It’s been a long six weeks. After 38 days of being at the hospital all day, crying, hoping, praying, laughing, crying, being frustrated, crying, and begging, it was good to get home! Of course, he was released (last Wednesday) in the middle of a raging blizzard so we were stuck in Denver, but the next day we drove the 150 miles in 4WD to get home.

As most of you know by now, my son Hunter was in a near-fatal motorcycle accident on September 20th and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and extensive facial fractures. Now, six and a half weeks later, it is no less than miraculous how well he is doing. He is living here at home with Rich and I and he is getting stronger every single day. Although it will probably be a long time before Hunter is able to go home and work and drive, we are thrilled with his progress. Right now the big mission is to get Hunter stronger physically—he lost 25 pounds he couldn’t afford to lose while in the hospital and you can only imagine what 6 weeks in bed would do to your stamina. He has only been eating by mouth for a few days now and is still dealing with a lot of pain. In another two weeks he should be free of the stomach tube and the extensive hardware in his mouth (used to rebuild his now-titanium face).

Unfortunately, this current mission does not bode well for my five-pound challenge. I have never bought and fixed such fattening food in such copious amounts in my life. Everything I make is now high-calorie and the highest possible fat content. If I can, I add even more fat than the recipe calls for. And then, of course, if he does not eat it, well… I hate to waste it! Oh boy.

It’s been really hard to get back into a regular routine since we’ve been home. It’s sort of like waking up one day, at the age of 50 (when life starts getting really good), to find you suddenly have a toddler in the house. But please don’t misunderstand me, Hunter is not in any way acting like a toddler mentally, but taking care of a very sick person is quite time consuming! My time is not my own anymore and I find myself scrambling to find time to answer emails, get a run in or take a rare soak in the hot tub. I imagine many of you have had similar experiences. How’d you do it? Any words of wisdom?

In spite of my whining, I feel like things are getting back to normal, slowly but surely for me. I am ready to get back to work, start thinking and writing about horses and maybe even riding one. Who knows, maybe I’ll go clean a few stalls and really get my mind sorted out. Expect more from me now.

Best,

Julie

 

 

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18 Comments

  1. HI Julie,
    And a big Hi to Hunter – glad you are home taking advantage of all of your mom’s meals that sound really great! So much for the 5 pound challenge w/Xmas coming for all of us! Glad your on the up side and enjoy your time together and the Holidays!
    Susan in Pa

  2. Hi Julie,
    Not an easy set of circumstances to say the least, my prayers are with you.
    Two things there is a great site called http://www.caringbridge.net you can set up a webpage for Hunter. You tell people about it, then you only have to update one place, and if people want to comment great, if not they can still find out what’s going on. course, you do have your blog!
    this worked well for me during cancer treatment.
    Second, Craig Hospital (at Swedish) is fabulous for people with TBI. If you haven’t been hooked up with them already, check them out.
    God Bless and Be Well, Arlyn LaBair

  3. Dear Julie and Family,
    I am saying my prayers for your son and your whole family as you deal with this life changing event. God bless you and give you all the strength and determination you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
    Susan Letheby
    Lincoln, NE

  4. Hi Julie: Three years ago my brother was in a very serious motorcycle accident. He was in a propofol induced coma for almost a month and then a long stay at Spalding Rehabilitation Center. I can relate to your emotional ups and downs and know what you are going through. I also at that time had to be a support for my parents who were in their late 70’s (my father who has since passed away). I found the following helped me to cope and accept what had happened to my brother: You need to take care of yourself. Don’t scramble to answer email. Know it’s okay to cry and release any emotions you’re feeling. Talk through them with a family member or friend. Don’t feel quilty to laugh. I really had a hard time learning to let any joy or happiness into my life or I felt guilty. Joy and happiness will come back into your life. Try and turn all your anger and fear over to God. Hunter is in God’s hands. Turn to your beloved horses for patience. I wanted my brother to be healed asap and it took time and patience for that to happen. Love and prayers to you and your family.

  5. HI Julie – Glad to hear Hunter is home! My husband had a bad horse wreck last year and when he came home after 2 months in rehab was still wheelchair bound for 3 weeks. We are in our 50’s,no kids & family is 3 hrs away. So, that left me. I still had to work full time, visit our boarded horse, stay strong, pay bills etc… Looking back I don’t know how I kept all of the “balls in the air”. But, you know what? It just happens. Somehow you get it all done and as your son gets better (which he will) things will get easier. I promise! But till then you really do NEED to find some alone time somehow. Go clean some stalls!!! Very therapeutic! Our prayers continue to be with you.

  6. Hi Julie, I was so sorry to hear of your troubles, and just want you and Hunter to know that many people are thinking of you both. Get well really soon Hunter . . . and don’t forget to take care of yourself, Julie.
    kind regards,
    Pat

  7. Hi Julie, I’m reading a book that has helped me tremendously called “Excuses Begone”. The title sounds harsh with your circumstance, but a couple things that come to mind from it (and I’ve learned from other places too) are 1. try to chose to believe in a positive outcome and align yourself with a Higher Power (whatever your belief system is) knowing that all things are possible. 2. try to live in the present as much as possible. “live each present moment completely and the future will take care of itself”. The Now is all we have. Wishing you the best. Cindy

  8. Hi Julie,
    I am so glad to see that Hunter is home and progressing well. I have not be through what you are going through so I don’t have any words of wisdom. Just know your family is in my prayers and I am sure the connection you have to the universe because of your four legged creatures will help.

  9. Hi Julie,
    I never read that your son had a motorcycle accident. I am so so sorry for you. I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through, a LOT I’m sure. I hope your son continues to recuperate and things will get easier for you. I have always thought that motorcycles were accidents waiting to happen. Several members in my family have been injured on motorcycles and I hate motorcycles to this day. A lot of people don’t ever get a chance to live from a motorcycle accident.

    Your horses will give you stamina to keep going! They will be your backbone and help you to overcome. I hope for the best for you and your family.
    Janet

  10. Julie – Hooray!!! I’m so relieved Hunter’s home & is doing well. I’ve done some long-term home health care, but nothing as extensive as what you’re experiencing. When my elderly mom-in-law lived with us after back surgery, my days were filled with seeing to her needs. She was semi-ambulatory & able to feed herself, but not much beyond that. I couldn’t leave her for very long, so the worst part for me was having to stay indoors so much. I agree with Beth’s comment about taking time for yourself & drawing strength from your animals. Stealing away to the barn to “nuzzle a muzzle” for a few minutes is a great respite! Best wishes to you & yours, MzLin

  11. Hey Julie, I am glad to hear Hunter is home and that you are there for him. My prayers are for you all to have the strength necessary to continue your mission. You have all already overcome incredible odds and with God’s help you will continue. Do remember to take care of your self too. If that’s riding , or mucking or running, whatever, take that time. You need you own strength and well being to care for others. It has been my experience, though I have not had to deal with such a tragedy as yours, that horses give us strength and energy. So any contact you can have with your animals you will find is helpful to your peace of mind. They have much to give. I wish you the best and am continuing to send prayers your way. You hang in there and hold on for the rest of the ride.

  12. So glad to hear that Hunter is home and recovering. You’ve all been through a lot. One suggestion, take advantage of whatever help is offered to you. Whether it is someone making a meal or house cleaning. Use this time to go to the barn or groom a horse. We all know how theraputic this is. My love to you and your family.

  13. Julie, first of all, please know that I’m still praying for you and Hunter every day and everything will get back to normal at some point. You NEED to “whine” occasionally, just to release the stress and get it off your chest. It’s the thing that makes us all human. When I helped care for both my parents when they were terminally ill, it was at once both gratifying and overwhelming. Of course, it’s a different feeling entirely when you know the outcome isn’t going to be positive no matter how well you take care of them. Hang on to the JOY of having your son with you and the knowledge that the care you’re giving him will restore him to his normal life. That will get you through the tougher moments.
    Lots of love and well wishes from South Florida,
    Terri Lee Watson

  14. Yes, Life will never be the same for you, your husband or Hunter….the good news is you get to visit a country you never knew existed….and learn a whole new language and culture, and find out about parts of yourselves you were not aware of. Not a journey anyone plans for ….but definetly an interesting trip. Keep your faith and your sense of humour, and make use of the friends and family. The idea about the TBI support group sounds like a good one too…they will help you learn that new language and culture. We will keep you in our prayers. Sincerely, Ellye and Marion

  15. I’m so glad that Hunter’s home and it’s going to be tough, but you’re a tough cookie, and I suspect, so is he.

    Being home where you can escape to the barn will help a lot; even a minute or two here and there will be good for your mental health.

    Hugs to the family,
    Shawntel

  16. Hi Julie, Glad to hear that your son is home and doing much better. If you have not had a chance to do so, may I suggest that you look into joining an on-line support group for families of TBI patients. A dear friend of mine suffered a severe TBI and his wife found wonderful support, information and help through the group she joined. They are also in Colorado, in Woodland Park, so I know there are groups available in your area. I’m sure they would be very helpful to you. I will keep you and your son in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sherry Bowman
    Rockport, Texas

  17. I just starting reading your blog, and I am so sorry to hear about what happened. My husband and I will keep you, your family, and your son in our thoughts for a quick recovery and strength through such trying times.

    Adam and Allison


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