3 men and baby?!? um no just me

I have been wanting to post this for a while now but due to other things happening (both blessings and not so much blessings) I seemed to put it off more and more. But today I thought I would sit and spend the next day or two getting it all (or as much of it as I can) out and on here.

So please indulge for me for a bit while I tell you about 3 (of the 5) men in my life that are my blessings and my cause for many tears, of both happiness and frustration!
First is Sam.
My Sammi.
He was my biggest baby at 8lb 13oz and from there on was at the low end of the birth rate scales — now being my ‘smallest’ (extremely lean and thin at 5’8″ and just barely now 123lbs). He was my quiet baby that would grunt softly for feeding times and he loved to snuggle with me. He was ‘my’ boy just as Josh was ‘dad’s’ boy…
As you know this blog was started because of an accident that he had on July 29/08 with a .22 calibre rifle that accidentally discharged and struck him in the head — resulting in a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). At this moment in life ( and I am SURE forever) he is my constant reminder that God DOES perform miracles and we should look for them everyday but he is also a reminder that God allows things to happen so He can work thru you, so that other things (maybe another miracle) can happen to someone else (or even yourself!)
Our home usually has daily drama that has occured from either a.) a TBI moment/issue/backlash b.) teen angst or c.) cuz I truely believe God has a wonderful (and possibly warped) sense of humour! I am sure this is the same with every other house in Canada, USA and the world, but when it is happening in your kitchen — and you are in the centre of it– nothing else is happening anywhere else in the universe but there!
Sam has been working hard to not only reach his goals but he usually surpasses them by huge leaps and bounds and in a time that is unbelievable to not only us (as parents) but to the doctors as well. All you really need to do is go back and read a few posts from last year to know what I am talking about here… heck go back and read them all to get the full affect of the whole situation!
I wanted to make this post tho to also introduce you to the other 2 men in my life that are not only challenges but huge incredible blessings from God. These are men who yes, do challenge my patience, my sanity and my creativity…
First is my dad.
He is now 62yrs old and lives in the local Personal Care Home near us. We see him every week (sometimes a few times) for visits, ice cream, apple pies, dinner, etc. He was my daddy. He was my knight in shining armour as a little girl, as a teen and yes even as a grown woman  with 2 small children (at the time of his ‘accident’– he was 48) He had many, many faults(dont we all!?!) but as with most girls- their dad is the best. 
On Dec 16, 1995 Sam was born in Neepawa, Manitoba, Papa (my dad) was called to announce the birth(he lived in Bruderheim,Alberta), 4 days later both Sam and I were allowed to go home and on Dec. 22 somewhere around 3AM there was a knock on our door and there stood my dad. Smiling, tired but smiling and wanting to see his grandsons, Josh and Sam. We spent a great Christmas with him and when he left for home on the 27th early in the morning he gave me his favorite jean jacket, kissed and hugged me goodbye and promised to call when he got home. He did and he and I spoke on the phone at least 2-3 times a week after that until Aug long weekend 1996. (I still have the jean jacket ☺)
That was the weekend my mom was remarried to Dwayne and my dad was beaten up by his almost exwife’s boyfriend with some help from her too. I wont go into the gory details surrounding the beating but it is enough to say that my dad is now a limited mobility quadripeligic with severe brain damage that has him more like a 7-8 yr old most days (on a ‘good’ day). I treasure that Christmas with my dad. It was an amazing gift from God, something that I will always hold dear in my heart.
Now my dad has more off days than on it seems. He will talk more with Dennis or the kids than with me, but maybe that is because our last conversation we had had (on the saturday morning of my mom’s wedding)ended in a disagreement…I dont know.  We are never quite sure what is going on in his head so we are very cautious with what we tell him (he doesnt know about Sam’s accident) in case in his more lucid moments he worries and frets about things.
He almost ALWAYS know Dennis and the kids, my mom and his siblings but sometimes I am a sibling or someone totally random. He was at Dennis’ wedding but not mine! (Dennis assures me I am his first wife☺) I had thot maybe my dad would confuse me with my mom (Debbi) since we look alot alike and call my daughter Hannah ‘Jodi’ (since we also look alot alike!) but he has NEVER made that mistake. (Isaac and Hannah were both born after his TBI). 
There are many issues that we regularily deal with, with my dad but its all good. He is in a wonderful PCH that has great nurses and aids and other staff supports. We are able to see him more regular now that he has moved here with us to Manitoba (he was living in Alberta with his gf (who looked after his care) up until about 6 years ago).
When we ask my dad to sing songs with us he can do it without thinking but ask him what he did today and sit back for a giggle cuz some of his days are great! Once he was with my granddad buying a new car off the showroom floor! (I checked this story out and it never happened) Another time was when he moved from the old lodge to the new facility he thought he had moved to Gravenhurst, Ontario (this is where he is from) and he was determined that he did… so we let him think it, since the next day he knew where he was (in Neepawa). Somedays he is all smiles and kisses for me and then there are the days where he is glaring and telling me to (insert swear here) off… he tries to bite hands (a defense mechanism for him), he laughs at jokes, he will ask for beer… he will sleep thru a visit and snore to his hearts content…that is my dad now.

The other amazing guy in my life is the love of my life, Dennis. He is my best friend not just because he is my husband, but because we were very close ‘best friends’ before we started dating. We were friends first and that is why I truely believe we are best friends and still married now!

My husband also has a TBI. He is a high functioning survivor of an undiagnosed TBI. When he was just a teen (17 i think) he was in a truck accident with his brothers and was tossed pretty good in the process. But when he can really pinpoint his own ‘issues’ was when he was driving a truck (with a friend)that hit the second engine of a moving train(this was in 2000). They were both thrown from the truck and the friend, saddly died. But since then Dennis suffers from many of the same issues as Samuel. He needs to have a daily planner to stay organized, he will explain things — to death ☺– so that he is sure that HE understands what he is talking about. He relates most (99%)  things to farming (someting he can tangibly see and identify with — I had to learn that ‘prettier than a prize heiffer on fair day’ was actually a compliment). He has no real memories of his childhood (he thinks most of what he ‘remembers’ is due to listening to the family tell stories). I know that when you hear these things you say”ya but we all do these things to a degree’ but  try doing it and having to actually WORK at thinking … it isnt just a natural occurance for people with a TBI. Dennis will have episodes of fatigue, moodiness, overload of senses and general unease. Dennis’ accidents were in a time (and a town) that was before looking for or at TBI as a result of accidents. There was no brain swelling with him so there was no cause for concern… til now. Not that there is concern but there is an awareness.
6years ago I went back to college to get my Educational Assistant Dipolma and learned alot about issues with children I would have to learn to work with in a school setting. One of our papers (the major paper) was to choose an ‘issue’, I chose TBI as it was prevelant to my life and I wanted to know more about what it was doing to my dad and how to use tools to help him and others in my daily life and work. As with most term papers, you get immersed in it and things that were foggy and fuzzy to begin with start to take on more shape and that was when I realized that Dennis had a TBI. Dennis was also going to college to get his Agribusiness  and passed the course not only with flying colours but with distinction, and 3 scholarships and cash awards. He also won an award for his business plan that he developed for our our sheep farm! So you see where I am going with the high functioning TBI…neither Sam or Dennis’ intellect was dimished due to their TBI– just thier patterns of thinking, organizing and processing information.
TBI is huge and daily (and I mean EXTREMELY) daily in my life. So please bear with me when it seems I go on at lengthy extents about it. I need to do this in order to keep going and stay sane. I am in the process of working hard to bring more awareness to TBI survivors AND caregivers! we tend to get really lost in the shuffle of it all and sometimes when the survivor is getting lost through the shuffle we are fighting harder and harder to hold us both above water to keep us from drowning.
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1 Comment

  1. Wow Jodi- wow – I am without words – vent away whichever way you want. Release is a very good thing. Wow – you must be one special person for God to entrust you with such an undertaking.

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