Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Riley had twirling practice from 11 - 1 and Cade and I went to visit my brother and nephew. We got back to Lubbock at 5 o'clock and Rick was eating supper. Last night he got an increased amount of sleeping meds and he said he slept all night for the first night in a long time. We also backed off of one of the meds that was increased last week. It was having the opposite affect that we wanted. Instead of helping him move better, it was causing him to freeze a little bit. I could tell a difference already today, especially in his facial expressions. He pulled a good one today on the way to the swimming pool. Usually there are two patients and two techs on the bus. Since Rick was the only patient and he's never been impulsive on the bus, Justin took him by himself. When they got there, Justin told Rick, "sit tight, bud and I'll get your chair unloaded first, then I'll help you get down the stairs." Which is what we always do. So, Justin is getting the chair and the next thing he knows, Rick has taken his seatbelt off, stood up, walked to the door, AND taken one step down all by himself before Justin could get to him! It scared Justin to death. I asked Rick what he was thinking and he said, "I wasn't going to go all the way down."

Tomorrow he has a baclofen pump refill and we plan on going up a little bit on that dose to help his left leg a little more. It doesn't swing in front of the right foot near as bad as it used to, but it still needs a little help.

Thank God for answered prayers!


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

We had a lot going on today. First of all, this morning Rick tried out a Dynavox communication device. This is a small computer with speakers that will help him with his communication. The rep had to do a quick 5 minute assessment to see if Rick could actually use the device. When he was done testing he said that Rick tested in the top 10% of clients that he sees and he was very excited about getting Rick the Dynavox. Studies have shown that these devices either help improve natural voice/communication or have no affect on it. In other words, it's not meant to replace speech, just make it easier for Rick to communicate, especially with people who aren't as familiar with him. The Dynavox is a $7500 machine, that we can receive free of charge from a grant. The STAP grant is funded by all those annoying fees we pay on our telephone bills, but never quite no for sure why we're being charged we do! The grant process and ordering of the Dynavox takes about 6 weeks. Rick really likes that you can customize the buttons and said that he would definitely need a button that says, "Go get me a beer!" Ha! He did lots of walking in both PT sessions and climbed the stairs. He had 2 additional speech sessions today as well. At the end of the day, Missy, the case manager found me. She said that in morning rounds, everyone agreed that Rick needs a break. So, on July 30th, he gets a MONTH long break! Can you believe it? He was pretty happy when I told him. So, we will spend the month of August in Seymour, and then back to TLC to finish up. While on his break, I plan on having him see a PT, OT, and ST, but just a couple of hours a day...nothing too strenuous.

God continues to answer prayers. I've been so worried about Rick's attitude, and just knowing him like I do, I can see him going down hill. I prayed for a break...and look what we got! What a blessing! Praise the Lord!


Monday, June 28, 2010

Rick had a pretty good weekend...probably the best he's had in a few weeks as far as attitude goes. We didn't go anywhere, just hung out at TLC. I think that helped since he got to sleep in both days and get a nap. Day passes are great, but he doesn't ever get the rest he needs.

And, today was a pretty decent day...not back to his good attitude yet, but getting there. He worked on balance in morning PT and then went to the pool this afternoon. They took the basketball goal and little balls to the pool for the patients to play. Rick actually shot and sent the ball about 15 feet...that is the farthest he has thrown anything since he's been hurt. He was able to throw it that far about 3 times, and the rest of his shots were pretty good, too. We met with our case manager today, and she reminded Rick that even though it has been a year since his injury, that is still considered a pretty new injury in the brain injury world. And she also tried to convince him that he is still making progress, even if he can't always tell.

The kids and I will be heading to Seymour tomorrow evening and stay on Wednesday for twirling practice. We'll be back in Lubbock on Thursday and Friday. And I'm hoping to get back to TRR next week to finish packing and get everything loaded.

Goodnight and God Bless,

Friday, June 25, 2010


Got going this morning, but took a long break when Barry delivered the trailer...and boy is it a trailer...53 foot long. It should hold everything we have with no problem! Thank you Barry and Craig for doing this for us, we will be forever grateful. I got started on the outside storage today. This is normally Rick's I opened the storage room door and just stood there for a few minutes...hmmmm what to do, what to do. Luckily, that's about the time Barry showed up and I just shut the door back. I'll save that for next week! Inside is pretty well done...packed a few boxes today and marked them "random". That's when you know you're getting to the short rows. Random is different than miscellaneous. Random is the box that has q-tips, green vet wrap, a Christmas ornament and the humidifier in it. I'm staying the night again tonight. I have to pick Riley up from church camp in the morning and then back to Lubbock to see Rick. I only need another 1/2 day here and I'll have it knocked out! I called Rick earlier and he said he had a good day. They went to Main Event for their outing today, so he probably played pool or bowled...he couldn't remember what he did!

May God bless everyone who continues to pray for and support us. Rick loves hearing from everyone. So whether you killed a rattlesnake on the back porch or you planted a garden, he'd love to hear about it.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


Sorry I didn't post yesterday...I took Cade to see Toy Story 3, cute movie, but you can never beat the original. Rick had a decent day yesterday. Emilee (OT) visited with me a little bit about his initiation or lack there of lately. We're just not sure if it's medication related or if his body just can't take anymore...he made need a little r&r. He is still making improvements, so it's kind of a funny thing. I will trust their judgment on this. Rick told me this morning, "I'm tired of this sh**!" Ooookaaaay...I hear ya loud and clear, Rick. Just not sure if taking a break is an option, but we'll see. Cade and I left this morning to come home. He called Jodi Tarver on the way, and we ended up having lunch at her house and he is staying the night in Guthrie. I've made great progress today packing. I called Rick about 6:30 and he said he had a good day. He sounded really good on the phone and that makes me really happy.

At this time last year, things were minute to minute. I'm so amazed at how good God is...he's bringing us through this, and He will make good on his promises. Please continue to lift Rick up in prayer as we get closer and closer to his complete healing.

Let the praises ring, 'cause HE is everything.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today was a little better today as far as attitude goes. He walked on the treadmill in PT and was able to walk for a total of 22 minutes split into 3 sessions. In his afternoon PT session he and Cade played a game together. They tied a rope to Cade and he would sit on a rolley stool. Rick would have to give Cade a push on the rolley stool (which he would only roll about a foot) and then Cade would propel himself out to a mat that had Starburst candies on it. Then Rick had to pull him back in. So he had to keep his posture good and concentrate on his balance. Kelly had a good handle on him most of the time, but he did great pulling Cade back in each time. He did "fall" one time and had to get back up...he wasn't happy about that, but he made sure to keep his balance. He and Cade got to split the Starbursts that were collected. At one point today I was helping him in the bathroom. We have some of our best conversations in the bathroom. I told him he was going to be okay...everything is going to be okay. And he said he knew he was going to be okay, but then said, "but why does it have to take so long?" It's like Dr. Mercer told us from the get go...this is a marathon. And Meredith (ST) and I were talking this afternoon and she said this lull that Rick is going through is pretty typical of patients who have been through 6 months of intense therapy...and it will be 6 months for Rick on July 4th. I just hope he can push through it.

For You girded me with strength for the battle; those who rose up against me You subdued under me. II Samuel 22:40


Monday, June 21, 2010


Such a Monday today. Rick has been in a foul humor all day. I've asked him why, and he just shrugs his shoulders, so I'm gonna blame it on Monday. He walked this morning on the treadmill and Kelly did some testing that has to do with him knowing where his foot is being placed while he's walking. He is having some trouble telling where his feet are at when he takes steps. I'm so glad Kelly thought to test for they can work on getting it fixed. In OT he made cookies...and this time and cracked the egg and got it in the bowl perfectly. This afternoon he got to go to the pool. We haven't been there in about 3 weeks because they have been re-lining it. We got a visit from a former patient today. Robyn was in town for a doctors appointment and stopped by to see everyone. She sat down beside Rick, grabbed his hand and said, "I love you." And he said, "I love you, too." It's great to see her doing so well. Bryan (Rick's brother) called tonight and Rick talked on the phone with him, and was happy to hear from him. Rick is kind of hard to understand on the phone, so if you call, be prepared to do most of the talking and "yes", "no" questions are best. Thanks to everyone who sent a card or message wishing Rick a happy Father's Day...he loves hearing from everyone.

My son attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings. Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh. Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:20-23


Sunday, June 20, 2010


Wow! It's hard to believe a year has gone by. Rick has made so much progress in his recovery and we've all made so much progress in our growth as Christians, and I pray for continued progress in both areas. I know more than I ever wanted to know about Traumatic Brain Injury and hope that I can continue to help people who have been faced with the same circumstances that we have, and help them to understand that there is HOPE!

We had a pretty good Father's Day. I was able to brink Rick over to Laura and Lyssa's for a few hours. I cooked him lunch and he got to sit in the recliner and watch Bononza on the big screen tv. We couldn't hang out all day because I had to get Riley to church camp and pick up Cade from my dad. Riley is at White River Youth Camp (Training Center for Christ). This is her 3rd year to go and she always has a blast. I went from there to Dickens and picked up Cade and we came back to Lubbock in the storms. He had a great time with his Vernon cousins...thanks to Devin and Sandra for having the courage to add one more boy to their household this week!

So, what's next for us? More of the same ole' thing! Rick will continue to stay at TLC as long as he is making progress. Our insurance is still paying (praise God!), and when it stops, then we qualify for DARS and that will provide Rick the funds to pay for 6 more months of therapy. The kids are trying to have a "normal" summer. We are trying to get packed up at TRR and put everything in storage until we find a place. We will be "here, there, and yonder" this summer!

Thank you for all your prayers and support. We could have never made it through this without you.

Be strong, courageous & firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

God Bless,

Friday, June 18, 2010

DAY 362, 362, & 363

I have start this post off on a sad friend Brad Bolton from Vernon passed away yesterday. Bless his heart...he has fought cancer for the better part of the last 9 years. He and Raji and their boys have been so brave and courageous through all of this. I always thought it was unbelievable how they could live months at a time in Houston for Brad's treatments, but here we are coming up on the one year anniversary of Rick's accident and haven't really been home in a year. May God ease this family's pain and give them peace.

Rick has had 3 good days in a row. From the reports I got from the therapists, TA's, and Rick himself, Wednesday was one of the best days he's had as far as his voice goes. He was really talking well, and even went to Bahama Bucks on a special outing to order a strawberry/peach smoothie. It took him 3 tries, but they finally understood his order. Laura (PT) has been on vacation in Africa this week, so Rick is working with Kelly the PT student with the supervision of the another PT. He works really good for Kelly and I really like her, too. Today we went to Lake Alan Henry for the outing. This lake is south of Post, so it took an hour to get there. We left this morning and were there most of the day. Dr. Wolcott brought his boat out to the lake for all the patients to ride on. His boat was built to be wheelchair accessible and was no problem for anyone to get on. It's a double decker so there was plenty of shade and plenty of room...we really enjoyed it. Especially Riley, she got to slide down the slide off the back of the boat! Dr. Wolcott is such a great person. I don't know too many doctors who would take a day off to spend it at the lake with his patients.

I still need to spend about 3 more days at TRR before I have everything packed up. Hopefully that will happen next week. It will be a relief to have that done, but it will be very hard to say goodbye. The folks at TRR aren't just co-workers, they are our friends, too.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Other than taking Riley to church camp on Sunday, we will be here all weekend. Please inlcude the Bolton family in your prayers.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DAY 360

Rick's attitude was way better today, and that makes it a better day for all of us. He started off the day in PT walking with the "big walker". It has wheels on all four corners and causes him to have to concentrate more on keeping his balance. He is now able to compensate when he falls off balance...used to he would just fall until someone caught him. He took some fabulous steps...his left leg doesn't cross over in front of his right at all any more. It totally amazes me. I just know that nothing will stop him now...nothing. Once his balance is better he'll take off. He worked on handwriting today in OT and he wrote everything perfectly legible. We are changing some of his meds to help him get over this flatness he's experiencing. We are also starting him on some sleep meds so he can rest at night...nobody has a good attitude when they don't get enough rest. We had a great lunch today...Ronda and Trey Thompson took Riley and I to Abuelos and it was fabulous!

Tomorrow morning, Riley and I are heading to Seymour for twirling practice. Then to Tongue River for more packing. Hoping to be done with that by the end of the month.

Jesus answered,"Go and tell John what you have heard and seen. The blind are now able to see, and the lame can walk. People with leprosy are being healed, and the deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life and the poor are hearing the good news. God will bless everyone who doesn't reject me because of what I do." Matthew 11:4-6


Monday, June 14, 2010

Rick's attitude went a little south today. He gets really frustrated when he has to peddle himself everywhere and noone will push him. Even though we tell him it's the best thing for him and it will help him get stronger, he doesn't care...he wants a push. I told him today that he had to peddle himself, "it's the rules." And he looked at me and said, "the rules suck!" He had a fairly easy schedule today and even got to take a nap this afternoon. He still complains of being tired and says he's not sleeping at all at night. So, I've asked that the TA's check to make sure he is really asleep when they do bed checks and not just poke their head in the door.

The folks from Pate got here at 11 and we met for about 2 hours. They expressed their deepest apologies for our experience at Pate, and did not try to make any excuses. They have supposedly already implemented policies and changed practices so that the things that happened while Rick was there do not happen again. I truly hope they have. I also got to tell Sid Dickson exactly how I feel about him. I got upset talking to him, but it was the only time I raised my voice and for the most part I was just factual and matter of fact about things. They didn't even try to argue with me...they knew I was right.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8


Sunday, June 13, 2010


The trip to Seymour on Saturday was great! Lauri Colbert called to tell me they planned on coming to Lubbock to see us, and I'm glad she did...instead of coming all the way to Lubbock, they just came to Seymour. Rick was really happy to see Darrell and Lauri, Aunt Chyral and Granny B. The Graf's stopped by, too. Mom cooked a great lunch and Rick ate and ate and ate. We once again left the wheelchair in the car and he walked with assistance. A month ago we wouldn't have been able to do that. A month ago his balance and his left leg wouldn't have allowed it. Everybody commented on how good he looked and how big his biceps are, and my sister challenged him to an arm wrestling match. He would not take a nap...afraid he would miss something I guess. He held baby Ava, but said he has forgotten how to burp a baby and how to change a diaper! Cade went back to Vernon and is spending the week with Devin and Sandra. We got back to Lubbock at 8 pm. This morning he didn't get up until 11 o'clock and didn't do much of anything.

Tomorrow the people from Pate should be here around 11 o'clock. I'm ready for them. And I will be nice, but everyone has to be held accountable for their actions. Someday everything we've ever done will be laid open for all the world to see. And, it won't matter if you sat on the front row of church every Sunday morning if you have also allowed the kind of things that went on at Pate to happen.

For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. And so each of us shall give an account of himself to God. Romans 14: 11 & 12


Friday, June 11, 2010

When I got here this morning, the first thing Rick asked me was, "Are we going to Seymour tomorrow?" And I said, " looking forward to it?" and he nodded yes. He had a good day. The outting this afternoon was to the Ranching Heritage Museum. It was a little hot, but nothing we couldn't handle. He walked with his walker and the assistance of Kelly half the time and was in his wheelchair half the time. His steps look so more scissoring!

I got a phone call from the social security office today. I filed Rick's disablity a few months ago and have been told by several people what a hassle it is to get disablity and that you always get denied the first time. So, I figured this phone call was more of questions, etc., but I was wrong. It was the phone call to let me know that his claim has been approved! I couldn't believe it! There was no hassle, there was no denial...praise the Lord. Once again He has answered prayers.

Pate is coming to visit with me on Monday. I pray that I can get through to them and not get mad and not get crazy. There are a lot of people who need their services. My heart tells me they are coming to visit because they truly care about their patients, but my head tells me it's probably only because I copied Baylor on the letter. That's okay, I just hope I can get through to them. TLC has also read the letter and are using it as a training tool with techs and therapists...kind of a "what not to do". I am once again thankful to God for using me to help those who can't help themselves. These patients need and deserve the best care they can get.

Good night and God Bless,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finally got back to Lubbock today. This is the longest I've been away from Rick since December. My grandmothers funeral service was very nice, and boy can those Catholic ladies cook! Wow, what a great meal. I spent some time at Tongue River and got some more packing done. Great news came today. Barry Eddleman is going to be able to get us a storage van to put our stuff in for as long as we need it, free of charge. That is an answered prayer! And, I'd say I have about 70% of the house packed up, and got to see everybody which is the best part. When I got back to TLC I asked Rick if everything was going okay, and he said, "no, I'm tired of this place." So, I told him it was either stick with rehab or sit in that wheelchair for the rest of his life and he said maybe rehab wasn't so bad afterall. He was happy to see us and said he missed us a lot.

He got another day pass for Saturday and we will be taking him to Seymour for the day. He is really looking forward to it. My mom is cooking him chicken fried steak and fried okra!

For we are God's own handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God predestined for us, that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.)

God Bless,

Monday, June 7, 2010


Rick got a day pass yesterday, and we thought we would just run over to Roaring Springs and pick up Riley, but once we were that close (40 miles) to home, we thought we might as well just run over there, too. When we got there I asked Rick if he needed his wheelchair or if he thought he could just walk into the house, and he said he could walk. So with me on one side and Riley on the other, that's exactly what he did. We got a little off balance on the steps and had to sit down, but he popped right back up and climbed them. Once we were in, he mainly relaxed in his recliner, but anytime he needed something, he would walk with me. It was awesome and I told him, "Rick, you just really impress the heck out of me." And he said, "Ya, but you're not that hard to impress!" Ha! Anyway, we just stayed a couple of hours and then headed back to Lubbock. This morning at 10 am he had an outting to the park. The same park where he slid down the slide a couple of months ago. Again, we left the wheelchair, and he walked with the help of Kelly and Laura. We were there for an hour and a half; he was so tired when it was over with. He also got to work on his cinch again this afternoon.

The kids and I came to Seymour grandma's funeral is in the morning. We will be here a couple of days, so I may not have any updates while we're here. We will stop back by TRR on the way back to Lubbock and pack some more...boy, that's a never ending chore, and apparenlty there is no moving fairy!

Thanks for all your prayers for our family.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

DAY 347 & 348

My grandmother, Mildred Smajstrla, died early this morning. She was a tough lady. She survived breast cancer, heart trouble, 2 strokes and a brain injury...oh, and raised 9 kids; Jimmy, Richard, Robert John, Sandy, Trishi, Phyllis, Diane and Margaret and her firstborn, Linda, who has been waiting for her in heaven. She wrote the book on patience. She got to meet her Lord and Savior this morning. Her pain, fears, and worries have vanished, and she has the answers to all the questions she ever had. In the book 90 minutes in Heaven, the author explains his experience:

As I try to explain this my words seem weak and hardly adequate, because I have to use earthly terms to refer to unimaginable joy, excitement, warmth, and total happiness. In another part he says this, Never, even in my happiest moments had I ever felt so alive.

Sounds good to me! Actually makes me a little jealous! Her funeral is on Tuesday @ 10 am.

As for Rick, well, not much worth mentioning today. The A/C is acting up today and it's 104 here today, but it's not really bothering Rick too bad. One of the funny things about him since his brain injury is that his body temp is stays about 97.1 instead of 98.6...guess that'll be an advantage in the summer. Yesterday he got a visit from Gerald Frank and they reminisced about power plant days. Gerald said, "Rick, I'm sorry I haven't been by here sooner, but I've been covered up." Rick smiled and said, "What's her name?" LOL! Toby Clark also came by with his two boys who hit it off with Cade and Rick enjoyed some stories from Toby. Especially the one about Billy Bob Bumpass and him getting pulled over by the highway patrol back when they worked for Waggoners. The officer asked Billy Bob for his license and said, "you're Bill Bob....what's this last name?" And BB says, "Bumpass" And the officer says how do you spell your name?" And BB says "B-O-B...same forwards as it is backwards." Rick got a really good laugh out of that one!

Thanks again to everyone who continues to pray and support us. God is faithful and will see us through this.

He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place? This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven. Genesis 28:17


Thursday, June 3, 2010

DAY 346

I got about 50% of the house packed up yesterday and dropped Riley off at Autumn's in Roaring Springs on the way back to Lubbock. Cade was extremely happy that he "got rid of my sister". Rick had a pretty good day in therapy yesterday, but expressed to Missy (social worker) that he wants another day pass. He also told her how tired and frustrated he continues to be. She did figure out that the night shift has been turning him every two hours. When she called to tell me that, I couldn't believe wonder he's tired. So, they have been told not to turn him at all and hopefully this will improve his energy and mood level.

Today Cade and I got here at 9:00. When it was time for theraputic recreation, I got his cinch building stuff out of the car and brought it up. He used his hands and his voice very well to teach Sarah and I how to build a cinch. He didn't get very far today, but hopefully this will be something he looks forward to. Cade and I left at 1:00...I can only keep him cooped up for so long, and ran some errands then went to the park.

The funny thing about Rick is that he's frustrated and doesn't always see the progress he's made, yet he goes to therapy every day and puts forth his best effort. His awareness increasing is a double edged sword. I give him pep talks every day and let him know that I still think he's the strongest man I've ever known, and that God has a plan for him...a plan for good, not for bad.

Good night and God Bless,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me, and heavier came each task;
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered.
He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me.
He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence;
I used all my keys at the lock
God gently and lovingly chided,
My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

DAY 343 & 344

There was no therapy yesterday so we didn't do much. The patients and TA's cooked out at lunch. I got Rick in the standing frame for 20 minutes. He said he didn't want to do it, but agreed to 20 minutes...he looked at his watch to make sure I didn't keep him in a minute too long. And at 20 minutes he was telling me it was time. I also got him on the mat and stretched him a little. When we were done I told him to stand up and he assistance from me whatsoever...he just stood. The mat was supporting him right behind his knees, but other than that, it was all him! Today the kids and I left Lubbock at 10 am to come to TRR. We checked on Rick first and he was in a pretty good mood...working hard in PT. I called and talked to him at 6 and he said he was okay, and that he remembered where I was. I told him, "right now I'm trying to pack Cade's room so the first thing I did was bring in the trash can! I think our son could be on "Hoarders" with all his "treasures"! And Rick agreed...he remembered what that room was like. Sammie and Stoney had us over for supper and then we sat on the porch and visited while the kids played. Sammie has been such a lifesaver to me and I will miss her so much when we move. I called TLC to check on Rick and they said he had a good day, but was extremely tired. We'll be here most of the day tomorrow and will hopefully have at least 50% of our stuff packed up.

As I packed today, I noticed all the books and other literature I had been reading right before Rick's accident. I looked at pages I had dog earred and how God had put all of this before me to prepare me for what was about to happen. He works in such mysterious ways...He makes all the pieces of the puzzle fit together when we can' matter how hard we try, we can't make them fit...He has to do it.

Everyone who is a child of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world-our faith. 1 John 5:4

God bless,