Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New News Brings Change to GoFundMe

Initially hospital financial people told us that Chadd would not qualify for medical assistance for the first thirty days of his care.  That was daunting.
Then we were told that perhaps some of it would be covered.
Most recently they told us that they expect most of it to be covered.
We are praying that this will be the case.
Final word should come as soon as they can review necessary paperwork that is being gathered.

We are not interested in raising money that we don't know will be needed and so 
Chelsea has posted an update on the GoFundMe page reducing the need to $5,000.
For those who have given we cannot express our thanks enough.
Rest assured that those gifts will go to their intended purpose, 
the care and well being of Chadd.

Coming up for Chelsea and Chadd will be counseling to deal with the trauma, 

We don't know when Chadd will be able to return to work.

We don't know what of Chadd's computer and other items survived the crash.
Doubtful on most of that.

We just wanted to be clear and up front with everyone on this subject.
And to share our praises that things are looking so much better at the moment.

Chadd continues to get stronger each day.
He has a very long way to go but is surpassing anyone's expectations.
Please continue to pray that the infection would completely clear and not
cause long term issues for him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Keeping Up Hope

With so many things being uncertain in the next weeks and months the kids are struggling to know how to plan.  Whether it is right to continue working toward the wedding in May or to hold tight and wait and see.  We are encouraging them to continue in their plans.  If things have to change then we can all deal with it then.

Thankfully, the Monday before the accident they had gone out with their friend Faith and had the first in a series of Engagement Photos taken.

I pointed out to them that when they go to finish these photos it will be interesting to see the growth in them as individuals but also as a couple.
Seeing him in his hospital bed and her leaning over him as they looked at these together was bittersweet.
But they are strong and getting stronger every day.

An update on Chadd:  He was to go home yesterday but a complication with one of his incisions kept him in overnight on IV antibiotics.  He is very much wishing to get home today but is understanding that this could be serious and he doesn't want to have to come back after getting home.

Otherwise he had a pretty good day in that he stayed awake all day for the first time.
I hope this translated into a good night's sleep.
That has been the hardest for him.
So hard to get good sleep there.

We cannot thank you enough for your continued caring and prayers.
We'll take every one!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Some Sunshine after A Week of Storm Clouds

Chelsea worked again yesterday.  Her manager has been so wonderful in allowing her to come in as she can handle it.  If you have ever worked in retail you know that facing crowds of people can really take it out of you....even if you totally love your work.  When one is as stressed and tired as Chelsea there is a limit to your tolerance.  Even so, she has done well on the two days back so far.  Then she is so very eager to get back to Chadd.

Friday was his hardest day.  Not his most sick day.....but the one that impacted him the most.  He was taken off the heavy medications that masked much of the pain.  Ouch!!  He was so miserable.  And he was trying so hard to keep Chelsea from seeing his pain which only made it worse for him.  Crazy guy. Trying to protect his sweetheart.

We weren't sure what we would walk into yesterday as we got there a little after 4pm.  Well, we got a clear eyed, adoring Chadd.  Still in pain but through the worst of the withdrawal a week's worth of strong meds deliver.  He was so delighted to see Chelsea and she him.  Xavier and I left them alone to chat.  This was the first time since we got the shocking news they could really communicate with each other.  Awesome thing number one!

After a while Chelsea sought us out to say it was dinner time.  Chadd was eating real food and so should we.  And so we headed to the hospital cafeteria.  I was so hoping for one of two meal options. Either the taco salad or Dry Rub Ribs.  Either had been my favorite from the week.  Others....seriously not so much!  My face lit up when I saw the taco shell bowls!!  I couldn't believe it.  Things must be looking up, right?  That was awesome thing number two.

Then....I went to get cups of water for Chelsea and I and saw Matt.  Matt is the hospital food host who took such amazing care of Chelsea in the Intensive Care.  He was on the phone and so I waited for him to finish up so I could thank him for his special attention to her.  He was so happy to hear that Chelsea was with me and headed out into the dining room to find her.  He reminded her once again that he had helped her out and was so happy for the ability to have done so.!  Never underestimate the power of those kind gestures.  They can make all of the difference to a family who is in pain.  Awesome thing number three.

We returned to Chadd but his pain was building again.  Poor guy.  Tummy surgeries are the worst.  I've been there.  Ten days in the hospital for a post op infection that nearly killed me.  I remember some but I was mostly under the effects of morphine then.  Chadd is basically on Tylenol.  Horrible.  I talked him into ringing for the nurse who was able to give him something more and get him settled in for the night.  And then we left.  I haven't heard yet how his night went.  Hoping he did ok.

This morning he is scheduled to go to Physical Therapy to be evaluated to see if he is ready to go home.  Can you believe it??  Waiting for that word.  Honestly, if they kept him another day I would be happy.  He would not.  He is young, strong and ready to get out of that hospital bed.  We'll see!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Late Night Pizza With My Kids

Yesterday was hard in that, while Chadd is physically improving, he is also being weaned off the big guys of the pain meds.  Whew!  You try having the kind of injuries he has and have to find new doses of weaker prescriptions to work even as you are getting more mobile, etc.
Not fun.

Chelsea and I were out when his mom called to just kind of give us the story for the day.  She said that he could have milkshakes and other things like that now which really excited us.
You see, Chadd has been wanting a particular peach smoothie from a new cafe, The Speckled Hen.
It took us 0 seconds to decide to head on over there and pick one up for him.
They kindly put it in a second cup of ice so that we could try to keep it semi solid until we got to the hospital again.  Chadd was sleeping when we got back but was so happy to see it when he woke up.  He sipped at it the rest of the evening.  Loving it.
Little things.

Due to his pain, and the fact that he hadn't slept the night before, Chelsea and I headed home earlier than usual.  It was still light and it was such a beautiful evening.
We were happily surprised to find Mikey and Emily here.
They had come down to hang out and enjoy the sunset.
Chelsea went for a walk with them as the sun did indeed set and it was good for her to be with 
her big brother and sister-in-law.
Emily is Chelsea's Matron of Honor.

Jonathan had left for work shortly after we arrived home.  But I have to tell you that he has been such a help and support as well.  He stays in the background but is keeping up with things and is always there if I need him.  He keeps his eye on Chelsea and does what he can to help her too.

Anyway, the pizza.

We were just sitting here talking and all of a sudden I had this incredible craving for fresh, hot pizza.
This is kind of surprising since I had that horrible experience with the pizza from the hospital but I guess my body knew that that had been it's own special evil and we could trust our local pizzeria.
There was something "almost normal" about having a late night pizza party with the kids that made the calories worth it.

I talked to Chelsea about her feelings of guilt and being punished for not appreciating life "before".  
Isn't it amazing how the enemy tries to twist and turn these things?
Well, he can just quit it.
We are wise to him.
No guilt.
This is not punishment.
This is life.
Things happen.
And for all we know this is grace and mercy.
Time will tell if there is more to be gained from this experience.

In the meanwhile...I vow to not eat pizza every night.
It could happen.

Do you love late night pizza?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Taking My Own Advice

Over this past week I have been spewing advice to my daughter.  You know, things like, telling her to see God's hand in everything in an attempt to grasp that we are in His care.  To be honest with Him and let Him know how you feel.  It's not like He doesn't know anyway, right?  I've told her she doesn't have to be strong to be a good testimony for Him.  To let the anger come....
......just at the fact that this thing happened.
We know He could have prevented it.

This morning I am alone at home and the stress began building again.  I ran to the pharmacy for the medication the doctor ordered for anxiety.  The fear of having that horrifically high heart rate again is similar to my fear of the next complicated migraine.  
 Stress inducing in itself.

I took a sliver of a pill.  Wanting to know how it would impact me.  Much to do today and a few places I really should drive.  I don't want to do anything dangerous.  

I felt a bit sleepy and laid down in the recliner.  All of a sudden it hit me!  
I've been telling her all of this stuff.  
I've been talking ABOUT God.  
But have I been talking TO Him?  

There have been the prayers of praise.  I mean them.

There have been the pleas for those who have been impacted and for those we love.

But had I expressed to Him that I am angry that this situation is in our lives?  
That our kids will never be the same again? 
 That even though I know that He will take this and redeem it 
it still hurts SO much?  

I don't think I had.

I have now.

He still loves me.
His presence is so real.
It is safe to be totally real back with Him.

Too bad it took me so long to take my own advice.
In those very moments my cell phone lit up with messages
 from the ladies I have Bible study with 
every other week.
Words of love and support as they represent Him in my day.

Never be afraid to just say it like it is with the One who knows and loves you most!
He's o.k. with it.

Authentic relationships are the very, very best kind.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Am Clearly Not Invincible....But YOU already knew that!

Mentally, I think I can muscle through just about anything.  But that would be wrong.
Physically, I think, I hope, I plead with my body to just hang in a bit longer.  It doesn't.
Spiritually, the hope and faith in His plan remains.  Question is.....what is that plan?

Last night the physical crumbled.  It had been coming on for days.  Ever since last week on this very date I knew my heart wasn't the same.  However, I was quite pleased at my ability to walk and walk all over the hospital.  The past couple of days though I have noticed my heartbeat.  Heavy and fast.
But there was much to be done.  People to take care of.  By last evening there was no one who needed help more than I.  As I attempted to lay down to sleep my entire body throbbed to my heartbeat.  As if there was a drummer inside.  I attempted twice to lay down and sleep. No go.
I quietly went to the kitchen to call my doctor and ask if I could take another blood pressure pill.
He denied that and ordered me to the ER.

I told Warren.  Poor man.

We went quietly.  I knew I was in trouble and prayed that we would get there before anything horrible happened.  Didn't want Warren in that position because of my stubbornness.  We passed an ambulance on the way and I wondered if it was because I was going to pass out and then they would be close.  The things  your brain does when you are in distress.

There was no wait at the ER.  Triaged and seen immediately I was put on monitors.  It sounded at first like a regular super fast heart beat.  But Warren looked up and I tensed as there was a notable two beat skip a couple of times and then the crazy began.  Up to the 150's and all over the place went my heartbeat.  I begged them to help me please.  People showed up like crazy and they were ready for me to crash.  All of a sudden it went back to the original speedy pace and the doc said that he knew what was going on.  He prescribed meds to get me back under control.  They took an x-ray of my chest.  Found out I was dehydrated.  So between the intense stress, exhaustion and dehydration I had totally whacked out my body.  

Today I am still at home for the first time since Chadd's accident.  Mom had off today and she and Chelsea are at the hospital.  I'm praying that this very same thing doesn't happen to Chelsea.  I know she is exhausted.  I'm so proud of her for her efforts to stay fed and hydrated.  God has blessed her with sleep at night.  And so with her darling Chadd getting better day by day the stress should ease up a bit.  He was a bit standoffish with her for a while due to the way he felt and looked.  Last evening they took the final tube out of his face and gave him a scrub.  He was a new man.  It was great to see him making eye contact with her again and even reaching for her.  Even guys can be concerned about their appearance.  Who knew??

One week.  That's all.

I think of Mrs. Kunkle's family.  Can they believe it has been a week?  Are they ok?  Only God knows and we are not supposed to make any official contact at this point.  This goes against all that is in us......but we are hoping word leaks back to them how very much we are sorry for what happened and for their loss.

I will not be discussing anything legal here or anything about the process.  I apologize if it feels that we are so one sided but it is just how it needs to be at the moment.  This remains simply a personal accounting of our thoughts and concerns as we walk this journey.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Acting On Her Faith

I admit to some trepidation as I write this post that someone may not understand...  but it is another honest look at the journey we are on.  I am so proud of Chelsea and how she is progressing and growing through this tragedy.  Her future mother-in-law, Robin, and I have commented on it so many times.  Most recently she blew me away when she talked to the nurse and gave him instructions.  Seriously?
My little girl did that??
High Five.

So, yesterday they closed the ICU Unit for an extra hour so that they could perform a sterile procedure bedside of one of the other patients.  I had anticipated a two hour break as usual and had candles in a cooler in the car to take to Back Home Again in Lititz
 as she had sent a message needing more.
Chelsea and I had planned to stop into a second hand shop to look at their wedding dresses while we were there and so when Chadd's mom was trying to decide what to do with her break we both excitedly asked her to come along.
Robin agreed!
We were so thrilled.

And so we left the nice cool, dry air of the hospital and walked into the wall of heat and humidity of the parking garage and headed on our way.
It amazes me how quickly people can bond in these times.
Robin and I had only messaged each other a few times on Facebook in the months prior to this.
But now after a few days together she is a friend.
A real friend.

As we drove through Neffsville on our way up to Lititz a small bridal shop caught Chelsea's eye.
It was not the one we were expecting to visit but it was the one we ended up returning to.
No appointment.
Just a crew of three walking in, stressed, tired but determined to do something forward looking.

The sales lady set us up in a room with mirrors and a dressing room.
I told them straight up what was going on and that we might not be their typical bridal party.

Immediately I spotted a simply elegant dress with lace.
I pointed it out to Chelsea.
The sales lady took us to another room to begin and Chelsea said to me...
"I just want to try on that other dress".
I assured her that she would be able to do that but that she could also find
six other dresses to try if she wanted.
Seven was our sales lady's special number to start with.

After a few minutes Chelsea came up with two dresses to try.
One of them being that first dress she liked.

She tried a pink dress that could be ordered in white.

It was pretty but was not the one.

She tried the lace dress.

You would have fallen in love with this lace too.

As Chelsea and I discussed whether this was a post I should write she said I could if I explain her reasoning and the meaning in wedding dress shopping in the midst of these hard days.

The reason is HOPE!
Hope is a very powerful thing.
Chelsea also wanted to prove to Chadd that she is one hundred percent committed to his recovery and to them being together as husband and wife in the future.

Chelsea and Chadd have no idea what the immediate future holds for them.
I am sure that Chadd has questions about whether Chelsea will remain in his life.
She had no doubt about that!

There are legal possibilities that are scary.
There is the emotional healing that will have to come.
So.much for these two lovebirds.

But they hold onto HOPE.

And so when Chelsea loved this dress she purchased it.
With her own money.
Granted it came in well under budget because that is how Chelsea rolls
but it was important to her that she make an investment in the future.
She needed to show Chadd that she is in this thing all the way.
He knows how hard it is for her to part with any money.
She is a saver...the make money squeak kind.
She also needed parental support that it will be o.k. in the long run.
That we not say..."Oh, you'd better wait.".
No, she needed to have that encouragement to do the next positive thing.

I cannot express to you how much it meant to both Chelsea and I that Robin was with us.
To have both of her mothers encouraging her to look to the future.
To trust enough that she could keep on planning.
Wedding planning has certainly lost it's innocent joy.
She is grieving that.
But with each day as Chadd grows a bit stronger she is coming back too.
They are connected spirit to spirit.
I've never seen anything quite like it.

So, I hope you won't think it insensitive or frivolous that we did this thing at such a time as this.
It is necessary.
It is healing.

She smiled a big smile for the very first time since the accident.

Healing hope.