Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In No Partiular Order...

I'm back from Utah with random thoughts (in no particular order).

(I just hit publish post and HOLY FREAKIN' COW, this is LONG! What can I say...it's a whole five days worth of thoughts. And a lot of thinking went on those 5 days apparently. Read it or don't. It's up to you.)
  • Highlight of the trip: Lisa. She's fantastic. She loves my brother so much. And it's easy to see why he loves her. I do too. Really.
  • No matter how great everyone tells you someone in a coma looks, he's still in a coma. I kept hearing...Mike looks so great, he's healing well, he looks like Mike again. The thing is, they saw him right after the accident and since he looked so much better than that, that's what they were seeing. I was ill prepared. It was a bit of a shock. I was expecting to see regular old Mike lying in a bed. Not so. After spending a few days there, I could see what they meant. You get used to what he looks like and his surface injuries did get better daily. By the end it was me saying...Mike looks so great, he's healing well, he looks like Mike again. But if you saw him, you'd probably be surprised, too.
  • Landing in Salt Lake City is like landing on a whole different universe (or university as Reid would say). Everyone looks and talks and dresses exactly the same. You know immediately you're in Utah. I forgot what Utah is like.
  • You don't realize quite how big Mike is until you see him in a hospital bed. He takes up the WHOLE THING.
  • My cousin, Ryanne, writes to Mike every single day. She sends emails directly to the hospital for him. She's a good six years younger...it's not like they grew up best pals or anything. She writes the BEST letters. (Sorry Ryanne...I know they were private letters for Mike, but someone had to read them to him.) It was really awesome. I started looking forward to her letters.
  • On a similar note, lots of people have done lots of really nice things for everyone in my family. Things I never would have thought of. It has inspired me for when others are going through trials. Compassion is not a strength of mine. I want to change that.
  • I read a book on the airplane. That was the first time I've read a book that wasn't assigned by a teacher or professor in at least 15 years. I picked up an easy read, but I found myself enjoying it. I was so enthralled that I didn't mingle with any passengers my entire way to Utah. And I LOVE meeting strangers on airplanes. I only had like 50 pages left for my entire flight home. I was quite sad when I was finished. But I did sit next to a six foot something tall woman who had a daughter who played baritone in the "Best Damn Band in the Land." She was super chatty and that got me through the rest of the way home.
  • I expected my entire trip to be a somber one, but quickly discovered that a little light-heartedness at times is necessary. Lisa, for example, was stroking Mike's face and he jerked his head. (He gets agitated when his face is messed with...it's the only response we really see.) Lisa came back with...If you didn't want me to touch your face, why didn't you just say so. Even doctors have made similar comments. It's nice to lighten the mood sometimes.
  • Spencer and I don't ever travel separately. I missed him a lot. Way more than I expected to. We stayed up until 2am after I got home even though we were both thoroughly exhausted. I have to say though, it was nice to have five days off of mom duty.
  • Fry sauce is only good in Utah.
  • On the plane from Chicago to Salt Lake, there was this short, plump flight attendant in her 60's with fiery red hair. She sang songs in the mic and modeled the life vest. She was awesome.
  • There is a short church service held in the hospital chapel on Sunday mornings. It's filled with patients, family members, doctors, cafeteria workers, you name it. It was great. I heard this was Jeff's response to it: "Dear President Monson, 30 minute church. Love, Jeffery." Also, LDS church members are called to be service workers to go around to all the rooms to anyone interested in taking the sacrament. It's very sweet. And for anyone who remembers the Perkins from Corona...they were there doing that very thing.
  • My moms aunt and uncle live real close to the hospital. I went to their house for a delicious dinner one night. Why can't I make a better effort to have relationships with extended family? I am related to some pretty amazing people. I got to visit briefly with cousins (of some sort) and really wished I knew them better. I loved them instantly.
  • I like me a good In-N-Out Burger, but to wait 20 cars in line for the drive through? Not worth it. Good thing Mike isn't reading this.
  • It is really hard to talk to someone in a coma. I hear it's good for them and I went expecting to do it. It is tough. Especially when other people are around. It makes me really self-conscious. I had a hard time thinking of what to say. I did read to him a few times. I was better about it when I was alone, but still paranoid that a nurse would come in. Why is that so hard for me? Some people are really good at it, like Lisa, for instance.
  • I stayed with my in-laws. My mother-in-law has the best family history stories. She lights up when she tells them. I could listen to her forever.
  • Mike had all kinds of injuries from the accident, but the minor things like bruises and scabs and black toenails totally made me cringe. That's nothing compared to his other wounds, but it's all I could relate to. I can't imagine how bad the rest of it feels.
  • Jeff, Mom and I saw the funniest sign ever for a woman's bathroom. Jeff was the only one equipped to take a picture. You'll have to hunt him down for the evidence.
  • We've all heard that music is good for people in a coma. I heard that long before it was my brother in a coma. So we played music. Everyone who came in seemed surprised by it. Have none of the other trauma patients ever done that?
  • Two police officers came and escorted a woman out of the ICU waiting room on Sunday morning. Her son was in the ICU. I'm dying to know what happened.
  • On the subject of Police Officers...one showed up to our house on Saturday. Two social workers and one police officer and we're now in the clear. The officer deemed the alleged abuse a false accusation. Parker can now resume jumping off the top bunk of the bed.
Overall, the trip was a good one. I got to spend time with Mom and Jeff for a couple days before they left back to Arizona. And though seeing Mike was tough, it has really helped my mind rest a little. I have a better feel for the situation. Please continue to keep Mike in your prayers. It's not over yet.

POST EDIT: You can send emails to Mike HERE. Remember his full name is Kevin Michael Benson.


Kris said...

We have been waiting to hear something from either you or your Mom. Continued prayers..of course. I found all of your thoughts quite interesting.

Traci Elizabeth said...

I would love to have been on the plane with the fiery red head...I wish everyone was as entertaining.

Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts, I think about mike and your family everyday.

Violet said...

Thanks for your thoughts. I really like the one about wanting to be more compassionate. I really fall short here too. I always say "please let me know if there is anything I can do to help"... And I mean it... but I don't just come up with the ideas on my own. Do you think someday you could make a list or something of things people did for your brother to help him and your family?

I would love to write him a letter. Where should I send it?

Heidi said...

oh my... that is quite the experience. I have never known anyone that is in a coma. Im sure it was greatly appreciated by Mike that you read, talked, and had music playing. I will continue to keep him in our prayers!

Genn said...

Thanks for sharing all your thoughts Katie. I imagine I'd feel the same self conscious feeling if I was talking to someone in a coma in front of other people. I remember feeling that way a little when my Grandpa was in a coma and my whole family was gathered around.

Glad you are in the clear from CPS now. What a relief.

I'm thinking of Mike and you all so often still. Please keep us posted on his recovery.

jeanine said...

Thanks for sharing all your thoughts... we continue to pray for Mike. In every prayer James asks that Mike's "brain will get better"

Nicole said...

I'm glad you were able to go visit him and hold his hand. I pray that he continues to improve and gain strength.

I'm also relieved that CPS relieved you guys of that nightmare. What a crazy month for you!

Autumn said...

Ah-I was anxiously awaiting this. Thanks for all of the details. So great that you could be around family. So true about Utah. Lisa sounds awesome, how great that you got to know each other so closely. So interesting about Mike's reaction to facial irritants. I can't blame him-and that sounds really positive. How awesome of Ryanne to write daily! It doesn't surprise me about talking to a patient in a coma or about the music, but I don't know if I had heard either. It makes me want to learn more. Glad you had so much fun catching up with Spencer.

SeeJulieStamp said...

Thanks Katie. I enjoyed the read. My sister and I have been following your blog for updates.

-Mike's neighbor, riding buddy, and friend of a few years... Julie

sharon kaye said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We pray every day in every prayer for Mike and your family. I think it is especially sweet that Jacob remembers without any prompting from us.

Kelly said...

Glad you are home- I know your boys missed you! I am thankful for the news- I have been waiting...you and your family continue to be in our family daily prayers...we think of you all the time...

Kelly said...

i'm glad you got to visit your brother, and the rest of your family. i'm sure he knew you were there. i think it's awesome that so many people are supporting him, writing to him, praying for him.

as for utah...i love fry sauce! why can't CA have it? and 30 minute church... gotta love that! lol

glad to hear youre in the clear with the child abuse... lol. from just seein pictures of spencer, not ever meeting him, i wouldn't think he could even hurt a fly!

Amanda B. said...

Even after talking to you Monday night, this was still interesting to read. Mike will not leave our prayers until he is well. I am so glad you were able to go.

Sometime when things are calmer you should go on a brief trip for you. It is good for a mom to get away for a few days from time to time. :)

The Patterson's said...

I am thinking of you and your family Katie. When Ben and I lived in Salt Lake we were called to serve up at the U of U hospital on Sundays to help with the church service and take the sacrament around to those who couldnt come to the 30 min meeting. It was a wonderful experience and really helped those at the hospital. I am glad they have it other hospitals.

Sheryl said...

Your spirit and experiences have filled those of us that know your family. Thank you for being Mike's sister, your mom's girl,and the wife and mom extraordinaire. We love and pray for Mike and the Benson's as a whole, as it is a journey for all of you. Thank you for the smiles and tears.

cindy said...

I appreciate hearing all your thoughts. Thanks for being so honest and informative with all the aspects of what you and your family are going through. I wish I could be there in person for your mom but it seems she has had quite a wonderful group surrounding her of family and friends to lean on at this incrediable time. Wayne and I are praying daily and I have your family in my thoughts everyday.
Thanks for showing your strength and that having a senous of humor helps as we try to understand life and its unexpected turns. I love the Bensons!!

Jen said...

I'm really glad you got a chance to come to Utah and see Mike. I bet it was so hard but also something so needed. I think of you guys all the time and am still praying for your dear family. I love your positiveness. You are the best and I love you so much.

Erin said...

Just wanted to tell you how much your blog helps keep me going somedays-I always know I can come here and smile, laugh or even cry with you! Love you Katie, you are AWESOME!! Thanks for sharing the hard stuff with all of us!!

Mary said...

It was so nice to meet you Katie! I think we should be great friends, no matter the distance:)Your boys are as darling as I imagined they would be! Your family is always in our prayers.
Love, Mary Rencher (Matt's wife)