On February 27, 2013, my husband, Peter Laboy was seriously injured during a traffic stop that resulted in him being shot. He was flown to Medstar with life-threatening injuries. He is a 17-year veteran of the Alexandria, Virginia police department. He has spent the past six years as a motorcycle officer in the Motor Unit as Motor 8.
July 16, 2014
Back to Reality and Eager to Make a Change
Flying back to the East Coast today. The retreat was a huge success for me as well as for Peter. I met women who are strong, confident, and determined to make changes. They, too, are caring for their husbands who all have their own story of how they survived a life-threatening event. Peter hated leaving his new friends today. I felt the same way. I felt a sense of belonging and my story was not much different than their daily struggles.
It was a breath of fresh air to laugh and cry with others who can laugh and cry, both men and women. We will continue to use this support system. I feel motivated to help others who may find their path on mine. We collectively would not want any other couple to find themselves in our shoes, but unfortunately that is not reality. Therefore, I want to be a support to any who may not know where to turn, what to do, how to survive. So many people help me get through the day, hour, minute and I want to put something in place to help others, when needed.
Thank you for always being there, saying a prayer, doing a task, taking something off my shoulders. It has made a huge difference and I will never forget how many people continue to do it. Now, I want to make a difference.
Thanks to the Hunting 4 Heroes organization and the VOWS 1st annual retreat for placing these other eight couples in my life!! Thanks Heidi Paulson for being the ringleader.
July 8, 2014
Off to the Ranch
The plane is full. Everyone is headed somewhere. This is the second of three flights today. We are headed to Billings, Montana, to a place called Bear Tooth Ranch. We are invited to a retreat put on by the Hunting For Heroes Org, this being the first annual VOWS event. There will be about nine other couples, all LEO's injured and disabled in the line of duty with their spouses. They will be from all over the country and have had their lives changed due to some "on the job" event.
My expectations are all over the place. I want to enjoy the peace and outdoor nature. I want to enjoy my husband without any doc appointments or therapies to attend. But most of all, I can't wait to meet other spouses who are walking in my shoes, whose spouse is not longer the same, who so desperately are wanting things to be back to normal. I know some of that is not realistic but at least I hope to walk away with some lifelong friendships and support systems of those who know what I feel, know what its like to look at your life partner and sometimes wonder where he went.
I want to know how to deal with the ups and downs of this journey. He says things to me that I know isn't him, he says things to the kids that I know he doesn't feel in his heart. He says things to his friends and coworkers that go over the line. He knows that he isn't the same and he's trying to deal with it. He needs support. I hope he can connect with others on this trip and maybe learn something from them. Maybe he can learn how to pick up the pieces and move forward when he is no longer the man/officer/husband/father/brother/son/friend that he used to be. We both need to learn how to handle the good and the bad, the ups and the downs of this whole brain injury thing. Not gonna lie, it stinks. Some days its easier to walk away, knowing its not him, not the man I married. Some days it hurts like hell. I cry if needed and then think of the kids and how happy they make me and how blessed we are they still have a father who loves them very much.
Updates from our week on the ranch to follow. Stay tuned!
May 31, 2014
Stepping Out When We Can
There are so many layers to this complex situation that I now refer to as my "new life." The emotional roller coaster that we are all on, still, affects the ins and the outs of our daily living. Peter can be doing just fine, then he may have a moment of feeling less than normal, and start barking at us for no apparent reason, and then it sets a stage for everyone barking at each other, and then finally nothing gets done or accomplished because we are just plumb tired to have any more energy to put forth an effort to do anything. We all go to bed exhausted and hope tomorrow will bring a brand new day. Sometimes the whole day is off, sometimes it's just a part of a moment and then it seems I can get him back on track and keep moving forward. Sometimes I stop dead in my tracks and say to myself I can't do anymore of this today. Nothing is guaranteed. I have learned to truly believe in that. I can't guarantee he will be happy when he wakes up. I can't guarantee he will be in the mood to do what we had planned. I can't guarantee he won't say something rude or disrespectful and I can't guarantee it won't affect my mood and behavior. I continue to speak to my professionals with the hopes that I am doing the best I can to take care of myself. I need to remain calm and consistent for the kids because the little ones watch me like a hawk. Peter is in the process of starting the retirement paperwork. I'm trying to get back into my hospital to work occasionally. The valor awards, the candlelight vigil, the VP visits, the Washington Post articles — those have all been blessings and humbling experiences ... it's like a lighter side of the darkness. We cherish those moments when he can appear "ON" in front of folks so maybe for a quick moment we can feel and look like a normal family. We are a normal family, just different than what we looked like over a year ago. We still enjoy time together, love one another, laugh when things are funny. Our kids are what keeps me going. And because I have been chosen to be their mom, I still have a very important job to do and that never stops.
March 13, 2014
March 5, 2014
yesterday was the second snow day in a row for the kids. not a big deal. all we decided to do that day was stay in pj's and watch cartoons with the kids in the bed. the boys decided they wanted to watch Monsters University. I'm on my laptop trying to plan a summer, laying right beside Peter. All of a sudden he has this look in his eyes and for about 5 min there is no way to bring him back. This one lasted about 5 min. Miles called the medics. Peter's face was turning blue, which i wasn't sure if that was normal for him, since i haven't experiences the seizure that way. Medics arrived and all know Peter by name. We take him closer to Alex ER, its also where his neurologist practices. they get him in quickly and do tests. he's more arousable at this point. after the docs have spoke and meds adjusted, we are sent home. ALL on alert!!! To see something like that in your bed, in your home, with children all around, it has to take a tool on your being. We are all exhausted tonight. I don't think any of us rested last eve. We see the neurologist in the morning. sending prayers out tonight and praying alittle harder that GOD will wrap his lovely arms around the kids extra special hard. Keep going strong #LABOYSTRONG #MOTOR8 #SUPERMAN
February 26, 2014
A Year of Life
Tomorrow will mark one year. I can hardly believe it. I look back and think about all of the things we have all been through. Some I would like to forget. Some I will remember forever. I can't fully quite comprehend how many people have touched our lives. Our family and friends have been there for us through thick and thin. Our coworkers have stood by us. We have been touched by others who we didn't even know. All I can say at this point is Thank You All!!!
Peter had shoulder surgery yesterday. He has again surprised me and is doing extremely well. I am so proud of my superman!! Traumatic brain injury has become a common term used in our every day life but we will not have it define us. We will continue to learn and grow. Healing takes a lifetime and we have a lot of life to live. I hope to help others as we have been helped. Not sure what that will look like in the future. For now, we will live each day to the fullest and love harder than ever. Laboystrong!
February 23, 2014
Hello all. It's been a while since I have posted. Lots going on. Meds were changed early January and it has made a huge difference. Executive functioning skills have been put to the test and he is rising up to the challenge. With the meds, he has had more initiation, motivation and a desire to do more and accomplish things. We have met lots of people on our list and a lot of questions have been answered. His biggest frustration is not being able to drive. I remind him of patience and all the time we have from this moment on. He is starting to get involved with some other "hobbies". He wants to get back into photography and video. His go pro birthday gift from his brother has warranted lots of trips to best buy for new equipment. NASCAR has started as well as motor cross. It gives him a reason to want to get involved with the kids again... They love it. Therapy comes in many different styles, shapes, forms and involves a wide variety of familiar people who can help Peter progress and work his brain. He's most comfortable with those who know him, his safe haven.
He is having surgery on Tuesday for an arthroscopic shoulder injury. The pain has interrupted his sleep patterns and hindering from doing what he can outdoors. Please pray for his medical team and those taking care of him on Tuesday. I am extremely optimistic that this will be successful and will accomplish what they need while in there.......
Thanks to all for showing your love and support. He will come to me from being out and tell me all of the people who have said hi!!! Makes him feel good and gives him the strength and courage to move on!!! Thanks everyone!!!! #laboystrong #motor8
January 21, 2014
A Year Older
Peter turned 46 yo on Sat 18th. We celebrated all weekend, including a surprise party planned by some special folks at APD for him at the Police Hall. It was a success!! He had no clue. I put together a slideshow of pictures. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone who came out to support him and the look on his face was priceless. The cake says 45/46. He mentioned that he wants to redo 45 since it wasn't a very good year for him. I say we take every day as a gift, a true blessing that we are all here to share another day. Thanks to everyone who participated in the surprise and and thanks to Landini Brothers Restaurant who treated us to a wonderful Friday night out.
January 16, 2014
Today we were able to attend a US Park Police awards ceremony and meet some amazing people. We were able to meet the staff from USPP and Alexandria Fire Dept who were instrumental in saving Peter's life that day. We also were able to see the Eagle 1 helicopter that transported Peter to Medstar. I have no idea how they got such a big piece of equipment in such a small elementary school yard. I've said from the very beginning that the ONLY bad thing that happened that day was the actual incident. Everything else fell into place exactly as it was meant to be with the Grace of GOD and the people with the experience and knowledge to do what they have been trained to do their entire career.
We have enjoyed hearing the stories from those who were a part of that day. One of Peters goals during this healing experience is to meet each and every one of you who have somehow touched our lives, especially those who are first responders. We have a list of people..... And we are slowly able to connect those dots. We still have the Park Police pilot, Kevin and officer Mike who stood by Peter at Medstar yet to meet. Peter and I talk about that day often and he has lots of questions for me that I can't answer. Speaking to all of you helps put those pieces together little by little. With his police background and my medical knowledge, we want to know every little detail. It's in our blood. We can't help it. I tell him in due time we will have all of the pieces to the puzzle.
Thanks to all who have walked up to him or us and introduced themselves to us and how you played a role. We truly appreciate all of the info that is coming our way. Please always feel free to walk up to him and introduce yourself/us. We need it for our recovery process just as much.
December 31, 2013
Ringing In a New Year
This evening we are spending a quiet night at home. The dining room table is covered in Lego's and we are getting our pj's on. As I have a glass of wine, I am sitting here reflecting on the last 10 months of this year. I can't really put a name on it.... But a few thoughts come to mind. Exhausting, overwhelming, recovering. I think about what a new year represents and these new words come to mind- faith, love and hope. So tonight it's Cheers to friends, old and new. And a BIG Cheers to our family who love us and support us unconditionally. May you ALL be blessed with a bright and shiny New Year.
December 8, 2013
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
I love Christmas lights. My neighbor usually makes fun of me because I leave my Christmas tree up way past Dec. I'm not sure if its because I was too lazy or busy to take it down, or if it was because it gets dark at 4:30pm and I hate coming home to a dark dreary place during the winter months. Its no surprise I suffer from seasonal depression. Give me sunshine and blue skies and my smile will be contagious. Its snowing today and the last time I saw snow we were in the ICU. It was the beginning of March. It seemed weird that it would even snow but it seemed weirder that my husband was laying in a bed on a ventilator with a bullet in his head. I can remember thinking "well, it happened. My worst nightmare happened". I felt like I was in a dream. It all seemed extremely surreal. But something about the soft fallen snow and the sounds of the monitors beeping, I remember a peacefulness in the room. I would turn the lights off any chance I could get. The nurses would turn them back on every hour to do their neuro assessment. When done, they would turn them off again and the lights from the monitor would light up the room. Much like the Christmas lights on my christmas tree. The tree is up and our youngest put on the decorations. I was forced into buying christmas cookies and putting some lights up outside. I am reminded daily that life goes on even in a dark moment. Peter is here and surviving but I'd be lying if I said I don't grieve for the one I married. After a traumatic brain injury, things change. Relationships change. People change. Plans change. Some days you take what you can get and try again tomorrow. Is this the most wonderful time of the year? December is usually a busy time with the hustle and bustle of things to do and places to go. Or I can just sit by my fire listening to holiday music looking at the lights and pray and hope that tomorrow will bring another day of progress and the brain will continue to heal.
November 27, 2013
Today marks the 9 month anniversary of Peters injury. It started out as our typical day but then the game changed. He had another seizure while at home with the boys. The two older ones knew exactly what to do. I'm so proud of them. The call to 911 was made before the call to me. I guess talking about our situation and things that can happen helps to educate the kids to take appropriate actions. We spent the afternoon at Medstar Washington Hosp Center. The labs were normal and the meds increased. It's always a scary thing but once again my background helps out and I'm in full nursing mode.
I won't say it gets easier, just a little more tolerable to the fact that this is what happens and just gain knowledge from those who have experienced seizure disorders. This Thanksgiving I will count my blessings. We have so much to be thankful for. GOD bless our family and friends who support and carry us through this journey. We love you all!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!
October 31, 2013
MedStar NRH Gala Victory Awards
My husband pointed out to me one day while at therapy a wall of Victory. It has photos of those who have been honored with an award because of their inspiring and unbelievable stories of overcoming traumatic life events. The dinner is also a benefit for the National Center for Brain Injury and Stroke rehabilitation and research at MedStar NRH. With Tammy and Victor by our side, we attended the dinner last night at the Omni Hotel in DC. What a spectacular event. We sat and visited with some amazing people, got to hear their stories and how they were affiliated with NRH, two were previous patients. We witnessed 3 amazing honoree's receive their award and hear their story of survival. It was such an inspirational evening and a great reason to get dressed up and have a night out. I got the chance to speak to another spouse caregiver who gave me words of encouragement, telling me to continue to move forward, understanding my world like no other. It meant a lot to both of us to be surrounded by people who have gone through what we have and continue to do an amazing job growing and pushing through any obstacles that may get in the way. MedStar NRH continues to be a second home while Peter still receives therapy 3 days a week. The staff there continue to move mountains daily giving hope and inspiration to the injured and their families while getting us back on a new road, a new normal, a new chapter in our book of life.
October 12, 2013
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Peter was able to attend a conference in SC this week. It's a hostage negotiation conference his team attends every year. It was a great week for him, seeing many friends and coworkers as well as participating in work related discussions. I would say it was very successful, until I got the phone call. Yesterday while waiting at the airport to board his flight home, he had a seizure and was transported to the local trauma center in Myrtle Beach. Thank GOD for Jill, the friend he was with and for the family that I have in SC and in Va. Within 1 hour, I was packed and headed to airport while Tammy grabbed the kids for "sleepover at Tia's". I boarded a plane and made it to him as soon as I could. The tests came back "ok" and they increased his seizure meds. We will follow up with his docs when we get back to Virginia. Once again, he doesn't remember a thing, but the quarter size abrasion on his forehead from the fall tells it all. I know this is common for Traumatic Brain Injury but doesn't make it any easier. Please keep praying for him to heal and pray for strength for me. I say this because a lot of my friends and family ask specifically what to pray for. With those two things, one can never be wrong. Thanks you for the support and love! We love you all back!
October 2, 2013
Dept. Then my husband was mentioned. Neither of these two guys knew who I was, and as I was about to introduce myself, the conversation is over, the guy got his drink and was gone. I'm realizing its my husband who will forever be the "one that got shot".... I am numb and feel like it's an outer body experience. I'm so pleased with our day to day results, but it doesn't change how his community looks at him, the motor officer who was shot in the head in broad daylight in OLD TOWN. Sometimes it's still hard to hear and hard to stomach. Will I ever just wake up??? I guess I'm allowed one bad day for every 2-4 weeks.... Crying uncontrollably and realizing I needed it badly, needed to let it go. Cry it out. Too hard to hold on, causes my heart to grow heavy... 45 min late snap out of it but just drained. Go to bed and realize tomorrow is another day. Fresh start. New day. More Therapy. It will end but not soon enough for him. Such a good sport! I'm in awe at him... He completely surprises me...... He's here, he's falling in and out of reality, consuming of himself. Tries to do the best he can and tries to appear as normal he was before for the little ones. He tires easily and continues to need lots of rest. Kids still say "dad is healing" and that helps with their processing of it. One moment at a time moving our way to one day at a time. Many have seen me strong, yet few have witnessed my weakness..... Including my children. From the beginning I have felt this need to protect Peter and all of the kids. I still do. I feel what they don't need to see, they don't. Thanks to all who continue to reach out, sending good thoughts and prayers our way. The love is still coming our way and I will tell you it has helped me tremendously, just letting me know we are not alone. Thanks for supporting our kids and our family. 7 months is so fresh, yet so far away from where we are now.
Keep having positive thoughts and pray for us and we take these days one at a time.
September 23, 2013
Testing 1 2 3
After a week away at the annual Bernardo Golf Invitational in SC, Peter is having a full day of cognitive testing. This will give the doctors and therapists an idea of where things are at this time in his recovery and rehab. This test is usually given at the one year mark but because he has met a lot of his goals, this step will help dictate the next course of action. It's been almost 7mths since our world was turned upside down. His progress and determination helps push him to the next phase of this journey. Please continue to pray. We have many blessings!!
Based on the testament of my brothers, Peter's golf game has improved so much that maybe the Amateur PGA is an option!!
September 9, 2013
NASCAR at Richmond
Peter and a handful of friends go every year to the Richmond race and this year was no exception. However, it turned out to be alittle more exciting that previous races. Peter and his crew were able to get pit passes which included tours of the garages and a sit in with the drivers at the pre race meetings. At that moment Peter was able to meet and get an autograph from Juan Pablo Montoya. Probably one of the coolest things he's ever experienced. Special thanks to everyone who was involved and made that happen for him.
School is back in session and the kids are getting into a groove. I, myself have started working some hours at the hospital. Felt nice to get very warm welcomes and tight hugs from my coworkers. Peter continues his daily therapy and keeps progressing along. Day by day, exceeding goals and blowing away target dates. I'm so proud of him. He's now on a therapy mission to meet Bob Woodruff and find out more regarding his own foundation. They have a lot of similarities in their stories and Peter has been learning alot about him. We are trying to set up a meet and greet with him as well. I have become friends with his wife who has given me lots of support during this time. Hopefully this fall we can make that meeting happen.
Gradually we are getting out and thanking people, businesses, friends, coworkers for all of the support we have received. I don't know if I'll ever get to reach each and everyone, but I sure would like to try. The days fly by and the single parenting concept that creeps into our daily routines makes it alittle tough at times to get anything else done, but we are all doing our best. I count my blessings daily which include the members of the church in our neighborhood that we have been attending for about a month or so. The kids love it and everyone has been so welcoming. The pastor and the congregation have had their arms open each time my family walks through those doors. It helps my healing soul one song at a time. Feeling blessed, loved and overwhelmed all at the same time.
August 24, 2013
Today is the Mid Atlantic Police Rodeo and Peter got a chance to go see his unit compete. Haven't heard from him yet so it must be a good morning. One of the hardest things for him is not being able to drive a car yet or ride his police motorcycle. I'm glad he got up this morning to join his friends for a fun filled day of courses and cones.
August 12, 2013
Eight years ago today I married the man of my dreams. He planned it all in Punta Cana, DR. We exchanged vows on the beach and it was beautiful. This year it was almost taken away. My husband has miraculously survived by the Grace of GOD, the power of prayers and love, and the medical community that continue to help him heal daily. I love him more and more each moment of the day. His strength, courage and determination to set goals and strive forward proves that he is a winner and will not back down from the challenges of life. He is an amazing husband and father and we are blessed to have him in our lives.
August 6, 2013
Month of August
Therapy continues for intense speech/cognitive function. Daily exercises help strengthen the mind and reconnect old synapses as well as recruit new pathways. That's the exciting ones. Connecting new neurotransmitters reminds me of a breath of fresh air. Peter is coming back to the husband I married, but studies have shown rarely do TBI come back to 100% as they were.
It's ok, I kind of like his new routines and thinking.... Alittle diff than what it was before. He still has rough days where his brain is shut down and he hangs out in his bedroom watching tv, but his moments of coming and enjoying the evening with the family is getting better and better. Alot has calmed down and the peacefulness has made a huge impact on his healing. The medical goal for the summer was time, calmness, peace, good family, good food, good jokes.
As summer is wrapping up and he's building strength, things will pick up and he'll continue head on, like the fighter in him. The harder he works, the harder he rests. Keep praying and blessing our family. There is some amazing things going on..... And I'm so fortunate to be a part of this daily progress first hand. Thanks to all who continue to send lots of love our way. We love you all back!!!
July 18, 2013
And so it begins
We are back in town and therapy has restarted. Another aggressive round of cognitive support is on the schedule. Some days the road looks so long. It's been almost 5 mths since our lives have been turned upside down and I know that the recovery has been at full speed. I sit in his session today and it breaks my heart knowing how hard he is working to progress. Yes, progress is being made but not at the rate he would like. We talked about how all of things he deals with on a daily basis are all normal for brain recovery. He has exceeded expectations by all and continues to amaze me daily. Our trip was very nice. We spent time with family and friends, ate good food and rested. I continue to read and study about Brain injury and how it affects all. Maybe I can help someone through their tragic time while so many have helped hold my hand and support me through ours. The love that flows our way warms my heart and carries me on to another day. Thanks to all! I'm not sure how I could have gotten through without it.
July 12, 2013
Tears of joy
We have made it to the Dominican Republic and once again greeted by family at the airport. His mother was waiting for us at the house. It has done everyone good to see with their own eyes how well Peter is doing. We were blessed at the church while continuing to ask for more prayer and support. This road continues at a steady state with minor ups and downs but we are far from done. He is far from done. He is not complete and continues to heal. He still tires easy and needs rest. He is starting to express his frustration and worries. We have been counseled and instructed to share what we are feeling. We are in a marriage, a union and that is what we need to do for each other. This whole thing has affected so many people and we must all help and support each other along the way. We continue to seek guidance and help from those who understand this process as we learn more about it every day. One day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time. I continue to deep breathe, pick my battles and pray for strength to move forward. I learn to focus on the good and not the bad. Rejoice!
July 1, 2013
We made it. We were greeted at the airport with lots of hugs. Spent the evening with aunts, cousins and Luis, Peters brother. They all laughed, talked about pastimes, joking with each other. He has known these people his whole life and it shows. The love that surrounds him is amazing. They each have their own story of how they heard and have dealt with this happening to one of their own. They are just as amazed as we all are with how he looks and how he's doing. He's tired. It's been a long day. Hopefully he will sleep alittle better here. It's been great getting him out of our environment. A change of scenery is healthy. Continuing to heal with family and friends.
June 27, 2013
End of a chapter
Today Peter completed the intensive day treatment program where he received aggressive physical, occupational and speech/cognitive daily for the past 6 weeks. He was excited and glad to be done. Physical and occupational therapy have signed off on him for now, however the speech/cognitive therapist are still wanting him to receive therapy through Sept. Again, it gives us a calendar to plan around and a new chapter to look forward to.
Before that journey begins, we will take one of our own. We leave next week for a much needed break. We plan to spend lots of time with his family in Miami and then on to see his mother in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The kids will stay and attend camps, beach trips surrounded by family in SC, GA, NC and Va.
Tomorrow he gets his monthly cat scan and neurosurgeon checkup and usually a nice lunch out to follow.
Our shed arrived yesterday! He loved it. Good Friend Mike will help organize and arrange. Thanks to Dave from Home Depot and the guys from the shed company for completing even with alittle rain.
It looks great in the backyard. Thanks to the city guys who picked up the old one today.
While healing is taking place, I want to continue to thank everyone who continues to support us and pray for restoration. It means the world to the Laboys!
June 20, 2013
Another graduation last night (8th grade) along with last day of school today with a kindergarten picnic lunch, and the week is almost over. Busy with some transportation issues. The smallest things can turn out to be the biggest deals. I got the chance to take a much needed long overdue breather by going to my aunts place in DE. It was just enough to give me alittle peace for a few days. My phone still rings off the hook and the emails never stop. I guess I have to say I am always available..... It does sometimes feel like "what's gonna happen next". I breathe, take one moment at a time. I attended a support group meeting at NRH for Brain injury survivors and caregivers and after crying for the first 30 min I was there, I realized that the only people who completely understand what we are going through are people who have gone through the same thing. As one lady said last night, "it doesn't matter how it happened, the struggles are about the same for everyone in this room". It helped tremendously and I can't wait to take Peter next time. What we deal with everyday is very new to us, but not to the people in that room. One lady said she hasn't missed a meeting, another lady wrote on a napkin "it does get better" as I took it and wiped my eyes.
We are in the process of getting a shed in the back yard. Peter is determined to bring his bike home and place it in there. So he's making sure the doors are going to work to give him the room. People ask me everyday, "he looks so good, when is he going back to work?" This is going to be a long process. The decision is not ours to make at this time. He has a team of therapists and doctors who will determine what is in his future and all of them tell us it's way too early to tell. It hasn't been 4 months yet, lots of healing is being done. His situation is extremely unique due to fragments left inside. No one knows what the future brings but what I do know is they are not in a rush to send him on his way. We will continue to count down another week until weeks turn into months and months turn into a year, then at that time we can get a better understanding where he will be.
June 13, 2013
Valors and graduations
Very busy week for the Laboy family.
Pre-K and Kindergarten graduation for the little ones this week. Exciting for all. Today was the Alexandria Chambers of Commerce Valor awards. He received an award for an event that happened last Oct that saved someone's life. He used his HNT (hostage negation team) skills. He has been on that team for about 8 years. I remember when we were dating and he told me he was going through the process. He was extremely excited to be a part of the intense training that those officers receive. I remember saying "what does all that mean?" He loved it and clearly used those skills that day back in Oct. Just another reason why he loved being a police officer. Today he was recognized and he was proud. There was no doubt he was going to put his uniform on and go. The look in his eyes and the smile on his face tells it all. He wouldn't have missed it for the world. Those men and women there today is family to him. Those are his people, his coworkers, his friends and he misses them all tremendously. He's doing great in rehab. Hopefully it will slow down a bit and he can play more golf and go to some races, stuff he loves to do. He tired easy and once again has been in bed since 2:30, resting. Thanks to everyone today who showed support and love. It still means a alot to him and our family. Golfers- get your clubs ready. Peter is ready and waiting to get out there and hit some balls. He's also looking forward to friends coming over and driving him to 7-11 to get his new favorite drink, Coke slurpee, in the beautifully restored Mercedes. Open invitation.
June 10, 2013
The weekend was a great success. Saturday evening we attended the Stonegate community cook off and fundraiser. The people there were extremely nice and very welcoming. Peter had a good time sitting around the neighbors and enjoying the music and food. Sunday we went to the Nats game and the kids had a blast. It felt good sitting out in the sun getting fresh air and seeing the players up close. The seats were amazing, donated by the ODBC members. We lasted through the 6th inning. Pretty good, I thought. It was such a great family outing, hopefully we can do it again. The park is beautiful and the staff were very accommodating. Loving our family time!
June 7, 2013
Its been a busy week for all. Peter had rehab 5 days this week. Its Friday and he's been in bed since 6pm. Awake off and on, watching his fav shows, The First 48 and ID Investigation Discovery. I spoke with his social worker this week. Much progress is being made. Good things happening. On schedule. The team meets every two weeks. Will get another update next week. His nephews, Mo and JP flew in last night. Everyone was excited to see them. Live in NV and happy to be here and help #Laboystrong. I am blessed to have them here for Peter, for the boys, for me. Plans made for the weekend, hope the weather cooperates. Family time, community time, healing time..........
June 2, 2013
The weekend is over. Time flies by. Had lots of family time this weekend as well as friend time for both Peter and myself. He went golfing with Jill and I went to a going away party for a coworker friend. Much needed for us both. He made the comment that he hates sitting around. Its therapy to get back to friends, family, people that we love and who loves us. Though we are far from where we once were, we are headed on the right road, the road to a recovery. A road of new beginnings with signs directing us to where we need to be headed. We talk about what the future holds, neither of us really know. Lots of unanswered questions, lots of unsure plans, and anyone who knows me realizes how hard not having my calendar filled makes me unsettled. So much is out of our control..... its in someone elses hands. For now, I take that as a sign that I need to accept today and what GOD has given us......A fresh start, a new beginning, a rebirth. Its amazing what a little time spent with friends does for our souls. A HUGE thanks to all of our friends and family who continue to support us and help us on our road to where ever.....We greatly appreciate it!!!
May 30, 2013
No Can Do
Today was the first attempt for an EEG. Peter has been on seizure meds since the very beginning. Its sorta like protocol with the brain trauma. It helps ward off evil spirits, or help control them if he has any activity. The neurologist ordered the test as a baseline, a beginning, so if we see any changes with anything in the future we have a starting point. As the tech took him into the room, I asked "can I go back?" she said there wasn't enough room for one more which I presumed and why I brought a bag full of mail, etc.. to go through for the hour long test. I said I understood and wished them both luck. I told the front desk I was stepping out to the restroom and would be right back. As I sat back in my chair and looked at the list of things I needed to do in the hour, my name was called. "The tech needs you in the room. I'll take you back". Needless to say, his head hurts, the incision is tender and the scalp is very sensitive. He wasn't about to let anyone touch his head with 28 "things" so it can record his brain activity. She spoke with the doctor and he told her we could leave. We will try again another time. Keep on healing......
May 28, 2013
Back on schedule
After a fun filled weekend getaway, we are back on schedule with rehab. As I drove Peter into DC this morning, the traffic was a reminder we are back home and back to reality. Our reality. He doesn't complain about getting up and ready for the day. He doesn't complain about going to therapy. At least not to me. He does better with a routine. We all do.
He ate good this weekend, which I'm thankful for. He's down at least 30 lbs and has been told by the doctors that he must feed his brain. It needs fuel to heal. He complains he doesn't have an appetite and the medicine doesn't help with that. So I will continue to feed him whatever he craves or whatever he will eat.
Some friends have gotten in touch with me asking how he is doing, that he's not consistently responding to their texts/calls. He's doing better, getting stronger by the day. Please be patient with him and keep trying to make contact. His attention span is limited and he forgets things while continuing to heal. It surprises me what he remembers day to day and what he doesn't. Some days are better, more clearer than others. Thanks to all for your ongoing support, warm wishes and prayers.
May 26, 2013
Memorial weekend family celebration
We saw the neurosurgeon on Friday for Peters follow up appt with cat scan. He staples, all 60 of them came out. That was alittle ruff seeing him go through that. His head is extremely tender and he guards it, appropriately. But after about 30 min of facial expressions, and hurtful looks, they were all out. Thank GOD. We have been cleared to fly. We hoped on a plane to Augusta Ga to celebrated my oldest nephews high school graduation. We are so blessed that everything went ok. We have had a great weekend with nieces and nephews, brothers and sister, in laws, and parents. Couldn't have asked for a better weekend. Day at the lake, 18 holes on one of the most beautiful courses, pool time and steaks on the grill. It's quiet country down here. We have had a great time!! Hope to come back for some more family therapy time soon.
May 21, 2013
Today I met with the media. As Peter and I drive up to HQ's, he says to me "look, they are waiting for you". I laughed and said "they don't really want me, they want you. But until you are ready I'm the closest thing to you". We laughed. He agreed.
It went well. Everyone was real nice. I'm glad it's over.
Today was my birthday. The kids sang to me. My youngest bought me an ice cream cake with the help of his new best friend, Jill. My husband bought me roses from the help of one of his oldest friends, Robyn. It was a great day. The skies turned blue and the evening was beautiful. That is until the kids got tired, whined and cried, went home, bathed and bed. One Red Stripe down and the house is quiet. Another year older!
May 20, 2013
Mondays- always come so fast. The day was fun filled with a doc appt, lunch and a trip to headquarters. Peter drops by there alot. He misses his friends, his unit, his bike. It makes him feel good to see his fellow coworkers and talk about current events. I call it therapy. He likes to walk by his desk and see that nothing has changed. The coffee in a box is still sitting on top that VP Biden left for him. He wants to get out, see people, and stay busy. This is another slow week until his surgeon has cleared him to get back into his daily aggressive outpatient rehab program. Hopefully we get the stamp of approval on Friday.
He's worn out. Been in bed for 2 hours. I had to remind him he still had his clothes on and needed to take his meds. He's tired. He's healing. He's restoring. He's rebuilding.
May 17, 2013
After a very long morning in radiology at Medstar Georgetown (thanks Ladies for your help!) due to red tape with paperwork, we saw the surgeon for our appt. The news was not good or bad, just stable. Fluid is there, still monitoring. No complaints from Peter. No major headaches or pains, just incisional discomfort and tells the doctor his head feels "heavy" at night. The staples stay in for one more week. Twice he has had the same incision so the doc wants to make sure it's healed before removing the staples. We will repeat the scan and see him in a week. The surgeon still has concerns and proceeds with caution. I'm fine with that. We have come this far, no need to rush. I'll take stable any day.
May 16, 2013
Tomorrow Peter gets his 10 day cat scan and his staples removed. His suture line is healing and as his hair grows back should start to look alittle more like himself. He's ready for the next step. We should get approval to get back into daily outpatient rehab. Those therapists are incredible and do amazing work!! Healing of the brain requires much time and patience. The kids are loving having him home as we start our "new" normal. We are well aware that things will never be the same but we welcome our new routine with open arms. Change is good.
May 15, 2013
This morning during our "slow" week, Peter was able to go to see all of the Motor Guys in town for Police week. Probably over 400 motormen from all over the country come in for this yearly event. He says everyday how much he hates that he can't partake this year. I hate it for him.
One of my very good friends bid on a dinner and tour of firehouse 209 at a fundraiser for Peter. Tonight we were invited to join her and 8 of her friends for the dinner. I haven't seen some of my friends from work in 3 months. It was so nice to see everyone. The Firehouse staff and the AFD Chief Thiel were very excited to see Peter. We took lots of pictures. It was a great day and we have some great friends!!!
May 12, 2013
After day 3 of repeat cat scans of his head with no changes, Peter was discharged home. We went to a fundraiser tonight. He said he really wanted to go. He had a great time. I never know how he will do in some situations so I don't plan. It could be 30 min or 3 hours. Tonight it was over 2 hours. He was just so happy to be out and about, meeting some new people and shaking hands. It was a wonderful evening. He is so glad to be laying in his own bed tonight. Nothing like it.
We spent the day mostly in pajama's. It was a lazy day but much needed for all. My mom is here so it was a sweet Mother's Day for me. She has been a rock for me during this time. Thank you GOD for keeping her healthy to be able to rearrange her life for the past 2 1/2 months for us. It truly is a blessing for me.
Spent the evening at the Ignacio's with family and friends. It's always a joy to be so close to those we love.
We come home and Peter goes straight to bed. He takes his meds and says goodnight. When he's done, he's done. It's been a wonderful day. Happy Mothers Day!
May 10, 2013
Friday night hype
Today's cat scan was stable, no worse. It's all good signs. One more tomorrow and then maybe they will give us the big ticket to ride right out of there. Peter is over the hospital experience. Still complaining about the noise and how could anyone possibly get any sleep. I lay here in my own bed tonight and think of how quiet and peaceful it is..... This is where he wants to be.... In his own bed cuddled up with a kid or two. That's some real healing if you ask me. This is the reason he has fought this so much. He wants to be here in our bed with all the kids..... It's comforting, it's peaceful, it's safe and it's home. Good Night!
May 9, 2013
Another ICU day.... Much of the staff were coming in the room "Officer Laboy, how are you?" He would look at them, then say "I don't remember you". They would all smile and say "you look so good since the last time we saw you". He spent 10 days there, in the ICU, on 2H. It seemed much longer to me. I felt like we were there for a month. It was refreshing to see all of the staff with warm smiles and sweet hello's and how are you's. They all had a large part in saving Peter's life. I hope I have told everyone THANK YOU. I picked up the FOCUS newsletter April edition from the hallway on my way back from gift shop. I have no idea why. Something to read, I guess. I opened it up and started reading A message from John Sullivan and the article mentioned Peter's name. The article wasn't about him, but more about how everyone there did their job and how they do it day in and day out. It made me smile. In the health care profession, we see a lot. We work a lot of hours and deal with alot of issues. But at the end of the day, saving lives is why we go into medicine. It really doesn't matter who the patient is, it's what health professionals do on a daily basis. We will forever be grateful for those who helped save his life from the moment the incident occurred until this present moment. YOU have made a difference.
May 8, 2013
Surgery was a success. The plates fit perfectly, per the surgeon. No surprises. Woke up in recovery room having pain, to be expected. Actually looks good, just brought back a lot of emotions for me. Because he doesn't remember being here before, this whole waking up from surgery thing is very new for him. He has that look in his eyes, like "wait a minute". We just got transferred to the ICU and will be here for a few. Close monitoring of his neuro status required due to potential fluid accumulation in the brain. Lots of rest with frequent neuro assessments will be the plan. Thanks for praying.
May 6, 2013
As we get ready to spend some more time in the hospital, I sit and think about all of my friends at Alex. I miss and think of you all daily. We have very special jobs. We tend to see people at their worst. So many look to us for assurance and positive thoughts as we take their loved ones back behind those operating room lines.... I guess I never really thought about it until I have been put in this situation. Everyone in the hospital has some kind of impact on the general public. I have met so many people during this journey and have had many positive experiences to say the least. And when your husband has defied the odds, it makes it so much sweeter. However, as we get our preop testing done today and prepare for the surgery ahead, I can't help but think about my dear friends that I worked with daily and how proud I am to be coworkers with some amazing medical professionals. I miss you all in the OR, PACU, SDS, CVIR, ENDO, L&D, ER and hope to be back soon.
May 3, 2013
Operation Cease Helmet
We have a date. Peter will go back into the hospital for the bilateral cranioplasty next week. He's so excited to finally be able to put down the helmet. He will stay for 4-5 days while they monitor his Cerebral spinal fluid and make the decision if a shunt needed. Yeah!!!
May 1, 2013
We are reminded daily what has happened in our life. Every time I tell Peter to wear his helmet when out of bed, every time I give him his meds, every time I ask him if he's having pain, we are both reminded what we are dealing with on a daily basis. We both need some patience......
April 30, 2013
Today we have our outpatient rehab day long consultation. Peter has been up since 5:30. Goes to bed so early. He's showered and laying back in bed until we need to leave. The kids are still asleep but will wake them for school within minutes. My mom leaves today and my SIL Jane tagged her out. She will be here and "on duty" for the week. Marcos loves her. She's new here in our circus, fun and a big breath of fresh air.
Will be a long day for Peter. Wish us luck.
April 28, 2013
Having some kind of faith carries me through the day. Faith in HIM, faith in Peter, faith in myself, faith in my family and friends, it makes all the difference in how the day goes. When times get hard and things get rough, I grab ahold of the faith and remember that's what has made the difference for me.
April 26, 2013
Back to self
While he has made great strides thus far, he knows enough to know he's not his usual self. He sometimes says things and does things that he knows isn't his norm, then he will carry on a conversation like he hasn't missed a beat. He just wants to be back to himself and one of the hardest things to watch is him trying to do just that. Please be mindful in interacting with him in the things he says and the requests he's making. Everyone has been such a huge help in this recovery, and it will continue for months. Thanks to all who continue to help us and help him heal day to day.
April 25, 2013
Welcome back with unanswered questions
This morning Peter was excited to go to Headquarters and see his fellow APD coworkers. He got in the shower and was getting ready for day. When the water turned off I asked him how he felt. He told me his left hand got numb. That was a first. I called his doctors who recommended he get a cat scan. We drove to WHC not sure what to expect. They got him in immediately, expecting us. They did their exam and ordered the head scan. No acute changes seen from the last one which is a good sign but can't really explain why his hand went numb. We are reminded that he is still a difficult case, overcoming many obstacles and left with a lot of unanswered questions. They told us to let them know if he experiences any other changes. It confirms the good days will come with a few bumps in the road. How he will handle the bumps is what matters. We were sent on our way just in time to come home for lunch, take his meds and head to police dept. He was very excited to see all of his friends and coworkers. Appreciated the love.
April 24, 2013
Peter was released from the hospital yesterday. He couldn't get out of those four walls fast enough. We got a police escort. His brother drove us. We took in the moment as we all knew the significance of it. It was very overwhelming for me. He loved every minute of it. We came home to his old car looking brand new. His buddies took it and worked their magic as many others took part in helping restore the antique. He was shocked. There was a story on the news and I appreciate them giving us a day to breathe before letting the world know we were home. There are so many stories like that for people to tell. So much goodness has been going on around us. I hope everyone gets the chance to tell their version.
It's been 8 weeks of hospital and rehab. He will start daily outpatient rehab for 8-12 weeks. We have a follow up appt with the surgeon to plan a date in the operating room for the bilateral cranioplasty. They will put two plates in his skull to protect his brain, thus the helmet for now.
I continue to take one day at a time and breathe deeply when needed. I still believe I am being carried by family, friends and our community and those who give me strength. My faith in something bigger than us gives me peace and a calmness that I can't quite explain.
April 22, 2013
In sickness and in health
Some days will be good, some days will be hard. When I met Peter almost 8 years ago, I had an immediate pulling of my soul towards him. Though I did not know of him, family did for many years. Lets call it a great character reference. So I decided to throw myself in, completely. We were married within the year. Exchanging vows on that beautiful beach is a highlight of my life. We have a wonderful family here in the states and the Dominican Republic. We know we are blessed as a couple, as parents, as children from wonderful parents. So when times get hard and days get rough, and I want to scream when he won't take his medicine (to focus) for almost an hour, I will deep breath and remember that we took those vows that beautiful day in August and he would be doing the exact same thing for me.
April 21, 2013
Big weekend. Lots of family came in for the fundraising this weekend. On Saturday, Peter came home for a few hours on a day pass. He did great and got to see family in our own home. So many made the trip and all were so surprised to see how well he was doing. He was glad to be home and can't wait to be here for good. He still has lots of bridges to cross but the path looks wide and clear. Today I attended the GW race where I got to see people enjoy the beautiful morning. Cheering on the runners made me feel great! Tonight was the Topgolf event. Tons of fun. The kids had a blast. They go there frequently with their dad. He's teaching them the game and they are regular members. Soon he will be back hitting balls and enjoying the range. Thanks to everyone involved. It was a wonderful experience for my family and friends. They are grateful the community gives such big hugs!!
April 19, 2013
Friday has been a good day. He finished a great week of therapy. We are discussing the future plans and it gets exciting. He has done so well, above everyone's expectations. It's truly an amazing thing to see so much progress in so little time. Big weekend. Lots of things going on. Some family coming to town. Hope everyone arrives safe in their journeys here. Please pray for what's going on up north. With children in the house, I don't have much on TV but Disney Jr. However I feel in my bones it isn't good. Thoughts and prayers directed there.
April 18, 2013
GOD grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, COURAGE to change the things I can, and WISDOM to know the difference.
April 16, 2013
Outside the bubble
Slowly we are getting outside of our bubble. Peter got his haircut today at his regular Barber shop in Bradlee. He was able to experience alittle bit of normalcy, our new normal. He easily tires out and I am mindful of that. I have this need to always protect him. He is still healing. We are still healing. Life goes on whether he is in therapy or not. Our inner world has changed. We have changed. I believe our community has changed for the better. I love this city and the people in it. Thanks to the guys at the barber shop and the patrons who realized what was going on. Kind words were exchanged and someone generously paid for his haircut. We are forever thankful.
April 15, 2013
As I take a look outside my bubble, I see a lot of things happening in the world today around us. I am saddened to see so many others suffering with loss. It brings me back to the here and now. We are blessed. We have so much goodness happening right here in front of our eyes. I continue to give thanks to HIM for allowing my husband to stay here by my side one more day. We will not take any of it for granted. As Peter starts remembering more, he mentions who he would like to see and talk to. I tell him we have a long list of things to do, people to see, friends to thank. Today we are blessed with the gift of TIME.
April 14, 2013
Today Peter was able to get a day pass. He came home and we had a great day. The kids were so excited to see him as he sat on the couch and watched golf. He now realizes we are in Washington DC. He had a good piece of steak for dinner, thanks to Tammy. It's the most I have seen him eat in 6 weeks. Thanks to Victor and Brian for getting him home and taking him back. It won't be long he will be home for good.
April 13, 2013
Peter just asked me what Caring bridge is and how can he get it. He says people keep mentioning it to him. I guess today is the day he is going to read about this journey through my words. Hopefully my husband is slowly coming back to me and our reality.
April 12, 2013
We had our neurosurgical doctor appt today. Peter said he had never met the doc. He told Peter he looked a lot better than the last time he saw him. He explained what happened in the operating room and how he removed the bone so the brain could swell without any restrictions. We then looked at the latest CT scan from Sunday. Peter has some fluid accumulation (hydrocephalus) in the brain. The doctors concern is after putting on the plates (bilateral cranioplasty). If his brain is making fluid faster than it can reabsorb, it can cause swelling. At that point, he may possibly need a VP shunt. Lots of info but my medical background makes it easier to handle. I know the language. For those who don't, there are some great websites out there. Brainline.org is a good one.
Our follow up appt is in a few weeks. The plates are being made as we speak.
April 10, 2013
Feeling like I'm in grad school again. As fast as I'm learning about traumatic brain injury, I'm learning about the court of law. I feel like I'm preparing for my test of life. Feeling the support everywhere today. Heard lots of testimony. My heart goes out to each and everyone who spoke and told their version of tbe story. I know how difficult Feb 27 was for all of them, as it was for me. I want to say thanks for their very important role in this journey.
April 9, 2013
Had a good day today. Labs looked good. Ritalin increased. Therapy was great. My brother is in town, giving me much needed break. Scheduled to see neurosurgeon with hopes of a surgery date in future. Gaming system delivered. He was speechless. If it deters therapy, I'm taking it out of the room. Lol!! Today was a good day.
April 8, 2013
Monday.... Peter says he was tired but completed therapy. Spoke with the doctors. Trying to get a plan together. So many variables in the equation. I believe my medical background has definitely played a big part in this whole process. I understand the drugs, the side effects, how they work. It helps bring out the calm in me. I also know nothing is for sure in medicine. What I do know for sure is my husband is alive and working very hard. What I know for sure is we have an army behind us. What I know for sure is we have to take this situation day by day. What I know for sure is you never know what tomorrow will bring.
April 7, 2013
Peter has been on seizure meds since the beginning. It's more of a precaution due to the brain injury. Today he had his first seizure and Victor and I were here to witness it. It was a small one, but nonetheless I hadn't seen anything like it with Peter before. They increased his Meds and ordered another CAT scan of the head. In the medical profession, no news is good news as we sit in his room watching him sleep. His brain is tired. Part of the healing process. Another day in this journey........
April 6, 2013
It's 3 o'clock. He hasn't taken 2 bites of lunch yet. His shower lasted alittle more than 2 hours today. I'm amazed he still had hot water. He knows he's having difficulty with time. He is asking me the same questions, over and over. He continues to struggle getting the words out. Some days it's easier than others. He gets tired easily. I just want to crawl up next to him and sleep. I think I will.
April 5, 2013
Continued support Near and Far
I try and read each and every post. I may not be able to respond to each one individually. Clearly I am overwhelmed. The one thing I know when I read them, I feel a big hug of love and support. I am strong because I have many who are stronger around me. It's your positive thoughts and prayers that pull me to the right direction every day. And I just wanted to say thank you for each and every one of you who have posted here and sent support my way, including cards, letters, posters, paintings, flowers, gifts, household items. I am sure I may not be able to personally thank everyone for what you have done but know that we care about you all and greatly appreciate it.
The link is per the request of our family and friends who may be near or far and are asking for the info.
I hope it works for you.
Please continue to pray not only for my officer but for the officers and families who are struggling with their own tragedies. There are people everyday who are just doing their job and my husband just happened to be one of them on that day of Feb 27th.
April 4, 2013
Today is a very slow day. He just now got out of bed and is in the shower. I kept telling him it would make him feel better. He is having a very hard time with TIME and motivation. Just can't seem to get moving in the right direction this morning. The therapists tell me it is normal and they will change therapy to help with those goals of getting up, dressed and getting his day started so therapy can begin. He needs to get those goals down before he can get out of acute rehab. He knows enough to know that he's having a hard time with that concept. It saddens me. I tell him I don't feel like getting out of bed some days..... He looks at me and says "yeah?" I tell him that we are in this thing together, the good days along with the bad.
April 3, 2013
Sometimes I go to his therapy sessions and sometimes I stay back so I'll not promote a distraction. Today I decided to go to group conversational therapy. It was harder than I thought sitting in. Peter did a really good job and I was very proud of him. However, it remains true that we are dealing with a delicate thing called the "mind" and how much needs to be done. No wonder he gets tired so easily. He is working very hard to say the right things and answer correctly. His brain muscles are being put to the test. I know he can succeed, it just takes patience on his part, on mine and on everyone involved. Please, if interested, read up on traumatic brain injury, TBI. We all have a lot to learn in order to help him heal and get better.
April 2, 2013
We are not on this journey alone. We have so many people helping us through this. The days fly by and we mark each one off the calendar. It's a focal point for Peter. He looks at it everyday and we talk about what's to come. He was able to see the capital today from the top of the parking garage. He is still unsure why we would be here, in Washington Dc. I remind him each day that I go home every night, even though he thinks I commute 4 hours one way. Time.... We have time. Lots of time to plan the rest of our future together. I remind him that we are here at this moment for something bigger than ourselves. He smiles, says he's tired. Lays down for his 3pm nap. Another good day.
March 31, 2013
Someone posted on this site and I'm repeating because it is so true:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the power to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ Amen
March 30, 2013
Home cooked meals
Tonight Peter had some dinner. It was the same that was sent to my house. He loved it. Hospital food is hospital food. He ate the chicken pot pie and loved it. Thanks to all who continue to feed my family. Just one more thing we don't have to worry about.
I have received a few books to help me understand and accept what is happening in our lives at this time. We know and believe the Power of Prayer is present. The medical professionals are calling him a miracle. I call him my husband who is a fighter and loves a challenge. I've been told by people who wouldn't expect anything less than from him. I've been told by others that I am doing exactly as I should be.... With him, strong, holding him tight, pushing him harder, getting him closer to him.
March 29, 2013
March 28, 2013
I'll take the highs and deep breathe with the lows....
March 27, 2013
It was 4 weeks ago today. Time..... Never enough time in the day. Though it seems like yesterday that we were doing our thing, working hard for a living and raising our kids, I feel like we have been here a long time. I've lost the concept of time a little bit. Peter is looking out the window this morning. We are still in NYC. He sees the sign that says Washington Hospital Center from where he's sitting. It doesn't matter. His mind is healing, he is healing. Time. We have time. This is time that has been given to us. A gift. We will use it to heal, hope and love.
March 26, 2013
Up until today, I didn't know what I needed. My basic needs were being met, by someone, somewhere. I didn't have to drive to the hospital or cook a meal which has helped out tremendously. Now, things are starting to come together in my mind about what our needs are as a family and as individuals. My husband has needs. He feels the need to be in control of himself even if we are in NYC. He needs to keep that helmet on to prevent any damage to his brain under a layer of skin until he gets another ride to the operating room, which could be in 3-6 months. He needs to have his phone in his hand even if I did take out the SIM card. Each child has their own needs as well .......Miles has to meet needs physically while meeting his other needs mentally- he needs to play some basketball on a daily basis as well as have a tutor to do school work. It's a struggle but a work in progress. Peter Jr needs his dad to come back home now, but until then he needs support from the very important people who mean the most to him. While his dad isn't coming home anytime soon, he's lucky that his mother, her husband and their family adore him and want him close by. She may be the only comfort for her son in this tragic time. My two youngest are more adaptive as long as they sit and eat dinner with me and lay down for cartoons before bedtime in my room. I am realizing that if I don't listen and take care of my needs, I won't be good to anyone, mostly my husband and our children. So I'm beginning to reach out to those people, those friends and family members for help. I need it. We need it. The kids need it. While my house is fairly consistent on a normal work and school day, currently there isn't anything normal or consistent about the situation that has been placed in front of all of us. So I'm asking for help.
March 25, 2013
Why are we in Manhattan? When can I go home? Who took my SIM card out of my phone? When is my next surgery?...... I guess one of the hardest things with TBI, traumatic brain injury, is from day to day things could be good or bad. I never know how it will begin or end. My plate is full and I continue to be thankful for the people, old and new, in our life who are helping us get through the day. Baby steps. Baby steps. Baby steps.
March 24, 2013
A new normal
What does it look like? How does it work? So many questions, so many thoughts. My head spins when I lay down at night. I breathe deep and say to myself "you got this, you have no other choice". I feel a weight on my right shoulder and that it's GOD saying "my child, sit. Let me take your burden. I am here for you". Honestly, I have felt that long before this ever happened. HE was preparing me for this. I have it documented.
March 23, 2013
It's been a quiet day. The Ritalin is working. He's been involved in lots of conversation today. Nephew here and all they do is laugh. Family is such good therapy. Rice and beans being delivered today. We are so blessed with those in our lives.
March 22, 2013
To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, til death do us part......
March 21, 2013
So much work happening, Peter finally says he's tired. I can't imagine how hard he is working on the inside. Hasn't had much to eat today. Dinner a better success. I guess we will have to stick to the chocolates. Any calorie is a good calorie. The brain needs fuel and the brain needs rest. Thanks to all who are giving him this time to rest and heal. You have no idea how much it's helped but hope all will see soon enough.
March 20, 2013
Three weeks ago today our lives changed. While Peter has made huge advances in his recovery, we will never forget what occurred during that tragic day, Feb 27th. From the bottom of our hearts, thanks to all for reading and posting on this caring bridge website. Thanks to all who have helped out daily with my family. Thanks to all for the huge outpour of prayers, support and love. We are touched and we love you all back!!!
March 19, 2013
I use to laugh at my parents growing up. Why do you always have to write everything down and have a plan? Now as an adult, I am exactly like them. If its not written down or placed on a calendar, it won't get done. I run my life and my household just like that. Peter and I had our schedules down to the minute. I knew when he was working and he knew when I was or on call. We planned everything based on what the schedule was for the day, week, month or year. We use ICal to the fullest. We incorporated every kids schedule and surprisingly to others, always managed to know who was doing what, when and where. Now we are on someone else's schedule. Someone else is calling the shots. We both sit and listen as the team give us an 8 week plan. Eight weeks of intense acute rehab. We both smile and say "ok". While we have no idea what happens after that, we can finally go back to our calendars and say we have a plan.
March 18, 2013
While the body catches up and gets stronger, the mind remains a complete mystery. The Speech Lang testing/therapy is the hardest to sit through.
March 17, 2013
Having a great day today. The kids got to visit. I still think its the best medicine for their father. His face lights up every time he sees them. He's watching the race as I ask him questions. Part of rehab is getting him to talk more and speak. Making connections in the mind is good. It's NASCAR though, so I'm sure I don't know if the answers are correct. Sorry Montoya. I better learn the rules because I know what I'll be doing when he gets out of here. Where's the nearest track?
While watching golf, I asked Peter if he would like to do the amateur PGA. He smiled, nodded and said "yeah"!!
It's really the small things in life. Frankly, when we get through all of this, he can do whatever he wants to do. Those are the kind of decisions to look forward making.
March 16, 2013
We are still in New York. I remind him we are not. He tells the nurses he works for Alexandria Police. The tshirts and sweats clue him as well. Had a good breakfast. Ate the grits. Didn't want them yesterday. Last night has his first complaint of neck soreness so the nurse in me demanded a pain pill which helped him sleep like a baby. Pedro coming back this morning. I plan to go home, crawl in bed and sleep like a baby too. Therapy has started for the day.
I continue to be touched by all of the support and love that people continue to show us. One day Peter will understand that this journey is so much bigger than he and I. He will be just as amazed!
March 15, 2013
The day is only have over but he's tired. It takes alot of energy to heal the brain. He just wants a nap and his out if bed in the chair with eyes closed. His next session starts at one. It looks like he doesn't finish up til about 4. I'm reminded his body has been through alot, his mind so much more. He thinks he's in NYC today. I laugh. He smiles. Time and patience.....
I just read my last post. I think I'll take a nap today when my husband does.
March 14, 2013
We have made the big step to rehab. This is when the work starts for him. Lots of therapy all day long with powerful naps in between. It's quiet. He's sleeping. Pandora in the background. The world seems so busy outside of his window. I'm getting lunch. Realized I'm hungry. Can't tell you one thing I need or want, only for him to rest.
March 13, 2013
A days work
The day is long but time flies by. Never have enough time to do things. I realize I don't need to be doing anything but sitting by his side and holding his hand, letting him know I am there and always will be. This is a time for healing, no matter how long it takes.
March 12, 2013
It's Tuesday. It's nasty outside but the sun is shining inside! Peter took a walk when I got here. All the way to the nursing station. He is getting stronger day by day. Lots going on today. He will have a repeat swallow test sometime today and also a repeat cat scan. The neurosurgery team wants to start getting measurements of his skull to prepare for the plates that will a part of him forever. Pedro goes back today to take care of business, he's sad to leave. His baby brother is getting better day by day and doesn't want to miss a thing.
Testing 1, 2, 3
The cat scan and swallowing study done. He may now start puréed foods. I asked him if he wanted some beans and rice. The nurse jumps in and says "no, only if they are blended".... I was joking.
Tired, frustrated. Pissed. Mad. Sad.
Thrilled he's alive......
March 11, 2013
Slow Monday morning
I guess maybe its the time change. Nobody wanted to get out of bed at my house this morning. Me included.
Loads of traffic getting here. Peter seems exhausted even though his brother said he rested last night. I sit and think about how much work it takes for your brain to heal. I'll give him as much time as he needs. We all love him so much and everyone just wants daddy back home.
The look of love
Decided today that we needed a cut. Pat, the barber, came to trim him up. He looks like Peter, the man I married and created this wonderful life with. I feel renewed. Lights down. Time for afternoon nap.
Ended the day on a High
With the help of the professionals and a tugging in my heart, I decided to take my 2 little ones to see their daddy tonight. It was like a breath of fresh air in that room and I believe therapeutic for all. The staff continue to amaze me. Thanks to everyone who participated in this special day. We are forever grateful!
March 10, 2013
The big picture
I came in this morning. It's a beautiful day. The facial hair growth on Peter is more than I've ever seen. When I asked if he wants it shaved, he answered "maybe tomorrow". He says he's been here about 3 days. Still not sure where "here" is. I brought some flash cards that I got for my kids one time for the long plane ride to Dominican Republic. They are very basic with letters and sight words in English and Spanish. I think this is my opportunity to learn some Spanish while he learns how to rewire his brain. There is so much to learn about TBI, traumatic brain injury.
I want to say Thanks to everyone for the love and support that we are receiving. My family has been touched during this trying time in our life. So many have been involved. I feel I am being carried by all of you during this time. It's very emotional and I am forever grateful.
March 9, 2013
This morning my youngest is asking to see his daddy. I realize he hasn't seen him in 10 days. There will be a few things going on this weekend that will put them out in the community. They are not fully aware of the facts/details of the events. They believe their daddy is in the hospital with a "boo boo" on his head and I go to work and take care of him. Please help my Little Ones adjust to this new life with a "Hi. how are you?" And maybe a hug if they reach out. My goal for them while being surrounded by family and friends is to keep away any questions or statements that would make them feel any different than what they know.
I finished our conversation with "what will you say to daddy when you see him?" And my son replied "Surprise!!" I laugh, he smiles. All of our children are a true blessing in our life.
New room, new view
The room is small, but the window is big. Lots of sunshine coming in. Looks gorgeous outside. He's not talking so much today. Kind of quiet. This afternoon is alittle better. I asked him what he wanted, and he answered "whatever you want". That's my husband!!
The sprint is over, the marathon begins......
March 8, 2013
Running late this am
Got here alittle late this am. He is in his bed, resting. Has already been on a small walk I the ICU. He is flying full force. He rubs my back and holds my hand. He ran his hand through my hair. Today's goal is to do another swallowing test to confirm he can proceed to eating. I think he should pass with flying colors. We also want to start getting his days busy so he sleeps at night.
March 7, 2013
Peter is making unbelievable strides hour by hour. It's surprising but not really. He's my husband and I know how he thinks and what he's capable of, especially after this critical week. In the medical field I understand what these big jumps mean for him, for me, for my family. I am beginning to worry about my children. They are starting to understand things will never be the same. Like many, they are unsure of the future and what that means for us as a family. I'm trying to explain that we will be dealing with a "new normal", as Chief Cook said to me earlier. I ask everyone in my children's lives to be patient with them, to help them open their eyes to their same dad doing different things. They may not be in my presence every minute of the day but I am assured they continue to be surrounded by love and kindness that has been show these last 8 days. If they need to talk, listen. If they need a hug, grab them and don't let go. I'm sure I'll never be able to say thank you to each and everyone who has touched us, somehow, someway but I still feel a peace inside my soul because of it.
Things are still progressing. Speech therapy came in for testing. Looks like his swallowing is good and he tolerated a spoonful of applesauce. When I asked him how he's doing today, he answers "Good". He continues to amaze me. OT/PT getting him out of bed.
Yesterday was a word. Today it's a sentence. He is improving every moment of the day. Currently it's a period of rest while he has his hand on the water pitcher. It's been a great day!!
My house is full with food, laughter, kids, friends and family. The APD is present every minute of the day to remind us all of the wonderful men and women that serve and protect us. My husband loves his job and the people he works with. He also loves being an officer in the City of Alexandria. Once again, I am reminded that we are blessed. Love to all!
March 6, 2013
Take a deep breath
Here we are. 7 days later. Breathing tube is out. My husband amazes me! I love him so much.
Occupational therapy just came into room. They actually had him sitting on edge of bed doing exercises. He put his arm around my waist and rubbed my back. No words yet but understands all. In due time! I'm reminded we are blessed.
March 5, 2013
I'm a sleeper. Love sleeping in. Peter and I have kids at an age where we can actually snooze til 8 or sometimes 9 on weekends. I can not sleep in these days. My body is on automatic and I'm awake at the crack of dawn. No alarm, no kids- just my mind one second opens and says "this is happening. Get out of bed to begin your day" and without one complaint from myself, I get up and start the day. Can't wait to see how Peter is this morning. Thankfully I have the support to not worry too much about anything other than getting ready to go see my Superman. I'm sure I can not say thank you enough to these people in our lives at this time but I'll try. THANKS!
Feb is over and march is here. Calling for snow but I don't believe it. I'm ready for spring flowers and longer days of sunshine. Peter is making daily progress. Swelling down and both eyes opened. At this point, we don't want an infection to set in, anywhere. Lines being changed and antibiotics continue. Should be another quiet day of rest. He will be receiving some blood. Not because he's bleeding but because the numbers have been steady on the lower side. That will take up most of the day. Time flies in here as I remain in my bubble. Posting a pic of a card he received.
Progress continues. The arctic sun cooling device has been turned off for the moment. Wanting to see if Peter can regulate his own body temp. Will take a few hours to assess. Changing out lines to prevent/avoid infection. Moving in the right direction. Continuing to feel the love from those people in our daily lives and those we don't even know. It's an incredible feeling.
Heading home. Holding temp for now. If that remains stable overnight, could bring good things in the am. I'm getting excited!! Prayers are being heard!! Going home to eat with kids and put them to bed. Hoping the snow doesn't drop here.
Good night to all! Much love from the Laboy family.
March 4, 2013
Opening both eyes and continues to follow commands. Test today. Should be around noon. Trying different meds to continue the shivering. Sedation on and off. Im reminded that its Monday so it's back to business at the hospital. People all around. This place is busy but continue to love the staff. Nothing but good things.
Still waiting around for today's test. Emergencies happening. Today we are NOT a priority and that is a good thing.
The test is done. He's back in his room. So far so good. The pictures were amazing but confirmed the story that is being told. It is a miracle that he is alive. Keep praying!
March 3, 2013
Good morning. He's looking better everyday. The swelling has gone down and eyes are more opened. He's giving thumbs up. Lots of rest required between neuro checks. His room is quiet and lights are almost always off. It's peaceful. He rests. His brain is healing. He is healing. And NASCAR is on at 3. GO MONTOYA
This is the struggle today. As his temperature creeps up, the cooling device on his body goes up to help bring it down. He shivers and hates being cold. The docs do not want him to shiver because it increases pressure in his brain. Therefore the sedation increases. It's like a cycle. The periods in between are still showing great promise and he continues to make progress. As the TV is on in the room for the race, I'm yawning. It's been a crazy 5 days. It's actually mostly a blur.
End of a long day
Headed home. Peter having a CT angiogram tomorrow in the morning. It's a test that looks at his blood flow and arteries in the brain. He's resting now with the sedation to help the shivering. Victor with him now and Brother Pedro coming back for the nightshift. Keeping faith.
March 2, 2013
This morning things continue to improve. His neuro docs are extremely impressed by daily progress. Alot of today and tomorrow is waiting for swelling in face and head to subside. He reaches for breathing tube when he gets the chance. He's remains restrained when his brother or myself are not right beside him. We decided that Peter would like to hear some NASCAR to pass the time. So it's on the ipad and by his ear and he seems content. Keep the prayers coming and truly appreciate the love and support we are receiving from the many people we know and alot that we don't. Pure gratitude.
I can not begin to tell you how happy and pleased I am with this place. People are amazing. This is nothing short of a miracle. I guess there was a reason I went into nursing. I feel like my husband looks right now- peaceful.
Things are still progressing positively. I continue to be amazed at the support and the love that has been showing up in many forms. Wishes, prayers, thoughts, cards, gifts, food.... I am not worried about one thing at this time other than my husband! Thanks to friends, family, coworkers, community, throughout Alexandria and throughout the world!!! We are blessed and feeling the LOVE! Goodnight!
March 1, 2013
I arrived today to find him moving his arms. I reached to his hand and he grabbed it. He pulled me to his chest and gave me a hug. He is amazing.
So far he is doing great things. The eye doctors have been in and are happy with their exam. However It's limited due to swelling. Keep praying!!
At the request of EVERYONE, I am going home to kiss my kids good night and get some rest. It was a good day with continued progress. He seems to be resting. I'm letting sleep take over. Thanks to everyone for all the continued support and prayers. I am speechless and not sure how I will ever thank you all.
Used with permission from Suzanne Laboy.