Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#35


February 29, 2012

Happy leap year! Elaine is ready to leap out of this experience and get back to living her life! We have to keep reminding her how far she has come in such a short period of time and how remarkable she is doing!

She had a great morning therapy session. Her therapist loves working with her because she challenges him every time they work together. It’s usually the other way around. As a matter of fact, he is usually begging people to do their exercises and to keep trying. That is absolutely not the case with Elaine! Not only is she advanced, but she also keeps him on his toes and makes him think. Today she even crushed a soda can with her LEFT leg. That is a task that is typically difficult for even his most advanced patients and she stomped right on the center of it. As Fred says, “she is advanced from her waist down. Little Darlin’ is taking longer than she would like.” Both Fred and Elaine are working harder to incorporate Little Darlin’ into her daily life.

Elaine worked on Little Darlin’ this afternoon. Her range of motion is improving quickly and her fingers are much more responsive. She is able to move almost all of them up while her hand is on a table. It has come a long way from her “dummy arm” that would just sit there all day looking foreign to her. It’s a frustrating process and experience, one that isn’t fair and definitely sucks. However, Elaine is taking the bull by the horns, like she does with everything in life, and tackling the challenge.

Elaine had some wonderful home cooked food today. Julie made delicious chicken noodle soup for lunch, which always makes Elaine feel better! Fred and Elaine came over to Ben and Staci’s for dinner. Elaine has her PET scan tomorrow and she needed to have a dinner full of protein. We aren’t exactly sure why, but those were the doctor’s orders. The scan is scheduled for 12:30 and hopefully we will have the results by tomorrow night. We are extremely optimistic and ready to close this door officially and work exclusively on stroke recovery.



It’s magical to see Fred and Elaine together and how in sync they are. They truly are joined at the hip, including at 3am for bathroom breaksJ When they left us tonight, Elaine was telling us how Fred has her night regime down. He has a new appreciation for the care she takes of her skin. She now calls Fred “Daddy.” When she was ready to leave, she said, “Daddy, its time to go. It’s time for my candy!”

Elaine has been having headaches again during the last two nights. Our friend Dennis, also a stroke victim, has told Elaine that he suffered from headaches when he didn’t get enough rest.

We wish “Daddy” and Elaine a night of rest without too many potty trips!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#34


February 28, 2012

Quick note to blog readers:  Apparently, videos on the blog can only be viewed on your computer – not on your phone.  We are not sure why, and we will work on fixing it – but we aren’t sure how much success we will have. The blog address is elainesmithupdate.blogspot.com

One more quick note: We love visitors! If you would like to visit Elaine, please email Staci directly. There has been some confusion with the scheduling, and this will help centralize everything and ensure that Elaine is around when you show up. 

Elaine had another good day. She is working really hard on strengthening her vocal cords. She still has a really quiet voice so she trying to practice talking louder. She was tired from her long busy day yesterday and all the walking she has been doing. Fred went out to get some fresh air today and hit some golf balls. Staci and Taylor had lunch with Elaine, and then Taylor and Elaine relaxed for a bit after. They didn’t relax for long before Elaine had some friends stop by. Bishop Packard has been so kind while following her progress. We were put in touch with him through close friends and he came up to the hospital while Elaine was still in the ICU and gave her a blessing. After his visit, Elaine enjoyed from laughs and girl time with Sue and Cindi. They were so impressed with Elaine, and they all had a fun visit together.





Fred, Elaine, Richie, and Julie went to dinner tonight and discussed how many houses they have lived in. Between the four of them, over 72 years of marriage, they came up with 52 different houses they have lived in, and they are pretty sure they forgot a few! Fred and Elaine have committed to this move being their last!

Elaine is headed to bed and awaiting her “candy.” She is on so many different medications that their bathroom looks like a pharmacy. It’s been an incredible two days! Elaine is actually walking, then to top it off, we just got off the phone with her hearing her laugh and truly enjoying herself after a great dinner. A miracle indeed and THANK YOU Richie and Julie for being here!!

PET scan is Thursday instead of tomorrow. She has another full day of therapy tomorrow. Go Elaine Go!

Monday, February 27, 2012

#33


February 27, 2012

One month ago today, we were shocked and devastated by Elaine’s unforeseen stroke. Today, we witnessed nothing short of a miracle! If we didn’t have video evidence, we might believe that we were dreaming. One month after that terrible day, we are filled with gratitude, faith, admiration, and awe of Elaine – our very own medical marvel.

Please watch this incredible video – only one month after complete left-side paralysis.





We showed Elaine some pictures and videos from a few days after her stroke, and she couldn’t believe her condition immediately following or her progress since then. We remember, all too well.  We also remember the odds that were thrown at us. She has defied them, and she is amazing!!

We were surprised today to learn a sobering statistic: 1 out of 3 people who have strokes similar to Elaine’s actually die. We also found out that it’s very rare to regain functionality in your arm after a stroke. We are so humbled and feel so lucky that, not only is Elaine alive, she is making such remarkable progress. God has certainly giving us a blessing, and we are so appreciative and thankful.

The PET scan of her lungs is scheduled for Wednesday, and we are really looking forward to getting that over with! Elaine had a full day of therapy today – four whole hours with a massage in the middle to loosen up those hardworking muscles. It’s incredible and inspiring to watch her work so hard during all her different therapy sessions, never quitting and so determined to succeed. It is absolutely paying off.! She is learning to master the simple skills that we all take for granted. She even walked backwards today, which is quite remarkable.

Fred is so strong and filling so many different roles. He is so supportive, loving, and the best cheerleader on earth. We are so lucky to have him as our leader. We continue to be amazed by both Fred and Elaine as they have handled this situation in the best possible way. What incredible examples we have been blessed with!

A couple quick notes on Ashley: First clink on the link below to see the profile on Ashley that was on KESQ news in Palm Desert.


Then please check out this incredible auction that Ashley’s crafty friends have put together to benefit her and help with her medical expenses. All items are handmade. It is such a nice tribute to her and no one is more deserving with her fight, attitude, and spirit.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#32


February 26, 2012

Everyone was much more comfortable in their roles today! I think it must have been the butter cake that gave Elaine this extra boost. She had another great day of therapy! Check out this video. It is the best one yet!





She continues to amaze us every single day with her ambition, perseverance, determination, will, and attitude. She continues to inspire us, and we are filled with so much joy and hope. Even her therapist, who is not quick to dole out a compliment, said today that he believes she will make a full recovery! This is truly unbelievable considering the severity of her stroke. There is only one word to sum it all up: MIRACLE.



We can’t tell you enough how grateful we are for your love, thoughts, and prayers! There is not a doubt in our minds that Elaine could not have made this much progress, this quickly, without you! Thank you!

Julie cooked a home cooked meal tonight, and again they will celebrate life!

We are elated to send out a big “Congratulations” to Herb and Randy for winning the tournament this weekend. We are so happy for you guys! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

#31


February 25, 2012

Big Steps Today . . . Literally. Elaine walked around the condo and around the neighborhood with the help of cane – there was no buddy assistance. It was SO amazing to witness. All we could think of was how far she had come in the last four weeks. 28 days ago she was lying in a bed, completely paralyzed on one side of her body, and now she is gallivanting up and down the street! She spent about 10 minutes outside just walking around. It must have been an exceptionally liberating moment for her.  





Elaine started therapy today at noon with a plan to go for an hour. This therapist hadn’t seen her in a while, and he wasn’t sure how much she had progressed. They started working on Little Darlin’ and she was very cooperative today.  Elaine was able to move her arm much more effectively. Before they knew it, an hour had flown by. The therapist asked Elaine if she wanted to stop or keep going. Not a huge surprise, but she elected to continue her therapy. They worked on exercises that combine leg and arm movement. These types of exercises are good for her limbs, and also get her brain working on multiple commands. Last week, she couldn’t perform these exercises a week ago, even when she was sitting down. Today she nailed them while standing and without support.



There is another exercise that she finds the most challenging. She bears of her weight on her left leg while trying to put her right foot lightly on little red ball. The therapist calls this move an advanced exercise. Elaine loves hearing that she is advanced!




The initial plan was to have a girls’ party at the hotel, but Elaine decided that she wanted to go Mastro’s and have a delicious steak and warm butter cake. Elaine was such a trooper to want to go. She looked beautiful, and sat confidently through dinner enjoying a great night out.



Ben, Fred, and Richie went to a special screening of the Navy SEAL movie called “Act of Valor.” The event benefitted the Navy SEAL Foundation and featured active-duty SEALs as well as families of SEALs who were killed in action. We think that the SEAL motto sums up Elaine and her journey very well:

THE ONLY EASY DAY WAS YESTERDAY!

Friday, February 24, 2012

#30



February 24, 2012

It is almost impossible to imagine that this nightmare began four weeks ago today!  To see Elaine today, she looks so beautiful, and alert. Her dear friend Mary came to visit this afternoon to bring lunch. The last time she had seen her was in ICU so her improvement was incredible! Elaine looks so vibrant, and has such a great attitude! Mary forgot she was sick and all that her poor body has been through!



The day began with a blood draw, but at 8:30 AM instead of 5 AM, and after she had a wonderful night of sleep. Selby, a fighter in her own right as a breast cancer survivor, came by for a visit and was shocked at how healthy Elaine looked. They exchanged some war stories, and Selby shared some words of wisdom to keep on fighting, which Elaine most definitely will do!



After Elaine and Mary finished lunch, Christi and Taylor stopped by on the way to swim. To everyone’s surprise, Elaine wanted to come watch the girls swim. It is not as simple as walking over to the pool for Elaine, but she is determined to get back to living her life and not hiding! It was AWESOME. She sat by the pool with us and enjoyed an hour in the sun before her therapy session.



Elaine had a new therapist today.  He had to do an evaluation on her to arm to determine if she was good candidate for the STEM therapy. Little Darlin’ was very receptive to it and he thinks it will help her a lot so he will discuss it with her doctor.

We want to express our most sincere gratitude to The Vintage Club. The men’s member-member golf tournament started today. It is a tournament that Fred has chaired for two years. Some of the members and the golf staff decided to dedicate the tournament to Elaine. They had a beautiful picture of her on every scorecard. It literally brought us all to tears when we heard about it and again when we saw the scorecard. We are humbled and overwhelmed. We extend our deepest and most heartfelt thank you to our Vintage family. Fred and Elaine are anxious to get back “home” and see you all.  There are not words to express how honored Elaine feels. We all know she would much prefer to be out there on the course cheering you on, and she will be next year! What a wonderful honor to bestow on such an inspirational, amazing, loving, kind, brave, and determined women. We love her so much! Good luck guys!




Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

#29


February 23, 2012

Today was a very exciting and busy day! Fred and Elaine enjoyed their first uninterrupted night in a month, and they were so excited to finally sleep in the same bed. Fred said, “It was the second best night of his life, a close second to their honeymoon.” They both appreciated the peaceful night even slept in a bit, and they certainly enjoyed relaxing in bed.

We had several people scheduled to go to their new house today: decorator, audio/visual, Elaine-proof lady, family and friends. Elaine wanted to go, too! She curled her hair and was excited to be out and about. She hadn’t seen the house since October, and she liked it more now than she did then. This is Fred and Elaine (and nurse Shayla) walking in. Fred planned their matching outfitsJ



After the extensive house tour with Elaine’s entourage, we all went to Big Canyon for lunch. This was a HUGE step for Elaine and one we are so proud of her for taking. As you can imagine, knowing Elaine as well as you do, going out in public in a wheel chair is not something she is comfortable doing. She put on her brave face, and she went and enjoyed a lovely meal out on the patio. She looked beautiful, and honestly, you would never in a million years guess the hell she has been through in the last month just by looking at her. She looks incredible, as she always does. She is one of a kind!



After lunch, Fred and Elaine went to the doctor. He couldn’t believe all the progress Elaine has made in such a short time. He even said that when he saw her leave the hospital, he didn’t think there was any way she would have progressed so much. She said he didn’t even notice the “droop” anymore. Its still very hard for Elaine to see her progress, partly because she doesn’t remember just how dire the situation was only a few weeks ago. As we always say, she is a miracle!

Elaine was exhausted after her busy day. Fred, Elaine, Richie, and Julie ordered room service tonight and were going to bed early! Her afternoon therapy session was cancelled because the therapist was sick.  Elaine is eager to get back to the grind tomorrow. Today she got outside again and practiced getting in and out of the car as well as had a wonderful lunch out. She is just doing amazingly! She is an inspiration to us all! She isn’t sitting around feeling sorry for herself or hiding at home. She is reluctant to be seen because of her vanity, but hopefully as she looks in the mirror and continues to see how incredible and beautiful she looks, and listens to those around her (not just her biased family), then she will believe it.

It was a GREAT day! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

#28

February 22, 2012


JAILBREAK!! Princess Elaine has moved from the Dungeon (seriously, that place was pretty dreary) to the Tower!

Elaine was up most of last night with an upset stomach, that and she was staring clock wish it said 11 AM so she could get out of that place. We aren’t sure who was more excited about today’s scheduled departure – Elaine or Fred? When Fred called this morning, he sounded like a kid on Christmas morning telling us that he was on his way to pick up his Little Princess.

As promised, they released Elaine right at 11 AM, and she wasted no time getting out of there. She typically avoids being a passenger when Fred drives as he is a tad aggressive and tends to yell at most other drivers, but today she was just grateful to be in the car.

Staci and the girls greeted Fred and Elaine with home cooked enchiladas as they arrived at their villa. They ate on actual glass plates with real silverware  - and the food was hot. A nice change of pace. They settled into their newest temporary home, and they both decided they loved it and the sunny welcome-home weather.

On her way out of the hospital, Elaine acquired yet another apparatus to assist her recovery. This one is a neck brace. She tilts her head to the right due to muscle weakness that turned into a bad habit. As she said, one problem leads to another problem leads to another. The day went great, and she is thrilled be relaxing out of the hospital. She starts her outpatient program tomorrow with OT and speech in the morning, a visit to her new internist, and then back home for PT.

Elaine was tired tonight after her big day. She requested turkey dinner and we were happy to oblige. Staci, Franny, and the girls prepared a delicious home cooked meal complete with all of Elaine’s favorites: turkey, stuffing, twice baked-potatoes, corn, asparagus, and hot rolls. The girls participated in all the cooking, and they were so excited to have Nammie home. We called it her Graduation dinner! She is walking around the villa with her cane - always with “a buddy” for now. That is one of the most frustrating things for her is asking one of us to help her move from chair to chair or to use the restroom. Hopefully, she understands it’s our pleasure, and we truly mean that!




Oh and yes, we will continue to update the blog! Thank you for caring!

We are excited for phase two of Operation Recovery! It’s a long way from over, but she has come so far! We know Elaine and Fred are going to enjoy their first night together and without disruption in a month. He even promised not to wake her at 5 AM to draw her blood!




Please keep Ashley in your prayers tonight! We are hoping for HCG of zero this week!

Until tomorrow, sleep well and thank you for all the words of encouragement as well as expressing your excitement for her release. It meant so much to us all. Just a friendly reminder that despite Elaine’s often nonsensical texts and emails, her brain and mind are working well, even if her typing reflects otherwiseJ

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

#27


February 21, 2012

Elaine is ecstatic that this is her last night in a hospital. In fact, she was so excited that when she woke this morning (Tuesday) she thought she was leaving today. That is her positive, optimistic attitude shining through.

Her last full day started with a new therapist who was thrilled to be working with her. He had heard about and seen Elaine on the days he was working, and he couldn’t wait to get her on his schedule. All the therapists fight to work with her because her effort and determination are outstanding. This particular therapist incorporated some massage into the workout since Elaine has experienced a lot hip pain. The massage really helped and she felt like her hip opened up quite a bit. The therapist also spent time on her head in an attempt to relieve some the tension that is causing her headaches. At the end of the day, he referred to Elaine as his “star student.”


After therapy, Elaine, Julie, Staci, and the girls enjoyed a last lunch on the patio. Elaine requested an omelet since both Julie and she had dreamt about them.  Christi practiced pushing the wheelchair while Taylor went along for the ride because “her legs ran out of battery.”



No rest for the weary! After lunch, it was onto more therapy. She started her session in the parking garage so she could practice getting in and out of the car.  Elaine was so excited to see her car, and the actual process of getting in and out was easier than she initially thought. It was incredible to watch her figure out to maneuver herself in and out. Less than two weeks ago, she arrived at the rehab center in an ambulance. Admittedly, we had high hopes when she checked in, but even we were surprised when she climbed in and out of her car. At one point, she hopped in the passenger seat while Julie was in the driver’s seat. She quickly buckled up and yelled to Julie to just drive! It happens for real tomorrow. She practiced a few more times everyone got comfortable helping her in and out.  It turned out to be great confidence booster to let her know that she is ready for the world.




Following the car drill, we headed back inside for her final in-patient rehab session. Once again, she topped herself and had the best session yet. It was truly incredible to watch her walk on her own. Several therapists came by to marvel at her progress and wish her well. She also practiced step-ups adding to her confidence. She walked around for ten minutes or so with minimal breaks. It is amazing to watch her walk and to hold herself up.





We are in complete awe of her progress, strength, and growing independence. She is able to transfer herself from wheelchair to bed without assistance. Remember that two weeks ago when she arrived, she could barely be out of bed.

After all that hard work, she headed to the room for some downtime. Christi and Nammie are the two most unlikely members of our family to EVER take a nap and look at what happened when they were all snuggled in bed. It was earned!




Tomorrow is a BIG DAY! They will release her at 11 AM, and she plans to be out of the door at 11:01! The case management person came in this afternoon to talk about her release. Here was how the conversation went:

Elaine: ”Oh good, I have been waiting for you all day to tell me what I need and when I can leave.”

CM: “We have everything ready and have ordered your wheelchair and cane. We are finishing up the paperwork and need to ask a few more…”

Elaine (interrupting): “What time can I leave?”

CM: “We start to release people at 11:00”

Staci: “Does that mean we can plan to walk out the door at 11:01?”

Elaine: “I am ready to get out of here!”

CM: “You can leave as soon as your final papers have been signed which will happen before 11. The only thing you have to wait for is your wheelchair and cane.”

Fred: “Well, you tell that company to have the stuff here before 11 or they can deliver it to us at home.”

CM: “Yes sir. I will go order it right now and make sure it is here first thing.”

Elaine: “Thank you. I’m definitely leaving tomorrow!”

We are pretty sure they are ready to get rid of us, too. Well maybe “us,” but not their star student. I think they found out quickly we are a package dealJ

Say good-bye to mystery meat, disrupted sleep, reciting your name all day, and the constant beeps and sirens. After exactly 26 nights in a hospital, Elaine is going home. It is a miracle and we are overjoyed and humbled. Thank for you all the love, prayers and support. The next phase of recovery starts tomorrow, but it will be on a regular schedule, sleeping in her own bed, and eating delicious food.

Fred and Elaine enjoyed their last lukewarm meal in a take-out bag tonight and shared some tears and emotion. Fred has been a rock and logged in more hospital hours than we can count.  Although Elaine is thrilled to be going home, Fred is equally as excited to be bringing her home to him. He has displayed love, kindness, and patience you usually only see in the movies.

There is no way to sugar coat the last three weeks, they have been hell on so many levels. BUT she is alive, she is making incredible progress, and she has inspired so many people, many of whom we don’t even know. Her story is not over. It is really only beginning. Elaine, your family is SO PROUD of you. You’re incredible and it is an honor to be on the journey with you.  We know YOU CAN AND WILL DO IT! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

#26

February 20, 2012

The final countdown has officially started. Elaine was so excited to get into bed tonight knowing that when she wakes up she can say, “I am going home tomorrow!” Elaine’s relaxing weekend was over, and she didn’t get President’s day off of work. The day started as usual with the 5 AM wake up call and blood draw. This morning she was a little more groggy that usual. Unfortunately, her headache came with a vengeance in the middle of the night, and they gave her stronger meds to help ease the pain. After shaking off the cobwebs, Julie came by at 9 and helped Elaine get dressed, get her make up on, and get ready for the day. As always, Elaine looked beautiful! She had a very crowded therapy calendar. There were four 1-hour sessions in all – two of physical therapy and two of occupational therapy.

Elaine also mixed in some time with her visitors, some new and some regulars. The regulars included Fred with his bright clothes and non-stop singing and humming, Staci and her three “energetic” kids, and Ben with special deliveries from Starbucks. Elaine’s brother Nick was back in town from Utah. Vicki and Larry (Ben’s parents) came in from the desert with delicious soups and cookies. Our dear friend Norm flew in from Denver eager to see and hug Elaine and Fred. Elaine impressed all of them with her progress and positive attitude.


Elaine continues to improve at physical therapy, and we can say unequivocally that this afternoon she had best PT session yet. She practiced walking and raising her foot up high simulating stepping over something. This will be an important skill because at her interim home, she will have to step over a small step to get in the shower. She was able to walk down the hall from the therapy room to her room – and back to the therapy room. She was absolutely elated, and she can’t wait until she can do it completely unassisted.

Tomorrow is huge day. She is going to practice getting in and out of the car. She is thrilled to ride in car. Her last two rides were via ambulance, and she hasn’t been out of a hospital in over three weeks. Little Darlin’ is reacting very positively to being the star of a newly written song. She was moving around well today, stacking cones during therapy - which has been a very challenging task. We were so happy to see the improvement over the past few days. We keep reminding ourselves that Little Darlin’ will be the last to come to the recovery party, but she is showing signs of interest! She knows that Elaine is counting on her, and that she won’t take no for an answer.

We started the packing / moving process by gathering a few of the many items that we collected in Elaine’s room over the past couple weeks. Her room at Pelican Hill is being made Elaine-friendly tomorrow in preparation for her arrival on Wednesday. It will be so wonderful for to sit on a couch undisturbed, and to drink water from something other than a pink plastic pitcher! We know she will love being able to sit outside, too!

We are thrilled with her progress she has made at the rehab center, and we are even more excited to start this next phase of her recovery. She is doing tremendously well and while recovery time seems daunting, even she acknowledges how fast she has come in such a short period of time. It truly is a miracle. She is a pillar of strength and determination. Thank you for the love, support and prayers.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

#25


February 19, 2012

Lazy Sunday. That kind of sums up Elaine’s day. Apparently, she had already maxed out on the allowable number of therapy hours for the week. That meant that Elaine was scheduled for one short session of speech therapy with nothing on the calendar for occupational or physical therapy. In typical Elaine fashion, she asked to be put on the waitlist so that she could participate if another patient couldn’t make it.

Unfortunately, it never happened.  As Elaine’s dad used to say, “Son of a beetchy!”

Instead, she spent the morning with Ben talking about Whitney Houston and how her furniture may or may not fit into her new house. Around lunch time, Julie came by to hang out for a while. We are so grateful that Richie and Julie are back in town.  We are excited to announce that they are scheduled to be here for a couple months.  It such a blessing for us (and for Elaine). 



Elaine only has three more nights in the hospital. She is focused on that number, and it gets her through the day. The other thing that makes the days goes by is the support she has from friends and family. Today, Her friend Cindi stopped by for a visit. Cindi accomplished two very important tasks. One, she raised Elaine’s spirits. Two, she introduced Elaine to the wonderful world of Words With Friends. If you play, feel free to challenge Elaine. Her name is mightymiteETS.

 As you know, Elaine has named her left arm Little Darlin’ in an effort to make that arm (which was initially less than cooperative) more receptive to therapy.  The name and Elaine’s battle inspired our close friend Greg to write a song about Little Darlin’ and Elaine’s experience over the past few weeks. The link to the song is below, along with the lyrics. Elaine listened to this song about 50 times today. She would nod and comment when she really agreed with the words and she would laugh (her laugh was absolutely beautiful and contagious) at the funny parts.

We will leave you with a song tonight that sums up Elaine’s experience.  It is all about getting home!


Wide awake again alright
Machines bounce their soft light   
Across the cold tile floor
Is it day or is it night, I’m not sure.

I will get there today
However far it is they say
Tired deep down to the bone
But I know that I’m never alone.

Little darlin’,
I work so hard to get us home.
Little darlin’
I work so hard to get us home.

And when they come for me
They call this therapy
I’ve never worked so hard
As I work on healing these invisible scars.

I’ll keep on playing solitaire
And you’ll just keep on lying there
It’s 3 a.m. out in the empty halls.
Reach for the phone, I’ve got people I should call.

Little darling
Sometimes I forget you’re there at all.
Little darling
Sometimes I forget you’re there at all.

You’re still not pulling your own weight
But you are starting to cooperate
Everything is walking out that door
Tiny victories add up to win this war

Things that used to be so automatic
Have turned into awkward biomechanics
I’m learning to fly without wings
I’m learning how the blind man sings.

Little darlin'
I work so hard to get us home
But little darlin'
I work so hard to get us home


#24

February 18, 2012

Elaine had a great day. She slept well although she is definitely tired of being woken up at 5:00am for her daily blood draw. Her right arm is very battered as well since they aren't able to draw blood from little darlin'.

Elaine had a fun afternoon with her friends Pat, Marty, and Rockee. They made her laugh, filled her in on the scoop back in the desert and brought her delicious treats. They enjoyed some time outside in the sun and they marveled at the progress she has made since their last visit.



The weekend speech therapist was blown away by the progress. We are working hard on getting her to talk louder. We are even threatening to ignore her soft voice! Her vocal cords have been strained and after three weeks in a hospital, who can blame her. They seem to work REALLY well when anyone asks her release date though:)

Here is a very special message from Elaine!







All our love,
Fred, Ben and Staci

Friday, February 17, 2012

#23


February 17, 2012

It’s so hard to believe this all began three weeks ago today. We are choosing to look forward and focus on ALL the progress Elaine has made. Today was a bit of an emotional one for Elaine. She has been in a hospital for three weeks now, confined to a very small space and subject to days of or repeating her name, birthdate, where she is and why. It’s enough to make us crazy, and we aren’t even patients. We have firmed up her departure date. It is definitely February 22nd! They asked if she wanted to stay another week and without the slightest hesitation, she said she has done her time!



We spent a lot of the day today reminding her that, first and foremost, we are so thankful that she is alive and that she is of sound mind. This situation absolutely sucks, but it will get better. Her incredible strength and determination combined with her love and support from family, friends, and most importantly, God will get her through this. She makes noticeable improvement every single day and everyday gets stronger. When she enters the therapy room she is the patient with whom all of the trainers want to work, and they all yell suggestions and words of encouragement across the room.

Elaine talked to her dear friend Dana today. Dana has been through more than her share of health problems over the last year during her battle with leukemia. She told Elaine to get rid of the negative thoughts and keep fighting like she does. She said her dream is to get strong enough so that she can get on a plane and come and visit Elaine. Dana, we love you and pray for you nightly. We can’t wait for you both to be healthy again soon!

We explained to her that we have never been more proud of her in our entire lives, and that if the situation were reversed, she would be doing the exact same thing for us - although I’m not sure we have her strength! We don’t use the term hero lightly, but we are absolutely convinced that her efforts and attitude are truly heroic.

There aren’t words to say how much we love Elaine or how inspirational she is to us. Fred also deserves a ton of credit as he has not only displayed his unconditional love but also given her strength and encouragement when she needs it. He believes in her, and not only tells her but shows her. Today when she needed to use the restroom, typically we wheel her in. Today he made her take his hand then he ever so carefully and confidently had her walk there with him. She could do it and it was because of her will and because he encouraged and believed in her. It was awesome!



We are looking forward to this being our last weekend in the hospital. Elaine is doing tremendously well. We hope you enjoy your weekend and thank you for taking the time to read this and keep her in your thoughts and prayers!

We absolutely believe that Elaine will make a full recovery from this. As the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. “ Elaine, we love you, support you and believe in you!