Friday, September 9, 2011

A New Focus

The past two days have been awesome! We attended a "Stocks and Options" class that really educated us on investing and trading. We were lucky that both days started as good days... average pain level and able to get around like normal. After sitting all day yesterday, though, and then walking several blocks from the car to the classroom and back several blocks to the car at the end of the day, last night was pretty rough. When we got home he sat down on the couch until it was time to go to bed. It was one of those nights where I had to take him his dinner plate because he could not get up to get it. That happens about 3-5 days a week, so I am extremely willing to do it, never ever mind to do it, and I actually appreciate the opportunity to do something that can help make life a little easier for him. The only thing that I hate about it is that it always makes him feel bad when he has to be waited on hand and foot. I was afraid after last night that he wouldn't be able to make it to the class today. He woke up this morning feeling just like he did yesterday morning, though, so we headed down to Little Rock to finish up the class. He did something today that I cannot ever remember seeing him do. He actually parked in a handicapped parking spot using his handicapped tag. He is so big on saving those spots for older people that he never will park in one himself. If we did not park in it we would have had to walk quite a few blocks. Knowing what it did to him yesterday, he gave in and parked in a parking lot that had several handicapped spots available. I would have been more than happy to drop him off by the door, park a few blocks away, and then walk to meet him, but he is way too proud to let his wife do that for him. He was raised to be a gentleman, and he has a hard time getting past those beliefs that are deep in him. I have learned over time to recognize the moments that he needs to feel like he can still do what he used to, but is compromising a bit. I know that his mental state has a big impact on his physical state, so I always try to recognize those things and keep them in mind. I did not mention a word and let him do what he needed. Since he does not abuse that privelege, I believed it was very justified.

We sat through the class all day today, and we learned a ton more about trading and investing. It was so amazing how excited he got both days about learning. I finally found something that he gets so excited about learning and doing... and it's something he can do from his laptop in bed on days that he cannot do anything else!!! I am SO excited to discover this!!!

After coming home he had to pick up his schoolwork and get back to the information technology stuff that he chose when he started back to school. His attitude about it is so different than it is about the stocks and options trading. I will continue to push him in his schoolwork because I do not want him to give up on something he wanted just because it gets hard. But seeing him get so excited about stocks and options makes me wonder if I should quit pushing him to finish this degree. It was his decision to get into it -- in fact, I did not agree with it in the beginning, but I didn't let him know that -- but I began pushing him once he got into it and it started getting difficult. I have had something in my life that I gave up on when it got hard, and I regret it deeply. I was never the type to give up, but I did in one situation. I don't want him to make the same mistake. But I must also remind myself that school is so much different for him than it is for the average person. His meds alone are enough to make his brain cloudy. But we are pretty certain that he received traumatic brain injury from his crash, (if you haven't been reading the blog: we are currently working on getting several tests done to find out definitively) and that only exacerbates the problem. It's so hard for me to imagine what it must be like for him to try to get another degree with the difficulties he incurs.

He struggled with the stocks and options trading in the same way, but I was learning it along with him. I have learned his language, and I feel like I have a good grasp on how to explain things in a way he understands. When he didn't get something that he would have understood pre-crash, I just explained it to him in a way I believed he would understand. I felt like I could see a lightbulb go off in his head. I don't know if the topic is what excited him so much or the fact that he had me learning it along with him, but I have never seen him so focused on learning something new as I did the past two days.

So.... I'm wide open for suggestions!!! Should I continue to push him through his college degree in information technology with emphasis in web design, or should I find a way to open education opportunities in stocks and options trading to him when I can join in and learn along with him? I know he has to be handled in a way that is different than he would have pre-crash, but I feel like I walk a fine line between insulting his intelligence and supporting his additional new needs.

Any advice is extremely appreciated! Learning how to be the right kind of support to a husband with his injuries is a continual learning process. Whether you have been in a similar situation or not, it is sometimes easier to see the best answer when you're looking in from the outside. So please feel free to offer advice. I'm up for any I can get!

Thank you so much for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Most Incredible Words!

When we first awoke this morning it looked like it would be a bad day. Tim was in a great deal of pain, and he struggled to move in bed. I had planned to take advantage of the beautiful weather by going for a morning run, but I couldn't bare to leave him. I laid there with him for about an hour and a half, rubbing him and attempting to relax him the whole time. At 8am I decided to get up and fix some coffee. While I was getting the coffee ready he made his way into the living room and sat on the couch. I was surprised to see him make it in there by himself.

He turned on the morning news shows, and he put his computer on his lap to check the latest headlines. After about two hours he got up, went into the bedroom and bathroom for a few minutes, and came back into the living room completely dressed with his shoes on. I was completely shocked. Normally when a day starts that way, he is down for the majority of it. I asked him how he was feeling, and we had a talk about his pain and a few other things. Then, when we got into talking about some personal issues, he said the most incredible, meaningful thing he has ever said to me.

He told me that my faith in God and the way I live my life for God has inspired him. He said that I have taught him to lay his troubles on God and let Him take care of them all. He said that things do not bother him like they formerly did because he knows now that God is in control. And then he thanked me for being that example and inspiration for him.

To hear something like that from a stranger or a friend would be awesome, but to hear it from the man that I love more than life itself... now THAT was incredible! I don't think he could have said anything else that could have made me feel better than that did.

The rest of the day has been good! He's gotten up and tinkered with a few things, then he's sat back down to rest for awhile. But he's been able to be active off and on all afternoon. He's now working on his schoolwork, and I have been able to work on my articles. I'm off to cook supper, but I wanted to be sure and get my blog post done before I get the red-eyes from staring at the computer screen. :-) Thank you for reading, and have a great night!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thankful for the VA

We get frustrated sometimes dealing with the VA. I don't know of anybody who has been through this and not felt the same way from time to time. But all in all, we are so thankful for the VA. There is so much help out there. You may have to search and search for it, but it is there. Talking to other wives who have been through it can help tremendously, but you are still going to have to do a great deal of work yourself. Since I began digging a few months ago, though, we have gotten so much help for Tim... and we have more still to do. We are working hard on meeting many deadlines lately, so I have not been on here, facebook, e-mail or anything else very regularly. I wanted to give an update, though.

We began a PTSD group. Today was our third week in the group, and it is amazing how much it helps. While we sit in there, everything hits home to us. Today gave me an extra good feeling, though. We were discussing holistic approaches to care. He gave us a number of categories of methods to use to improve symptoms. There was at least one method from just about every category that I have already begun implementing into Tim's life. It made me feel so good because I felt like all the hard work I'm doing is worthwhile. I feel like I am on the right track.

We are trying to get a TBI evaluation done soon, as well as a Neuro Psych Eval. We are also looking into a SPECT scan. However, VA does not do SPECT and insurance will not pay for it, so I am currently trying to find a way to get the procedure funded. All of these tests are for traumatic brain injury, and I will go into greater detail on each as we have them done. The SPECT is the ideal one, as it can determine exactly where the damage is located and set up a proper treatment plan.

We are also dealing with further claims on his VA rating. Several of his biggest problems were not even included in his evaluation. We are working to get all of the documentation in order, as well as getting copies from his original doctors that we do not have in our files, so we can complete the claims.

I discovered that he did not receive TSGLI as he should have, so we are working toward getting that information together.

Through all of this, we are also trying to get his meds switched. The old pain management doctor, or cookie doctor as I called him, had Tim on a combination of meds that the VA says should never be prescribed together. We had to go through tests to make sure that the ill combination did not cause any heart or other problems. Getting back into the VA system is taking some time to get straightened out, but it's all coming together. It just takes persistence.

As for our baby update... We are currently on our 14th month of actively trying... 19th month total. Our first five months were just trying to hit the right days and hoping it would happen. The last 13 have been very focused, tracking, and trying multiple methods. We have finally decided it is time for some outside help. Monday we will go to the doctor to discuss fertility options. This is just an obgyn appointment, and we will get advice on a fertility specialist. The good news is, I found out today that testing and less invasive treatments will be covered by our insurance! This means that we can immediately begin getting help. We are so excited! This gives me a whole new feeling about the entire situation.

I vow to keep this updated more frequently. It is an awesome out for me... a way to release what I'm thinking through everything. Simply for my own sake, I want to be sure to keep it going. My dog is now demanding my attention, though, so I better do a little cuddling with him. Thank you for reading!