Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kris update: Finally Home

Dear loved ones and friends,

George and I arrived home in Sebring this evening (Saturday) at 5:10 p.m. Eastern time! We left San Antonio one week ago today and, in case you are wondering what took us so long, George surprised me by arranging to have friends from Pennsylvania meet us at an RV resort in Louisiana. They were sitting at their RV at a site next to ours when we pulled in! What a surprise! We spent several days there and then they traveled along as we headed east to another RV park in Mississippi. We left them there yesterday and headed home, but it was such a treat to kick back, relax and enjoy their company. Thanks again, Carol and Terry.

But, having spent over six months in Texas again this year, leaving Kris, as I expected, was heartbreaking and extremely hard to do. I still shed tears when I think of so many things that should be done or could be done. This time, however, leaving was not near as traumatic for me as it was before. Thankfully, I believe with all my heart that Kris is now where she is supposed to be, I believe God had His hand in all of that, and we are truly at peace and comfortable with where she is now. George snapped the attached photo the night we left. It was late and Kris was tired, but her laughter at something Diana said just started us all laughing together. 2011 Oct 1 Kris and CarolLater, when it was time to go, Kris closed her eyes and went to sleep, as if to say, “It’s okay, Mom. Go ahead. I’m okay now.”

As I mentioned in the last update (entitled “Kris’s New Home”), moving her to Country Care Manor in LaVernia, Texas was the very best solution and the very best choice. She now has the best of both worlds: closer to her own home, family and friends, and she has wonderful care. She has therapy every day, Monday through Friday, and is moving about on her own in her wheelchair (which is something we’ve hoped and prayed for!). After therapy one day, they didn’t see where she went and started looking for Kris. They found her down the hall in a lady’s room who has befriended Kris, and the two were watching TV together. That, to me, is a fabulous breakthrough!

We are thrilled with the therapy group. Susan, who is the speech therapist, has already had Kris saying a few vowels, gave her some pudding one day (which went down easily!), and evidently took her to Bingo (yep, Kris has won four quarters at Bingo already!). Sue graciously allows me to call Kris when she’s in therapy or Sue calls me. I can speak directly to Kris that way, and it’s been a tremendous help to us. I am able to speak to the nurses and other staff members if necessary, and that too is helpful. As I mentioned in the last update, we were able to fix up her room and make it homey for her. Russell has been able to stop in every day after work and is there much more often on weekends. That, I’m sure, makes Kris happy, especially now that both Andrea and Joshua can come in more frequently. And, by the way, Russell said she drank water from a water bottle, then put the cap back on the bottle by herself! Every little step forward is a breakthrough!

As for the rest of the therapy group, Rene, who is the occupational therapist, has been working with Kris’s shoulder, neck and arms, in a continuous effort to keep the tone more pliable and flexible in those muscles. And Dave, the physical therapist, works with her on the bicycle and walking her with her upright walker, as well as stretching and bending. Add that to other events and activities, Kris has a pretty full schedule during the day. Being the facility is comfortably smaller, however, it is easier for Kris to get around on her own which, as I said, is something we have been hoping and praying for.

So, to answer some of your questions, we will be scheduling shows and concerts throughout the winter months here in Florida. If all goes well here in Florida and Kris continues doing well in Texas, and “if the Good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise,” we hope to return to Texas the first part of April 2012 and stay for a few months. Beyond that we will travel to some of the states to which we’ve been invited for performances, then arrive in Pennsylvania by late August to stay until the end of October. Our granddaughter, Jessica, gets married October 20th, and we just have to be there for that.

Beyond that, your friendships, your emails, your prayers, your faithfulness to write or call or send cards: all of that has blessed us so and I know it has been a blessing to Kris. I shared the updates with Kris each time I sent one out, and I’ve read your cards and many of the emails, and I know they have touched her heart and helped lift her spirits. Russell will do that now, so never hesitate to send cards and notes to Kris.

Thank you just does not seem sufficient, but we thank you so very much for your prayers. God has been so gracious in easing the pain of leaving Kris again, and you have been so kind in your thoughtfulness toward us and Kris and her family. Isaiah 41:10 has always been my favorite Bible verse, but I recently found a new favorite: Isaiah 41:13 “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not, for I will help thee.” And He has!

Blessings and love always,

Carol and George

P.S. I will continue to send updates as appropriate and as Kris progresses. We welcome your emails, too.

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