Ben just walked up the sidewalk of his home in Colorado after giving me a hug and a huge smile. He is content. . During this Thanksgiving season, I am SO grateful for the path that brought us here. To find exactly what Ben needs to live a productive life at this stage of his recovery is a miracle. I praise God who never leaves us alone to fight or suffer. He had the miracle planned even when all I could see was darkness.
The weather in Colorado was warm and beautiful this weekend. Ben and I shopped and went to restaurants. We took drives with the music turned up. Saturday we spent time getting Ben's malfunctioning computer up and running. I put a few finishing touches on his room. But even with all the joy, this is not a fairy tale with a storybook ending.
The purpose of this blog is to show how faith, my professional training and a healthy sense of humor taught me and continues to teach me that Jesus Christ is always in control. I am a fellow learner as this journey for my child unfolds. My wish is that Ben's legacy gives others hope where there seems to be none. It is also my desire that the information I have assimilated with my medical mind and filtered through a mother's heart gives practical ways to deal with this ever-changing chronic disease. Finally, for the many friends and family members who continue to follow Ben's life change after the injury, the story continues.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Today is a beautiful day in Colorado. I am visiting Ben. His life has settled into a routine in the beautiful Colorado neighborhood where he lives. As the months unfold, Ben is still struggling with memory. As predicted, because of the severity of Ben's injury, his capacity for remembering what happens day to day remains impaired. His post injury amnesia has remained which is a poor prognostic sign for long independent term recovery. Behavior issues are better, but often there is no "filter" and things slip out of his mouth that are better left unsaid. He can't process steps to a goal and his stated goals seem out of reach.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
Today marks 26 months since Ben's injury. Currently it seems to be a season of rest for our family because many of the harsh problems described in previous posts, have resolved or have settled down to a manageable place. The Colorado house where Ben currently lives is staffed with personnel trained to maximize the lives and potential of young men who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. The home is in a beautiful suburban neighborhood with mountain views and wildlife. There is a back deck where Ben spends much of his time outside with nature. Today Ben went to a nearby lake and spent time fishing and hanging out. He has been to festivals and concerts. He goes to the gym three times a week.The staff includes him in shopping, household upkeep, and cooking. Trips to restaurants and movies are frequent. Ben has developed good friends in the place that he lives. It is not all fun and games, however. Ben is still receiving rewards and consequences for his ongoing behavior management program. The director also has a curriculum for working on the cognitive and memory issues that affect all of the residents in this house. Every time I hear about the effort this director puts into her ongoing search for activities to enrich the lives of these young men, I thank God for her heart and calling.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Last weekend was memorable for the Ramsey family. Patrick, Ben's younger brother graduated from the University of Wyoming. The university is 125 miles from where Ben is living in Colorado. The plan was to travel to Laramie and then to visit Ben. Snow and horrible weather shut down all roads out of Laramie. Driving behind a snowplow in May was definitely an adventure for this Texan
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Next month will be the second year anniversary of Ben's accident. I have learned first hand in the last two years that the road to recovery for patients with a traumatic brain injury is often frustrating and long. In the beginning when I didn't know if Ben would live through his injury, I read of the frequent problems of others affected by TBI. The list seemed insignificant at the time....after all we were in a battle for Ben's life. Now I "get it". We are smack dab in the middle of what seems to be common struggles for those recovering. Understanding the mental, physical, and behavioral deficits, learning coping techniques and promoting improvement for these deficits, and looking for the tools to achieve a meaningful life are daily obstacles for us and for many others.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
It has been over a month since my last post. I have been waiting for a moment of respite in Ben's story before bringing everyone up to date on his journey. There has been little respite, however. So begins my post.... with the good and the bad. Ben has been in Colorado for a little over a month. Ben moved into a place designated as a home environment with a day programs on site for young adult traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients. Although there are cuts to therapeutic living environments for TBI patients everywhere, Colorado is better than Texas. The option seemed perfect and was definitely an answer to prayer.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
The journey continues in Ben's road to recovery. I am so appreciative of everyone that takes the time to follow Ben's progress. Ben was discharged from the Pate Neurorecovery Center in Anna, TX on January 17th. Jim and I, after exhaustive research, decided that there were limited venues for living and recovery for Ben in Texas. Ben relocated to a living facility in Colorado that offered opportunity for the next step in supporting Ben in his progress toward independence. It is a homelike facility with younger people, specifically geared toward traumatic brain injury. Jim and I were very hopeful that this could be the next step for Ben. He was tired of living in a controlled therapeutic environment and was ready to move toward preparing for school or work. Colorado seemed to have the answers we were looking for after hitting road block after road block to anything even remotely appropriate in Texas.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
We hope and pray that the new year is full of healing and hope as Ben moves into the 19th month since his traumatic brain injury. Ben continues to work hard in the therapeutic program at the neurorecovery center. Although he is able to do many things well, Ben's significant memory, behavioral and anxiety problems are a barrier to him living independently. Jim and I are currently being faced with struggles for appropriate care as the January discharge date from the neurorecovery draws closer. Ben was able to come home for Christmas. He had not returned home since the injury. It was a joyful time with many bittersweet moments. Ben wanted to stay home. He isn't ready.