Thursday, December 31, 2009

even in the smallest of things

ever since the crisis part of this incident has worn off i've been worried about how to keep that deep appreciation alive for pete, for our boys, and for anyone who is important to us. there just doesn't seem to be the same amount of urgency to enjoy everything about life right now.

i had a very non-crisis moment recently that made me realize that the intensity of emotion doesn't have to be determined by major events. i was driving home from a friend's house just a street away. i let the boys ride in the front seat together since it was not even 1/4 a mile. instantly will turned up the radio all the way as we were listening to the "Wheels on the Bus." i think my first reaction normally would've been to turn it down right away and tell him to stop. instead i took a moment to actually see my boys in this moment. they were elated and singing along as loudly as the music was playing. instead of turning it down i started laughing and singing along with them until we got home. what a difference that made! the intensity of my emotion was running really high at that moment, and i was grateful to know that i still have the ability to feel intensity without a crisis.

as we are still healing from the emotional effects of such a crisis, i am realizing that it is ok to let go of that crisis mode. i'm ready to return and give focus to the daily routines and habits that are creating a well-worn groove of connection between the members of this family. we all have the opportunity to love deeply every day and in every moment; we shouldn't waste the smallest of things waiting for a big crisis to remind us how important people are in our lives.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

new and improved

not that pete needed improving before.
and i wouldn't even say he's "new".
he's more like he was in 2000.
since he has been "back" he's more like he was
when we were just dating.
i have to admit i'm loving it.
he's a little more rugged.
he goes unshaven & is scruffy a lot.
(Sam is the only one that minds that.
he says pete doesn't look like a dad
with hair on his face.)
his hair is getting wildly long & curly.
he wears slippers & down ski vests again.
did i mention how much i'm loving this?
it even makes me feel 10 years younger.
he talks to me & laughs a lot more than i remembered.
it's almost like a whole new way of flirting.
and it makes me feel like it's new love again.
except deeper this time around.
i think the only thing we are missing is an old land cruiser.
anyone know of one for sale????

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

a return to work

i just wanted to announce that i will be returning to work on Jan. 14. i look forward to getting back into doing hair and reconnecting with so many friend clients. i know many of my clients were given the link to this blog and have been following the story. for those of you that are reading and would like to get back on my book, please send me an email at emailing is a much easier way to communicate right now. for those of you i don't hear from i will be making calls over the next week. if you have never been to me before for your hair and would like to, then you can also send me an email. i work on thursdays, and i would love to meet some of you that have been so supportive of our family through this blog.

i hope to hear from many of you soon and look forward to getting caught up again.

Monday, December 28, 2009

what are we doing?

i took the boys shopping today. i went to a local favorite where we go to find great bargains. i didn't have anything in particular in mind; i just wanted to get out and do something that used to be normal. however, it ended up not being normal at all. i was quite overwhelmed at what i was doing there. i was overwhelmed at what everyone else was doing there. after being faced with death and having an added perspective to life, the old habits just haven't had the same meaning as they did before. don't get me wrong, i don't think that there is anything wrong with shopping or doing things we enjoy. i just felt guilty being there today. it just seemed meaningless when i knew other people were driving to the ICU to see their dying husband and knowing how that felt. it made browsing a discount store seem very insignificant. i really began questioning what i am doing. what am i doing with this new knowledge? how am i spending my time with this new added meaning to my life? i feel it's a great responsibility. i'm just not sure what to do with it; how to keep this change alive and how to do the more meaningful things in life. how am i sharing that with others? what am i doing and what am i going to do the rest of my life knowing what i know now? hard to say. i just know i don't want to blow this.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

the most normal day

i think today was the most normal day for the boys, especially sam. they were really affected by pete's incident. sam woke up while everything was happening to pete. he heard and saw almost everything. that was very unfortunate; he is a child that remembers everything and processes things in a very grownup, emotional way. he has had a very personal struggle with all of this and has said many troubling things that i don't feel is appropriate to write about here.

one incident that i will share was his reaction to going church without dad last week. i was going to take the boys and leave pete home. all morning sam was so upset about not wanting to go to church. i finally asked him why he didn't want to go to which he responded... "i don't want to leave dad home by himself. if dad falls again, then there will be no one here to help him and no one here to call 99999-1!" needless to say, i didn't go to church last week. that reaction was very telling into how he was still being affected by this. today was telling, too. all morning sam was thrilled to know that pete was going to church with us. all of his weird anxieties about things seemed to be gone. he didn't have a melt down about what clothes he was supposed to wear (that is MAJOR since pete's incident!!); he even told me with a big smile as we were walking into church that he didn't need to cry about his clothes anymore; he said he would just wear the clothes i picked out as he ran to catch up with pete. he was an angel child in church, excited for every meeting, and curled up extra close to his dad while pete was there.

it seemed that this was a very important step for sam in pete's recovery. for the first time i think he actually believed us that his dad was going to be ok. perhaps it was the first time since all of this happened that we were doing something "normal" with the whole family and nothing weird about it. sam was definitely different after today. thank goodness he is healing, both of them :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009


-presents wrapped & under the tree.... check
-stockings filled.... check
-2 little boys snuggy in new christmas pjs & slippers sleeping soundly.... check
-a tired mom & dad who are about to fall asleep standing up.... check
-a wife who can't believe how lucky she is to have a husband for Christmas morning.... definite check

we had planned on doing lots of fun, simple traditions this year for christmas; we were trying to have a handmade christmas. everyone's wheels had just started turning with creative ideas when pete had his incident. needless to say, those fun & simple ideas didn't really happen. however, i couldn't deprive sam of making a doll for his cousin emi; he wouldn't let that go. i'm grateful we did. it was a big success; i'm certain sam and will are going to have a hard time parting with that doll tomorrow, especially will. that doll has been the hot item around our house lately; it does whatever we do and has been seen tagging along with will on every indoor excursion he has had. sam had a very active hand in the creation of this doll. he chose the fabric, hand-stitched the top of the head closed, and guided all of my design choices (although i had to ax the 4 eyeballs to make her an alien girl; i thought the red eyes were freaky enough). he was so proud that he finally knows how to sew. :)

i couldn't let the christmas pjs go either, so i somehow managed to get those made through all of this. i'm happy to have a bit of handmade in our christmas gifts this year.

mostly i'm so happy that we have a whole new perspective on christmas this year. we know and can feel it's not about presents. it is about a gift though, the gift of life. not only the gift of pete's life, but the gift of Jesus Christ's life. He has truly made all things possible, including peace and including miracles. the celebration of life will now be the new tradition we take into every christmas season forever.

wishing you all the very happiest christmas ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

cardiology update

pete had his 1st follow-up with the cardiologist today. before i write about that, i think it's important to explain what actually happened to pete on the night of the incident. this is the best explanation that any doctor has been able to give me, but even they don't know exactly why this happened to pete and they said they will probably never know. i will try to explain the best i can with my lack of medical knowledge and vocabulary; for crying out loud, i had to have a medical translator through all of this! thanks, cydney. :)

pete did not have a heart attack. he had a cardiac arrest. they are different things. a heart attack is damage to the heart muscle usually from a lack of blood flow within the heart. the lack of blood flow during a heart attack is usually caused by some type of blockage to the arteries. the heart muscle begins to die or starve to death, and this death is what causes the chest pain. just to clarify again, pete did not have a heart attack. his heart and arteries were perfectly clean which is one of the signs it was not a heart attack. he had a cardiac arrest. a cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops pumping blood. when the heart stops pumping the blood pressure drops and is unable to pump blood to the rest of the body. there are several reasons the heart could stop pumping blood. sometimes the heart is extremely weak and begins to just quiver uselessly instead of pumping. it might also start racing so fast (fibrillation) that it can no longer fill with blood. cardiac arrests can be caused by heart disease, but they can also occur without any unknown cause. with pete, we are in the "unknown cause" category.

pete's story... the theory has been relatively the same from every doctor that has cared for pete. we know pete has had an abnormal arrhythmia maybe his whole life. that means he has an irregular heart beat. he has always felt like his heart is racing and beating out of control. he actually saw a doctor about it almost a year ago, but they couldn't detect anything at that time so they wrote it off as mini anxiety attacks. pete and i were not convinced by that diagnosis. honestly, pete having anxiety attacks???? hard to believe by anyone who knows him well. we didn't know what else to do, so we did nothing.

what is suspected to have happened that night was pete went to bed feeling normal; at least he did not indicate that his heart was racing, and he can't remember now what he was feeling that night. they believe his heart started beating in that abnormal arrhythmia which caused him to go into ventricular fibrillation (V-Fib). V-Fib is an erratic, disorganized firing of impulses from the ventricles. the ventricles quiver and are unable to contract and pump blood to the body. at that time he was considered to be having a cardiac arrest, and the only treatment is CPR and defibrillation (this shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm) as soon as possible. thankfully he had both. i began administering CPR approximately 3 minutes upon knowing something was wrong. he was being defibrillated (shocked) probably 8-9 minutes from the time i knew something was wrong. i thought that was pretty hopeful; it all seemed quick to me, but the doctors were not convinced at the time that that would be enough. i was confused until i read this on the american heart website: "Brain death and permanent death start to occur in just 4 to 6 minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest. A victim's chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation. Few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes." i certainly realized how lucky we were that the outcome was so positive for us.

the follow-up today didn't necessarily give us more answers about why this happened than we got in the hospital. we were certain that it was genetic since his dad experienced the same thing at age 49 and died from it eventually. however, no doctor is certain that it is genetic. they believe it could be random just as much as it could be genetic. they said at this point there has not been any abnormal symptoms from any test that he had through all of this that would indicate that it was genetic. we could have genetic testing done, but it is VERY expensive, and if it was genetic it wouldn't change the treatment. we have opted to not have the testing done especially since he has the defibrillator. they talked to us about warning signs to watch for in our children to rule out if they have been passed a defective gene, but so far so good there.

they did check his defibrillator settings today. they informed us that the heart rate level that the device was set at before receiving a shock is only at 170 (heart rate). they said they set it so low because he was still having a rapid heartbeat while he was in the hospital. now we will be fine tuning the settings since the device did not indicate that he has continued to have a rapid heartbeat. over the next 4-6 weeks he needs to have at least 2 normal workouts so they can determine a normal heartbeat for him during exercise. they expect that it will be reset to 190 or 200. the device will pace his heart if it goes higher than this and shock him if the device can't pace the rate out. we are just hoping that he doesn't get a shock during those first few work-outs. thankfully it's not dangerous if he does. they said it will feel like a really hard kick in the chest, but he should be fine.

i know that was a lot of information. i hadn't intended to write that much, but i realized the more i wrote the more i wanted things documented for us. we feel very confident after this appointment that he will not be having heart problems again. there may be a little fine tuning with his device, but once that is done he will be just as physically active as he was before and a whole lot safer now being that active. this appointment definitely gave me closure to that part of this scary ordeal.

cardiology.... check. now moving onto neuropsych.... i know that will check eventually, too. we are still feeling blessed everyday.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

a healing hand

tonight i took the boys to our church christmas party. while everyone was very respectful to not bombard me, i still felt very overwhelmed. i couldn't help but think of how it would feel to be alone, without pete, showing up to every type of activity with just my boys. i was too lonely and was starting to convince myself that maybe he really was gone. i just wanted to go home. i stayed though and was very grateful that i did.

i was touched deeply by a video clip of Jesus Christ touching and healing sick people. i must have seen this type of clip 100 times throughout my life, and i always thought it was, well, nice. i believed that miracles like that could happen, but it seemed like a very distant time ago that they happened and in situations that would never be familiar to me. i choked with tears though in this particular video when Christ placed his hand over a woman's crippled hand and when he moved His hand away hers was perfect. i was made very aware of that same healing hand in pete's miracle healing. i can recall with exactness experiencing that moment with pete in his dark ICU room. it was so real it was almost tangible. i felt the Master's healing hand touching my husband's failing heart & kidneys, fluid-filled lungs, and damaged brain and making them whole again. it was an experience that i never would've just been able to imagine; it was real.

a tender video like this has forever taken on a new meaning to me. it may as well be our story every time. the healing power was no different. whether it be our story or someone else's, i certainly have an undeniable belief in miracles and the healing power. i'm grateful we stayed tonight to have that warmhearted reminder.

Friday, December 18, 2009

crash and burn

i'm officially out of adrenaline. that certainly carried me a long ways, but now i've crashed and burned. we are all so tired. the boys are normally in bed by 7:00, and pete & i are not far behind them. now amidst all this tired haze, i'm beginning to think this was all just a really bad dream. it still has not sunk in. perhaps it will be more real tomorrow? i will let you know after another attempt at a full night's sleep. i'm on my way out now.
there's still more to come... once my body and brain are a little more operational.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a bit of a repeat

certain thing pop into your head when you think are about to lose your husband. i think i had the privilege of remembering every kind thing pete ever said or did for me over the last 10 years of our relationship. in our day to day life those things may not have as much meaning or may not stick as much. i remember his 1st night in the hospital being so grateful he had started a blog. i've loved everything he has written, and i knew it would be a treasure for me and our boys forever if we lost him. however, the post i knew i would really be grateful for was one he wrote about me. i wanted to read it that night, but i wasn't ready to go there at that time. however, i was ready tonight. after reading it again, i realized it was more of a treasure than i had originally thought. so as a permanent reminder of how our love affair was such an important piece of this crazy puzzle i want the post here.

Our Marriage
This post would better fit around the time of our anniversary but since it is on my mind you 3 are the benefactors of my thoughts. When I met Jen right away I knew she was the "one"! But let me tell you I fought it. I didn't want to become another local social trend by getting married faster tan I can learn my fiance's dad's name. A few weeks after we I was fishing up Farmington Canyon and I got an overwhelming feeling that I was to marry her. Being the stubborn resistor (resistor is my slang for when a person is pushed to do something they push back) that I am I refused for a whole year. That place in the canyon has always been special to me. It is actually the place we had our wedding invitation picture taken. Anyways, Jen and I are so different bus so alike at the same time. She wants things done now I want people to get off my back. She wants to talk about everything, I let the thoughts in my head take care of my communicating need. Yada yada yada you get the point. During the time we have been married we have had only one fight. I think Jen was pushing me to the edge just to see if she could. It is an unspoken law that we don't talk about that night. I find it funny where she needs someone to accommodate her idiosyncrasies I am accommodating. When I am pestering her relentlessly she puts up with it. She is one of the few people that gets my humor/personality, everyone else gets offended or feels sorry for Jen because I am being "rude". (Which is very much not true; I am too guilt ridden to be rude). I had only a few girlfriends before I met Jen and I thought I knew what love felt like. I have even naively uttered the phrase, "I love you." I mean no disrespect at all to these women. They have all grown into being very different (from each other) but outstanding women. At the time what i felt was the strongest feeling of love that I had felt up to that point. It was real. I think a lot of people would be kidding themselves if they said that at the time of their marriage their feelings were much stronger than this. At the time what I felt for Jen was a few levels above how I felt in the past. However, I was amazingly pulled to her and non other. I'll explain the level system later; it is one of the many inside jokes that Jen and I have that other people would think are stupid. Now we have been married for several years and the feelings that I feel are completely different than the time of "I do". The first time I got a glimpse of what I feel now was on my mission. We were living in a family's attic of whom the father was going through medical residency. This translates to he's gone 23.75 hours of the 24 hour day. On one occasion in her yard the mom of the family was exclaiming how she missed her husband. In her eyes I saw It was at this moment I realized I had no idea what love was like. I tried to explain my thoughts to my companion but all I got was a "whatever dude". Now I can say I understand that look in her eyes. I feel it now. It is the kind of feeling that a world without Jen doesn't exists. Whenever she is gone overnight I sleep on her side of the bed, this makes the absence a little less.....empty. I come home as quick as I get my work done so I can look into her big beautiful blue eyes and see in her eyes my feelings reciprocated. I look forward to many years of this feeling growing deeper until we are old and wrinkly.

i echo what i commented on his blog at that time, and i feel it even more now than i ever have:

so that's what has been going on up in that head of yours! what a relief to know! thanks for a beautiful tribute and thanks for the permanent smile that put on my face. you are my world, too, and there's no other world I would rather live in. i love you. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

therapy, therapy, therapy

i'm sure many of you are wondering what we do all day. i can sum it up by saying lots and lots of therapy. it's a different kind of therapy for each of us. pete's therapy is probably the most involved. he has his speech therapy schedule now, so he does that twice a week. his other therapy is what i like to call resting therapy. that involves nothing more than watching tv and/or napping most of the day. i can't believe how worn down his body still is; it shouldn't be surprising considering he was literally knocking on death's door 2 weeks ago.

my therapy is much harder to squeeze in than pete's is. my therapy only happens when i'm willing to drop my kids off somewhere, neglect them, or allow them to participate in the session. my sessions take place in my sewing room. that creating process is doing wonders for my brain; thank goodness it's a positive thing since i had some important christmas deadlines that i wasn't willing to give up. what's nice about the way this therapy works is that i don't clean as i go. i get one project out and work on it until i get inspired to start the next one; i leave everything out because i know i will be coming back to it eventually. normally i can't stand to work in the mess, but it's therapeutic to not worry about it now. while all of my time lately has been spent on christmas pjs, duvet covers, dolls, and few other things that can't be revealed here, the real therapy will start after christmas. i have an idea brewing in my mind to really help. stay tuned for the results of my therapy.

the boys' therapy is probably the least helpful of all. their therapy is also a form of tv therapy. i'm not a fan of tv and children (remember?), but right now it's what is saving us. we all need down time in the worst kind of way, and putting them in front of the tv is the only way that we can all get that. their real therapy will start when i feel up to being a good mother again. they don't seem to dislike their therapy as much as i do.

i've been really surprised at what a healing process this is for all of us. i had thought once we came home then it would all be normal. while there are so many elements that are the same, there are also many things that are different. things that i couldn't even put into words. it's not even a bad thing. it's more like we've all had so many deep changes on the inside of us that it's just a matter of us all getting on the same page. i know our therapies will help. :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

a funny kind of hope

early this morning was the 2 week anniversary of pete's cardiac arrest. i found myself awake around 12:30 this morning around the same time all of this happened 2 weeks ago. lots of thoughts were going through my head as i lay there. i almost smiled as the same recurring memory played in my mind.
the first night i had after admitting pete to the hospital i slept at my sister's house. i woke up early that morning thinking about every possibility of what could happen. i have to be honest that at that time i had very little hope for a positive outcome. i found myself pleading for one more day with him, one more chance to have him at home. after my pleading i started questioning if i had done enough to deserve him back. i found a tad bit of hope in the oddest thing. i started thinking about how my whole life had been full of small mishaps and inconveniences. for example, i always hit every red light when i'm driving. i always pick the longest check-out line even if it looks the shortest. i've never won a raffle prize. i end up 1/2 yard too short of fabric on important projects only to find that no stores carry that fabric anymore. you get the point? just a bunch of random things that don't go my way; it has been that way my whole life. for the 1st time i had a little bit of hope that all of those mishaps were actually going to pay off in my favor. i couldn't help but think that they would all add up to equal something really positive. i took all those mishaps to the bank in hopes that i had done enough to cash them all in and get my husband back.

of course i know that's not how the world works or how Heavenly Father answers prayers, but in that moment it was the only hope i could find. because it did pay off in my favor i committed to a lifetime of small inconveniences. i'm prepared for that and willing to wait in a check-out line forever; it's a small price to pay to have pete back. and, don't be surprised if i'm sitting at every red light you pull up to; just know i'll be grateful to be sitting there; i won't be annoyed by it anymore. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

another important person

i'm sure we've all made a mental list of who the most important people were in pete's miracle; i know i've made my list, and i have a feeling there's a person on my list that may not be on anyone else's list. this person needs just as much recognition even if they didn't have a life-saving hand in the miracle. that person is pete's mom.

i'm not exactly sure how to express my gratitude to her for the role that she allowed me to play in his care. she let me call the shots on everything without stepping on my toes or butting in even once. some may just assume that that's what she should've done, but as a mother of 2 sons i can attest to the fact of how difficult that would be to do. i love my boys, and i know she must love pete even more; she has had the chance to love him for 31 years while i've only had 4 years with my boys. after spending pete's life protecting and nurturing him i can imagine that it would not be easy to turn that off or especially to turn it over to his wife who has only had the privilege of caring for her son 8 1/2 years. i appreciate her confidence in me to handle this type of crisis for her baby boy. i will start taking lessons from her now on how to turn that responsibility over; i'm not sure i will ever be able to turn my boys over with the grace, confidence, and respect like she has. i will start praying now that my boys find wives who are capable of caring for them like i do. :)

my mother-in-law may have thought i handled everything appropriately with pete's care, or she may have thought i did it all wrong; regardless of what she thought all i felt was her support and confidence in me. i don't know that i could ever repay her for that gift. the best i can do is offer my continued pledge to love and serve her son in exactly the way a mother would hope.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

my favorite new christmas pillows

i made the fronts for these christmas pillows in the days before pete had his cardiac arrest. the night of the accident i snuggled up next to him while he was reading. i kept thinking that i needed to get up and sew the backs on these pillows. i finally surrendered to how nice it felt laying with him, so i scratched the pillows and fell asleep next to him there. that was the right thing to have done.

yesterday it hit me that the single word message on these pillows needed to be displayed in our home THIS holiday season; they couldn't wait until next year, so i put the backs on these pillows yesterday. 'peace' and 'joy' are exactly what we have experienced over the last 10 days. when i was making these pillows i kept asking pete what words i should put on them. i was thinking of christmas words like 'merry', but we decided together that 'peace' and 'joy' are the best words for christmas. i'm grateful these are the words we chose. never have i understood so fully what those words really mean, and they are the best christmas words. peace and joy are some of the greatest gifts offered by jesus christ, and since this is a celebration of HIS birth they are even more appropriate. hopefully each one of you will feel peace and joy in your homes at a whole new level this year and always.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

hard realization take 2

pete's hard realization was yesterday, and my hard realization was today.
i am so changed by this whole event, like things on the soul level.
i thought i would always feel different.
i thought my perspective would always be so open.
i thought it would always be easy to love everyone.
and always be easy to feel good.
i thought i would always be strong because of this and that the little things that were hard for me before wouldn't be hard for me anymore because after all i felt like this was the hardest thing possible to overcome.
my hard realization is that i am still the same.
still the same me with the same weaknesses.
i don't want to be the same anymore.
i want to be able to always feel as deeply about life as i have,
and i certainly don't want it all slipping away this fast.
today's realizations were hard for me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

a pretty normal day

gosh, there were certainly many times last week that i was certain i would never be able to refer to our life as any type of normal. in fact, i had started referring to it as "the new normal". today, though, had many "normal" moments like tonight when we played operation and memory (pete thinks he needs the practice :) ) just like we would have done any night before putting the kids to bed. i just couldn't believe we were enjoying each other again in such a normal way and especially within such a short amount of time. i guess i can keep referring to this as "the new normal" though because there are many things that are different and new but now it's more of an internal difference.

pete did mention a little about his 1st therapy consultation with the speech therapist. speech therapy may seem a little odd, but it's actually the type of therapy that works on re-training cognitive processes not just on helping people talk better. pete did amazingly well on the testing that was done today. our next appointment will consist of more testing that focuses more on cognitive ability and thought process rather than short-term memory. at that point we will proceed with appropriate therapy and just wait for the update on when he can return to work. in the meantime, we will just focus on lots of relaxing and enjoying every "new normal" moment we can get.

Hard Realization

Today was probably the toughest yet. (mentally) All until now I thought" yea I went through a little scare but I will be back." Today I went to a therapist that ran though a gamut of cognitive test.On the way to the therapist I started thinking, "this little episode is going to leave me permanently damaged." I mean, I have a mechanical device to help me stay alive that is connected to my heart. My brain went without a fresh flow of oxygen for 7 minutes. I can't remember a whole week of my life. Yesterday is a little fuzzy and I am afraid that tomorrow it will be gone and today will be a little fuzzy. "How could this happen to me!" I am the guy that runs ultra marathons. I am the guy the works out everyday. I am the guy that loves my Friday ride because it challenges me to work harder the next week. I am the guy who......

Words of advice:
If you have ever had a doctor tell you watch your diet, had a family member that has had serious heart problems, felt that something is just not quite right inside.....don't be a know it, arrogant idiot, ignorer of reality, because and one time or another it's better to face reality that your body is broken then to end up.......


PS. Sorry for this rant it's just been an interesting day

nights are hard

i know there's still a long way to go until i can get in bed at night and start to feel peace instead of fear. last night was long and hard. pete was stirring a lot and mumbling all kinds of things, some things funny like about getting the book about the aerospace museum before we went upstairs and other things a lot more disturbing. he wouldn't keep his arm restrained to his side so he wouldn't disrupt the defibrillator implant; he would wake me up all the time pulling the restraint off. if he happened to not wake me up i would wake up to see his arm above his head which is a MAJOR no no for at least 3 more weeks. that worried me. i was mostly scared that he kept almost rolling out of bed so many times; that's what really scares me and makes me re-live it. i held onto him the whole night hoping and praying that i could keep him there. every time i woke up only 30 minutes had passed. it was a long night to say the least.
another bizarre comfort would come almost every time i woke up. sometimes i would wake up panicked of where the doctors and nurses were. i couldn't believe that i had pete and the boys there alone with only me to take care of them. i would get really freaked out and at times get up and look around for a doctor. in those crazy moments i had an overwhelming insight that our room was full of people from the other side who were administering to pete and strengthening me. hopefully when i wake up again looking for the doctors and nurses i will be reassured with that feeling.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

keep reading :)

pete and i still have so many emotions and experiences that we want to share. pete has been overwhelmed and shocked by the amount of traffic we have received on our blogs; he has been deeply touched, too. in his pete kind of way he has used much humor about keeping the readers satisfied. he says i must fulfill my responsibility to the readers until the story is finished being told, so in case you are deleting this link because you think the story is over then think again and stay tuned. and in your own humorous way please reassure pete that i'm putting out enough quality content to keep you coming back for more so he won't lose confidence in my abilities. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

i won't waste this

as many things have overwhelmed me this week, i am also overwhelmed at how many big and little things have happened over the last 2 years but especially the last 2 weeks that have prepared us for this crisis. mostly they have been little things like pete feeling so insistent about getting cell phones last week and the plan he felt strongly that we needed to sign up for; thank goodness for that- it definitely added convenience to my week. there have been many things that i hope to jot down somewhere, but the most important thing i will share here is not as tangible as all the other things but maybe even more important.

pete and i have always had a fantastic relationship, but i, like any person, found myself getting annoyed with him on occasion for sometimes very unimportant reasons. a lot of times i let it fester and turn it into a much bigger deal, and then i would have a lot of regret, and a lot of hoping that that wouldn't be a time for a tragedy. i had 2 of these instances the day before and the day of that turned it into a major preparation and comfort for this event. it may seem insignificant, but i knew in each of these instances that it was something very personal for me.

the first event was something so silly. we were going to the park, and he left with sam without me and will. he was under the impression that we weren't coming; i should've let it go, but instead i mumbled around about how dare he not check before he left just to be sure. i packed will up and took off after him just getting madder and madder. in that moment i should've been hit over the head with a stick this impression was so strong: "you can waste this moment by being angry or you can seize this moment by letting go." i was stunned and realized how silly i was being; i let it go. the next event was the day of when we were setting up our christmas tree. i was irritated that he didn't spread the branches out better on the tree and that he went downstairs to play a game with the boys without helping me. i found myself getting madder and madder. again it was as if a voice was screaming in my ear: "you can waste this moment by being angry or you can seize this moment by letting go." i let it go again and knew this was too strange and it meant something for me. the exact impression of "you can waste this moment" was the critical part of this experience.

it proved to have a double meaning for me throughout all of this. the moments that i was calling 911 and trying to get his body in the right position for cpr his eyes connected with mine with an intense amount of fear, and in that split second i had the impression again to not waste this moment so i went to work doing exactly what i needed to do. i came home from the ER at 5:30 to check on the boys; during this time i had major impressions that he needed to be moved from the hospital he was at. i kind of stalled around waiting for the boys to wake up so i could see them, but i had that impression again to not waste this moment. because this was an impression that was becoming eerily familiar to me i knew i had to start to acting, so i made all the inspired arrangements to get him out of there as soon as i could. that truly paid off to be one of the most important miracles in all of this. his lung collapsed on the way to the new hospital, and i'm certain the old hospital never would've known. i was also told shortly upon arrival that had i not moved him exactly when i did he would've been dead by dinner that night. the doctors also told me that the best thing that pete had going for him up to that point was that not one second was wasted and had even one of those seconds been different the outcome would have probably been very different. thank goodness for that impression to not waste a moment.

in an even more personal way that impression brought me an overwhelming amount of comfort during that 1st day when the outcome seemed so bleak. i will never forget sitting in the floor in the waiting room telling my friend how grateful i was that i felt peace with how well we had gotten along lately and how grateful that i let the anger go and didn't spend my last moments with him being angry. i would've had regret the rest of my life. for some odd reason that was the only thing that was bringing me peace in those critical moments was knowing that i made the choice to not waste the moment.

i know this is a lesson that will bring me peace and prompting all of my days. as i am relishing in the new depth of our relationship i am making every effort to not waste any moments with him in any form. i have never been so grateful for a God who doesn't waste a moment with us. sometimes we get it and sometimes we miss it, but i have an undeniable certainty that He never wastes moments with us in preparing us to do all things. i feel like i will always be living proof of that.

I'm back

Hello everyone I am happy report I am back! I can't believe the outpouring of love for out family! I wrote a little post on my blog about the ordeal. I am sure Jen will keep everyone up dated what is going on. As I update my blog keep in mind that the communication from brain to my fingers is still a little messed up. It took me 3 hrs to write what little I have. Again thanks for the overwhelming out poor of love.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Long live the super hero

i should let everyone know that we are home as of this afternoon. once again another miracle that is impossible to explain. after our day yesterday i never would have believed this. it was an anxiety-ridden day for me. he met with the occupational therapist last night; that was a much anticipated visit for me. all along i had been waiting for someone to tell me everything, especially that everything would be normal again. i was hopeful this would be the person who could do that. unfortunately that was not the case. she recognized that there was definitely cognitive ability and remarkable thought process, but she was concerned that he was very unaware of his impairments which posed a safety issue. he would require 24 hour supervision. she was discussing short-term inpatient rehab centers for pete to spend a few weeks. perhaps i shouldn't have been discouraged, but i was. i wanted him home, but i didn't feel prepared for this. as i drove home i also started worrying about our financial future. pete only has 13 paid days, and we will have our health insurance for 12 weeks if we continue to pay our portion of the premium. i was worried even though i knew we could manage for a little while, but i didn't know how long that little while would be. no doubt i was afraid. then i had to factor in another new problem. up to that point pete had been awake for 40 hours with not an ounce of sleep. they had been giving him sleeping pills for the last 24 hours to no avail. he just couldn't sleep his brain was so trashed. i was concerned about this because i could tell that what a lot of what he was missing was caused from lack of sleep and just being tired. the nurses started expressing concern and informed me he would not be coming home until sleep was regulated. thankfully last night at midnight he fell asleep and slept for 8 hours. i honestly couldn't believe the difference sleep made! i knew he was so much closer to being fully back when i got a phone call from him this morning telling me he was missing me. he was able to call his mother's number from memory. he did say he couldn't remember if it was hers or mine, but he knew it and that was the big part. we spent the whole morning in evaluations from rehab, speech therapy, ot, cardiology, etc. i know everyone's jaw was on the ground when they saw him. the only conclusion that could be made about fine tuning the edges for him was to do a month of speech therapy. this is not so much that he needs a lot of re-training, etc, but it's intended to be more of an observation period to see when he can go back to work. yes, go back to work, you read that right. they are anticipating after christmas break at this rate. great news, and then we were sent on our way.
i'm no longer anxious about things having him back; he's so normal. actually, i can't believe how much better home feels having him here. he's very excited, too. at this time we are keeping visitors to a very minimum because he needs so much rest right now. i know everyone is dying to talk to him and see it with their own eyes and let them know how much he is loved and supported. there will be plenty of time for that later. you may have an added benefit of hearing from him though. he has been composing a post for his blog. i will update when he has finished it. this journey is not over; i still have many emotions and experiences to share. i want never forget the depth of how this experience has changed me. more to come.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Movie Star

Pete just got out of defibulator surgery and it went very well! He is doing amazing and everyone's spirits are up. He is not only a miracle, and a fighter, but he's a movie star! His film school friend has written a screenplay about him! :)

Jen is asking that no visitors come again today with the exception of family. The best thing you can do for them is continue to send good thoughts and prayers.

On behalf of Jen, thank you for your love and support. As for myself, I can't even believe or comprehend the events of this week. I've never been on a rollercoaster such as this, nor have I ever witnessed such a miracle. I'm honored to have been a small part of it.

Thank you everyone for your comments and support!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

trying to explain

i know you are all reading the last post wondering if i was too sleep deprived, in denial, or maybe just drunk. thankfully that was not the case. however, i am just as in shock as i was saturday night. there are no words at least in the english language that can really explain this. you could call it a miracle, unbelievable, overwhelming, but that wouldn't be powerful enough.
let me just review the facts... sunday i was trying to process that i was probably going to be a widow and single mom within a few hours. there was much hope when he woke up early tuesday morning. up until 11:00 today i was trying to process that i was still going to be married to the man i love but that he would be a handicap version of that man. when i came back to the hospital today at 11:00 he was READING a book. the nurse informed me before i went into his room that he had just had a conversation with her that he felt like his normal self again just a little cloudy like he was on some medicine. when i went into his room to talk he was exactly the person i would've been talking to 7 days ago. he wasn't questioning why he was here, when we were going, where the boys were, etc. he was just talking like always. he told me he knew he was there because he fell, but he was having a hard time remembering exactly why he fell. when i told him he had a heart attack he wasn't shocked like he was the last 2300 times i told him that. he just said "that's what i thought". for several hours he was perfect. he still is, but he's extremely exhausted and getting a little cloudy again; he needs to sleep. the nurse just did a simple short-term memory test by asking him to remember the words cat, ball, and dog. five minutes later he asked him what words he was supposed to remember and he was able to tell him! he's back my friends! this is not to suggest there will not be many moments where he forget things; maybe he always will. heck, i forget things. i've asked the date several times today. at one point pete reminded me that i had already asked that 2 times; thanks for pointing that out, memory boy! :)
at this point he is trying to sleep while we wait for the angeiogram (sp?). they will still plan on installing the defibulator tomorrow or friday. and right now we will be home on saturday.
i am speechless. i am overwhelmed. i am grateful. i am speechless.



Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A New Hero

I've written on this post several times the past three hours when I had three minutes before I had to leave the room again because Pete said/thought/did have to go to the bathroom. Now, I'm home at 1:00 am, and I just want to get the facts out.

Many of you are questioning the state Pete is in, what he says, how he is physically, etc. If you've ever seen 50 First Dates, that's how the day has been. Jen is incredibly drained. Pete continues to ask when they're going home, where are the kids, and just why he's there. When Jen tells him he's had a heart attack, he's baffled, or thinks he was in a bad bike wreck....over and over.
One thing that holds true every time Jen retells the events of the past three days, is Pete's love an appreciation for Jen. He always says how hard that must have been for her, and he also said, "YOU'RE MY HERO." There couldn't be a truer comment.

I honestly don't really know what else to say other than a few facts:
-Pete will be getting a pacemaker defibrillator in the morning.
Can't get the dang blog to stop underlining right now and am too tired to mess with it....
-"Time will tell" is seriously the only answer that keeps coming.
-The only thing the Shock Trauma Intensive Care Unit can do for him right now is give meds to lower blood pressure, slow the heart beat, and watch him.
-His short term memory lasts maybe a minute and is completely impulsive; hence the need to go to the bathroom every few minutes. When he has a thought, he immediately reacts as a need to use the bathroom by default. (They can't put a catheter in because he'll rip it out and cause more trauma.)
-He has slept maybe an hour in the past 24, which is normal, although not encouraged. (They can't give him sleep aids because it will cause more confusion and hinder the brain/memory healing process.)
-He did recognize me, but never recognizes his nurse even though he's been there for 5 hours, and in his room talking to him every 5-10 minutes.
-His physical actions are tough. He does get up to go to the bathroom with assistance and we watched him brush his teeth. All was very awkward as he is lacking coordination. The nurse said he'll need a lot of occupational therapy over physical therapy; just learning the everyday stuff.

Hopefully this answers many questions. Jen is exhausted in every way, so if you have questions I'll try to answer them to the best of my knowledge. It is going to be a very long road and they won't know the full impact of his brain injury for probably a year. Everyday will tell, we just need to take it one minute at a time.

What I do know is that he is here, he is fighting, and Jen is a hero. This all can only be described as a miracle and nothing else.


an overwhelming day

there's still a very good reason to be hopeful. it has been quite the overwhelming day for me! my heart is so full of gratitude to have pete back in some capacity, the support and love that we have received, and the amount of interest from so many that we know well and not so well; it has consumed me. in the rare moments that i haven't been focused on the gratitude i have been a little confused, confused about what our future will hold. however, i am relieved that he is at least back in a capacity that is doable. if by chance it never progresses past this i think i will be able to do it. i will be tired though. i'm tired now. it takes a lot of energy to repeat myself so many times and to try to convince him of the same old story. he's calm tonight. i've relived the last 3 days a million times in this quite moment with him. now that we are ready to call it a night and try to sleep i can't stop thinking about the last moment i had with him relating to sleep. yesterday i went home to straighten up our bedroom from the night of the crisis. i was afraid of how scary that would be. however, it was one of the most peaceful and hopeful moments i have had through all of this. i laid down on his side of the bed and cried and pleaded that i wouldn't have to sleep in that bed alone. there was an overwhelming presence of him encircling me and reassuring me that i wouldn't have to sleep in that bed alone like i had feared. i got up with a renewed sense of hope. now that i am here with him having him beg me to get in bed with him tonight to sleep i also have a renewed sense of hope that great things are still happening. continue to hope that with a new day there will be new pieces of good news to report.

another miracle

the ventilator is out; he can talk. he is untied, and he wants to go home. so many things he knows and communicates. he doesn't know what a bed is. when asked how is stomach felt he laughed and said "it feels hard." he keeps saying "i'm tired of waiting; let's get out of here now. we're leaving."
there are a lot of really good signs right now. WE STILL HAVE A LONG ROAD! the neurologist said that scans still show no sign of major damage, but he still doesn't know everything but he knows sam is 4 and will is 2. he knew i was pregnant but he said only god knows what i am having. he is still in the very initial stages of recovery. please keep hoping. we are living a miracle right now.

he's still a rascal

good news; i walked over to his bed at about 3:15 in time to see him open his eyes. he looked at me, and i looked at him. i asked him if he knew who i was, and he shook his head yes and reached for my hand. i told him how much i loved him and asked him if he was ok. he shook his head yes. i immediately started asking him to move his arms, legs, etc. to which he responded on command. a really great sign, they said more of a predictor of mental capacity than any test they can do. he is breathing on his own, but they have to still have the ventilator in.
as the hours have gone on he has gotten very agitated and trying to rip out tubes especially the ventilator. it scares me a little; he has never been aggressive like this. they have given him more medicine to calm him down; he seems much more confused now. i am praying that is the medication which it very well could be.
what is happening is all very hopeful; he is back in so many ways, yet there are so many things that we still don't know that we will still have to wait to see. there is still a chance there is some brain damage, and i have been informed that's very likely. there's no way to know right now how his long-term function will be affected- he could be a little forgetful (we've been down that road already; he still can never find his keys or wallet in the mornings. :) ) or he could have no short-term memory. only time is on our side right now. this fight is not over. please do not give up hope. please pray that he will be calm and that his brain will continue to heal and pray that there was minimal damage. i'm not asking for too many big miracles; i'm looking at the biggest miracle i could have hoped for right now- a husband who is awake and not gone.

Miracles do Happen

Jen and I are sitting here in rotten chairs (no we don't have the benefit of naugahyde like some of you hospital regulars do), eating old ham and cheese sandwiches (delicious, by the way Aubrey), and getting oddly giddy and feeling like this is an odd slumber party. We've been laughing, sharing funny, spiritual, and serious experiences. All the while I keep looking over at Pete waiting for him to look at us and roll his eyes as he remembers the way we were when Jen and Pete first hooked up.

The thing is, he is here with us. Pete is fighting, just as no one doubted. He has opened his eyes and actually looked. There is hope. They turned off the cold and are allowing his body to warm up on its own, as fast or slow as that may be, with only the help of a couple of warm blankets. The paralysis meds are off, and the sedation medication is light. Now we wait. What the next 24, 48, or however many hours tell, all we can do is wait. The miracle of it all, is things are looking positive. That's not to say they will tomorrow or the next day, but now it's true. His heart is working far better than yesterday, lungs and kidneys are functioning so much better, and he's freaking opening his eyes!! What more could we ask for at this moment??

As your sweet, pregnant wife curls up in an upright chair and goes to sleep (don't worry, she can pretty much sleep anywhere at all), all I can say is FIGHT PETE, just keep FIGHTING. We love you. You are needed.

Until tomorrow,

Please ignore any discrepancies in this post. I'm had and it's 2 am....
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