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1/22/13 – Back in the saddle again….
Finally, following a long week of sideways rain, a 2-1/2 year old playing fire engine in the hallway over the weekend, a reduction in blood pressure meds coupled with the introduction of new sleeping meds and near 7 day stretch where Dean sometimes spoke less than 10 words some of those days…ALL IS WELL! And as usual – even better than before….for BOTH of us. Its why I nicknamed his darker days “sideways days” because even tho he slept, h...

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1/16/13 – Wed am & Sideways in the Rain – Howdy to all. Halfway thru the 1st month of the year – hope everyone is off to a grand start to 2013. The weather here has been sloshy and depressing. It seems to have affected Dean that way – we are having a “sideways” period this week. He is very very quiet, very sleepy and not much interested in doing therapy. I know this is par for the healing course, but I have to be honest in that I miss him so much when he withdraws. It also br...

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1/11/13 - Hambone Hambone…my hubby’s a hambone! Yep, that’s what I said…haha. Those of you who know Dean well know that he LOVES to be in the limelight. And no TBI is gonna change THAT! It seems that he has become the poster child for Care Partners, his rehab hospital. It all began on the day we left when he was asked to be featured in their newsletter for January. Link for that article is: http://carepartners.org/pdf/connections/latest.pdf

Next, the PR director called us at ...

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Overdue Update-1/5/13 Yes…we are still home and doing just fine & dandy. Being at home is as wonderful as it is exhausting, however. Every day, I think I am going to have loads of time to do things I’ve been meaning to do for years…I mean, I’m home all day, right? WRONG! Taking care of Dean is a full time job, just like taking care of a 160lb newborn! Don’t get me wrong, he is doing wonderful – improving every day. BUT he needs 24/7 assistance with every move. I actually prep...

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Counting down to Kingsley's icy plunge!!! Four hours to go......

Dec 26th and not a creature is stirring…not even a Dean! Hello all, hope your Christmas Day was filled with magic and full of love and happiness. Mine & Dean’s surely was. Proud to say this is the very first time we have not exchanged gifts, but yet gave each other the best gift of all…the love of life together! Because of so many faithful friends who prayed and sent us such good thoughts & wishes, we were home to share the day with family. To keep from becoming overwhelmed, ...

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12-21-12 Dean’s first post…FROM HOME!!!!
After two long months, I have finally returned from the cruise! The staff and therapists at Care Partners were great. Instead of this being the day the world ends…it’s official, the world begins today! Thanks to all for well wishes & prayers. I am at home, sitting in my recliner dictating to the wife. My kitties are near and it sure feels good to be home. I hope I can answer everyone back…bear with me as my time on FB will be limited…still seeing double. But I’ve got Pep to help me out. Can’t wait to catch all of you at a concert soon (as I get a little better).God is good! Love to you all and Merry Christmas! (Picture is a small party with a couple of Johns –both named John…lol)

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12-19-12 - The long awaited cliff-hanger post….
First of all, before the cliff-hanger post I promised the other day…let me give a most amazing update for Dean. His boss, Tim Sumner, came to visit today. Tim is a great young man and he thinks a lot of my Dean. He was so excited to see Dean's
progress since his last visit. I sort of challenged him to ask Dean some “work” questions, just to see what kind of recall Dean might have. He thought for a moment, then asked Dean about...

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Update from Pepper:
12-17-12 – The Countdown to either Armageddon or Beverly Hills subdivision has begun! On target for going home this Saturday – PRAISE GOD! Dean improves with every passing minute. Knock on wood – no agitation in one full week. Our last bout of “I WILL NOT WEAR THIS COLLAR ONE MORE MINUTE” may be as a result of his brilliant speech therapist. Staff & I would tell him that he might never walk again if he removed the collar and sat up. The last time, Jan re...

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12-12-12 – Just had to do a post for Dean on this crazy date! And also for me…cause I won’t remember what happened on this day either, and no excuses about noggin’ knockin’ will work for me.. haha It is pretty cool that since Jan (speech/TBI therapist) pointed out this special date– he has kept up with it all day long. Anywho… today Mr. Confidence was displaying BIG signs of independence. Don’t
get me wrong, this is GREAT, but could cause me to have a nervous breakdown as we...

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Pepper Update: Howdy everyone...It’s 12/11 & has been a few days since my last post. Sometimes I fear that I sound like a broken record…good days, bad days, needing more prayers, etc etc. But then I have to remind myself that these posts are Dean’s way of letting you all know how he is. If he were not ill, you would know because he would be uploading videos and Facebooking with most of you about music, concerts and life in general. So, that is when I tell myself…SELF, this i...

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TBI and FOS…12/7/12. Yesterday was undoubtedly the best so far. Dean was wide awake at 8am waiting for me to give him a good morning smooch and then his homemade coffee. Yes..I’m spoiling him and loving every minute of it. He was awake and actively involved in all his therapies. We read a couple of cards sent to him by caring friends. He ended the evening with he, Mo & John cruising through FACEBOOK looking at Blackberry Smoke videos of the concert that was dedicated to him. ...

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Dean-ly Update for Wed 12/5 - All this week there were about 3 or 4 times a 30-45 minute time periods each day when my Dean was, well…my old Dean! That smiling, gentle, silly fella who makes me laugh and makes me feel more loved & special than a girl has a right to. So, I know he will make his way all the way back to me. No matter how long that takes, I know it will happen. I know for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s specifically what I have asked God to know. And He has ...

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Update from Pepper: Okay, so I feel a good rant coming on. Trying to begin the process of filing for disability for Dean. OH MY GOD, do I need You with me now! I am a fairly intelligent and educated woman. And I can’t get past the 1st darn page – it won’t let me set up an identity…holy cow! How is it that non-educated and non-english speaking folks can get this accomplished and I cannot? I thought all the insuranc
e double talk I was getting (and still am) was difficult, but... I am finding this task to be impossible. I started out right…I thought. Went down to the SS office, took a number, waited 1.75 hrs and was told to file on-line. No assistance, BUT I was given a goodie bag containing a computer screen cleaner and mouse pad with their website on it. Like..who uses a mouse pad anymore? I just don’t see how I am ever gonna get turned down if I can’t even get it filed! And here is what is even scarier…next I need to apply for his VA benefits. I feel a little nauseous at the thought. As for Dean, he is doing well today, sleeping like a baby after a very long, hard day of therapy. He wore his denture for a little while today for the 1st time. That was kinda scary, so afraid of what he might do with them with we were not looking! But he politely gave them back to me after a couple of hours. His swallow test went ok, but he still has a little sore area in his throat, so no applesauce or pudding until Thursday. He does not seem to care about food anyway. Saw some of the best cognition yet as he described in detail to his PT what his job at Bigham Cable was. Then as I wheeled him back to his room, he informed me that the Bible was full of Bugs Bunnies and Daffy Ducks. Gots to laugh at these times…they won’t last forever. But I must say, right after he said that, I considered setting him down at the computer to file for Disabilty – I think he might have a better shot at accomplishing it than I do! Yesterday was the first time he expressed his desire to go home. Broke my heart to tell him it would be soon, as I secretly prayed he would forget about home for a little while longer. It is a new emotion to me to want something so desperately and yet be so afraid of it all at the same time. I feel secure with him here in this place. Usually I am pushing God to get me to the place I want…but I find I am praying for more time here for him to heal. Tonight I ask for prayers for Dean’s left arm…it is beginning to awaken and strengthen and will help him as he relearns to balance himself. And I guess I should ask for prayers for the Disability claim process…seems like such a strange thing to ask for prayer for. Not sure how to word that one…like, Please God, make me dumb enough to accomplish this…or Please God, make it go away! (Jus’ sayin’…) Regardless, all prayers are most appreciated, will leave it to ya’ll to figure out how to address this one…haha. Love to you all!

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Pepper Parris I’m gonna shine, great sparkling shine…
Everybody that I meet is gonna be a good friend of mine
I’m feeling fine..just fine as wine
I can’t frown for grinning, I can’t win for losing
And I ain’t got the blues anymore…

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Another Sold Out show. Asheville, NC. Orange Peel 30 Nov 12
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Had another big fight with God today. Or…at least I think I did. Let me explain… Dean has always claimed that 56 was his lucky number. It’s the year he was born, and it is also his current age. He used to aggravate me by saying he was going to live like a crazy man and die at age 56. I would literally yell at him to not say that to me. But he loves to get my red-headed gander up…and this statement worked quite well for him. Thing is…he damned near did die at age 56. And today...

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Today (11/26)? was the best day thus far…every prayer was answered! Dean outlasted me today if you can believe it! Prayed the whole way to Rehab this morning…yeah, sort of like texting…but with a ton more faith. (PS I DO keep my eyes open…lol!). It was to be another day of “removing things”. Days like this have been 2 steps forward and 1 step back ( or rather….sideways) type of situations more often than not. Today was the exception! Dean’s trach was downsized, plugged and he... now has a voice! And boy did he use it. He was able to tell me everything he wanted to say – which was mostly to ask for water 7,526 times today. And I gladly gave him sponge sips every darn time he asked. Once the trach was changed, he needed to wear an oxygen tube in his nose. BUT he was going to have NONE of that and was quite verbal in his refusal. But God stepped in and solved the dispute – his oxygen levels remained so good without oxygen, we were able to put the tube away. He won the battle AND the war! Amen. Then there was the man-tube relief we had been praying for. About 2pm after many good p’s, he asked, “is there was anyone left here who has not seen my penis? Good thing it’s a big one!” Oh my gosh…he’sssss BACK! That’s my Dean. He must have walked a mile in PT, then anxiously went to speech therapy because he wanted Jan to give him coffee. When she explained he could not yet have it, he politely went to sleep and that was the end of speech therapy for today. (Yeah…he lost THAT battle, but STILL won the war…haha). He never took the 2-4 nap he needed (as did I!), and at 4pm he was ready for a ride around the hospital – he slept, and I drove – this time with my eyes closed!!! Around 6, buddies Mo & Jason showed up and the laughing got so loud in our suite, several staff looked in on us and wanted to join the party. I finally crawled out of his room about 7:30pm when his night CNA came in to sit with him for the evening. He informed her he was up for a shave & bath, followed by a plan to watch the Panthers lose. Gosh…I hope his CNA took stronger vitamins than I did today. I’ll just be sleeping to the DWTS finals. Yep…with my eyes closed. But first I’m gonna give God a good prayer full of praise and thanks – once again, all prayers were answered & every need met - because so many good people took the time to pray for my special special hubby. Whatever tomorrow brings…it brings my man one day closer to coming home. So I better get rested up real good! Love to ya’ll! ~~pp

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