Changes

My dad is an interesting fellow right now!  We’re hoping this is a sign of improvement or it could be from him simply feeling so out of control and getting increasingly agitated by his condition, but he is entering this stubborn, feisty stage.  He wasn’t ready to get into his pj’s the other night so he just ignored the urging to get ready for bed.  He didn’t want to shower, and wouldn’t even go upstairs with my mom so she could, and the reason given was, “I just don’t feel like it.”  So, she had to wait until we came over to get herself ready.  Its a hard place to be for her because she has to supervise, he still can not speak much or formulate answers, and the part of his brain that was affected was his emotions, social behavior, cognition, interpretation, speech, etc., so there’s much he can not finish or follow through on.  I’ve begun noticing how similar his affects are to a lobotomy.  He’s very flat emotionally, sometimes looks more noticeably uncomfortable with physical affection, and seems bugged sometimes when the girls get up to sit with him.  He just doesn’t like it much right now.  It seems better than despondence though.

We are getting the hang of his business, at least to the point where it doesn’t go under (my mom phrased it, “hanging on by our finger tips”)…we’d like to at least accomplish that for my dad, and our goal is to make sure that things make it through the whole ordering, shipping, billing cycle so that money keeps coming in and we can maintain the kind of reputation and trustworthiness my dad has built into his business.  Unfortunately, as self-employment seems to always have high points and low points to the income, they were in a low when this all happened.  So, the financial needs are great!  We’ve had some great offers for fundraisers and some very generous donations, but if you are still wanting to help financially in the immediate, the need is great!  I don’t think we’re going to be bringing enough in to get their bills paid.  Lori is going to help us determine exactly where we are at on Tuesday!  You can also pray we get some BIG orders in! 🙂  We do have a church body looking into the church, which was encouraging, and we’ll see in the weeks to come if it is going to serve the needs of their congregation. 

Well, I need to get moving and get my kids organized to go to a friend’s house, and we’re going to tackle a little more business tonight! Blessings and enjoy your day of “rest” tomorrow!

Pics from Friday Night

I’ll post a few pics from last night.  Vicky and Zion Brooks came over to give us their Wii (sp?) for a while, hoping it might be something my dad can do during his recovery.  Spending time with them was nice, the girls enjoyed Zion’s company, and they even put on a dance production for us.  I took a few videos that I was hoping to put on facebook, but they got erased somehow…bummer!

Supernatural Parenting!

Travis has been working at General Mills for over 5 years now, and this is the first year that he has had 4 full weeks of vacation.  So, he was able to take this last two weeks off and really focus on the kids, my dad’s business, and being with my family.  It was an absolute Godsend!  With my girls’ issues being what they are, they weren’t always happy that Daddy was able to “take over” with them when they are used to being with me all the time.  They feel a lot like mommy is “choosing” Grandpa and Grandma over them.  Its hard to comprehend the situation without it being filtered through the abandonment and worthlessness grid.  So, “mommy doesn’t care about us and we don’t mean anything to her, she only cares about grandma and grandpa and being with them.”  I’ve come home on several nights and the two older girls will not talk to me, won’t let me hug them, and they cling to Travis.  They want me with them, but when I am with them they feel mad that I wasn’t with them before!  None of this changes what has to happen right now, and each of these periods of life serves as an opportunity to face feelings and heal a little more.  But boy is it uncomfortable for them as the process gets lived out!

Travis, unfortunately, had to return to work last night!  The break is over.  So, life will begin getting a little more complicated for us from here on out.  I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to fit everything together, but God has been faithful so far, and I believe He will continue to carry us!  One prayer request I have though, is for supernatural patience and emotional energy.  I haven’t felt like the best mom over the past two weeks, and I know that makes sense given the situation we have been in, but I would like to feel that in the midst of what is going on I’m able to offer some semblance of normalcy and emotional consistency for them.  I need God-empowered parenting abilities!  🙂

Praise the Lord for the Caleb Board!!!!!

It is hard to imagine what my mom, Josh and I would have done without Lori Ferris helping us learn my dad’s business system.  She is one of our board members for Caleb Ministries and she volunteered to come survey his work, figure it all out, and then teach us how to do it all!  Thank you Lori!  I felt like we were running a fairly coherent business yesterday, and hopefully we can keep it going!  And she’s a lot of fun to work with, which is another plus in an overwhelming situation!

Vicky Brooks, we call our “Life Coordinator”…well, that’s what I call her!  She basically asks us what we need and then she goes and gets help for us.  She has been at the hospital, in meetings with doctors, setting up things behind the scenes…as I’m keeping track of all the people who have helped, her job description next to her name reads: “Everything”.  Her husband Mike, is a physician and has been translating what the doctors say, answering questions, and just overall, helping to get us through the medical end of things!  He was on speaker phone when the very first doctor came in to talk to us about my dad’s bleed and seizure, and he was on the phone again the first night we brought my dad home to answer questions and make sure all the meds were taken care of and we understood things.

Jodi Wohlers is one of the most compassionate people I know.   She is so attentive to my mom, was able to help my mom emotionally connect during the board meeting on Sunday, and has been coordinating meals for us that are absolute life savers!!!  We’ve never eaten so good! 🙂

Nan and Tony Gutschmidt have been just a constant support and help.  Nan worked in the office next to where my dad was at the U of Iowa hospital.  She came by daily to sit with us, visit my dad, and offer help and understanding in different medicatl-related areas.  I teased her about it on Sunday, but it was really nice to have someone who, after I came out saying that I didn’t understand something, would say, “That’s something you can ask about.  He’s your dad and they need to explain things till you understand what they’re saying!”  That was very helpful!  Her husband Tony has been at our house surveying our locks on the doors, gluing ceiling tiles back on the ceiling so we didn’t have things falling down on our heads!  We thought it might be nice not to have anyone else get a brain injury!  And he got our WiFi Internet up and running!  THANKYOU!!!

After my dad got rushed to St. Lukes, it was determined that he needed to be airlifted to the University Hospital, so my mom and Travis and I jumped in the car to drive to Iowa City.  I will never be able to quite put words to what it meant to us (and how comforting it was) to pull up to the hospital and have our friend, Steve Irwin, standing there already waiting for our car.  To see a friendly face first thing, and to know he stopped whatever he was doing to get to the hospital…Steve, something that seems so minor made such a huge difference!

We have friends and family who’ve made donations that helped us get our insurance premium paid to make sure my dad’s health insurance didn’t lapse, to help keep utlities paid, and even coffee money to keep us fed and energized while at the hospital.  We have people volunteering to clean both my and my mom’s houses so we can live with some order around us right now.  We’ve had numbers of people who have called to check on us and tell us they’re praying, people who stopped by both hospitals to see us and to visit my dad (I’m not even aware of them all), someone volunteer to write up our power of attorney, a friend stopped by just at the right time as we remembered we had no one to pick up my dad from therapy that day, people behind the scenes trying to organize fund raisers, prayer chains praying for him all over town and beyond.  I sat and read my dad the emails and cards that have been coming in (and I plan to continue that if anyone still wants to say hello to him!)!  He’s starting to grasp more and more, and can track with people’s emails pretty well.

And I know there are people who are away, who feel so helpless to do anything, who want to be here helping and caring, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of your friendships, your prayers, and your support!  I think my mom and I are still standing because of the prayers people are saying on our behalf.

When my dad gets better and can really grasp the amount of help and care we have received, I think he will be totally overwhelmed!  My mom has said, and I agree, that we talk about being in situations that you are totally helpless to take care of on your own, that are completely beyond your own resources, but you never really anticipate the big ones…the ones that could flatten you…if it was just you!  But it hasn’t been!  Thank you! 

My dad is one of the best people I know.  We say all the time as a family, he is a truly servant-hearted man…willing to go to Walgreens twice in the middle of the night to get your medicine, and then go back if he got the wrong thing…willing to stop what he’s doing to help, even if it is inconvenient at the time…willing to drive to 5 different HyVee’s in order to find something we need…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Travis, my husband, jokes about how hard it is to live up to my dad.  He jokes, “Rick set me up for failure!  I might be willing to do all those things, if its absolutely necessary, but I’m never going to want to do those things!  Rick wants to do those things!  That’s what makes him incredible!”  There’s no one we would rather serve right now than my dad.  And we so thankful for everyone helping to make that possible!

Pics and update!

Sorry guys, I forgot to put this info with the pictures! 🙂
Just attaching some pics our time in waiting rooms (while Rebekah’s family was here), and pics since my dad has been home.  The pics of him at home are from yesterday.  Madeline got him to play hide and seek, which he did pretty well at, forgetting at times that he was playing the game and not sure what to do, but at least he was up smiling.  My mom took him to a sub shop today for lunch, which I think was nice for my dad to get a chance to get out of the house!  He’s still really struggling with speaking and with answering questions.  He loses focus and still seems like he’s in another world at times, but I do feel he is tracking with what we are saying more.  Not being able to speak is frustrating for him, and not being able to formulate thoughts is frustrating for him too.  And, we’re holding off with a lot of visits right now because its embarrassing to him to have good friends there but not be able to interact at all.  So, we’re gonna wait a while and keep stimuli to a minimum.  Well, I have to get back over to my parents’ house for dinner…bless you all! 

A little info

So, in the midst of all the chaos I am trying to teach my mom the art of voicemail.  She is normally so conscientious about answering the phone anytime they are home, but with the volume of calls coming into their home phone, cell phones and business phone, I’ve encouraged her to let the home phone ring into voicemail and we will be diligent about returning phone calls twice a day.  So, I wanted to give people a heads up and make sure everybody knows that during business hours we are going to let the home phone go to voicemail.  And hopefully no one’s offended by this!  We love you all, are SO grateful for the support, it is just not humanly possible to take care of my dad, put mental focus and attention towards his business, and take all personal calls simultaneously!  If there is something that is urgent or you need to tell us or ask us immediately, please call my cell phone at  319-721-5503 , and that way I can handle whatever info I can and get to her the info she needs.  As much as we would like to be able to remove her from having to handle every area, there is so much that only she knows!  And this is most true in these early days.  The more of a routine we get into the more we can truly share the load.  So, thank you for understanding!

Today’s Accomplishments

Hmmmm…

Here is a sampling of accomplishments for the day:

  • We got my dad home from the hospital!
  • He lived through his first day home with us! 🙂
  • I’m pretty sure we saved my mother from a nervous breakdown (by a narrow margin)!  Amazing what a master “To Do” list and a little scotch tape will do for the soul!
  • My dad survived his unsupervised trip to the bathroom down 8 stairs, past his table saw and into the room with a big hole in the floor!

Things we need to work on for tomorrow:

  • Making sure we actually push start on the DVD so my dad is not driven to suicide by the constantly revolving menu music!
  • Teaching Madeline (our 4 year old) better phrases to say to grandpa other than, “Quit staring at me grandpa,” and “Grandpa, why are you not talking?”

WHAT A DAY!!!  I keep thinking of how to describe it best, but my brain can’t explain it, my fingers aren’t moving, and my eyes keep closing!  So, I’m taking that as my cue to save the description for another day.  But one thing I can say is that I have NO IDEA what we would do without the friends that have come along side our family and the incredible support we have received from so many!  AND, I am so proud of Travis (my husband) and Joshua (my brother) for their willingness and ability to jump right in, shoulder an immense amount of stress and responsibility, and run my dad’s business!  Here is the new face of Air Management!

With that said, I’m off to bed!  Goodnight all!