The week of September 30th
Post from Jodie (Mom)
And just like that….. it’s October. The trees on the mountains are showing off their beautiful vibrant colors, there’s a chill in the air, and the sun is setting on the horizon much earlier than just a short month ago. Kollin’s accident occurred on the night of August 30th. In my mind it was the end of summer, and now we are fully into one of my favorite season’s of all---- Autumn. This usually means a time for slowing down. School has begun and so has homework. Gone are the warm, carefree days of summer. September of 2013 was spent mostly INSIDE for me. My attention fully invested in my baby boy, Kollin. At times I felt like the mother of a newborn baby—how quickly I remembered how to function on very little sleep, as I attended to his every need. Now that KPG is out of the ICU my role has changed a bit as he progresses in his recovery. His medical situation has improved so much in the week that he’s been in the Neuro Trauma Unit--- I have become his biggest fan….. A cheerleader of sorts once again. Each day this past week spoke of Progress made on His part. On Monday September 30th he was officially put onto the Rehab Service. For Kollin this is where the rubber meets the road. Time to WORK, WORK, WORK. Therapy is more intense, as he practices dressing himself each morning, uses both hands to squeeze the cement like toothpaste onto his toothbrush, and wheels himself down to the gym for workouts. He is getting better at everything, but frustration is often present when he can’t get his hands to work like they used to. Still he is finding ways to use what he has to work with.
On Monday he met with the Speech Therapist to determine whether or not he still needed his feeding tube. His appetite has increased, and his swallowing is getting much better. The therapist had him eat Cool Ranch Doritos—his favorite, and sweet tart candies. She wanted to see how he would do with some of the harder foods. He sailed right through this junk food eating test. She gave the OK to take Kollin off the restrictive diet he’s been on, saying, “You can now eat whatever you want.” Yippeee!!!! Because of this, and because he has been able to maintain good calorie and fluid intake on his own, the feeding tube was yanked out by nurse Steve. I tried to get Kollin to pull it out himself, but for some reason that idea did not appeal to him. None the less he is so happy to be free from that noodle taped to the side of his face. He would eat a grilled cheese sandwich and fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I’d let him, but I won’t. His menu is now about 6 pages long as opposed to 2 pages. The options are unlimited. We have even taken him to the hospital cafeteria and let him pick from their menu. Freedom to have options is a wonderful thing.
Kollin’s sense of humor during Physical Therapy is nothing short of amazing. It certainly doesn’t hurt that every one of the therapists are all incredible individuals. They have a way of making “rolling over,” “sitting up,” and “scooting across the mat,” fun. (Remember my reference to feeling like the mother of a new born baby??) Gary and I get so extremely excited about Kollin’s abilities to do the simplest of things. His latest “funny” is to strike a Model pose during those akward moments when he tries to move, but parts of his body don’t follow. Haha I’ll include some pictures. During OT (occupational therapy) he is fine tuning the motor skills in his hands as he plays Uno, Blokus, and Connect Four. What was once a left hand closed fist is now a hand that can stretch the fingers almost all the way out. These fingers on his left hand are also starting to move more. Which is good news for all of you that receive texts, snapchats, and instagram posts from KPG. I dare say that his cell phone is the best therapy of all!!!! On Wednesday it was decided that it was time for Kollin to have a little field trip. They called it a “Day Pass” from the confines of the hospital. This also gave Gary and I an opportunity to learn and practice doing “Car Transfers”. (getting Kollin in and out of a car and into his wheelchair.) It was a bit tricky getting into the front seat of our Jeep, but Gare Bear did a great job. We have applied to get a handicap parking pass, but it has not arrived yet, so finding a parking space at the Café Rio down the street would need to be strategic. We were in luck—the stars must have been aligned just right. We were accompanied by 5 Lovely ladies from the therapy department. Lisa, Kollin’s Physical therapist who incidentally is a small woman, but tougher than nails, borrowed a wheelchair from PT and wheeled right along side of him throughout the whole adventure. Kollin confided to me on the drive to lunch, that he felt sort of nervous. This was his first time in public in over a month. First time riding in a car since his accident also. It’s interesting that I now notice how unfriendly places are for wheelchairs. Kollin maneuvered himself up the sidewalk ramp, but someone had to open the door for him. He wheeled into the very long line and then was able to order for himself. I had to fill his cup with soda for him and reach the straw and utensils, as they were place at a higher level than he was able to reach. Things I’d never thought twice about before….hmmm—BEFORE. I will never look at things in quite the same way. I pray that wherever KPG goes, that he will encounter kind folks that will be willing to help him out when he struggles to open a door, or reach what he needs. Other than what I’ve mentioned, our “Lunch outing” went off smoothly. Kollin enjoyed his favorite Pork Taco- something he used to eat 4 of, but this time only ordered 1. A few people even came up to him and mentioned that they’d seen him on the news and wished him well. That made him smile from ear to ear. (he thinks he’s famousJ) Even though we were only gone for a few hours, it was so refreshing for Kollin to know that he will be OK out in the real world.
If I’ve told my kids once, I’ve told them 100 times--- if you want to get good at something, you’ve got to practice at it. I guess the Dr.’s and therapists also believe this. On Saturday night, after a full day of visits from so much of our family from California, it was time for another field trip. This time we went to dinner at Café Trio, and were accompanied by “Birthday Boy” uncle Adam, and beautiful Aunt Em. Kollin ordered a BBQ chicken pizza and just about ate the whole thing!!!! He face timed cousin Chloe for the second time that day—trying desperately to get her to admit to him that she loves him—haha It’s ok Chloe, He KNOWS without you saying a word. When we entered the restaurant, at 5:00, Kollin easily wheeled himself to our table deep in the farthest corner. By the time we were finished eating, the room was packed with patrons. It was necessary for our waiter to ask the servers to clear out of their alley way so Gary could wheel KPG safely through a cleared space and outside to the car. We are figuring things out.
So that was practice-- #2 field trip. All in preparation for an “ALL DAY pass” today (Sunday). Field trip #3. We anxiously awaited the Dr. to visit us this morning with some final instructions. Our plan: Take Kollin Home to Provo!!!!!!! We listened to the morning session of conference in the car as we drove towards the place that KPG has been missing so badly. His brothers, His dogs, His bed, His pillow, His house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All so magnificent to HIM on this day. The first place he wanted to be was in Ethan’s room. When Kollin was lying in the ICU, sick and struggling with a breathing tube down his throat, I heard Ethan whisper to him, “Kollin, I just want you to be Ok. I want you to come home so bad, so that we can hang out in my room and play x-box. I’ll even let you EAT whatever you want to, and I’ll let you sit on my bed.” Kind words from a big brother who normally complained every day to me about Kollin being in his room. A Tender lesson for Ethan to learn. Not sure what all went on in Ethan’s room this morning. They told us to just let them hang out together. When I took Kollin’s medication up to him at 2:00pm they were having some good ole Brotherly snuggle time. I’m so grateful that they have each other. Gary carried Kollin to his bed for a little nap. He gets worn out really easily. He loved the cushy mattress and his OWN pillow. At 4:30pm my Sisters and mom brought over the dinner of all dinners for us. Corn on the cob, cucumbers and tomatoes, potatoes and squash, green beans, and beet salad-- all picked fresh from the garden. (thanks Parley) And Halibut caught in Alaska by my brother in law. Fresh Peach Pie for dessert. Oh and homemade rolls--- man we are soooooooo spoiled, and not just because of all that good home cooking, but because of the LOVE that went into cooking and preparing it all. My 94yr old grandma Louder was able to come and visit with Kollin for the first time in months. She is always one to bring a Huge dose of Love with her, and she showered Kollin with her goodness. At 7:00pm it was time to head back to SLC, and prepare for the week ahead. Kollin has Goals that he is anxious to tackle. I have no doubt that he will ACHIEVE because he BELIEVES. He continues to be an example to his parents. His good attitude and his willingness to push forward, even when it is so hard for him, is commendable. I watch him exercise his Faith in a loving Father in Heaven every day. Remember that little practice ditty. He is getting some great practice at trusting in the Lord. Not many 14yr olds get this opportunity. We are so grateful that he has the Love, Support, and Prayers from so many family members, friends and strangers. Life’s challenges are so much more bearable with a gospel perspective. Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to HOPE for great things to come for our boy. Love to you all!!!!!!