My Family

"Life will knock you down. You can choose to stand up again."




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love Day

This dang holiday is so hard for so many people.. and has been for me in the past.

But, it need not be. God loves each of us and His love is the best Valentine.

And, we all have the ability (and the need) to love ourselves to the moon and back.

I have four loves in my life. I woke up to this:


I am crazy-blessed by these boys. They are dreamy in every single way! I love them more than words. I can't even imagine what I did in the pre-existence to be given these four spirits. But, I am eternally grateful for the chance to experience life with them!

Love is amazing... especially when we start with ourselves!

Monday, February 12, 2018

See Ya Later Alligators

I was discharged on December 23rd, just in time for Christmas. The staff at the hospital asked me to walk the long way around the halls to exit, while they played Bob Marley's One Love. When I walked out the doors, all of the doctors, nurses, therapists and aides lined the hallway and hugged me and gave me gifts. I cried like a baby leaving her family. It was a super tender moment.

We drove to Orem and set up camp for a couple of weeks. I was able to spend time with my children, the Lamoreaux family, my family, and dear friends over the holidays.

Miss T and B Beck have been incredibly supportive... driving long distances to visit with me, to check up on me daily, to inspire me and motivate me. Our ward is unbelievable. Unbelievable. My work is amazing and patient. My children's school teachers have been outstanding. My family has gone way above and beyond for us!

Everything has to be re-learned. Once I do it once or twice, I seem to have it down. This includes everything, People:
Driving, showering, dressing, doing hair, buying groceries, using a debit card, changing diapers, reading, typing, turning on a computer, going to the gym, getting from point A to point B, paying bills, cooking, laundry... everything that you can imagine I have had to re-learn and it seems things come up every day. What an adventure!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Learning

My room at IMC was very peaceful. It was decorated with cards and flowers from loved ones. There was a glass board on the wall that could be seen when walking in the door to the room. On that board, Randy and I wrote words and phrases that came to our minds while reading, praying, journaling and learning. This board was always noticed by people walking by or coming in to visit. It was read and re-read by me throughout every single day.



While at the University, one of my aides told me of a stroke that she had one year ago. She would look at me throughout her shifts, wipe the tears running down my cheeks, and say to me in her Hawaiian accent, "Darling. Fight! You fight, fight, fight!" That is where the word "fight" came from. As we read from the scriptures, Tao, and other books each day, I would ask Randy to add a word.

One morning, I was alone in my room. The room's window faced west. Because we were on the 12th floor, the view was amazing when the air was clear. One morning, I wheeled myself to the window and looked out. I realized I could see clear to the mountains. I could see people coming and going, attending to their duties and responsibilities for the day. I could see transit working smoothly. I could see Christmas shoppers out and about. I could see birds, light snow flakes, the sunrise and sunset. I realized in that moment that I had vision... not just physically, but spiritually. That is where "vision" came from.

The doctors told me daily that this would be a slow process, one that would require patience (that is something I've never had much of!). Because I was all-in, I chose patience every minute of every day.

Each morning, I was determined to arise. I was determined to arise and to work hard towards my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing.

Other words and phrases came. I felt such peace and such love as I learned more and more about the Atonement of our Savior. Throughout my life, I always thought that the Atonement was simply for repentance. Boy, was I wrong! Our Savior was the only one who understood exactly what I was experiencing. He was the only one who could comfort me and raise me up in the ways I longed for. Because of Him, my body and my mind are being made whole. I have never felt the kind of peace that I felt in very tender moments at the hospitals. The Spirit was tangible. Oh, how blessed we were.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Transferring

On a beautiful, winter morning I was loaded up and transferred from my healing place to IMC. My wheelchair buckled right in to the back of a van and a very nice Tongan man drove me to my new home. I was nervous! I did not yet know what my new surroundings would be like. I did not yet know what my body and mind would be capable of. I did not yet know what I was made of... but I was about to find out.

I arrived to an empty room and sat in my wheelchair for hours before anyone came in. I cried tears of sadness, fear, frustration and confusion. I could not take myself to the bathroom. Would I ever be able to type again? Would I ever be able to hold anyone's hand with my left hand again? Would I ever be able to stick my tongue out straight again? Would I ever be able to sit on a toilet again? Would I ever be able to multi-task again? These thoughts rushed through my tender mind over and over and over again. I completely allowed the voice of fear to take over!

Then, I decided that I was all-in. Whatever was asked of me I was going to do it and do it to the best of my ability. I was going to work and work. I was going to pray and pray. I wasn't going to judge myself. I was going to be patient and allow this to take as long as it needed to.

Right away, I was told that I would not be allowed to leave the unit, have any electronic devices, or watch tv. This was such a blessing!

Randy returned soon and we made the room my own. Cards and flowers were put right where I could see them. He brought a dozen books that he would read to me every day. A schedule was made and kept daily, with four to five hours of therapy each and every day, including occupational therapy, physical therapy and psycho therapy. We integrated daily showers, coloring, and naps in to that schedule. It was very rigid, and very strict. It was absolutely perfect.

It didn't take long before miracles showed up, almost constantly. My fingers started to wiggle. My big toe moved. My arm bent. My arm lifted. My arm lifted to my head. My fingers worked with my thumb. My abs kicked in. My face went back to completely normal. I could bring a cup to my mouth with my left arm. I could brush my teeth. I could transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet chair. I could wash my body by myself. I could color one flower with my vision. I learned to rollover. I learned to do a sit-up. I learned to hold a ball tight and toss it. I learned to lift my foot. I learned to stand. I learned to stand without hands. I learned to step. I learned to walk. I learned to walk without holding on. I learned to walk up a step. I learned to walk down a step. I learned to read with my left eye. I learned to dribble a basketball. I learned to skip. I learned to walk across a busy street. I learned to place an order at a restaurant. I learned how to pay for said order. I learned how to make my bed. I learned how to color more than one flower at a time. I learned how to blow dry my hair. I learned how to bake cookies. I learned how to put pegs in to small holes. I learned how to write in journals. I learned how to count. I learned how to count backwards. I learned how to use a pin number. I learned how to live.

I learned how to live.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

University Farewell

It was determined that I would be transferred to the IMC Neuro Rehab Unit at the IMC Hospital. What a tender mercy! The only other Neuro Rehab Unit that specializes in conversions is in Seattle. I was so grateful that I would remain close to my children and family.

Prior to leaving University, the aides got me in to "normal" clothes and conducted a swallow test. I choked twice after passing the swallow test, but was soon able to start eating a normal diet. I was so, incredibly blessed to be in a place of healing and love and safety while at the University.


I am eternally grateful to Randy Lamoreaux, who never left my side. He was incredibly patient, kind, generous, and sacrificed so much for me and my boys. He read to me every day, he constantly moved me to keep me comfortable, he transferred me from bed to wheelchair to toilet to whatever, he prayed with me constantly, he was my biggest cheerleader during this most difficult time... while running a business and making sure my children felt loved. Although we are not together anymore, I will forever be thankful for him being in this particular classroom during my life.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

University Hospital

The staff and care at the University was a tender mercy. Everyone treated me with such care and such love. The doctor was one of the most educated, trustworthy gentleman I have ever known. The nurses, aides, therapists and arm-pokers were incredibly kind and gentle. I was in the ICU for a couple of days and then was moved to the Neuro Acute Care Unit, just around the corner on the same floor.

On my third night at the hospital, my favorite aide Evelyn, did something of angels. She was my nighttime aide. It was her third graveyard shift in a row. She came in and said, "Heidi, would you like a bath tonight?" Oh, did I ever! I had been given a couple of monkey baths, but how I wanted to have water and soap! She told me that she had been devising a way to get that done. I was paralyzed, afterall, and bathing me would take quite a feat for anyone. There was quite a ledge in my bathroom's shower and I hadn't been out of bed even once... not even to be put in the wheelchair. She got her other patients settled and then came in, looking very motivated. She had several blankets, a wheelchair, all of the bathing necessities. I watched her flurry around my room with a look in her eye that she was on a mission. She got me undressed and put in to a wheelchair. She carefully wrapped me up in blankets to keep me warm and wrapped all of my IVs up. She got another aide to help lift me and the wheelchair in to the shower and then she turned the water on. I held the shower head with my right hand and let the warm water run down my body. As I did, this sweet woman (earthly angel) got on her hands and knees in water and washed my feet and my legs, my arms and my back... she scrubbed my hair with shampoo and then rinsed my body. As she did, she would cover me back up in blankets to keep my temperature from dropping. She turned the water off and rubbed lotion all over my body, brushed my hair and my teeth, dressed me back in to a gown, changed the bedding and laid me back in bed with all of the monitors being hooked back up. The tenderness, love, gentleness that Evelyn showed my on that night was simply not of this world. As tears ran down the right side of my face, I thanked her repeatedly for washing my body and for the dignity and respect that she showed to me in these moments.

Being bed-panned and having complete strangers roll you over to place the pan under your body, then wipe your bottom and get you situated again is humiliating. It is defeating. Never once did any staff member make me feel less than divine.

The paralysis in my face recovered first. I was able to talk, smile, and stick my tongue out normally within a week. My swallow came back within a few days. I choked twice after passing the swallow test, but then was able to eat a normal diet. No more Diet Coke for this girl. I was sad at first, but then resolute on water, water, water.

Randy was able to take me for walks once a day around the unit in my wheelchair. Getting out of the room was always a blessing.

As further tests were done, it was determined that I had not, in fact, suffered an ordinary stroke. I had suffered a conversion. My symptoms, and the recovery, are the exact same. My brain had quite literally turned off to save my life. I was told that I had no permanent brain damage, which is the greatest blessing. I was told from day one that this would be a very long process, but that the doctors were extremely optimistic that I would eventually heal 100%.

My left thumb was my rockstar! I would wiggle the heck out of that thing. Prior to being transferred to IMC, I was able to touch my pointer finger to my thumb. I was able to remember where I was and why I was there. I was able to recognize all of my loved ones as well. A couple of my guys from work came to visit, my parents, and my brother. Monte, who has been acting for P, gave me a beautiful blessing in the ICU.

Each day, we recognized quite literal miracles... modern day miracles occurring constantly. My boys were blessed with loved ones who surrounded them. Our ward family has taken amazing care of my family throughout. Prayers, fasts, and good feelings from the universe have been heard and answered. My time at the University was very tender, very emotional, and full of love and blessings. Soon, it would be time to move on to my next adventure... healing.

Monday, February 5, 2018

December 10, 2017

Jackson was at work.
Braxton, Kaydon, Colton and I headed to our 11 am church. Because my boys are the Aaronic Priesthood, we always arrive 30 minutes ahead so that they can prepare the Sacrament. When church started, Kaydon and Colton were sitting with the deacons and Braxton was sitting with me. I remember telling Braxton that I was extremely dizzy... then telling him that something was wrong. After that, I don't remember anything until I was in the ICU at the University. This is what I have been told:

Braxton took me out of Sacrament Meeting then home and changed my clothes. He called Jackson, then took me to the Kaysville Instacare. An ambulance was called and I was taken to Davis Hospital.


Braxton rode in the ambulance to Davis. Jackson met us there. A large TV was set up in the emergency room. The director of neurology at the University was Skyped in and did a stroke exam over the TV/monitor. He determined that he felt I was having a moderate to severe stroke. He asked my boys' permission to give me TPA. This is the medication that, if given within a certain amount of time, saves lives of stroke victims. The boys agreed that the benefits out-weighed the risks. The TPA was given to me at that point through an IV that took way too many attempts to get in. An ambulance then took me from Davis to University Hospital. Jackson rode in that ambulance with me. I was admitted to the Neurological Critical Care Unit (ICU).

Tests were done hourly, day and night. This included neurological checks, blood draws, etc. I was checked on constantly. I had monitors all over, as you might imagine. My entire left side from the tip of my head to my pinky toe was paralyzed, including my face. I was bed-panned and unable to swallow anything except my own saliva. Randy (we are no longer together, but he was an imperative part of this entire event, so he will be talked about in this blog for several posts... with his permission)met us at the University. He stayed with me the entire time, for which I am so grateful.

The time in the ICU was stressful and anxiety-ridden. I was positive that I'd be returning to work the very next day! When asked why I was in the hospital, I would respond that I was there simply because I was dizzy. I was still very confused. This was the beginning of an entirely new chapter in my life... our lives. My boys and I. My family.

And, so it began.