Here's the deal
Saturday, April 28, 2012
I apologize for the lack of updates lately. It will get better. Wesley has made some remarkable strides in his efforts. He is out of the hospital and doing well.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
A few months ago Wesley determined his favorite candidate was Mitt Romney. Wes and my Dad have had a good time watching voting in each state and celebrating Mitt Romney's victories. Wes believes Mitt Romney to be honest, honorable and a great example for fathers and families. He believes Mitt Romney will do what it takes to make this nation great again and to live within its means. Not to spend more than it takes in, in taxes. He also believes Mitt to be an honorable priesthood holder which really says it all. We don't mean to offend anyone because of their voting preference and wish the best for everyone.
Last week Wesley received a personal video message from Mitt Romney himself that put a huge smile on his face.
A very special thanks to friends that made this possible. Mitt Romney, as you can imagine is a tremedously busy man, and even a few spare moments at this time in the campaign are rare and very valuable. We cannot thank Mitt enough for taking the time to cheer up the life of someone who is overcoming significant challenges with a smile and hard work.
Mitt, your example towards Wes says more than words could ever say about who you are and what you stand for. You are the type of leader that boys and men can pattern their lives after. You are a faithful husband and father and family comes first.
You will notice the Romney for president sticker that is over the door in Wesley's hospital room. A dear friend gave it to Wes a few weeks after we arrived here at Barrows and he asked me to put it above his door. Wes is a real Romney supporter.
This week has been a great week. I know it sounds like a repeat of last week, but each week gets better. The therapists have been noticing stronger hand and finger signals firing in the wrist, which indicate there is a very good chance Wes will get some or all of his fingers back. There will be a lot of hard work involved but it looks like the raw materials are there and the nerves are firing with muscles. This is a result of the many prayers that Wes has been receiving.
Prayers are being answered. From my limited understand Heavenly Father always works with the natural laws he has put in place. He allows miracles to happen through these natural laws and Wesley is definitely a recipient of these miracles.
Hurrah- Wesley has been given a departure date of the hospital in-patient rehab. We leave here Friday, April 20. I know Karen and I are going to miss sleeping on this twin sized cot. we will miss being woken up so many times during the night and getting by on just a few hours of sleep each night. Our bodies will not know how to react to several hours of continuous sleep.
For the last few weeks we have told the nursing staff to please stay out of Wesley’s room and we will take care of him. They have been doing that and it has helped immensely.
Seriously, we will miss the three therapists that have made a huge difference in Wesley’s recovery and that would be Barb, who is his physical therapist. She has been a champion for Wes from the very beginning. We will miss her excitement, enthusiasm and her constant smile. She is an awesome cheerleader and she lets everyone know when Wes has accomplished something major.
We will also miss his two occupational therapists, Jordan and Susan. They focus on fine motor skills and work with wrists, arms, and fingers. They have been diligent, kind, and encouraging. Wes has made amazing progress with them. Last week we posted a video that showed Wes stacking blocks and he got an amazing 13 blocks stacked on top of each other. This week Susan had Wesley stacking blocks again and his brother, Trevor, decided to make a contest out of it. Wesley is competitive so the game was on. Wes stacked 17 blocks and Trevor stacked 18. Wes only missed by one block and Trev couldn’t get any hire. Susan said in all her years of rehab she had never seen a patient stack 17 blocks and she said that is way more than she could stack.
Wes is doing amazingly well. He has had an excellent doctor, Dr, Kwasnica, and her FNP, Suzanne Kelley. They have been wonderful in caring for Wes and taking into account our feedback. They have also given us all the passes we have requested in leaving the hospital and placed great confidence in our ability to take care of Wes outside of the hospital. The nursing staff and techs have been the best. All of them have been very kind and caring and willing to help in any way. We have loved our experience at Barrows and would highly recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in need of a first class rehabilitation facility. Our case manager, Bonnie, has also been amazing.
Friday night our son-in-law, Nate, and granddaughter, Ari, came and spent the night with Wes. It was like a daddy daughter campout at the hospital and they invited Wes to come along as well. Karen and I got to sleep in a regular bed at Britt’s house. We are so grateful to our kids and all their help with Wes. We came to Arizona for rehab because we knew that Wes would respond well with his brothers and sisters and our grandchildren. Our plans are to stay in Arizona until May 19th with Barrows out-patient rehab and then go to Montana for a long weekend and then start out-patient rehab in Salt Lake City at a place called Neuroworx which focus on spinal cord injuries. We are really excited to be in Salt Lake. We are staying Arizona for four weeks so that Wes can get stronger, get used to being in the water, and build up more tolerance for standing on his feet. Being in Salt Lake will allow us to come home for some weekends and spend time at the cabin which we are looking forward too.
This morning was Saturday and we left the hospital at 9:30AM and went to my sister, Lacy’s, ward building for her son, Cayson’s baptism. It was nice to have Wes there. We spent time with Britt and Dall and their families.We had a great day and Wes did so well.
We do not have any fears about leaving the hospital and caring for Wes. The staff at Barrows has done great job teaching us to care for our son. It won’t be too long and he will be caring for himself. We continue to appreciate our daughter, Ryanne, for keeping up the blog.
Several years ago our friends, Greg and JoRita Nielsen, were in our stake. Greg served as a counselor in the Paradise Valley, Arizona Stake. A week ago today their married daughter, Brittany Schramm, was injured in a very serious moutain bike accident and broker her neck and back. She is married to Jeff and they have two beautiful children. She is working hard to heal to the point that she can come to Barrow’s for rehab. She is an amazing fighter and is already showing great courage and progress. Karen and I had the blessing of visiting Greg, JoRita, Brittany, and Jeff this last week. Our hearts go out to their family and we have a little bit of an idea what they are going through and we know their prayers are being answered. We know that Brittany and Jeff have great faith and will have a great recovery and she will continue to influence and bless the lives of their children.
We know our friends will do very well and they will help many others as they overcome this challenge and learn to enjoy the journey. Learning to enjoy the journey is easier said than done, but it is possible as we get used to carrying this new challenge. As we carry this challenge we get strong and get used to the burden and eventually the burden becomes lighter and we find ourselves reaching out to others to help lighten their burden. We know how to lighten others burdens because of all the love and support we have received from others, who have helpe lighten our burdens and helped us, loved us, and given positive encouragement and because of the ever present spirit of God.
Friday, we had great friends come and visit us from Richland, Washington. It was Kristen Hunt and their daughter, Aubrey. They were with us in the Greenway Ward here in Arizona a few years ago. Kristen served as the primary president in our ward and was one of the best we had ever seen. They brought with them letters from the seminary students in their ward who have been following Wesley’s blog and they brought a high school shirt and hat. It is nice to know so many are continuing to pray for Wes and influencing his life. Thank you seminary students everywhere for your convictions to live the gospel and be such a positive influence on others.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Tuesday, April 3 – Sunday, April 8th
These last few days have been filled with continued progress and great effort on Wesley’s part. He has stood up in the standing equipment three times this week and for some reason this has a tendency to really tire him out. He is doing much better on rolling over on his side and has shown great improvement in this area. He continues to tease us and one of his favorite tricks is to pretend he has passed out while we are moving him. His whole body just gets limp and you would think he has passed out. After a while a smile creeps onto his face and he thinks he got you. Karen and I have gotten very used to his pranks but once in a while he gets an innocent bystander sucked into his trickery.
Wes and Mr. Bridger
We have had several visitors this week who have brought meals and more importantly shared their company with us. We have had old friends visit and have met many new friends who are patients here. Saturday, we saw an old friend, Mark, go home with his wife and children. Mark had a very serious brain injury after hitting an elk near Flagstaff, AZ and we grew to love him, his wife, and his children. We will miss their smiling faces and words of encouragement. They are a wonderful LDS family.
We also made new friends with a wonderful couple from Phoenix this week. Scott is a friend of Dallin and Nate’s and is a medical student with them. Scott is an avid athlete and was training for a triathlon on a bicycle when he was hit by a car. He sustained very serious brain injuries but is making remarkable progress. He has such a cheerful attitude and has much support from his wife and extended family. What a blessing it is for us to meet such wonderful people. Scott served a mission in German a few years ago.
Dallin and Nate both took turns again this week staying with Wes and allowing us to go to their homes and spend the night. Connie and my brother, Greg, came to stay with Wes during the day a couple of times this week, which allowed us to take care of some things away from the hospital.
we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as our stay at Barrows is concerned. It looks like we may be leaving here in about 10-14 days. Wes’s core strength continues to improve daily and he is sitting for longer periods of time. He still has an unbelievable amount of work ahead of him but he is building strength, endurance, and balance he needs to make that progress.
Our son, Trevor, arrived here in Phoenix early Saturday morning after driving all night from Rexburg, Idaho. He is a student at BYUI and is on summer break. He has not seen Wes since we left Montana and it is so good to have him with us. Trev is doing an internship at a medical lab as a requirement for his biology degree, his Grandma Benson helped set that up for him. He is staying with Dallin and Ashley.
On Thursday Wesley had a very special visitor come and see him. It was Steve Young. Years ago he was the QB for BYU and then for the San Francisco 49ers. Steve had an amazing career in football. we are impressed with his athletic ability, but more impressed with his Forever Young Foundation and the passion he and his family have to help others and especially children. A friend of ours, Sterling Tanner, who works with Steve arranged to have Steve drop by and see Wes. Even though Steve had a very busy schedule Thursday, he made time to come and see Wes.
Steve also brought a special friend with him, whose name is Jim Herrmann. He was very kind and friendly with Wes and we appreciate his kindness. He played football with Steve Young.
Steve brought a film he helped narrate called “Tyler, A Real Hero”, we are looking forward to watching the video and will report on it in the next few days. Steve also told Wes, “You and I are now forever friends. I will always be your friend and we will follow your progress on the blog.” He also said, “If you ever need anything, please let me know.” Steve also gave Wes a signed 49ers football jersey. All of this attention put a big smile on Wesley’s face.
As I think about Steve’s visit, I am reminded that he is a great administrator and he helps so many organizations that focus on children; in fact, it seems his whole life is now devoted to easing the pain that brings great suffering to children. As busy as Steve is, he has not forgotten the power of personal contact. Administrative work has to be done, but the real joy is found in spending time personally with those who are dealing with difficult situations. Thank you Steve Young, Jim Herrmann, and Sterling Tanner. Thank you for bringing a smile and light into Wesley Joseph Greene’s life. You have set a great example for all of us to follow.
Wesley’s brother-in-law, Ben, is a huge BYU and Steven Young fan and would have given anything to meet him. Unfortunately, Ben is working in Louisiana; we wished he could have been here.
I cannot thank all of you enough fro your prayers, cards, visits, gifts, and thoughts of concern over Wesley’s accident and recover. People continue to come into Wesley’s room and are amazed at the amount of love that is ever present on the walls of his hospital room. They come in and say they have never seen a hospital room like this one. Thank you for brightening our lives and being a part of us. We are reminded that what you have done to support us is more cherished because you are loved ones and family. You help us find the positive in everything and our hope is strengthened because of our knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know everything is going to be just fine. Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Friday morning we got a surprise visit from a childhood friend of mine, Vance Jenkins. Vance is from Carlsbad, NM, where I was born and raised during my teenage years. He shared with us that most of his ward is praying for Wes and especially his own, very large, family. Vance shared with Wes that he has a daughter who has not prayed for several years and, after hearing about Wesley’s accident, has started praying again. We are so grateful that Wesley’s experience is causing people to pray and that it is strengthening testimonies of the importance of prayer. Please know that our prayers are being answered.
Saturday was a great day. We got a pass to leave the hospital all day. We went to Nate and Britt’s house and Wes, Karen and I enjoyed being away from the hospital and surrounded by nieces and nephews. There were a lot of laughs, hugs, and kisses. In the afternoon, we took Wes to see the new movie, The Hunger Games, which he really enjoyed. He has read all three of the books in that series and was anxious to see the movie. It was his first movie since the accident and he even got to watch it from his own reclining wheelchair. We had a wonderful day and wished that it did not have to end back at the hospital. There is an end in sight.
Sunday was another awesome day. We left the hospital early and headed for the Thunderbird Building in North Phoenix for a 9:00AM sacrament meeting. Wesley’s cousin, Craig Lazenby, reported on his mission in Africa, where he served for two years. It was great to be at church again. This was the first sacrament meeting we have been able to attend since the accident. We then went to Britt’s house and relaxed for a while with the grandkids and then went to Grandpa Green’s house for an Easter Feast and lots of family. We got back to the hospital around 7:30PM. This was a great weekend for Wes.
New Record: Wes stacked 13 blocks. This is really hard to do with small blocks. He is a stud.
Be sure to check out the videos below.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I apologize for the delay in posting the rest of my Dad’s journal entries. For those of you who have not been following this blog from the beginning you can catch up on “The Story” by clicking on the tab below the picture of Wesley on the blog.
I think I cried the whole way home to Three Forks. I was crying for Wesley and how his life was changing. When I got home the first thing I did was walk into Wesley’s room, everything felt and smelled like Wes. Everything was just as he left it. The tears started falling again as I knelt down beside the bed in his room and pleaded with Heavenly Father. After several minutes, I had a peaceful feeling come into my heart that everything would be alright. I don’t know what that means but the prompting were very strong and the words that filled my head were “Trust me, I see the big picture, everything will be alright.”
I left Wes’ room and took a shower, while in the shower the tears kept coming. I had done my best to suppress the tears and be strong, calm, and reserved, but in the shower, alone, it seemed the tears would not stop. It had still been less than 24 hours since the accident happened and I could not believe all that had happened in such a short period of time. That morning, Karen and I talked about how we felt as if a week had already gone by. I hurriedly got dressed and left the house to head back to the hospital, a 45 minute drive. It was nice to be clean and out of ski clothes. As I got back onto the interstate headed for Bozeman the tears came back. They seemed like a long lost friend and I cannot explain it, but there was something very therapeutic about letting tears fall until they stopped on their own.
When I arrived back at the ICU, Karen and Trevor were sitting with Wes. Wes was pretty sedated but he knew that I was there. While I had been gone, our stake presidency had come by the hospital to check on Wes. They were on their way to Three Forks to attend church in our ward building. The Stake Presidency had scheduled a Ward conference for that Sunday, but the night before they had reschedule ward conference and asked our bishop to just hold a fast and testimony meeting and then to cancel the rest of the meetings.
I think our Bishopric might have been a little surprised to see the entire stake presidency at church that Sunday. The word had gotten out to all the members of our ward and most of our stake, our old ward and stake in Arizona, and hundreds of people we did not even know and they were all fasting for Wesley. It was remarkably humbling to know that on that Sunday so many people were petitioning the Lord in behalf of Wes. We knew that the Lord was definitely aware and involved in what was happening in Wesley’s life.
Fast and testimony meeting ran much longer than it normally does and afterwards the stake presidency came by the hospital again and reported to us what a wonderful and spiritual meeting they had attended in Three Forks. They told us how amazing it was to hear and feel the outpouring of love that the ward members have for Wes. Again, we were humbled and wished that we could have been there.
After the meeting on Sunday, members in our ward stayed and wrote notes and encouragements for Wes on three large posters. The posters were delivered to us at the hospital and we promptly put them on the wall in Wesley’s ICU room. When Wes would drift in and out of consciousness we would read to him from the posters and remind him how many people were praying for him. It always brought a smile to his face and made him very happy.
Throughout the day we had many friends come by the hospital to check on Wes, many told us about the special fast and testimony meeting and the wonderful things that had been said about Wes. The priest quorum and good friends came by everyday Wes was in Bozeman to check on his well-being. Our church leaders were there every day as well, at least once, often several times a day. Friends brought meals to us everyday we were there. We cannot thank our friends enough for all the support they have given us.
Trevor left in the late afternoon to get back to school in Rexburg. It was so nice and a great comfort to have him with us. It was about a three hour drive back to school and upon his return he called and told Karen that he needed to come back to be with us. We assured him that everything would be fine and that he could not afford to miss classes with the heavy load he is carrying.
Tonight Nedrow’s picked up our daughter, Ryanne from the Bozeman airport. She flew in from Louisiana. We tried to tell her not to come but she and her husband, Ben, would hear none of it. Ben put her on a plane and said you need to go cheer up your brother. It was so nice to see Ryanne and immediately she put herself to work. She took over our cell phones and answered most of the text messages. She took rotations late at night as we always had at least one of us with Wes at all times. She cried with us and cheered us up. Ry was a lifesaver. We really do not know what we would have done if she did not come.
Wesley woke often and with a tube down his throat he could not speak. He could not communicate except through his eyes. Everything had happened so quickly, he was not adequately prepared for the state he would find himself in, after surgery and in the ICU recovery. As I looked into his eyes late Sunday night, I could see a tremendous amount of fear. Think about waking up in a bed that is rocking side to side, and your head and neck secured so it cannot move, with a tube down your throat, IVs hanging almost everywhere with tubes coming out of your neck and you’re not capable of moving at all. I caught him reflecting on these thoughts as he anticipated what his quality of life would be. I know he was thinking, “Am I going to be like this for the rest of my life?” I know I was prompted by the spirit as I assured him that he was going to be alright. We told him this is only temporary and that tomorrow we should be able to take the tube out of your throat. I told him that today is the worst it is going to be and that from this point going forward things will steadily improve. I assured him or might I say, the spirit assured him, he would have a high quality of life. That night Ryanne had prayers with him as well, and basically said the same things as he woke up and have those questions in his eyes.
Monday morning would be a new day…
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Friday, March 30
Where do I begin? This has been a very busy few days. On Friday Wes stood up for 15 min. in the stand up support. Most of the weight is now resting on his feet, which is supported by this device. This is only the third time Wes has been up like this and the last time he was on his feet for five minutes.
We received delivery of his minivan today, which is truly a great blessing. This will allow Wes and us the mobility we need to easily transport him to outpatient rehab starting in about 4 weeks. At the proper time it will also allow him to drive himself and it is easy for him to get in and out of the vehicle. The driver’s seat in the van is removable and Wesley can put his wheelchair in that position to drive.
Wes got a two hour massage today which helped work out a lot of knots he has in his shoulders and arms. Afterwards, he slept very well.
I forgot to mention that our nephew and Wesley’s cousin, Craig Lazenby, came by the hospital on his way home from the airport. Craig just returned from a a two year mission in Africa. He has some great experiences to share. It was so nice of them to come and see us.
We did not have therapy so Karen and I worked him hard this morning and let him rest a little in the afternoon.
We got permission from his doctor to take him to our old Stake center, in the Paradise Valley Stake (a church building) to attend the Priesthood session of General Conference. We went to the front of the building and sat up front like we always do, so that we had a great view of the screen and so I could hear well. We were surrounded by family: Wesley’s Grandpa Greene, Nate, Dallin, and all of the Lazenby Clan. We were sure missing our son, Trevor, who was attending in Rexburg, and our son-in-law, Ben, who also went to the meeting in Louisiana.
As I sat there next to Wes during conference, I could not help but get a little sentimental. It was only a few moments, I thought of how just six months ago, he sat next to me with his journal in hand, as we both took notes. I could sit close to him then and our shoulders always touched. I thought I just can’t get close enough to him in this metal chair. As I put my arm on his shoulder it was like the spirit was reminding me you have plenty of opportunities to be close to your son, don’t spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. You pick him up several times each day and move him from his wheelchair to his bed, and in doing so you are always holding and hugging him. We wake up with him and we got to bed with him. Every two to three hours each night Karen and I turn him from side to side so he does not get bed sores. We get a chance every night to hug and kiss him and tell him how much we love him. We have family family prayer with him often. Please don’t feel sorry for us, we don’t have it too bad. This is an interesting opportunity and challenge that I think we are up to with everyone’s support and prayers.
After conference, Wes, Dallin, Nate, and I went to Chick-Fil-A at Tatum and Cactus. The new van made it easy to go where we wanted to go. It was so nice to go in and let Wes order and sit and enjoy talking to each other. Wes ate really well and we all had a great time.
This was our lucky day. We slept in because he was tired from the night before. We got up and got him ready to go to Grandma Benson’s house to watch the afternoon session of conference and enjoy one of Grandma’s great meals. We were surrounded with family and Wesley especially enjoyed our grandkids. It was a day that made you think everything was almost back to normal. Wes got around easily in Grandma’s house and was very confortable. This was just an amazing day for all of us. At 6:00 PM we loaded up and had to go back to the hospital.
Just as we were starting to feel sorry for ourselves, Grandma Connie called and said she was on her way to give Wes a massage. He was tired because it had been a long day for him, a long, amazing day. It was nice for him to get relaxed and go to sleep. Connie even gave Karen and me a massage, so we were all relaxed.
We left the hospital at 10:00AM and went to the special gym we went to a few weeks ago. Wes’ physical therapist, Barb, worked him out on several pieces of equipment. It was great to see him work on so many things, but it sure tired him out. It was also inspiriting to see some of the people there working out. We saw a young man who looked like he had been injured in battle. He had no legs and his hands and wrists looked like they had been blown off. He was in a non motorized wheelchair. He was strong and got around very easily, or so he made it look. He fed himself with no hands, and drank by bringing both arms together. He was truly amazing, he was so independent. It is truly amazing how God helps people to become equal to their tasks. He makes them strong to bear their burdens. This man was one of these people. It was so nice to be around these people because just seeing what they overcome, makes us all realize what is most important and to stop feeling for ourselves, and to go out and do something.
Life is not fair, things don’t always go our way, sometimes we have to adjust, get over it, and move on with the challenges that await us and remember to thank our Heavenly father for all he is doing for us and all he is blessing us with. This was a good day all of us, especially Wes. With General conference our batteries have been re-charged and we are anxious for what awaits us. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers, they really do sustain us. We love you.
This weekend was an amazing one for Ben and me as well. Conference weekend is one of my favorite weekends. For those of you who do not know what General Conference is, let me explain. General Conference is a semi annual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In a series of two hour sessions on Saturday and Sunday we receive inspiration and instruction from Prophet, Apostles and other church leaders. It is always on the first weekend in October and April.
If you are interested in watching a few of these talks. You can find them here: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/sessions/2012/04?lang=eng
The texts of each talk will be available at the same web address on Thursday.
By the way, my little brother, Trevor, drew this picture and I love it so I have to post it.