August 31, 2011

First Day of School

We met Garren's homebound teacher yesterday. We are so blessed to have such great people working with us at Piedmont High School. She came to the house and worked with Garren for a little while. Then we talked about our plan and goals for Garren regarding school.

Friday I am taking Garren to school for a visit. We are going to go through and visit his classes, following his schedule. Yes, I'm going back to high school. I'm not sure what to think about that. Last time I was in high school all I wanted to do was get out of there! (I just hope I don't get sent to the principal's office like I used to!)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Garrison. Garrison is one of the many children at our church who has been praying for Garren every day since he went into the hospital in February. The faithfulness of these young kids continues to amaze me. Thanks Garrison!

Continue to pray for the assistant that will be hired to work with Garren at school. A perfect fit will be crucial to the success of Garren's reentry into school. I know God already has that special person picked out. Pray for the wisdom of those at the school who will be interviewing and hiring this person.

And one more thing - don't forget to come out and eat at Jersey Mike's Subs in Monroe on Friday! They will be donating 20% of the proceeds to help cover Garren's medical expenses.

August 29, 2011


We met with the staff at Piedmont on Friday morning about Garren returning to school. Here's the plan we came up with. Effective immediately, Garren will be considered "homebound," meaning he will have a homebound teacher who will begin guiding his studies at home. Meanwhile, the school is going to locate an "assistant," someone who will be able to assist Garren throughout the day when he does begin attending classes.

We had requested that I be able to attend classes with Garren initially, to help him with the transition, and to help train the assistant. At first there seemed to be a bit of reluctance, but we've been able to come to a compromise. While Garren is still considered "homebound," he and I will be permitted to "visit" his classes, so he can go ahead and get used to being in the classroom, and start being around his friends again. Once the assistant is located, I will be permitted to attend along with Garren and the assistant until we feel that Garren is transitioning well.

I don't really foresee any major challenges. The staff at Piedmont has been very gracious and welcoming. I am looking forward to seeing Garren transition back into his school.

You can pray for a great fit in the assistant. It's always an adjustment when it comes to finding someone to work with this closely. Pray that Garren is assigned someone with a personality that fits his. Also, pray for us as we figure out the best way to help Garren succeed in school. This is a big step for us all.

August 27, 2011

Jersey Mike's Subs - Fundraiser for Garren

I was approached recently by Jersey Mike's Subs in Monroe about doing a spirit night fund raiser for Garren. They want to donate 20% of the proceeds toward Garren's medical expenses.

Why don't you come join us? Friday, Sept 2, from 4-7pm. When you order, tell them you are there to support Garren.

Here's the flyer with all the details.

August 24, 2011

Back to School

Tomorrow is the first day of school for our kids. I know a lot of you are probably wondering what Garren will be doing about school. Well here's the plan. We will be meeting with several staff members at Piedmont High School on Friday morning to determine the best way to move forward. So while Kara and Kelsey's summer ends today, Garren gets one more day.

We are not sure exactly what will happen. We will be discussing on Friday, and hopefully determine, at least for now, what's best for Garren. This could mean Garren goes to school every day, or that he is home schooled, or some combination. One thing is for sure, whatever we decide to do will likely change as we move forward and Garren continues to progress.

Garren is continuing to do great. His speaking has gotten much clearer. He continues to crack us up with his witty sarcasm. And he does things that take us by surprise. This morning, Garren was sleeping, and Nancy was sitting in the living room. She heard him call out to her, so she went in to see what he needed. When she walked into his room, she found Garren sitting up, with his feet on the floor. He had gotten stuck at the foot of his bed, with his hips wedged between the bed rail and the foot of the bed! She said "What are you doing?" Garren said "I had to pee real bad!" He was somehow going to try to get to the bathroom, by himself! Crazy boy!

August 22, 2011

And We're Back...

Well, we're back from our amazing trip to Colorado. We all had a wonderful time. Everything went very smoothly. The plane trip was great, the airline employees were all super helpful, although I think we could all do without the excessive baggage fees! The rental company was super helpful. He was there waiting for us at the airport in Denver with the van and the power chair that we rented. He met us again when we left a week later to pick up the van and the chair. Super friendly and amazing service.

The cabin we stayed in was not designed with a wheelchair in mind, but we made it work. I figured out that we could line up the ramp with the cabin door, so Garren could drive right out of the van into the cabin. Not ideal, but it worked!

Garren had some great fun driving that chair all over Colorado. He learned how to get stuck, and we learned how to get him unstuck.

And the reason we went in the first place - the wedding. My niece Tiffany married the love of her life, Rocky. The wedding was outside, with the Rocky Mountains as the backdrop. I think more couples should ask me to marry them in the Rocky Mountains! The weather was great all week, until 4pm on Friday, the exact time fo the wedding, a thunderstorm rolled in. No big deal though, we just waited for the storm to pass, then went out in the wet field and held the ceremony. It was a great time.

This week we are gearing up for school. We will meet Friday with the school staff to determine the best way to handle school for Garren. Please pray that we are able to come up with the best solution for him.

August 11, 2011

Cleared for Takeoff

Sunday we are embarking on an adventure. It would've been a pretty big adventure 6 months ago, when things were "normal." But now, with added challenges, it's even bigger. My niece is getting married in Colorado next Friday. She asked me to perform the ceremony. We've been planning this trip for almost a year.

Garren has been doing great at night, keeping his oxygen levels up on his own, coughing and clearing his lungs and throat on his own. The doctors have all cleared him to fly, and to spend a week at 8500 feet above sea level. We were able to rent a wheelchair, and a wheelchair van in Denver. The van and chair will be at the airport to meet us when we get there. We even have night nursing care for the time we are in Colorado. God is so good!

We arrive on Sunday, and Monday Kara and I will be setting out to climb Long's Peak, the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. The peak is at 14,259 feet above sea level. We'll hike to the Boulderfield campground, elevation 13,281 ft, spend the night, then climb to the summit on Tuesday morning.

We are all looking forward to a change of scenery, and some family time away from it all.

August 09, 2011


That's the name of Garren's latest challenge. Proprioception is the ability to know where you are in space. It's what allows you to be able to walk without falling over, to write with a pencil without breaking the lead, or to hold a styrofoam cup without crushing it. Without proprioception it's impossible to "walk and chew gum" at the same time.

Garren is strong. He can stand, he can push himself up from sitting with his arms. He can almost beat me at arm wrestling. His strength is returning more and more each day. But he cannot hold himself in a standing position without falling over. He has a hard time grasping objects, especially with his left hand.

The good news is that proprioception is a learned skill. It's something Garren's brain and nervous system can relearn. And he will. Over time. It will just take time.

The last several nights have been really good nights for Garren. He went the entire night without oxygen last night, and only about an hour the two previous nights. His breathing is getting stronger. We are also noticing some (not a lot yet) improvement as a result of the procedure he had done on his vocal cord last week. His voice is stronger. We haven't seen a lot of progress with the swallowing. But again, this will take time.

Pray for Garren's proprioception. That should be fun for all of you with young children who have been faithfully praying for Garren. I can only imagine how they will stumble over that word!

August 03, 2011

Vocal Cord

Garren is asleep tonight, he had a long day. We all did. We had to have him at the hospital at 7:30 this morning to check in and get ready for his procedure. We went through all the paperwork, signed our lives away again, met with the doctor, and then they took Garren away around 8:45.

The entire procedure only took about 15-20 minutes. The doctor injected a gel into Garren's left vocal cord. The left cord is the one that is not working. The plan is for the gel to push his left vocal cord toward the middle, so that both cords will come together more naturally. This is what protects our airways when we swallow.

The doctor came out and told us everything went as planned. Garren is not supposed to talk for the next two that's possible! He's doing pretty good with that, but he has so much to say!

So we will see how this changes things for Garren. Hopefully it will help with his swallowing. It's a temporary fix, not meant to be permanent. The gel wears off usually after about 6 months. So we will continue to work with him, helping him with throat and tongue exercises, and praying for continued healing.