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Tuesday Update: 12/1/09

Well the holiday season is upon us once again and we’re starting to feel ready for it. Last week was a bit of an up and down…and REALLY down week for us. On Saturday, the 21st I spent the day at the Iowa/Minnesota football game with a group of friends. It was a cool, fall day – just perfect for football and I had a blast. We headed out early in the morning on my friend Jami’s bus. She and her husband have a small school bus that they’ve used to tailgate at Iowa games for years. I was excited to be able to ride over with them and immerse myself in complete football mania unlike any I’ve experienced before. We bumped into a couple celebrities while tailgating – Zach Johnson (the famous golfer) and Michelle Monaghan (an actress)…and of course Gina and I had our picture taken with Herky…the biggest celebrity at the game, I’m sure!
It was a good, good day…which swiftly came to a screeching halt when I arrived home to a very sore Matt. While I was off gallivanting at the game and having a wee ‘ol time, he was sprawled out on the couch in horrible pain from something he’d done to his back. Earlier in the day he’d been trying to reach a sweatshirt from the top shelf in our closet and must have twisted his back in an awkward way, because a short while later he was in too much pain to sit up. Thankfully George was in town and was able to bring him some supper, but he was very disappointed to miss the open house at Ralph’s showroom that night. Ralph, the man responsible for helping build our house, was having a big open house at his new kitchen and bath showroom and Matt had plans to go with George. Unfortunately, with the pain he felt trying to sit up on the couch, he knew he’d have to miss it.

Matt spent the next 20 hours on the couch, unable to move to sit up or even attempt to get into his chair. He was completely immobile – in excruciating pain. We ended up having to call an ambulance to take us to the ER on Sunday because icing it and taking ibuprofen weren’t touching the pain. After a few hours in the ER, some x-rays, and pain meds, we were told he likely had a strain in his low back; all of his discs, bones etc looked fine. They sent us home with some strong pain pills to try and help make him more comfortable and hoped that over the next several days the strain would heal and he’d get back to normal. He managed to sit up and ride in the car on the way home, but by the time we got there he was hurting again so he went right in to bed. And that is pretty much where he spent the next several days. He was able to sit up more and more, each day, but for the most part laying flat was the only position which brought him comfort. I was able to work from home so I could care for him – but I worried whether or not he’d be able to sit up and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner. I won’t lie – it was a rough week for us both. Matt suffered in pain, any time he tried to move, and I was running pretty ragged trying to care for him. It was a very real reminder of just how good we have it on a normal day. The freedoms that Matt has in the new house, the independence, strength, and abilities he’s gained over the past 4 years…all wiped out for those few days. We were back to square one – with him needing me to help do the smallest of tasks. It was tough – really tough. I was quickly reminded of how impatient I can really be…and sadly I found it hard to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving with us both being so miserable. But…we got up each day and hoped that it would continue to get better…and thankfully, it did.

Wednesday I took some PTO and spent a few hours with Hope and Meghan. We took her out to lunch and then the mall to get her ears pierced – a gift for her upcoming 7th birthday! She was too excited to sit still until we got there – she couldn’t WAIT! It was fun to be there and have that special time with my sister and Meghan. I am so blessed to live close to them, and to have such a close relationship with them both. Meghan stole my heart a long time ago and I just love being able to spend time with her and Hope. We have a lot of fun, always.

By Thursday, Matt felt good enough to spend more time in his chair. He was able to sit at the table for Thanksgiving dinner and was able to eat on his own without much pain. Of course, we had a wonderful day with our family – and it lifted both our spirits, I could tell. We hosted my sister and her family, Matt’s parents, grandparents and sister. It was a full house – but it was great. We had our typical Karwoski/Griswold experiences…I dropped the turkey on the kitchen floor…well, it sort of fell out of the oven, I should say. Hope screamed ‘OH NO!’ and Meghan just shook her head and said to me ‘You’re a bad cooker!’ Hysterics ensued – it was priceless. We quickly applied the 5 second rule and I gathered the turkey and put it back in its rack in the oven for the final 30 mins of cooking. Hope helped me clean up the mess, Chad tried to take a picture, and we all laughed about it the rest of the day.

During dinner we had another slight snafu. I had placed little votives on the table – a little ambiance, I thought, for the nice meal. As we were passing the basket of rolls, George didn’t realize the towel was hanging right over the flame of the candle and WHOOSH…quickly started on fire. Matt looked up just in time to think there was a lot of steam coming off the rolls, when he realized it was a fire. George was still clueless…until we all started screaming at him…then he tried to blow it out…but now the basket was on fire too! I grabbed the door and told him to go outside…someone yelled ‘save the rolls!’…and he stood out on the deck flailing the basket in one hand and the towel in the other until finally both flames were out. He did manage to save the rolls though…and again…more hysterics ensued. Ahh…Thanksgiving with the Karwoski’s – never a dull moment.

Later that day I went up to Grandma Betty’s house to visit with my family there for a bit, while Matt rested on the couch. It was fun to see cousins I hadn’t seen in a while, and catch up with everyone there. Friday we spent the day getting out all the Christmas decorations! We watched a lot of football and thoroughly enjoyed a quiet day just us, with much less pain. Each day Matt would try and do more and more for himself and thankfully the pain lessened and lessened. Saturday he felt good enough to venture out to the car and up to Hope and Chad’s house for Meghan’s 7th b-day party! We had a great time watching Meghan open her presents and enjoy her party…she even let Matthew help open a few – AMAZING!! Sunday Matt was pretty much doing things normally again and we were able to make it to church and a quick stop at Lowe’s. It felt so good to be out and about together and to have him feeling so much better! What a relief!!!!!!!!

So the week was full – and now we’re getting ready for the holiday rush of parties, get togethers, shopping, baking, and all kinds of fun. We love this time of year, and love spending it together with our friends and family. I just want to say how blessed I feel to have you all in our life. Through everything, we’ve always had countless friends and family there to support us and love us. We are so very blessed. Even in the midst of my lowest moments, I cannot deny how fortunate we have been. So thank you – we are thankful for you all.

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