Sunday, March 28, 2010


Yep we got to come home! And have had a great welcome home from friends, neighbours and the family (and the dog). The house was done out with 'Welcome Home' banners, balloons and lollies... thanks heaps to those who did it. Then our family all got together...then Joel's friends started to arrive! We didn't break up the 'party' till nine, and by then Joel was starting to wilt. He got to bed by ten then slept right through till ten...and had a two and a half hour sleep in the afternoon. When there are heaps of people at one time he tires quickly but he has had a great 'welcome home' and is rapt that the next step in recovery is here. Saturday evening we had a family celebration... and in our family that means FOOD! So we ate. It was real neat to have all the kids... Logan, Amie Sienna, Hannah and Joel around the table as we gave thanks to God that we are still all together. 

Today (Sunday) he has had a couple of friends and neighbours to visit and this afternoon he walked around the park once with Dan and the dog. I think both were happy to be with him! A sleep in the afternoon before another close friend arrived for the late afternoon and evening.

Through some kind offers we have both a treadmill and exercycle for him to start on so thanks very, very much.

This week is shaping up to be busy for him. Appointments at the doctors and the hospital... and then on Tuesday with the new physio and OT team etc. It is so much more relaxed for all of us now that he out of the 'institution' but we are ever so grateful for the team that has worked with him up in Ranui. And yes I'm calming down my driving habits.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Last night in Ranui

Here we go on the next stage of the journey! Back home tomorrow... so this is our last blog posting as Westies. I will have to go through a reformation of sorts...not driving through orange lights...not speeding up to get through the lights before they turn red...not using the horn so much as a warning device...getting a hair cut that is not dated in the seventies etc. Also have to trade in my old falcon 500 for something more appropriate. Good bye West Auckland.

Just about had to tie Joel down tonight, he is so excited. People are asking him how he feels about going home... the answer is always the same, "words cannot describe how I'm feeling inside." He has a final physio session tomorrow at 10:00 and then we are outa there.

We will continue the blog for awhile when we get home to keep everyone up to date but it will only be about once a week. I might miss it...even been thinking of starting another one just writing stuff for the heck of it...but then I realised I would be the only one reading it.

Well the next time you read this it will be from Tauranga... where the only people with mullets are crazy young teens who are trying to worry their parents.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2 to go

Yep thought it was time to up date all you lovely blog followers. It is 2 sleeps to go till home time and we have one very excited boy! He can't wait and to be honest neither can we.

Yesterday Cheryll brought Joel over to Carey Baptist College for chapel and lunch. One of the reasons was to stick him in an unknown 'social' environment to see how he handled it...which he did. And we also wanted to thank the Carey community for their prayers, encouragement, friendship and giving. He even wondered if he will end up there doing study at some stage. Today was the normal physio and stuff and this avo we went down to the pool for his hydrotherapy. I went along and coughed up my money for a ignoring the encouragement from a certain person yelling, "wow, a beached whale," and "who's got a harpoon" I slipped gracefully into the pool and did a few lengths. Then tonight I went back and spent the early evening with him. Joel commented that his workout in the pool was far less tiring and reckons that his stamina is building.

We are making plans for our return and we are aware that there will be new challenges as we try to return to a more normal routine. Joel is so looking forward to seeing all of you 'Taurangaites' again!  Just give us a phone call if you're popping over for a visit as we have to schedule in rest/sleep periods for him during the day. One of the things he is looking forward to is walking Sam, his dog. He should be able to do one circuit of the park every day as a start and build up from there. One little thing that would help him in his fitness...has anyone got an exercycle that they aren't using that we could borrow for a few months? or a treadmill? These two exercises are very good for him as they provide a very even and constant pattern which helps strengthen his weak left side.  Logan, Amie and Sienna are coming up from Gisborne to see us this weekend so that will be neat to have the whole family back together in one piece.

Monday, March 22, 2010

4 sleeps to go

It really is count down time now ... Joel is ready to come home!  He is allowed to walk around the house as well as outside now by himself, he is independent with all his showering etc, he doesn't get so tired after every activity and he's up to speed with his 'one liners'! Today he walked down to the diary and back up the hill again with Stefanie the physio.  He managed it fine ... although he did have a little rest outside the dairy while he ate his ice cream.  He's doing well during his physio sessions ... he's able to do his arm exercises with 3kg weights now (including his left arm), he does 15 minutes on the bike no sweat, and is doing all his balancing and strengthening exercises with much more ease. That left foot continues to improve and he has even more movement in it this week ... not enough to give up the splint yet but it's definitely getting there.

This afternoon he had his 'Wii' session with the caregiver, Leo.  Well, it started off just him and Leo ... but he attracted quite a crowd and by the end there were a heap of people having turns versing him in bowling and boxing.  It was great fun with lots of laughter. Poor Leo ... the session that was supposed to be around 1/2 an hour, turned out to take 1 1/2 hours.

Kevin was at college today so he went up to visit him tonight and has just walked back in the door now ... so I'm going to go make him a cuppa and catch up with his day.  Good night :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Joel and Steven, that's them together in the bottom photo, are cuzzies and they want to challenge any MEN to a mullet growing competition. Mum ain't happy but boys will be boys. Any takers?

The weekend...a time for pics!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Back to the olds...

Yep I took the computer into Joel this afternoon thinking that he could take over the duties of blogging but the response was, "Dang just coz I'm a little bit better I'm not doing all the work, remember I have had a brain injury!" I'll let him off this time but he won't be using that excuse for too much longer. After his big hike around yesterday Joel is a bit more subdued today. He is counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas! Still had to set goals for the coming week and still doing his physio etc. All still slowly improving but we are still waiting for his left foot to kick in (no pun intended).

Ages back I mentioned that we as a family have been praying for another client here. Well we have been taking things slowly but have continued to pray. I have had some good talks with the mum and she has asked if we could get others to pray for her daughter! So if you want you could add Jody to your list. Jody was in Waikato Hospital at the same time as fact she was wheeled outa ICU as Joel was wheeled into her bed. Her accident was at the beginning of December and she suffered a similar injury to Joel, but recovery has been very slow. She is just now approaching where Joel was when he left hospital. Eating a little and saying a few words, and the odd smile. I teased her today that she won't be able to make eyes at Joel during physio after next week and she smiled!  Mum wanted us to first of all pray that she would be at peace...and she was...then she wanted us to pray that she would communicate and say those precious words, 'I love you'... and she has just done that. Mum is calling it a miracle and says she now believes in miracles! Let's keep praying for this young lady and her family.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hi its Joel writing this blog update.

I would just like to start by thanking God for saving my life and to thank you guys for praying for me. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!! Well my day has been a pretty good one. I have been a busy little boy. I have had my physio today and I have also gone out with Leo into Henderson. Now that was a monster hike. I had to walk out of rehab and up the hill to catch the bus. Then we got to the mall and so we walked around for a bit and of course we got some lollies. Then we walked to catch the train back to Cavit and I had a long walk up the hill to get back. Then luckily enough my dad (the little pregnant roller-skate was fixed by then)[this is Joel’s name for his mothers little car] came around and picked me up. We have gone out to dinner at kings roast (dads lil favorite place were we are scared to see how big the large meal is) and thank you Mr King, cause the roast was rather good. And that brings me to right now. Um just a little prayer request can we pray for more movement in my left leg. Thank you guys so much.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Yay ... Joel moved his left foot upwards twice today by himself!!  It wasn't that long ago that he started being able to move his toes ... and remember when that first started he could only do it every now and then ... and now he can wriggle them whenever he wants.  So we're really excited that a movement that requires different muscles is starting to kick in. 

He had a great physio session and Steph was really pleased with his progress.  By the end of physio today his left thigh muscle was shaking uncontrollably just from all the exertion. She spent a bit of time trying to work the electrode thingy that makes his foot flex upwards.  It wasn't really working properly ... something that she put down to his hairy legs not letting the electrodes sit firmly on them.  So his job tomorrow morning is to shave some patches on his leg ready to try it again.  

Please keep praying for his left side to continue to gain strength and that he would get more and more upward movement in his foot. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support ... look how far he's come!

A Few Days

It's been a few days since our last update, not because nothing has happened, but we did forget to take the computer with us when we went north. Sometimes it feels like we are part of the Truman Show or some reality cyberlink show where you get to look at snap shots of what we are doing...How are you doing?

At the end of last week I shot down to Tauranga to have a meeting with ACC who organise the team to look after Joel when he returns home. They have been terrific to work with and have things actioned already. Hannah and I also had the privilege of meeting with a family who are praying for a miracle for one of their children. What an amazing couple who have for years prayed in faith for their child's healing. This is what the body of Christ is all about... praying, believing and supporting each other in our time of need. It was an eventful 24 hours back coz I also had the privilege of speaking with the Year 13s at Bethlehem College. This school community has been incredibly supportive of us since Joel's accident. I said to the students that I was training as a pastor and that if I led a church that cared, prayed, encouraged and gave like the Bethlehem College Community has, I would consider that church successful. We were blown away to receive a cheque from the proceeds of a Mufti Day ... thank you seems inadequate but what else can we say! It was great to share with his peers what Joel has been through and also a small part of our faith journey.  He can't wait to get back to school. When he starts back he will probably only cope with one subject, as fatigue will still be an issue.

We went to Nana's and Poppa's for the weekend. Cheryll, Joel, 3 friends and myself. This was a fantastic time especially in that Joel was so much more independent than last time. The only time I really had to watch his walking was when he was going down stairs to watch a movie and have a shower. Other than that he now has the freedom to move around ... although he still thinks we are his slaves at his beck and call. That will change! Saturday morning we ended up at Omaha where we decided to walk half the length of the beach (concrete pathway). Joel walked a little way but was happy to be pushed in the wheelchair by the old fella for most of it, ate a trumpet, then slogged our way back to the car. Having some friends with him was very encouraging and there was no way he wanted to return to the rehab Sunday afternoon. Next trip will be back to Tauranga!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving.

In the early days of Joel's injury these verses from Psalm 62 were ones I clung to and they still come to mind every couple of days ... it's mind blowing to meditate on God's immeasurable strength and love and to be able to rest in the knowledge that there is nothing too hard for him and to trust in his loving kindness. I know we've said this before ... but we're just so grateful for his mercies!!

Well, we had the family meeting this morning, instead of Friday, so that Kevin could be there as well before he drove back to Tauranga.  It was a very encouraging meeting where all the different staff involved in his rehab gave feedback as to how he was progressing.  He just continues getting better and better.  They seem happy enough for his discharge to be on the 26th of this month, even though they really would have liked to keep him a little longer ... but hey ... I can teach him how to do the laundry at home if he misses out on having to do it up here :-)

So Joel is really excited about coming home in 2 weeks and we'll be pleased not to have to live out of suitcases ... it's been awhile.  His walking is coming along.  I have to remind him to relax his left arm as he walks and try to swing his arms gently instead of holding them rigid at his sides ... at which he starts swinging them in a very exaggerated way as if he's marching in the army ... just to annoy me.  We're still praying for that left foot ... his toes are wriggling well now and he can push down with it ... but he hasn't got the upward pull so he still needs to wear the splint in his shoe.  He walks around the house with bare feet but we've noticed that he will sometimes catch his left foot on the carpet and lose his balance, because of course he has to lift the left foot up that much higher in order to have his drooping foot clear the floor.  The hard plastic splint is still hurting him (even after Kevin's flash modifications) so they're going to see about getting one custom made to suit his foot. Hopefully his foot will be working soon though and it won't be needed.



Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Cheryll has a meeting with the staff here at rehab on Friday morning and at the same time I will be in Tauranga with our ACC Manager looking at what happens when we get home. So hopefully we'll be able to make some decisions soon re Joel's discharge.

One of the other clients in Joel's house is leaving for home tomorrow and he has asked if he can give Joel a small present and a hug when he leaves..why? Coz he said that he has so enjoyed having Joel in the house because he has been friendly,  he has enjoyed his sense of humour and that he is willing to share serious stuff as well. It seems the boy is having an affect on those around him.

As far as Joel's progress...he is now allowed to walk around the house without a 'minder' watching his every step. This is what I have been waiting for as it means he doesn't need 24/7 attendance.

This coming weekend we are heading away again to Nana and Poppas so there is no point in any pilgrims making plans to visit Joel. His weekend trips help prepare him for living 'normally' in a family situation but there will certainly be a need for visitors when we get home!

Another day closer...

Monday, March 8, 2010


Kevin was off to college again today so it was just Joel and me for most of it.  I didn't go in 'til after lunch as his morning was pretty busy with the speech therapist and then going to Pak n Save to shop for his lunch items like he did last week.  He said it was a lot easier walking around Pak n Save compared to last week.  I think his walking continues to improve and he is getting more movement in that left foot ... it seems slow ... but bit by bit.  The physio is going to try the electrode thing again but this time have it all attached while he is walking so that it jerks his foot up each time he takes a step.  He had his hours physio this arvo and also attended the 'Wii' group ... of which he is the only member! 

The physiotherapist (who is also his key worker) casually mentioned to Joel and I that they were thinking that he should be there for another 4 to 6 weeks from now!!  Joel was not too impressed with that idea as we had been talking with him about being home by the end of the month.  She said there was the possibiblity of moving him to another house in 3 or so weeks time where he could share the cooking with the other two inmates and do his own laundry.  Hmmmm ... he was a little vocal about doing his own laundry ... he could not be convinced that there was any need for him to learn to turn on a washing machine at this stage of his life.  At our last family meeting they had said 4 to 6 weeks and that was 2 weeks ago.  So we're in two minds ... on one hand we don't want to leave here earlier if Joel is going to receive benefits that he wouldn't at home ... but on the other hand we're not convinced that at this stage of his rehabilitation he is actually doing much more than we could continue at home with him anyway.  (And he will continue to get some physio, speech language therapy and occupational therapy at home through ACC ... just not the same frequency). So can you please pray that we have wisdom when making the decision about when to bring Joel home.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday...a day of rest

Well Sunday has come and just about gone. Joel had a lazy morning with us and then visitors in the afternoon. This lovely brother and sister duo made the trek up from Tauranga and were excited to see Joel for the first time since the accident.  He is very blessed in having such loyal and loving friends. After their great visit ... which included the young lady having to push him down and then up the hill in the wheelchair to get an ice cream ... they left for home. A wee while later I get a txt, "we have just got to Huntly is that close to Matamata?" A quick txt back put them on the right track ... first timers to Auckland!

Nothing much else happened for the day. A few people have asked re the maths test he was given a few weeks ago...he got 100% and didn't use the calculator that was offered. I know we keep saying it ... but he is doing real well. We are all getting a little impatient to get home but hey...another 24 hours closer!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


The poor boy had to put up with just mum and dad today. Joel had slept in so we picked him up at 11 and headed for the local mall (yuck). Pushed him around, had lunch, then returned to our 'flat' and relaxed through the afternoon. Due to the blister on his foot he walked today without the splint and it went well. He was back at rehab for dinner then afterwards we went for a walk around the streets. And that's about it!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Just got home from being with Joel...a real late night for him but he insisted that we should watch the Chiefs game. He wilted towards the end and the fact that the Chiefs lost didn't help!

The boy reached another mile stone today... he did 10 minutes walking on the treadmill with a speed greater than 3. Not sure how fast '3' is, but it is what the physio had set as a challenge and goal to stretch him... so he is feeling chuffed. Part way through he complained that the splint was hurting but he continued on...his competitive nature is returning. When he got back to his room he took his shoes off to reveal a nice long (1 inch) blister on his instep from the plastic splint in his shoe. So being a good kiwi bloke I have attacked the plastic splint with a stanley knife and made a few modifications. Not sure what the physio will think of the new look splint, but at least over the weekend he can continue to walk. Talking about walking... we have all noticed a huge improvement in his walking since getting rid of the stick. Another day closer to coming home!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

8 Weeks!

Yep its 8 weeks since I got that terrifying phone call...but we have a God that loves us and is still active in this world.

Today Joel managed to cross off a few more goals that had been set for the week. He managed 15 minutes on the exercycle without having to have his left foot man-handled into position. Secondly he has walked up and down the stairs unaided, and thirdly his walking stick has been extracted from his grip and he is now walking... "look mum no hands!" This is a big move as now his walking action or style will start to settle into a more natural gait. He still holds his upper body, arms and hands quite rigid, but without artificial walking aids, I saw his arms swing for the first time today. He had a couple of lots of visitors today, which he enjoyed. It was encouraging when 3 visitors this afternoon (up for Paramore concert) dropped in and were amazed at the changes they saw in Joel's speech and demeanor. Sometimes we don't notice changes due to seeing him every day. He also cooked his lunch twice this week... Tuesday was pizza and today the bacon and eggs flipped outa the pan. It is encouraging to see him begin to do ordinary things that normally he would manage as second nature. One day closer to home!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The day after Tuesday

Do you notice how when we have nothing much to write we slap up another photo? Well as Joel makes more and more progress the steps forward just seem to be small and roll into each other... leaving us wondering if change has taken place. But for me after not seeing him for a couple of days due to study...I could see changes. But before I get to that let me share with you what a wonderful, beautiful, caring and loving wife I have and last night we shared a lovely nosh up celebrating 25 years of 'perfect' married life! Funny how TV affects you tho, Cheryll's snapper had a fish scale on absolute 'no-no' on Master Chef!

Oh that's right... this is about Joel. While I was away a package arrived from Carmichael House at Bethlehem College and it was the first thing he started to talk about when I walked into his room this morning. He was on a real buzz about getting the photos and the poster with all the greetings on. He was trying to convince the speech therapist that when he returns homes he wants to get back to school full time. He doesn't want to accept that his school days will be very short as fatigue will still be a major problem for some time. He misses the school community and the social interaction with other students..oh yeah and the teachers and learning stuff too.

His mobility has improved and often when he is walking he now holds his walking stick in both hands and twirls it pretending to be a big band...whatever they are called... you know the blokes who walk out the front of the band with the stick thingy. I think his walking is smoother when he isn't using the stick but he relies on it when tired... but his days with it are nearly over. His walking is still stilted and takes effort, but improving. He is also rapt with being able to move his toes on his left foot even more and again we keep praying for the whole foot to start moving freely. We are really encouraged with the work that the speech therapist has been doing. Socially Joel seems to be nearly back to how he was before the accident but still occasionally comes out with some all takes time.  Today he went for what is technically called 'hydrotherapy', which means doing some exercises in the swimming pool. He did very well and also enjoyed it so it is now part of his routine on Wednesdays. He is also very keen on the notion of coming home in a few weeks and we are trying to reinforce that he will be there as long as it is beneficial for him. So that about wraps this blog up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Cooking his masterpiece for lunch... (the blue belt thing around his waist is just something he puts on when he walks around as it gives whoever is with him something to grab if he should lose his balance)

Monday, March 1, 2010

1st Day of March

The days keep marching's been left up to me to write the blog tonight as Kevin has had his first day back at Carey Baptist College ... he txted me before saying he just finished a lecture on, 'what is the ontology of being human'?  I can't help thinking we've been finding that out in the last 2 months! (Well ok, I did have to find out what ontology meant.)

Joel did seem a little tired today, probably the aftermath of a weekend away.  But he still managed a session with the speech therapist, one with the OT, an outing with the physio to Pak n Save to buy supplies to make a couple of lunches (walk not wheelchair) and a session playing 'Wii' this arvo.  I thought his walking was a little smoother today... his sore ankle has settled down which probably helps. He was really pleased to get a bundle of photos and messages from students in Carmichael House at Bethlehem College ... thanks guys.

He asked me what I had got Kevin for our wedding anniversary (tomorrow), to which I said, 'nothing ... his present is being married to me'.  He replied that it would only work if I painted myself in silver body paint. Hmmmm ... I was a bit slow cause I was horrified... until I clicked that it is our Silver Wedding Anniversary!

Thank you everyone for your continued support and prayers ... we are just so grateful for everyone who has prayed and helped us out during the different stages of this journey.  The wonderful people in Hamilton who got us through those first few weeks in hospital... our family, friends, church family, neighbours and many people we don't even personally know... thank you!