Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 21 - Father's Day

It has now been over a year since Paul's accident. Officially, it was last weekend, since it was June 14, but for me, this weekend has really felt like the anniversary. When Paul was in the accident it was the Saturday of Father's Day weekend AND of the U.S. Open golf tournament, which is like the Super Bowl weekend at our house. I remember the Thursday night before the accident, I had my book club. When I left the house around 7:00, Buzz and Paul were eating pizza and watching coverage of the first round of the Open. I left my book club after 9:30, expecting that, when I returned home Buzz would have taken a bath and maybe be asleep and Paul would most likely be asleep on the couch, which was the norm on book club nights. As I was walking to my car, Paul called. He and Buzz were driving home from TopGolf, a local driving range. Watching the U.S. Open had given Paul the urge to practice. I was very surprised because once Paul got home from work, he rarely ever wanted to leave the house again. But, they must have had a great time because Paul was very animated during the conversation and I could hear Buzz singing in the background. That is a memory that I cherish as one that was a spontaneous but great father/son moment that I believe took place that night for a reason. It was an exciting night for Buzz and he still talks about it nearly everytime we drive by TopGolf.

This has, obviously, been a tough year for all of us but especially for Buzz in so many ways. Which is one reason I posted what I think is a great photo of the two of them. It was taken by Pete Lacker while we were out to dinner a few weeks ago. They were looking at Pete's iPhone and Paul was spelling out something on the letterboard but I love that Buzz is looking directly at Paul. It has been hard for them to communicate this past year and has been heartbreaking at times. But, the bond between them is still there even if the dynamics are a little different.

We watched U.S. Open golf all this weekend and I couldn't stop thinking about last year and looking at Paul in ICU that first day and feeling so bad that he was missing the tournament that weekend. We even requested a television be brought in at the bottom of his bed so that we could have it on. I thought surely he would hear the commentators or the crowd cheering and wake up. Of course, at the time, I had no idea how bad his injuries really were. That would become apparent as the days passed. And they were bad. So bad, that when the doctor finally told me he was releasing Paul from ICU, it was to go to a skilled nursing facility where, the doctor told me, he would stay and, if Paul's condition didn't change, after two years I would have to decide what Paul would want as far as quality of life. He added, almost matter of factly, that making this decision wasn't really like the the Terry Schiavo case; that was all the media hype. It was one of the most horrifying and surreal conversations I've ever had. I was numb. That was a very bad day for me.

Fortunately, I have a good friend who serves as legal counsel for another major hospital in Dallas and she came to visit that day, asked me a lot of questions, and told me not to sign any release papers and insist that our goal be for Paul to go to rehab and don't take no for an answer. And that is what we did and from that day forward, little by little, Paul's condition improved and it continues to improve every day. I guess I am sharing this now because I want people to understand how little doctors can really predict with brain injuries, appreciate how much Paul has accomplished and what a fighter he is and how he will never give up. He continues to work so hard toward walking on his own. He even often requests a schedule of when that will be and has repeatedly told me that his therapists need to work him harder and that he spends too much time at Pate sitting around. They actually work him really hard and there is a reason behind everything he does, even if he doesn't see it.
He has started getting additional physical therapy at the pool at Baylor Rehab. Twice a week, Buzz and I pick him up from Pate in the afternoon and take him to Baylor. The session is only 30 minutes but he gets a good workout walking in the pool and he really likes it. One session last week, he did not have his usual therapist and the woman he did have, who was actually training another therapist at the same time, did not seem to know what to do with Paul or exactly what his capabilities were. They just sort of aimlessly wandered around the pool. After the session, Paul spelled out that that was a waste of his time, he doesn't have time to waste and that those girls were useless. I totally agreed with him but it was SO Paul to get so mad about it. He kept wanting to discuss it via the letter board even after I agreed to call and complain and try to get a make-up session. He just was not going to stand for any nonsense on his watch.

So, as this past weekend has been a milestone for us, I prefer to focus on how far Paul has come and how far that I know he will go, how our families have gone far beyond just being there for us, and how many amazing people that we've met or already knew that have shown extraordinary support, kindness, and generosity. I know I keep repeating the same thing but I feel like I can't say it enough to accurately show how I feel and I can't think of any other way to say it. But, thank you everyone, again for following us during this wild journey. I will continue to write on the blog because, in addition to serving as a great communications tool, it is a great outlet for me to talk about Paul and his progress and what we are going through, but also we get a lot of support from it too in all the comments posted. It is definitely a two-way street.

And, to bring things full circle, Paul and I watched the U.S. Open this weekend and, since much of the play was delayed due to rain, NBC showed a lot of highlights from last year's event so, as it turns out, Paul did get to see much of the tournament. It couldn't have been as thrilling as watching it live but it was still pretty exciting.

Thank you again,


Jessica said...

Hi Patty and Paul,
This is Jennifer M's friend up here in Canada again. I left a comment last year. Just wanted to let you know that I always read the blog, that I continue to pray for Paul's recovery every night. Well, sometimes I'm so tired I fall asleep before I pray, but ALMOST every night Paul's continued recovery and healing are most certainly included in my list. And giving thanks for how far he has come!! You all continue to be an inspiration. Keep up the great work Paul; sounds like you won't let anyone stop you!

Anonymous said...

Patty, you make me cry! I love this blog/website. I check it daily and your updates are the reason why.

Paul, you have come so far. Your improvement has been so amazing and we are constantly inspired by you. I know you will continue to work hard and I know you will walk on your own again.

Your birthday is quickly approaching and our celebration this year is going to be outstanding! Little Bobby is very much looking forward to sharing some cake with you.

We love you. The Hatfields

April & Geoff said...

You and your family inspire me. You have come a long way in this journey. I admire your faith and courage throughout every step. Keep at it!!

Sarah said...

Hey Jerde Clan--

I was thinking last year that it had been a year... it is gone so fast. And Paul as come so far!!! I continue t think of you all. But I know Paul will continue to make the great progress. I hope that swim session will be made up with someone he knows Paul!!! I sounds like he will not stand for a repeat!

Best wishes for all of us in SoCal!


annie said...

Paul! You keep those therapists in line! Sheesh! They obviously have no idea who they're dealing with... good for you!

And PattyJerde (sorry everyone, I just have to call her PattyJerde allonewordruntogether) .... THAT was an incredible blog post. Such amazing, heartfelt words.

Rrramone said...

Thank you Patty. It has been such an amazing year, and you both continue to inspire me. Paul is such a force in my life, and a constant reminder of how fragile life is. I'm more grateful than ever because of you both. And Paul, somehow I knew deep down that you would outfight this thing. Keep on keepin' on. Or, as you like to say these days: Rock on.

Love and blessings.

Kristine said...

I've already said to you all how I feel...but I will add, Praise God.

Anonymous said...

*nice jobdaddy ilove you!

Anonymous said...

Patty, Paul, and Buzz-
You have all had an amazing year. Paul you have improved so much since when I first saw you in the hospital. Buzz you have done well with such change. In my heart Patty, you are a hero. You have worked so hard for your family, made tough choices, and come out of it with a smile. You are an amazing woman, mother, and friend. We are all here for you! - Jennifer Mc

P.S. the picture is beautiful

kyle farley said...

PAUL PATTY & BUZZ.....So fitting! Golf..... The Game of Integrity, Self Governance, Concentration, Technique, Intensity, a little luck here and there and Practice, Practice, Practice! David Duval....# 1 in the world 10 years ago....883rd ranking going into this years Open....He is on his way back with great you guys! I Love The Fact That You Became A Steward of The Game, Paul!

Anonymous said...

Patty and Paul,
You are so inspiring! We think of you and your family all the time and keep you in our prayers. It was so good to see you at the show. You both look great!
I was at a conference and thought of you today. I'm not sure what Paul's progress has been with his arm, but the conference I went to today offers some new options for therapy of the upper extremity related to neurological injuries. You may ask your therapist about it if it hasn't been introduced already and see what their thoughts are on it. They seem to have gotten some good results. The website for more info. is
Thanks again for the update. It really touched our hearts!

Rebecca and Tadd

Jason said...


I remember that television showing the US Open at the foot of his bed.

I've played golf about 3 times in my life, and one of them was with Paul. We had a blast playing with a couple of our clients. He was really passionate about the sport but got more out of the sheer fun aspect of it, without going nuts trying to perfect his swing. I love that about him.

Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts & updates. And tell Pete, this picture is awesome!

Mim said...

Thank you for keeping the updates coming - you are an amazing family! Paul is an amazing guy and it's very encouraging and heartwarming to read your updates. I also have a friend who had severe head injuries and it took a very long time for him to get back to "normal" but it happened.
I think of Paul everytime I see a biker on the road, and his accident has given me such a better view of the car/bike issue.
Please give him greetings from the blogger world

dpatrick said...

was just thinking about you and wanted to stop in and catch up. keep workin'hard my friend.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, Patty, and Buzz,

It is great to keep track of your journey on the blog. Please keep it up! You are doing a great job keeping us all informed. Paul and Buzz look so sweet in the picture!!

We are praying for Paul to walk, and continued recovery.

God bless

James and Audrey Harrell

veloj said...

I just wanted to comment on how your blog seems to affect me! I have been following since I first heard about Paul's accident. Thanks for touching us in so many ways. I am a cyclist from Austin and just want to say your family will be in my prayers. Get Well Soon Paul. I am sincerly touched by your story. Its a hard one, but Patty you are the tough one. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Love you Patty!
Keep up the great work Paul!
You and Patty are such an inspiration!

Sonja Canida

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