31 December 2010

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Although not at market buying a fat pig, he is home again, home again!  I told my parents that it was good to find out about epilepsy now in 2010. Let's just get the hospital stuff over and done with and start 2011 off on the right foot! My Dad had to stay longer than expected, and fortunately this time that only meant two days instead of one.  He is home and trying to get top notch!

As I was writing I got these photos of the New Year's Eve party going on over there:

 Instead of making a New Year's resolution
Consider committing to a biblical solution
With promises so easily broken
Empty words, though earnestly spoken
But God's Word transforms the soul
By His Holy Spirit making you whole
As you spend time alone with Him
He will change you from within.

--Mary Fairchild

A good thought

"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself"


29 December 2010


Today my dear old Pa-pa endured seizures!  While talking with my Mother in the kitchen of their home, he began to seizure.  He went to the ER and I arrived with Sam in time to witness another seizure.  Dad has bitten his tongue so severely.  That will  be the big recovery this time.  It was hard and sad and at least mildly terrifying to observe a grand mal in action.  He will be in the hospital overnight and hopefully be ready to come home tomorrow.  We are praying they will do what they apparently don't like to do: stitch his tongue back together.

So much he has to endure.  I don't know why or understand why.  But my heart is content and steady on knowing that God is in charge of all, and watching over him and all of us.  I don't understand why my Dad was called on to suffer in his body so much in this life, but I know there will be a resurrection and won't it be glorious! When all who suffer in their bodies will feel relief from pain and affliction!  I testify to that reality.  I am grateful for Jesus Christ, I know He lived and overcame death.  I know He suffered the Atonement that He might know how to succor and understand us.  I know He gives the "peace which passeth understanding" and I am praying prayers that I know are heard for that peace to cover us all like a blanket.

If you are reading this, thank you!  For support, interest, and mostly prayers and love.  We are all in this life together. Love to all.

17 December 2010

Sofie part II

Yesterday my children and I were visiting my parent's house.  At one point, we were watching "the Littles" (my daughter and son) play. Sofie joined in the fun and games.  After a few moments of reflection, my Dad asked me "Who do you like better, your children or Sofie?"  I laughed out loud at that and thought the answer was pretty obviously Peach Pie and Jimmy Jim.  Then I asked "Well who do you love more?"  I don't know if the pause was for humor's sake or if he really had to think about it but I was much relieved when he said of course he loved his grandchildren more.

12 December 2010


What is wrong with this picture?  The answer is the dog.  This is Max and this is our old grandpa poodle who is gone now.  If you know my Dad, then you may be surprised that he allowed this picture to be taken.  The part of his heart reserved for faithful dog loving belongs to another. 

That dog is, of course, Heavenly Miss Sofia Sweetheart. Sofie Noodles, Sweet Little Sofie.  I am talking about my Dad's Boston Terrier, Sofie.  He is so crazy about that dog.  One of the running family jokes is Daddy-o's dog, Sofie.  When he was sick in the hospital, his co-workers appropriately did what I am sure my Dad would have done if he had been able to.  They created Sofie wall paper for his room.  

Less than a week before his stroke, he and I were having a hilariously good time teasing each other about that dog.  He told me that no one but him knew Sofie enough to interpret the depths of her emotional state.  Too funny.  We all joke about being jealous of the dog who gets more attention than the people.  Which isn't true but we all make jokes at Sofie's expense.  

Well here is Sweet Little Sofie.  I don't know how I went so many posts without so much as a mention of her.  Him being the only one able to understand her must be true.  While he was hospitalized in 2009 and 2010 I started to believe dogs really can be depressed!  That little doggie was sad! 

Dad's wisdom

Post-coma and not quite ready for re-hab, my Dad was getting ready to get the breathing tube out of his neck along with all other tubes, lines, IV's, bells, whistles and what nots out.  (Okay, that list was a bit redundant but if you'd have seen all they had him hooked up to and into, you would think my list was too short!)  Once they plugged off the tube in his neck he was able to speak and we were real excited about that!  It was fun to receive the pearls of wisdom he had to offer.  He was spitting those pearls out like crazy back then, and I was almost convinced he had come back to us as Ghandi. :) However, not believing in reincarnation, I knew he was same old Dad, with a more protruding philosophical side than I had known before. 

I told him "Dad we've got to work hard and make some progress to get you out of here." His reply: "I am NOT into making progress.  I'm into kicking butt!"  Another day we were talking to each other about Chuck Norris.  Let's just say we're fans.  Big time.  Thanks goodness we brought him up because out of that conversation a new favorite Dad line was born.  "I've got to get top notch and ready to kill!"

Speaking of injuring and all that, as Michelle and I were growing up, we had a lot of role playing with that kicking, wounding stuff.  My Dad would often say to us "Show me how you would hit some guy who tried to grab you" and we would show him.  Michelle and her notorious arm strength (her secret is spinach mixed with ice cream) let him have it whenever he said that.  Christmas 2007 he was doing a run through on that again.  After one punch he had a nice bruise  the size of Rhode Island and I believe that was the last time they role played the punching stuff.  

He also told us during that hospital time that we needed to take our service opportunities and accelerate them.  I remember hearing that and thinking that was great advice at any time.  To take the opportunities we have and do more with them.  I was inspired by that and I am still trying to live by those words a little better.  I have always loved my Dad and listening to what he has to say.  He truly has the ability to see things clearly, as they really are, I think.  Although his ability to express himself and those things has gone from high to low, I always enjoy hearing what he has to say and learning from him.  He has always been an excellent Dad!

09 December 2010

2009 and ARDS

February 2009 my Dad went for an outpatient oblation. That was another hard phone call to receive, that the oblation had gone wrong.  Later we found out he had spent seven minutes with no pulse and no breath.  As my Dad's work-mate Chris said "the dude is a fighter!"  He came out of that but unfortunately aspirated upon resuscitation and had a serious lung injury, ARDS.  He spent seven or eight weeks in the ICU, intubated.  I am pretty sure they came up with the word "misery" for situations like the one he was in up there.  Many friends, family, and strangers joined in praying and fasting for his recovery (THANK YOU!).  We learned this was something he was unlikely to recover from but we held out hope for the best outcome.  The doctor there told us he would almost certainly have permanent lung damage and require the use of oxygen to infinity and beyond. The hospital had sent him home with a little machine to check his oxygen levels.  If he was above 90, they were happy and he didn't have to use the oxygen.  My Dad had a miraculous although difficult recovery.

I was so thankful that he was able to be there to meet my son the day he was born.  Little Jimmy was hours old when Poppy held him for the first time.  While hospitalized with ARDS, I was expecting and I remembering just hoping and praying he would be a part of my child's life. I am so glad he is still here and continues to be an important part of all our lives. Although wrapped in a blue blanket, this is a photo on the right is of my first child, a daughter, being held by Poppy when she was a few days old.  My daughter was the first to wear diapers in my family since the youngest brother, John.  Although John is still a big baby, it was fun to have  one small enough to hold. (heh heh heh)

Dad was taken to the hospital on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 in a coma and seizing.  Only the Wednesday before that, he had gone into the lung doctor who declared his lungs had miraculously healed completely!  I emphasize the miraculous part of his recovery because his chances were so bleak that it is utterly unexplainable without Divine intervention that he recovered so well, so quickly. Though the rest of him never made it back to 100% before the stroke, he really had an amazing ability to mostly live and do as he wanted to.  We are so thankful and I know I spent that year feeling that every time I got to be with my Dad was a real gift from God to me.  I continue to feel that way!

07 December 2010

Wedding and Grans

Thank goodness Ammon made good on his promise to propose to Tera!  Is it possible to blame Ammo's delay for my Dad's health problems? Well, no actually, it isn't even though we tried to get them married faster by doing that.  After dating five years they finally tied the knot! There was dancing and delicious food but most important, Tera went through with it and I finally have an official sister! (Love you, Tera!) My Dad was real happy that day.  He got out on the dance floor and we did the twist and shout to a bunch of Beatles songs.  He had a really good time and we all enjoyed watching him bust out some dance moves we didn't know existed. (Very similar to the thumbs-and-foot-kick dance made popular by Elaine).

My children call my Dad "Poppy".  He is real sweet to them.  For some reason, he believes that if little Jimmy Jim isn't being watched 100% of the time, he will find some quicksand in the basement or another route to catastrophe.  In this picture Poppy had been so worried about Jim Jim that he just sat him down on his lap and made him stay there a while.  I guess that was easier than following a curious boy around the house.  

Then later the same day, my daughter tried to talk to my Mom (Ya Ya) while she was in the middle of a conversation with Poppy. He playfully said "I am the one talking here. Got it?" followed by hysterical laughter.  Good thing it made her laugh too!

Vocab de Dad

One my Dad's newfound abilities is to create a vocabulary that is understandable and hilarious.  Recently we took a drive up a nearby canyon.  I asked him if he had had a good talk with one of my brothers earlier that day.  His response "It was good.  You know, usually between us its all just a bunch of skizzle skat and dog poop."  My Dad and I laughed right then and  I couldn't wait to get back to tell my Mom. We also had a good laugh.

A few weeks later we were sitting around eating some stir fry.  Pointing to the soy sauce he said "Would you pass me that mess of pottage over there?"

Heard in the background as I was on the phone with my Mom: "I've got my vegetable tray from Monterrey! Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! And it tastes good! Yeah!"

It was a hard day's work

This picture was taken not too long ago on a really fun day! We were over at the house and it was tree trimming time! In their city, where the garbage cans only fit a cereal box, we were struggling to fit the clipped branches in from several trees.  My Mom got a pair of hand clippers out for Dad and asked him to cut the branches up to fit in the trash.  It was real sweet when we noticed the meticulously good job he was doing of cutting all the branches into two inch pieces. He was determined to fit all the waste in the space we had!  They actually have a "yard waste" can in addition to the miniature garbage can, and I think we filled up both with bite sized twigs.  Way to go Dad!

06 December 2010

July 6

July 6, 2010 is a date etched in my memory.  At the zoo, I received a phone call from my devastated Mom: Dad was in a coma, in the hospital, and not expected to live.  Fortunately I was at the zoo with my mother-in-law Dee Ann.  She was able to watch my children and zoom me over to the ER to be with my mom.  The doctor sat us down in a little room.  Just Mom, Mike (a great family friend), and me.  The ER doc was surprised Dad had survived the stroke and informed us he would need immediate brain surgery if he were to have any chance at survival.  Without hesitation Mom said "yes" to which the doc replied "I don't want to sound grim, but the truth is he may be blind, paralyzed, and unable to speak or communicate.  This is a massive stroke".

My brothers Daniel and Ammon arrived, followed by my husband Matt. Our two other brothers Sam and John were out of town at the time but got to the hospital as soon as possible (and thankfully without any speeding tickets!).  Slowly people from the Ward and neighborhood made their way up to the hospital as we numbly waited for any news.

Thankfully he made it out of surgery.  We still had no idea what the extent of permanent damage would be.  We all were frustrated to learn the only way to learn that is to wait and see. The waiting made more difficult by the comatose state he remained in for weeks.

At first we were told to make very little noise around him.  That too much would cause his brain an overload of activity.  Those days we were all anxious to stand around his bed all day and pray.

Eventually the doctor told us to play music on headphones for him.  I figured music meant noise so I brought my iPod with "What About Bob" up one day to play for him.  This movie is a real favorite of everyone's and my Dad and I almost daily would text each other some line from that movie.  Maybe it was the "terrets syndrome" that did it, but it was that day that he followed the "commands" I gave him to wiggle his thumb and move his arm!  There was a big celebration! (And actually I always skip the terrets scenes!)

On and on this story goes.  Today my Dad is incredible.  He is amazing. He is loving, charming, sensitive, intuitive, and talkative even, at times. But he lives with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). We are all dealing with this real loss.  Dad is here, but everything has changed.  I will never forget those moments when I learned what happened.  Over and over I realized that life would never be the same.  Not for me, not for my brothers, children or husband, and especially not for my Mom and Dad.  Though his mind does not work as well, and he can't recall what was said seconds ago, I remind him often that what is most important hasn't changed.  My Dad remains a great man.  He remains a faithful man. He remains a man who loves and gives and helps and serves in the capacity that he is able to.  My Dad can't read.  He can't find the fridge sometimes. He can't paint. He can't play games.  He doesn't enjoy movies.  But he can love.  And he does love.  He freely gives his love.  He is still the  great man he has always been and we all love him more than ever!

I don't know if anyone will read this, but I will keep it as my way of honoring my Dad.  Of honoring his life that he has lived and the life he now lives. I intend to make this a positive reminder to myself and others of the gift of family.  The gift of health.  The gift that every day is.  I thank my Heavenly Father for giving those gifts to me. I hope that I will be able to post messages of hope and joy and that others will share theirs with us also.

I don't pretend to be the only one with struggles or difficulties to face.  I don't pretend to be the one with the worst of them either!  If I were to ask any person their history I know I would learn things that would make me glad to be me with the trials I have.  This is just one person's blog of one event that, although common, has changed our lives.