Journal

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

Just like most folks, we led busy lives before the wreck. Not that we’re not busy now, but it is a different busy. We have been looking forward to returning to “normal life” for quite a while, and slowly but surely, we are able to do more things that we used to.

In late September, both Morgan and Caleb were able to take part in the Clearwater Fall Festival. Caleb was able to ride the float with his football team, while Morgan marched in the band. Then, Caleb drew the winning ticket for the Corvette raffle.  Although he can't see the games going on, Caleb enjoys the environment nonetheless and is enthusiastic about getting to attend his 8th grade football team's last 2 home games, as well as sit with his classmates at the high school football games.

It’s been fun to watch Morgan in the CHS band. They are performing songs from Disney’s Aladdin this year. While it’s hard work for all involved, the band, led by Mr. Derrick Hibler, is doing awesome! Caleb loves listening to them.

Morgan has been working at a local farm, run by the Klausmeyer family, this fall. Their busy time is now, as they have a pumpkin patch along with their year-round dairy. She absolutely loves the job, and she’s good at taking care of the animals as well as interacting with the guests. We were able to visit her at work, and Caleb enjoyed jumping on the blob, feeding the lambs with a bottle, and riding the teeter totter with Mom.

We have been blessed with the opportunity to be home every weekend so far since beginning the Rehab Day Program at Madonna. It allows us to work on sorely overdue household chores, cook real meals and eat as a family, attend church, and sleep in our own beds. While we know Caleb needs the specialized therapy up here, it is super difficult to have our family separated. The day will come soon when we can be together as a family again, and until then, God will continue to watch over us.
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Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

Caleb relies on someone at all times to help him navigate anywhere. If he tries to go it alone, he ends up running into something. As a parent, this is hard to swallow...our once independent son has become dependent upon our constant leading. 

Oh the things we take for granted!  Breathing, vision...God likes to teach us lessons through these trials, and He's definitely getting our attention, again.

In checking out different versions of 2 Corinthians 5:7, we can get a bigger picture of what God's trying to communicate:

NIV: "For we live by faith, not by sight."
NLT: "For we live by believing and not by seeing."
KJV: "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
MSG: "It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going.

God wants to be our constant guide through life, because, even though we may not realize it, we are blind in so many ways. But just like Caleb can think he can go it alone and not look for our guidance (and end up hurting himself), we can reject God's helping hand and wind up doing the same thing. 

Things are going well at Madonna. Since his trach is now gone, he can take advantage of the swimming pool for therapy! It's been nearly a year since he has been swimming. His short term memory is improving, and he's consistently walking a mile on the elliptical.

On the off-days, Mom & Caleb try to find things to do around Lincoln since his endurance & strength are improving. This week Mom & Caleb went bowling at the Lincoln mall, which definitely counts as therapy, especially when he beat Mom! He may have celebrated a little too much...

Please continue to pray for our family:
*Pray for Caleb to develop more of an appetite and gain weight.
*Pray for Caleb's vision to return.
*Pray for his eventual return to school.
*Pray for our family as we are still separated.

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

We often take breathing for granted. The muscles that make our chests expand & contract to provide our bodies with life-giving air just work without much thought. Yet we can't last long without air exchange. 

From the moment of impact, 7:08 am March 6, Caleb needed assistance breathing...which he didn’t get for a nearly-fatal length of time.  He wouldn’t have made it to the hospital but for an off-duty ER doctor who met the ambulance enroute to help get a tube into his throat, thereby giving him another chance at life.  12 days later, that emergency tube was replaced with a “permanent” tracheostomy tube. That tube kept the oxygen flowing into his lungs until his brain and body healed enough to resume normal breathing, but by the time he arrived at Madonna on May 13, he no longer needed it. Knowing he had to have the facial reconstruction surgery in July, for which an easy-to-access airway was critical, the trach stayed in, but capped closed.  Even though he didn't need it for breathing, the unused device remained in his airway...Caleb has been breathing unassisted around it. It was a bit of a pain to work around, but in the grand scheme of things, the benefits outweighed the costs.

197 days after first getting a breathing tube put into his throat, we are finally celebrating it’s removal and Caleb's uncluttered neck! It has been quite a process to get to this point, but now he can just breathe without the apparatus that was designed to help him get air more efficiently partially blocking his airway.

Since Caleb has been released from inpatient, mom & dad have had to become experts at caring for his medical needs. The Madonna staff made sure that we were both "checked out" on all of the equipment related to the trach, including daily care and emergency stuff. Neither one of us is in the medical field (and for good reasons), but we quickly became experts so our son could just breathe.  17 of the 18 things he had connected to him are now gone, and he’s well on his way to getting rid of the last one, a feeding tube, in the weeks ahead!

Caring for Caleb's respiratory needs has us reflecting on God's life-giving provision of "air." Like our chests expanding & contracting without thought, God is working to keep us alive behind the scenes through His divine intervention. We often don't think about respiration until it's hard to breathe, and we often don't think about God until we encounter trials that we can't handle ourselves.

Jonny Diaz captured it well in his song: Breathe!

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

The next step in Caleb's journey has begun: Rehab Day Program at Madonna. Here he has the opportunity to continue his physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and schooling much like inpatient. The 3.5 hours of therapy a day is taxing, but so beneficial because he is receiving one-on-one instruction in exactly what he needs.

God has shown up yet again in our journey by providing us with housing across the street from the hospital. The timing, like all things God does, was perfect...Kim & Caleb "moved in" the day before therapy started. They can walk across the street in the morning, go back "home" for lunch, catch a short power snooze & be back for the afternoon sessions with ease.

Caleb's next surgery will be Sept. 18 in Omaha, which will be to work on his trach site again. We hope it will be removed, but regardless, it will be one step closer. He's also doing so well with eating & swallowing pills now that we hope the G-tube will be the next thing to go, but we don't have a removal date for that yet.  He continues to build physical and cognitive strength each day.  It is quite moving to hear him belting out in song again with such lyrics as “Oh God, You have done great things. And I know You will do it again.”  We have certainly seen it and are trusting He has more in store for Caleb!

Morgan is doing well in school so far this semester. She loves band, and had a blast at the Kansas State Fair on Monday marching with her tenor sax, earning a Superior rating for their performance! She's also starting a Bible study with some of her school mates at our house next week. While our family separation hasn't been easy for her, she's making the most of what she can, and enjoying her time with Caleb when he is home, such as taking him to collect the eggs from our chickens.  We are very proud of her!

Kim is doing fabulously without the screw in her knee. The surgery was a breeze for her, so much so she wishes all the previous surgeries had been that easy...she was shooting hoops with Caleb only 5 hrs after being in the operating room!  At her follow up appointment this week, the surgeon commented that she was doing far better than he had anticipated only 6 months after the accident, given the extent of her injuries.

Aaron continues to get back into the swing of things at work, and we are so grateful for the support and patience of his work family, as he continues to try to keep on top all the home-front duties (with Morgan’s excellent help) and getting Kim & Caleb back & forth between Wichita and Lincoln as necessitated by their different appointments.

We have a few prayer requests for our family: 
* Pray that Caleb's surgery on the 18th will be successful, and that his vision will return. 
* Pray for our family while we're separated and for our travels back and forth to Lincoln.
* Pray that Morgan's Bible study will be meaningful & strengthen her and her friends’ relationship with God.

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

While we have received support from around the world, we must say that we live in an incredible home town. People from Clearwater have blessed us in innumerable ways.  Caleb has been largely unaware of the support behind the scenes because of his hospitalizations. However, last Friday night, he was impressed with the hometown welcome he received at the Blue & White Showcase. 

Caleb, decked out in his red shoes & number 33 jersey, high-fived his teammates as they ran past him on the 33 yard line. He joined them in the huddle before and after the scrimmage.

As we walked/wheeled around the grounds, so many came to greet him: students, teachers, friends' parents, and community members. Caleb loved being part of the festivities & hearing the high school band play.

The scrimmage night, the friends who came to visit, and the familiar surroundings of home made for a very therapeutic stay. It was awesome to be home together as a family for the first time in six months, doing "normal" things like cooking yummy food, hanging out, and whacking mushrooms with a golf club!

Caleb's food options are growing rapidly! He got his salmon, along with other favorites like biscuits & gravy, lasagna, homemade ice cream, and even sour cream & onion potato chips! Chocolate nutrition shakes are becoming fewer and fewer. He's doing amazingly well eating "normal" foods...better than we anticipated! 

Keep praying for our family, as we are now separated again. Kim & Caleb are back up at Madonna. Aaron & Morgan are holding down the homefront and going to work & school. We are hoping this is the home stretch of our family's separation.

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

Caleb has successfully completed surgery #10, which was to unwire his jaw & work on his tracheostomy site in preparation for permanent removal with surgery #11 in the weeks to come. In fact, if speed is an indication of success, we left the hospital only 5 hours after arriving for the procedures.

After living on chocolate meal replacement shakes for 6 weeks, for the last few days, whenever asked what he was looking forward to eating the most, Caleb's first response has been "Salmon!"  While we will have to work our way back up to a variety of food textures, there's a whole lot he's looking forward to.

There are many things Caleb is looking forward to, not just in the "food" category, but also in the "normal life" category. Okay, that's an understatement...all 4 of us are looking forward to the "normal life" category. We are all running toward the finish line.

As we have mentioned before, this race is a marathon, not a sprint. We are encouraged by Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  This verse has been on our minds lately because we have, indeed, been surrounded by awesome folks. While running with perseverance is difficult at times, helping hands & many prayers have kept us moving each step of the way.

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

Today is a day that is another huge answer to prayer: the day Caleb came home, even if only for a short stay.

So much has gone into preparing for this day. Doctors' expertise, nurses' tender loving care, therapists' encouragement, and most of all God's healing touch have come together to make this day possible.

While we are a bit nervous that we will be able to provide for Caleb's needs in the home setting, we are more than excited that we're taking the next step in his recovery. And we know that the same God who was with us from the start will continue to provide us with what we need.

Thanks to everyone who continues to pray for our family. Here's an updated list:

*Pray for Kim's screw removal surgery tomorrow.
*Pray for Caleb's settling in at home and his vision restoration
*Pray for his upcoming surgery to remove the jaw wires & begin work on the trach removal.
*Pray for our family as we will be separated again in September as Caleb makes the transition to the Rehab Day Program back at Madonna.

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

As Disney fans, our family loves the Cars movies. Of course, the star of which is Mater! The voice talent behind Mater happens to be a huge supporter of Madonna: Larry the Cable Guy.  On the way to Occupational Therapy yesterday afternoon, Caleb had the chance to meet Larry the Cable Guy, who stops in from time to time to visit the kids.

It was refreshingly low-key...not a lot of people or pressure, and Larry spent about 5 minutes with just Caleb, asking him about his stay, encouraging him to "Git R Done" in therapy, and handing him gifts: a Tow Mater sign, two autographed caps, and probably most fitting, an RV Christmas ornament! 

We appreciate the support Larry provides to the Madonna rehab hospital & for making a special trip to see some special kids. Caleb's bound and determined to "Git R Done" and git outta here!

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

A close friend reminded me this week that as we watched the hours tick by in the Wesley PICU, I once commented that: "One day I'll wake from this nightmare and it'll be August"...indeed, August is here, with much to celebrate:

Morgan is back to school with the rest of the Clearwater students this week.  Having earned her restricted driver's license, she is looking forward to the day she can give her brother a ride to school.  While discussing such plans back on March 5th, she might have protested to having to haul her brother with her, as a normal 15 year-old is known to do...things are definitely different now.  

Kim will complete what we expect will be her last Physical Therapy session this week, before going under the knife next Tuesday to have that troublesome screw in her leg removed, finally!

We learned last week that Caleb will need to have surgery #10 to release the hardware holding his jaw in place, and hopefully remove the tracheostomy tube.  Current plan for those procedures is on August 28, back in Omaha...but he won't be making that trip to Omaha directly from Lincoln.

After leaving home at 7 am on March 6, 2019, instead of spending 8 hours at school, Caleb has spent the past 4,000 hours travelling from the farthest edges of life that exist.  Starting with his being resuscitated en-route from the accident scene to the hospital, he has endured stays at 3 different hospitals and 9 trips to the operating room (and counting). 

As God continues to answer the thousands of prayers lifted up on his behalf, Caleb is slated to begin a major transition next week from inpatient rehabilitation to full-day outpatient rehabilitation care, still at Madonna in Lincoln, NE.  Just as the duration of his inpatient was undefined, the duration of his stay in Lincoln for outpatient rehab is undefined, as it will be driven by his demonstrated need and continued progress. 

Since he will no longer be under inpatient care, he will be able to visit home from time to time, as he and Kim take up temporary residence near the hospital in Lincoln.  While it may only be for a few days at a time, he is terrifically excited to get to sleep in his own bed, after having spent 166 nights in hospital beds!  Needless to say, Morgan, Mom, & Dad are all ready to have the family back together at home.

So, a week from today, we hope to be together at home once again, even if only for a short while, with Kim & Caleb heading back to Lincoln for outpatient rehab starting the day after Labor Day. Between now & then, there will be two surgeries: Kim’s in Wichita on 8/20 and Caleb’s in Omaha on 8/28.

There's a lot going on, but we know God's in control! He has brought us through this far & we know He's not finished yet, for Philippians 1:6 tells us that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

Since we've been back at Madonna, Caleb has been progressing well! The therapies have been bringing out more and more of Caleb physically & mentally.

Attached are pictures of a therapy dog named Neely that came to visit. We also had a chance to tag along with Caleb as they went fishing at a local lake as part of therapy! Caleb & Morgan caught the only three fish that were willing to bite that morning! Unfortunately, they were small bluegill, so no fried fish for supper.

Speaking of food, Caleb has been enjoying chocolate nutrition shakes for almost every meal! He is drinking them & other liquids through a syringe to offset the amount of feed going into his stomach tube. 

Morgan had a great trip to Jamaica. She had the opportunity to paint the church's classrooms and furniture. They also laid a concrete sidewalk & ministered to the people of Kingston. She came back with so many stories, and we are still hearing of all her adventures!

As most folks know, Kim's surgery had to be postponed due to a scheduling conflict, so if all goes well, her screw will be removed later this month. 

Here's how you can continue to pray for us:
  • Pray for Caleb's continued improvement & healing, especially for his vision. He will have surgery #10 on Aug 28 to remove the hardware holding his jaw closed, and hopefully remove the tracheostomy.
  • Pray for Morgan as she begins school this coming week.
  • Pray for Kim as she continues to care for Caleb & works on her own therapy. 

Journal entry by Aaron & Kim Tobias

38 days ago (7 days after the accident) we had to move to the largest room in the PICU because they had so many machines, monitors, & tubes hooked up to keep Caleb stable: 18 different ones. Today, all but 2 are gone, and there is plenty of space for an updated family photo!

Caleb's eye surgery looks to be on track for a good recovery. He appears to have fought off the infection, & started putting some weight back on in preparation for the next series of surgeries he will need to have, slated to start in about 2 weeks.

Kim continues to struggle with severe nerve pain in her uninjured foot, and the results of her testing last week suggest another major surgery will be required. Her doctor has to consult with a colleague to put a clear plan together for her & we hope to have that plan identified this week. 

Didrik continues a steady build-up of physical and emotional strength, and is even back to being able to run. Morgan continues to power thru a few lingering aches, but is otherwise doing well.

Once again, thank you all for the tremendous support and prayers. Wishing you a Happy Easter, as we rejoice in Christ's defeat of death! 

Just as the disciples must have been feeling lost on this Holy Saturday, we continue to pray and look forward to what we just haven't seen yet for all of us fighting thru this dark time: 
https://youtu.be/X1eMZiOJ0a0

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Aaron, Kim, Morgan, Caleb, & Didrik’s Story

Site created on April 27, 2019

On the morning of March 6, 2019, Clearwater school teacher Kimberly Tobias, daughter Morgan (14), son Caleb (13), and foreign exchange student Didrik (17), were on their way to school when their Toyota Corolla was T-boned by a Ford Expedition, leaving them severely injured.  The Ford Expedition had been traveling at a high rate of speed when its driver failed to observe a stop sign.  (News Article (https://www.kwch.com/content/news/Emergency-crews-working-crash-in-southwest-Sedgwick-County-506758231.html)) Meanwhile, Kim’s husband, Aaron, was overseas when he learned that his entire family had been in the accident and then endured 32 hours of travel to get home. 

Kim, Caleb, and Didrik sustained critical injuries and Morgan had serious injuries.  By God’s grace, all of them survived the accident.  Morgan was able to transition her recovery from the hospital to home after just over a day in the hospital, while Didrik required an extensive surgery and a week-long stay in the ICU.  With sixteen different broken bones, including severe compound fractures requiring three reconstructive surgeries so far and six blood transfusions, Kim has exceeded all expectations and after 23 days in the hospital is now on the road to recovery at home with the help of family and friends.  Kim still faces at least one additional surgery and the challenge of learning to walk again after more than three months in a wheelchair.

While Kim, Morgan, & Didrik make solid progress in their recoveries at home, Caleb remains in the Pediatric ICU (PICU) fighting for his life, as he has yet to regain consciousness. After sustaining massive facial and cranial injuries and pelvic fractures, a series of miraculous interventions, eight blood transfusions, five surgeries (with at least two more planned), and many answers to prayer have lifted him to a slow, steady improvement as he continues to show signs of progress. Although his prognosis is uncertain, what is certain is that the road to recovery is very long.  While we look forward to Caleb returning to his vibrant spirited young personality, he is expected to remain in the PICU for another few weeks, then he will likely transfer to a pediatric neurological rehabilitation hospital hundreds of miles away for an unknown length of time.

Please pray for the Tobias family, as they continue to be sustained through these extreme trials by the restorative power of prayer through our Savior Jesus Christ.

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