Sunday, November 15, 2015

Haven't added anything for awhile. Things are about the same for us and Sean. He engages in a conversation now, sometimes he even starts the conversation. He doesn't talk very much or very loud still. His long term memory has had some improvements. In March of this year (2015) we did a road trip back to California. We made special trips to the ocean, Disneyland, Wrightwood, Phelan and of course IN and OUT Burger, several times and picked up new t-shirts. For Sean seeing Annie & Jeff Steinmann and their family made his day. He considers them his best friends from high school. He actually remembered a lot. He doesn't remember or doesn't accept that he was tested by the VA and probably will never drive again. His cognitive and coordination are improved but still very challenging. He wants a job and a Hummer so he can date. He looks for a red Hummer everyday. He still has tremors and lacks strength in his hands. Writing is very challenging for him. Most days are great he is very easy to be with but like all of us he has those off days. I always wanted a set of twins and some days I have them. Paulette and her daughter live with us, Delaney is 8. One day Delaney and Sean were exchanging words like children do, I came around the corner and told them to knock it off and asked what was going on. Sean said "she started it" I almost lost it, I had to leave the room to laugh. I still smile when I recall this memory. I am still encouraging him to audit a college class. He will have to pay for the class but I am thinking more socialization. He would have to pay for the class because even though he is eligible for the GI bill when they tested him due to the cognitive issue a degree wouldn't be obtainable. They won't let him use his GI benefit to pay for classes. The biggest things we do are be respectful, loving and caring. I understand his frustrations but some of them I can't change for him. If anyone is in the area give us a call I can't guarantee he will remember you but he just might and would enjoy seeing you. He has a Facebook account if you want to try him there also. Thank you for your support, prayers and caring. God Bless Andrea

Friday, January 18, 2013

#79 January 17th, 2013

It was 4 years ago on Tuesday that this health journey started for Sean. Some days it doesn't seem that is has been that long ago and other days longer. He achieved another milestone on Wednesday when he was training with Chris in the pool. He had a lifeguard bouyant waist band he was pushing down with his shoulders and Chris had him swimming across the therapy pool at the same time. He continued to swim and did about 2 laps when it was all said and done. It was both challenging for his arms and legs but he enjoyed it a lot. His hands still shake when dealing with anything with weight involved. He is working on pouring a glass of milk from a half gallon of milk. His hands and arm shakes but he has much better use and control with them now. Doing all these exercises does help, some days he wouldn't agree however. He has had a miserable cold that has gotten better but left that lingering cough. He rests a lot with this cold and since that is the best thing for him that's what we do, let him rest. He will be 41 on the 1st of February which doesn't seem possible. It is confusing to him about dates and years most of the time. He still looks for a H3 Hummer everyday, he has even looked at the finance sites. I asked him what did he think he would do with one since he couldn't drive it, he said sit in it in the back yard. Why would we tempt him with something that would hurt not only himself but others. Still grateful he is alive.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Update # 78, November 12, 2012

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for your service Veterans. Sean comes from a long line my Grandfather Albert Raihl, my Dad Harry Raihl, Sean's Dad Paul Knott and himself all served our country and we have a great deal of pride in this legacy. Sean has been making some nice progress. He still is going to the gym and training one day a week in the pool with a personal trainer. He now trains with Chris because Cory moved back east. Chris pushes him differently which has helped with increasing the strength in his hands. He still trembles some but he at least attempts to carry items now and tries to pour liquids from a quart size container which is encouraging. We finally figured out how to get past the password section on his XBox. He has been enjoying playing some of the extensive games he had purchased before this all began. He really enjoys Halo, I am amazed how well he can munipulate the controller. The VA Brain injury team encouraged us to reapply for Sean's disability rating. He now is considered 100% disabled because they misdiagnosed him with varicose veins instead of deep vein thrombosis. He still has 3 blood clots in his left leg and has the bad valve in the right but the filter they put in the day of his surgery should prevent them from moving up into his heart. If the disablility benefits remain about the same in the future as they are now, he will have help and be able to live in a VA facility when Paul and I have passed on. This gives us comfort that Paulette won't have so much to worry about with his care in the future. Sean should be auditing a class in the spring semester. Since he is auditing the class he is not eligible for using his GI bill and must pay for the classes himself. Most of the time he remains easy to please. He loves having his own space in the basement where he can shut the door and not have extra noise.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Update #77 March 30th, 2012

Sean is doing well, he has been having a private trainer in the swimming pool. Not just any pool a therapeutic pool which is 89 degrees so it is like getting into a very nice warm bath. He enjoys Cory and the pool very much. I searched and found Villasport athletic sport and spa for him to join. It is what we needed to help him feel comfortable, the cold sometimes bothers him a lot so the warmer pool is nice.
Sean is on the computer daily it is amazing what he can do and remembers. Mainly he is in search of another red Hummer or a 1970 yellow Corvette for his Dad. Paul had one in college and ever since that commercial came out where the sons found their Dad's old Chevy, he has been on a mission. It is fun to see what he comes up with for sure. He contacted University of Phoenix about classes. We went down to the local office and spoke with an admissions counselor at which time we were told that Sean should probably pursue a managerial computer degree with the classes he already has completed. We decided we needed to talk to the VA since they would be paying for any of his future education on the GI bill. We felt that a managerial degree isn't realistic with his brain injury at least at this time BUT having said that we wanted another opinion to guide us. He has a brain injury team that he works with that are WONDERFUL doctors, specialists and a case worker that is AMAZING. An appointment was made for Sean to be evaluated for attending college classes. From our point of view, we don't want him to feel fustrated, and to have every opportunity he can to better his future. After attending the appointment we were told that for now, his cognative level isn't high enough for anything more than auditing a class,(attending without a grade.) I will be calling the colleges after spring break in the area to see what classes they might have available to audit. It would be good for him socially, he is open to trying this, we want him to feel satisfaction and successful in whatever he tries. He has gone to a day type center with other brain injured patients but didn't like it.
Thank you for continuing to follow his progress and keep him in your prayers as we face new horizons. Mom

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Update #76 February 1, 2012

Today Sean turns 40, he can't quite believe it either. We went looking for birthday cards for Paulette and I kept showing him the "funny" cards for people turning 40, a lot of the time he laughed, other times he just looked at me as if to say "nice Mom".
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when he had his hair cut. Glad we are able to have this day.
He will be evaluated on Friday the 3rd at the VA in Denver to see if he is ready to take some on line college classes. He wants to try and we just want to know the best direction for him to take to feel successful. VA has many programs for him where they will pay for his schooling we just need to find one that works for him.
Sean saw his doctor yesterday and they are comparing ultrasounds of his leg from 09' and last week to see if the blood clot they found is old or new. His leg still looks awful but it doesn't hurt like it did. It will take awhile for his body to absorb all of the bruising. Thank you for your continued prayers, support and caring for him it makes all the difference.

Monday, January 23, 2012

#75 Update January 23rd, 2012

Spent 6 1/2 hours in the ER today. Sean was complaining that his upper left leg was hurting when he stood up or sat down and going up and down stairs. He had some bruising on the inside of his leg and behind his left knee yesterday. Bruising is easier to come by when you are injured and take warfarin(coumadin-blood thinner)which he has to prevent more blood clots. Today the purple bruising was covering the entire inside of his leg and behind his knee. I called to get an appointment with his regular doctor and they told me to take him to the ER. After all is said and done the doctor thinks he tore a muscle that is bleeding out. They noted a blood clot which could be new or an older one behind his knee going up his upper leg. Since the original ultrasound verifying blood clots still remained in the left leg was done in the doctor's office they couldn't compare that to today's ultrasound so they don't know if he has a new blood clot or not. Probably the biggest thing was the confirmation in writing that he has DVT (deep vein thrombosis)in that leg NOT varicose veins like he was told before he got out of the Air Force. His breathing is more shallow than they like so we need to watch his leg and make sure he does his oxygen at night. Scary but productive and we are home.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Update #74 January 7th, 2012

The photograph on the top was taken for our Christmas letter. The one on the bottom was taken this summer at a graduation party. He is still our gentle giant. He still has that deep burly voice but he speaks slowly and softly. He doesn't realize how softly he is talking until you tell him to speak up.
It has been almost 3 years since this journey began. Probably the hardest part has been accepting the fact that this is a marathon not a sprint. When they told us they didn't know how much of our original Sean we would get back but that he would be different. He continues to develop almost daily. Sean and I joined Villa Sport Center today to get him swimming and actively exercising again. He has come such a long way. He tested for driving through the VA driver training center. He needs more strength in his hands and feet. He is able to feed himself but not able to write or draw very much. I am looking forward to his being able to write his name and draw again. The cognitive ability to drive is not ready either, time will tell if that will develop more in order for his dream of driving a Hummer again. At this point he looks everyday on line for Red Hummers. It is amazing what he can do on the computer and what he remembers. He enjoys talking to old friends and misses socialization.