Monday, August 8, 2016

Five Years

Here I am, the morning of our 5th accident anniversary. Sipping coffee. Waking up. Watching Olympic highlights, still getting organized after a weekend work party while the overcast lighting pours into my room. The baby is still asleep. Letting me have a morning. We've arranged for Spencer to hang out with our neighbors while do something for two hours to commemorate life, later today.

It's Life Day.

It's the day where Jimmy nearly died. He lived through a catastrophic car crash. He never saw it coming when he got in his car to go to a work assignment on that Monday in August 2011. We carried on that early afternoon getting ready for work together as we did everyday.  He left to go to work, and then a short time later, so did I. For him, it was a spare tire that flew and would change his life. What it looked like for me? A normal drive to work, and then? Brake lights. The traffic that was caused by my husband's wreck. A text asking me if he was okay. And then the calls. Updates from the news desk where we both worked. He was being life-flighted to the local trauma unit.  That's where I was told to go. After sitting in my car still while they collected his broken body and smashed car, I eventually passed over the very place where my husband was changed forever. I didn't know the scope of it yet, didn't know what we'd be up against. Never could have imagined paralysis. I don't even think I thought death was in it for us. I just... didn't know. Perhaps I thought broken legs, other broken bones.

I arrived at the hospital to see my boss standing there waiting for me; he told me where Jimmy was and I could go right in and see him. Jimmy was awake and saw me. He smiled and gave me a "hey, honey."  His head was hanging open. I looked at it too much and broke out in a warm sweat. Had to go to the bathroom, get some air and take a breath or two. Not too long, had to get back.

The waiting began as they assessed the damage. They would put a Halo device on him to straighten out his spine so they could see what they were dealing with. At that time, I got my first private briefing.

We don't know anything for sure yet, we're running tests. There could be some spinal cord damage.

Is it permanent?

The look on her face might have given me some indication.

We can't say for sure, yet.

Over the course of the next few -- longest days of my life -- I would learn he cannot feel past his chest. He now has a room in the Neuro-ICU where I would spend my days and nights. I would go home and try to sleep and shower since I only lived a quick jaunt away.  The doctors would give me very doctory updates. Formal and technical words that I tried to make heads and tails of, eventually taking notes every time someone would pull me aside.  Friends and family were asking me, calling me and messaging me for updates. I would read what was on the paper, not always fully sure what it all meant.

I remember one of Jimmy's friend point blank asking me, "what's the prognosis?"  I felt so much pressure by being asked that.  I don't know yet. And, maybe I should know. I should be that hospital spouse who responsibly disseminates information to all that wants to know.

It was all so confusing and hard.

What do you need? What do you need? I was being asked and being cared for like I was the one who was injured.  I was given so much food I didn't even know what to do with it all, so I began offering it all to the different rounds of people who would come sit with me in the hospital waiting room.

The evening of the accident, I was pulled and briefed yet again. I came out to the group of people who were there at time, I was trying to eat the McDonalds someone gave me.

They officially told me that night he couldn't feel from his chest down. He couldn't move anything. But earlier that day he was moving his arms. It didn't make sense. As I was giving my friends an update, I broke down. Finally. Head between my legs, and loud sobbing. Might have held off until then. Maybe it was all starting to sink in. He wasn't coming out on the other side of this the same. A friend comforted me by saying do not feel bad for crying; if it were my husband I'd be on the floor.

The next morning began a long day of several surgeries. My poor husband. He's broken. He doesn't know it. He doesn't know what's happening. I love him so much.

We were married just two months earlier. We were still in the honeymoon glow. Just settled into our new apartment we had worked so hard at getting. Before that, we slummed it a bit in a cheaper place, where both my license plate and hubcap were stolen.

Our new place made us so happy.  It was an adult apartment that marked the beginning of our marriage. We unpacked the wedding gifts into this place. When Jimmy left for work that day, he'd never see our cute little apartment again.

Never could have imagined that five years later we'd be living in adorable condo in Atlanta, have a 1-year old and be doing okay with everything that has happened.

So yes, if you're wanting to know how we are five years later? We're doing alright.

We get called on once in awhile by the fine Peer Support organizers at The Shepherd Center to come and talk to some folks who maybe having a rough time adjusting and needs to see some who have been through it and is now "getting on with your business."

That's what we do. We have to get on with our business. Jimmy got to live so we owe it to ourselves to get up and give each day a fighting chance.

We have a daughter now. If the injury feels like it's suffocating us, we still have to raise her. If Jimmy is having a sucky sucky injury day, he still has to be a Dad and keep an eye on her playing if I'm cooking or doing laundry.  If I'm sick, I still have to get up and be a Mom. There's no other option.

Getting on with our business.

Okay, so we can't go swim in the Caribbean together. We can't procreate the old-fashioned way. We can't leave Jimmy alone to watch Spence while I go get groceries. There's a CRAP TON of can'ts.

But. We have broken down some of our the most amazing barriers and goals. We've managed to get through some extremely scary moments of sickness. Pressure wounds. Surgery on top of surgery. Bouts in the ER. Near-death infections. New ailments. Broken wheelchairs. Daily sadness associated with the the injury. There's a lot of silent suffering and personal grieving that hits us on the regular. If I'm not sad, I'm sure Jimmy is. There will always be a layer of sadness in this life. I'm sure it's natural. I'm not saying that because I want you to feel sorry for me. You probably won't even notice it. It can come at a moment's notice. Something I see out and about might make me cry, you won't know why. But then I'll enjoy a latte made just perfectly and all will be okay with the world.  Jimmy will wake up sad because he dreamed of being able to wake up on his own, shower and go put gas in the car. By himself. He wakes up to reality. But, by the time he's done with his routine he'll roll out into the living room to be greeted by his cackling daughter and will make him forget, if only for the rest of the morning, that he was overcome with sadness just an hour ago.

This is real life.

But, in our new life, the little things become the big things -- and that's okay. We find nuggets of happiness all the time.

For the people who understand if we can't get to the phone, return a call, cancel something that was planned, don't hear from us in awhile - thank you for being understanding and knowing we're doing the best we can.

And for those who check in an make effort to stay a part of Jimmy's life, I thank you. He needs you and you've been there. Jimmy likes to slowly slip into hermit mode sometimes, forgetting that he's absolutely still a social person, when the injury allows. Even when it doesn't, he's had some wonderful friends who have been just fine sitting next to his bed -- and talking.

So yes, we're getting on with it. I'm loving my business as a fashion consultant for Lularoe. It kicks my ass most of the time, but it's surprisingly rewarding. Spencer will be starting a Children's Morning Out program this week where she'll go for several days a week. And Jimmy is pushing himself to become more independent, finding ways to do things without having to rely on me to drive him places.  He's in a good place physically, with no major issues to speak of. He comes off the ventilator almost daily, after a year of not being strong enough to even entertain that thought. You should be proud of ole boy. He's doing it.

We're doing life.

I'm looking forward to our day of mall, Costco, Pinkberry, naptime/me time, and babysitter so Mom and Dad can enjoy an adult beverage and cheers to the freaking fact that we've survived FIVE YEARS of this. We're still married and EVERYTHING.

Thank you guys for five years of support!

The Moores

Sunday, May 29, 2016


This photo pretty much sums up our morning in church.

Home girl was all over the place. Dropped Cheerios like it was her duty. I tried not to let anyone hear them crunch under my feet as we stood. She was jabbering to the family behind and in front of us. She would basically only stop when I brought out the treats or when the music started. But, we showed up. She sat with me. And, I was able to get something out of the mass that I could take with me.

Don't just go through the motions. It's not worth it unless your heart's in it. And also, get to know your community. Let them in.


There was so much kindness shown to me and restless Spencer in that short amount of time at church. Those who would try to distract her and entertain her over my shoulder. Those who would smile at me, letting me know it's okay.  

It was a good little slice of my day. We never get to church for so many different reasons. But I felt okay there. I felt appreciated for making the effort with a wiggly little one by myself.  And of course, it's always a comforting place, having grown up going to mass.

Spencer will be baptized in the coming months, and I'm so happy about it. Regardless of what Jimmy or I believe, there's always room for more love, acceptance and understanding.

I'm thankful for the rare amazing night of sleep I had last night that gave me the energy and idea to get us ready for church.

It was an enlightening little experience for me... even if Spencer did drink some holy water on the way out.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Husband of Mine

Grateful for another birthday! 
Today was a good day! Jimmy woke up feeling good, happy and excited about his birthday. The baby took in her gifts to him and her card where she "signed" her name. We spent the day together. Our neighbors then watched Spencer so we could enjoy an extremely rare dinner out. It was wonderrrrrful. They even sent a happy Spencer picture to assure me she was fine! I was so happy to get that, not that I had any doubts. Our neighbors are amazing! Jimmy and I came home miserably full, yet happy! The baby screamed an ecstatic scream when she saw us but we can tell she had been having all of the fun.

Jimmy and I talked about his birthday last year. What a way he has come in 365! I remember he had friends in town this time, last year. The boy was so sick he couldn't get through one slice of pizza. He was so ill and we didn't know at that point just how bad off he was. He lasted two more weeks like that before we finally did have to call 911. That eventually led to his month-long hospital stay.  

For all that have been asking, Jimmy is doing well! I know I don't update much, but usually no news is good news with us. All of the wounds he got during that scary time last year have pretty much healed up as he gained weight back. He's eating just fine! Fatigue is always an ongoing issue but trying out a new sleep med that I think he just might do well with. He hasn't been doing a ton of time off the vent, but the fact that it's an option for him whenever he's ready is pretty great. He's liking outings! He loves going on walks his girls downtown to the park or to grab a bite. He likes to sit and enjoy the fresh air on our patio. Likes keeping up with his friends through social media and calls/texts. Does he have bad days? Yep. Does he have REALLY bad days? Yep. We deal with them as they come. But the good days are more often than they used to be and that makes for a happy family of three!

He's adjusted to life with LuLaRoe pretty well. It takes up the little spare time I did have left, so it certainly was an adjustment all around. But, we've started to find a balance. I know he misses my attention, but I think he might be proud of me in my new adventure. :)

I know I'm proud of him and the fact that he's able to sit at dinner with me and be... happy. Clearly there is so much to be sad about and angry about, and we are a lot of the times - sad and angry. But, sometimes I look at him sitting in his wheelchair, unable to move, and I just appreciate the laid back smile he has on that face. It's not all bad.

It's certainly not all bad.

Happy 46th, James Water.

I love you!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Spencer: 15 Months

Spencer Rosalyn Moore is 15 months old!

Stats: 23.5lbs heavy. 31.5 inches tall. Size 4 diaper. Size 18months clothes. Size 4T shoe size. 5 teeth.

What she's saying: HI! Bye! Night Night! Mama! Dadda! Kitty Cat! Duckie! Cookie! Keys! Water! EEE-eee (Her way of saying Gigi)! She's also saying a bunch of sounds associated with people she knows and animals. For example: "Spencer, what does a dinosaur say?" And she'll "ROWR ROWR ROWR!"

She's learned that her Dadda clicks for his nurses to come (something he did when right after his injury before he could talk - and it stuck) aaaand so when we say, "What does Dadda say?" Spencer clicks her tongue. Y'all. Pure hilarity. I die. 

Favorite foods: Shes a great eater! She loves blueberries, kiwi, oranges, peanut butter, pasta, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, guac, beans/chili, etc. Her comfort food is graham crackers. Recently was introduced to chocolate... no looking back now! 

Favorite books: Spencer looooves her books. She brings me a book and she'll turn around and sit in my lap ready to see what the book has to say. Sometimes over and over and over. Her favorite book at the moment is "I Love You, Stinky Face!"  But also she loves Goodnight Moon, any of the Karen Katz lift-the-flap books, and her Elmo books. 

Favorite show: Speaking of Elmo, this kid is obsessed! Spencer LOVES Elmo's World. She sings it (as much as she can without actually saying words) a lot of times a day. Sometimes I'll hear it over the baby monitor, she'll sing it while putting herself to sleep. I'm not one to plop my kid in front of the iPad all day, however... if I need to get a few things done and she's being an insane little person: YouTube. Elmo. Done. She doesn't even care if it's the same one. She's glued. She's starting to come around to Sesame Street as a whole, but Elmo is certainly very much still her homie. Once, we saw another kid holding an Elmo doll. I got super nervous Spencer would attack him. It's that serious.

What she's doing: Spencer is walking, running and climbing. Just within the past week I've found her wanting to stand on her little baby chairs, her rocking chair, rocking horse, in the tub, etc. If I forget to break down the stroller, she'll climb up that and stand in it, jumping in it. She's learned it's fun to jump on the bed. Eh. She can open all the lever-handle doors in our condo. She can push the buttons on the washer and effectively stop my load mid-cycle. She can climb steps and is now learning to climb down them. She's learning to knock on doors. She's gotten great at pushing buttons.

She waves hi and bye. She can blow kisses. She will show her tongue when you say, "let me see your teeth!" She puts her hand up to her ears (like a telephone) when she hears the house phone ringing. She can sign "more please" when she wants more or gets hungry. She also knows the sign for water. She can show you her belly button, teeth, nose, feet, fingers, etc. 

She's just learned to put items back in things. Toys in baskets, etc. That's huge! I don't think I taught her directly, she must have learned from watching me.

She loves her Dad's wheelchair. And unfortunately for him, he doesn't even have to be in it. She likes to sit in it when he's in bed. She'll sit in it so proudly. She'll play with any and all buttons, especially the ones that make a BEEP.  She's even found where his back-up manual w/c is, and likes to bounce on that.

You may or may not know, I'm now a consultant for LuLaRoe (shameless plug)  which means there are several clothing racks in the house. She loves to run through the hanging dresses and let them sweep over her. 

What she loves: She loves the Play Center at the Y where I work out. She has such fun there and is so happy with the caretakers and other kids. She loves the park; the swings, the toys, the steps. She loves our neighbors and will help herself in their house once they open the door for her. She loves FaceTiming with her Gigi and Peepops daily around dinner to see them and the kitty cats. She loves animals. Dogs. She's surprisingly gentle with dogs and will slowly stick her hand out to them. She loves music and loves to dance; she's really enjoying a Mommy and Me music class we've been taking. She loves outdoors. Loves elevators. She loves this puppy pillow (pictured above) someone got her for my baby shower which we lovingly call Puppy Brother. She really does love pillows in general. It's quite cute. She'll grab one just to sit on.

Personality: She's a shiny, happy baby. Very smiley. Very friendly. Very social. Very vocal. She will hug another kid/baby around the neck after just meeting them with no problem. Sometimes the reactions from the other kids are priceless. Like, many aren't happy about it.  She gets ornery when hungry (like her Mama) and has tantrums like any other kid. She's just learned that she can pinch, bite and slap. That's been fun!

Sleep: Spencer, overall, is a pretty good sleeper unless she gets sick, teething, or we travel, of course. She sleeps in her crib with her two teddy bears, one of which we call Night Night Bear. He plays like ten minutes of lullabies, which she loves. She knows how to turn it on for when needs the comforting tunes of ole NNB overnight. She's gotten very good at putting herself to sleep, thanks to some sleep-training. I'm now a firm-believer. She'll lay in her crib after I put her down for sometimes 30 minutes singing, whimpering, talking herself to sleep without actually crying.   

She is a gem and brightens the day of just about anyone. She is our happiness! And, I love to see all the layers of her personality as she grows. Happy 15 months, Spencer!

Quit that growing stuff right now!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

This One

This girl. Entertainment 24-7. She has a 15-month (!!) appointment coming up in a few weeks, so I'll do a good write up on all things Spencer then. Such a happy little soul with a gigantic personality.

Oh, Spencer. Never change. Hearts! 

I thought it was cute to let her run around the house nakies for a minute.
And then she proceeded to sprinkle her urine on my carpet.

Luna Lee and Spencer Rosalyn

Spencer has a best friend in this little girl already. You know how I know? Because Spencer Rosalyn repeatedly steals her paci (Spencer doesn't use a paci), and excitedly and sweetly, but with the aggression and the expected grace of a 1-year old, yanks, pokes and scratches at poor Luna.

And Luna will sometimes cry, and sometimes just watch in pure fear, but she still seems entertained and happy to have her buddy, just five months her elder around. Nothing but love!

We like to say that soon, Luna will catch up. And then... watch out little Miss Spence. It's on, probably. 

Can't wait to see the memories these two continue to make.  I love them both so much separately but even more when they are together.

PS) The backstory on Luna's mom, Jamie: Her and I have known each other and have been friends since middle school. Her and her husband were already in Atlanta when Jimmy got flown to the Shepherd Center in August of 2011. They were here with us and very much helped us along the way. Never then could I have imagined we'd both have baby girls together after something like that. Life is amazing!