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Seems appropriate for the last three years of our lives – it has been long, with several bumps and unexpected turns along the way. I haven’t updated in quite some time, in a way I haven’t just because I am tired of “the story” itself and then I really just didn’t know what to write.
Larry’s last surgery to repair his leg was in December…he was in the hospital twice for that because of some issues with infection and recovery was messy and a bit frustrating but the end result was worth the 7 surgeries and hospital stays over the last two and half years and the bills that I will continue to pay into the immediate future.
The bright side is at one point we did not know if he would be able to keep his leg much less walk again without his cane and the amazing surgical staff he had at UVA went above and beyond what we ever could have imagined and we will be forever grateful. He’s walking quite well considering the severity of the injury and the pain is tolerable, sometimes not too noticeable at all though it will spike if he’s done too much. Either way, it’s much better than we expected it to be and that’s AWESOME.
To see Larry now…it can be very deceiving, he’s a big and tall guy and strong too so unless he’s having a hard day physically, you may not notice the difference in his walk. You certainly will not know when he’s in pain unless he tells you…and he usually won’t do that. He still has a hard time getting up from a seated position unless there is something to push up with or we extend a hand to help pull him up. You won’t know this, because he doesn’t want people to know…he’s more tired of “this story” than I am as you can imagine and just wants things to be back to normal. It’s a new normal instead and he’s having a hard time accepting his limitations and the circumstances
that he finds himself in now. So, it is a daily, sometimes hourly challenge for all of
us…literally! He has no idea how much I admire his endurance because I know that this has been the hardest thing that he has ever gone through in his life.
Because I hate negativity and this seems to be leaning more in that direction, I have to say that we know that things could have been much worse. We know friends and others who have suffered more or lost more. We realize that we have a lot to be thankful for yet it has still been the hardest thing that WE have ever gone through and it still continues to challenge us mentally, emotionally, physically and financially so I have to allow myself to complain sometimes. I won’t apologize for it – I need to get it out…I hold A LOT inside and that’s terribly stressful and bad for me. I cry when I need to but prefer to laugh so I do what I can to help me get through each day.
We are doing okay, we celebrated 25 years of marriage recently. We have two amazing boys…now young men that we are very proud of and we have a lot more to look forward to. I don’t feel sorry for us…I just want a break so we can catch our breath and move on. There are more roads out there for us to travel…


so, if anything I am consistent about this blog…it’s been 7 months since my last entry. I suppose that it really isn’t all that important how often I write, pretty sure I can count on one hand how many hits my posts get. but, honestly, considering how bad my memory is these days, it helps me to keep track of this whole crazy journey these last two and a half years has taken us. so it’s mostly for me. 🙂

as for Larry – he’s hanging in there as much as can be expected. he actually has good days where he can get around with a lower level of pain and ease but probably more days where he struggles just to get up out of a chair.

we had anticipated having his last, or what we hope to be his last surgery sometime late summer but things didn’t go as planned. he has recovered of course from his surgery from the beginning of the year but in a nutshell, he just has so much scar tissue and his leg has been cut or otherwise damaged so much that when we went in to see the surgeon about his next step…they told him that his leg just wasn’t ready. it was a huge disappointment but we totally understood. so, he went back to physical therapy and the goal was to work on the skin on his leg to make it more pliable so that it could be cut again. between bottles of vitamin E oil, a really good therapist and a lot of effort…things improved enough that the doctor scheduled him for surgery. and of course, more anticipation because the soonest date that they could give him is late December!

this next surgery is to replace the knee but as we were told by the doctor – “this isn’t your grandma’s knee surgery!” there will be a plastic surgeon involved as well since they will have to be extra careful with how they cut the leg and there is a possibility that they will need to do another skin graph just to close things up! he will have a longer surgery, a longer hospital stay and a longer recovery but if all goes well it should help his mobility a lot and ease up on the knee pain. of course, there are risks for infection and so we’ve been given fair warning that it will either go really well or not so much! as you can imagine, Larry is a cross between excited and nervous and truly isn’t looking forward to any of it. I personally just want it over with but I completely understand why he is a little ambivalent about it all. it seems that lately, he has more pain and trouble with his foot and ankle that I am a little worried about what’s going on there and hoping that it will get better on it’s own.

other than that, we have had to file our second appeal for his disability…go figure and literally if something could go wrong or break down – it has. I kinda have to laugh because it’s really normal for us these days. plus, I’ve been so busy that I feel out of touch with everyone and too exhausted some days to do anything more than what I have to do to get through the day. I just tell myself that this too shall pass…

I guess that’s all really – I could ramble about other trivial things but I am actually tired of hearing myself “talk” so I’ll just end this here. 😉

500 miles…

As usual, I am way behind in blogging so this may drag on for a while.

the last time that I posted was in december prior to his most recent surgery the first week of february. that was the longest stay in the hospital since the accident and made for a pretty interesting recovery. we even got to watch the superbowl from his hospital room – pizza and all…well, no beer, but the pizza was pretty good. 😉

the ortho surgeon worked along with a plastic surgeon to transfer a calf muscle from the back of his leg and move it to the front, right below the knee. the reason, in a nutshell – with so much damage and scar tissue on his leg, specifically in the area around the knee, they were concerned that there would not be sufficient blood flow for the upcoming knee surgery. so, the transferred calf muscle will provide it for him. it was by far the strangest thing to see – even more so I think than when he had the external hardware holding his leg together!! =O needless to say, recovery was rough, very messy and seemed to drag on f o r e v er.

we were under the impression, mostly wishful thinking…that he would be able to have his knee surgery late march/early april, but at the second follow up appointment with the plastic surgeon they really wanted to push it out a lot further. basically, to give the muscle more time to transition to its new location and because they wanted to be cautious as the next surgery will cut right into that area. so, we are a bit disappointed in the delay but completely understood their reasoning and so we wait…

he has his next follow up appointment at the end of may, so hoping to know more after that.

other than that, just trying to keep my head above water…for the first time ever, I had to file an extension on our taxes and still trying to get those done. social security denied his disability because they are stupid…he’s obviously disabled!! and so filing an appeal on that and well, I could go on and on but it’s all pretty boring and only bothersome for me.

super busy summer with lots of graduates in the family…three this year!! both moms coming to town, trying hard to get some things done on the house and desperate to do something to beautify my yard, which I affectionately call “ground zero”!! apparently, before the accident, larry used to do a lot in the yard. the boys are great, but they just do the necessary…cut the grass!! logan doesn’t mind so much, he basically drives the deere around the yard – sometimes in circles, but whatever!! 😉

anyway, I sat down the other night and thought about how very difficult this whole thing has been for us, obviously for larry the most, but really, it has changed our everyday lives. some days I just want to scream and cry – and sometimes I do cry – major ugly cry, usually somewhere random, like in the middle of a store or at my desk. logan gets pretty frustrated with his dad – he seems to call for help from him the most, and he does it, but it has worn him down too. tanner helps and never complains, even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t. we just celebrated our 24th anniversary, and by celebrate – I bought a cake (Ukrop’s Bakery of course) and that was really it. we are not the mushy type and thank goodness for that because I would hate it, but I do think that next year we should really CELEBRATE. it will be 25 years, not always easy years, but through the good, the bad and the ugly, there has been an awful lot of good – which far surpasses the challenges and heartache that we’ve been though. I told him the other day, as he was apologizing for needing me so much that I’d walk 500 miles for him…it’s a song that we love from back in the late 80’s…and he laughed and that’s all I really needed.


the darker side…

yeah, can’t help it, Star Wars is all that anyone is talking, posting and tweeting about, so I figured it would be kinda of a catchy blog title.

I really do try my best to keep things positive and lighthearted, even when I am telling it “like it is” but there really have been some dark days during this last almost year and a half since the accident. I may end up deleting this later, because I prefer to keep things on the positive side, but I feel the need to at the very least write this down for therapeutic reasons.

if you have read this blog since the accident, then you know how very scary things were that day back in July 2014 when I got “the” phone call from Tanner. to be completely honest, I think I was in auto-mode that day and truly had no idea of the gravity of his injury. I remember my sister Lisa calling me and I don’t remember her saying anything other than, “I’m on my way” – I looked like a train wreck, the house was a DISASTER and I stood there for a few minutes not even sure of what I was supposed to do. I think I told that part back in the beginning, but just had a flashback of it this morning and got that anxious feeling in my chest and that’s why I am writing.

I am also sure that my sister knew a lot more than I did on the three hour drive to Roanoke that day, but she never said anything and kept me distracted and we talked about anything but what we were going to face at the hospital.

I absolutely HATE talking on the phone, so I made only a few calls, started a chain of group texts, and asked certain people to be my point of contact and they would in turn, pass things on. This was not well-received by some and I had a couple of not so pleasant phone calls that were irate at me for not calling them directly. I literally had to hang up on one person, and screened all of my calls from that point on. I certainly did not need the added stress and that’s all I am going to say about that.

when we got to Roanoke that day, we actually went to the wrong hospital at first…we really only knew that they were flying him to the closest trauma center in Roanoke but didn’t get the name of the hospital until we were literally in town. I think that’s when my chest started to hurt and I just wanted to see my boys, who were traumatized and overwhelmed having seen their dad not only get hurt but watch him go by ambulance to a field and be put in a helicopter. Tanner was upset that they did not allow him to go with him, but in hindsight, I am certain that it was for the best. thankful to my brother and our friend Rich for being there to take the boys to the hospital…what a long ride that must have been for them. 😦

pretty sure I covered the hospital arrival in my first “accident” post…suffice it to say, I was still kind of stunned, still not real sure what we were in for. boy, was I NOT prepared. it was a very, very long day.

that night, one of the guys that had been at the riding trails that morning set us up in a motel for a couple of nights so we’d be close to the hospital. not too many choices at the last minute, and he was using travel points, so there was no cost, which was a relief, but it was kind of sketchy to say the least. the dark side…around 2 am…the boys get a knock on their door (we were in connecting rooms) and thinking something had happened, Tanner opens it up…only to have a “woman” standing there asking him if he “wanted sex”!!!! now mind you, he immediately said, “um, no!” and shut the door and went back to sleep. as soon as he told us…THE NEXT MORNING! =O we didn’t even check out…we grabbed our things and left…FAST! I told this story a couple of times, and for the most part, we laugh because the way that Tanner tells it, it is kinda funny. but, in hindsight, it scares me to death, knowing that it could have been a guy and he could have forced his way into the room…and bad things could have happened. and seriously, I don’t need a lecture on dwelling on the “what ifs” – it was a scary end to a horrible day!

needless to say, I ended up sleeping in a not so comfortable chair in the hospital for the remainder of the week, my poor sister stayed there with me one night too – no sleep for either of us…

the boys went home with a local congregation brother that had met us at the hospital the day before…he took good care of them, and it was indeed a blessing. we met quite a few new friends, saw some old friends, were fed, encouraged and even managed to laugh a little. I hope they all know how very grateful I am.

in between then and now…lots a good things have happened, I’ve already written most of those…and lots of not so great things, I’m sure I have lightly touched on some. care-taking while working full-time, being a mom, and trying to take care of the most important things is, in a nutshell REALLY, REALLY HARD! I spent many days crying in the shower, quietly so that no one could hear me, crying in my car, or at the oddest places…like the middle of the grocery store. I work so hard to keep a smile on my face, to be the bright spot in Larry’s day, to focus on the positive but sometimes, I would literally just break. there are days when he would actually say he didn’t want to wake up, when he wanted to die, when he would be so hard on himself that it was just torture to hear. even now, just the other day, he asked if they could put him into a coma for the next few months as he awaits two more surgeries. (quick update regarding that: his last surgery was two weeks ago, they removed the hardware from his leg and we honestly went in scared to death that it would be bad news, like an infection that would inhibit his leg completely. thankfully, surgery went well and he is home recovering from that and there will be two more =I – one, in about 4 or 5 weeks, they will go in, take a calf muscle and some skin and transfer it to the front of his leg – this will give his poor, beat up leg – good skin and blood flow for the next surgery, which will be a knee replacement. each surgery he has to wait at least 6 weeks for the next. so, I am guessing that by early summer, maybe, hopefully, he will be walking with a lot less pain and ease.)

anyway, back to the ugly…if you haven’t ever changed wound dressings, emptied urinals, given kitchen sinks baths, among other things…then you have no idea how hard that was for him and for me. he lost some of his dignity and I literally hurt for him in my heart because I could see his suffering. it wasn’t pretty…

the other dark side of something like this is one I hate talking about, but to be honest, it’s there, it’s like a giant elephant in our life right now and I hate it. this has financially devastated us…we are heading into our third year of surgery bills, deductibles, we lost just about half of his paycheck a few months ago and mine is going to be significantly smaller as of next month because I have to add them all to my insurance at work. we found a way to pay off some of our debts that had added up over the years, and I am working hard on trying to manage the countless medical bills that we have but it’s been a huge kick in the guts to our budget. it was kind of the year for everything in the house to break down, for the car to break down, for my youngest to have a ginormous growth spurt and for me to take care of some health issues as well. I kept thinking, can one more thing break or go wrong…wait for it…yes it can! I have to laugh to keep from crying but seriously I could use a good cry too. and trust me, I take them now, doesn’t seem to matter who is around me now…the tears will just burst out!

the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion was something we had to work on – so it wouldn’t take us over. sometimes we still struggle, but the bright light in all of this darkness, was that spiritually, we remained strong. when we couldn’t be at the kingdom hall, or just didn’t have the energy to go and try to smile or look human, we listened in…and though we weren’t physically there, we were still encouraged by our friends.

I am sure there is more, but I really do try to look at the blessings, to appreciate the small things, to be grateful for what we have, which is a lot more important than money, or the lack of, or anything else for that matter. we have HOPE and faith that will not be shaken no matter how hard life tries to break us. we have dear friends that have fed us, and fed us well!! we have made new friends, that have gone out of their way to be supportive when we needed it the most, friends that make me laugh, that love us even when we are gloomy (you know who you are!) and most of all, we have each other…which is cheesy but it’s the truth. Tanner is my true north, he keeps me calm and is wise beyond his years and Logan is my comic relief, he makes me laugh even when I don’t want to sometimes.

so, that’s that…it’s not pretty, but I needed to get it out. my friend Maria told me that writing is good therapy, cleansing for the soul…and she is right. I do feel better now.

until next time




sleeping with my eyes open…

seriously, if I could figure out how to do that I would totally would do it! it would be almost redundant for me to say how hard this past year and a half has been. honestly, it seems more like three!

I kind of hate the phrase “new normal” it’s so overused, but it absolutely is, in so many ways. since I last wrote, Larry’s leg has really not gotten any better. he actually stopped going to physical therapy because it hurt too much to go and while getting out of the house may have been nice for his cabin fever, it more often than not made him hurt even more for the next couple of days, so he decided not to go anymore.

he has also lost his job because it was just hurting him physically to continue to try to go every day…just too much time on his feet and more walking than he could handle. so, he is officially on disability. talk about a kick in the guts! while it is good for him not to be struggling to work, he is home every single day while I am at work and the guys are at school and he hates it. not only that, trying to figure out how to pay more bills than we’ve ever had, with more to come…with half of his income. it’s scary and though we try not to let it make us anxious, because somehow things eventually always work out…it currently sucks! blunt but it’s the truth.

our routine has changed somewhat, and I do and take care of a lot of things that I never thought I’d be doing but we are making it work. the guys are awesome, though still need to be reminded to do their laundry! =O but they help out a lot and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

anyway, he heads to charlottesville next week for appointments with a plastic surgeon, his ortho doctor and another ortho who specializes in knee replacement. their hope is to replace the knee but before they can, they have to go into his leg and make sure that there is enough blood flow for that kind of surgery. he had to wean off of some of his medicine that he takes for his rheumatoid, so he’s dealing with the aching and swelling that comes with that and just anxious to get it done.

because of the type of injury that he had, infection is always a concern, so they’ve been watching him for symptoms of that and have done quite a bit of lab work to make sure that all will go well.

of course, there is a risk…but one he is willing to take and it’s his decision, not mine, or anyone else’s. in the event that the surgery is not successful, then he has already been told the next step would be amputation. it is what it is…and until we have to cross that bridge…we are going to focus on the next surgery and hope and pray for the best.

in the meantime, trying to be cheerful, on a major decluttering mission and trying to work on a busted budget and smiling…because I’d rather laugh than cry!!


I sang that song as I wrote this title…just love it…a classic, it shall never get old!

anywho, guess what?! guess who is the world’s worst blogger?

that would be me…over here, trying to open up a second window to double check when it actually was that I blogged last so that I can make some sort of reference to it!! =O

yep, it’s been awhile – again – but it’s my blog so seriously, it doesn’t matter – pretty sure I am the only one who reads it and that’s mostly to check for spelling errors and make sure that my grammar is up to my liking as I know that my constant run-on sentences and overuse of the ellipsis or … drives the true grammar nazi completely nuts. I mean even my phone now understands me when I say “dot dot dot” when I text talk…and that is super cool.

anyway, not sure if things have really changed too much – seems like Larry has made some progress in some ways and not at all in others, but honestly, I am so close to the situation that it could be like wondering when your kid got 1 foot taller!! I mean, they used to look up at me…and now I am the shortest…again. 😉

last post was not too long after the last surgery to help straighten out the leg. it’s straighter, for sure, the foot has more movement and is somewhat easier to move, but the pain level is still an issue. he walks only with the help of a leg brace, almost like a removable cast. he tries to walk without it, but the strength is just not there, and it ends up being too painful for him to even try. physical therapy started again this past week as we had to wait for his wound to completely heal before he could go…and let me tell you…it took f.o.r.e.v.e.r!!! once again, it shall be noted that I would have never been a good nurse…the ick factor is just more than I can bear. I am a little proud of my wound care and leg wrapping abilities but still not a fan of open wounds and all the yuck that comes with it!!

needless to say, it has been the longest year ever…11 months actually today since the accident and it feels like it’s been two years! tired is not nearly sufficient enough to describe how I feel but this too shall pass.

we truly don’t know how to even gauge how much more Larry will progress. part of me worries that this is it and that concerns me because I know he struggles every single minute just to get around. there are so many things that we take for granted, just sitting or laying comfortably, running to the mail box or up and down the stairs…all not an option for him at the moment.

so, I spend every single day trying to think of something positive and encouraging to say, most of the time I am quoting a scripture or something that I read in our daily text. thankful for my faith in Jehovah God and his promises, thankful for the gift of prayer and the bible, thankful for friends and family that are there if I need them, that pray in our behalf, and encourage us constantly. so these are the blessings that come when trials and tribulations hit you like a freight train!!!

seriously, I am a girl who just loves to laugh so going through this has been hard at times…I’ve sobbed quietly in the shower and sitting in my car on my lunch break. I’ve cried standing in aisle at the drug store and even sitting at my desk at work. I’ve become so fragile that it scares me at times. I’ve always been a softie…you know, the person who cries over the Hallmark commericial or when someone does something especially sweet or thoughtful. I cry when I am mad…which I hate…but I can’t seem to help it. but these days, I wonder if I should have bought stock in Kleenex!!

things will get better, they always do…so, if you happen to see me crying, don’t feel bad, my off button seems to be broken right now and it’s okay.

until then, everything else is as good as can be expected…

same as it ever was 😉

hope guides me…

“it’s what gets me through the day…” probably one of my favorite lines from a movie and lately it rings more true than ever.

about a week ago – as I “thought about” getting caught up in this blog (laughing out loud now) I had a different title in mind – it was something like “caught somewhere between a circus and a train wreck” but honestly, as much as I do feel that way at times, I really have to say that the whole saying “it could be worse” is constantly in my thoughts.

each and every day that goes by – I read about or see the news and there is so much “bad”!! it certainly puts things into perspective and sort of steps on my toes a bit. while our life has not been easy for the last 9 months – I would not trade my problems with that of pretty much anyone else that I know. I have friends fighting for their lives…I have friends fighting for their children’s lives and it literally breaks my heart to know how hard that must be to go through for them and their families.

don’t get me wrong, I am overwhelmed – I am tired…beyond it actually – I have medical bills that I will be making payments on for many years!! I often feel like no one understands and that most don’t realize how bad things really were/are/could’ve been – even though I am positive that I said it, wrote it, posted it. I actually get tired of hearing myself talk about it and just want things to get good enough to be able to COMPLETELY move on. and so, here goes to trying to do just that – but first, an update…

it would seem that I left off sometime in february when Larry started “land therapy” as he likes to call it!! bahahhaaha

needless to say, he went a few afternoons a week and then cut back to two afternoons a week to save money…sad, but true and this blog is where I just say it like it is…

he went back to work – not quite full-time but almost – as a manager, he is able to do his job for the most part, though navigating around the place that he works is very hard on his leg because it requires a lot of walking. his company agreed to give him on-site parking and he has a shiny new handicap tag for this truck and he uses a cane to get around – with plenty of stops to rest as needed. (probably not nearly as much as he needs because he is stubborn and impatient and so desperately wants to be back to normal but…you know what I mean)

and like last time, there have been numerous trips to Charlottesville and back – the drive seems to get shorter and we have our own routine for the most part – and a new tradition of stopping for a chocolate dipped cone on the way home just because we like it! 😉

he had his 4th surgery a week ago today – it was sort of 2 in 1 – the doctor had to remove a lot of scar tissue from behind his knee and work on the tendons there, so that he could extend his leg more. since the last surgery, there was a significant bend in his leg which made it very difficult to walk without looking a bit like a neanderthal =O and while they had hoped that physical therapy would have eliminated that between the scar tissue and the tendons being so tight – surgery became necessary. the part 2 of the surgery was to cut the achilles tendon – so that he would be able to keep his foot up. the nerve damage, which is more than likely permanent, caused him to have “drop foot” – so, even if his leg had been straight, walking with his foot that way, would be hard for him – as he’d have to bring his leg up higher with each step just to avoid from tripping over his own foot. he currently has a hard cast on his foot up to below his knee but the ultimate goal is for his leg to be straight and his foot to be straight. we have 5 more weeks in the cast – so fingers are crossed!!!

they did perform another nerve study since the last time that I posted and there was some “very slight” activity in the top of his foot – which is great news!!! and nothing at all happening in his shin – so, we don’t really expect that to come back, but nerves can take up to two years to regenerate, so not giving up “hope”!

I think the hardest part of this whole saga is the fact that we were not prepared – and that more times than not we simply felt helpless. if it were not for my faith and hope in Jehovah and for the friends and family that have been so supportive and understanding – I am pretty sure I would be that “train wreck” that I mentioned earlier.

yesterday I heard an experience about a butterfly flying with 70% of their wings damaged and gone – it’s mind boggling when you think about it – but it hit me, and it hit Larry too. we can be damaged, hurt, broken or whatever, but it is up to us to keep flying.

with hope…

so, yeah…

I really don’t know why I think I can keep up with blogging with all of the millions of things that I have on my “to-do list” but I suppose I will just keep trying. Needless to say, I have to back track all the way to October to update here – for the most part, it’s all on the facebook page, but for my handful of friends that don’t go there…this is the easiest way to update everyone all in one punch! so to speak 😉

so, I guess I left off about the time that Larry started hydrotherapy for his leg – he went 3 times a week for about 6 weeks for therapy in the pool – which more than anything just felt good. it’s low impact, and water is so therapeutic – and he took advantage of the whirlpool after each session.  I think that was his favorite part 🙂 so much so, that he keeps trying to figure out how to get a hot tub for the house!

he graduated to what he calls “land therapy” lol – and continues to go 3 times a week – usually in the afternoon after work. it’s been a struggle, we honestly have not seen any real improvement since then, though he is walking with a cane, but with a very obvious limp and it hurts. there are times when he tries to get away with walking without the cane, but he shouldn’t – he’s almost fallen several times and his gait is so off balance, it not only looks painful, but I know that it feels pretty bad too. he’s just so determined to walk “normal” again and is having a really hard time waiting for things to progress naturally. we’ve been to Charlottesville so many times that I have lost count, but truly cannot say enough good things about the doctor, his staff and all of the other folks working in the UVA health system. they truly embody what good customer service should be!!

let’s see, he’s been to his ortho doctor several times, has been seen by the neurologist, the spine specialist, has had an MRI, lots of x-rays, and an EMG – which is a nerve conduction study, which led to more appointments including one for an epidural steroid injection. the EMG indicated several degenerative discs in his spine, which is not that uncommon, especially with his rheumatoid arthritis and his height and frame. it was really just one more thing to put on the list of “health problems”.

we are still trying to get his pain managed, which is very frustrating because you cannot take narcotics on a regular basis and
the regular pain meds just don’t do enough to help most days. he also still has not regained any feeling in his leg below the knee to his toes on the front side, and has absolutely no control over his foot. in addition to that, his leg is still not 100% straight, so, between the lack of control of his foot and the bend in his leg, when he does walk…it is with more swag than you could possibly imagine and while some days he laughs about it and “works it” – other days, it depresses him very much.

needless to say, life as we know it has totally changed. when we are around friends, we try really hard to keep it light and not make too much of it, though I know we are not always succeeding. it is hard…plain and simple. I posted not long ago on facebook how he is literally grieving the loss of being able to do so many things that he was used to doing, things we take for granted. I hurt for him, I struggle with the loss of some of my “me time” because my days start earlier now, and has more crammed in it – just so I can help make his days easier. it’s just going to take time for us to really adjust to this “new normal” and in the process, we try not to let it consume us – and that in itself is the biggest challenge of all.

in the meantime, he has switched to a different physical therapist, one that he feels will be able to help him more. and we have more appointments ahead of us … possibly surgery on his foot … just trying to eliminate all other options first. trying to manage the pain and the depression and keep moving forward.

anyway, that’s all for now…I am weeks behind in editing…which overwhelms me like you cannot imagine – and I keep telling myself that it could be worse, because I know for a fact that it could!! I don’t need anyone to remind me to count my blessings, because every day that our eyes open and our feet hit the ground I am grateful.

and that is all…

for now. 🙂

so I am terribly behind on updating this blog, in fact, I am pretty much a terrible blogger. though, having said that, I have managed to keep the facebook page updated almost weekly since Larry’s accident. thanks to my sister for creating it so that I would have a place to let as many as possible know how things are going all at once.

needless to say, the last post took place a few weeks after “the accident” and so much has happened since then…

I doubt I can roll it all into a nutshell, but I will try…trust, me, try is about all I do these days

so here goes:

the good should come first, but technically the bad did…so I am rolling with that – don’t sue me, it’s my blog, I can do what I want.

so then, the bad – as of the last time I posted here, we were waiting for an appointment to see the surgeon at MCV and had such high hopes that he would be able to help us out. afterall, he was “the guy”, “the best” and we could not wait to see him. I have never been so excited to go to the doctor, ever, except for maybe when I was getting the test results on my pregnancies. anyway, we go, traffic bites, major traffic jam on the interstate and gridlock trying to get into the parking lot, but we did it, I gave us a cushion of time just in case, and we needed it … but made it to the desk right on time to check in for his appointment. everyone was pleasant, took him back to x-ray and then wheeled him into the cast room to wait to see the doctor. mind you, I had been in communication with his nurse for almost 3 weeks and the surgeon in Roanoke also communicated with them, so there shouldn’t have been any surprises.

but there was…

so, an attending physician comes in, super nice, checked out the leg, which still had the external fixator on it and was quite interested in what happened and what may come next. then the doctor comes in…like I said, he was supposed to be “the guy” and I can’t even remember if he even shook our hand, he basically introduced himself and then said, without any forethought or feeling, that he cannot do anything for us. it was more like, “there is nothing I can do for you” – blank face, seriously

that was it – you would have thought someone had slapped us, we both just sat there and were speechless and I think Larry asked him to say it again. I immediately started tearing up, the stress from the previous three weeks had been all consuming and I just could not believe what I was hearing.

then he said it again…so plain and simple, as if we were supposed to understand. then, he asked another “guy” to clean and re-dress the wound and said that he could recommend us to a surgeon at UVA…that he’d have his nurse call their nurse, yada yada yada…not sure what else he said because I was still trying to pick my mouth up off of the floor.

needless to say, we saw him one more time…for wound care and haven’t seen him since!!!

the good – UVA…all the way, totally a fan now for life!! the one good thing that came from the “bad” was the referral to Dr. Weiss. when I say the difference was night and day between the two – it’s not a cliche’ – truly miles apart, in demeanor, bedside manner, knowledge, ability and personality. we were anxious prior to this visit, mostly because of the trauma from the MCV bit – but, that was alleviated seconds after meeting the doctor and his team. hands on, pleasant, explained the injury, the procedure to repair it, the possibilities, and he not only shook our hands, he actually touched “the leg” – checking for movement, numbness, etc., – I am sure there are medical terms for the exam, but suffice it to say, we were exactly where we needed to be and he was exactly who we needed to help us. Larry actually hugged him…he was so grateful.

so, surgery was scheduled for the following week, we made reservations in a hotel close by so that I would not have to drive back and forth every day and there was not an option to stay with him this time, no private rooms. plus, to be completely honest, I needed somewhere to retreat and a comfortable bed to sleep in. thankfully, my sisters had set up a fundme account, so it afforded us to be able to do that and has been very beneficial in helping cover the unexpected expenses from this whole thing, including all of the traveling, medical supplies, and so on.

anyway, surgery day was long and grueling…not by the fault of anyone, an emergency came in that needed to be taken care of first, so we actually had to wait several hours before Larry could go back and get prepped for surgery. ordinarily, I would not catergorize a long wait as good, but that’s how happy we are with the doctor, so I simply just refuse to complain about it now.

surgery took several hours, I was literally the very last person in the lobby (as we got kicked out of the waiting room hours earlier) and around 1:00 am, Dr. Weiss came out to talk to me, very happy and content with what they managed to get done. he did explain to me that there may be some permanent damage to the peroneal nerve in his leg, but in most cases, it can take up to two years to really know that. I have honestly never met a nicer more humble doctor in my life.

Larry spent most of the week at the hospital, and while he was in a lot of pain and out of it, he was just thrilled to see his leg still attached, the metal bars (fixator) removed and looked forward to recovery.

the ugly – I don’t really know what to say here, other than, one – I was not cut out to be a nurse – I lack the patience, and even after 3 months of this, it hasn’t gotten better…so you can blow that theory out of the water! it didn’t teach me patience…it did teach me to bite my tongue, which I did a lot! it taught me to take more deep breaths before responding so that my voice doesn’t sound “mad” 😉 and maybe it taught me that out of the two boys, Tanner will most likely be the one to take care of us, because Logan had had just about enough about two months ago!! Being a caretaker is exhausting, taking care of wounds, and icky stuff…yep, not for me…but I did it, and I did get better at it; but I hope I never have to do it again. I’ve been getting up an hour or so earlier than normal every day to take care of medicine and breakfast and other necessary duties before I get ready to go to work. I go home every day on my lunch break – medicine & lunch…and home every night, trying to muster up the energy to make dinner, when all I really feel like doing is nothing. sad to say, my grocery and food budget busted open weeks ago, but it is easier on my mental health to order take out than it is to think of something to cook, cook it and do dishes. on top of that, I am out of leave time at work until January, so every time I take off to go to the doctor is without pay…so, that bites too. seriously, I put this all under ugly because it is…complaining is so ugly…it really is but this is the real world people, and there it is. I am tired…possibly a little grumpy…and at this particular moment, I don’t care if it bothers anyone.

back to the good  

mind you, there are more good things that happened than bad. for those first few weeks of chaos while Larry was in the hospital, my sister arranged for different ones to bring meals so that the boys would not go hungry. my niece went out of her way to go to our house and stay with them while we were in Roanoke for two weeks and again for the week we spent in Charlottesville. my other sister finished painting the room I had left half done when the accident happened and got the laundry nightmare under control. and my other sister set up a fund to help us out financially, because, well, we needed it. not to mention, the friends that helped, that sent cards and were so supportive. including our very close friends, who helped with transporting Larry home from the hospital, both times and for building steps so that he could get into the house safely.

what did I learn…that I really do love the big guy…that I have never been so scared or so worried in my life. that my guys mean the world to me. that people really do care. and some people really don’t. that life goes on, that we shall survive, and things will get better.

we still have a long way to go – he just started hydrotherapy this week and hopefully in a couple more weeks will be able to put weight on his leg. but it literally is one step at a time. the goal…to be walking before winter…one way or another. 🙂

that’s it, that’s all

stuff happens…

I seriously am so tired that I cannot come up with a better title right now…

It was supposed to be a fun day…the guys had plans to ride trails and then go swimming and we were all going to meet up later and cook out with our friends. Bikes were loaded onto the trailer the night before, cooler filled with drinks and ice and we can’t forget the beef jerky and the sunflower seeds! I had my day planned out…I was going to finish painting the den, bake something for the cookout later and turn up the music and get caught up on the laundry – just me, all alone…well, Tess too…but she pretty much snoozes all day, so mostly all by myself.

Around 9:30 that morning, still in the t-shirt I slept in the night before, a serious case of bedhead and ingredients all out and ready to bake and I get a phone call from Tanner, my oldest son. He tells me that “Dad broke his leg” and my first thought was just a simple broken leg…and was ready to be mad at him thinking he was doing something to show off. But, then one of the guys that went with them grabbed the phone and at that point EVERYTHING changed. All I heard was “I’m not going to lie, it’s bad – you need to meet us at the hospital as soon as you can…it’s very serious.” I stood there…stunned, hands started shaking and I didn’t even know what to do first – I needed a shower, I had a HUGE mess in the kitchen, the den was completely upside down and I had laundry e v e r y w h e r e!!

I zombied my way through the next half hour or so…literally just covered up the stuff I had out in the kitchen, and my phone rings again…one of the guys had called his wife, who in turn called my oldest sister Lisa, who called me and asked “do you need me?” I can’t remember if I cried…I was still not sure what was going on and did not know how serious the accident or injury was at that point. I told her “yes” and showered as fast as I ever have in my life…grabbed a change of clothes for me and Larry and a few necessities and then ran my house key over to Neighbor (our neighbor’s actual nickname given to him by Tanner when we moved in 16 years ago) and asked him to keep an eye on Tess and that I’d probably have to spend the night. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, my brother, who was there with them called me…told me to contact one of the brother’s from our congregation to let them know what was going on and updated me on which hospital they were taking Larry. I have to interject for those who do not personally know me, our congregation is like family to us…as Jehovah’s Witnesses, I could go anywhere on the earth and have immediate friends and support from the local brothers and sisters. Plans are already in place for emergencies and once I made that call to one of my congregation brothers…he made calls to the local brothers in Roanoke so that they could be there to assist and support us. It’s an amazing arrangement.

The ride there was long…three hours, and seriously, I still had no idea what the gravity of the situation was or how bad it was going to be. I didn’t call anyone else, had a few conversations with my brother, who at this time, had my boys with him and just tried to keep me calm. Lisa was calm, kept the conversation going about random things and whether or not she knew things were worse than I thought, she didn’t say. Then, after the world’s longest ride ever, we made it to the hospital – found our way to the emergency room and there were my boys, my brother, Larry’s friend Rich and two of our spiritual brothers from the local congregation. I was still kind of numb, just wanted to see him and they had stabilized him enough for me to get there before they took him into surgery. It was pretty scary seeing him in that hospital bed and I leaned over so that he could see me and he just kind of shook his head and said he was sorry. I told him that accident’s happen and that it would be okay and that I loved him. I kissed him on the forehead and the boys went to see him real quick and then the next 3 1/2 hours he was in surgery.

Those 3 1/2 hours were just as long as the ride there…

I will tell you that all sorts of things went through my mind…we had just lost a life long friend a few months back on the operating table – she had a broken leg too. 😦

Once surgery was over, a nurse came out to tell us what room he would be in and the surgeon called my on my cell to explain what they did. I really don’t remember the conversation at all. But basically, that initial surgery was to clean the wound – they call it an “excisional debridement” and the medical term for his actual injury was a “left open tibial plateau fracture” in addition to most of the knee being shattered. They put a few screws in the leg and an external fixator on his leg to hold things together.

I have to backtrack here for a minute … the place the boys went to go riding is a campground and park with 39 miles of riding trails. They had just gotten there that morning, in fact, not everyone had arrived yet. They were just piddling around on the little hills at the beginning of the trail and after several versions of the accident, here is what actually happened: As he went up this little 3 ft hill for about the third time, the bike he was on popped up a little too fast, so in an effort to keep himself from crashing onto his back on the bike, he let go of it, with the intent of running down the hill after it and jumping back on…the bike went…but as he started to run down the hill to catch up with it, his left riding boot got hung up/caught on a tree root and his leg literally snapped at the knee! The momentum of his body was just too strong and something had to give…he said he heard a loud “pop” and the pain was worse than any of us could possibly imagine. He looked down and when he saw his leg, his first thought was that he’d never be using it again! It was a complete open fracture, the knee was shattered, it was literally hanging on by the calf muscle! His friends thought quickly, grabbed one of the straps for the bikes and applied a tourniquet. From what the boys say, everyone was running to get help and within 30 minutes – a guy and his wife pull up on a four-wheeler. This guy just happened to be the Captain of a local rescue squad unit and his wife is a nurse…they immediately took over the scene, called for an ambulance and a helicopter. I have more to say about this…but, later…

Once they got Larry in the helicopter…they were able to give him something to numb the pain…no one understands how in the world he did not lose consciousness from the extreme pain or the blood loss and trauma…but he didn’t – he said he was focused on keeping his leg attached! We sort of joke about the next part being like an episode of ER…arriving on the roof of the hospital, being wheeled in with people looking down at him and down at his leg, eyes wide and busy talking about if it can be saved or not. The term they used was “a catastrophic break” and after all is said and done, he was lucky! Lucky to be alive, lucky the leg is still attached, lucky that he did not damage the arteries or tendons and though he still has some numbness in his toes…they still have color and the hope is that they will heal as the leg heals.

That first night was rough…on ALL of us! They had a really difficult time managing his pain…but his amazing nurse and the staff at 10 Mountain at Roanoke Memorial did everything they could to take care of him. By the end of the second day, he started to get some relief…at least with the right cocktail of pain meds and muscle relaxers.

He spent a week at the hospital, as did I…in the chair in his room … so, no sleep really – but who could sleep?

The second week, he was transferred to an Inpatient Rehab Facility for some intense physical therapy and for occupational therapy. Three hard hours a day…so he mostly slept and did therapy. By the end of the week, he was able to come home with a fancy new wheelchair, a walker and a few other items…and at this point, we are waiting for his next appointment with the surgeon at MCV. I should take this time to say, that all of the above happened out of town…three hours from home!! And as hard as we tried, it was just not possible to move him in the beginning, first, it was too serious, and then second, no available bed in Richmond. It was frustrating and overwhelming and exhausting, but we survived. The support from the friends in Roanoke and my sisters and family and friends at home…was much needed and very appreciated. I will never be able to thank everyone enough for all that they have done so far to help us.

Back to the guy from the campground…the EMT…he called Larry the next day at the hospital…told him that he doesn’t usually follow up on people he works on, but that there was something about Larry that he could not get off of his mind. He told him that that morning, he wasn’t planning on taking his bag or radio to the campground…they were going just to hang out and ride, but at the very last minute – he asked his wife to grab his bag and radio…just in case…and less than 30 minutes later…he was using it on Larry. Between his friends knowing to put the tourniquet on him and the skill of the EMT and being able to get him medflighted to the trauma center so quickly…they saved his life! How in the world do you thank someone for that!??!

Anyway, I will try and update more later…but I had a lot of friends who are not on facebook that wanted to know what happened…and it is just easier to write it all down in one place rather than trying to recant the story over and over again.

Needless to say, we are grateful…and we are tired…but we are mostly grateful.

OoXx ~ Dianna