It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and written a blog post. Life is crazy busy with school and kids, I apologize. September is spinal cord awareness month, and I couldn’t let it end without writing a post.
Ever since my dad’s accident, I find myself always googling and searching to find stories similar to that of my dad’s. I also find myself scouting out people in wheelchairs and wondering how they got there. Through social media, I have found so many people who have stories of their own, and are now paralyzed. Just this year alone I’ve followed the story of the young sister missionary who was hit by a car in Australia. I’ve been following a story of a young man who just recently became paralyzed while performing in a rodeo over Labor Day. Another story is of a young football player from the University of Hawaii who became paralyzed while cliff diving in Hawaii. Each story and each injury is so different, yet I find myself somehow connected to these people. I don’t even know them, and they don’t know me, but I feel for them. I know how much their lives have changed, and how much their families lives will change because of their accident.
Spinal cord injuries are something you usually can’t prepare for. They usually happen due to a freak accident. The majority of all spinal cord injuries happen due to car accidents, followed by falls, gun shot wounds, and sporting/recreational activities. You can be having the time of your life doing what you love, or driving in your car and your life can literally change in a split second. I find myself constantly worrying and stressing about little things that I never use to stress about. Helmets while riding the four wheelers or even bikes in our circle, seat belts, bounce houses, trampolines, diving into a swimming pool, swimming in the ocean, you name it- I stress about it. I try and tell myself that the kids still need to be kids, and there is only so much I can do to protect them. We can’t live our lives in a bubble because of the things I see or read about. Most spinal cord injuries are total freak accidents. I just don’t want to see anyone else that I love get hurt, and end up in a chair next to my dad.
Looking back to the day of the accident, there is nothing we could have done to prevent it. We were at the beach! We were in paradise, soaking up the sunshine and playing in the ocean. It was literally just a freak accident. I have such a fear of the ocean now, and I don’t know that I will ever conquer that fear. I hope one day I do. I hope one day I can digest the fact that millions of people swim and play in the ocean every day, and they leave the beach in one piece. One day!
I hope my thoughts have brought you some awareness to spinal cord injuries. I hope we can all be a little bit safer and a little bit smarter about the things we do each day that put us at risk. Wear your seat belts, wear a helmet, and be aware of your surroundings.
Now for an update on my dad. There has really been nothing much to report. He continues to amaze us each day. He never complains and is just happy to be here. At therapy he has been doing a lot of the standing frame. They strap his body onto a frame and slowly raise him up to a standing position. Usually his blood pressure drops shortly after he reaches standing position, but he has gotten better and better each time. This past week he set a new record at 22 minutes up right!! That’s something to be proud of!
The colder weather this past week hasn’t been very good to dad. Lots of muscle spasms and nerve pain come along with the cold weather. This is only the beginning, but we will get through it. On the bright side, he can justify having the heater on in the car!
Mom is amazing and works so hard every day taking care of dad. She became a nurse over night and is so good at taking care of him. She goes from sun up to sun down, and usually into the wee hours of the morning, yet she never complains. She is a trooper!!
Fall is such a fun time of the year, and I hope that we can get dad out to do a few things before it gets too cold. Dad went to the Nickleback concert last weekend and had a great time! We love it when he branches out and tries new things. Gives him a sense of normalcy! We are looking forward to the upcoming holidays and lots of family time together.
We thank you again for your continued love and support on behalf of our family.
Just wanted to do another update for you all about Dad. He is doing really well, and is enjoying the warmer weather. We are excited to get him outside of the house and be able to do some fun things as a family. Dad continues to have an amazing attitude and outlook on life. He is happy to be alive and with us. He loves watching the grandkids play and interact with one another. He has such a special bond with all of them, and we are all so thankful for that. Despite his injury, he is still Pa! We are so very thankful that he is still here with us! I really feel that we have all come to terms with our new life, and it feels normal now. I finally feel at peace with things, and that has allowed me to be me again. Mom has her routine set, and she is amazing at what she does. She works so hard every day to take care of Dad. I hope she knows how much we all admire her and love her for what she does. She is the most caring, and loving person. I know there is nobody better for the job! I love watching the two of them together. They joke and laugh with one another constantly. I love that he can still give mom a hard time about her driving, or the way she dips his french fries. They are perfect for one another, and I love the both of them with my whole heart!
Dad's wound is getting better, SLOWLY, but surely! Dad went to the wound clinic this morning for his weekly check up. The doctor was pleased with the way the wound was looking, and said that it is 1/2 cm less deep than it was last week!! It is a very small improvement, but it is still an improvement!! We will take any good news big or small at this point! The infection seems to be gone, and that is also really good news. We will continue with what we are doing, and hope that it continues to improve a little bit each week.
Dad also had his 3 month check up with his doctor since I wrote last. All is well there too! The doctor was pleased with Dad and he was really happy about his weight!! Dad has gained 16 pounds and is back up to 167 lbs!! We were all thrilled to see that he is gaining weight! One less thing to worry about! Dad continues to work hard at therapy 2 times a week. They work him really hard, and he goes home sore and worn out! They have been working a lot on his shoulders and neck over the past few weeks. He works really hard every visit, and we are so proud of him.
Life is good. We can't complain. We have lots of fun things to look forward to. We are excited for summer nights, walks around the neighborhood, baseball games, swimming at Cruz and Blairs, BBQ season, a new baby Edgington in August, and lots of time with family! We have all come to realize that we need to let go of the things we can't change, and focus on things that we can. There is no point in stressing over the things we can't change. Dad is still dad, you just have to look past the injury. Thank you all again for the continued love and support you show our family.
I haven't updated the blog in awhile, so I thought I would get you all up to date. Dad's sore (from the end of January) is continuing to heal, slowly but surely. The home health nurse comes over daily and changes the bandage and is overseeing the healing process. We went to the doctor last week for an assessment on the sore. The doctor was pleased with the way the sore was healing. It is getting better, but it is a slow process. The doctor thought that we still had another 4 weeks before it was healed completely. We are doing everything we can at home to make sure Dad is not putting direct pressure on the sore at any time. Dad's days are long, and hard. He spends most of his time watching tv, and we try and get him out of the house at least once a day for an outing. I don't know how he does it day after day, but he does. He says he doesn't have any other choice but to keep going. I admire his strength and will power. He never complains about the situation that he is in. He just keeps pushing forward.
Dad is still going to therapy 2 times a week. He works so hard at therapy, you can see it in his face. He is doing such a great job, and we are so proud of him. They did an evaluation on him this past week to see how far his range of motion has changed since we started going to therapy. He has improved and his range of motion has increased since the beginning. Even though the results are hard to see, they are happening. Dad is getting stronger and he is working hard each and every time we go.
We are anxious for spring and warm weather so we can go outside and cruise around the block a time or two. Also with spring comes soccer for the kiddos, and softball for Cruz. It will be nice to have activities for Dad to go to. Spring can't come soon enough!! Thank you for the continued love and support on our families behalf. We wouldn't be where we are today without all of you! www.toddscheckeredflag.blogspot.com
I obviously don't know you. However, as I read this story, I was reminded of a very similar situation that we went through with our daughter over 19 years ago. Her neck injury came as an auto accident. C2-C3. Had to be intubated and we communicated with the blinking eyes and a letter board. She had no feeling or movement from her neck down. Little bit of shoulder movement. Th doctors told us she would never walk again, would spend what life she had left in a nursing facility and probably die within ten years. Of course I don't know how extensive your dad's damage is, but just know --keep the faith. The recovery for our daughter was arduous and difficult but just 2 1/2 months later with the help of a walker and her therapists she walked out of the hospital. We believe in miracles and so should you. She married one year later to the young man driving the car and they are the parents of 4 children. 1 boy, 3 girls--two of whom are twins. Our prayers are with you.
I am praying for your family. One year ago my husband was in a wave accident on Maui and broke his neck, at C-7. He was paralyzed from the neck down after the accident happened. We were alone, 3000 miles from home and scared.. I spent 36 nights in a chair in the CCU next to him. As the swelling went down he regained some use of his arms... It was a long journey and one we are still working on everyday. He ended up having surgery to fuse his C4-7, widen his spinal canal and add titanium rods. Almost a year later and after intense physical therapy, he is back on his feet. Please keep your faith and never let ANYONE tell you that you can't.... I am sincerely praying for you. I know you are scared, but it's going to be ok. I looked your family up on Facebook. If there IS ANYTHING I can do. Please contact me.
I am unable to assist in a donation financially but i do with my thoughts and my prayers. My heart hurts for you all at the battle you are having to fight but i see and hear such amazing strength in reading this. My daughter at the age of 13 had to have a full spinal fusion and the fear of the unknown is as and was the hardest part. Your strength at fughtung will help encourage him. There will be days you will break down and know its ok to cry and your dad will try to be strong for his family so when he is angry and frustrated cry with him because its ok.
As a fellow USPS employee, I've been following your story. I shared in my FB page with my USPS family & friends. Hopefully, you will all be able to return home soon. Your posts have given me a great sense of gratitude for what we all take for granted. So sorry your dream vacation turned out this way! God bless you all!!
Mary Lue, thank you for sharing, that is inspiring. Todd and Vickie and the rest of the family, we are all thinking and praying constantly for all of you. I believe anything is possible and I trust that Todd will recover from this. Love and prayers to you all
I just saw this article in New Mobility and wanted to share it so you could talk to Todd's therapists about it - Cushion Options for Severely Compromised Skin - New Mobility http://www.newmobility.com/2017/03/cushion-options-pressure-sores/ I hope this month has seen some improvements and the warmer weather has helped you all get out more. Not sure if the sore is in the same place as the last one was. Mom also had a Select Comfort Bed so she didn't need to be turned all night. She was put to bed around 7pm, then turned around 10pm, then was good til about 7am. The Select bed seemed to handle the pressure for her. They had a split bed so mom and dad could sleep together, and adjusted her head and foot height for her separate from dad's side. It was really an amazing help all the years for them both, since sleeping in the same bed brought so much comfort to her (she never adjusted to sleeping alone, it seemed to scare her). She had a Roho cushion on her chair and it worked well for her. Somehow she was really fortunate and in the 14 years never had a pressure sore. It may be that your dad is much more active than she was, and his moving more to do exercises is causing some shearing against the cushion or bed. These are just some suggestions, thinking out loud I guess. Vitamin E oil is a great healer as is tea tree oil. What works most for you all is your family and their positive attitude. Keep moving forward. You are a great daughter.
Love the progress and Christmas Cheer being shared with you all.
Years ago my husband worked as a 911 dispatcher. He never took sick or vacation time either. He was always that person who donated time to others in need when there were personal or family situations where they had run out of time. We never had a lot of money to donate, but he always had loads of extra time. He never wanted the people to know, it was his way of helping with something he knew was important in a time of need. The fact that so many others have donated time to your dad says volumes about him, what a hard worker he and your brother are, and how valued they are as postal workers. Your gratitude note is thanks enough to them. They donated because it was something they could do for a man they greatly appreciated. Now he can continue to concentrate on getting stronger.
You guys ROCK! Love your dad's idea of making you be the dead fish experiment, and the boys proving to him it could be done. Now that he can enjoy football in the man cave with them, maybe you ladies can sneak in an afternoon secluded spa session for your well deserving mom. She sure needs some pampering, as do you all. Keep moving forward.
Sooooooooo happy to read of your Dad's progress! Its been a long time coming, but patience, love, and work pay off! Keep on truckin' and sure love all of you! Give a hug for me to that sweet Doc at Neuroworxs!!
I have nothing but the utmost admiration for this family. What courage and love. So sad that this happened to you.
Hang in there friend ! 102x is pullin for 23u . I know you prob don`t remember me but in 2011 we were race`in each other in the main in vagas . we shook hands on the scales . todd its hard for me to imagine .I just want you to know that I am thinking about you and also praying for you .
Left you a message o. Your cell today. Your audience t gave me your number. My husband has been doing neuro recovery. Would love to share the great news with you. Perhaps my husband d could speak with your dad to let him know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Looking forward to hearing g from you.
Hi Jodi! For some reason I cannot see your videos! I really want to. I'm happy to report that 5 donations came from people I know on Facebook, who would otherwise never have known about your Dad. I'm happy to spread the word. Every little bit helps. I love reading your updates and I wil pray extra hard for your Dad tonight. All my best, Emily Nelson.
Jodi, i can't tell you how wonderful it is to see the progress and determination that Todd has! Todd, you and your family are always in my prayers. I couldn't be happier to see the video of Todd moving his head. I KNOW he will be at full range in time..!
Such great news! Keep pushing forward Todd!.
I don't know if you need assistance getting your dad back to Utah, but here is a listing of organizations that assist in transport for free or reduced fee. Hope this helps! http://www.mghpcs.org/socialservice/resources/airlist.pdf
Your Dad is so blessed to have such a loving family. My husband is a surgeon and is AMAZED at his incredible progress! After living on The Big Island for 3 years, and on Oahu for 3 years, I know it can be isolating! So glad your Dad made it home!