Monday, May 30, 2011

Let's Roll!!!

When we were able to move Mom & Daddy downstairs, there was still one major issue that had to be tackled...a ramp. Even though their apartment is on the first level, there were still some steps to navigate. The issue became a little more pressing when plans quickly changed for Daddy to come instead going to another rehab facility.

Well, as usual, some wonderful men stepped up & took on this project as a personal ministry for Daddy.

With this being a long weekend, a couple of guys went yesterday to measure & purchase supplies then headed back to Terry's shop to begin building. Terry & Mark build the frame pieces in the shop then loaded them up & transported them today to put together at the apartment.

They worked for a few hours this afternoon & completed the project for very 2 very appreciative & thankful people! Mom & Daddy can now easily come & go from the apartment...just in time for therapy to begin Wednesday!

Daddy spent some out watching the work & I think enjoying the process. Mom said there were a couple of discussions about some things & hat Daddy seemed to get tickled listening & watching them figure it out. I'm sure he was fit to be tie not being able to tell them how & what to do ;-)

And....the finished product....

We cannot begin to express our thankfulness & gratitude for these men. They took time away from their families this Memorial Day weekend to bless Mom & Daddy in an amazing way! This has been a huge burden for Mom & I'm so grateful for their gifts, servant hearts & work ethic. Thank you beyond words to Terry, Mark, Doug, Matt & Dave!

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus...Philippians 2.3-5

Saturday, May 21, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Mom & Grant got Daddy home Friday afternoon even in the craziness of the storms. (Daniel, kids & I are in St. Louis. We had planned this little trip before we knew the plans were going to change on leaving BRI.) When everything changed, Mom said she still wanted us to go to get away & relax a little. We have had a fantastic time so far! It's been wonderful for the kids to have our undivided attention.

Anyway, other than the rain, I think the transition has been pretty smooth. Daddy gave Mom "that look" when they got home since there were still some boxes around from the move. She said don't worry I have plenty of time to work on those. They were able to maneuver the couple of down steps getting to the apartment, but we have some amazing friends who are planning & working on building a ramp. The apartment has marked mom 2 parking places to be reserved for her under the awning so that she can get Daddy out of the car & into his chair which will be nice on days like yesterday.

I'm anxious to hear how their first night home went, but Mom is really trying to not call so that we can have some family time...she is so sweet!!!! She wants all of us to have time together, have fun & relax. We are sending her a few pictures so she can share w/ Grandpa ;-) Some pics we've sent...have to throw these cute faces in somehow!

Out-patient therapy begins Thursday @ BRI so we are all ready to get that going. Daddy has already met his speech therapist (I think she filled in for his regular therapist one day maybe). His therapists he's had have promised to come check in on his though & I'm sure he will go down to visit. Some amazing friends are in the planning & process of building a ramp for Daddy @ the apartment. Parking places have already been reserved for them so that Mom can get Daddy out of the car into wheelchair then inside. We are so very thankful & grateful for the wonderful people that God has put in our lives!!!

I'm anxious to hear how the first night went, but I'm sure it was fine. He was probably completely worn out from therapy yesterday morning then actually getting home. Please continue to pray for his speech, but also now that they are home pray that he will not make too many impulsive decisions (common w/ stroke)! That's why Matt his PT wouldn't send him home w/ a walker & even reminded him again not to be overly confident!!! Now that he is home he may feel like he can do more, but still has limitations. We are hoping being home will motivate him, but he still has to remember to be careful. For Mom, pray that she has the strength, endurance, grace & peace to do what needs to be done.

A little side note that Mom will not want to forget, but don't think she could if she tried...Thursday morning we stopped by to say hi/bye & give loves. Mom walked us down to the van when we were leaving bc we had brought them some Chick-fil-a for breakfast ;-) In the meantime, the medical equipment guy shows up in Daddy's room w/ all this stuff. When Mom gets back upstairs, the guy is explaining how everything works & what you do to Daddy...very helpful (can you hear the sarcasm?!?). So Mom jumps in & takes over. While she is signing papers she hears a crash behind her...yep, Daddy on the floor!!! (He is fine & was thoroughly checked out.) Apparently, he decided to get up or into bed, not really sure, but none the less he feel between the bed & the nightstand. He didn't hit is head, but I'm sure he's sore! Remember, the very helpful medical equipment guy?!? He turned around & walked out of the room w/ Daddy laying on the floor!!! Seriously?!? Watch out single ladies bc there's a real winner out there somewhere!!! Essie, his nurse, & other staff rushed in to get him up. They got him up, checked him out & had the doctor come by also. Everyone said he was fine. Mom was so thankful he didn't hit his head on the nightstand!!! I know that most of you now have a streak of fear thinking what will he do if that happen @ home?!? Well, like Essie had just told her while we were there that she could always call 911 if she needed them. We are praying that doesn't happen!!!!

So I think that pretty well sums everything up...that I know. Have a wonderful weekend & I'll update in a few days about how things are going! Thank you all once again for your many, many prayers! We are so grateful & thankful for the blessing of relationships that God has given us!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This is another week of change & transition...I typed this post last night but fell asleep before I got it posted. How sad is that?!? Ha!

We transferred Mom & Dad into the downstairs apartment this weekend which we couldn't have accomplished without those who pitched in to pack, move boxes & unpack. It's not quite there yet, but it is getting there.

Sunday afternoon, we all headed to BRI for a few minutes of visiting. Daddy was actually asleep when we got there but that didn't last long since Shawn & Anna Kate were in tow!! Ha! He was laying in bed & we were talking when all of sudden AK started "doing therapy."

She had found a rubberband in the room & told Grandpa it was time to do some therapy. She slipped the rubberband over his foot up onto his leg. She kept telling him now do this or move your foot this way. It was hilarious bc she has seen him in therapy enough to know a few things that they do as well as being a therapy veteran herself.

After she had done a little PT, she decided it was time for some speech! She pulled out his alphabet chart & start saying the ABCs w/ him.

Shawn joined for the speech session to work on counting & numbers.

They both love working w/ him on his letters & numbers. When we were in the process of saying good-byes, the kids had hugged & kissed when Daddy pulled himself to a sitting position using his left arm & the bedrail. Then he slipped his legs off the bed & just sat on the side of the bed! I was completely impressed @ that point but then he just stood up!!!! He braced himself w/ his left hand on the bedrail but he got up easier than he has ever gotten off my couch!! Ha!

Of course, Mom started telling him that he couldn't walk or he would fall...he of course gave her "the look." It was amazing!!!! We got his wheelchair & he pivoted himself a bit & sat down in his chair. Mom & I were there but didn't really do anything!! This was a BIG deal!!!

Another BIG deal was this after non when he finished PT w/ Matt, he was leaving & Mom said you better tell matt "thank you" & he DID!!!!!! He said "Thank You" to Matt! Our friend, Lisa (a PT), was standing there also & so they ALl heard it!!!! We are very excited & anxious about what might be next! He has been making huge strides (at least to us)!!

I was @ Heart hospital today checking on someone & when I left the room walking past the nurse's station I saw one of Daddy's nurses (Kathy) that he had during his week @ Heart. She said that she has had Mom & Dad on her heart & mind the past few days. That is just one example of how we know that God is impressing upon people how to love us then you are obedient so we are so grateful!!!! I asked Kathy to share how things were going w/ the other nurses

Thank you once again to all of you for your prayers, calls, texts & visits. We are so appreciative for each & every one! Please continue your prayers & encouragement especially as we were faced w/ some different news than expected on Tuesday am. Mom was told this am that there was significant pay increase in the rehab facility since it was out of network...only problem is that there are no facilities in LR proper in network. So long story short..,Daddy goes HOME on Friday! This has caught us off guard, but we do feel ok w/ this situation if we can get some things done @ the new place to be ready for him. I know none of this has caught God by surprise so we continue to trust even when we don't understand or feel like we are fighting an up-hill battle! We know that Daddy wouldn't be where he is now if it wasn't for God's care & provision which he will continue to provide! Please be prying for all of us as we make this huge transition!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Walking Laps

AK & I had to go to LR today for her one year check-up w/ her ENT, Dr. Ritcher, at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We LOVE Dr. Ritcher & he has been wonderful to us over the past 2 years as we have dealt w/ AK's ear issues. He gave her a clean bill of health today & said that we don't need to come see him again unless we have problems. Great news!!! But we will miss seeing him!

Since we had time this morning after her appointment, we headed to BRI to surprise Daddy & do some therapy w/ him. He was very surprised to see us, but very glad! We got there just in time for PT & OT. He had PT w/ Matt first so he got the walker ready for Daddy to walk some laps around the gym.

He started walking & didn't want to stop. Matt would make him take breaks between laps, but Daddy would look at him & point to let him know he was ready to go again. He walked 3 laps. The longest lap was 162 feet!!!! The others weren't quite that long but each were well over 100 feet!

During PT, Matt also helped Daddy work on transferring from the chair to the bench & also standing from sitting. Each therapy is about 45 minutes so that's lots of walking & standing!

AK brought Grandpa his favorite cookies (Keebler Fudge Stripes) that she gave him as a treat for doing so well in therapy!

After PT, it was time for OT w/ Cheryl. Daddy started w/ a computer game where he worked his right hand manipulating a joystick to move a basket & catch dropping balls. They use an ace bandage to keep his hand attached to the stick then he works the movement of his arm back & forth. After some computer time, he worked on movement & range of motion w/ a stick/pole that I don't know the name for :-/ They asked AK to help hold the pole while he slid his hand back & forth.

She loved helping w/ Grandpa's therapy. He moves a smaller pipe piece up & down the pole to work his muscles as well as range of motion. As he was working his arm, they used a stimulator on his upper arm & he started hurting really bad. He has muscle spasms quite often from all the intense exercises. They stopped working his arm then & iced it down...he didn't really enjoy that too much either.

When he was finished w/ morning therapy, we all went to McBride's for lunch. Daddy had not been there yet so we thought that would be a good treat. We had a wonderful lunch & I'm pretty sure flat wore him out!!!

We all went back to the room to give loves & kisses before heading home. Another wife of a patient brought Mom a "pear" yesterday but she realized something wasn't quite was too hard. Turns out it was chocolate...really good chocolate!!! Anyway, AK started chomping into it! Haha!

It was a great time together & I'm so proud of how hard Daddy is working in therapy. I can't even imagine how exhausting, frustrating & grueling all that must be. It's all those things just to watch! So glad & thankful we had some special time together!
Keep praying for Daddy's progress & for all the steps required to get him moved into the rehab facility.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...mostly

Anna Kate has been practicing her Speech Therapy skills learned from Ms. Leigh Ann, Ms. Charity & Ms. Missy!!

Practicing mouth positions in the mirror.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Well, this morning was staff meeting, but we still are in somewhat of a limbo. Mom visited with Dr. Kiser this am & they talked about what needs/should happen next. Dr. Kiser was pleased with his walking yesterday so she wasn't sure what would come from the meeting.

Daddy walked yesterday without the harness suspension & simply walked with a heavy duty brace...similar to a walker. Mom said he did much better with that than the harness so that was great! She said he moved his leg better & more with this one also.

They have staffed already this morning & they are in agreement that they would like for him to actually stay @ BRI til next Wednesday (if insurance will allow him to stay). Rebecca (social worker) will be talking to his insurance during the day today. She told Mom that we should know a definite plan by this afternoon. Mom would be thrilled if he could stay a few days longer there then transition, but we know that God is in control so we are trusting him to make the path clear & straight.

Thank you for praying for our family today (and over the last month) as we anticipated hearing what our part of the journey would be. We are not loosing heart & standing strong in the truth of God's Word!

I will update when we know more, but for now you can pray that God's will is done & that we have the grace & peace to accept what He puts before us.

Mom just called & Rebecca received the approval for Daddy to stay one more week @ BRI!!! We are excited & Mom is very happy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sufficient Grace

From the moment I woke up Friday until I went to bed, I felt God's grace in an amazing way. I told Mom that there were so many praying for us...those who knew what the day would hold & those that didn't have any idea but God laid our family on their hearts so they were obedient to intercede on our behalf. Mom even said once we were back at BRI after lunch that she knew it sounded strange to say that she felt good about what was happening & I said that's God's grace & peace from everyone praying!

We only went to tour 2 facilities yesterday...Good Shepherd & Chenal Heights. (FYI...We have NOT begun this conversation w/ Daddy yet, but will this week. I'll share more about that another time.) We were very pleased with both & didn't feel that we needed to go any further since we had a peace about both. Again, God's provision!

We have chosen Chenal Heights & Rebecca, the BRI social worker, is beginning the process of making that happen when the discharge date is definite. Dr. Kiser told Mom yesterday am that May 12 was tentative but they would staff again this Tuesday then we will have a more definite transition date.

When we got back to see Daddy, it was time for afternoon therapy time. First up was Recreation where they decided a friendly game of UNO was in order. Grant & AK got to play also...guess who won?!? Anna Kate! She was SO proud that she was part of the game & that she won!!! Of course, I'm not sure why she would enjoy that so much since no one made a big deal out of it. Ha!

After Rec, it was time for Language group, Speech, OT & PT so AK & I headed back to pick up Shawn from school. AK was upset when we said bye to Nana bc she wanted to come straight back instead of running an errand first. I finally convinced her that we were coming back to have a special dinner w/ Grandpa. She still would remind me occasionally that she was ready to go see Grandpa. So sweet!!!!

Mom sent us a pic of Daddy during PT walking using the harness but w/out the shopping cart!!! He had used the cart that morning so he walked twice which completely wore him out!!! Mom told him that we were bringing him a special dinner (Macaroni Grill) since he had worked so hard in therapy.

We picked up his favorite...Alfredo w/ chicken & shrimp! Mom & Dad met the garden for a little evening picnic! It was a nice afternoon & made even better when Olan & Kathy stopped by. We all sat around & talked for a few minutes. Olan reminded Daddy that he needed to better so he could get back to ushering at church. Haha! Daddy just gave him "the" look ;-) What a wonderful day that will be though when be can be back at his door & Shawn w/ him...I can't wait!!!

We went back up to the room for a few minutes but didn't stay too long bc Daddy started having what we think were back or leg spasms from all the hard work. He wiggled around in his chair a bit & seemed to get some relief, but was ready for bed! When the nurse came to help him transfer, I was impressed bc he did even better than just a few days before when I saw him do it. He did more himself w/ less help from the aide. That's what we like to see!! We did manage to get a couple of pics before left & I was able to get one of Mom.

Thank you for all the sweet prayers, calls, texts & visits. We are continually overwhelmed by your gracious generosity!!! We are blessed beyond measure!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Next Chapter

Sorry it's been a few days since I updated, but there just hasn't much new info to report. The last couple of days have brought new things but Mom & I both have been very emotional so I refrained from writing b/c I truly couldn't put two words together that made sense. We had not received any bad news or anything like that, but the exhaustion & emotion of the past four weeks had finally caught up with us.

Mom met w/ Rebecca, the BRI case manager, yesterday to discuss Daddy's discharge plan. Dr. Kiser & the therapists were talking to Mom about her learning to help transfer him, etc. After meeting yesterday though, we are thinking the best decision at this point will probably be to find a Skilled Nursing Facility or rehab center where he can get the most therapy (not quite as much as he's getting now but more than just a couple of days a week). Trust me...this is a very difficult decision since we had so hoped Daddy would have progressed enough to go straight home. However, we want the best for him & as of now that seems to be what will provide him the best therapy options as well as offering him more therapy options once he does come home. The joys of putting the insurance puzzle together so that it works best!

God has continued to bless us beyond measure & one way He has done that is through His people! We have a very dear friend whose sister worked in insurance case management for years & she has offered to walk through all of this technical stuff w/ us. Marty joined Mom & Rebecca in their meeting yesterday. Mom said that Marty was & is invaluable!!! It was so good to have someone who knows the ins & outs of how things work as well as all the medical stuff that goes along with making these decisions. Marty has offered to help us in any way possible so I'm sure we will be calling on her expertise again very soon.

Mom, Grant & I will be going to visit some of the rehab facilities on Friday & then we are getting together Friday along w/ Daniel to discuss everything & make some definite plans as well as make sure we are all on the same page. Please be praying for all of us this weekend as we will be making some very important decisions. We know that God has brought us this far in our journey & He has every plan to see us through each step. He is faithful!!!!

In therapy news, Anna Kate was talking to Daddy this morning on the phone & he said "hi sweet pea." It was somewhat drawn out (well, we do live in Arkansas...haha) but his voice was loud & strong!! We were very excited to say the least!!!! I had the phone on speaker so was able to hear it as well & Mom immediately started telling AK to give me the phone so she could tell me not realizing that I was already listening. He was trying really hard to talk to AK & Shawn when we tree Tuesday, but we couldn't make anything out. He was trying to sing his ABCs ;-) Daniel stopped by tonight on his way home & said that Daddy was combining "Amazing Grace" with "ABCs." We will take whatever we can get though!!! AK talked to Mom either yesterday or this am & said "that therapy is hard work." Haha! Pretty funny & ironic seeing as she has had all those therapies. Must make her an expert & she knows how exhausting those sessions can be ;-) It was so sweet!!

Daddy worked on standing & walking in the harness again today while pushing the shopping cart. I'm adding a picture & sorry it's sideways, but I just didn't have the opportunity to work on it today to get it fixed.

Well, my eyes are beginning to cross & roll into my head so I'm taking that as a sign that it's bedtime!!! Thanks to each of you for your prayers & acts of kindred & generosity. God has blessed us beyond measure w/ tremendous family, friends & church family!!! Even Daddy's PT noticed when a couple from church came to see & said that we must have a wonderful church bc everyone is so nice! Mom let him know that yes we definitely had a fantastic church family. God's tangible way to demonstrate His love & grace.

Thank you in advance for your prayers & acts of kindness/generosity. We have only made it this far by His grace Whig He will continue to supply new mercies every morning! Thank you also for keeping up w/ us through the blog & reaching out to love us in so many tangible ways. Have a wonderful weekend & blessings to each of you!!!

We will take more pictures this weekend! Promise!