Kevin Kammerdeiner, the story of a Wounded Warrior.

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Chalkperson
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Aug 23, 2010 12:57 pm

MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010
Day 815 - Aug 22, 2010

Well, we are all ready to head to the hospital tomorrow. Everything is all packed and we are both emotionally psyched for it.

As for today, I didn't do anything, but Breezy and Kevin went to Walmart after dinner. Mary Neal - I had to laugh at your comment because you have it all wrong - if you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you that I DESPISE shopping! Kevin, on the other hand absolutely loves it!

I was so glad to just be able to stay home for a bit and get the kitchen cleaned uninterrupted.

So anyway, that's really about all I have to say tonight. It was a nice, boring weekend - exactly what was needed before major surgery and a gosh knows how long hospital stay...
This means that they are going to put the new plate into Kevin's skull, we must hope and pray that nothing goes wrong, he has had extra skin grafted onto his head, this has been stretched by the injection of fluid in order to make the skin large enough to cover the re-inserted plate, i'm not sure exactly how long he will be hospitalized but it will be a while, this kid's got more courage than anyone I have ever known, so lets keep our fingers crossed for him...

As for the way the USA treats it's Veterans, let's just say it leaves a lot to be desired, right now we need to focus on Kev's recovery, his mom is very highly regarded in the Wounded Warrior Community, her faith, hope, courage and everlasting love for her son is remarkable, she has impressed every Congressman or Official that she has met, when she addresses these groups she tells the absolute truth, when they hear what she goes thru and what she has to say the Politicians listen, and, are trying to act on the problems she is talking about, so more power to her...she is also totally non Political, a few months ago she was told that the Vice President was going to come and visit with her and Kevin, she had absolutely no idea who the VP was, Joe Biden was mightily impressed with her and Kevin so let's hope that he can transfer that admiration into the Bill that they are trying to create to help people like Leslie, we don't read much about the Wounded Warriors, there are many, many of them, Kevin and Joel, (blind, no legs and one working arm) are an extreme example of the Casualties of War, but, they have so much guts because they never forget the way they were trained by the Army, it makes them into incredible beings, we must never forget them...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Werner » Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:19 pm

That bill you mention, Chalkie - yes, we've heard little about it in the media - merely reflects the fact that just as the problems afflicting the Kevins and Joels will persist, so should our obligation to the Leslies and other supporting relatives to be there for them. It's the least the nation can do for them.

Whatever shape we're in economically, this is no subject for the deficit bean counters.
Werner Isler

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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:11 am

Werner wrote:That bill you mention, Chalkie - yes, we've heard little about it in the media - merely reflects the fact that just as the problems afflicting the Kevins and Joels will persist, so should our obligation to the Leslies and other supporting relatives to be there for them. It's the least the nation can do for them.

Whatever shape we're in economically, this is no subject for the deficit bean counters.
There are a couple of reasons that we have not understood that this problem existed before, the first is the dreaded IED, that blows peoples legs and arms off, unlike conventional shelling and bombing which comes flying downward thru the air, IED's make for many more veterans in wheelchairs or confined to their beds and homes, the other is that incredible advances in the Medical work on the Battlefield has meant that many soldiers, who would have died in previous Wars, are kept alive (a cynic would say it keeps the death toll down) so it's only after eight years of War that the Politicians realize that something has to be done, the Bill should go thru, it's something that the Country needs to do for the Leslie's of this world...single parent families also has increased the situation substantially...

Here is a little info on the Bill and what they hope to achieve...

http://www.stripes.com/news/military-up ... l-1.101570
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:49 am

TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2010
Day 816 - Aug 23, 2010

Well we are all settled into the hospital. Kevin's surgery is first case in the morning and I am estimating him leaving his room around 7am or so. The surgeon said he should be done around noon with the cranioplasty, but I don't know if the Botox is following or if they are doing it at the same time. We shall see, I guess.

So they tell me the plate is beautiful. This one was built to replace the fatty tissue and muscle that was lost when Kev landed on his head - it's what should have been done the first time at the VA in FL and all of this is because it wasn't done right back then. I am so anxious to see what he looks like after the surgery.

Kevin is skeptical. He doesn't believe it will look as good as they say because he thought that the last time. It's amazing that he can remember that - but not what he wants to tell me if I take my time getting to his room. So strange, huh?

So anyway, it's like a family reunion here, lol. Everyone is so excited to have Kevin back at BAMC and they are all coming in and visiting and playing quick games with him on his iPad. He is just lapping it all up. It makes me happy ;-)

And now I am going to sign off and read while the lights are allowed on. I will post as soon as I can after his surgery and let y'all know how it went. Wish us luck!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:48 am

TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2010
Day 817 - Aug 24, 2010

I am going to post tonight's entry early so I can go home and sleep all night tonight.

So...they took Kevin about 8am this morning and in roughly an hour the nurse came in and told me that they couldn't put the plate in his head because it appeared that Kevin had an infection around the expander.

I was so upset. I couldn't even make one phone call because I was truly devastated. So I just curled up on my cot and tried to pretend that I didn't hear what I had just heard. Mostly, I just cried.

I did understand that it was necessary to keep the plate infection free so we sure didn't want to implant it in an already infected area, but @#$@&!!

So as I was lying here the plastic surgeon came in - the one that was worried about the infection. He told me that there was some funky fluid that had white particles floating around in it and it made everyone just stop.

Lucky for us - all of the surgeons really wanted to make this work for Kevin so both plastics and neuro had a hand in taking the fluid to the lab and getting it tested right then and there for infection.

At this point, Kevin was already sewn back up and in recovery since they only removed the expander.

Again, lucky for us, after a half hour or more, the lab determined that the fluid was infection free so the neurosurgeon ran back upstairs and took Kevin back to the OR where he completed the initial surgery putting the plate back into Kevin's head.

Hooray!!!

What a morning, huh?

So Kevin was in ICU for a bit and they moved him back to his regular room a couple of hours after the surgery was complete. He has since taken some pain meds and has been sleeping for hours. I made a bunch of phone calls and Breezy is on her way with some soup from Panera Bread for dinner and I am hoping he will eat a little bit at some point tonight. This has become our traditional after surgery meal. We always have Broccoli and Cheese Soup with a baguette.

And something interesting happened today too. The neurosurgeon brought us the model of Kevin's head. It is an exact replica - size and shape - of what Kevin looks like under all that skin.

So can y'all imagine the questions this is gonna raise at airport security?

"Excuse me ma'am...why do you have a skull in your suitcase?"

Hahahahahahaha...............
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:22 am

THURSDAY, AUGUST 26, 2010
Day 818 - Aug 25, 2010

So today I was on the phone in the little anteroom that leads into Kevin's hospital room and I heard Kev ring the bell for the nurse. I heard Sue say 'what do you need Kev?" and then he replied (and you might want to sit down for this) "I WANT A PAIN PILL PLEASE"!!! Say what?! When did Kevin become able to string 6 words together without even one nudge from me?

I had my friend hold on and I went out to the nurse's station and I said "Sue - did Kevin just say a whole sentence to you?" and she was already exclaiming to everyone that he had and all the nurses and everyone were just clapping and so excited. When I told them I hadn't even said it first for him to repeat and he just completely said it on his own we were all beside ourselves in excitement! Holy crap!

This plate is gonna make such a difference!!

I thought this yesterday because when Kevin was just back from ICU and still pretty much sleeping, just out of the blue he said "I want strawberry milk". Up until then he had never said the word "want" without a nudge of some sort - usually me saying the whole word a couple of times to get him to say it.

So then tonight my friend Mary Jo facebooked me and said that Kev needed to practice saying her name. Well the first time I said say "Mary Jo" he did. So we called her and he said "HI MARY JO" right off the bat and then she put her little boy Mathew on and Kevin said "HI MATHEW".

I'm tellin' ya - this boy is gonna talk someday. Sooner than I originally thought too.

And today we took off the bandages. I took a couple of photos with my phone, but they are blurry so I will try to get some more tomorrow. To be honest, Kevin is in a lot of pain and not up for pictures. For some reason, the neurosurgeon took away the IV pain meds this morning and he is suffering. I talked to the doc about getting him back on something, but the order was written for Morphine once every two hours. Morphine only lasts about 15 minutes so Kevin is really hurting. I don't think the surgeon realizes that Kevin has quite the tolerance for narcotics as he's been on them for 2 years or so.

Anyway, he looks pretty good, but I will admit that I thought it would be better. He still has that indent where it was the last time - it's just not as pronounced. I am going to wait and see if there is still some swelling that may change the appearance after it goes down, but the neurosurgeon already discussed taking fat from Kevin's belly and injecting it into that area. Geez.

I was under the impression that the plastics guy was going in at the end of the surgery and cleaning his appearance up, but that didn't happen. Maybe I was mistaken in thinking that? I don't know...but I really wanted near perfection and we didn't get it. Maybe I just expect too much...

But I guess it really doesn't matter what I think. It's all about what Kevin feels and so far I think he is happy with it. I am hoping he feels better tomorrow and can get up and really take a good look at himself.

And now I am going to bed. I came home early last night and dropped my head on my pillow immediately. I barely remember even getting into bed and I slept hard until 10:00 this morning. YAY!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:18 am

Kevin's mom has posted some photos of Kevin, but, because our capacity for attachments is full I cannot post them here, they are very graphic, if you would like to see them then follow this link...

http://www.lesliekamm.blogspot.com/
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Aug 28, 2010 1:58 pm

SATURDAY, AUGUST 28, 2010
Day 820 - Aug 27, 2010

We went home today! Kevin is doing fantastic. He only took one dose of Tylenol since we got home early this afternoon and he is handling the pain extremely well. I only hope it stays this way (or even gets better). No pain would be soooooo good!

And it really is unbelievable, but Kevin has probably said about 50 new words today. Clearly. A lot of them he just repeated after I said something, some of them we had to practice and a couple of them he just said on his own.

For those of you that have been reading all along, you may remember me mentioning back when he got the plate the first time that it's been known to happen where someone that can't talk at all will be able to once their plate is put in.

Kevin didn't just wake up and be able to speak fluently, but WOW! What a difference! He is able to say more words, he is also able to speak them correctly (for the most part), and even better - his thinking is clearer. You can see it in his eyes and how he reacts during activities and discussions.

Now we just need to have no infections and no 'real' fluid buildup. When checking his head tonight I noticed the does have a small amount of buildup, but I was told that can be normal for a few days. We just need it to go away over the weekend and all will be well.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:07 pm

SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, 2010
Day 821 - Aug 28, 2010

So Kevin and I are going home to Pennsylvania for a short visit the week after next. I have to be in court for a guardianship review and I really have no choice but to take him with me.

I had already cleared it with the neurosurgeon and he said he sees no problem. So as long as Kev doesn't get any infections, we are good to go.

We are both pretty excited and I have to share what Kevin said this morning. I told him that we were going and his eyes lit up and I could see the wheels just churning and the next thing I know he says - clear as a bell - SURPRISE! (not a word we have ever worked on either) He wants to go home and surprise everyone so I am going to ask that if anyone sees him around town - please act surprised!

On a side note, I do plan to have a little surprise get together myself for him on Saturday the 11th. I don't know where yet or even what time, but I will let y'all know. I so hope he gets to see lots of his friends. We will only be there a few days as the trip is not really in the budget, so the get together is really going to be the only way we can see people. We won't have time to get out and about.

I just can't wait for everyone to see the change in his speaking! Today he has just repeated everything I said. It's like being with a whole new person! I really do like that he is able to repeat, but what's even better is when he comes up with words on his own - like the word "Surprise". How cool is that, huh?

And to finish this post, as well as show you guys what I mean, here is a video of Kevin singing a song to my mom. He has never been able to say the word "Grandma" until last night and this song was always a little slurred. I honestly cry every time I watch this.

Happy Birthday, Mom!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Aug 30, 2010 9:12 am

MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2010
Day 822 - Aug 29, 2010

I think I spoke too soon about the pain level for Kevin. Last night he wanted meds about every 45-60 minutes. He called me all night long. I felt so bad because there really is only so much I can give him, but we did make it through the night in the end. He has needed quite a bit today too, but not like it was last night.

I am concerned that he does appear to be building up some fluid over the plate (which could be causing the pain), but I am hoping it will go away. The only thing is - it's getting larger, not smaller. I am going to give it until Tuesday and see what happens. The problem is that the glands that absorb the fluid were burnt too badly on Kevin causing him to not be able to reabsorb all the fluids in his head.

So the get-together is going to be on Sept 11 at the Allstars in East Brady. I would love for all of the bloggers, friends and family to come. I want it to be a surprise for Kevin so I am asking for everyone to try to be there around 7pm (Kevin and I will come around 7:15). Although the Allstars is a bar, we are going to be in the dining room so kids (or his friends that are under 21) are welcome until about 9pm. We will have appetizers and drinks are available for purchase. I will try to grab some soda or juice for the kids. Truly, I hope everyone can come. I want Kevin to be so happy to see everyone.

And I want to reiterate that we will not be going anywhere to visit anyone this trip. I know we always drove all over to see everyone, but this trip there won't be time. If you want to see us - this is probably the only way to do so. (and if we aren't at Allstars later in the evening - check the Cloud - we gotta visit Nay too)

And before I forget - Karen - you asked about the baby...all is right in Breezy's household, lol. She bought the baby a Steelers jersey this week and as far as she's concerned - nothing else is necessary. Unfortunately - Chris bought the baby a Giants jersey. Geez. You ain't catching me anywhere near that house when the two teams play each other, lol.

And now I am heading to bed. It's early, but hopefully Kevin will let me get some sleep.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:17 am

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2010
Day 824 - Aug 31, 2010

Kevin and Johnny went to the movies tonight to see Expendables. I think it's just the greatest thing when Kevin leaves with Johnny because it's so 'old' normal, kwim? It's like it used to be back before he left for Basic.

I think it's going to be hard for Kevin to go back to FL. He actually has friends in Lea and Johnny and he will be back to total isolation from anybody his age when we do return home. I can be honest and say I have absolutely no faith in the home health company getting anyone his age to come based on their past endeavors, so it will be hard for him. I guess there's no real sense worrying about it yet though - we have months to go before we can go home.

So Kevin's pain level is getting slightly better. I am hoping once the staples are out next week his pain really takes a hike. He is also getting more and more active every day. Thank goodness.

And the fluid build-up is fluctuating. We had an appt tomorrow with the neurosurgeon, but I canceled it after seeing that the fluid was decreasing when Kevin was out of bed and upright. I did talk to the doc today though and he told me it could take weeks or more for the fluid to be totally gone.

And Kevin is counting down the days until we go to PA. Every morning he wakes up now and tells me how many days til we leave. He sure is excited!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:40 am

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2010
Day 825 - Sep 1, 2010

I can't believe it's September already...geez...where did the year go?

Today Kevin and I went to the mall. We had to get him an outfit for our court date as he can't wear jeans and a t-shirt. My mom is sending me one of my dresses so we are both good to go in the clothing department for the big day.

And I gotta say - that kid is worse than a teenage girl when it comes to buying clothes. His shoes have to always match his outfits and he is so darn particular about the fit and the color of everything. I can't remember if he was always like that?

And tonight...I let Kevin drive the car! There's a quarry on the way home from the mall and we pulled in there and I let Kev drive around the building over and over again. It was closed for the day so no one was around and luckily the road was very wide to accommodate all the big trucks that run back and forth there. I can't even begin to explain to you the look on Kevin's face. He was ecstatic!! He did very well too - I was quite proud of him. It took him about half a trip around before his foot got used to being on a gas pedal, but it was like riding a bike, I guess. I can say this - I do hope with all my heart that he gets to drive on the roads again someday, but he will definitely need the vehicle modified if he does. His right leg/foot can't be used because he has no real feeling in it so he will either need a left hand control or a left foot gas/brake. It is one of my fondest wishes for him to have the freedom to drive in the future...truly it would have to just stink to be 22 years old and never be able to just jump in the car and go somewhere.

So hopefully I haven't created a monster, lol. I don't know...I just want him to be as 'normal' as he can possibly be. I want him to live as close to the life he would have if he hadn't been wounded.

And who knows...maybe this will help him heal even faster. Every little new thing he does can make such a change in his life...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:24 pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2010
Day 827 - Sep 3, 2010

We've hit a bit of a rough spot with Kevin. He has mostly been pretty angry since the plate went in. I think it's a toss up as to why; first because he is much more aware of the changes in his life and second because his head doesn't look as good as he thought it would.

There's really not much we can do about him being more aware - that's a good thing really, but in regard to the anger - it's just something he is going to have to work through. As for his head, the surgeon made note that they can take fat from Kevin's belly and inject it into the area of his head that is still indented. Kevin is demanding multiple times a day that the injection happens now. I keep telling him it's not going to happen yet and that just makes him madder. Personally, I am hoping he gets over it and we don't take this step. It's just another source of possible infection and I really don't want us to go through this again.

So he's been pretty rough to be around. He tried to run away last night and he ended up walking about a half mile with me following a few steps behind him. He broke down and sat against a light pole and just cried and sobbed and screamed "WHY?" over and over. It was really heartbreaking and I was crying right along with him. Breezy was just out of sight with the car because we knew he may walk too far to get back home and even she was just crying by herself in the car.

It really all just does suck.

Sometimes things are going really well and then sometimes they just really aren't. I don't really know what to do to help him through this and to make him happy. I am hoping the trip home to PA will work for a bit and then I think it may be time to find something for him to do. He just has to be medically stable first and we still aren't really there.

Oh well. I guess I'll figure it out somehow. Here's hoping I come up with a plan right quick...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:36 pm

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010
Day 828 - Sep 4, 2010

We had a pretty good day today. Phew! We actually went to the mall because Kevin needed larger pants than the ones we bought the other day, so we exchanged those, swapped the new shoes he bought too for a different pair and then we decided to go to the Golden Coral for a quick (ha!) dinner.

It was so funny because we actually ended up standing in line (hence the Ha! above. That place was packed) behind some folks from Clarion, PA - a neighboring community to our home in East Brady. We got seated right next to them too so we all just carried on and had a good time. Their daughter was celebrating her birthday and Kevin even sang to her with the employees.

After that we went to Target because we needed milk and we actually closed the store down, lol. Kevin gets totally immersed in the electronics/movies section and I can't get him to leave. I wish Target had benches like Walmart does.

All total - we were gone maybe 5-6 hours. And we had no problems, only took Tylenol once and Kev was in a good mood the whole time. It was one of those rare, but wonderful days.

Let's just hope tomorrow is the same. Or at least partially.

And thanks everyone for the support! Times are a little tough, but I feel confident we will work through it. I do believe it's a stage and think it will pass in time - with some help. We just have to figure out what kind of help. It's a definite problem that Kevin can't communicate as actual therapists need to hear his feelings to work their magic.

We'll figure it out though - we always do. Some days it just takes longer than others...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:10 pm

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2010
Day 829 - Sep 5, 2010

We had another pretty good day. We didn't really do anything, but Kevin just seems to be in a better mood since it all came to a head the other night. Maybe he just needed to have a little meltdown and scream out all his frustrations. Or maybe we are just having a few good days. I guess time will tell.

So I don't really have anything else to say. I think I am just going to go and scrap for a little while. I hope everyone has a great Labor Day!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 07, 2010 11:02 am

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2010
Day 830 - Sep 6, 2010

Today I went to the movies - all by myself. Lea came today and she brought along her boyfriend, Eric. Great guy! The three of them were playing games on the iPad when I left and when I got home roughly 4 hours later they were still playing, but they had moved to the table and were playing the board game "Sorry".

From what I gather Kevin stayed up with them the whole time I was gone. YAY!! I talked to Lea tonight about keeping Kev busy and out of bed as much as possible from here on out. I already talked to Johnny about it so we are all on a mission to get Kevin back to being a normal 22 year old guy!

I plan to talk to the place he goes to for therapy too (assuming the VA approves more therapy? I had thought it would be done by now...) and asking them to bump it from one hour a day to an hour and a half for now and eventually a full hour for each - PT and OT. Once he is doing well for that I want to get speech going more than once a week - so necessary right now as he is really saying a lot more.

I don't want to exhaust the kid, but this lying around all the time has got to go. He has been able to handle being up without any problems so maybe if we do it daily he will even get on a better sleep pattern. I think it will help his mood too.

And tomorrow we go and get Kevin's staples out - yahoo! I hope all goes well with that. He has pulled at least one out himself because it was 'bothering' him. Geesh. And then Wednesday we leave for PA. That's IF this tropical storm doesn't cause a whole bunch of problems...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:43 pm

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010
Day 831 - Sep 7, 2010

Kevin and I are ensconced in a hotel tonight right near the airport. It's pathetic really as we live less than half an hour from the airport, but everything is flooded and there are accidents all over the place and I was worried we wouldn't be able to even get there by morning.

I am glad we did it too as it is still just pouring out. I hear a steady drip above my head so I am assuming there is water leaking in somewhere and I can only hope the ceiling doesn't crash in on me tonight. We also haven't had any electric at the hotel the bulk of the night. It comes on occasionally for a few minutes at a time, but it doesn't stay long. I am hoping I have time to get this posted, but I have been trying to do so for a couple hours now.

Anyway, please keep your fingers crossed that flights go out of San Antonio in the morning. I really can't miss this hearing and Kevin is just so excited to see his friends.

Don't forget for all you locals - Allstars Sat night at 7pm! Surprise get-together for Kev!

Oh - and Kevin got his staples out today! Yay!!!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:17 am

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2010
Day 832 - Sep 8, 2010

I almost forgot to write the blog tonight. I am just so tired.

Last night was pretty rough. Shortly after I posted the blog, water came gushing down into my room. The electric was out so I couldn't call the front desk right away so I ended up just going into Kevin's room and sleeping with him (they gave us connecting rooms because the one room I booked didn't have a wheel in shower - only grab bars in a tub - which Kevin can't do since the plate was out so long and his leg lost so much movement). Our only other option was to leave that hotel and go to another and that wasn't happening as bad as it was out there - not to mention I don't think we could have even gotten into the lobby of the hotel from our room because it was electronically keyed.

Oh and someone tried to come into our room at 8am (not housekeeping either and they don't know who it was) so the manager called and reimbursed my points. That was awfully nice. I wouldn't have asked because the bulk of our problems were weather related, but they offered so I'll take my points back, lol.

So we did get up and made it to the airport only to have the TSA folks not there to help us through. We did manage to get to our gate and out of the blue a very nice gentleman bumped us to first class. I could kiss that guy!

And this was the first trip that we had a layover. He did very well and I was so proud of him. I have to admit I was worried - not because of the layover, but because it's the first flight since the plate was put back in. I just worry about pressure and stuff like that.

So anyway, after we landed in Pittsburgh, Kevin was adamant we were going to East Brady tonight so we could surprise people. We managed to roll in there at about 8:30ish and to get at least someone at the Uni-mart, I called Moe and pretended I was talking to my mom. I just let her know that we were coming and how much Kevin wanted to say 'surprise'. Moe got the hint and had a bunch of people there, which was really nice for Kevin.

And just for the record - it's flippin cold here! I didn't have any jeans in Texas so I am wearing shorts and flip flops. Brrrr...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:01 pm

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2010
Day 833 - Sep 9, 2010

True to form, the day didn't turn out like it was supposed to. We were supposed to have the court hearing today and when we got there at 9:30 this morning we were informed that it had been continued until Oct 9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Say what?!!!

It jacks me to no end how unorganized this court system is in Butler County. Nobody let us know about the hearing being moved to another date and it really ticks me off. We spent a pile of money to get here for today and we sat at the courthouse for hours also because nobody could give our attorney solid information to get another immediate hearing lined up. The poor woman had to keep making the same phone calls while the admins kept changing the rules. I could never be an attorney. Too much bullcrap.

But anyway - Finally! Finally - late this afternoon all parties were lined up and another hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning. I was so flippin' furious.

Oh, and I find it so odd that everyone else knew the hearing was continued. So why is it so frickin hard to let the most interested party know? Or at the very least let our attorney know? HELLO...........

But anyway, it was so very frustrating, but I am happy to say that Ronnie came to the supposed hearing with us and he and Kevin had a great time playing "Saving Private Sheep" on the iPad for hours. Thank you, Chalkie! Kevin loves that game and it really makes a person think hard! He does so well too!

So, it was so wonderful to see Ronnie again and I can't tell you how much I appreciated him coming to give me a hand with Kevin while I did what needed to be done. I'm tellin' ya Lori - if you are reading the blog - you have one heckuva kid there! You and Ron should be so proud of him!

After that, the three of us went to lunch and then Kevin and I went to visit my old place of employment. Kevin walked in and said his 'surprise' and we probably visited a good hour or so. It was so great seeing everyone. I miss it all so much; my life and my friends.

And we followed that with a healthy little nap and then we got up and went to dinner with a bunch of friends. I think I can safely say that we all had a blast. I have to admit that I was worried about there being a bunch of people (and kids) all at one table, but Kevin rocked it!

Something cool happened there too - Kevin kept staring at the waitress and he finally talked to her and he knew her from school. He remembered her and she knew who he was too and it was so nice to see them BS a bit.

And last, but not least, we went into the mall and Kevin went his way and my friend Diane and I went our way. When we met up with Kevin about a half hour or 45 mins later he had done some shopping. He got himself a couple of pairs of jeans (correctly sized too) and a shirt and a cd. You would all be amazed at the cognitive difference in him since the plate is in. It has helped immensely having the iPad too. He has a bunch of apps that really make him think.

So now I need to get a bath and get to bed. We have another long day tomorrow...

(Miss you, Breezy! Sorry I didn't have time to talk to you much today! Love you!)
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:22 pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2010
Day 834 - Sep 10, 2010

The hearing happened today and it went very well. I am very happy with the outcome and am anxious to see how the next few days play out. Sounds cryptic, I know...but I need to hold my cards close to my chest just a few more days.

So anyway, one thing that happened after court today was my discussion with our attorney as to getting Kevin declared competent again. She didn't think it was even worth trying until I questioned her as to why. She told me Kevin couldn't communicate enough to get his point across and I said that yes, he could. I explained that if you make the questions yes/no or multiple choice - he can answer. So she said to me "Yeah, but do you really think he knows things? Do you think he knows who the president is?" I told her to ask him.

So she did. And here's how it went.

Who's the President? Choice #3 Obama

Is he the first African American president? Yes.

Have you ever voted? No and then he saluted to say that he was out of the country for a while and couldn't.

What school did you go to? Choice #3 Karns City

Where do you live? Choice #3 Texas

(at this point Kevin called her on the fact that she was only using option #3 and was making it too easy - she laughed)

Do you live alone? He told her he lived with his mom and made the sounds as if to say that Brianna lived near us, but not with us.

Does your mom cook dinner for you? Yes.

Do you like her cooking? No (snot!), but then he gave her his version of an exaggerated wink.

And so forth and so on. Kevin got everything correct. He also talked to her about Breezy being pregnant and how tired he is of surgeries and hospitals and that he just wants to be better.

When she was done we walked away from him and she said in awe - you will have no problems getting him declared competent. I told her to petition the court to set up a competency hearing.

A HUGE HOORAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't stress enough the changes in Kevin.

Matter of fact, just a few minutes ago I told Kevin we could actually sleep in tomorrow and the first thing he did was grab the 'do not disturb' sign and hang it on his door - first telling me to grab mine. I probably wouldn't have even thought of it.

So after the hearing we went up to Brady and visited a few friends. We hung out at the grocery store too and then we went back into Butler (where we are staying) and met up with Mike and Rebecca (from the Post Gazette) for dinner. They have become such good friends and it was so wonderful to see them.

After dinner, Ronnie came to the hotel and the boys hung out while I went swimming for a bit. We called it an early night and decided not to go anywhere as the last few days have been really hectic.

I will say though, that Kevin has been on the go since 9am and it's now 1:30am. No naps and no over-stimulation. We are not really having a problem with that much anymore - not since the plate was put back in. He was a little over stimulated the other day when we were driving home (Brady) from the airport, but who wouldn't be after a full day of traveling and then having me talking on the phone to the attorney for a long time while in the car. He still struggles a bit with noises in the car in all honesty.

But still...look at how far he has come!!! AMAZING!!!!!!

And just a quick reminder - Surprise get together at the Allstars tomorrow night in East Brady. We would like everyone there by 7 so we can pull in at 7:15. Kids are allowed until about 9pm and there will be a few snacks. I had wanted to pick up some drinks for the kids, but when thinking about it I realized Kevin will really question why I am buying all that stuff so I really can't. The bar will have soda and some juices and Uni-mart is across the street though.

I can't wait to see his face when you all scream "surprise!"...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Werner » Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:51 pm

This must be the most encouraging post since the beginning. It seems to show an exciting degree of progress. One can only wish Kevin, Lesley, and all the rest of the family and friends further progress, and healthy, fulfilling days ahead. I can't think of anyone more deserving.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:24 am

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2010
Day 839 - Sep 13, 2010

We didn't really do much of anything today. Kevin and I finally found an alterations place to hem some of the new jeans he had purchased for himself a couple of months ago that are about 3-4 inches too long for him. That's it though. We went and dropped them off and that ended our exciting day, lol.

The pest control guy did come though and he sprayed (never heard of using cinnamon, Joyce. Thanks!) but he said the holes in all the baseboards need to be plugged or they will just come back. Hopefully tomorrow the maintenance crew will come and take care of it.

And you're right, Hallie - everything is bigger in TX. You should see some of the bugs here - they are bigger than my hand! As an FYI - I really don't like bugs... (PS - how's your husband doing? I owe you an email - hopefully soon. Wish you could have come to Brady too!)

I just don't have much to say today so I think I'll sign off early and watch some tv.

I do want to mention though that while having dinner last week with Mike and Rebecca from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, I learned that the story that they did about Kevin actually won Honorable Mention from the 2010 Dart Award committee. Here's the announcement:

2010 Dart Award Winners

Pretty cool, huh? They also mentioned that the one photo (I think my absolute fav of Kevin and Breezy) is hanging in the Heinz History Museum. We will have to check that out next time we go home to PA.

Congrats you two!!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:09 am

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2010
Day 840 - Sep 16, 2010

Today was another lazy kind of day. We did go for groceries and that's pretty much it. Johnny came this evening and he and Kevin were going to go to the mall, but Kevin was kinda grumpy so they didn't end up going.

I am hoping that we can start back to therapy on Monday. We have been waiting on the VA for approval for some more sessions. It kinda bothers me because we had the Botox weeks ago and we are losing precious time. Maybe tomorrow though...

To touch on just a few of the questions/comments in my inbox:

Jean S - Breezy's due date is January 12. We don't know the sex yet - she finds out on the 30th of this month. She is really gonna be such a good mama. The past 2 1/2 years have really forced Breezy to grow up and being pregnant is bringing even more changes to her sense of responsibility. I am very proud of the woman she has become and look forward to seeing how well she handles motherhood. I know you also asked for her address, but can you send me an email for it? I didn't ask her if she minded me putting it on the blog and don't want to assume that she is ok with it.

To the anon person who said that they have always been struck at how I never say a word about the people that caused this - I guess it's because I just don't think about it. Maybe it's because I really don't have the time to focus on something that can't be changed, but I more think it's because I don't really blame anyone. It's war - plain and simple. Sure, I don't like what happened to my son or to Daniel or to James or Andrew or any of the other thousands of soldiers that have lost their lives or been wounded. But we all know what war means and all of these guys and girls chose to fight for their country. They (and you) chose this possibility. So to me - there really isn't anyone to blame. Maybe this is naive of me, but it's just how it is in my head. Or maybe it's just another way I stick my head in the sand...who knows...

Miss Em - I do agree with you that PTSD is starting to show some signs in Kevin now that he is more aware. When I had to sleep in his room while at the hotel last week, I realized that he has nightmares/dreams often. He moaned a lot and he wasn't sleeping restfully when he was sleeping. Since then I have been paying more attention and his pupils are moving a mile a minute a lot. His eyes are still open a little bit when he sleeps and you can watch his pupils jerking all over the place. I also mentioned to Kevin a few days ago about having a strange dream and he started jabbing himself in the chest and saying "Yeah! Yeah!", basically telling me he has nightmares too.

Now I just need to figure out what tactic to take on this. I heard what you said about having a senior warrior talk to him, but I need to weigh the pros and cons on that before making a decision fully. To me, I think it's possible that someone who remembers everything can do some unintentional harm to someone who doesn't remember anything. It might be better for a trained professional - which again is difficult due to the language barrier.

Man, I just wish decisions could be made lightly and there weren't such dire consequences if you make a wrong one. It really puts into perspective how easy life used to be.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:16 pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2010
Day 841 - Sep 17, 2010

Today I left Kevin here alone while I went to the pharmacy to pick up some medications. I have left him alone for 10 minutes here and there, but today it was over an hour. I knew it would be that long, but he has just come so far and I didn't really feel all that nervous. Yes, I did call him one time and check on him and when I did he basically told me to quit babying him. I suppose it's time to cut some more strings - at his request.

There are also some strings to cut at mine though. He has become entirely too dependent on me to do everything for him and when he calls my name now I often walk into his room, see what he wants, tell him to do it himself and turn around and walk out. He gets mad, but he needs to get off his lazy butt and start doing things for himself. He CAN get up now and it can only help him physically to do things on his own.

So changing the subject, does anyone know how 911 works? Kevin knows to call 911 in an emergency, but he would not be able to say what he needed yet. Can I call them and explain our situation and have them ask multiple choice or yes/no questions? Would a note pop up when our phone number called in letting the operator know that if it's Kevin he can't verbalize the problem? This is something that has been on my mind since we bought the house in FL.

This is also one of the two things that I do think about when I do leave him alone at home. The other is me being in an accident and never coming back. At this point, I text Breezy as I'm leaving and tell her the estimated amount of time I will be gone (usually 10 mins to Walgreens on the corner for milk) and then I text her when I get home. She knows if I am not home in the expected amount of time to take the appropriate steps.

And tonight the boys (Kev and Johnny) went to the mall for a while. We had some storms pass through the area so they didn't go until kinda late, but they still had a good time. I just love to see that!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:28 pm

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2010
Day 843 - Sep 19, 2010

Today Kevin and I went over to Breezy's place to visit. It is the first time that Kevin has been there and it was nice to get him out of our house and visiting someone else. He just walked around and was generally nosy and then he and Chris checked out Chris' new gun (not loaded - no worries) and Kevin couldn't resist acting like "The Terminator" who single-handedly welded a gun. It was a nice little visit and I'm glad we went.

Other than that, we didn't do much of anything today. I forgot to tell you guys that yesterday Kevin helped me cook dinner though. I put him to work cutting strawberries for the shortcake and he helped make the lemonade. I am hoping to get him to help me more in the kitchen because I really want him to learn to fend for himself as much as possible. He's gotten very lazy while being down and now we need to kick him back into shape. He's not always liking it, but it still needs to be done.

We had planned to go to one of the missions today, but it pretty much rained all day. I am hoping we get to go one day this week - I want to take some photos. I want Breezy and Chris to go too as Breezy's belly is really popping out, but we'll have to see. Chris works a lot of hours so we may have to wait a bit for him to be able to go too. It's ok though - there are lots of places to take photos in SA.

And now I need to get back to investigating neurosurgeons in the Tampa/Sarasota area. We are intending to go home for a visit at the end of next month and I want to have some meetings with prospective docs set up. If we can't find a doctor that can handle Kevin's needs, we probably will not be able to go back home. We will then have to sell the house (not easy in FL right now) and move here. Frankly, it tires me to even think about this, but we have to have someone that can handle Kevin's situation. And we have to settle somewhere. This is really tiring not knowing where you will be at any given time.

Truthfully, this is the place that Kevin gets the best medical care and if I had known how bad the neurosurgeons were at the Tampa VA we would have never bought a house there - even though we were told we needed to.

Hindsight though, I guess.

The only problem is that my family all moved to FL to help us and we can't very well ask everyone to pack up and move again now, can we? Honestly, dad's just not well enough to handle the move again anyway.

So for now, let's just hope we can find a doctor that is capable of handling Kevin's prognosis and how much work it entails.

Has anybody ever used any of those internet physician review sites? Recommendations, anyone?
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:53 am

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2010
Day 844 - Sep 20, 2010

I am going to skip writing tonight. I have spent the last few hours writing a letter and my brain is turning to mush. I feel very sure you will be hearing about the contents soon as it pertains to my constant harassment by certain VA employees. I have decided enough is enough and am taking it to the next level.

Wish me luck! What they have been doing to both Kevin and myself is just not right and it's time to fight back!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:26 pm

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2010
Day 845 - Sep 21, 2010

Kevin and I went to BAMC today for a quick appointment. While we were on our way out, we ran into Daniel and we chatted with him for a bit.

As to my issue with certain VA members, you will be hearing about it within the next few days. I will be sharing my letter with you after it has went through the correct channels. I appreciate the offers of help and truthfully, will probably take y'all up on it.

And because I was so tired last night, I didn't mention that yesterday Kevin started back to physical therapy. He starts OT tomorrow and I have asked the therapists to bump him up to 60 minute sessions instead of 30. We are going to try it and if it doesn't work we will go down to 45 mins for each. I personally think he can handle two hours of therapy now, but I might be wrong and I guess we'll see tomorrow. Wish us luck.

And I hate to do it again, but I am going to sign off a little early tonight. I have a feeling the next few days will be exhausting as I go full throttle at the VA, so my posts may be short for a bit. Just bear with me...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:49 am

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2010
Day 846 - Sep 22, 2010

Yay! Kevin did a full two hours of therapy!! He did fantastic! He rode the bike for quite a while, then did a bunch of exercises and then he went for a long walk outside - and this was all just PT. After that he immediately went into OT and they worked his arm and hand a full hour.

What I really love about this place is that they do a form of cognitive therapy on him while they are doing the other therapies. A few months ago, when Kevin first started there, they had him do a test with a wooden board full of holes with pegs in them. He had to take the pegs out and then put them all back in.

Today, he beat his time by 30 seconds! He has only done that test the one time so there has been no practice of any kind, it's just showing all of us the difference the plate has made in his head.

I was just so happy with it all today. For him to have the stamina to do all of that physical work and then also to think more clearly? Amazing!

And today I filed a complaint with the VA Inspector General's Office. It's step one in my plan of action and step two involves all the various congressmen. That step begins tomorrow.

I really hate that the VA has pushed me to these limits, but I have asked repeatedly for help and the whole way up the line the situation has been ignored. I really do try to be positive about things and I think you can all agree that I don't share the bad things that the VA does because this blog really isn't about that - it's about Kevin and our tale of recovery.

But sometimes...well sometimes things just need to be said.

I still really can't put it all out here on the blog yet as there are steps that still need to be taken, but hopefully by now you all know me well enough to know that I don't start trouble lightly and I most certainly don't do it for no reason whatsoever. Truthfully, I don't have the time or energy for this kind of stuff.

But to protect my son from unscrupulous people - I WILL DO ANYTHING! And it's unfortunate - but the people he needs protecting from are the very people that are actually supposed to be doing the protecting. Another total break-down in an organization designed to support their veterans.

Sad...sad...sad!

And I just want to put out there that I am not bashing the VA as a whole - we all know that Mary - our wonderful FRC - rocks in my eyes, but there are certain people that really need to be removed from their positions. The VA shouldn't be about protecting your own ass and your own job - it's supposed to be about protecting - and taking care of - those that went over and fought for this country.

Ok. Enough ranting from me for tonight. Let's go back to thinking about what a fantastic job Kevin did at therapy today!!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:20 pm

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2010
Day 846 - Sep 22, 2010

Yay! Kevin did a full two hours of therapy!! He did fantastic! He rode the bike for quite a while, then did a bunch of exercises and then he went for a long walk outside - and this was all just PT. After that he immediately went into OT and they worked his arm and hand a full hour.

What I really love about this place is that they do a form of cognitive therapy on him while they are doing the other therapies. A few months ago, when Kevin first started there, they had him do a test with a wooden board full of holes with pegs in them. He had to take the pegs out and then put them all back in.

Today, he beat his time by 30 seconds! He has only done that test the one time so there has been no practice of any kind, it's just showing all of us the difference the plate has made in his head.

I was just so happy with it all today. For him to have the stamina to do all of that physical work and then also to think more clearly? Amazing!

And today I filed a complaint with the VA Inspector General's Office. It's step one in my plan of action and step two involves all the various congressmen. That step begins tomorrow.

I really hate that the VA has pushed me to these limits, but I have asked repeatedly for help and the whole way up the line the situation has been ignored. I really do try to be positive about things and I think you can all agree that I don't share the bad things that the VA does because this blog really isn't about that - it's about Kevin and our tale of recovery.

But sometimes...well sometimes things just need to be said.

I still really can't put it all out here on the blog yet as there are steps that still need to be taken, but hopefully by now you all know me well enough to know that I don't start trouble lightly and I most certainly don't do it for no reason whatsoever. Truthfully, I don't have the time or energy for this kind of stuff.

But to protect my son from unscrupulous people - I WILL DO ANYTHING! And it's unfortunate - but the people he needs protecting from are the very people that are actually supposed to be doing the protecting. Another total break-down in an organization designed to support their veterans.

Sad...sad...sad!

And I just want to put out there that I am not bashing the VA as a whole - we all know that Mary - our wonderful FRC - rocks in my eyes, but there are certain people that really need to be removed from their positions. The VA shouldn't be about protecting your own ass and your own job - it's supposed to be about protecting - and taking care of - those that went over and fought for this country.

Ok. Enough ranting from me for tonight. Let's go back to thinking about what a fantastic job Kevin did at therapy today!!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Sep 26, 2010 12:22 pm

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2010
Day 849 - Sep 25, 2010
I haven't been feeling good since yesterday, so we did absolutely nothing today. Kevin decided he was going for a walk though this afternoon and it was a little hard for me to allow him, but I decided to let him go (after lots of begging on his part). He called me roughly 20 minutes or so after he left and it took me a while to figure out what he was saying, but I finally got it that he was telling me he was out back.

We have never made it to the back of the apartment complex before. I was pretty proud of him for finding it because you have to walk around the buildings - there's no rear exit. He was pretty proud of himself too - he even called Breezy to tell her - I could hear him on the phone. I could also hear that he couldn't figure out how to tell her so I hurried up and texted her what he was trying to say. It keeps his frustration level down.

In the meantime, I went out and took some pictures of him from up on the balcony. Some of you may recognize Kevin's t-shirt, lol. This shirt was his t-ball shirt from back in like kindergarten. You Bradyites will be familiar with the George's Coin-Op logo, hehe. Frankly, I don't have any idea how that shirt still fits him, but I do remember it being HUGE back in the day. And you guys can't imagine how stained that thing is. It took me a long time to get Kevin to understand that he can wear it at home, but not in public. Crazy that it still fits though, huh?

And to end this post I would like to ask a favor...can everyone visit the Wounded Warrior Project site and read about the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services' Improvement Act of 2010?

WWP Site

This bill will definitely affect the rest of Kevin's life. When I think about how far he slid backward from not having therapy for a good 6 months while here, it puts it into perspective that he will probably need therapy forever. Hopefully not as much, but if it's needed I hope it will be available.

Anyway, if y'all have the time - please contact your congressman/woman. Thanks!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:58 am

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2010
Day 850 - Sep 26, 2010

Today I am going to share with you the letter that I sent last week to the VA Inspector General. The letter only shows a tiny amount of the hell that the VA has been putting me through for nearly ten months now. There are those that say this is all due to my going to Washington D.C. last year and discussing the treatment at the Tampa VA, but there is no way we will ever know for sure. There are also those that feel I am too strong in that I am willing to fight whomever I need to to make sure Kevin is treated well and gets what he needs. Honestly, I can't imagine any parent not doing that, but I know there are those that are just quiet and then there are those like me ;-)

So anyway, it all boils down to money. The VA has been trying to accuse me of all kinds of things - from stealing an education grant, to spending Kevin's TSGLI on myself (I'd love to know what kind of goodies I now own and about the vacations I must have taken), to purchasing the house without court approval, to not filing a VA audit - while Kevin was still active duty no less, and to spending Kevin's other grants (Specially Adapted Housing, etc).

At first, I was nice and allowed the field rep into our home to show him I had done nothing wrong. It's a good thing for me that I am an honest person and would never even dream of spending Kevin's money. Matter of fact, not one cent came out of his bank account for almost 8 months after he was wounded - it was only when he purchased the house that his money started to go out. And let me tell you - I had no less than 2 generals yell at me for not spending Kevin's TSGLI to pay for myself, Breezy and Kevin to live on while he was in-patient. It just didn't feel right to me - in my eyes that was Kevin's money and only Kevin should spend it.

So anyway, the VA really doesn't have the right to question how Kevin's personal paychecks and any other monies are spent. They can only audit VA benefits and when I realized that, I stopped being nice. The funny thing is that they have never once asked to see how his VA benefits are being spent - they are only worried about the money prior to him being discharged from the Army. Don't you have to ask yourself "WHY?" I sure do.

So once again, there is a whole lot to the story, but here is the letter I wrote. I can only hope someone steps up and starts looking into what has been going on.

Oh and before I forget - just so no one feels the need to start any problems - while in court a couple of weeks ago the judge agreed with me. He has our audits and nothing was ever done wrong on my part. My books are to the penny and there are no discrepancies whatsoever. Matter of fact - here is what my attorney wrote:


Make sure you note that in the determination of the VA page 5 they
specifically state there is no questionable expenditures, no misuse of
funds and no disparity between income and expenses. Furthermore, they
give no reason why the Fiduciary is necessary except to maintain the
integrity of the fund. The integrity was never breached per their own
report!!!!

In case it wasn't made clear, the VA has canceled Kevin's direct deposit for me to pay his bills and is forcing him to pay $300 a month for some attorney (and I use the term loosely as this atty uses a gmail email address - doesn't sound legit to me and he takes care of over 50 vets already!!) and there is absolutely no reason for any of this to happen (unless someone is getting a nice little kickback? Hmmm...)

What makes it even worse is that the judge even clearly states in my guardianship papers that the VA should allow me to remain his fiduciary as I have done nothing wrong.

Anyway, here is the letter:

September 22, 2010
VA Inspector General Hotline (53E)
P.O. Box 50410
Washington, DC 20091-0410

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Leslie Kammerdiener, mother and full-time caregiver to my son, Corporal Kevin Kammerdiener, U.S. Army-Retired who was severely wounded in Afghanistan on May 31, 2008.

I am writing to inform you of a situation involving the VA that has become unbearable and request your immediate attention. I have been harassed for roughly nine months by the VA Fiduciary Units in St Petersburg, FL, Pittsburgh, PA and Houston, TX at the instigation of Cynthia Lewis in the Washington D.C. Office. I am writing this letter to request that someone help me to battle the VA and get back control of my son's funds.

I also feel this whole situation with Ms. Lewis should be thoroughly investigated as she seems to have a personal vendetta against me and has been taking great strides to try to find something that I might have done wrong in order to take control of my son's benefits.

The St Pete office first accused me of stealing a $26,000 education grant that turned out to be my son's Van Modification Grant that was coded incorrectly by a VA employee. A field rep was sent to our home last December to pour over my son's bank accounts and my own personal accounts as well. He found nothing.

Since then, Ms. Lewis has called the guardianship courts in PA (where my guardianship is held) and accused me of purchasing my son's home without court approval (didn't need it) and she also asked for a review of my guardianship. She then knowingly supplied the courts with an incorrect address for us, ensuring I would not be notified of the hearing and therefore would not be present.

During the court review, the VA was present and mentioned to the judge that they don't know where all the grant money my son received went. The judge then suspended my guardianship giving the VA carte blanche with my son's money.

I should point out here that the VA does not pay out grants to the veterans themselves. The monies go directly to the institutions and my attorney spent days getting this info – at $200 an hour. All Ms. Lewis needed to do was pick up a phone and make an internal phone call.

In the interim, Ms. Lewis has repeatedly asked for more and more from me. Kevin has mostly been in the hospital for nearly 2 ½ years and in just the past 6 months has had multiple brain surgeries, infections and hospital stays. While all of this has been going on, Ms. Lewis has demanded that I turn over the deed to the house, the titles to the cars, certified audits, every bank statement from every account and every single receipt from every purchase I made since Kevin was wounded. Everything is in FL and we are in TX and I was told to leave Kevin and go get everything. My response? And who's going to watch my son?

Frankly, it also upsets me that none of the requests are pertaining to VA funds – all of these things had to do with his active duty pays and his TSGLI – the VA has no right to question what was done with Kevin's money prior to his discharge from the Army. I was told this multiple times by various VA fiduciary employees. They all agree that either Ms Lewis is after me personally or is trying to make a name for herself.

So on September 9, 2010, we were finally able to have another guardianship review and both Kevin and I flew to Butler, PA for the hearing. Kevin just had brain surgery 15 days prior, but we had no choice – there is no one I can leave him with.

At this hearing, I was given papers by Ray Jones from the Pittsburgh Fiduciary Office stating that the VA has canceled Kevin's direct deposit of benefits and has assigned them to an attorney here in San Antonio beginning Oct 1, 2010. This was even before the hearing took place as they were so sure they could make something stick. Cynthia Lewis' name is all over this paperwork and even the VA attorney that was present couldn't believe how ridiculous the file was.

At the hearing, the VA threw many possible scenarios at the judge trying to keep my guardianship suspended, but our attorney was able to show the judge that everything the VA said was completely untrue. The judge then granted me back my guardianship and urged the VA to allow me to stay Kevin's fiduciary.

The VA has refused and told me that I could appeal their decision, but we all know that could take months, if not years.

What I find most sad about this is that this hearing cost my son almost $7,000 in attorney fees and the cost of the trip up to PA. Not to mention how many nights I didn't sleep due to the stress or how many times I just cried all night long. I have always tried to do the right thing and I may have failed in not filing one audit with the courts, but I did it as soon as I was informed that I needed to. I have to admit that paperwork was not my priority over the last 2 ½ years – keeping my son alive was.

So about two months ago – when I clearly realized that this was never going to end, I contacted my friends at the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) in D.C. Their organization has tried multiple times to help, but to no avail. I will be enclosing a timeline of steps (among various other files) they have taken to aid me in trying to find out how I can appease the VA and as I mentioned, their efforts were ignored as well.

To reiterate, I am requesting help in keeping my son's funds in his/my hands. I have done nothing wrong and even a judge has requested the monies be allocated by me. There is no valid reason that my son should have to pay an attorney close to $300 a month to do something that I can do for free. I am also requesting a refund of the $7,000 as Kevin should never have needed to spend this money.

I also request an opportunity for a personal meeting with VA Secretary Shinseki and/or with yourself so that you can hear the rest of the story (at the VA's expense). There is much left unsaid and I think the whole story needs to be heard.

I thank you for your time,

Leslie S Kammerdiener

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here's hoping that someone listens and investigates. I finally finished writing to all of the congressmen/women and have begun to talk to some of them as well. It is just appalling how these folks have treated Kevin and me. So unethical...

I just think it's sad that the VA is the organization that is supposed to protect my son, but this part of it anyway is whom he needs protection from.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Sep 28, 2010 11:20 am

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2010
Day 851 - Sep 27, 2010

Thanks everyone for all of the support. I talked to my attorney tonight and found out that the VA rep that was at the hearing in PA blatantly lied to the judge. Now the last time I checked, that was illegal so it might be time to go another step.

So anyway, he told the judge repeatedly that I could file an appeal because they were still forcing Kevin to hire a fiduciary, but it turns out that you cannot file an appeal. Once the VA takes the money - there's nothing you can do. He had to know it too - he is in a supervisory position at the Fiduciary Unit in Pittsburgh. Crooked...crooked...crooked!

And today I talked with more congressmen/women liaisons. It's very time consuming and I have manged to make more than a few phone calls, but I have still more to go. As to the media? It's next on my list. If any of you have friends in that industry - feel free to send them my way.

So anyway, Kevin did really well at therapy again today. He is making it the full two hours pretty steady now. I asked the therapists to introduce a normal cane to him (instead of that bulky quad cane he has used all along) and so far he is not open to it. He never is though, but once he sees it's less weight and is also easy to use I expect he will do fine with it. He just has to adapt to new things.

And now I am going to bed. I didn't sleep a wink last night and my eyeballs hurt.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:14 am

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010
Day 852 - Sep 28, 2010

This might be a lengthy post tonight because I have a lot to say concerning some of the comments from today - most notably Holee's.

It has many times been said to me that this blog is the cause of all my problems. If I had a nickel for all the times I was told to delete the blog I would be well off. But I refuse - this blog really isn't about money or any other material things. It's about Kevin and the things we go through to help him recover.

To be honest, I could probably come on here everyday and complain about something from the VA - have I done that? No.

And did I complain about the Army and their lack of thought for Kevin? No, I didn't do that either.

As I mentioned, this really is about Kevin and his recovery.

But it has been intimated to me that maybe someone from the blog called and told the VA that Kevin has a lot of things? Shame on you if that's the case. This boy worked hard for what he has. His life is going to suck pretty much forever and if all he has are nice things - then I say he deserves it.

What I always find sad though are those that like to cause drama by making derogatory comments about myself or about the things Kevin has when you really don't know the truth of the situation. You make assumptions through and through and hope it causes others to jump on your bandwagon.

Holee - at first I thought your post was pretty rude. But after reading the second one, I do see your point somewhat. I don't think all of your questions were relevant and some SEEM like they are based on jealousy or anger, but I think you are basically saying that this blog could be part of the problem - only because I don't give every single detail of how things were done, purchased, thought through etc, etc. Frankly, I don't have the time to do that. It would take 8 hours for me to type all of that up every day.

One thing you did say though was that you don't think they are after me. My attorney disagrees with you. So do various VA employees - including fiduciary folks in both Houston and Pittsburgh. Now these people? They know way more about the situation than any of us (notice I said 'us' as they have more info than even I do).

Like I've said numerous times - the readers here only know what I choose, or think of, to say. Case in point - how long have you known I was having these issues with the VA? Just a few days. Even though it's been going on for close to ten months.

So let's just clear some things up right now. I have done it before, but apparently those posts weren't read by the folks that think Kevin should live in an 8x8 shack with a hot plate and an outhouse...

1. As for you saying that Breezy only visited and wasn't a caregiver to Kevin? Honestly? How could you know that? Were you there? Did you see that girl doing almost as much as I did? She gave up everything as well and she worked hard, right along side me every single day to help Kevin get better (at 23 years old, no less). To be honest, both of us were always at the hospital, so I am curious how you claim to think you know so much? And honestly - what does that have to do with the situation anyway?

2. The reason Kevin has such a large house is because a doctor at the Tampa VA told us we needed to have at least 3000 sq ft. I questioned it then because really...who the heck has time to clean that much space? But that is what I was told to do - so that's what I did. Joel's mom was told at least 2700 sq foot and everyone else has been told large numbers as well.

As for it being a 5 bedroom - I suppose I could have shown Kevin only 3 bedroom homes that were still over 3000 sq ft, but why not shoot for more rooms - just in case he does end up someday getting married and having children? It made sense to me then and it still makes sense to me now. But, I will say this - if a VA employee hadn't told me to purchase such a large house - I never would have.

And I want to remind you all that Kevin did choose his home. I narrowed it down to five of them and he picked this one out himself. He knew what it was going to cost and that he would need a mortgage. He fell in love with it the moment he walked in and that was all I needed to see. And after all - shouldn't his very own money be used to make him happy? Shouldn't he be able to purchase things he wants?

(btw, the VA didn't seem to care about the house itself. They just tried to cause problems with the court saying that the court didn't give me permission to buy it. It turns out I didn't need permission - but that is because the courts forgot to put in my original guardianship papers that I needed to get approval for large purchases)

I also want to point out one more thing. You are right and wrong when you say that most vets don't have such large homes. You are right that most don't, but these guys? The guys/gals that are the most severely wounded - they all do. There is one difference though - most of them didn't have to pay for their homes and many of them didn't have to pay for their vans. Kevin did though. He has a mortgage (that he can afford) and after the VA grant to purchase the van was applied, I paid for the remainder of it out of the donations that were sent.

3. As for the new stuff in his home - almost all of it was used. Yes folks, I purchased used furniture and got a helluva good deal too. I should mention here to the anonymous person that cowardly commented that Kevin seems to have a lot of new things - that is kinda true. Unfortunately Kevin was only 19 when he was wounded. He wasn't old enough yet to have accumulated any belongings that would fill a house. So my question to you - did you want him to sleep on the floor? Should he air dry when he gets out of the shower? Or maybe you want me to sit on the floor with him in my lap while he watches tv? Oh wait - you don't want him to have a TV, do you? That's right. He's supposed to HAVE nothing and DO nothing.

As to your comment that Kevin has a lot of things as opposed to other vets - here might be why. Kevin didn't go to a bar 7 days a week and drop a thousand dollars a night buying round after round. Kevin also didn't go to shoe stores and drop $700 a clip or take his friends on vacation after vacation and he also didn't just blow through his funds on stupid stuff - not having anything to show for it in the end. That boy lay in a hospital for 12 months straight. His paychecks just accumulated and accumulated. When he was able to think more clearly, we started making decisions TOGETHER about what he needs vs what he wants.

Most of the vets that are here at BAMC and were combat wounded have blown through ALL of their money. I see them now having no place to live, no furniture and their fancy cars being repo'd. That won't happen to Kevin. He used his money maturely - with my help. He bought a house. He bought a pool and he bought furniture. Oh and let's be honest - he also bought his dream car. He had to wait for that one - but he eventually got it.

4. As to the pool - it's good for him to swim - in every way. We got three bids and all three were very close. I also want to remind you that Kevin chose his pool. Look back to April or May of last year and check out the photos of him at the pool center. I also want you to look at all the various photos of Kevin swimming - how happy that makes him, which in turn makes me happy. He has so little to smile about and if swimming makes him happy - then I say let him be happy. (and btw, a marine was just given a pool/spa from the marine semper fi fund. Kevin paid for his and still had money in his savings).

What this all really boils down to is the fact that the VA is still taking the money from Kevin's/my control - even after investigating me and finding no problems. I knew I did nothing wrong, which is why I allowed them into our home and proved it, but when it kept going and more and more lies kept coming up, I knew I had to stop this. At this point, someone has a personal problem with me and they are taking it out on Kevin. He is the one that will be forced to pay a stranger to pay his bills. Someone that won't be monitored at all and can do what he wants with Kevin's money. I am also curious if this 'attorney' is going to call AT&T every month to get all of the purchases Kevin made by hitting buttons removed? Is he also going to monitor for water leaks and electrical problems at the house? I also wonder how Kevin will be able to buy a book of stamps? Or if he is having Thanksgiving dinner at his house how he can buy the extra groceries necessary? He won't be able to do any of this.

Oh and Holee - you apparently don't know that the VA already monitors how Kevin's money is spent. We have to have all purchases over $1000 approved and we are on a budget. His funds are also audited every year and I have no problem with any of this. I don't mind that they watch his funds. I may not be around forever and if he remains incompetent, I will want any future caregiver watched as well. What I do have a problem with is them forcing him to pay the above mentioned person to write out his bills. This person won't be watched. See for yourself - read this part of a VA IG report:

"When the Fiduciary Program does not adequately supervise appointed fiduciaries, incompetent beneficiary estates are subject to misuse. For example, a joint Federal and State investigation in Minnesota disclosed that a fiduciary submitted false accountings in an effort to conceal the embezzlement of nearly $1 million from 33 disabled veterans while acting as their appointed fiduciary. The defendant admitted to taking funds from the veterans’ bank accounts to support a gambling habit and to submitting false accountings to VA and agreed to make restitution to VA, the Social Security Administration, and a bonding company that reimbursed the veterans for their losses. Earlier this year, the fiduciary was sentenced to 55 months’ incarceration after pleading guilty to making a false statement to VA."

Like the person above, this person isn't "watching how Kevin's funds are spent" - this person has total control of Kevin's money - with no one watching him. This over me - the person who has spent Kevin's money maturely (and at a mutual decision between Kevin and myself each and every time) and who has a judge agreeing with that. Hell, the VA report even says that, but they are still canceling payment of his benefits.

And once again - let's ask ourselves - why has the VA NEVER ONCE looked at how his VA funds have been spent over the last year? Not one time have they looked at those books. If they were really concerned about his money - and not attacking me - don't you think they would check that out first?
These are the comments of Leslie's post...

This is with Holee's post and you can read what she has to say...

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogI ... 5189080202

This contains the 27 letters of support that she got the following day from the Blog Readers and her friends and supporters all over the World, I have never linked to this before as it's my respect for the other posters and not to reproduce any comments, they are highly supportive but it's not my place to link them, Leslie is my friend and a very special one, I wanted you to read about her and her struggle, but, there are also have been a couple of stalkers in the Anonymous Section, we know who they are and it's nasty and ugly, so that was a big chunk of my reason, nobody gets linked, good or bad, and, they are not the ones involved in this conversation, but, on this occasion I think it right to post the two links....

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogI ... 3989865733
Last edited by Chalkperson on Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:39 am

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2010
Day 853 - Sep 29, 2010

Thank you all for all of your support today. I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to me. It's always nice to know that people understand why things are done and how choices are made and stand behind you.

Here's what I think it all boils down to though:

This blog was first created to keep family and friends in the loop and also to someday, hopefully, be able to share with Kevin the journey we all took together.

It's my belief that if you don't support Kevin, myself and Breezy as one unit...well, truthfully - the only reason you would want to be here is to cause trouble. Why else would you continue to read about someone that you don't stand behind?

It would please me greatly too if those that have a problem with something I have done take maybe a different path. If you really feel the need to police us - why don't you just email me your problem instead of trying to rile the readers into a frenzy? If you won't do it for me or anyone else - do it for Kevin. After all - he will be reading all of this someday (we have already started actually).

Please understand that I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and freedom of thought. Everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe, do what they want to do and feel what they want to feel. EVERYONE - including myself. And unfortunately, some of you are slamming me over and over again for doing just that. All of my thoughts are being questioned and all of my decisions are being attacked. I find it odd though that you can sure dish it out but start attacking anyone in your path when it comes back at ya - even if that person has never said or done a bad thing to you.

So there it is. If you want to stick around - do so. But I ask that you do it respectably, for Kevin's sake.

And to my friends on here - please just ignore the crap. These types of people WANT everyone upset and angry. It's the only reason that it would go from attacking me to attacking others around me (like my daughter - who has never done anything to anybody). They are just bitter, miserable folk with nothing to occupy their time.

So now back to the real world:

Kevin did great at therapy again today. He is building both strength and endurance and it pleases me so much. The OT wants me to purchase some weights to put on Kevin's arm for short periods of time trying to get it to stay down instead of always being curled upward. Such a great idea. Back in the beginning - here at BAMC - Pam did that with him. I forgot about it, but will be making a point to find those small weights tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow - it's possible Breezy will be finding out the sex of the baby in the afternoon. Kevin and I are going with her and Chris to the ultrasound and we are so excited. It will be Kevin's first experience with something like this and I hope he enjoys it.

And on Sunday, Kevin and I went to an art museum, but by the time we got there the actual museum was closed. The grounds were beautiful though and we spent some time in one area taking some photos. We are hoping to go back to the museum soon and actually visit and spend more time on the grounds. Here are a couple of photos:

And that's pretty much it. I have to say the weather here has just been beautiful the last couple of days. I have all the windows thrown open and I just love all the fresh air. Kevin and Lea even went for a walk last night, which was really nice.

Oh, and I finally creamed Kevin at Skipbo!!! LOL!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:49 am

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2010
Day 854 - Sep 30, 2010

IT'S A BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Breezy and Chris are expecting a little Christian Edward (Edward after my dad)!! We all went to the doctor's and sat through the sonogram. Kevin was so excited. You should have seen the look on his face - total awe.

After the sonogram, the four of us went to the McNay Art Museum and Johnny met us there. We made it through only two sections of the museum and we ended up having to leave. Kevin touched one of the statues and got told not to by the guard. Breezy said that the look on Kevin's face was mortification, but I missed it. No matter, he was upset and there was no talking him into having a good time after that.

I actually left Johnny with him while he stood in a stairway and pouted. He wouldn't speak to anyone or make a move any which way.

So Breezy, Chris and I hurried outside so that I could take some photos before we left. It's not often that Chris is around as he works so much and I wanted to get some shots of the two of them together.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:17 pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2010
Day 855 - Oct 1, 2010

Not too much happened today. Kevin has been nauseous most of the evening/night. I have yet to find any kind of pattern as to why some days he just vomits all over the place and then he's fine for sometimes months at a time. I suppose you could just chalk it up to TBI, but still...you'd think there would be some sort of reason. Some sort of trigger.

Other than that it was a normal day. We went to therapy and that's about it. They are really working his arm in a way no one else has ever done. I so hope it helps him to be able to move it at least a little bit.

So that's about it for today so I think I'll sign off and get to bed.

Oh and Janna - the baby is due Jan 12th. And Tracey - as far as I know, they didn't really care if it was a boy or a girl. As long as it's healthy, ya know? Anita - if there's talk of a wedding they haven't let me in on it, lol.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:41 pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2010
Day 856 - Oct 2, 2010

Today...we went to Six Flags!!!! Johnny works there during the weekends and told me that the park really isn't busy at this time of the year so we decided to go for it. We didn't get there until almost 5pm so that we missed the hot, afternoon sun and I would say a lot of families went home by then too.

I can't say it was the most fun day we ever had, but it was still better than just sitting home like we normally do. I am really trying to find things to keep us busy, things that would make Kevin happy and we did have some really fun moments while at the park.

I do have to call the neurosurgeon this week because Kevin is determined to ride the Tony Hawk roller coaster and I didn't allow him today because I didn't know if he was able to or not. I also will not EVER get on a roller coaster so either Moe has to come and take him or someone else will have to.

(so ok - this makes TWO things that I won't do for my kids. I won't have a dog and won't ride a roller coaster)

I did, however, ride the ferris wheel. I should tell you that I REALLY don't like heights. But I did it and was scared to death the whole time.

So here are some pics of the day. I didn't want to lug my camera around so I had to use my phone. Not the best quality, obviously...

And we had a few minutes that really broke my heart. Do you remember the rope ladder game? Where you have to try to get to the top and ring the bell? Well, Kevin was determined to try it. He knew he only had one arm/hand and that his one leg really doesn't have any feeling and is very weak, but he was gonna try anyway.

Well, he got up to the ladder and couldn't even stand on the first rung. He tried...oh, how he tried, but he just couldn't even move his body to get onto the ladder from the balloon, more or less up the rungs.

It was heart-wrenching. Here are two photos. They are blurry because I was none too steady as I was crying. The lady next to me was too and I think her husband even had a few tears in his eyes. Kevin drew quite a crowd - we all know why - but when he gave up, and myself and the attendant managed to get him up off the balloon, everyone cheered. At least he tried. That's what counts, I say! But man...you should have seen the look on his face when he realized he really wasn't going to be able to do it. It just broke my heart right in two...

Sad, isn't it? But he did try...

But other than that, we did have a good day! And that's what we'll remember.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:28 am

MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2010
Day 857 - Oct 3, 2010

We had a really good day today. Maritza, Jose' and Joel came over for dinner, along with Breezy and Chris, and we all had so much fun. They are always fun to be around so I guess it's not surprising, lol.
I wanted to touch on a couple of questions tonight.

Barbara B - Kevin does have Zofran tabs - although he wasn't given the ones that go under the tongue until we came here in Feb. He had been on it as a scheduled dose for almost two years, but it really wasn't making a difference as he wasn't always nauseous. I never knew about the ones for under the tongue and once I did, I pulled him off the scheduled doses and went that route. There has been no difference. We do use it when Kevin knows ahead of time that he is going to vomit, but sometimes there is no warning and it is projectile and you just need to run for rags and a bucket.

Also, some of you have asked about writing letters and going to various people about the VA problem I am having - please feel free to do whatever you guys think will work. All help is welcome.

At this point, the VA has decided to call off the review of Kevin's TSGLI and personal payments and now want me to do an audit for the past ten months. In some ways I think I should just do it, but then I think 'WHY?'. Nobody else has to do four in one year and there is no reason why I should have to. I think it's redundant to do this many in so little time. I have already had to do two of them and another will be due in January. Honestly, why not just wait until then?

And y'all will love the fact that the IG's response was for me to go to the local fiduciary office for our problem. Apparently they didn't even read the letter or they would know that they are part of the problem. It's just a really sad thing when veterans have nowhere to turn to for help. It really scares me that there is such a breakdown of care and communication and it just tells me that any VA employee can do whatever they want without fear of losing their job. Apparently they are all completely safe in employment no matter what they do. This had been said to me numerous times while in Tampa as some of the nurses did things that would curl your toes. I guess I hoped it wasn't true, but apparently it is.

It has to be so frustrating to folks like Mary that do their job honorably and well. It would be to me anyway.

And speaking of Mary - to the anonymous person that mentioned possible vitamin D deficiency - that is something Mary has mentioned before and I have to admit that it keeps dropping from my list of things to do. I will have to discuss it with her again, but admit that he has been taking a walk outside quite often so it may not be as bad as it used to be (if in fact there is a deficiency).

And now I am hoping to get to bed. Goodnight!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:13 am

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2010
Day 858 - Oct 4, 2010

Kevin was nauseous again this morning. So bad that he didn't want to go to therapy and frankly, I didn't blame him.

I called the neurosurgeon today because I noticed that Kevin has some swelling on his cheekbone (more than normal since the surgery). It could be an infection, it could be a tooth that's been bothering him and it could be nothing. I can't be sure, and with the nausea I figured we better get it checked out. Unfortunately, the surgeon didn't call me back today so hopefully he will tomorrow.

In the interim I emailed a different doctor because Kevin is tentatively scheduled to go in-patient for detox on Monday. I am concerned that he is also having extreme pain at the swollen part of his face - especially when he yawns and stretches - and I wasn't sure if this is the right time to take the narcotics away. This doc wants to see Kevin so we will know his plan of action pretty quickly.

And Johnny came tonight and Kevin didn't even get out of bed hardly at all. Only to eat dinner and that was it. I sure hope he feels better tomorrow.

And something I haven't mentioned yet is that there is going to be another baby in the family! Yes, my niece Chrissy is expecting in April! Unfortunately the dear girl has given us quite a scare as she has been in the hospital the last 5 days. She has digestive problems normally and hasn't been able to keep anything down for 10 weeks - since she got pregnant. She has been in and out of the hospital since then for dehydration and they put her on Zofran recently. It turns out she was allergic to it though and it was making her symptoms worse. We were all so scared for her life and the baby's. But today, the girl managed to keep solid food down for the first time in a LONG time and it was just so nice to hear her sound normal while we were on the phone tonight. She was discharged finally and is doing much better.

It's so funny because Breezy and Chrissy made a pact as young children to both have babies at the same time. Oddly enough - it wasn't planned, lol.

And I think I am going to go scrapbook for a bit. Kevin is struggling again tonight so I need to keep myself busy to stay awake.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:58 pm

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2010
Day 860 - Oct 6, 2010

So Kevin and I went to see one of his docs today to make sure that it's a good idea to go in for detox. The doc did agree that Kevin's cheekbone area is swollen and sent us for a CT Scan. Unfortunately, he wanted a contrast scan done, but no one could get an IV in Kev's arm so after an hour of deliberation between the docs and the radiologists, they decided to just do a normal CT.

Tomorrow we go see the neurosurgeon and he will have the results of the scan so we should know more then.

We are still planning for Kevin to go into the hospital next week, but now the doc doesn't feel Kevin will actually be removed totally from the narcotics. He just thinks we will get Kevin down to a smaller amount. It kinda makes me question if this is even worth it at this point in time because he really isn't on that high of a dose of meth. He rarely takes any oxy at all anymore so I'm just not sure it's worth putting Kevin through all this.

Oh well, it's what they want to do so I am going to go along with it. I am just really nervous about this and I hate to put him through it if the results aren't going to be as good as we originally thought.

(Can you tell I'm just not crazy about this whole idea?)

And we have decided to go back to Florida for a couple of weeks at the end of the month. My dad is not doing so great and we think we need to go home for a visit. Breezy and Chris are going too (but just for a long weekend as they both have to work) so it's going to be our 'family holiday' of sorts.

Kevin is very excited to be going home for a bit. He misses his house and he misses his things. He also can't wait to see everyone - he talks about them all the time. Matter of fact, he called my parents at 3:00 this morning to chat. I'm pretty sure they weren't crazy about the time of the call though, lol.

It makes me wonder how many other people he calls at that time of the night, hehe...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:36 am

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2010
Day 861 - Oct 7, 2010

Well...no infection is visible!! Yahoo!! The neurosurgeon can't see any reason that Kevin's cheekbone is swollen. We looked at his scans together and there is absolutely nothing there. Even his sinuses are clear and I took him off the allergy medication a week or so ago. I don't really know what this means, but as soon as I heard no infection and no fluid build up - I was good to go.

We are going to keep an eye on it though while Kevin is in the hospital next week.

So after we went to the docs we stopped at Walmart on the way home. Kevin needed a few items and although I'm not sure I should be glad about this - he bought himself a new hat. I will say I do believe it looks somewhat better than that other thing he likes to wear, but not by much. Geez. Kids today.

And just so you guys all see what I see - here is a photo I took of him this evening after we got home. It's his 'reflective' pose, lol.

And amazingly enough - today I got served with the papers telling me of my court date two days ago. These were the papers that were to be served on Aug 24. A little late, huh? It's a good thing that we already had the hearing while we were in PA or I wouldn't have shown up for the hearing a second time. I think it's nuts that Kevin has to pay for me to be served and they can't even do it before the hearing date.

And that's pretty much it for today. Oh wait! No, it's not! Kevin stayed out of his room/bed for a full 11 hours straight today. Between the docs and then shopping and then sitting at the table playing on his iPad and then watching Iron Man 2 in the living room - he did something he has maybe never done since being wounded! Isn't that the coolest thing?
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:56 pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2010
Day 862 - Oct 8, 2010

Today we had a woman from a splint company meet us at therapy to discuss ordering some splints for Kevin. We are interested in getting his elbow straightened so that his arm hangs down to the side and we also want to stretch his fingers and open his hand.

She also mentioned one for his right leg as it doesn't quite straighten completely and yet it also doesn't bend at the knee hardly at all. I guess they make a splint that can fix both? I'm not sure how that works, but I am hoping we have the chance to find out. The VA has to approve the purchases so we shall see...

And that's pretty much it for today. Kevin was a little bit tired all day and I can only assume it was because he was out of bed for so long yesterday. He didn't even do much at therapy, but they still got a bit of a workout in.

I hope he feels well tomorrow because I have something planned for him in the evening...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:28 am

MONDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2010
Day 864 - Oct 10, 2010

Last night we went to the zoo. We went with Breezy's work as it was their 10th birthday as a company and they had a private party after the zoo closed. We had never went to the zoo here before and because it is getting dark so early now, it looks like we will have to go back during the day. We had such a short time there in the daylight and what we saw was a really pretty place. I look forward to going back, but have to admit that it is really hard for me to push Kevin up all the hills in his wheelchair. It is what it is though, so I'll adjust. And Kevin did enjoy it while it was light out so it will be worth it to go back.

Today we didn't really do much. I have been working on that darn audit so my eyes are kinda buggy and I am really just flat out tired. I just want to try to get it done before Kev goes into the hospital on Tuesday. Once he's in - my time will be very limited to do things like this.

And that's pretty much it for today so I am going to sign off.
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:28 am

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2010
Day 865 - Oct 11, 2010

Not too much happened today. Kevin wasn't up to going to therapy again today, which does concern me a bit. He did feel better later in the afternoon though so we went for a long walk outside to make up for it.

Breezy and I went to a movie this evening while Johnny was here with Kevin. It was nice getting out for a while and I wanted to try to spend time with Breezy before Kevin goes into the hospital.

I know my posts have been a little...I don't know...disjointed or unfocused or something. Even I can tell my thought process is off, but fighting the VA on top of taking care of Kevin is taking its toll on me. I won't give up - even though that's what they want me to do - because I would never give up fighting for my son's rights or dignity or whatever they are trying to strip at whatever time. It is exhausting though and it makes me wonder how vets that are wounded or ill that don't have a family member to fight for them do this? It's just such a sad thing.

And I don't know if anyone is interested, but here is an article I found showing other people's problems with the fiduciary folks:

VA Watchdog Site

Sure is eye opening, huh?

And tomorrow is THE day. Kevin is being admitted tomorrow afternoon for detox. I sure wish I knew what this is going to be like. I am purposely not saying anything to Kevin because I don't want to instill fear in him. Maybe this will be easy, but I just can't imagine that being so.

And at this point I don't plan to stay overnight, but we'll see how it goes. I didn't get the audit done because I need one bank statement and the banks were closed today so I have to come home at least one night and try to get it done.

Anyway, wish us luck - Kevin mostly. I have this horrible feeling we are going to need it...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:43 am

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2010
Day 866 - Oct 12, 2010

I feel like I just took my little lamb to the slaughterhouse. Seriously. Kevin has no idea what is in store for him. Truthfully, neither do I. Maybe this will all be easy...I don't know. I am just scared to death that he is going to suffer unbearably this week (and later) when he has already suffered so much.

It's hard too because I am always honest with him. We always talk at length about each and every thing that we go through. We touch on the pros, the cons and everything in between. It was just so hard for me to not say 'Hey bud, this could be a bit rough' and give him a little warning of what could be coming his way.

But I couldn't. I knew if I did he may not go. I can't force him - he has quite a bit of height and weight on me so it's not like I can pick him up and put him in the car, so I just had to bite my tongue and not give him a reason to back out.

But I feel dishonest. And I feel sneaky. And I worry that he is going to realize that I was dishonest. And sneaky. I sure don't want to break the bond we have - if that happens we might as well give it up now, because going through everything we go through requires trust and understanding, as well as compassion and patience.

I have never done anything to break the trust of either of my children...until now. And it hurts my heart. It was the hardest thing to drive away from the hospital tonight knowing he will get a lesser dose with his morning meds and could possibly be feeling the effects before I am allowed to go in for visiting hours tomorrow.

What if he is in pain? Or is suffering like addicts do on TV when going through withdrawal? The what ifs are killing me.

This whole thing just really hurts my heart...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:45 am

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2010
Day 867 - Oct 13, 2010

Kevin is doing much better than I expected (phew!!!!). They reduced his methadone by 15% today and he did pretty well. They did have to give him Tylenol a few times and one time he even needed Oxy, but that could have just been a normal day. We also expect that he will always need Tylenol so I didn't even blink when he needed it.

Ironically, Joel ended up being admitted again yesterday too and his dad, Jose, came and took Kevin for a walk today. I think they walked for a good hour and the distance was probably a little more than a mile. They took one lap around the burn gym and ICU and then Kevin had to go back to his room, get his iPad and walk the lap again to show off his toy. He really loves that thing!

In my eyes, I think if we keep Kevin busy while he is going through this it will give him less time to focus on his pain. With the help of Jose, we got him walking a few times today and Breezy and I also had him come out of his room for dinner. We always try to eat in the waiting room if no one is in there and it worked out tonight. It just kinda keeps it like eating a normal family meal as opposed to trying to eat sitting on his hospital bed.

So anyway, maybe tomorrow will go just as well. We can only hope so anyway...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:17 am

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2010
Day 868 - Oct 14, 2010

Kevin is still doing fantastic! Matter of fact, he didn't need any additional Tylenol or anything for roughly 11 hours today - woohoo! He has seen a 33% decrease already and is down to 21 mg a day now. Wonderful, eh?

I am excited because I actually went to sleep at 2am this morning. Amazing! And I slept completely uninterrupted until 8:40 when my phone rang (and it wasn't Kevin - he didn't call one time!).

I was glad for the wake up call though because I was able to go and get the oil changed in Kevin's car before going to the hospital. It needed it quite some time ago but it's not easy to do things like that.

And now I think I am going to go take a nice hot bath before going to bed.

Oh and Janet - I am so happy that Matt is home for good! I hope we can get together when we go back to FL for a visit in a couple of weeks. Maybe you guys can all come over for dinner. Stromboli sounds good...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:36 pm

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2010
Day 869 - Oct 15, 2010

Wow - what a busy day today! We had all kinds of company and Kevin was even given a gift from Cat and Mike. You guys are gonna love this:

Yep. Another ugly hat. I believe Mike said this is official Army gear though, but I still think it's ugly. Kevin, of course, loves it!

Lea also came to visit today and her and Kevin went for a walk with the therapist. It was so nice of her to spend the afternoon with him!

Kevin continues to do well with the detox. I had a chat with the doc today and we are starting to think that the methadone hasn't really been doing anything for Kevin. He told me that narcotics rarely help a headache and if that is all Kevin is suffering from the meth may have been unneeded all along.

And we are discussing acupuncture for the headaches when we come back to TX from FL in a few weeks. There is always the Tylenol, but I am open to trying the needles too. Not sure how Kevin is going to feel about giving it a try, but I think once he hears that it may take the headaches away completely he will be up for it. We shall see...
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Oct 17, 2010 1:39 pm

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2010
Day 870 - Oct 16, 2010

Kevin is still doing very well today. We spent some time learning a new phrase - "I'm hungry" and we also went for a really long walk tonight after dark. Kevin is able to go out on the hospital grounds so we went outside and really pushed the envelope.

One thing I have noticed since he is taking less narcotics is that his walk is sturdier. Today we went downstairs to dinner and he didn't even take his cane with him. He walked very well and didn't lose his balance at all.

And tomorrow Breezy is going to go in at the beginning of the shift and I am hoping to get the bulk of the new audit done. I also seriously intend to sleep in. If anyone is thinking about calling me tomorrow - DON'T!!! Lol!

And that's pretty much it. 2 more days though, and there will be no narcotics in his system. YAY!!!
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Re: Updates on Kevin, CMG'S Wounded Warrior...

Post by Chalkperson » Tue Oct 19, 2010 9:56 am

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2010
Day 872 - Oct 18, 2010

Three really great things happened today!

1. Kevin took his very last dose of Methadone at 9pm this evening!

2. I pretty much finished audit #3. Just gotta wait on the paperwork from the banks.

3. And Kevin moved his right arm downward today. He has been able to kinda move it upward, but he has never been able to move it down. You should have seen the look on his face - he was so shocked and excited. The Botox has really made a difference and the therapy even more so. His hand is much looser - it is often open now instead of being clenched so tightly you can barely pry it open. His arm is also hanging way lower than it used to. Yahoo! It would be so great if we could get even a small amount of use out of it.

And we are discharging from the hospital tomorrow. I believe Kev will be ready and waiting when I get to the hospital - although that is definitely not a given, lol.

Tonight I had to request a different nurse. We had someone that we had never had before and the guy wasn't patient enough to handle Kevin. Kevin does things in his own time and when he didn't take his meds fast enough for the nurse, the nurse started lecturing him about 'stealing time away from his other two patients'. That wasn't flying with me. Kevin was upset because the nurse just wasn't listening to him at all and I could see that Kev wasn't going to get the care he needed. He does require more time to process and do things sometimes and if a nurse (or anyone) can't understand that then they need to step away. It's nothing personal - he just wasn't a good match for Kevin.

Truthfully, I can say that both Kevin and I really love this hospital and pretty much all of the docs and nurses that work here. Everyone treats us like family and it's much appreciated when you, in a sense, live there.
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