Ethan and his friend made a documentary about Kollin's accident. You can watch it on the link below.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Instagram Posts From Jodie (Mom)
Good times at the only football game I've made it to all season--Love cheering for T-bird State Champs- Way to go guys!!
Oh yes you can help with yard work :)
Four little stooges- #friendship
These KIND Timpview students decorated a tree for the Festival of Trees in honor of Kollin. Sooooo NICE!
Fighting over the shortcake!! Settle down boys!!!
A little afternoon sandbox time. :)
He's got a sweet new Ride
Instagram Posts from Gary (Dad)
Working out in the pool today
Another fun day working out in the pool.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Pictures Sent from Jodie (Mom)
Home at Last!!!!
His favorite part of the day, working with therapists
Mason and Aly's Wedding day
K at Neuroworx getting stretched
Kollin at Bridal Veil today.
Wiping his name from the therapy board :(
KPG will never forget the day he beat you at this game Casey Corry
Tight squeeze from fun lovin nurse Christy- careful he might wipe a bugger on you!
The Mustache Brigade-- how can you take them seriously?
Clever boy sneaking a kiss from the lovely Monica-
Pizza party giggles with our favorites!
Are you washing your hands or checking yourself out in the mirror??
Snuggles with Cassandra Dawn Corry
Instagram Posts From Jenny (Aunt)
These girls all have a crush on Kollin. #kpgsfanclub
Such an awesome day! Kollin got to meet Imagine Dragons before leaving the hospital! It has been almost 2 months since his accident.
Instagram Post Natalie (Aunt)
He's home everybody! And a week early because he's a fighter.
Instagram Post from Erica (Aunt)
Instagram Post from Kesley
This happened today! This amazing boy said goodbye to the hospital. His hard work, determination, attitude, courage, and strength brought him home. Kollin, we LOVE you so much- you are such an inspiration.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Thursday September 14, 2013
Email from Jodie (Mom)
How do I begin when so much time has passed and I have so very much to say. I have such deep thoughts and feelings that it overwhelms me to think of the energy I will have to expend on putting them down in writing. I might not be a very consistent Blogger, but I never miss a week of writing an E-mail to my son, Braydon who is serving a mission in Mozambique. So in an attempt to get caught up with the blog (it’s been almost a month since my last post)--- I am going to copy and paste some excerpt’s from my letters to him:
From a letter written on Oct. 27th 2013
It has been a week of anticipating coming home. Last minute teaching of me and dad--just to make sure we know exactly how to care for Kollin on our own. A meeting with hospital School People-- giving us advice on how, and when to get Kollin back into school. Another meeting with Wheel chair people, who measured Kollin, and then talked to dad and I about all of the options-- bells and whistles-- available. Right now his Wheel chair is being custom built with everything we decided on. Until then he is using a loaner chair that kind of sucks, but it works. Kollin is so funny-- he wouldn't decide on the color of his chair without discussing it with Ethan. I told Ethan this, and he replied, "Well duh!" Like of course KPG knows to consult with me about what would be the coolest. I think they decided on a black and white chair with red spokes in the wheels. You know that with dad involved in the choosing, that it is going to be one spiffy chair on wheels. Dad is already ordering extra wheels that are like beefy tires for camping and hiking, and wheeling around on grass etc. Only the Best for our baby boy. This week, our last week in the hospital, they wanted Kollin to do 95% of wheeling himself around. That means that they didn't want dad or I to just push him everywhere. He has got to get used to getting himself around and building up the muscles to do that. So one day after being at the U, I told him that it was going to be up to him, to get back to Primary Children's-- and it usually takes about 10 minutes with me pushing him the whole way. He did ok at first because the hallway we first walk down to get back is down hill-- then it's a short push to the elevator. Once down on the first floor, the work begins. There is a big long walk across the sky bridge that connects the two hospitals. Here I walked ahead of him because I was planning on sitting on some of the chairs at the end of the sky bridge and watching him--- Oh one of the other things KPG needed to work on is staying in control, and not running into people. haha So I get to the end of the sky bridge and I turned around to see how far back he was. I was expecting to see him about 1/2 way across, but NO--- that sucker had talked this really pretty Black lady into pushing him!!!!!!!! He is such a little charmer. As I was scolding him, she was all petting his hair and telling him that he reminded her of her 15 yr old son. Man he sure knows how to work the ladies. Hahaha
This week my heart has been overflowing with Gratefulness!!!!! One night while driving home alone from the hospital, I began praying as soon as I pulled out of the parking garage at the hospital, and I didn't stop until I was pulling into my garage at home. My prayer was full of Thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father-- the whole entire prayer!!! Not once did I ask for anything, just thanked Him over and over for all of the blessings that He has given to me during the past 8 weeks. There have been that MANY blessings. Most of the blessings involve the people who have reached out to our family in our time of need. Some of those people we already knew, some we did not. They include, Family, immediate and extended, Friends that we are close to and some that we haven’t heard from for years, Ward Members and Neighbors, Hospital and Staff—Doctors, Nurses, Aids, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Music Therapists, Social Workers, Child Life Specialists, Residents, Fellows, Medical Students, Radiologists, Rehab Specialists, Respiratory Therapists, the List goes on and on and on, but you get the point.
So as much as we were sooooooooo very excited to leave the hospital, it was actually a very bitter sweet feeling to say goodbye to so many people we have come to LOVE so much as they have helped us along this 8 week journey. Lots of the staff have become like our family. Some of the nurses cried-- Lots came to say goodbye to Super Star Patient KPG. I had given a package of fake mustaches to the therapists the day before and asked them to wear them on our last day when they all came to get Kollin for his last 3 hours of hospital therapy. They were such good sports about it, and it was sooo funny. Kollin could not figure it out. Thursday night (last night) one of our favorite nurses, Monica collected $$$$ from a bunch of staff and she ordered Pizza Hut Pizza and we had a little party. Two other kids were also set to go home the next day. Kollin got lots of love notes between thursday and friday-- Dad and I got some nice notes as well from staff members wishing us luck at home. I really think they were sad to see us go, but alas the time had come.
Friday morning (October 25th) Kollin finished therapy by 11:00am and we were free to pack it up, but earlier that morning, we were told that the music group, "Imagine Dragons" would be doing a private concert for patients and family members from 2:00-3:00, upstairs in the Playroom. KPG had a decision to make. Do we go home at 11 or wait and go to the once in a lifetime concert opportunity. I really didn't try to sway his decision one way or the other, but he LOVES Imagine Dragons, and so we stayed--even called Ethan and told him we had a ticket for him if he could make it up, and he did. It was soooooooooo worth it too. We had a front row spot. Steve Young and his wife made it all possible and they were there to introduce the band, which is made up of 4 guys-- 2 of which served missions and are active Latter day Saints. I don't know if you've heard of this band, but they are currently #1 in the country and are just about to begin a world tour. So it was pretty neat. I actually cried tears of utter gratitude that these very famous guys would take the time to do such a nice thing for sick and injured kids. Kollin did take a look around the room and announced to me that he was probably the only Kid in the room that even knew who Imagine Dragons were. Haha They sang about 5 songs, took some pics with a few kids-- Kollin being one of them-- and then rushed off to do a concert in Ogden later that night. It was a PERFECT send off for KPG. He left on cloud Nine, feeling all cool that he got to meet the band.
We went back to our hospital room to gather our belongings, and our very favorite Casey Corry, helped us get everything down to my car. She is the therapy aid who has become like a daughter to me. I love her and will miss her greatly. She and Kollin have had a really special relationship. She teases him, and he teases her and she makes everyday of therapy a fun experience for him. I wish we could have brought her home with us. She would even come in on her day off (Saturday) to make sure kollin was happy. She hugged us and we stood there in the parking lot getting all teary eyed. She also gave me the nicest note, telling me how much she has loved getting to know our family. whew emotional send off. By the time we left and got on the free way we were stuck in the worst traffic. People going home from work, friday night BYU game traffic, so it took us an hour and a half before we were pulling into the neighborhood.
WOW what a scene. right off there was a giant poster saying Welcome Home Kollin-- made by the Yarro clan, complete with a drawing of you being chased by little africans, and guys in wheel chairs zooming around the letters-- blue balloons and Huge Blue bows were tied to trees all along the street leading to our house. Of Course I cried again and could barely see my way down our street and into the driveway where tons of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandma, friends and neighbors were holding signs and jumping up and down. Oh and I forgot to mention that lots of the neighbors were honking their car horns too. It was just the best welcome home I've ever seen. I know that Kollin Loved every minute of it!!!!!!! We felt so Loved and cared about. WE ARE HOME, AND THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!!!!!!
Later that night Kollin went to a party with Ethan over at Jason's for about an hour and a half, then on Saturday Dad took him to watch the freshman football game up at Timpview. I was a little bit nervous at first to have him out on the loose like that, but then I figured I should be glad that he WANTS to go out. It could be worse if he was feeling sorry for himself sitting upstairs not wanting to leave his bed. Right??
Today (Sunday October 27th) we all got up and went to church. Boy have I missed church!!!!!!!! The talks were so spiritual, and the ward members were ecstatic to see us. Here we are these people who everyone has been praying for--it was such a good feeling to receive so many greetings and hugs from members of our ward family that love us and care about us. Lots of primary age kids wanted to say hi to this Kollin Kid that their parents were having them pray for J Brother Kay Anderson said the closing prayer and had me bawling as he expressed gratefulness at " having Kollin Galland back in our midst and doing so well." I can't wait to bear my testimony next week and tell everyone what a difference they have made in our lives.
Now begins the next phase of Kollin’s recovery---- figuring out how to do things at home. Dad and I had our routine down at the hospital. Home will be a bit of an adjustment at first, I’m sure, but we are up for the challenge. This Friday Kollin will have his “Evaluation” at Neuroworx, and he will begin out patient therapy the following week. This week I hope to be able to find some time to help Mason and Aly with some last minute Wedding plans. It’s all EXCITING!!!!! Things at home are very different than when you left on your mission. Life is full of Changes and Challenges, Joys and Sorrows. Lately I just seem to CRAVE “Normal Moments” if that makes any sense. I found this little saying tucked away in my scriptures recently it says: “What is life’s heaviest burden??? Asked the child. “To have Nothing to Carry” answered the Old Man.”
So you see my son, even though sometimes it feels like our family has had more than our share of burdens to carry in this life. It's kind of what life is all about, isn't it??? We are here to grow and to progress and to learn to TRUST GOD. How would we do that if life were just peachy all the time??? I took a morning this past week and went to the temple by myself. I was able to spend about an hour sitting in the celestial room reading scriptures, and I was taken on a wonderful journey of discovery. It all started with one verse in Alma 36:3 --Kollin's Seminary Teacher wrote this scripture on a poster that his whole class signed, and then Brother Laing brought it up to KPG. For some reason that day in the temple it popped into my head. It's Alma speaking to his son Helaman: "And now, O my son Helaman, behold thou art in thy youth, and therfore, I beseech of thee that thou wilt hear my words and learn of me: FOR I DO KNOW THAT WHOSOEVER SHALL PUT THEIR TRUST IN GOD SHALL BE SUPPORTED IN THEIR TRIALS AND THEIR TROUBLES AND THEIR AFFLICTIONS, AND SHALL BE LIFTED UP AT THE LAST DAY." As I read the footnote scriptures and was lead down an hour long path-- here's what I learned. Trust God-- Trust in HIS pursposes for you-- He will make ALL things work together for your good. Search diligently, Pray Always, and Be Believing-- Let your Heart be Comforted and Trust in your Covenants. Walk Uprightly before God and He will Support you. I bear my testimony to you my missionary son, that I know that the scriptures speak of TRUTH.... POWERFUL AND MIGHTY TRUTH. God is always there for us and He is the one thing in our lives that we can TRUST with our whole souls. I have felt his support Greatly in the past 7 1/2 weeks. He has never left my side. I know that he is there with you in Mozambique too. I have watched you succeed as you put your trust in HIM. Never forget how much your momma Loves you:)
Be a Good Boy and have a fabulous week,
I’m not sure how Kosher it is to share my Bold Testimony on a Blog. I do not wish to offend anyone. It’s EVERYTHING I AM and I am not ashamed of it. Kollin’s accident would have been DEVASTATING for our family if we did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ imbedded in our souls. Our understanding of God’s great plan of happiness is always in the fore-front of our minds as we face the challenges of the day, and somehow this Enables us to go forward with Faith.
Peace, Love and Happiness to You.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Sunday November 3, 2013
Thoughts and Feelings from Virginia (Grandma)
I need to start with an assurance that all is well. A family motto is: Start with the End in Mind, or See the End from the Beginning.
It’s fascinating to see how those seasoned phrases actually direct your behavior when a crisis arises. Within minutes of the accident, Gary and Jodie, seemed to assess the ramifications of a broken C6-7 and then to move in a constructive direction. Same for Kollin. It’s too tender to recount his insights. Suffice it to say that he almost instantly understood the nature of his injury and then set his sights on maximizing his recovery options. Simply, move ahead with faith and confidence while also accepting the nature of his injury. I too am headed in a positive direction. The accumulating blessings are abundant and unanticipated. The kindness of others has filled me with wonder and astonishment. Gratitude flows naturally in the wake of such goodness and counterbalances the sorrow.
Integrity demands though that I acknowledge the very real emotions that tug at my heart. Two months and life is forever altered. I am still haunted on occasion as I wrap my mind around all the alterations Gary and Jodie and Kollin must make~ ramps, hunts for the handicapped access, inventorying all the items Kollin will need as he returns to his “real” life, expanding the sense of time he needs to dress, shower, the endless minutia of life. When I'm tired, when it’s dark outside, a sorrow gnaws. I am a degree removed from all the realities that now face Kollin and his parents. That degree of separation however encompasses the deep concern I feel for my own son and his wife. They are sleepless. Their backs hurt; their schedules will never be the same. A mother wishes beyond all to mitigate any trials that come to her child but I cannot alter reality. What I can do is to marvel at the extraordinary spiritual and physical strength that has come to both Gary and Jodie. I marvel and I rejoice.
Personally, there is still spill over from the accident into unanticipated moments in my life. I often feel guilty when I hop up to grab a snack, when I roll out of bed knowing my feet are there to support me, or when I approach a keyboard knowing my fingers are mine to command. I even recall a shadow of guilt as I felt full hearted joy in the presence of friends or in humor that brings deep, heart-healing laughter. Such a conundrum—blessings and kindness all awash in a world of hurt.
While I acknowledge the grief that hovers on the horizon but I must, with full voice and full sincerity speak the wonders that eclipse the heartache. Each of us is surrounded by uplifting people, by thoughtful acts that compel gratitude. Wonder and gratitude are powerful antidotes to the sorrow inside. Day by day and moment by moment we find cause for gratitude. My lifelong Latter-day Saint training in prayer—always start with “thank you”—has led me first to catalog God’s mercies. And an initial focus on blessings, a serious and profound acknowledgement of blessings, greatly diminishes my sense of need for further blessings. Proper perspective returns and my spirits rise, full of a sense of God’s goodness and God’s care for me and for those whom I love. Beyond a mindset that first catalogs blessings, my study of scripture as well as my observation of others, tutors me to look immediately to the Atonement of Jesus Christ for redress of my griefs. In that double bounty of Atonement I foresee ultimate and permanent resurrection for Kollin as well as immediate healing to his heart and soul. Certainly his eventual destiny is to retrieve his perfect body with all its strength and skill. I am bold enough even to anticipate a recovery of many of his physical abilities right now. From day to day, he improves. What was too difficult yesterday is a challenge he faces and conquers today.
We (his mom and dad in particular) have found gratitude to be a powerful antidote, a “wonder drug” to the mourner. Sheltered by the kindness, the prayers, the generosity of our many friends, the thoughtful gifts of those known and unknown to us, we feel no sense of isolation. The astonishing insights that have come from his missionary brother serving in Mozambique tutor us. Elder Braydon Galland lifts our spirits and challenges us to live eager to serve and full of appreciation for the spiritual maturity that has enveloped him and instructed us. Others stand firmly at our side, lending strength. We have come to know many who share similar experiences and in sharing their experience, offer hope and reveal patterns of recovery. That generosity and companionship counterbalances our sorrow. Like an eclipse of the moon, the moon is still there, its aurora continues to shine behind the eclipse, yet the moon is dark, as we marvel at the phenomenon.
As we awaken to a new day with acceptance of Kollin’s accident, we move ahead with purposeful design, determined to partner with him in recovery. Though he is very alone in his diminished body, his dad and mom, his brothers and friends are there to compensate. We know that good cheer is an emotion we can and do choose. Kollin’s inherent humor, kindness, and “up” tone compel the choice to embrace life, regardless of its particulars. The product of a spiritual reliance is a conditioned, a reflexive response to choose optimism, to face and embrace the task at hand.
As the days have passed, I have made a list of the sorrows we have been spared: There is no anger. No fear. No sense of isolation. No loss of faith; we maintain an uplifting paradigm that God is good and eases our burdens. We have felt no failure of resources. The gifts that cluster on his doorstep, the notes and cards, the visits, the inclusion of Kollin in the activities he enjoys, the thoughtfulness of others is overwhelming. From time to time when Kollin was in the hospital the door would open and in would come football players from both BYU and UofU (not at the same moment, fortunately). People with similar accidents would roll into the room and share their journey with him, allowing him to give voice to all the questions and uncertainties ahead. Kollin’s accident is unfortunate and life changing but we have experienced no tragedy. Tragedy comes only when there is loss of faith, failure to grow, isolation, absence of resources, crippling doubt, depression, or anger.
Instead we have discovered an intensified appreciation for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Kollin feels no loss of “self”. He is still KPG with cool red spokes on his wheelchair. His parents have found their life’s work; they have bonded with Kollin and his brothers in an even deeper trust. Gary and Jodie have shared their new labors in a united, symbiotic fashion. The siblings’ affection is spoken freely. Friends have been at Kollin’s side, continuing relationships as before, touching him with ease, feeling the need to connect. We have discovered promising venues for treatment. Gifted therapists are expanding his abilities and his vision of the future. We have a heightened sensitivity to others with disabilities. We feel broadened concern and ease in interaction with those whose lives are not like ours was once. We have learned the power that paradoxically comes and from submission and acceptance of life’s inevitable trials. Such surrender of will releases power and peace unknown to those who resist the realities of life.
Life is good. We hare buoyed up by an astonishing flood of care and good will that have come to us. We are grateful for our life’s paradigm, its spiritual power. Our gratitude overflows. The goodness of others and the gratitude that is its natural product heal us. Many thanks.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Email from Braydon
***These letters from B come without editing. He writes under pressure of time and with the sole intent of sharing the feelings that flow straight from his heart. We include them because he is an integral member of our family who is able to speak with love, optimism, and gratitude for all of us.***
I hope yo all have a good week! God bless you all, i love you all!I love this church, i love the happiness and joy it brings to all who accept it! I know this church is true, i have recieved too many comfirmations that it is true to every deny it or to every wander astray!Chico and luisa will be baptized and will bless the church and their family forever. I dont know when yet but i should this week! pray for luisa to keep her testimony! once you recieve an answer from god, there is no going back!We also had a lesson with an older couple who have 4 kids, a house thats not cinderblocks, paint on the house and WINDOWS! havent seen that in a long time! one of their daughters is even at college! the Mom is a teacher, and the Dad has a good job as well! We have been looking for people who could be leaders in the church to help the church grow in mocambique, smart people who have an idea of having an occupation and seeing success. this family is exactly that. The only trouble is the wife is hard core catholic. we sat down with them and had a very very spiritual 1st lesson. Her heart was touched and i could see her eyes filled with peace. So i asked her, Luisa, if you knew this message was true, would you follow this path? she stopped and said, I am Catholic, baptized and everything. Catholic is my Church. i then smiled at her and said thats not what i asked. Luisa, do you believe God has the power to speak with his children on the earth today? she said yes i believe. I said Luisa, if God spoke with you, in your heart, and told you that the words of the missionaries were true, would you follow this church, knowing it is his church? at this point i felt so close to luisa, i felt as if we were family, with a strong trust. She responded and said, yes, i would follow the truth. and i will pray to know if your words were true or not. we were filled with the spirit and i promised her that when she prays, she will be filled with peace, knowing our message was true. i knew that God was going to answer her prayer. we left the house and i was feeling so confident and so happy. we returned the next day to give them a book of mormon, she was home alone so i just dropped it off to her. she was on the phone but she saw me and put the phone down and came to me, smilling, with an innocent face that had been touched by God. She said, Elder, i did a big prayer last night. I asked her how she felt. She responded with a voice filled of a sense of belonging to the family of god and said I felt Peace in my heart. i felt really really good. I know God spoke to me, and i know your message is true. I about cried but i kept my self together and bore my testimony.I was having a family night with Titos and Ana family, and Titos was also thinking alot about my family at home so he stopped the lesson and said, can we say a prayer for Kollin right now? Tears filled my eyes, i said yes please, could you offer it? he said hed love to. Titos then said a beautiful and simple prayer, and opened up his book of mormon so we could find strength and answers in the book of mormon. He remembered when i taught him the Book of Mormon that you can find every answer to life in the book. We then read about Alma when he was rebellious and was visitted by an angel. It was actually very strange because alma lost movement in his body for 3 days and could not move. He felt the lowest of the low. but he gained strength and he served god forever after that and was filled with happiness for eternity now. Very easily was Titos able to relate this story to Kollin. I was so touched by this. Going from Titos desperate to recieve strength and knowlede from me a couple months ago, to me desperate for strength and knowledge from him. Titos will be a bishop in Mocambique someday when we get wards soon! i love him!Just as normal, when you endure with happiness through the hard times, God blesses you with more happiness! I have had a really really good week filled with feeling the spirit! spiritual lessons, studdies, and prayers!night i had a really really good conversation with Heavely Father and the Holy Ghost. God filled my soul with happiness and peace! The feelings are too pure to describe! Once again, he gave me the message that if i take care of his familes here in Moçambique, he will take care of my families in Utah! I love my father in Heaven.
Friday, October 18, 2013
Friday October 18, 2013
Update from Jodie (Mom)
It seems like I’ve fallen off the “Blogger’s Wagon”. It’s been about two weeks since I’ve had the time and energy to put my thoughts into blogging. Sorry to all the followers out there that are anxious to hear about my Kollin’s progress. I thought I would begin today by taking you through a typical day in the hospital. By the way, today marks the 7th full week since KPG’s accident. Life is so very different than it was---AtI open the blinds in Kollin’s hospital room to let in a little natural light, and to let him know that it is morning. He’s slept pretty peacefully, only waking a few times asking to be turned onto the opposite side that he is lying on. After insuring that he is comfortable, I fall back onto my couch-like bed instantly asleep. I can almost keep my eyes closed through the whole process now. My legs get me up and walk me to his bedside, my hands and arms do the turning, and pillow placement between his knees and behind his back. I pull his covers up, tuck him in, and kiss his cheek, all in a sleep walk manner. But now it’s a new day. Kollin takes after me, he’s not really a morning person. He does better if he eases into the day so we take our time to greet the sunrise.
ByI’ve ordered his breakfast from “Room Service”—French toast, scrambled eggs, watermelon, and cranberry juice. When his meal tray arrives it is about and his eyes have yet to open. I butter his French toast and put the syrup on. Today he needs to try cutting it himself as he needs to pass of some goals in the fine motor skills category. Instead he stabs the fork into the triangle piece of bread and brings the whole piece to his mouth for a bite. Hmmmmmm perhaps we need to set some goals in the etiquette category. During breakfast from the tech begins taking Kollins vital signs, and gives him his morning meds, as I begin to put his ted hose on. These thigh high support stockings help to keep his blood pressure from plummeting too low. While he is in bed relaxing he doesn’t need to wear them, but today he will be up and working hard, so they are a must. They are buggers to get on, but Gary has come up with a pretty good technique for getting them on. I hope he never has to use his technique on me. J A knock on the door tells us that the Dr.’s are beginning their rounds. The door slowly pushes open and in comes 4 or 5 faces. They poke, prod and listen to his heart and lungs. “How are you feeling today?” they ask Kollin. He responds with a half hearted shrug and a, “You know.” He is getting bored of the same ole routine. By the time they leave they have at least gotten a smile out of him.
AtTierra, the Occupational Therapist (OT) arrives to help him get dressed. This is the most frustrating part of his entire day. “My legs hate me!” he exclaims as he tries to lift them one by one and strategically place his heavy foot into the leg hole of his shorts, all while trying to keep his balance. Feet through holes now, he rolls side to side as his hand hooks inside the waist band to pull the shorts up and onto his waist. Whew!!!!! Time to take a short breather before sitting up again and pulling the shirt over the cumbersome neck brace that needs to be worn for 4-6 more weeks. The doc says his neck is healing, but the fusion is still very weak, as well as his ligaments and tendons supporting it. Time in the brace will be the best thing. Clothes now on, he swings his legs over the side of the bed, to begin the transfer into his wheel chair. Practice makes perfect and he is getting so very good at scooting sideways on the sticky sheets, popping himself up and onto the seat of his chair. A few more adjustments, and his butt is centered and feet are on the foot plates. Seat belt on he begins the task of socks and shoes. Tricky, tricky, tricky are the socks and shoes!!!!!! I watch in amazement at the patience he exhibits in trying to master such a simple task that is so easy for me to do. I literally have to hold myself back from wanting to reach in to help him get the sock over that pinky toe-- That rascal of a pinky toe that won’t cooperate today. But Tierra is there giving him tips and teaching him how to be independent. It’s better for him if I just watch. Somewhere in my memory bank I can hear Kollin as a toddler say, “I do it mamma!!!” He has the same determined look on his face as he did back then, 12 or so years ago. “Socks will get easier the more you practice.” I hear Tierra say. Just like shoes have gotten easier. He can now even tie them loosely on his own. Time to wheel over to the sink and brush those pearly whites. I think Kollin has brushed his teeth more since he’s been in the hospital than he did his whole life before. Whenever I would remind him to brush his teeth before bed or before he headed out the door for school, he would say, “Aww mom that’s what the dentist is for.” Cringe, Cringe!!!!
By now it’sand the speech therapist is here to walk him down to her office. I usually take this 30 minutes to brush my teeth, comb my hair and put my bra on—haha. While at speech he will work on school work—math homework, or reading. We started reading Enders Game this summer and I told him he can’t see the movie until he finishes the book.
AtI come get him and walk with him to the gym next door. Lisa his Physical Therapist (PT) greets him and they go to work. Push ups, dips, transfers, rolling, scooting, balancing, lifting legs, all while cute Casey Corry, is either cheering him on, or throwing a ball at him that he caches mid-dip. Casey, who is the therapy aid, and KPG have a special relationship. She teases him, and he teases her and it all makes for a super fun time at therapy. She is like a really cute big sister to him and I don’t know how we would get through the day without her!!! Therapy is hard, but with Casey there the time fly’s by. The newest thing Kollin has been working on during PT is “Popping Wheelies” in his wheel chair. How dangerous you might be thinking, but a necessary skill to help him navigate up and over curbs. He is getting really good at it.
Atit’s time to book it over to the U for some time on the FES bike. We arrive by , and usually by , James has Kollin hooked up and ready to start his 30 minute session. On MWF he works on his legs, and on TTH he works on his arms. This Functional Electronic Stimulation bike helps to keep his muscles from deteriorating. It’s fun to watch the muscles in his legs flex when the electricity flows to them. On arm days the electrodes are also hooked up to his abs and the muscles running along his spine to strengthen his core. We finish at , peel all the electrodes off and leave by to head back to Primary Children’s. The two hospitals are connected with a sky bridge so walking back and forth between the two is pretty convenient.
Back in our room, I order KPG’s lunch—Egg salad sandwich on white, Mayo only, cool ranch Doritos, watermelon, and sprite. While we wait for his meal tray to come, he usually likes to lie on my couch bed as he is convinced it is WAY more comfortable than his hospital bed. He takes a minute to look at his snap-chats, instagram, etc. and I have to peel his phone out of his hands and make him eat. “I’m socializing here mother!!” Yes my son, I know that socializing is important, but so are these calories that you will need to get you through afternoon therapy. Kollin lost 20 pounds in the three and a half weeks that he was unable to eat. He is now battling to put weight back on, because he burns so many calories during therapy. At yesterday’s weigh in, he was up to 109lbs—an 8lb weight gain. Yay!!! But wait…… could that be from his hair that has been growing out of control since we’ve been here???? Why, won’t you let me call Mackenzie for a hair cut??? “I’m not going to cut my hair until I can walk again.” Says KPG confidently. So in the mean time, his unruly bangs are going to have to be held back by a barrette or a head -band during therapy so he can see what he is doing. The faux-hawk down the back has begun to poke out of the hole in the bottom of his neck brace, looking like a rat tail. Yikes!!!!!!! To me it would feel so much better to have a shaved head, but I guess it’s not my head. We’ll see how long it ends up--- this kid is determined to walk again.
After lunch and a few more minutes with his phone, it’s time to start afternoon therapy. Fromit’s back to OT where Kollin works on fine motor skills like zippers, shoe laces, snaps, and the impossible… buttons. He chucks the card with the buttons across the room in a moment of frustration. “I’ll never be able to do those!!!” This angry moment will fuel the fire for his next attempt. He has learned to let his emotions empower him, not get him down. He moves on to test taking with a pencil. His fingers find it difficult to hold the skinny yellow piece of wood. Kristen suggests a different way to hold it that works better for him now. He guides the pencil through a maze, and colors in tiny circles without going outside the lines. Not your typical test. I watch him biting the inside of his bottom lip in complete concentration—he is a perfectionist by nature, and wants so badly to do a perfect job. His hands don’t work like they used to, but his movement and coordination with them is getting better everyday. He can now eat soup, and maneuver the spoon without spilling a drop. Way to go son!!!!
Atit’s back to PT. Today Lauren has arranged benches of various heights in one big long line from his wheel chair down to the end of the room. “Let’s practice scooting sideways and transferring from one bench to the other, until you are on the ground.(high to low) Kollin does quite well until his legs stop following him. Time to stop and re-evaluate the process. When you get down lower and lower to the ground, your legs will need to be pushed out in front of you instead of trying to keep them bent. Ahhh this works much better—finally KPG is seated on a mat on the ground. He picks up and arranges his legs in criss cross apple sauce. (Indian style for those of us in our 40’s) Push, scoot, push, scoot, push, scoot, and so it goes from one end of the mat and back. Then back onto the benches--- going up hill this time, and it’s a lot harder going against gravity. (low to high) A few tips from Lauren and he’s got it down. He stops to take a short rest, leaning back onto Lauren, about half way to his chair. His ARMS are shot!!! They are totally fatigued to the point of exhaustion. They have now become his only tools for major transportation. Lifting, scooting, popping, and wheeling. They ARE getting stronger, but the day has not yet come when all of these arm movements will be second nature for him. That is going to take a lot more time and a lot more effort. But it WILL come.
It’s been a long day by the time we are back in our room at. Kollin is physically tired and worn out, but he’s also proud of his hard work today. I am also worn out, even though all I did was watch. Emotional fatigue is what I suffer from. From we have some quiet time. Often we will greet a visitor, or watch some TV. Then it’s dinner at and time to start the bedtime routine of : Bowel program, shower, nighttime meds, and the changing of the guards, just kidding…. I meant to say the changing of the pads in his neck collar. He is usually tucked into bed around -10:00ish. Sleep is important because is a new day to work hard and get stronger so we can go home. Kollin has set a goal to be home for Halloween so he can scare all the little kids in our neighborhood. He has lots to master and perfect in the short weeks ahead. Home, Home, how we miss being home. Thank you once again for getting us through these difficult times through your love and prayers and with the help of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ we will Conquer!! And we’ll be home before you know it!!!!