Father’s Day

June 16, 2013

Two years to the day I received a call in the middle of the night that changed the lives of my family forever. Yet, today is also Father’s Day and everything I could want, I have.

My son, Conor, is a fine, strong young man who just finished up his first year in high school. My oldest, Erin, seems more at peace than I’ve seen her in years and is looking forward to finishing up her undergraduate degree as an English Major at Virginia Commonwealth next year.  And, my Meaghan is still with me and doing better than I could ever have expected or imagined.  For those who have been praying, your prayers, and mine, have been answered.

That’s not to say that there aren’t still struggles, problems, and fears.  But, when I look back even briefly over the last two years, I thank God at how far Meg has come and how God, through the prayers of many, has sustained us.

Meaghan graduated high school. She just got her first job and is now the “Dairy Queen.” Yesterday, she received word from DMV that she has been cleared to finally get her driver’s license.  On the less-than-rosy side, she does have some permanent brain damage mostly to her right frontal lobe and will most likely be on anti-seizure medication for the rest of her life.

Beyond that, Meg has been doing very well and has more or less accepted her limitations.  Limitations like after her graduation she couldn’t stay out until 5am at the school’s sponsored “Grad-fest,” but instead I had to pick her up at 2am which was still pushing it.  She knows that a lack of sleep is probably the biggest contributor to seizures and that she can’t be running around non-stop like every other soon to be 18 year old.

On the other hand, Meg knows that God has spared her life and that while we may not yet know the reason for His incredible mercy, God does.  Below is a quick review of where we were just 2 years ago and where we are today. God is faithful.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog.  And, thanks be to God, it hasn’t seemed necessary.  Meg has been doing great in school and this past week even made principal’s list — straight A’s!  She’s on the cheer squad and the Salem football team just played their last playoff game last night, and, while a heart breaker, it was a great game (below is a short vid of Meg cheering earlier in the season with a little bit of our neighbor Khalib thrown in).  She has started to play softball again and has played a few games already with her High School varsity fall ball team.

Last March someone from the Eastern Virginia Medical School (they are the teaching school associated with Norfolk General) approached us about doing a short video for their website to help promote their school.  Seeing that they saved Meg’s life we were happy to do it.  As a result of that video Meg has become a bit of a local celebrity.  A couple of weeks ago one of her friends saw her picture on an advertisement for EVMS on the Norfolk Tide and snapped the above picture.

Meg hasn’t had a full seizure since September 2011 and has been off the anti-seizure med Keppra since the end of the summer.  So, this past week I sent paperwork to her neurologist so that she could be cleared to finally get her driver’s license and move up from a perpetual learner’s permit.  Things have been looking up and Meaghan has been in many ways your typical High School senior.

Then last night while cheering Meg started to complain about a headache behind her eyes and needed to sit out for part of the fourth quarter.  She took a couple of ibuprofens and started to feel better.  After the game we got Taco Bell and everything seemed fine.  This morning she woke up complaining of numbness in her left hand and tongue.  Not good signs.  Tracy and I decided to give her half of a Lorazepam, a med that we’re told can help stave off a potential seizure.  Better safe than sorry.  Unfortunately, about ten minutes later as I was laying besides her waiting for her symptoms to subside, one of her fingers on her left hand started to twitch uncontrollably as she turned to me with a look of helplessness and horror and immediately started to seize.  The whole episode lasted a couple of minutes as I yelled for Tracy.  Tracy and I held her as she fell into a deep stupor.  After she came to Tracy called the neurologist who said giving her the Lorazepam was the right thing to do and that we’re to follow up with her regular neurologist on Monday.

As I write Meg is resting and recuperating. Thankfully she seems fine. I think the impact of what happened hit her as tears started rolling down her face when she realized that her dream of getting her driver’s license any time soon was now back on hold.

Please pray that Meg doesn’t have to go back on Keppra, although I suspect they’ll want to put her on some sort of prophylactic anti-seizure medication.  Pray that, Lord willing, this might be the last seizure she has to suffer through.  Also, and as I’m sure you can imagine, having a brain injury can be stigmatizing and Meg has seen any number of friends come and go.  So, please, pray that through all this Meg will develop some true and lasting friendships, or rekindle old friendships, with people who will accept her for the blessing she is.

On another note, the young man responsible for the accident plead guilty to DUI/maiming and to an unrelated charge of possession with intent to distribute marijuana in August.  As a result of the drug charge he’s been in jail since May and will be sentenced for both crimes in December.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Surgery Cancelled

June 1, 2012

We had finally scheduled a date to have Meaghan’s missing bone flap replaced.  Her surgery was scheduled for June 11.  However,  when Tracy, Meg and I met with Dr. Gurtner yesterday, Meg’s neurosurgeon, she warned us that having the operation could potentially cause more harm than good.  Basically, the surgery to replace her missing bone was unnecessary.  Her argument was  that since Meg has made so much progress during the past year the surgery itself could cause her to regress.  She said she would do the surgery if we were insistent, but if Meg was her daughter she wouldn’t want her to have the surgery.  I didn’t know how to argue with that.

She said the hole is small, about an inch and half, and the muscle and membrane covering the opening is thick enough that Meg could withstand a punch or even a kick to that spot without injuring her brain (I’m not sure I quite believe her and certainly don’t want to test it).  She did say a baseball bat or golf club is another story (which is probably true even if there was skull covering the opening).  She also said lifting the skull where it had partially sunk in after the surgery was out of the question as it would almost assuredly re-damage her brain.  However, she did give the OK for Meg to play softball next year, that is, once I explained that she wears a helmet when at bat and when running the bases (probably the only time when she could possibly get hit on the noggin’).  We do plan to get a second opinion at some point, but for now no surgery.

Beyond that Meg continues to improve.  Aside from one seeming false alarm last month, there have been no more seizures. Even looking back just a few months I can see considerable improvement.  Emotionally her responses are much fuller and in many respects she is nearly back to normal.  A few weeks ago she was upset and crying about something and I said she was acting like a normal 16 year old girl. She smiled and said “Really? I’m acting like a normal 16 year old?”  I admit I didn’t think at the time I was paying her a compliment.  I guess given all that she’s been through acting like an irrational 16 year old girl is something to celebrate.  She has started conditioning in the hope to return as a Salem High School cheerleader next fall.  Go Salem!  Also, Dr. Gurtner recommended we ask her neurologist to lower the dose of her anti-seizure medication Keppra.  That’s next on the list. While Keppra is evidently a good anti-seizure med for someone Meg’s age with few side effects, it does slow her brain processing down, makes her constantly tired, and has contributed to some weight gain.

So, for the hardy few that still check this site from time to time, please pray that Meg can have her Keppra dose cut without any problems (and eventually one day get off it entirely), can find a good summer job near our home, and, sometime this summer, that she can finally get her long-awaited driver’s license. Pray also that in all things she will learn to trust in the Lord.

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear, And will trust in the LORD.

How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Life Savers

March 24, 2012

Pictured above from left to right are Captain Ron Munro, Tom Parks, Gary Liddy, and Mike Todd of the Virginia Beach Fire Department.  Needless to say these guys are heroes. Ron was the firefighter who, when I first arrived on the scene, kept me from going to Meg and interfering with Tom who was in the process of extricating her from the car and securing her for transport.  Gary was on the scene assisting Tom and was the one who drove the ambulance to Beach General which was her first stop before being taken to Norfolk General after her initial CT scan. Mike is new to the department and was not on the scene that night last June, but Meg thought he was pretty darn cute so we included him in the picture.

While Meg was still in a coma at the Norfolk General NICU, Ron stopped by on a number of occasions to check on her.  He asked when she recovered if I would bring her by the fire station for a visit. Of course I said I would, even though it took me nearly nine months to make good on my promise.  Somehow the plate of chocolate chip cookies we brought to show our appreciation and to say thanks seemed hopelessly inadequate. Ron said just having Meg stop by was all the reward he and his fellow firefighters needed. Tom mentioned that this was only the second time that he could remember when someone stopped by to say thanks. It was fun to see Meg joking around with the firemen telling them stories about her recovery. It was also a little sad when she was explaining some of the struggles she continues to face.

Meaghan continues to improve, only now things are moving more slowly and less perceptively. On the plus side, we’ve been seizure free for about 3 months now. There are also days when she seems completely normal and Tracy and I tell ourselves that we have our old Meg back. Other days not so much. We’re also anticipating Meg’s next surgery to repair the hole she still has in her skull and possibly even repair the damage where her skull sunk in slightly after her initial surgery.  We hope to have it scheduled sometime in June. On the downside, Meg struggles with agitation and anger issues directly related to her brain injury and has been going to Christian counseling in the hope of finding some tools to help her to cope with the residual damage cause by the accident. According to one university website dealing with Traumatic Brain Injury: “Agitation and restlessness are sometimes described as a stage in the recovery process following TBI. However, it is difficult to predict who might experience agitation and restlessness and if it will be a short or long-term problem.”

Concerning her anger issues the same site noted: “Often a TBI occurs to the frontal areas of the brain where the damage causes individuals to be unable to hold back their emotional and verbal responses.”  That certainly has been Meg’s problem and she admits to feeling a lot more angry since the accident.  At one point recently I thought perhaps medication might help.  However, I also read on same site that medications can slow the recovery process.   Even more importantly Meg told me she doesn’t want to go on any medication and wants to learn how to deal with her agitation and anger on her own.  Praise God.  I guess the first part of correcting a problem is admitting you have one.  Of course, while knowing you have a problem may be the first step in recovery that doesn’t change the reality of Tracy and I having to sit on the sidelines and watch as even some of Meg’s closest friends, friends she has had since elementary school,  come and go as they think Meg is back normal only to realize she still has some distance to go.

Below are a few pictures from Meg’s her recent ring ceremony where Juniors are presented with their class rings.  Tracy and I were thrilled to see Meg walking across the stage when her name was called to receive her ring. Tracy even got a little booey-eyed.  I never thought I would say a ring ceremony was “thrilling.”  Also, a little over a week ago at Meaghan’s school they had a mandatory presentation for the students called Every 15 Minutes, which is a graphic dramatization of the dangers and consequences of drinking and driving.  Munro, Parks, along with other Virginia Beach firefighters and EMT’s were there and even participated.  Evidently these dramatizations are given at high schools all across the country.  Needless to say for Meaghan and the rest of our family we would give anything to only have to live through a graphic dramatization rather than the graphic reality we’ve been living through.  At the same time we know we are extremely blessed to still have Meaghan with us.  As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, we were only a pupil flicker away from having things turn out very differently.

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength . . . .

On Hold

December 13, 2011

Meaghan’s surgery is going to be delayed.  Last week she and Tracy met with Dr. Gurtner (Meg’s neurosurgeon) and evidently it was enough to completely freak Meg out.  Dr. Gurtner, who is nothing if not painfully frank and blunt (which can be a good thing), was explaining to Meg the risks of surgery.  Admittedly, even minor surgery has its risks.  One thing Gurtner offered to do in addition to replacing the missing bone in Meg’s skull was to also fix the area of her skull that had since sunken in a little following her initial surgery.  This sinking has created a funky, albeit not noticeable,  “alligator ridge” along the right side of Meg’s head.  Gurtner said she could fix the ridge by lifting the skull along that line, but explained that it is always possible that Meg’s brain tissue could be damaged in the process leaving her right back where she was after the accident.  Not good.  However, Gurtner assured Meg that if it looked like it was going to be an problem, or that the procedure could possibly further damage her brain, she would not do it.  Meg would just have to live with a funky “alligator” ridge (I told Meg it could be a fun conversation piece at parties or to scare little kids).

Apart from fixing the “alligator” ridge, Gurtner did explain that even replacing the missing bone has risks as the anesthesia could damaged her healing brain, though the odds of that happening are low.  Needless to say, that was enough to put Meg over the edge and she said she wanted to postpone the surgery entirely.  One thing Gurtner didn’t mention is that even when the missing bone is replaced that sometimes the body treats the replaced bone fragment as a foreign object and the bone will eventually have to be replaced with a prosthetic (either ceramic or titanium).  This is why in some cases, like in the case of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, the removed bone is inserted into the abdominal cavity to keep the bone tissue alive until it’s replaced later on.  In Meg’s case her piece of skull was frozen.

On the plus side, there seems to be some anecdotal evidence (and maybe even scientific evidence, although I couldn’t find any), where the replacement of the missing bone flap actually improved cognitive functions as the normal fluid pressure around the brain is restored.  Gurtner didn’t mention that and instead said that people in other countries often live their entire lives without ever having their bone flap replaced.  Well, that might be good enough for other countries, but in America we don’t allow people to walk around with holes in their heads (or, at least, I hope that’s still true, although I sometimes have my doubts).  Read the rest of this entry »

So Good So Far . . .

November 20, 2011

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Just a quick update for the remaining handful of hardcore family and friends still checking on Meg’s progress.

Things generally have been going very well, praise God.  Following Meg’s seizure last month she underwent a “sleep deprived” EEG and the results basically came back normal.  The one caveat is that despite being kept up until 2pm and getting up at 5am Meg could not fall asleep during the “sleep” portion of the test.  She said there was nurse sitting besides her the whole time making it impossible for her to doze off.  Frankly, I don’t think I could fall asleep with someone sitting right next to me.  I can’t even sleep on a plane.  So aside from failing the sleep portion of the test Meg’s brain responded normally to the other tests which include her reaction various strobe lights and other stimuli designed to induce some sort of seismic response (I’m sure “seismic” is not the clinical term, but I think it fits).  In any case, she will have to retake the test in January and next time I think we’ll just keep her up all night, which, according to some websites, is the normal procedure for someone her age.  Either that or maybe they have some way to monitor her brainwaves while at home sleeping (which would be preferable as I’ll be the one in charge with keeping her up all night).

In the meantime, Meg is still on a fairly heavy dosage of the anti-seizure medication Keppra which makes her more than a bit tired and irritable.  She has a hard time controlling her anger as it is, so having her even more edgy is, well, edgy. Thankfully the neurologist recently scaled back her dosage if only slightly, but I haven’t really noticed any improvement.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to scale it back altogether after the next EEG.

Meg is wrapping up PT and Speech this month; although trying to get her motivated to continue with her various exercises and progressing on Luminosity (thanks Kim) is becoming a challenge (not sure if a lack of motivation is Keprra or brain related).  In addition, she is scheduled (at least tentatively) to have her “bone flap” replaced in December.  Last we checked back in August, Dr. Gurnter, her neurosurgeon, said the piece of skull they removed during Meg’s emergency craniotomy is still in a deep freeze at Norfolk General.  God willing it remains well frozen and in good shape.  As I understand it infection is the real danger with this surgery and is fairly common.  If that happens, or if some bizarre reason her body rejects her own bone or it doesn’t take, she may have to have a ceramic or titanium plate inserted to cover the hole.  (FWIW, I watched a craniotomy on youtube the other day.  Actually, I should say I tried to watch it).  Also, a plastic surgeon will also have to be on hand to repair some muscle damage that occurred as a result of the original surgery and is causing the side above her right eye to droop a bit.  So, while Gurtner’s office staff put her on the schedule they informed us last week that they had no idea that a plastic surgeon also needed to be on hand, and, what do you know, they blamed me for not telling them.  Not knowing that was my responsibility, maybe I should tell them they’ll need an anesthesiologist on hand too.  So, depending on whether they can also schedule the plastic surgeon we’ll see if this all happens next month. I’m not particularly optimistic, but God willing.  Meg has a meeting with Dr. Gurtner in a couple of weeks and she’ll get another CAT scan.  However,  getting that bone flap replaced sooner rather than later will be a big relief.  Besides not having to worry about her hitting her head and re-injuring her brain, it will be nice to get Meg back into softball in the Spring, and, hopefully, so she can look forward to a normal (i.e., fun) summer next year.

So, please, continue to pray that her brain continues to heal, that there are no more seizures, and that her bone flap surgery goes off on schedule and without a hitch.

Jesus said; “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

The NICU Team

October 6, 2011

Meaghan visiting a few of the wonderful NICU nurses at Norfolk General: Terri I, Robin, Deborah, and Caitlin (not a nurse). 

Bumps in the Road

October 1, 2011

I look forward to the day when I will never need to write another update to this blog.  But, until then, there have been some developments.  This past Tuesday, Meaghan woke for school complaining about some tingling and stiffness in her left arm and hand.  She thought she might have slept on it funny and went ahead and got ready for school.  When she came down for breakfast she also complained about a headache and some stuffiness.  Tracy thought that perhaps she was just coming down with a cold, and after some pancakes, sent her back to bed.

A little later on Tracy went to work as I was working from home preparing to leave later that day for Winchester (about a 4 hour drive) in order to attend a business meeting the following morning.   At around 10:00 I heard Meg get up and I went upstairs to check on her.  She was putting on her makeup and she asked if I would take her to school for her next block. I asked how she felt and she said her left arm still felt a little stiff.  I said I hoped it wasn’t some sort of weird complication from her brain injury.

Shortly after that she came downstairs and I could hear her heating up something in the microwave while I was working on the computer in another room.  From this point on things moved very quickly.  I first heard Meg cry “Daddy, Daddy” in a tone every parent recognizes and I immediately jumped up and ran into the kitchen.  Meg was standing there with a horrified look on her face as her left hand was curled inward and rapidly opening and closing.  Meg screamed; “I’m not doing that! I’m not doing that!”  My immediate response was to hug her in what I guess was an instinctual response to somehow protect her. Not knowing what was going on I tried to calm her saying that maybe it was just some sort of muscle spasm. But then Meg’s voice changed and she started speaking in flat monotones just like she did when she first woke from her coma and was getting ready to go to rehab.  Now I was horrified.  It flashed in my mind that all that progress she had made over the last three months was gone in a heartbeat.  Meg started to cry; “Take me to the hospital, take me to the hospital now!”

I immediately told Meg to sit down on the couch and I called Tracy.   I suppose I thought this all might be just some strange  transient thing that was, God willing, going to quickly pass.  Almost as soon as I started to tell Tracy what was happening, Meg started to convulse.  I told Tracy I was calling 911 and to come home.  As I cradled Meg’s head I kept her telling her she was having a seizure (not she could hear me, but what did I know), the 911 operator gave me a series of instructions assuring me that the paramedics were on their way.  The seizure itself probably took less than a minute, even though it seemed much longer.  Then, almost on cue, Meg fell into a deep stupor exactly as the 911 operator said she would.    Read the rest of this entry »

A Mixed Bag

August 23, 2011

A little good news and a little not-so-good news.

The good news is Meg went to see Dr. Gurtner last week and she was extremely pleased with Meg’s progress, and, if I might say, seemed downright giddy.  Talk about having life and death in her hands, not ultimately of course, but to think she could have decided Meg was too far gone to warrant surgery (which almost happened), and, now, to have Meg sitting in front of her smiling and talking has to be a thrill.  She showed us the CAT scan of Meg’s brain and said she was “very pleased” at what she was looking at (not that I could tell anything beyond the fact that it looked like a picture of a brain).  She assured us that all her gray and white matter along with her “ventricles” feeding the brain all looked “excellent.”  Meg also doesn’t have to wear her helmet except when she’s in a situation where she risks getting pushed into something or getting hit in the head.

Dr. Gurtner explained that it would take Meg up to two years to fully recover from her TBI.  The good news is that a full recovery is certainly possible, but a lot of that at this point depends on Meg.

Also on the plus side, Dr. Gurtner wants Meg to start hanging out with her friends more, which is something she has been doing anyway even to include limited sleepovers with friends that Tracy and I feel comfortable with.  Dr. Gurtner stressed to Meg that her friends must be “squeaky clean” and that any alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes at this point, not that any 16 year old would every want to experiment with such things, could hurt her recovery.  She said, “We don’t want you to end up with an IQ of 70, but with an IQ of 120” (I had to explain to Meg that was the difference between a bright future with a good career or one not so bright with a lot of burger flipping along the way).

On the downside, I guess we were all hoping for an early date so Meg could have her bone flap replaced and her skull repaired.  At first it seemed as if Gurtner might be able to squeeze in the surgery before the end of August, but she explained her schedule over the next few weeks made that impossible.  Next, she thought doing it over Christmas break might work (which could make for an interesting variation on “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”).  Then she said next June would be best as Meg’s brain would have had a full year to heal before being put under the stress of another surgery.  I’m quite sure Meg thought that she would have her skull slapped back together in short order and she would, in her words, “get her life back.”  I certainly wasn’t thinking in terms of next June, but Tracy and I think we will push for Christmas break instead.  For myself, I don’t think I can take the thought of Meg walking around with a hole in her head (besides the one she had before the accident) until next June.  Besides, that way, God willing, Meg’s skull can heal with plenty of time to get back into softball, even if at first it’s something a little lower key than she’s used to.

Also on the downside, Meg does have some anger issues lately that we’re the brunt of (Tracy in particular).  Some of her anger stems from the frustration of being restricted in what she can do, who she can see, and where she can go. That much is understandable. The rest of it, not so much.  She also seems to have only a vague appreciation of how her accident has impacted all of us. I admit, that is a lot to process for any 16 year old under the best of circumstances.  Besides, since she was asleep through most of it, certainly the worst of it, I guess it makes sense since she really has no reference point to begin to understand what this has meant to us other than from pictures and stories and who wants to dwell on that.

Now, some of it, at least according to the literature, is related to her injury.  Right side frontal lobe injuries (where Meg’s brain took the brunt of the impact) can cause problems in judgment (which makes me wonder if she will wear her helmet even when she’s in a risky environment), impulsiveness, difficulty in controlling emotions, a diminished recognition of deficiencies (Meg at times seems to think she’s already back to normal), and other things like decreased “big picture” or “gestalt” thinking (if you don’t know what gestalt thinking is don’t feel bad, I didn’t either. Basically it is “Learning to see and record the world in terms of wholes, whose properties are so unified that they cannot be derived from their parts”).

Before we left Dr. Gurtner’s office I asked if I could take a quick picture of her and Meaghan.  She graciously obliged, but said she usually doesn’t like to have her picture taken.  Unfortunately at that point Meg said, “Yeah, so my Dad can use it on his blog.”  To which Dr. Gurtner replied; “Oh, no, not on the Internet.”  Thanks Meg.  But, at least I now have a picture of Meg with the woman who saved her life.

“Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’  For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The Road to Normal

August 12, 2011

I realize it’s been a while since an update, but there is, thankfully, not much to report.  Meg continues to improve but at a slower pace (something her neurosurgeon, Dr. Gurtner, told us would happen). The hole left from her tracheotomy has completely healed and a spot at CHKD for outpatient therapy did finally open up.  Meg has PT once and speech twice a week. At this point the PT is really just to help her continue to strengthen her left side and improve her balance (I guess she needs more than just walking heal/toe on a masking tape line in our garage and seeing how long she can stand posing like the Karate Kid). They’ll also give her strategies to help her deal with going back to school and maneuvering through the crowded hallways (some lessons with Kesuke Miyagi to go along with those Karate Kid poses might help). Along those lines, Tracy and Meg met with specialists at school and it looks like, at least initially, Meg will have a less demanding work load to begin with, which makes sense. Meg thinks it’s going to be boring. Of course, if she demonstrates she can handle the class work they’ll move her into more advanced classes.

Next week there is a lot is planned, and, for whoever is left reading this blog, that is when we’ll need your prayers. First, Meg goes for a CAT scan on Tuesday.  Immediately after the CAT scan they head up to the Kluge Children’s Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville for a complete 5 hour follow up evaluation on Wednesday.   On the way up they’re going to spend the night with my oldest daughter Erin at her new apartment in Richmond.  Initially we were going to cancel the Kluge follow up since it seemed a long way to go for them to tell us what we already know.  But, Meg’s primary care physician strongly encouraged us to keep the appointment as they are TBI experts and can give us a much better picture of Meg’s progress and specific areas that need work. Then on Thursday Meg meets Dr. Gurtner for the first time (that is, the first time Meg will actually remember meeting her) to discuss the CAT scan and to determine whether or not she will need reconstructive surgery on her skull (I fear she will). There is always the possibility that the hole in Meg’s head (besides the one she had before the accident) has regenerated on its own, but I don’t think it has. Hopefully, Dr. Gurtner will also reduce some of Meg’s helmet restrictions as the helmet has given her, believe it or not, a case of cradle cap (and, yes, we’re going to try treating it with baby oil as “Head and Shoulders” isn’t cutting it). Since we’ll be meeting with Dr. Gurtner next week, hopefully we will be able to arrange for Meg to meet some of her NICU nurses (we’ll have to make sure at least a Terry or two are around).

We have taken Meg to the beach on a couple of occasions (she and Tracy are there right now as I write).  Meg even called me to let me know she finally got in the water and was diving under the waves.  Previously she was worried that water might go down her trach hole, even though it looked to me at the time that the skin had sufficiently covered it.  Today she had no excuse.  I told her maybe the “healing waters” of the Atlantic will help her cradle cap.  Meg really wants to go to the East Coast Surfing Competition in a couple of weeks, but I don’t think we’re ready for that as it is usually a mad house.  Of course, part of her desire to go is to hangout with her friends without one of us tagging along, but, sorry Meg, that is not going to happen this year.  On a sad note, one of Meg’s closest friends, and a central part of her support system, Keila (pictured above), ended up moving to D.C. last week as her father, who is in the Coast Guard, was transferred (one of the drawbacks of living in a military town).  Admittedly, I have no idea what the Coast Guard is doing in D.C. since they don’t have a coast, but we’ll miss you Keila.

I do pray for the day when things finally get back to normal.  There have been a number of things that I haven’t been able to share and the stress of the accident and issues surrounding Meg’s ongoing recovery have taken a toll.  But, I continue to thank the Lord for the work He continues to do our lives as He uses difficulties and trials to shape us more and more into His likeness (and, in my case, He has a lot of work to do).

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

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