Thursday, December 29, 2011

yearly summary from Bryan

2011 has been a year filled with challenges, growth, and adventure. Highlights from the year include a return mission trip to Honduras with Raquel’s parents as part of the team, a family trip to Disney World, three trips for Raquel to watch the last space shuttle launch with the last trip being successful, a new role for me helping deploy an electronic medical record at Fairview Southdale Hospital, Raquel becoming the volunteer aerospace expert for the upcoming space station exhibit being created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, our church changing to a new pastor, Jaden jumping into first grade, Clay starting kindergarten as the big man on campus without his big brother around, and a cute little 4 year old girl named Alexis joining our house and trying to overcome the difficult start to her life.

In May we collected an amazing 14 bags full of medical equipment including a ventilator machine and went back to Loma de Luz hospital in Honduras. Raquel’s parents, Oscar and Judy Vilhauer, came along and put their carpentry, sewing and teaching skills to use throughout the hospital grounds. They were truly a gift from God to the people and staff down there and it was a blessing for us to be able to serve with them. I made a video tour of the hospital grounds on YouTube. You can search for Honduras Jarabek to find the video or use this link You can check out Raquel’s blog in May and June for more details on the trip as well.

In June, Clay had a parachute birthday party with a blow up bounce house in our back yard. My wife is an amazing party planner and my kids are so blessed to have her as their mom! Clay is doing kindergarten at Sunrise Montessori and is starting to add, read tons of books and make us all laugh on a daily basis. He brings so much joy into our home! Jaden started first grade this year at Olson Elementary school and continues to excel at math, reading, and every sport he plays (hence the YMCA gym party in November). He is high energy, competitive, and wicked smart like his mom. He can add and subtract two digit numbers in his head, knows about half of his multiplication tables and is reading at a second grade level. Over the summer Raquel continued to volunteer at the Science Museum of Minnesota and was asked to be the aerospace expert for a multimillion dollar space station exhibit that is being designed over the next few years and will be traveling through many of the large museums throughout the country. She loves the opportunity to share her passion for space and they really enjoy having a volunteer aerospace engineer to help them with the project. I continue to work at the hospital helping patients get well, families cope with loss, and doctors navigate our new electronic record. Our family did escape the busy schedule to go to Disney World in August and loved every minute, from the luxury Disney resorts to Jaden going on the Expedition Everest roller coaster. Bryan also escaped on a Canada fishing trip and South Dakota pheasant hunting trip.

As many of you know Raquel and I have been taking classes for adoption and foster care for the last year and in October we got a call asking if we would take a cute little 3 (almost 4) year old girl named Alexis into our home. Alexis’s life has been filled with drugs, neglect and probably some abuse. She has speech delays, physical delays, attachment issues, fits of rage and self-harming behaviors. We are struggling to cope with the rage, adjust our behaviors to avoid tantrums, and try to explain to our boys why Alexis is how she is and that they are loved and safe. They have struggled behaviorally with the change, but we are trying to make extra one on one time with them to meet their needs and help them adjust. Our primary goal for Alexis is to provide a stable foster care environment for Alexis and get her as many school and medical services as possible to try to start improving her delays and behavioral issues. Please pray for us and our family! We pray that God will be with you this year in a special way that brings you joy & peace in abundance!

Bryan, Raquel, Jaden, Clay and Alexis

Monday, December 12, 2011

Do not fall off a ladder

The boys have been asking for us to hang lights on the outside of our house at Christmas ever since we moved into this house 3 years ago and we had a bunch of free lights from my brother (Thanks, Kevin!). So I thought, why not this year! We had been getting the lights ready throughout the day on that Saturday, a week ago, and when we finally had them ready after replacing bulbs and buying one more set, I just wanted to get the lights hung and didn't care that it was snowing and dark. The boys came outside to play in the snow while I hung lights. I warned them to go get dad inside the house if I fell. I was not feeling very confident about my ladder skills. Clue #1. It was snowing and everything was slippery. Clue #2. What are these clues leading not hang lights today.

Bryan had just come outside to help me and I told him, just let me fix this one light. Bryan walked around to the side of the house where the boys were playing. And that is when the big fall happened. I was about half way done and the ladder slipped on the driveway and it went crashing to the ground with me landing on top of it. I cracked a corner piece off the ladder and smashed a few light bulbs in the process. I yelled as soon as I caught my breath after having the wind knocked out of me. I fell on the ladder and gravity hurt me badly.

I felt like everything was broken at that moment and did not want to take a breath. I yelled for what seemed like a minute, probably just a few seconds. I didn't want to stop letting air out of my lungs because I was terrified how much it would hurt to take a breath. The boys and Bryan were very concerned. Jaden later asked twice if I was going to die. We reassured him I would be ok but at that moment I didn't believe it. Bryan helped me get into the house and I almost passed out in the entryway. I laid on the floor to recover my sight and hearing. Then I moved to the couch. There was no comfortable position to lay but I couldn't move. Partially out of fear and partially out of everything hurting. Bryan checked me out and at first he thought nothing was broken. The more I sat, the more I knew something was really wrong with my right arm. I couldn't hardly move it. There was discussion about going to urgent care and Bryan informed me that they wouldn't cast me if it was broken so we should try to wait it out until Monday when I could see an orthopedic doctor who would put on a cast if needed. Later that night he got a sling for my increasingly painful and possibly broken right elbow. Clay asked if I broke my funny bone. I wish I could've laughed but the pain was too much. As time went on, we were both convinced it was broken around my elbow and we planned on seeing an orthopedic doctor on Monday to get an x-ray and potential cast. I was hurting everywhere which made it hard to pin point what was really hurting. My sternum hit the ladder and was in great pain and so were my ribs. We are pretty sure now that I probably broke a rib on my left side because I still have a lot of pain there. I have bruises all over but they took awhile to appear. I have bruises in parts that I didn't know I hit.

On Monday we found out that my arm is not broken. Many prayers of thanksgiving have been said over the last week. I am so glad I can use my arm even though it is only partially working. The doctor told me to quit using the splint then and that I needed to move my painful arm to get it to heal and regain my range of motion. So I have been using my right arm as much as possible but I only have about 90% range of motion and it hurts a lot to move it still. I probably only have about 25% muscle control in my right arm. Everything is painful from pumping soap to putting on my seat belt but I am gritting it out. I want my healthy arm back and the more I use it, the better it will get. I am taking it easy on carrying things. I can't lift any small children or heavy items as the doctor ordered. Lifting could make the damage take longer to heal. Hopefully in 3 weeks time, I will be lifting items again. Bryan is taking on the task of physical therapist now and forcing movement when it doesn't seem possible. I appreciate his help and hope that I get better sooner because of it.

I am still not sleeping well. My ribs are hurting so badly that they wake me up at night repeatedly. I am still taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen throughout the day and night for pain. This is not great timing when I really could use a good night of sleep every night in order to take better care of the 3 challenging kids in my house. Lots of prayers going up for healing, sleep and for little girl tantrums to end in our household. Thanks for your prayers.