Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Milestones of a Wannabe CHAMPION

  • I still go with my Pa Baugh every Thursday to Neuroworx. In fact, if he is out of town, he arranges for me to be picked up, usually by Kevy my younger brother or my Aunt Cindy at 8:30 to get there and then my Amers to first tend my  Coleman while I'm there and then pick me up at noonish. Lucky them.

Check in on my progress:
 I can now Listen to music while doing the dishes. Which is super significant, normally I'm unable to focus on doing more than one thing at a time, but while I'm at therapy, music is on and someone will vacuum every now and then, ahh the carry over in "real"life. 
I pick things up off of our floor
I'm cane-less inside my home. Thanks to my Grandpa Morgan for inspiring me with his example
I've Realized that if I don’t do it at therapy, I won’t likely do it at home.

At my last Dr. Speed appointment, he would not give me an order for PT because it is coming up on 5 years since the accident. I’m now considered a “remote” TBI patient. He told me that he knew that Neuroworx had a different philosophy, his words were, “They have a vested interest.”
I Chatted with Matt Hansen about this, called and talked with Jan, and then Dale caught me at Neuroworx to tell me that it was alright and they would continue to provide services to me, with or without a doctor's script.
I worked with Big Man Matt a few weeks ago there and was able to pick up a row of weights from the floor. I’m continually amazed at what I’m able to do, if I trust in the therapists and just go for it. He had me do a few steps without holding on to a handrail for support a few weeks before this. Some of my other ADL that I have now thanks to continued therapy(Activities of Daily Life)are:
Using “George” to:

  •  turn on and off light-switches,
  • Flush the toilet(I guess I will have to start washing my left hand now too after I use the "potty"),
  •  shut drawers,
  •  turn on & off faucets,
  •   Open drawers
When I walk downstairs I touch the left wall on every other step, or go down with my good leg first, which makes "Bob" have to bend
Also with the stairs, I am able to walk upstairs “frontways” Coleman’s way of telling me to not walk backwards up the stairs. Something I do because we have a handrail on the right side going down. I've done the "frontways" upstairs without the rail or cane for about a week now. 
My Mondays at home are now laundry days that I spend washing.
 I am able to sweep and mop the kitchen floor.
Picking things up off the floor
Plugging in the vacuum and using it.

Things that I’m working on(to be continued):
I want to be able to use my three levels of garden in our backyard
Conquer the dropped floor in our living room
Cook more often
Bear-hug my kiddos and Lex

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Giraffe teaches the stages of grief

I first saw this in a Psych course as an undergrad at the U of U. I never thought that I would live through it in the way I have since the class. I still think that humor is one of life's best teachers.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Summer = thriving mode?

With my recent increase in blogging activity, in that sense I'm thriving. I was text a few weeks ago by a friend:" I had the coolest dream last night. You were working with George really hard at physical therapy. You decided to surprise your wife with a dance. You were able to stand up without any support and do "the wave" with your arms. It's hard to describe in words but you ended up doing a whole hip hop routine. It was super cool. You also need to write a new blog post! I keep checking for updates for something motivational. I love reading blogs. PS. This is Mary Myers. I'm not sure if you have my number or not." So Mary, I'll continue to strive to thrive.
I wrote two years ago how I was in survival mode during the school year and that it was nice to have a summer where Lex was able to be home.
Now with her as Annie in Murray City's production of Annie get your gun & her helping her sister direct Draper City's production of Alice in Wonderland. I see here about as much as during the school year.
Now it's up to me to get in gear to start to do public speaking on distracted driving. I need to use the video as a PR piece for promotion. Any takers? Feel free to contact me @ with distracteddriving in the subject box please. That, keep up on my summer reading list, entertain my boys with a new Spanish word of the day and blog. Life of a wannabe CHAMPION here.

A year ago

I wrote on here about moving. My post is titled, "Is the rumor true? Moving explanation." Yes, I just had another DW, wrting diva moment and am quoting myself, when I read this post again this morning, I remembered the emotion of being scared to give something I know is CHAMPION, our life in West Jordan with a home we'd built and started our family in, neighbors and a ward family that we knew we would miss terribly, for the unknown. I realize now that our prayers were answered in finding our current home. I remember Lex telling me that she had prayed more about this move than anything else in her life up to that point. It reminds me of my favorite scripture in Alma 62:41, "But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility." I remember that a Sister missionary on my mission shared this in a district meeting and told us that there are two ways that we can react to our trials, 1. we can become hardened or, 2. we can humble ourselves. I'm grateful for Lex's example in humbling herself and seeking help from our Heavenly Father. 
It hasn't been all sweet smelling roses here in our new home.I miss my roll in shower room that helped me smell my best, maybe not like a rose, but you get the point. We didn't have a working AC, when we moved in, in July, which made it harder to smell CHAMPION.  We had to do some renovations, get to know our new ward family and neighbors, and  on top of those things, deal with  missing what we had become comfortable with.
There's always something, we have been dealing with the scarey possibility that one of our new neighbors, who live across the street, moved and their house was under contract to become a rehabilitation home for drug addicts. I am all for helping others, just not at the risk of my own family's safety. Lex and I were again confused at why we would've been prompted that this was the right place for us, if we were going to have our family exposed to unnecessary negative influences? Because of the effort of concerned neighbors we seem to have a new family who's buying the home, although I tried to convince my friends that it would be CHAMPION if I got to pick my neighbors, abut then again,  I would've never had met some of my closest non-neighbor friends. 
I am happy to report that our move has been yet another tender mercy in my life. The Lord's promises are sure that He'll raise up friends. I read recently on StumbleUpon the advice a father gave to his kids, that we should always make new friends and treasure old ones. we've kept in touch with  old neighbors and treasured friends, while meeting new ones too. Having family live so close to be able to help us get our kiddos to school and activities. Not to mention three tiers of garden in our backyard, walking to school and to the duck pond to feed the patos malos.


Again, while I was working at Neuroworx with Matt Carter,  the other therapists are going to start thinking that I'm playing favorites, and I had done a few reps of an activity well when I tensed up and my tone kicked in. He told me to stop and sit down with him for a chat. He first told me how well I was doing and then let me know that I wasn't alone, that when I get frustrated my mind and  body tense up and this is normal for TBI patients. A life lesson/skill I needed to take home was to reset when it happens.
So now when this happens, I try to stop, calm down and reset. I often repeat to myself my favorite line from Disney's Big Hero 6, Vemax says, "I am not fast." I think that we live in a super efficent world, wich is a good thing most of the time, but we, meaning that I can forget to take time to ground myself and reset. My challenge for myself is to be patient with my however limited progress & give thanks for the CHAMPION therapy that my Life is giving me. When I do, things go so much better.

Lifting Burdens with hope

I remember when Elder Bednar gave this talk, a few years ago General Conference and how powerful it was. I learned from my Sunday School team teachers, the Christensens, Connor and Audrey that she watches these Mormon messages online regularly, so I checked them out and was excited to see that this talk had been made into one.
I am now meeting weekly with my Elder's Quorum President Myers. I joke with him that he's my assigned friend in the ward. He comes back with, it's the other way around. That's why he's my friend, I've got high standards of my friends actually believing that I'm cool enough to be their friend. A weeks ago we were chatting and he stopped and looked up at me, taking his eyes away from his notes, one of his nicknames that I've given him is Mr. Effective. He said, you're going through a lot Curtis, and you're doing great. He reminded me not to be so hard on myself.He's become my texiting buddy and checks up on me daily. I'm a high maintenance friend. 
The Lord's promises are sure that He'll taise up friends. Prayers are answered & burdens lifted.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


I'm not sure if I wrote this yet, but a few months ago I was at Neuroworx and went into their restroom where I shower after therapy. I was surprised to see my therapist Matt Carter in there doing some therapy with  a patient on mobility in the bathroom. We, as I do with all my PTs, and most of my friends,  share a playful banter relationship. He jumped on the opportunity to razz me a bit and asked if I was using what we had just finished working on. I was just as quick to respond with, "I'm just trying to shower! Man, you guys are every where!"
But his comment has stuck with me. Lex has asked me why I go to therapy if I don't implement what I am working on there, here at hom? My come back has been that I need it for the social therapy, if nothing else, I get one on one time with my Dr. Pa Baugh.
I'm finally coming around to realizing that if I don't attempt it in therapy, it more than likely will not happen at home, or in my life for that matter.
Today I showed up with my "carryover."  I'm currently on a rotating schedule with all the therapists at Neuroworx. I kid with them and say that they have to share the love/CHAMPION-ness. I've got them all well trained to humor me. Back to me showing up with  my "carryover," I worked with Matt today and went in to Neuroworx wearing a postit note on the right side of my glasses, very much like a horse with blinders. He had put one on me the last time I worked with him to see if it would help me to overcome my left-side neglect. I've been wearing a postit at home for about a month now. My sweet Abby told me not to wear it anywhere else, but home, because it's just weird. I'm afraid that you'll just have to get used to my weirdness my Abbyster, because it's not going away anytime soon and hopefully neither is the carryover.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Be Our Guests

We had a few house guests come stay with us, this past spring. The first was my friend from my mission Aaron Christopherson. We were never companions, but we were in the same apartment for six months.He’s from California and came for his brothers wedding. Chris called me at Christmas, to ask if he could see me. I told him that this would be the most CHAMPION Christmas present. I told Lex and she insisted that he stay with us. I took him to Café Rio and we went to a movie together, but the thing that I enjoyed the most was catching up with him. When we walked into Wally-World, past my bed time at 9 ocloc, he asked me if I was alright, if he was wearing me out. When I told him that I was just tired he smiled and told me that he wasn’t going to treat me any different, as long as I was alright. Thanks my friend Chris for helping me feel normal again and having a CHAMPION time with you.
Another one of the things that Chris said to me, that I liked, was his father had told him that "he had to get old but he didn’t have to grow up". Chris said this in response to my comment that growing up is so over-ratted.
Our next house guest was my "son" from my mission, a companion that I trained. Franco Torriani is the “Bambino” Chileano from Santiago whose life-long dream has been to come to Amerca. He doesn’t know English very well and has earned the nickname of “Don Juan” from our mission Mammita, Mammita Call who is our mission president’s wife. “Don Juan" is a suave romancer.
Franco came with me to therapy, cleaned my kitchen, washed the dishes, and played with my kiddos, since he's really just an overgrown kid himself.  He fulfilled his life long dream of coming and went to General Conference. He drove Lex a bit crazy with his Chileano laid-back attitude of not having a fixed schedule for anything.
The last I heard is that he wants to do thepaper work done so that he can move here for good! He’s been offered a job, so we'll see.

What to do with time

On the video that's my story I shared part of a thought that Lex got put on a tile for me to display in our home, it comes from President Thomas S. Monson, The whole quote is"The past is behind us, LEARN from it. The future is before us, PREPARE for it. The present is here, LIVE it.
I 've had people ask me why I am not bitter because of the accident and the limitations that it has left me with. My knee-jerk reason is that if I were bitter, it would send me over the edge and I have enough to worry about as it is. I taught in Sunday School this past February out of the "Come Follow Me" curriculum for the youth on the topic of the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for the knowledge and happiness, both on the here and mow, as well as anticipated happiness that comes from a sincere and diligent effort to first seek out truths and then to live them. I am amazed at the spiritual maturity of the youth and am excited for their future, even in a world that provides so much resistance to their righteous desires. After all it's only through resistance can we be made stronger. T. S. Elliot said, " if you aren't in over you head, how do you know how tall you are?"
My twin bro Matt text me this thought that seems to me to sum up what to do with time. It comes from Erwin W. Lutzer's book titled, Putting the Past Behind You, "The next time Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future." I'm running from  bad mistakes that lead to an addiction of paralyzing entrapment , it took a car accident to wake me up. Please learn from me and don't have to have such a wake up call to live, today how you know you should.

My so amazing that it's awkward cousin Sharon Seminario chatted with me at our last Cinco de Mayo celebration at her house about how weird time is. One of my favorite sayings of Elder Haight is "the hard thing about patience is we pray for it, but we want it right now!"
I came across some funny saying by way of my new favorite App, Stumble Upon, one of them said, "Stop Killing time because time is billing you. I guess I've got a sick sense of humor. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Patos Malos

is bad ducks in Spanish, translated literally, but is a "Chileanismo" that means" bad guys."
We now live close enough to the Jordan River Parkway that I can roll over with my kiddos to feed the ducks. They love this, but last month I asked them all to come with me, one of my, I've got to get out of this house moments or I'll become a Pato Malo LOCO, and was surprised to have Maxwell have a complete melt down, crying and sobbing that he wouldn't go! I'm proud to say that I was able to stay calm and call him over to sit on my lap and talk with him. My first thought was that he was afraid of something, so I asked him if he was, or if something had happened the last time we had gone. He shook his head no, still to upset to speak. I hugged him close and asked him what was wrong. He finally calmed down enough to look me in the eyes and tell me, with tears in his, that he just didn't like that some of the ducks didn't get bread. I am again proud to report that I didn't laugh in my sensitive boy's face. I did try to reason with him, not my best parenting moment, asking him if we ever left the duck pond with uneaten bread pieces floating on the water?In a moment of clarity he again managed a head shake of "no". I then asked him if he was sad because he couldn't control which duck got what piece? That did get a smile on his face, even though the tears were still freely flowing, he timidly shook his head up and down.
 When I told Lex about this, ever the problem-solver, she asked me if I'd told Max that we could help him solve his problem by getting him into baseball so that he could learn to throw better? I laughed and told her that I wasn't thinking about solving the problem, just amazed at it when I finally found out what it really was. That and it took all my mental self-control to not laugh in his face.I'm such a "pato malo" my Maer. I love you so.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Music can Sooth the Soul

l Trace Bundy was someone I never heard of, but Lexy’s school held a concert as a fundraiser and we went. He is CHAMPION  amazing. It was a concert that rivals The Bare Naked Ladies, for me. I’ve never been to a concert that the performer has been more gracious to the audience.
Trace is the real deal and does this for a living, 10 years and counting. He did his performance at Paradigm for a reduced rate for the fundraiser. I experienced talent that I’ve never imagined.
I was moved by his performance of ‘Joy and Sorrow’ but was told by Lex that I couldn’t cry. =p He told a back-story of the song, his cousin has cancer and even though she was weak, was all smiles and hugs when he surprised her with a visit. He mentioned that she lived with such a passion for life even with a terminal disease that it made him want to do so to.
I laughed myself to exhaustion when he played Dueling ‘Ninjas’ with a finger puppet of a monkey on his thumb as the referee.
He told another story of one of his friends asking him if he thought that God is impressed with his performance? He said that he did not think that God though that he was impressive,  but that He wants him to share his talent, passion and love with others. It was a CHAMPION self-check moment for me

Friday, May 8, 2015

My idea of Hell. . . .

Hell is a place where I cannot laugh. I'm not there yet. C.S. Lewis writes in Screwtape Letters that the devil cannot stand to be mocked. I keep repeating to myself a line from Batman Forever, "Why so serious?" My Amers quoted this while laughing at her Emery who's favorite dressup at grandma's is batman. She was decked out in it, but was crying. Laugh with me.

I see Lex less this summer less than when she's working during the school year because she's the lead in Murray's musical Annie this summer and helping costume the Draper City's production of Alice in wonderland that Abby's in and her sister's directing. So between the two rehursals she brings home lunch. On one morning we were watching Cash and I sat down on our couch downstairs where Lex had some clean laundry. When I got upstairs, lex was giggling at me because my shorts had a multicolored sock stuck to the rear-end pocket Velcro.
I went to lunch with friends from high school  and we shared  our favorite memories, one of them was skiing, back when we were young enough to enjoy it and when it was affordable, Gary accidentally set off a domino effect and knocked down an entire row of  skies.
The irony of me putting my wheelchair together while standing and not wanting to ask for help
Aunty Em sing to me in Spanish on my Birthday,  "Feliz cumpliaños aqui." Instead of "a ti" thanks for humoring me Aunty Em.
My father's Day primary fill in the blanks by my kiddos: my dad's favorite activity: Abby's reponse: teading the scriptures
Maxwell's: watching PBS
Coleman's: painting
My best friend from high school helped me plant my garden. I need to weed it so I came up with "Weeding Wednesdays" to recruit my kiddos help. We have weed killer that we use for our lawn and for my CHAMPION parenting tip: i'm recommending you don't ask your kids to handle poisons in any form. I did have my kiddos help me, only to find latter that my big helper Cole sprayed a couple of my tomatoe plants too. No worries, the tomatoe plants and the weeds sprayed by him are still going strong and even taste good.
Lex asked me  to be helpful and not do the laundry because the last two times I put her clothes that aren't suppose to go into the dryer into the dryer. I told her that I couldn't promise her anything, but I would try to not be helpful.
We started swimming lessons at a home in our neighborhood where I could walk over with Max and Coleman. On our first day, I forget to have them use the bathroom(CHAMPION parenting, I know). Maxwell cannot sit still next to me as Coleman gets into the pool for his lesson. Because I'm in my wheelchair I cannot get to a place where I can ask the teacher about him using the restroom, so I tell my Max that he needs to ask her where the restroom is(obstical#1: overcome by listening to when nature calls. That a boy, Max) The backdoor is locked (obstical #2: overcome by asking how to get in again.) Max comes back from going around to the front, way to soon to have gone, he's got a look of defeat on his face, but his pants aren't wet. I look into his eyes and see terror as he tells me that there's a big dog sitting next to the bathroom door inside. Now for those of you who don't know my Maxwell, he is deathly afraid of dogs in fact I might lay in laws house when dogs will bark you will cover his eyes and pretend that they're not there.anotther example of his deathly fear of dogs, on his way to school, two houses down there's a dog in the yard the barks from under the fence, he tells me every time I walk him to school to be very quiet. I think to myself that there's no way that he's going to be able to go in and use the bathroom with a big dog guarding the door(impossible #3 obstical overcome by asking his teacher about the dog and making Dakota his friend)  every time we went to swimming lessons he'd go inside to visit him.
Lex did a CHAMPION job speaking on the parable of the lost coin in sacrament meeting and said, "oh, crap!" Over the pilpit. Aunty Em and I couldn't stop laughing about it at her parent's when we were there for dinner.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Is what my friend texts me when he's excited or agrees with my "strength of my humility that defies description." you see I've got very high standards for friends, they've got to text me things like this to even get a reply. President Shane Myers, It's absolutely CHAMPION  to have you as a friend.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

What's New?

A simple conversation starter. It's a cultural way of thinking, in which we're looking towards the biggest and the best. C.S. Lewis wrote of the "horror of the same old thing"  in The Screwtape Letters, that helps to shed light on the subtlety of this temptation, as well as the "law of diminishing returns with novelty."
I also think of how many of my "new" ideas here are really plagerized from my readings and interactions with others.

So to answer this, summer for me is gardening, thanks to my best friend Marc Mckay's help, a trampoline for the kiddos to wear them out with fun & exercise,  and blogging on my phone, while Lex run's Abby to her rehursal,  helps costume that musical and rehurses for Annie Get Your Gun as the lead. I'm also attempting to teach my kiddos Spanish with a Spanish word of the day, this replaces my tutor Tuesday.
We now do Toilet Tuesdays where I  help the kiddos clean their bathrooms, weeding weednesdays when I recruit their help in the yard.
Therapy Thursdays are still going strong with my President Pa Baugh. I'm learning so much from teaching Come Follow Me curriculum to the 14 to 18 year olds in Sunday School with the Christensens, Audrey and Connor, AKA Bubbles. I also teach once a month in Elder's Quorum.  These lessons are always more for me than anyone else.
Let's face it, "what's the same old, same old" isn't a lead in to a conversation that we ever hear.


Would you go?If everyone else could fly, but you couldn't?(I'm not sure where the "Yoda talk" comes in but it was entertaining for me) I know that I'm not suppose to compare myself to others(especially not Yoda), but I do(not to Yoda on a regular basis, because that would be crazy.) and it hurts because of the things that I cannot do, that I was able to do before the accident. The words to a song by John Mayer run through my head, "Bigger than My Body":

Yes, I'm grounded
Got my wings clipped
I'm surrounded (by)
All this pavement
Guess I'll circle
While I'm waiting
For my fuse to dry

As I told my Elder's Quorum on Sunday in my self-pity party of my comments, I  know I could get stuck here if I let myself, it would be the easy thing to do,
I could sing the song Superman (It's Not Easy):
I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
I'm just out to find
The better part of me

I'm more than a bird,
I'm more than a plane
I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
It's not easy to be me

I wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
'Bout a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd but don't be naïve
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it's not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me
Well, it's alright
You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy or anything

I can't stand to fly
I'm not that naïve
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me
Inside of me, inside of me

But, then I really would go crazy.  Instead I  try to remind myself of the things that I can do, and that list is getting longer all the time. Last Thursday, I did things in therapy with George that I never thought that I'd be able to do again. I held a ball against the wall and did circles with it. I'm grateful for Neuroworx and the hope that I continue to find there with their motto of "Pushing for more." So progress gives me hope and keeps me from going crazy. I keep telling myself that I've been through the worst. Knock on wood. At least I'm not in a hospital bed and unconscious with Lex sitting by me and  praying for me to come back to her. I'm here Babe. You prayed me back and I chose to come.  S we all get to deal with the aspiring CHAMPION. I keep reminding myself of Elder Dale G. Runland said this past April General Conference on his talk, Latter-day Saints Keep on trying. He quotes Nelson Mandela, "I'm no Saint, unless a Saint is a sinner who keeps trying."
I also try to take a look at all the tender mercies that have append post accident. I have a new appreciation for all the little things in my life that are really the important things, my relationships with my family & taking time to be with them. I would've never slowed down enough to enjoy them as much as I do now.
On my Coleman's preschool calendar every month there's a thought. for May it's from Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can or can't; you're right. Since my doing thing in therapy that I thought were no longer in my ability to do. I have experienced what Dr. Norman Doige described when he spoke here few months ago about the brain's ability to unlearn things as well as learn/master new things.
Never say never.