dropped friend#1 at where he was to be staying the night and took friend #2 home too. Then continued home... 30 miles on roads that were that earlier day closed due snow and ice.
He was home 10minutes earlier than curfew with a mouth full of fresh minty gum, talking a mile a minute and wide eyes.
On Monday when we had a full idea of the whole story of what went on, we confronted him with it. First there were lies, then half truths then most of the story came out. I would like to say that we handled it all calmly and ever so cooly, but that would be a lie.
I flipped...
I had him remind me of the ast thing we told him when he walked out the door

"IF you have ANY alcohol, you CALL us and we will come and get you."
"No alcohol in the vehicle"

These are the instructions we gave him... and he ignored them all.
His  cousin then proceeds to put the blame and onus on me that I need to look into his friend that he was with as they were not the best role models...(yet SHE bought them the alcohol) SHE thot he could handle driving after 2 beers yet I need to choose his friends... He is under a license probation for 36 months after getting his license-- ZERO tolerance for alcohol! ZERO--- that means NOTHING for alcohol when you are behind the wheel! And she he HE COULD HANDLE DRIVING! I am not blaming the cousin for josh's drinking but I was disappointed to know that she would have rather let him drink and drive than call us to tell us that he was drinking and we would have gone to get him. He made some VERY poor choices

Then we have another cousin and friends that are fueling the fire that we as parents do not have the right to take his cell phone from him because he paid for it... we do not have the RIGHT!? And that their parents never took anything from them and they drove wasted before!
Yep... great role models. We have taken his phone and license for 2 months. Which is nothing compared to what would have happened if he had been pulled over by the police. He would have been charged with stuff and lost his license for a MINIMUM of 1 year and then have to start all over again!

So for now I am back to being a chauffeur for cadets and football, Dennis is driving to and from the bus and Josh is not allowed even in a tractor, on a dirt bike or quad. He has the job of explaining to his grandparents why he is not driving and the whole story and if they choose to give him a bit of what for he will have to stay and listen. He is going to be an active member of this family (not hiding in his room) and he will be polite and engaging with us all or there will be another week added for every time he steps out of line. He is going to have to learn that is is HIS fault he is in the mess he is in. The cousins I am sure will get a bit of an ear full at the next family meal at the grandparents but it will roll off them like water on a ducks back.
Seriously not impressed with our son right now. But I did assure him that I loved him and he just has to stop digging the hole he is in and look at how to get out of it because it is just that HIS hole.

I am exhausted from the few days of stress ...

And here I had been really working on me and getting rid of the stress that I have accumulated over the last few years. But then as hubby reminded me, we have 3 more teens to get thru too ...
 sigh, why couldnt teen years be like the fun baby stages ...
when they were small and cute ...

and liked you!?