Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kjerstin got to start water therapy today! So from here on out she will being doing some of her therapy in the pool. She said she really liked it. She told me again today that she really wants to come home and that therapy is hard. I told her doing her best and completing therapy is what is going to allow her to come home!

There is some concern with her posture. The therapist said she was concerned Kjerstin might need evaluated for scoliosis. Mom explained that Kjerstin has a slight curvature in her spine prior to the accident that the doctor said was just a hereditary thing, not scoliosis. We are going to have her back checked just in case. She is also flat footed, so they are getting her insoles. The doctor said the insoles will help tremendously with her walking. Kjerstin is just having a hard time standing up straight.

Dad is back to work Monday. So, this weekend we are checking them out of the hotel & Mom will just stay in the Kjerstin's hospital room with Kjerstin for the remaining three weeks. This will help save over $1000! The bills and home improvements have been adding up quickly, so we are trying to save money this way.

We will be painting & doing some drywall work on the house again tomorrow night. Tonight we got quite a bit done. Thank you to everyone that came and helped. We really appreciate it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kjerstin made brownies today during one of her therapy sessions. She had a good time. It's the little things in life, like making brownies, that we take for granted sometimes. Remember to enjoy these moments. we have no promise for tomorrow. I just had a conversation with Colten tonight about not wishing your life away and living in the moment and enjoying your life while you can. I think this is something that we constantly have to remind ourselves of.

Kjerstin is having problems with her eyes and focusing again, so she is back to wearing those wonderful pink glasses. The y have one side taped to force her brain and eyes to function properly.

Each day she remembers a little more. Today she remembered her car is black. However, she doesn't remember much from school from her Freshman year. Sometimes telling her a story or showing her a picture helps spark a memory.

She us ready to come home & said that staying at the hospital until September 23 is going to be a very hard time. Can you imagine what she would think if she remembered the whole time she has been in the hospital?!

We started working on the house to get it ready tonight. We will be back working on it tomorrow and in the evenings on Wednesday & Thursday. We will go to Nebraska this weekend and resume work on the house on Monday. We will be laying the flooring on the Tuesday after Labor Day. If anyone is available to help, please come on by or call me for directions. Tomorrow we will be prepping the floor and painting & removing wall paper.

Kjerstin had another balance test today. She did great. The scale is from 1 to 56, with 56 being the best she can get. She had a score of 2 when she arrived at the rehab hospital and today she scored a 40! talk about progress. Once she reaches a 50, she will be able to walk on her own without anyone having to hold onto her belt.

She is texting some & they are letting her get on Facebook some too. The typing and texting help with her fine motor skills, which still needs improvement.

Her 16th birthday is coming soon so I asked her what she wanted. She said she had no idea. I told her we would have a big party & she said that sounded good. We will have so much fun.

Please keep Kjerstin in your prayers. She is doing amazing, but we still have a very long road ahead of us.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kjerstin is on her way to Olive Garden today! She gets to go out with the family! They do outings every week and she loves it! She gets tired very quickly so they are only for a couple hours. She asked if they could go to the mall, too!~ Can't wait to see how she likes it.

Last night she played UNO and had a great time. Her speech is improving all the time. However, when you ask her a question, she reforms the question into an answer. For example, if you say, " did you have fun playing UNO?" Instead of saying, "Yes", she says, " Yes, I had fun playing UNO". Her feelings are apparent in her communication, it's just different than how she used to communicate. It's more textbook like. They said this will get better as she continues therapy. She shakes her head in an up and down "yes" motion while she speaks. But she smiles and laughs all the time. I think she is acting just like Mom. Heaven help us! The two of them may be more than we can handle :)

She likes playing card games and watching movies. I sent her the Life Series DVD's from Discovery Channel and she really enjoyed those. She is already on DVD #4!

Her dog, Dante is doing well. She asks about him all the time. We are going to try to take him up there next weekend. We found a crate for him. Thank you so much Shannon , Alayna & Heather for helping with that. And Thank you to everyone for praying, donating, organizing fundraisers, working booths at fundraisers, scrapbooking, designing flyers & tshirts, etc. Your support has been phenomenal!

We still have a lot of shirts & bracelets. Please let me know if you would like one and please pass the word on. Shirts are $10 & bracelets are $5.

Golf Tournament is Oct. 9 at Hidden Lakes Golf Course in Wichita. We would love to see you there. OH!.... And......Dad is golfing! Someone needs to video this!!!

Kjerstin doesn't have any therapy today, so she will just be spending time with family. This in itself is therapy, though! She really looks forward to it. She called Mike on Friday morning & said' "When are you gonna be here? Can you leave early?" He canceled his motorcycle ride & left right away to go see her. She said this was the best part of her day yesterday when her therapist asked her!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

What a week! It's like Kjerstin has finally turned the corner! She isn't having such a hard time emotionally. She isn't having anxiety attacks or melt downs anymore. She is actually laughing... a Lot! Her & Mom are rather goofy right now. It's probably good for them to finally be able to laugh, though. They are taking outings on a regular basis. Kjerstin isn't left to do anything on her own yet. Not even go to the bathroom. But, the fact that she can go without help is a tremendous improvement!

The goal is for Kjerstin to be out of her wheelchair next week and to come home September 23 & continue out patient therapy at home. They said she will need therapy for a minimum of a year after returning home. We are all very excited about that she gets to come home!

She is talking on the phone to all us now. Colten talked to her yesterday & he was sooo excited! he said she sounds almost normal! She isn't quite completely herself yet, but her progress is amazing! Not only has she done more than they ever said she would, but she has done it faster than the therapists ever fathomed she would!

She flew through learning to chew, so she got her feeding tube out today! Now she can eat whatever she wants! However, she remembered that she is vegetarian, so no more meat!!

We still have to make some changes to the house, though. They said the chances of her having a second head injury are over 50%! So, we have to be extra careful. I will be starting to organize the work on the house next week, so please let me know if you can help.

Kjerstin is doing her school work at the rehab facility right now. She is doing very well. She does reading and comprehension tests. She did research on the internet and is writing a report. She is practicing division and algebra. We are still having problems getting her school coordinated because Derby denied her out of district waiver this year! The therapists were pretty upset. They said Kjerstin does not need any changes, especially drastic ones as they can negatively affect her progress She needs to be with her friends and the staff and facility that she is familiar with. She is a sophomore, so she only has 2 years of high school left after this year. This just blows my mind! Mom can't work in the district any longer because she has to care for Kjerstin. Kjerstin has been in the district since like 2nd grade. You would think they would let her in, especially with the circumstances. Please continue to pray about this as the doctors and therapists feel like this is an issue we need to pursue.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kjerstin is getting to go out for brief outings now. Mom & Dad get to take her without a therapist. How exciting is that? Kjerstin even put on her own mascara while getting ready to go! Jace went to visit her today & she was so excited to see him!! Aunt Roxie & Uncle Ike were up there this weekend. It made Jerimiah & I feel better that they were there, since we didn't go this weekend. They were all hanging out watching a movie together. And, believe it or not, I have not gotten any phone calls from a crying Kjerstin today! That is a good sign. Hopefully they were either keeping her busy or we are starting to get past this stage.

Therapy starts again with her rigorous schedule tomorrow. She has been so tired that she starts getting ready for bed at around 7pm now. I am excited to see what new things she is able to do this week. She is going to start working on learning to chew again! We will get that feeding tube out yet!

Thank you all for your support at her booth this weekend. We passed out lots of flyers during the parade regarding the upcoming golf tournament fundraiser. If you have one, but do not golf, please pass it on to someone who does golf. We would really appreciate it. We need as many golfers as possible. We also have many more shirts & bracelets that we need to sell. Please contact me at 316-209-8972 or any of the volunteers via the fundraising blog at kmwfundraising.blogspot.com if you are interested.

Please continue to pray. Kjerstin is getting close to being able to move from inpatient therapy to outpatient therapy and this will be a huge adjustment for everyone!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Playing in the rain.....

When Kjerstin woke up from her nap today, she looked at Dad and said, "I just have to get used to this. This is my life now." Dad said, "No you don't have to get used to this. You need to get up and work hard at your therapy so you can go back to your normal life!" She said, "Ok. I will." She is getting there....slowly & painfully, but she is getting there.

Tonight, at Old Settlers, it was different. I would just look around and the sounds & noises were there but they were a blur. Life is just so different now. I don't think I can even explain it. Mom wasn't there. Kjerstin wasn't there. The first time since I can remember...ever....they weren't there! They will be next year, but still.....it was just an eerie reminder of what has happened. Every year the three of us go to the arts & crafts together. I tried. I walked around in somewhat of a daze though. Maybe tomorrow will be easier. Kjerstin did call me while I was walking through. Four times, actually. Crying. Telling me, "Mom says I hit my head. What happened? Why? Why me?" and so on... Maybe that's why it was so hard. I don't know. I think part of it is because for the first time in almost 8 weeks I wasn't at the hospital and I wasn't working or doing something that had to do with Kjerstin's accident. I was trying to relax, I think. I think I felt a little guilty. How do I have the right to be out trying to enjoy myself when my baby sister is learning to walk & chew & remember who she is? It's just not right. I was trying to work at the booth we have for her, selling t-shirts & buttons, but it's almost too hard to do.

However, Kjerstin and Mom played in the rain today! Kjerstin called me 3 times this morning and was very upset, so I told her to have Mom go take her out to play in the rain!! She liked it! She got past her melt down & they went on and did therapy. Have you played in the rain lately? Have you let your kids? Maybe it's time you did! I know you have, Jerimiah. I loved the pictures! Oh to be a child again & to play in the rain. The innocence of children....... and to think my sister almost didn't get to play in the rain again! As I was thinking about this today, I realized something. You don't have to be a child to play in the rain! Just look at Mom! If there is one thing she taught us, it's that you can have fun no matter what you are doing! find the good in the situation she always said. For those of you who know her, you are smiling as you read this & you are all thinking of different times when my mother was being goofy and not really acting like an adult should. But that's Mom! And that's one of the reasons we love her so! Having that crazy, silly, fly by the seat of your pants personality is actually very good for Kjerstin right now with what she is going through. When Kjerstin gets upset, Mom will stand up and start singing "Skinamarink" and dancing & there is no way you can keep from laughing! It's the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen. But, Kjerstin loves it! She just smiles & smiles. No wonder all the little kids love Mom. I've always joked that one day I will get Mom raised. But deep down, I really don't want her to change. She needs to stay Crazy Linda - The lady that would sacrifice anything to help someone else out. Thanks Mom. Thanks for teaching us, by example, what it means to love others, even when they don't deserve it! Kjerstin will be fine. Mom & Dad & the rest of us will sacrifice whatever needed to get Kjerstin well again!

Please come by her booth at the park. We are on the north side down by the bandstand. We have 400 shirts & bracelets we need to sell to help start making renovations to Mom & Dad's house for when Kjerstin comes home! We have to be able to make their house wheelchair accessible. I had no idea how much we were going to have to change!

Please Pray, Pray, Pray!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today Kjerstin called me 3 times! She was crying the first two times but we talked through it. She said she keeps having nightmares and then she wakes up and it's like being in a nightmare. Can't say I don't blame her. It does feel like a nightmare. I just kept reassuring her that it will get better and we are all here for her. We will not let her down.

She did very good with therapy today. She is working on her strength and balance. She is also working on sitting and standing. She is doing leg lifts and all sorts of activities. Next week she will start learning to chew.

Kjerstin, this is for you......from me, Jerimiah & Jace.... You're not alone. Together we stand. We'll be by your side. You know We'll take your hand. We won't give up. We won't give in. Keep holding on because you'll make it through. We'll make it through. Just stay strong. We're here for you. You're so far away. We wish you were here. You can do this, sis! I wish I had the answers for you. I wish I could tell you why. But I can't & if we had all the answers we wouldn't need faith now would we? And how boring would life be if we knew everything?! Besides, with Jerimiah, Jace & I standing shoulder to shoulder, there's no way we will let you fail!! I can't wait to see you in your beautiful prom dress, smiling & walking down that sidewalk next year. And yes, you can use one of mine, again! You want the blue one or the teal one? No... let's go shopping for a new one! Your very own! How fun will that be? And.....we gotta have the matching shoes!

Life is different now, sis, but that's OK. You are with us. Our little miracle. And God has us right where he wants us! Crazy isn't it? But, he know what he's doing! Some days that's harder to understand than others.....like today! But, this too shall pass!

I can't wait until you are well enough to take over the blog. Everyone is so excited to hear from you. In the meantime, we are all continuing to pray for you! I love you!.......lots & tater tots!! (Yeah! We still use Jerimiah's dorky phrase!!!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kjerstin got to go to the mall today!! The therapist went with them this time and next time they get to go without the therapist. Kjerstin did awesome! When the door didn't open fast enough, she paused and waited. This is excellent processing for her. She is pretty much walking on her own. There just always has to be someone there to help with balance occasionally and make sure she doesn't trip or fall. Kjerstin went into the store and picked out a shirt off the rack and held it up. She did really good. She did get upset when she was leaving. She said everyone was staring at her. The therapist just told her it was because of her bright red shirt. Later, the therapist told Mom & Dad that it was exciting to hear Kjerstin say that. She went on to explain that it means that her brain is functioning more!

We are still having a lot of tears. Last night it was 2 1/2 hrs of crying and asking why and wanting it to be a nightmare so she could wake up and it would all go away. She won't let Mom leave her sight. Mom and I talked about it this morning. She is very very tired, but what do you do? You just keep going! I told Mom that this stage will pass, but I know it has to be exhausting. I went through it with Kjerstin twice last weekend and it was only 25 minutes long and I was exhausted.

She is eating better and has moved to Phase 2. We are on our way to getting that feeding tube out!

Don't forget to stop by her booth at Old Settler's this weekend and get a shirt & bracelet & information on the golf tournament. We are still in need of many, many golfers! Oct 9 at 8am at Hidden Lakes Golf Course!

Each day she is a little better. Today she told Dad that he & Mom are very patient with her. Wow! It's really starting to come together for her. We still have a long road ahead of us so please continue to pray.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kjerstin was very tired today & yesterday. Yesterday she got upset & asked me if this was a nightmare. I explained it wasn't and I was sorry. She cried & cried & said I want it to be a nightmare so I can wake up and it will go away! She kept asking Why? I told her we don't know why but we will get through this. It was so hard. I just wanted to pick her up & hold her & rock her, but she's bigger than me.

Her nightmares are more frequent. We are working with her to get through them. This caused her to have another meltdown on Sunday. This time Dad was with me. It only lasted about 20 minutes. She was confused and thought I had let Mom put her in a ward. We went over why we were there & what we had to do to go home. We got the calendar and circled when she is going to get to go home and marked an "X" on the day we were on. We talked about what day & month it was.

She doesn't remember things from day to day so we have to retell her everything each day. She likes looking at her scrapbook. I think it's because she remembers the things in the scrapbook and it makes her smile. Then she asks what the particular person in the picture is doing now. This is helping with her memory. She did remember throwing acorns at Mom the next day, though, so we are making progress. Mom started playing card games with her. They started tonight with war. Kjerstin knows who wins but she has to be reminded that she needs to put a card out. Mom is going to try to play Uno next and see how she does.

She is still eating well. She ate french toast. It wasn't pureed. We just cut it into very small pieces. She loves chocolate milk and root beer!

Kjerstin's best friend, Jocelyn, has moved to Lincoln and is going to school there until Kjerstin comes back home. Jocelyn visits nearly every day and this has been a tremendous help to Kjerstin and Mom. Kjerstin is at a point where she gets very upset if she is ever alone. If she wakes up and no one is there she will start with one of her meltdowns. Mom & I talked about Mom writing a note on her dry erase board & leaving it on Kjerstin's bed if Mom goes to the bathroom or family room or cafeteria so when Kjerstin wakes up she will know where she is. She is also going to leave her phone and see if Kjerstin will call her. It's exhausting for Mom & Dad to be there constantly, so they are taking turns, so that someone is always there. Dad is going to have to go back to work in a couple weeks. Please pray Kjerstin is past this stage by then so that it isn't so exhausting for Mom when he leaves.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Today Kjerstin did not have therapy since it was the weekend. She did eat very well. At dinner, I picked a piece of my bread off and threw it at her. She grinned so I did it again. Then she grabbed them both & stuck them in her mouth! Before the nurse & I could get her to spit them out, she swallowed them! I made her open her mouth & show us & it was gone! So, today was her first time to have a "solid" food. Oops! But now we know she can eat bread!

We took her for two long walks outside. On one of the walks, we pushed the wheelchair on the sidewalk through a sprinkler. Actually, we did it twice. She liked that! We had a race. I pushed Kjerstin in the wheelchair & we raced Mom. Of course, we won! Mom beat us but she lost by a technicality....she forgot to touch the door. Kjerstin touched the door, so we won! Talk about a workout. You could lose five pounds a day just from pushing that wheelchair! Along the way, I picked up a bunch of pine cones & gave them to Kjerstin & let her throw them at Mom. She thought that was pretty funny! I found a locust shell & put it on Kjerstin's shorts. Kjerstin took it off & threw it & looked at me & said, "Sis, you're naughty!" She laughed at Mom & I throwing acorns at each other later on. You know Dad, he just smiled & shook his head. We had a blast! We laughed & laughed! Mom almost peed her pants, again! Yes, I forgot to tell everyone we made her laugh so hard a couple weekends ago, she peed her pants! Score! Told you I was gonna put it on here, Mom! Mom got off the elevator on the wrong floor. Mind you, we tried to tell her but she was laughing & didn't understand us, so we stayed on & just let her get off on the wrong floor! Funny thing is, I don't even remember what we were laughing about! Good news is though, she finally laughed, whole-heartedly, for the first time in a long time.

Today we did have a melt down, though. 25 minutes! Mom & I were exhausted. She woke up crying, saying, "It's my fault. It's my fault. It's my fault. I turned left. I turned left. I turned left." She does that rocking back & forth thing. It's heart breaking to see. Then she will pick another phrase & repeat it over & over again while she cries uncontrollably. We sang to her & put her in her wheelchair and pushed her & tried to distract her. It's like when you have a crying baby, but with the baby, you can hold them and rock them. You can't with a 15 year old, but believe me, we almost tried today!

Once we made it past that, we had an awesome day! Steph's eye swelled shut again! Think she's allergic to hotels! Must be the bed bugs, right, Bec?! Anyway, Kjerstin told her to put something over her eyes because it was freaking her out! It was funny, but I must say I agreed with Kjerstin. Especially when the swelling started going down & one eye was open all the way & one was half shut! She looked like the hunchback character on the cartoon version of Hunchback of Notre Dame! I was wanting her eye covered up too!

Kjerstin's dog is doing much better. They said we can take him up & she can have him visit & work with him instead of the therapy dogs! She is sooo excited!! It is amazing how the kids around here respond when they bring those dogs in. They just light up & suddenly have energy to move & do things that they haven't done all day. I had no idea that therapy dogs were so helpful! God bless those people! On that note, does anyone have a large crate that they would be willing to give us or sell us to use to transport him & keep him in. He is a 65lb. husky! He isn't quite full grown yet. I thought I would check with everyone before buying one. Sometimes people have one they need to get rid of.

Mom & Dad had date night tonight. They went to dinner & a movie & we kids stayed at the hospital. They had a good time, but it was the first one & I think Mom had a bit of a hard time relaxing. We are going to try to send them on Saturday nights each weekend, so they can get out and do something just so they have a little time together outside of the hospital. We will see how that goes. Next week, I am going to try to send a game with them to do at the dinner table, so they do something besides talk about Kjerstin.

Thank you so much for the food everyone has sent. It has helped tremendously. We divided it up & froze some of it so they can use it as needed. It has helped save a lot of money!

We will be starting work on Mom & Dad's house to prepare for Kjerstin coming home. There is a possibility that she can come home in September. So, we have to adjust things to make a bedroom for her upstairs. We need to knock out a wall, lay lament flooring in the bedroom (so the walker & wheelchair can move easier), widen a doorway, paint the walls, remove shelves, move furniture & put in a wheelchair ramp. If there is anyone who could help with this or has any materials they would like to donate, please let me know. This is going to be quite a project! My number is 316-209-8972. We would appreciate any help!

Thank you so much for all of your support! Please keep us in your prayers!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The last few days have been very interesting. Kjerstin is making a lot of progress with her physical therapy as well as her occupational therapy. She pushed Dad around in the wheelchair today! She is walking more on her own, but we are having to learn to take steps. She just wants to lunge. The therapist said this normal, though.

She is swallowing better. They are working on introducing her to different foods and letting her tell them what she likes. All of it is pureed. She is doing very well with it. If she continues to do well & will eat enough to sustain herself, then after a couple weeks they will be able to take out her feeding tube.

Emotionally, she is having a really hard time. She has had a couple anxiety-like attacks. These usually occur when she is very tired. She usually shakes her head side to side and just keeps repeating herself. It's very hard to see the first time, but Mom & Dad are learning to cope with it. She is having some problems remembering day to day where she is and why. You have to tell her things over and over each day. However, she remembers things like where to place her hands on the keyboard to type and how to read. She remembers her address and where she lives. She did recognize her boyfriend when she saw him. So, she is progressing, but doing so slowly. It seems very slow to us, but the therapist say that she is actually ahead of schedule and progressing faster than they anticipated. That is in regards to every area of her therapy. She does have occasional times where she says things that are very blunt and says cuss words and repeats them over & over. The therapists said this is just one of the stages that we have to go through and it's completely normal. It's just hard for us because she will say this food tastes like SH*T & she says it loud & repeats it about 10 times! Mom & Dad are learning not to react & just say "We don't say that. We say Yuck." It's much like having a 2 or 3 year old in that aspect. I must say though, Mom seems better. We didn't have a melt down last weekend & I don't forsee one this weekend. She just seems to have a little life back in her eyes - not that exhausted blank stare look. I think she has a schedule and goals to help Kjerstin reach so she is getting focused. Far better than the day I had to pick her up crying out of the hospital floor. Dad, well, he seems tired, but he has been sick for over a week now, so that is understandable. This has been very hard on him, but I have seen him make some pretty tremendous changes & step up & take care of things. Kjerstin really loves him being here & asks for him instead of Mom sometimes. This is a miracle in itself! She has always been a momma's girl.

Everyday Kjerstin goes to class where she practices math, reading, etc. She read a couple chapters in a book that was a 7th grade reading level. They gave her questions afterwords to test her comprehension & she did very well.

Her speech is improving and she is starting to talk more. She just gets so tired. She does seem to be sleeping better since they changed her sleep medication. When we got here tonight she was already asleep, so I just gave her a kiss on the head. She opened her eyes & looked at me & went back to sleep. Jerimiah is staying with her tonight & Steph & I will go to the hospital in the morning & I will stay tomorrow night. I'm excited to see her improvements from this week. Have fun with the vinyl couch, Bo!

I don't know if any of you have ever seen the movie "50 First Dates", but I have a whole new understanding of that movie now. I know it's a chick flick, guys, but you should watch it & you would understand a little bit more of what our world is like now with Kjerstin. Of course, we are in a hospital setting & Kjerstin can't care for herself, but the memory part is more of what I am referring to.

School starts on Monday for the kids, so things will change some. I'm hoping the schedule will help us parents to get to bed earlier, too. We are all very tired, but I think our bodies are getting used to it. That or we are just getting delirious & don't know any different. Haha.

We are having a golf tournament to raise money for Kjerstin's expenses. Please come out to Hidden Lakes Golf Course on Oct. 9 and join us!

I know it has been a couple months since the accident and summer seems to have come and gone. (I must say Steph & my's hospital tan looks Awesome! or should I say the there of. ) But, please don't forget Kjerstin & our family in your prayers. Things may be different, but they are still very hard. Thank you for all you have done!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I almost forgot.... sorry for the delay in blogging for 2 days! Sunday night we got home really late & Monday I was very tired after work.

In addition, there is a golf tournament to raise money for Kjerstin's fund. It is Oct. 9 at Hidden Lakes Golf Course. The information is posted on kmwfundraising.com. Please get a team together & come out and enjoy a day of golfing, food, raffles and more to help raise money for Kjerstin's expenses.

Hope to see you there.........And don't worry Pete, after my rock star golfing abilities on 4th of July, I will not be golfing! Yes, I know all of my neighbors are laughing again, remembering me trying to hit the golf ball into the target in the middle of the pond.
Kjerstin has done so many wonderful things in the last couple days. She is walking with assistance. She has a belt that we hold onto the back of. She needs help with balance and walks like a drunk person, but she is taking steps on her own. They are having her walk up and down stairs. She does good with the wide stairs but the narrow ones are hard for her. She takes two at a time. Her fine motor skills seem to be hard for her right now. They have her practicing sitting in a car & getting out. She can't buckle her seat belt because she has problems with her left side still. The doctor said most of her severe damage was on the right side of her brain so it makes sense that she is having more problems with her left side.

Yesterday she went to the "grocery store" inside the facility. This is where she actually goes thru a room set up like a store and picks up items and checks out, etc. She is hitting a big ball with a bat and working on typing on the computer. She attends "class" with the other patients her age everyday. She is really starting to process through things. She cried a lot when it was time for us to leave on Sunday. It was so hard to get in the car. I cried on the way home & I know Jerimiah did to (Yeah you thought big sis didn't notice because you put your glasses on. Nice try!). Steph said she didn't know if she could do that again because it was so hard. How do you leave your baby sister crying in a hospital bed, when her brain has finally started to heal enough to understand, and say I'll be back next weekend? It's just so hard!

Kjerstin was crying and wrote on the dry erase board that Mom & Dad didn't have any money to take care of all of this. I explained it was all right and not to worry. I told her people had donated money to help pay for things. So she wrote "that's crazy!" She didn't believe me. I asked her if she wanted to see the bank statement & she said yes. I showed it to her & the tears started flowing again. She wrote "They did that for me because I got hurt!" We said yes and she smiled and just cried. It was exciting to see that her brain is healing enough to understand the blessing that all of you have been! We couldn't have done it without you.

Today she helped make pudding and then ate it! She had about 1 cup of rootbeer. So, today she started swallowing really well. This is exciting because if she keeps this up we will get to take the feeding tube out! She also seems to have forgotten that she was a vegetarian. She has been since she was 8! She told me she wants a cheeseburger?! What? She really does have some brain damage! She hasn't eaten a cheeseburger since 3rd grade! She also has decided she likes applesauce. She never would eat it before!

There is a meeting with all of the doctors & therapists in the morning to set her new goals for therapy, as she has already exceeded the ones they previously set for her. Today the doctor said that so far she is above average on her rate of recovery. Especially on the speaking part! She talked on the phone briefly this weekend & told one of our friends that she wants to ride horses! She can't talk very long and she gets tired. She does write on her dry erase board. She has to print because we can't read her cursive writing. We were trying to figure out a computer game she wanted loaded on the computer. After discussing it with her & asking her like 10 questions & trying to verify the title, she wrote "OMG, I keep telling you!" She even wrote the explanation mark! We all laughed! However, when she gets tired, she quits communicating. Therapy just wears her out and she has to go take a nap. She isn't sleeping very good so they have increased her sleep medication starting tonight. Hopefully it works.

They have been bringing therapy dogs in to visit! She likes it, but then she cries because she misses her dog. They said that we could take her dog up there to use him instead of the therapy dogs. We told her we would bring him next weekend. However, today, her dog, Dante, had to go to the vet. He is very sick and might not live. It just seems like its one thing after another.

Just keep praying. We will get here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Today was a wonderful day! Kjerstin talked on the phone to a couple people. She is talking very well. She even jokes occasionally. She does best in the morning and after her afternoon nap. Otherwise, she gets tired and doesn't interact much. She smiles and tells us we are crazy or to shut up, in a joking way. She even read a text on my phone today.

Today, she walked, with assistance, from the family room down the hall to her room. All of the staff have remarked at how well she is progressing and how quickly she is doing it. I got to lay in bed with her and visit with her this afternoon. Then we fell asleep for a little while. It was really nice. I am staying the night with her tonight. Sleeping on the vinyl couch! I don't know how Mom does it all week long!

I am so glad that today was a good day for her & that we were all here for it. When she has a good day and we are here, it helps us get through the next week. It's hard working all week, driving up here 5 hours, staying at the hospital all day and sometimes at night, barely getting sleep and then driving back home and starting all over. Jerimiah is exhausted. You can see it in his eyes. But, he's like me & Mom. He'll keep going on empty until she is better.... whatever it takes.

Please pray for Kjerstin & all of the family. Dad is sick, Mom is fighting a cold, Jerimiah is getting sick and we are all tired.

Friday, August 6, 2010

She Walks!

Kjerstin was walking some today. She has a strap around her and someone has to be with her at all times, but she is doing it mostly on her own. She is talking very well. It is very quiet but you can hear her. When I walked in her room tonight she said, "Hi, sis!" & when I left she said "I love you!" She talked to other people at the hospital today quite a bit.

They have moved her from a hospital bed to a bed that still works like a hospital bed, but it is more like a twin bed. She has sides that go up and down and a zip up enclosure, like a tent, that goes all around it. So, she is completely safe, but it is very functional.

Please don't forget about the fundraiser tomorrow at Luciano's.

Thank you for all of your prayers & support.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kjerstin's Xrays came back looking good. So, the doctor said she can start trying to take steps, with assistance of course. Her wrist is healing so they said she only has to wear her splint if she asks for it!

Today she wrote to dad on her dry erase board and it said "Sorry dad I got hurt, but I'm getting..... (we think the last word was better). Mom says the longer she writes the harder it is to read! She is working very hard on communicating. Which, is very exciting!

Tonight she told them she had to go to the bathroom, so the nurses helped her up and they took her to the bathroom! Without the wheelchair! Kjerstin had to have a lot of support, but still this was awesome! And... she went potty in the toilet! Wow! Seems funny to say this, since it seems not too long ago I was saying it about her for the first time! UGHHHHH! She was so stubborn about potty training. I thought we were gonna pull our hair out! Now, we are doing it again. (Well, kind of.) Wait until Kjerstin's sees this on the blog! Paybacks, Sis! The perks of being the oldest!!!..... you have all the stories that you can tell about your siblings!!

I can't wait to see her this weekend. I hope we can see improvement and she has good days while we are there.

Please continue to pray!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kjerstin said that when she stood up she wasn't dizzy for the first time! She did tell mom that she has a headache all the time. I can only imagine! She has had a fever for the last two days and they aren't sure why. They are running some tests and cultures to see if they can figure it out.

They retested her eyes and they said her eyes are improving so they will be getting rid of her glasses in about a week. She really doesn't like those glasses, so she liked the idea of them going away.

Yesterday was her first class meeting. There are 5 kids at Madonna that are ages 14-17. They have a scheduled class time each day where they all meet and answer questions. If they can't verbalize their answers, they either shake their head or write on their dry erase boards. Kjerstin participated quite a bit. She shook her head and wrote answers. Some of her answers you couldn't read, but at least she wrote them.

Tonight we talked to Mom & Kjerstin on Skype for quite a while. Kjerstin tried to talk some & smiled. She kept reaching up hitting the mute button so Mom couldn't hear us. It took Mom 3 times before she realized what Kjerstin was doing! Then instead of her figuring out how to fix it, we would have to hang up and call back. Kjerstin thought it was funny. At one point Mom was writing notes on the dry erase board and holding them in front of the camera! Then she would start laughing and knock the camera off. Wow! When they came back Kjerstin would be smiling & shaking her head! Yeah! We understand, Kjerstin! We love you Mom, but you are a bit crazy! Anyway, we all had a great time. It was quite entertaining! Mom and technology.....Heaven help us!

I forgot to add that when I left Sunday, I gave Kjerstin a hug and told her I had to go home. She was sitting in her wheelchair. She tried to tell me something several times and kept shaking her head "no". It was very obvious she was upset because I was leaving. She did this with Jerimiah too. It broke my heart. It took everything I had not to cry. The therapist & mom & dad say that Kjerstin does better when we are there. It is so hard to leave her. I wish I could be there more often.

Please don't forget the fundraiser at Luciano's this Saturday from 1-4pm. Live music, food, drinks, raffle and more! And best of all........Jace will be there! Please come and help support Kjerstin!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kjerstin got her trach out this weekend. She is trying to talk but it is hard to understand her. She isn't swallowing very well, so the saliva builds up in her mouth and it makes it hard to understand her. The swallow test was terrible. Mom and the nurses had to help hold Kjerstin's arms and head while they did this. They put a small tube down her nose and into her throat. Mom said it was like when we used to take Kjerstin for shots. After that, Kjerstin was mad and wouldn't communicate with them. However, when her speech therapist came in, Kjerstin said "Hi" to her and when she asked Kjerstin how she was doing, Kjerstin said "OK".

Mom has figured out that sometimes Kjerstin doesn't do things during therapy because she doesn't want to, not because she can't! Imagine that! Not kjerstin. She would never do a thing like that.

Kjerstin is really wanting to walk. The therapist said that they are going to try to start this on Friday. They have to make sure her pelvis fracture is healed enough to bear weight fully. They normally wouldn't push this, but they said Kjerstin's frustration level is very high and they are afraid if they keep telling her "no" that it will discourage her and delay her progress. She already gets upset when she can't walk and doesn't try as hard in her other areas of therapy.

Mom is doing awesome. She is doing everything Kjerstin needs. She is beyond exhausted, though. On Sunday, she just seemed in a daze. She cries every weekend when I go up there. (We have agreed that she only cries when she is out of the hospital, so Kjerstin doesn't know.) I can't say that I wouldn't cry too. I don't know how she does it. But, everyone says I am so strong and so is Kjerstin. Guess we know where we got it, huh? It has been 5 weeks now. Seems like an eternity.

The therapists said that the next few months will be a really hard time for the family and that Kjerstin's progress will be slow, but that is normal. We are a "hurry up and go" kind of family, so this is even harder for us. We have also learned that sleep is a thing of the past. Unfortunately we wish this wasn't so, but for now this is our life. God is just teaching us one lesson after another lately.

On Sunday, I gave her a shower. What a feat! By the time we were finished moving from the bed to the wheelchair, to the toilet, back to the chair, had a shower and back to the bed, I was exhausted. I don't know how Mom does it. During this process, Kjerstin looked at me funny. I asked her if she knew who I was and she said "no." I asked if I was her sister & she said "no" again. That was really hard. I didn't react and just finished her bath. When we were finished, I stepped out for a minute and cried briefly. I made sure Mom was gone first. Dad saw though. I think it's the first time he's seen me cry through this ordeal. He said that sometimes when she gets tired she gets confused and forgets. It was still hard. Then and even now, as I write this, through my tears, I wonder why...... Why my baby sister? Why anyone? I just want to close my eyes & make it all go away. I want to see her walk again. I want to see her get all dressed up for prom and graduate and go to college. I want to see her fall in love and have heartaches. I want to laugh with her again and argue with her again. I want to sit and listen to her & give her sisterly advice. And more importantly, I want her to just be her again. Mom says the why doesn't matter. She says God has a plan. She says she doesn't understand it, but this is what faith is all about. She says God only gives us what he knows we can handle. Can I be weak now? I don't want to be strong anymore. I'm trying, mom, but will someone, please tell me how to do this. Actually, I can hear my mom right now and she would say....."This too shall pass." i am so thankful for the mother and family that God has given me. I don't know what I'd do without them. Yes, Jerimiah, even your annoying self! (Just teasing. You know I love you.) And, Jace, we miss you. I know this is hard for us all, especially you, but please come visit. If nothing else, I need you.

Please pray for Kjerstin & our family. I know some may think that it should be getting easier now, but it isn't. Every weekend Jerimiah, Steph, & I drive up to Nebraska. We barely sleep, we visit, help care for Kjerstin & we drive back home. We work all week, spend time with our kids, take care of everything here & start all over again. It's exhausting. I'm sure it's small in comparison to what Mom & Kjerstin are going through, though. We will get through this, but we continue to need everyone's support.