Wednesday, July 28, 2010

almost a year...

We hit our 11th month yesterday! WOW! Time has gone by so fast and so many things have happened in those 11 months! I could go on and on about what the Lord has done and how we have been blessed in our journey! You all know that from what I have written! Despite it all, we have been carried by our loving Jesus!
I want to share a sweet story about Ben from last night! This goes to show you that Ben is thinking and that he is processing more!
Last night we were snuggling in bed Ben asked me where we were. This has happened before and I take him through the questions that I ask for him to answer. He says he doesn't know but I gently tell him he does and to think about it! I asked him last night to tell me where he was and Ben said, "Palo Alto." When I asked him what kind of a building he is in, and he said the, "hospital!" I went on to ask Ben why he was in the hospital and he said, "car crash, hurt my head." All of these questions he answered in his audible voice!
After these questions and Ben getting oriented Ben settled down in bed. A few minutes later he was nudging my side with his elbow. I asked Ben what he needed and he said in a very strong voice, "who is going to pay for this?" I actually laughed to myself because the poor guy was wondering who was going to pay for all of his hospital stays!
I told Ben that he was still in the Army and that his insurance was paying for it. I told him that he didn't need to worry about any of that and asked him what he should focus on and Ben said, "getting better!" In spite of all that Ben is going through he thinks of the serious questions and wants to make sure it is all taken care of...and me!
This is a good sign though that he is even thinking about it! He is continuing to build up his memeory and retain more things. Ben is also able to think more in depth about things too. It is a good reminder to me that Jesus is still up to big things and still continuing to heal Ben!
One more funny story....there was a night nurse that had been on vacation and no one told her that Ben had started to do some talking! She came in after I have left for the night and went to out Ben's splints on his legs. When she went to do this, Ben said in an audible voice, "NO!" He about scared her out of the room! I found out about it the next day and I about died laughing! Oh, Ben cracks me up!

Just a few fun things that Ben has been doing! It's the little things that make such a huge difference!


Monday, July 26, 2010

i've been on the move...

Oh my goodness I am back! It has been one crazy week for me! Last Wednesday morning I flew out to NJ (to check out a future rehab hospital for Ben) and then flew back Thursday night! I had Friday all day and night with Ben and then late that night got on the road to drive to Santa Barbara for a wedding! I just got back Sunday late afternoon! I asked Ben what we were going to do Sunday night and he said snuggle! Oh how we have missed our snuggles at night!

Speaking of Ben saying things…when I was in NJ I called Ben and it was the first time I was able to talk to him on the phone and Ben TALKED back with his audible voice! His responses were 1-3 words but he was able to let me know what was going on and how he was doing! When I was in Santa Barbara he was able to say hi to some of our friends as well! I have waited almost 11 months for that voice and it brings me to tears to hear it!! Ben cannot get away with just mouthing or whispering anymore…most times! I tell him that I cannot see his lips so he is going to have to answer me with his voice!

Last night during our snuggle time I told Ben that we have almost been married for 3 years! He said WOW! I asked him what we were going to do for our anniversary and he said, “chill!” I am ok with this! I went on to ask him well, are we going to go anywhere or are you going to get me anything and he said, “buy you a massage!” Of course I will not say no to that! After a few more questions about how our 3rd anniversary is going to go down (it’s not until Oct so plans might change) is we are going to chill, eat homemade enchiladas, get a couples massage and of course Ben said make out! I did not give him any ideas on how to answer the questions I asked….all these came audibly from him!

Ben continues to work so hard in all of his other therapies! He is beginning to slowly remember things from day to day and look around his room and ask, “where am I?” This is all good because he is realizing things are different and his surroundings are not “home.” Hopefully we are going to get him on some meds for memory and start building it up!

I still cannot get over how much the Lord has blessed us with through this whole journey! We have way more then what we could have ever asked for! Jesus has blessed us financially, spiritually and in so many ways I could never imagine! I asked Ben the other day who he needs in his life and he said God and you. Just a simple reminder to me that all I really need in life is Jesus! If we have Him, He will take care of the rest! Not to mention the people that He puts in our lives as far as family and friends go…extra bonus and for that I am grateful! Jesus is what we need in life and if we just follow Him and His ways then all the other things will come together! Of course I fail in this all the time by trying to take life, relationships, troubles and other things into my own hands but it puts me in places that I don’t want to be! Yes, I make bad choices too and sometimes choose to trust me and not Him! I am reminded daily that it is not me but Him! I need Jesus in all of this and when I put Him first things actually go good! So, daily I thank Him and put my trust in Him!


Some photos of Santa Barbara fun…and we had many laughs...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

bible verses...

"The Lord is calling each one of us to a new time and a new place. And how we respond to His call will not only determine the character of our days here on earth, it will also determine our very destiny." JH

Just a quick update on Ben's voice! he continues to voice alot when asked to say something. First he usually mouths it with his whisper voice but now that all the nurses and staff know that he can voice they make him say words out loud!
We usually have Ben humm or clear his throat to get the vibrations working. After that he takes off in repeating words or answering one word answers!
Today in neouropsych Ben's doctor had him find a place in the room that Ben could find out the date. He pointed to it and then used his arms to wheel himself across the room. She then asked him to look at it and then write it down. It took a few tries in his writing but he was eventually able to do it! He was also able to find the clock and mouth the time. She then took Ben to a wall in his room where we have bible verses written out. The first one he said each word out loud with her and then the next two his doce let him read as many words as he could on his own and then repeated the ones he could not quite get after her!! I was in tears! The feeling and emotions that came over me knowing that my man was reading God's word was amazing! I was so blessed! Ben's doc then took to different places in the unit and as she pointed to things or held things in front of Ben he named them all off out loud!!
Ben did an awesome job today and I am so proud of him!
Many more miracles are in the making and to come!!

Speaking of miracles, we got another new nephew this last Sunday evening! My sis and brother-in-law welcomed Larsen Todd into the world! This makes 14 for us! I cannot wait to see the 2 new nephews soon! Love them already!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ben speaks words...

Here are a few clips of Ben speaking!! Starting from the first day when Ben spoke until tonight! He even says I LOVE YOU in one...been waiting 10.5 months for this to happen! I am shaking in my boots and thanking Jesus!!

PS...when Ben says Hi Emma, that is his old speech therapist in Atlanta so we had to say hi!!
{please ignore my high, annoying voice! ben's sounds better!}

starting to voice...

"So we don't look to the troubles we can see now, rather, we fix our eyes on things that cannot be seen! For the things that we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever!" 2 Cor. 4:18

We had a wonderful time with may parents! The came last Thursday evening and stayed until last Tuesday morning! We all hung out with Ben for most of that time and I got to go to the hotel that my parents were at and hang by the pool! Let's just say it was refreshing and my skin is not so white anymore! It was glorious...I went every day they were here!
Ben has had another good week! He was able to walk (with still alot of help) with a huge walker that gives major trunk support a few times this week! He also has been pushing down with his hands on the arms of his wheelchair to do a transfer from wheelchair to mat! Each time Ben does this he is getting better and better! He was able to scoot from one side of the mat to the other using his arms and sliding his bumm...again he needed help but the majority of it he was doing! OT continues to work with him on writing, lifting weights, adjusting his chair and other adaptable things. Ben has had some amazing sessions with neuro psych recently! His doc has been working with his memory and slowly but surely he is remembering more and more short term things. I went to a session he had the other day and it was hilarious! His doc was talking to Ben about being more independent and discussing how are ways to remember the date. She said she uses post-its, calendars and other things. She then went on to ask Ben what he would use to find out the date....he pointed at me!! I laughed so hard! His doc told him, well Ben sometimes Katie is not going to be here to tell you the date so then what would you do?? What did he do...point at me again!! I laughed so hard again! Of course I got told that I couldn't come in the folllowing day of his neuro psych therapy...I understoon completely! No more looking to Katie for answers!
I think the best and most MIRACULOUS part of this week is that Ben started to voice some more and SAY WORDS with noise! He has been getting louder with his breathy voice but this time sound came out! I started working with him and just humming, he did it like 5 times! Then we went on to say his the same pitch he said it 3times!! Lastly we moved on to WOW! Ben again said it several times. I was so excited! I think Ben surprised himself too because when he started he lifted his eyebrows high! I was in awe and thanking Jesus!! He was able to do it the next night and show off to a nurse! 2 days after the first time Ben was able to get voice out for his speech therapist and count with his neuropsychologist!
Tonight we got him back in bed and I asked him to say a few words after laying down. Eric his nurse was in here and he said every word I asked him to and then his voice got pooped! Eric was shocked because he had not heard it at all and has been working iwth Ben since we got here!! PRAISE JESUS!! {videos in above blog!}
I was able to climb in his lap tonight before dinner and just love on him! Of course I bawled as we held each other and he rested his head on my shoulder. Oh his closeness I miss! I get to snuggle with him at night but I miss the hugs, him holding me and just being close to each other whenever we want! I know that Ben misses it too! I love this man with all my heart!
I am so proud of Ben and all of his hard work! I am sure there are days when he wants to throw in the towel but he keeps fordging ahead! He never gives up but always moves forward! I asked him who he was working so hard for (thinking he would say me) and he mouthed clear as day! Bless his heart...I will take that response! WOW!

Prayer requests:
~more voice and speaking to come and that it would be purposeful on his part...he would reply with verbal answers!
~body would continue to adjust to meds that are started and stopped.
~neck/head muscles would relax so that we don't have to do another botox round...pray speciffically for his RIGHT side....that side is the tightest!
~Ben's legs would be strengthened for walking more and more!
~Trunk control and upper body strength to improve!
~Wisdom and direction for decisions that Ben and I will have to be making in the near future!
~Rest, peace and a deeper faith in my Jesus!

"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you! He will not rebuke you for asking! But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone!" James 1:5

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Raise your flag...

Through the feel of war they brave this day
How proud they stand, their unselfish way

Our soldiers bear what we cannot see
They assure our right to live life free

Each trained will face an unknown fate
Our support they need, don’t hesitate

Just imagine how this land would be
Without their courage - catastrophe

All the liberties we have grown to know
Would not exist, this life would go

Find a thankfulness within your mind
Speak gratitude for our bravest kind

Have the willingness to show you care
For fallen heroes, hold back no tear

Reach out to God with his guiding light
For our troops do pray, both day and night

America raise your flags to wave
For we truly are 'home of the brave'

Thank you to all of our service men and women for the sacrifices that you have made for our freedom! God Bless America!!

PS...sorry for the blog post below and how the videos are...I need to redo it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

he wants no covers...

So, it is after 11pm and my parents (yes they are here with us!!!) and I just got back from a huge 4th of July celebration! we were able to sit in box seats and with other families from the unit. Ben was not able to go because it was too late but he had a full evening of watching John Wayne movies...his favorite! wow...this week so far has been very interesting and has had it highs and craziness! Ben has been complaining of pain on the left side of his chest (ever since his feeding tube was pulled) area and every test has been done and every lab drawn! As you know I was told on Sunday am that Ben had a kidney stone on his left and right kidneys. He has been on IV fluids and meds to help pass them. As much as we know he has not passed them but his pain has been getting better. That is a good sign! On Monday he had an ultra sound and it should possible gall stones. This has not been confirmed yet and they are looking into a few other things as well. They also think that he may have formed an ulcer in the inside of where his peg tube was...not uncommen. So, they are still trying to get to the bottom of it and I hope it is soon! I think that Ben had enough of it all on Tuesday! He either just wanted to be left alone or was just darn uncomfortable! They tried to give him his meds and he would just spit them out! He has never done this before! It didn't matter how much we talked to him and tried to convince him that the meds are going to help he would just spit them out! He got his way but then another nurse was able to come in a few hours later and he took them. The rest of the morning he was moody and then after a nap and a decent afternoon he got better....until that night! That night he took all his blankets off, ripped his gown off, was trying to take his bottom sheets off and everything else that was touching him! Of course I told him in order for me to snuggle he had to at least have a sheet on....he kind of agreed when I had him put his arm around me so that he couldn't pull anything off! I usually leave around 9pm but it was not until 10:30 that he finally fell asleep! What a draining evening! The next day Ben was a bit tired in the morning but then he perked up the rest of the day! He has had a few moody times since then but not as bad as this night! As much as this is frustrating and I am trying to keep him clothed and covered it is a good thing because it shows what Ben wants and he has to move to do all of these things! Move all you want Ben! :) Ben has been doing really well in his therapies despite his ups and downs. He has done more standing and kicking ball (see video below), answering questions with his mouth (still no sound but words) instead of head shakes, improving his pool skills and excelling in neoropsychology and memory improvements!! Praise Jesus! There was an OT that was in a conference with Ben's other therapists this week and he flew out to check out Ben and his wheelchair stuff. He worked with Ben for a bit and then when we were on our way out he said to Ben's PT, "that guy is going to make alot of improvements from here on out!" I almost started bawling as I walked away with Ben. This man has never met Ben before this day and I found his comment to be prophetic! It boosted my hope yet again! I have been reading the book of Romans and I came across these verses in my reading. "Oh how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord's thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? And who has given Him so much that He needs to pay it back? For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory! All glory to Him forever!" Rom. 11:36 The first few verses talk about the Lords' wisdom and knowlegde...I want this too! As I got to thinking about the rest of it I was truly humbled! I cannot give advice to God, the One who knows all adn there is no way that I have given Jesus so much that He would owe me anything! He has given me so much more and that means I get to worship Him and not the other way around! Ben and I exist because of Him and because we exist we will give Him all our praise and glory! Ben and I were blessed with another lil nephew this week...Kasen Isaac. He was born to my bro and sis-in-law! That makes 13 and one more due this month!

First video is Ben singing the Praise God melody, 2nd in standing frame and asked to kick ball...his first attempt ever, 3rd is his second attempt at it...go Ben go!! This took so much concentration and he worked so hard! He has only a small belt around his waist and support for his arms. He had to put all his weight on one leg, pick up the other and then kick the ball! Sorry they are sideways...turn those laptops around...those with desktops, your head! :)
My parents are with us for a few more days so it might be a few before I can get more updates on!

Blessings to you all!

PS....anybody know where a good place to stay in Santa Barbara or has a time share?? have a wedding there the end of the month and don't know the area!! If you do e-mail