Chris Leeuw's Journal
Written Jul 8, 2011 2:30pmToday was a hugely difficult day for me, emotions & tears all over the place.
Last weekend was Chris' first excursion and two overnights away from "home". Gene & Allison came to Salt Lake City & the whole family took off for southern Utah visiting Bryce and Zion National Parks. The scenery and natural phenomenon were extraordinary.. like nothing we had seen before. We kept imagining we were on another planet. It was a wonderful new experience and the weather was perfect.
Chris did very well, we didn't even use the wheelchair.. but it was exhausting for him. I think it made him realize how far he still has to go. Being out in public anywhere is quite difficult and more than uncomfortable. Every inch of his body is slow and fatigued, requiring mental concentration and effort for every move. And his left arm is almost "dead weight".. he says he thinks it would be easier if it were gone, it's just always in the way.
But there IS definite improvement...there IS definite continual new movement, slight as it may be.
Perhaps even more difficult and ever more agonizing at this stage, is the incredible emotional adjustment to this profoundly uncooperative, and in his mind unappealing, body.
I used to think I could do anything. I once had such a great future ahead of me. I would have been the greatest husband and father. I'm supposed to be taking care of YOU, not you still taking care of me. People probably think I'm retarded the way I look.. you don't realize when you see someone disabled that many were once strong and normal people... everyone just sees me as weak and crippled. Look at my boney bones.. I'm never going to take off my shirt in public ever again.
Today Chris took off with two friends from Camp Taconic days for another friend's wedding in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Just three guys off on a normal road trip through beautiful mountain country, off for a special occasion and and a reunion of good friends. Chris has been looking forward to this trip and this gathering for almost a year.
This is the first time I have been really apart from him since the accident. I have been looking forward to this day and dreading it... just like the first day he got on that bus and left for first grade and the first day he drove away on his own to high school... I remember those occasions like they were yesterday... and like each of those days my heart is filled with a complex of emotions.
Most of all I hope he has a wonderful time with friends that only see the truly good guy and the great friend that he always was and always will be. I hope he soon comes to realize he is truly blessed with the most important things in life.. he still has the curious interesting mind, the captivating sense of humor, the concern for other people, and the love of outdoors and all living creatures - all of the qualities that have endeared him to us and many others who have loved him throughout his young life.
God be with him.
Written Jun 20, 2011 6:14pmWe are finally ready to announce the good news of an adoption in our family.
The official forms have all been signed and processed. We brought home our little bundle of joy a couple weeks ago & after a week on approval he is now officially a part of the family..
and boy is he ever making himself at home... dragging chew sticks, rubber toys, Mr. Wormie, tennis balls, his knotted rope, & numerous of our personal items all over the place & especially into his bed.
It all started several weeks ago when Chris mentioned one too many times that one day he would be wanting another dog. He has always had a huge soft spot when it comes to dogs.. maybe all animals for that matter. Allison's pet name for him as a kid was "Critter-purr" and at one time or another he brought home every critter imaginable. I especially remember the variety of turtles he brought home from Lake Wawasee in the fall to hibernate over the winter in lighted aquariums... then there was the funeral procession with neighbor kids for dear old Joe the parakeet on a raised bier, as Chris led the way for a proper burial in the woods behind our house... and poor little Lassie, the hamster - we never did find her....
Anyway, a few weeks ago I decided to stop by the Utah Humane Shelter which was on our way home - - - "just to look around." We were actually on our way out when a teen-age "foster mom" was carrying this little Norfolk Terrier mix, taking care of him until he finished his meds for the common kennel cough.
Well, all I can say is, it was meant to be.. this irresistible guy has the temperament & personality of our dear beloved Murphy.. smart, affectionate, easy-going, low-maintenance, AND he just happens to have an overabundance of cuteness, which doesn't hurt a bit. Chris named him Baxter (says he looks like Will Farrel's dog in "Anchor Man")...
& he's here to stay.
We had a great weekend, made especially so with dear visitors from home! Long time good friend Rob from Forrest Commons was here, as was sister Allison. It was a just a great time... fun & games (never mind the scrabble game, Rob), relaxing & just hanging out. We also found time for a picnic on peaceful Antelope Island and a scenic drive through the Wasatch Mountains & Provo Canyon. Snow-capped Mount Timpanogos, towering over oceans of Douglas Fir in the Uinta National Forest was top photo op of the weekend.
We are doing very well, Chris, Baxter, & I....
and we have more good news to share...
we're coming back home again to Indiana sometime in July.. at least for a month. We can't imagine a summer without our fill of home-grown Indiana corn & tomatoes.. and of course some sunshine and down time at Lake Wawasee. Chris has never known a summer without it. And we're especially looking forward to once again spending some quality time catching up with friends and family.
Until then... its back to work at Neuroworx.
Written Jun 7, 2011 10:53pmHey everyone...
Springtime has finally arrived in Salt Lake City.. in all its sunshiny splendor. We hope you too are basking in it's warmth and beauty where-ever you may be.. and treasuring the new life and vitality that abounds all around.
Chris has been feeling good and healthy (knock wood) and continues to see progress and new life resulting from all his hard work. He has pieced together another video to show you the action and benefits from pool therapy here at Neuroworx.
Check it out: