Thursday, May 31, 2012

Murder Scene

Today I cut myself while shaving. Really, a tiny nick. But with my medications it looked like a murder scene in my bathroom. I washed it, jumped out stood on the tile (the blood would ruin the rug) and hurried to towel off enough that I wouldn't make a small swimming pool in the bathroom. As I walked across the long rectangular room to get a tissue,  I left bloody footprints with every step. I got the tissue and applied pressure for a while and then put on a Snow White bandaid. Sheesh! This is yet another reson I HATE shaving!

See the gaping wound on the right side of my foot? Tragic, huh?
On a totally different subject, today I finished reading, Heaven Is Here, by Stephanie Nielson. I loved this book for so many reasons and we had so many feelings in common. She was told by Elder Holland that her scars were a witness of a miracle. This brought tears to my good eye as I realized that just letting myself be seen can be a form of bearing my testimony of the love of The Lord. 
She spoke about hiking up to the Y in provo on  the 1 year anniversary of her accident. I hate to admit this, but I'm a little jealous. At my 1 year anniversary I still had around the clock care, was in a wheelchair with feeding tube, was nowhere near living at home, and was still too fragile to even attend church.
However, she speaks of the pain she still lives with, her numerous future surgeries, and the daily struggles she still has. I realized her life isn't better than mine, just different, and I'm willing to bet that neither of us would trade places for a minute.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day

We had a great Memorial day. It started on Sunday with a visot to my dad's grave. Earlier in the day, Aleq found out that my dad coached my brothers in soccer so he put on his soccer shorts, soccer t shirt, and took his soccer ball with him to grampas grave.
The next morning, we all drove to Charleston (Utah not South Carolina) to visit the Carlson family graves. We then had lunch and then played at a park in Heber for a bit. To finish out the day we got shakes at Dairy Keen. Ahhhhh.
I miss my dad every day. It breaks my heart that my children don't know him yet. I think of his humor and the times during the past while that he would have made me smile during hard times. Through all of this there have been times when I just wanted my daddy.
However, I feel very strongly that he has been fighting for me on the other side. There have been times when I have felt him with me, helping and motivating in a way he never could have done had he been here. I know, also, that he has strengthened and comforted those around me, especially my mom and Robert. I love you, dad. Thank you.

Sharing soccer

Jain hates having her picture taken
Jain and her boyfriend


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Boys Night Out and Girls Night In

Last night Robert, Aleq, and Tommy went to a Real Salt Lake game. They had a blast even if it was freeezing! Aleq loved the game, knew who scored and how, got to walk on the field with his team, and was all excited  about the win! Tommy told me every snack he had and that the mascot, Leo, had hugged him and pulled up Tommy's hood, and loved the crown he got from Burger King. Totally different and sweet boys!
Jain and I painted our nails and watched Enchanted for about the 1000th time. She was very snuggly and we ate too many Kisses, her favorite candy.
I super love these nights!!

Has the boy behind him never seen a camera phone?


After my last post, I heard from a truly amazing (seriously, wow) lady, Tessie Friedli. I realize that so many children are suffering and my heart breaks over and over for these little ones and their families. But I feel a strange connection to her angel, Dakota.  We are 35ish years apart in age, have never even met, and have totally different struggles.  However, watching his progress and seeing our similarities brings so many emotions to the surface. Nearly every time I read their blog I find myself crying, then smiling and then cheering!!  What may seem small steps for others are HUGE in his world and much of his parent's feelings mirror my own. Friedlis, you are in my heart and on my mind more than you realize and  GO, FIGHT, WIN, DAKOTA!!
Tessie had some very thought provoking questions and while I initially was going to answer in an email, I realized that I wanted my own record of my answers. So here they are.
Q. Did you understand everythying just fine after your stroke?  A. Yes and no. I could understand what people were saying, and even loved watching movies b ut I didn't understand the gravity of it all. I remember thinking that I really wouldn't need rehab because I would be fine in a few days. Even months later while discussing leaving the hospital, my mom said I would be living with her after my release and I thought, no, I will be fine at home. I even had the nurses pump my milk for the baby for a couple of days before I realized that wouldn't work long term. And stopping nursing cold turkey...ouch!
Q. Did everyone around you that mentally you understood it all. And was signing your only way of talking? A. At first, I was on the vent so talking was not an option. I'm not sure why but I just started signing. My right hand was and is nearly useless so most signs would not work. But I could use my left to do the alphabet and a few signs. It was the only way I could let people know that I was still me. When they took out the vent, I could talk. However, what I thought were words were really just gibberish so again, I signed. After only a day or so I started coughing and gasping and I just remember a rush of people and someone yelling, "Stay with me!" before I blacked out. I woke up with my trache. And the gurgling noises made by  the tubing for it  drove me nuts! But after that, signing was my only way to communicate. I was unable to write or even make any sounds. Thank goodness for signing! It was very frustrating, though. Most of my family quickly learned the alphabet, which shows how ready to help they were. But you try spelling out sentences and see how mixed up everybody gets. One time I spelled out t-w-i-c-e to my mom and niece. They were totally confused and kept repeating, "twikee?" Arghhh!  And Most of the staff din't understand any. I used to hate it when my family would have to leave me because I felt  helpless. One doctor knew a few letters and he was so wonderful to just sit and together we would figure it out. I will never forget his patience. I also had one CNA and one nurse who knew enough and they took it upon themselves to teach others a few very helpful signs. I will always be thankful to Signing Time videos that I watched with my kids. Signing is a huge reason I am where I am.
Q. What did it feel like to get suctioned out your trache? A. Terrible. Before it got suctioned, I felt like I was drowning. I probably really wasn't, though. When I was getting suctioned, I felt fine for a second, but it seemed like they took forever to do it, and I would feel like there wasn't enough air and get all anxios that I would not be able to breathe and pass out. Occasionally I would motion for them to hurry or even stop. It was scary for me. But I had one nurse who was great! Just before she would put the tube down, she would start holding her breath and not let it out until she was done. That way she had a better idea of what I was feeling.
Q. When you said you were walking down the had enough muscle strength to walk at that point?  A. I would use the word "walk" very loosely. More like they were holding me upright and dragging me down the hall. I  remember onceI grabbed the bed rail with both hands and attempted to roll over. Everyone was cheering and happy because I had been able to raise both of my hands. I remember on a home visit before being released, I was trying out a recently installed grab bar. I couldn't pull myself from a sitting position to standing, yet I couldn't release my hands from the bar, so I was just stuck. In fact, a lot of time in therapy was spent just building up my core to be able to sit unsupported, I still prefer chairs with backs, can never do a push up without collapsing onto my face, and I break out in a sweat while using 5lb weights. I often have my KIDS carry things for mommy.
Thanks for the questions. These are things I want to write down but it has been so long, I forget!!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Fam

The day of my stroke was very sad, but very telling about my family. As Robert puts it, "Somebody sneezes and you all rush together." Very true. Our family has had some serious challenges, made huge mistakes, had unbelievably happy times, and extreme sad times. But in every time, all of us have come together for support, tears, yellng, smiles, hugs,  and even standing up for one another in the occasional sporting event fights.
So it is no surprise that the whole family was at the hospital that day.  But it didn't stop that day. Despite the previous late night, most of my brothers were at the hospital early the next day, even beating Robert who was exhausted but still very early! Wendy went and got my baby, much to the reluctace and thankfulness of Roberts parents. My brother, Craig, flew in from Virginia, as much to be with my mom as me. All of my family kept a constant vigil in the ICU waiting room. After a few days of traveling to and from home, my mom moved in to a hotel near the hospital and was there every morning at 8 and left just after 5 when Robert arrived. When I was moved to Neuro Accute, somebody from the family stayed every night in my room just to help my nerves. I remember one day when the Physical Therapists had me walking down the hall. My mind was telling me where center was and so I was leaning clear to one side. It took 3 therapists nearly carrying me just to get me upright. I was determined to make it down the hall and all 4 of us were drenched in sweat after only a short distance. Robert was there and offering encouragement the whole way, which probably wasn't that far but to me seemed like miles. When I finally made it to the waiting room, many family members were there, just waiting for me. I can't say who exactly, because my eyes were still so blurry.
And when I moved to Rehab, my family was right there with me. My mom was with me every day. She read to me, braided my hair, went to therapy with me, took me shopping at the gift shop, took me on long walks all over that hospital, both inside and out, bought oil and massaged my legs, showered me, helped cleaned my incisions, suctioned my trache, and so much more that only a mother can do for her child. My sister in law came every week or so and did my nails, my other sister in law decorated my room with a heart attack. There were visits and days spent in therapy with me, and fasting and prayers. And those who didn't already know it, learned the sign language alphabet so we could "talk". I never doubted their love and their having my back. They were doing so much for me that it was a great motivator to me.
Of course, it didnt stop at the hospital walls. They stepped in to watch my kids, (the kids probably had more activities that Christmas than I could ever give them), clean my house, help finish my basement, take my kids to appointments, and give help whenever they were asked, and even when they weren't.
I can never remember or name all that they did for me and my little fam. I just remember the warm feeling of feeling loved. That I will never forget.

Some of my fam. Front: Chase, Will, Logan Bench: Tommy, Mom, Aubrie, Jodi Middle row: Jake, Olivia, Ally, Lisa, Casidy, Kaitlyn, Ana Jain. Wendy Carson, Aleq, Matthew Back: Shanae, Josh, Matt, Tanner, Jed, Robert, Kevin Not pictured: Craig, April, Brach, Packer, Jake, Isaac, Ellie, Emma, Maddy, Reese, Edee
 My love for them has always been strong but I couldn't help but having that love grow and grow and grow!! Thank you all!

On a lighter note, one of my all time favorite stories happened when my brother, Jed, was staying the night in my room. My other brother, Josh had come to assist in giving me a blessing. On his way home, he called Jed from the side of the road. He said he was really sick and was throwing up. A cop had even come by and driven away when Josh was throwing up.  So Josh was turning back to the hospital and wanted Jed to meet him at the ER. Jed left my room and went to meet Josh. When Jed got to the ER entrance, he saw Josh's car but no Josh. Then he saw Josh crawling on the ground. Jed had to go park the car while people from the ER got a wheelchair for Josh. The whole night, Jed had to go from my room to the ER and back. Each time he would get to my room he would be laughing at some new thing Josh was doing. As he put it, "You had a stroke and were really sick and you were happy and kind and a great patient. Josh had a stomache bug and he was yelling for medication, pilows, etc."  Poor Josh, there are few things worse than stomache flu but he provided some much needed comic relief that night!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Pardon me yet another mommy proud post. Yesterday Ana Jain had her graduation from the FIRST year of preschool. My feelings on this are echoed by Mr. Incredible who said it was only a celebration of mediocraty. And still, when each of my kids have done this, I get so proud and just know they are the smartest and cutest 4 year old in the whole wide world.
They sang songs and each child had a part. AJ stood right up, walked up to the mike and said her part that she had worked and worked on. Unfortunately, her voice is like the rest of her (small) and only the front row could hear it. But she made me melt.
When it was over, she did not want pictures or treats, only to go home. We werent home 5 minutes before she complained of feeling sick and wanted to snuggle with me. Sure enough, a fever. For the past two days I have gotten to do nothing but hold her and love on her. I hate that she's sick but I'm loving all this cuddling!
I know that others would and did step in for me and would love my kids with all their souls. But nobody can love and cuddle my babies like I can. I'm so blessed to be their mommy, here and now.

AJ and Miss Katie

The Pledge

We've been in preschool all year long, learning and singing silly songs.

fell asleep after a long night!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


On Sunday there was solar eclipse. Not a total eclipse of the heart, but still good. (That reference was for you, Monica.) The whole experience was great!
Tommy heard about it a couple of months ago in school and came home to tell me what would happen. He made sure I knew we needed special glasses for it. So a few weeks ago, I ordered glasses and had them all ready. When the big day finally arrived, it illustrated the differences among all 3 critters.
Aleq: He was anxious all day and kept asking questions about how long it would last, if we could see it from our deck or have to drive somewhere, if the glasses really would work, if we should close the blinds to keep it from getting in the house, etc. When it finally started, we sat in the back yard with
Roberts parents and chatted and ate brownies. Aleq made sure his back was toward the sun and every time he walked anywhere, he shaded or closed his eyes, and occasionally bumped in to things. We explained that the Sun was no more dangerous than normal, but was sure he would go blind.
Tommy: He was very excited and his only concern was that his friend, Jaxon, would not realize that he needed special glasses and go blind. So after a reassuring call, he was ready to get started. He had to be repeatedly reminded not to look without glasses. During the eclipse, he and I played rock, paper, scissors. He added TNT dynamite, a bomb. and glasses. I never did catch on to what beat what and just waited for his lead after throwing a sign.
Jain: I still don't think Jain has any idea there was an eclipse. She was just happy with the brownies and her sidewalk chalk.
The grass is very uneven ground so I can't walk on it. I often try, much to the delight of my family. Robert figures that it is soft enough that I won't get hurt if I fall so he backs off if I ask him to.  However, Sunday he was protective and wouldn't let me try. He helped me in and out of my seat, carried things for me, and made sure I held his arm while we walked. He always does this other places but I don't often let him help me at home. It was yet another reminder of how much he thinks of, worries about, and takes care of me. I sure do love him.
My super cool critters in their eclipse glasses.

Jain totally ignoring the Sun.
 All in all it was a wonderful evening. Just sitting outside, playing with the kids, laughing and talking, and doing a whole lotta nothin! Oh, and the eclipse was fine, too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mothers Day

It has been a few days since mothers day and I have yet to post. I guess it's because it is such a tender subject that I needed some distance from the actual day or I would get all emotional and my husband would roll his eyes and my kids would say, "Moms happy crying. Again."
On the day of my stroke, I nearly lost all 3 of my children and Robert. If I had died, I know I would count the seconds until we were together again. And I really do love that I get to have my family together forever. But I want to be a mommy. Here. Now.

This stroke took so many things from me. Being gone nearly two years, I missed Christmas at home, lost teeth, new words, haircuts, bad dreams, snuggles, etc. And I missed all of Ana Jain's firsts. But I got so much in return. I have such fun memories of nurses gowning up and rushing to my room when they heard my baby was there, Aleq getting wheelchair rides, Tommy wearing his yellow boots, orange sweats, and bomber jacket and clomping down the hall to my room. My kids were involved in much of my therapy and that involved a lot of laughs and mommy proud moments. I have so many sweet memories through this whole thing.

And now? I get tons of hugs, I love you signs, snuggles, jokes, etc. And because I have to be slower paced, we have many "boring" days of hut building, story reading, anf just playing together. I love it!

For just a second I want to write about my Jain's other mommy. The day after my stroke, my sister, Wendy came to get my baby. She kept her for over a year. Jain slept in a playpen an Wendy's closet. It's a big closet. She used to take her to work and put her under the desk. When Wendy cleaned, she had to sing at the top of her lungs every time she would leave the room. When Jain was sick, she would lay her on her lap and massage her.  When Jain was really sick, Wendy was the one to take her to the doctor. Wendy was the one to snuggle her, comfort her, hold her, feed her and love her.  Jain still has a soft spot in her heart for Wendy and her whole family. I hope they will always stay close. And I am forever thankful that while I was away, Jain had such love and happiness surrounding her. My love for Wendy was always big but now it a whole new and wonderful layer.

Jain and Wendy on Mothers Day. Jain hated having her picture taken but wanted to show how pretty she had made Wendy.

And never fear Mom and Naya, your post is coming!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I Read Too Much

I’m reading a book by C.S. Lewis called “Mere Christianity”, meaning agreed, common , or central. In it he states, “Hostility has come more from borderline people, men not exactly obedient to any communion.” I find this to be very interesting, and in my experience, very true. I have found that when I am most likely to complain or criticize, it is often when I have become complacent or ignored my principles.
I have found the opposite to be true as well. For example, my mom tries VERY hard to obey God’s teachings.  It isn’t just something to do when it’s convenient, but something you do despite it being really hard at times. When she is trying her best, she is able to recognize the effort in others, too, regardless of religion.   Because she is not a fence sitter, she admires and respects others who stand up for their beliefs.
I remember on a visit to a Catholic Mission in San Antonio, she expressed her respect for the Pope standing up for what he believed to be right.  His teachings were not swayed by public opinion or making money. I personally could have little respect for any organization that would change their standards to make people happy or make a quick buck. City Creek Center is a great example of this. Believe in the LDS church or not, they aren’t bending on their standards.

Anyway, enough serious talk.  Here are a couple of pictures to lighten the mood. Enjoy!
He just came up from his bed, didn't say a word, and went back to sleep standing in our room.

Definately Robert's daughter!

So happy to have Grandma home from her mission for a few days!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

2 Ways About It

I  have been watching another blog of a woman with facial scars.  She has posted videos, portraits, etc. and has had numerous television appearances.  She seems to have embraced her new face.  Indeed, it is a badge of honor as it is a visual reminder of the triumphs of her life. It is beautiful. I'm not there yet. I see myself every day and allow others to take my picture, and even speak publically to large groups. But I avoid looking at photographs or videos of myself. When I must look, I always have the same reaction, "That's ME?!" It's been 4 1/2 years and I keep expecting to wake up and look like my old self. I would love the wrinkles and sagging skin that come with life.  Instead I have had two partial face lifts and my eye "done" without the usual pretty results.
But on the other hand, I love this new face. It is the look of the new me. I would not trade the miracles I have seen, the growth my family and I have done, and the AMAZING kindness I have witnessed.  Some days I see beautiful women and I think, "Oh, that's too bad that they haven't had the opportunities I have had."
That is a strange thing about my stroke.  It seldom is one way or the other. More often than not, I have mixed emotions. Even simple things do this to me. I LOVE  Diet Coke. In the hospital, after I had worked really hard in therapy, I would get some in my mouth but then have to suction it out (I couldn't swallow). Now that I can swallow, the carbonation makes it come right out my nose-very comical! So I really miss Diet Coke. But on the flip side, I now am totally carbonation free! That is something I always should have been but never had the will power to even attempt.
My favorite, though, is the my stamach scars. I have around ten, not counting the staple marks. They are ugly and my whole belly has a strange look from all the surgeries/procedures. However, AJ often lifts up my shirt to count my "belly buttons" and it has become like a game for us.  It makes me laugh every time.  Also, my physical therapist suggested that I tattoo and pierce my scars and then always wear a bikini top. That, too, makes me laugh. That would be punishing to everybody who saw me!!
Most everything about this stinks! But, as my brother in law put it, "She get's all the good stuff!"

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I can't pretend that I know the emotions felt by others. I really can't take those on so Iwill just give what I have been told and leave a lot of the emotion to the imagination.
As I said earlier, Robert was with me at the hospital.  At one point he was told it was probably meningitis and I would be fine. So he went home to see our kids etc. By the time he got back I had gotten much worse.  He refused to leave my side and, aside from the testing, didn't let go of my hand until they took me to the helicoptor.  Once they knew to go to the U, my family all volunteered to drive him there. He flat out refused. My brother, Josh even took Robert's car keyes. Nobody thought he was in any condition to drive. But he wanted to be alone.  At the hospital, he and my mom waited with me while the others were in the waiting room.  He says the ER was really quiet with dimmed lights.  Then Dr. Skalabrin got there and that all changed. People were running, orders were being shouted, and the whole room was organized chaos. But Dr. Skalabrin would stop what she was doing, take a knee, and explain what was happening, complete with pictures. Then up she would jump, yelling more orders and running around to do stuff herself. Robert and my mom were then led to a small waiting room. He says he had to lie on the floor with his feet on a chair just to get his breathing under control. When the Doctor came out to tell him that their best efforts were not working but that they had an idea, he didn't immediately say yes. He knew me. He knew that I would never just want to be TECHNICALLY alive. The Doctor said that although she couldn't make promises, she really thought that I would be able to enjoy life again. That was all Robert needed to hear and he signed the consent.  The Doctor told him that if he had a miracle in  his pocket, he should pull it out. He sat there, waiting for word, and planned how to tell our boys that their mommy was in heaven. When she finally came out, the Doctor told him it was over. He honestly thought I was dead. That couple of seconds is something he still doesn't really talk about. When she realized her mistake, Dr. Skalabrin quickly corrected it and explained that the procedure had worked and now it was just "wait and see" as to how much brain damage there was. By this time he was physically and emotionally exhausted so he went home for a few hours of rest before returnng to my side early the following morning.
My Mom:
Robert called her while I was still in the ambulance so she was there all day as well.  I assume she called my siblings but I honestly don't know. She was the one to relieve Robert when he went home for a bit. She was leading my family in prayers but was a mess as I began to deteriorate. At the U, she and Robert were together the whole time, except when she would walk down the hall to relay information to my family and friends who were gathered. Upon hearing that I needed a miracle, she walked down to them and told them that they had to make it happen. She has such great faith and fully expected a miracle. After hearing that the procedure had worked, she walked down the hall with Robert and just gave a thumbs up to my family. Afterwards, she too went home for a much needed rest before returning the next morning, and every morning the whole time I was in the hospital.
Papa and Naya (Robert's parent's):
They were up from St. George for my baby shower, which was supposed to be later that night. Because they were staying at their condo in Orem, they were able to be at the hospital quickly. Papa assisted Robert with giving me a blessing and then they went right over to take care of my kids. When they flew me to the U, Scott called Karen, and she came over to take the kids. Naya was really reluctant to leaveethems, but Karen told her she had to! At the U, they were just waiting with the rest of my family.  At one point, they left to get something to eat but before they even got a couple miles away, Robert called them back because he needed them there. They were upset that my family had not driven Robert down. They knew their son well enough to see that he shouldn't have driven. They also know how headstrong he is so once they knew the story, they understood. Once they knew that I was okay for the night, they went back to my house to care for my critters. Little did they know, they would be taking care of them for nearly two more years!!
Wendy's family:
When Wendy first heard that I was in the hospital, she asked to be kept informed. It was her daughters birthday so she had to work and then spend the evening with Kaitlyn. Once she got the call that it was more than a headache and they were moving me to the ICU, she and her husband, Kevin, and her daughter, Kaiylyn, rushed to the hospital. During the next few hours, she did what she does under stress, and scratched the heck out of her arms. She has no idea why but thats what she does. At one point a nurse caught her attention, held up her name tag, and told Wendy to remember her name for later. The staff knew what was happening or not happening was wrong. At the U, she did the other thing she does under stress, she curled up into a ball and lay her head on Kevin's lap. When they knew that the Doctors were trying one last thing, Kevin commented that it was going to work. When asked why, he replied that if it didn't, his whole family would lose their testimonies. It had only been 10 months since my dad had unexpectedly died and Kevin didn't think his family could take losing me, too.Wendy said she just knew that night that she needed to get AJ. So the following day, she did and kept her and loved her for over a year more.
Craig and April:
They were living back east and keeping in touch throughout the day. Craig kept asking if he needed to come and my mom, hoping that I would be fine, kept telling him no.  After talking with Josh, though, he hopped on a plane. Saint April stayed home with their 5 (at the time) kids. Before boarding, Craig just knew that they were trying something and that it probably wouldn't work. Can you imagine that plane ride? When he got off the first flight, he immediately called. When he heard that the procedure had worked and I would probably live, he just sat down on the floor by the phone and sobbed.
Jed and Lisa, Matt:
I know very little about what happened with these 3.  I know they were all at both hospitals, praying, crying, etc. Lisa went and got Pizza for everybody so nobody would have to leave.  Matt does the same as Wendy and he too curled into a little ball with his head covered. 
Josh and Shanae:
Again, I know very little about Shanae, just that she was there some of the time, but had to be with her kids.  I know she helped Josh start calling everybody they knew to start praying. Josh is a bit more vocal than the rest. As I stated before, he had had enough waiting for tests,and went to radiology himself to light a fire under them. He took it upon himself to call the cousins and our friends to let them know what was happening. He was the one who told Craig to come, and at the U, he led the family in a prayer. He was a very busy man!
Karen and Scott Stallings:
They were the first call (after 911) Robert made that morning. Karen was with the kids until Papa and Naya got there. Scott had to work but stopped by Davis on his way home. Karen was the host of my baby shower and had to call all the guests to cancel it. Sometime during the day the Bishops wife was sent to be with Karen as Scott thought she could use some support on this very stressful day. When I was being flown to the U, Karen came to stay with my kids while Papa and Naya went to be with Robert. Later, she took AJ home and Scott stayed with the boys. Poor Scott. Tommy was signing to him and Scott had no idea what Tommy wanted.
Bishop Watson:
He was at Davis and then later at the U. He was with my family throughout the whole thing. When my mom told the family that they had to make a miracle happen, they were all too in shock to even move, so the Bishop offered the prayer. My family speaks of him with reverence and respect and we are all thankful he was there.
Amy( my cousin) etc.:
Amy was receiving messages and then passing them along to her mom and sisters and they were relaying the info to others. It was a very emotional day for them all. Amy got a migraine from all the stress, and when she got the word that I was out of surgery and sedated for the night, she took a sleeping pill, turned off her phone, and fell sound asleep. Unfortunately she forgot to call others with the good news. So after repeated unanswered calls, her sister, Lindsey, fearing that I had died and Amy was too upset to call, drove to her house and pounded on the door until Amy answered.
There are so many other people involved and my story has just begun, but THE day was finally over! Miracles happened and I'm here to write it all!!
But I can only type with one finger and it's had enough!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have needed to get this all written down for quite some time just to have it in writing. However, it has been 41/2 years so a lot of the information is jumbled, recalled wrong, or just plain forgotten. But better late than never.
Ana Jain woke me up because she was hungry. As I sat in the living room, nursing her, I felt fine until she was nearly done.  The night before I had commented to Robert that the ache in my neck that had been going on for over a week was seeming to be lessening. So that morning I was finally feeling great. Then, just before AJ was done, I started feeling dizzy. Only a tiny bit at first, not concerning in the least. Then it got much worse very quickly. So I would not hurt her, I put AJ down and started heading for my room.  That was very difficult because my legs were not really working and the dizziness was so bad that I had to hold on to the railing, furniture, and walls just to make the very short trip. Once there I woke Robert and told him that he needed to finish feeding AJ with a bottle but first I needed help getting up on my bed. At this point I was thinking that this was just like what happened at WalMart and it would go away soon. Still no worry. After getting into bed I looked at the clock and thought that it would be 15 minutes at the most, and then I would be fine.  After only a couple of minutes, though, I couldn't seem to swallow so I called for Robert to bring me a towel. .  Then I got really sick and started throwing up. 15 minutes were long gone. I knew something was wrong.
By this time, Robert had given up on the whole feeding thing and was sitting on a chair in our room. I told him to call 911. I don't remember all the words but he said he THOUGHT we needed an ambulance.  Neither of us were totally sure and I even felt a little embarrassed about calling. My next thought was that we needed a sitter so I asked Robert to call our neighbors, the Stallings. I thought he was much braver for calling them so early than he was for calling 911. Both Scott and Karen were in my room in what seemed like an instant. I figured it must be  bad if they were both in my room and seeing me in my skivvies.  Scott (a doctor) immediately turned back around to get his bag but before he could get it, the paramedics came. By this time I was totally unable to move and in and out of conciousness.  Robert dressed me and then I was asked if I wanted to walk to the ambulance. Seriously? I can't move, am drooling, and am only slightly concious! When I didn't answer, one guy grabbed my legs, the other my pits, and carried me out. No gurney. Aleq, awakened by all the noise, ran down the hall just as I was being carried out. I think I mumbled something about everything being fine. Then I remember the cold air and then nothinng.
They took me to the nearest hospital, Davis.  I see now why it is refferred to as the place you go to die.  Seriously, their reputation is quite chilling but we had no idea.
From here my recollection is only short bits and pieces. Roberts parents were up from St. George for my baby shower that same night, and I remember Papa and Robert giving me a blessing. I also remember the ER doc saying he had "no idea" and I should be admitted. No tests. I am told that I complained of my head really hurting, though I don't remember. Then I recall being in a room and my family being there. They were trying to be quiet but any noise was loud and I wanted them to SHUT UP! I remember hearing something about some disese that took about 2 weeks to run it's course and thinking, "I can't  be away from my family for that long!" My next recollection is in the MRI machine. I was thinking that it was too long. But I was only awake for a moment or two so I don't know what my problem was. Then it was a few seconds during the spinal tap and a lady telling me that it was almost over. Thats all I remember.
I am told that after arriving at the hospital shortly before 8 that morning, I sat for a bit in the ER before being transferred to the floor. There, A couple of doctors stopped by and even brought up and quickly dismissed a stroke because I was too young and healthy. So I just lay there and deteriorated until I got so bad that they had to move me to the ICU. After a bit there, my brother was led (by an angel of a nurse) to radiology where he threw a mild tantrum (gasp! Not in my family) so they finally agreed to do the MRI that was ordered STAT hours before.  The time stamp on the film is 6:15 p.m. No teast were run and no life saving treatment given that whole time. When I finally returned to the ICU after getting the MRI, Robert overheard the doctor on the phone but could not understand all the language so he went and got Scott to translate. But then he heard "Stroke" and didn't need to hear more.
I am told that by this time quite a crowd had gathered in the waiting room. Roberts parents were at my home with the kids but my mom, brothers and sister and their spouses, my niece, my Bishop and 1 or 2 counselors, and Scott Stallings were there. My sister and Robert were in with me and I started signing "Hurry" and then coded.  They called a code blue and tried to get everybody out of the room, but Robert refused to leave me. He wanted to hold my hand as I died. As they heard the code and saw people running, my family was crying, praying, and panicking.They were able to get me stable and then decided to life flight me to the University of Utah Hospital.
When I got there, a couple of doctors checked me and were at a loss as to what to do for me after so long with no treatment. Thankfully, another doctor was just gettin in from LA and was coming right from the airport. When she got there, the whole place was hopping! She demanded such respect!! She was yelling to people to unhook me from the wall even as she was unlocking and moving my gurney. She took me directly in for an Angiogram, where they go in through the groin and thread a tiny camera up to my head to find the clot. They repeatly shot clot busting drugs in there but the clot had so damaged the artery that when one clot would move, another would start to form. It had been too long.  Then she (Dr. Skalabrin) and 2 other doctors there, came up with a plan to string heart stents up through there. Heart stents have been used for strokes before but never in this certain way. It was experimental and a serious long shot. She had Robert sign consent, and then told him and my mom that if they had a miracle in their pocket, they should use it. My mom went down the hall to where the crowd had gathered again, and told them that we needed a miracle and to make it happen. So my Bishop led a prayer and Robert and my mom  waited anxiously. She finally came out and told Robert, "It's over." Not a good choice  of words. She meant that the procedure was over and it had worked!!I wasn't out of the woods yet but I was alive!!!!!!!
I was sedated and they wouldn't know more for 24 to 48 hours.

There is a whole bunch more to the story but that's enough for now. It IS after midnight. I will do more later.