Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kris update: NEW HOME!!

Dear Friends and Loved Ones!

When God opens doors, He doesn’t fool around! In our last update, I talked about Air Force Village II. Well, they didn’t call back in time. In the meantime, I emailed a facility last Saturday that Russell had mentioned some time ago located right there in LaVernia (where they live). Believe it or not, the administrator emailed back on Sunday (she just happened to check emails) and we went to see it on Monday. We moved Kris there Tuesday afternoon! No hitch. No snafus. No problem.

It is a lovely facility, not new but very well kept, at the outskirts of LaVernia and just across from the high school where Joshua goes. The school where Andrea goes is just down the way, too, and one of the therapists at the facility worked with Andrea at the special school and knows Kris. (AND... Kris remembered her when we arrived at the facility on Tuesday!)

Before I forget (I’ve been known to do that in times of happiness!), Kris’s new address:

Maj Kristine Ratliff

Country Care Manor

2736 FM 775, Room 302

LaVernia, TX 78121

Yes, we are very happy with Country Care Manor: the staff is caring and kind, many have worked there for decades, it’s small and very pleasant and in a lovely setting, the therapists are terrific and the therapy room is directly across the hall from Kris’s room. She will have all therapies: speech, OT and PT, and the speech therapist is the gal that knows Kris. The administrator was warm and welcoming when we met her Monday, and the admissions/office manager has already been a tremendous help. We will be in close contact and they don’t mind if I call!!!

We were able to decorate her room and fix it up with all sorts of amenities to make her comfortable and not feel as though she was in a hospital setting anymore. I spent the night with her Tuesday night and, Monday morning after I had her up and dressed, I asked if she wanted to go “look around!” She toodled herself in her wheelchair out into the hall and headed for the lobby, which is right there almost. She looked around and checked out the nurses’ station, headed out in the great room, where so many of the staff greeted her and welcomed her, and then we went out on the front porch. (The weather finally broke, by the way. It’s not hot!)

Kris and I sat there on the porch for almost an hour. It was peaceful and breezy, and she seemed so much more relaxed and “at home!” A sweet elderly gent (who is also patient) wheeled up to us and started chatting. Kris was engaged! She looked at him and listened and smiled and it did my heart good to see that. Normally, she is reluctant and hangs her head, I believe because she cannot speak or converse. That didn’t matter Tuesday.

On the way back in to her room, she stopped at the therapy room door, looked in, everyone greeted her, and she rolled herself right in! I am just amazed. The facility, as I said, is relatively small, and the nursing staff actually “communicate” with each other and do things “by the book.” They have been so helpful and, when George and I left her last night to come back to the RV, I felt totally at ease. Russell can stop every day on his way home and, often, he said he could come back in during the evening to be with her until she goes to bed. It’s about 15 minutes from their house and, likely, when he has the house wheelchair accessible, she may be able to visit for an hour or so.

Kris understands, if she progresses now, that means she will be able to go home eventually, once the house is renovated and special accommodations are built in for her. She also understands that hard work still lies ahead and she seems “up” for it now. I must say I did not feel good about moving her to the facility in Floresville last week so, when that all fell through, we were a bit fearful because we knew we have to leave this coming Saturday. But Country Care Manor is honestly where God wants her to be and, Tuesday morning, I awoke actually feeling happy for the first time in a long time. There is a feeling of joy when God has His hand in the works, and I told George we would move that day. Well, the call came by 10 a.m. that Kris had been completely approved and we could come. Russell drove his truck with Kris and I. George drove our van loaded with all the boxes and belongings. By 2 p.m., she was moved in. By last evening, Kris was totally settled in and her room is lovely. Didn’t get pictures yet, but we will today. (The attached photo was taken last weekend when George was showing Kris how to drink with a straw again. It reminded George of when he was teaching our oldest son how to drink with a straw years ago, and that made us all laugh. It didn’t quite work yet this time either, but she got so tickled and it was just one of those photo op moments.)drinking thru straw

It is about an hour’s drive from where we are in the RV park now, but George already found one just 10 miles away from LaVernia. That’s where we’ll stay when we come back in the RV in the spring. For now, our leaving Saturday will again tear my heart apart, but we do leave with greater assurances that Kris will be well cared for, loved, encouraged, and... who knows... she may talk and eat and walk before we know it.

As George and I were returning from a “shopping spree” for Kris yesterday afternoon, a lovely lady who was getting ready to leave started talking with us. She visits her mother-in-law several times a week, she said, and raved about Country Care Manor. Before we knew it, we ended up exchanging email addresses and she decided to come back inside with us to meet Kris and Russ (who was there by then after work). Before we went in, however, she prayed with us right there in the parking lot. It was one of those special moments God gives to really encourage and let us know... it’s right, it’s okay, this is what He wanted! You just can’t help be at peace with that, so... thank you all for your many prayers. They continue to work!

Blessings and love,

Carol and George

Are you weeping tears of joy?  We are!!  I just burst into singing, “Oh, how He loves us.  Oh, how He loves us so.”  I can not even imagine the relief that Carol and George feel, knowing that Kris is in the perfect place that God has provided.  Praise His Holy Name!

And that picture of Kris is just too precious.  Love her new haircut and those red, white and blue bell earrings.  Cute!! 

Should you be motivated to send Kris a card or letter of encouragement, please tell her that you know her through Don and LaVon Baker, and let her know of your prayers for her and that you will continue to pray for her and her family.

Now scroll back up to the picture at the very top of this blog and read, preferably out loud, the verse under the picture of the chapel.

Thank you all beyond measure, for your prayers (past, present, and future) for Kris.  God hears and answers.

To read the beginning of Kris’s story, my first blog post and update begins here:

More information and a webpage (with pictures) dedicated to Kris is found on Carol’s website:

Carol and George would be so encouraged to hear from you, also, to know that you are praying for Kris.


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