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Chapter 2

The hacker is back. . .

I promise this post won’t be as long as the last one, but I wanted to bring you up to date.

Shelli arrived in the hospital on Thursday; it’s now Wednesday morning, right? (My days are running together a little bit.) It’s been almost a week . . . a very long week!

Up until yesterday, she was on the trauma floor, with lots of testing, poking, prodding, and physical therapy. She sat up and sat down, wiggled and stretched, tried hard to do everything she was asked to do.

Yesterday morning, one of her physical therapists announced that she was going to walk down the hall with the aid of a walker; she made it to her doorway (about 15 feet) before finally admitting defeat and heading back to the bed.

Despite that, by mid-afternoon, we “got a raise” as my father would have said, and moved one level up from the trauma floor to the acute rehabilitation floor. Within an hour, the supervisor of the occupational therapy team dropped in for a visit, and all I can say is, he wasn’t gentle. His job was to find out what Shelli can do and what she can’t do, and while I understand that’s his job, it was hard to watch. By the time he left, Shelli was close to tears. Didn’t feel like much of a raise.

And it got harder,

A couple of hours later, we were getting ready to take Shelli to a visit to the bathroom when two nurses came in to help. When they explained they were going to spin, lift, and sit, we told them we had worked out a much more gentle method (learned from therapists from the floor below). After a fairly lengthy discussion, we persuaded them to let us at least try it our way while they watched and evaluated, but halfway through, one of the nurses couldn’t stand it any longer. She insisted on showing me the spin-lift-sit method, which I tried. When she asked me if that didn’t feel better, I had to be honest—nope. She was not impressed.

After they left, Shelli and I realized we’d entered a whole new world.

The trauma floor is full of people who are gentle and soothing and focused on getting their patients to a good place; the rehabilitation floor is full of people who are strong and demanding and focused on getting their patients past the good place to the even better (because they can go home) place. It just doesn’t feel like a better place quite yet.

Thankfully, the highlight of the day was yet to come—a shower, followed by a visit from Tawnya, her friend and stylist, who gave her a haircut. When you can’t even touch your head, a quick, easy hairstyle is a must for everyone who is helping!

As I left Shelli last night, she was exhausted. On the drive home, I thought about the past few days. While Shelli is getting stronger every day, she’s still in a helluva a lot of pain. (Excuse my language, I am country boy, after all. . .PLUS she’s not reading this over my shoulder!) And the reality that this is her life for quite a few weeks is sinking in. I have no doubt that she’ll make it, and that that stubborn smile of hers will stay strong, but this is going to be hard.

On the bright side, we are both touched and amazed at the outpouring of love and support. We’ve read the comments on the blogs and almost every comment talks about kind thoughts and prayers being offered on our behalf. Thank you! We are both absolute believers in prayer and want you to know that they are helping; we feel them.

Before I end, I wanted to mention a couple of “housekeeping” items (and you thought I wasn’t listening during Shelli’s convention speeches!).

First of all, a couple people have sent e-mails to the hospital, asking hospital officials to forward them to Shelli. While we are both touched by these expressions of support, we want to keep the hospital staff on our side, and we’re pretty sure that they’d prefer not to add “messenger” to their already long list of responsibilities. We’re telling people to check here on her blog for updates, and also to post comments and well wishes here; Shelli will get them faster here than anywhere else.

Second, several of you mentioned sending cards, and since Stampin’ Up! is a card-making company with tons of card-making people, that definitely makes sense. If you want to send a card, you can send it to Stampin’ Up!’s home office, and they’ll make sure Shelli receives it.

I did notice, however, that one commenter suggested sending cards not necessarily to Shelli but to someone else in your life who might need it (elderly, military, etc.). This suggestion stood out to me too, because I know the power of cards and know that many people don’t have the incredible support that Shelli has (thanks in large part to you). I think it would be a great idea to send a card to someone in your life who is in special need or someone who may be feeling lonely. Just wanted to share that thought. . .

Third, and this one might sound weird, especially considering that I am a pretty quiet, in-the-background kind of guy. I don’t know the Statement of the Heart word for word like Shelli does, but I know it starts out with something about loving what you do and sharing what you love, and I had this thought—Shelli would probably love it if you shared Stampin’ Up! with someone. Think of your friends, family, neighbors, whatever . . . and as you’re thinking and praying about Shelli, as a name comes to mind, consider sharing Stampin’ Up! with that person. I know that would thrill Shelli. . .

I promise that’s my own suggestion—no one from Stampin’ Up!’s recruiting department has been anywhere near me. I just know how much Stampin’ Up! has meant to Shelli through the years, and how much she loves it, so I just thought I’d put that out there.

Now, this has turned out longer than I thought, so I’m going to stop.

But stay tuned for Chapter 3. . . .


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Reader Comments (225)

Hi just sending lots of love and strength as stampin up! Helps me threw my own god bless you all x from Leeds uk x
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay firth
LOVE IT! Thanks for coming out of the background, Sterling! Don't forget to take care of yourself, too!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatti MacLeith
Thank you for the update!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVeda
Thanks for the update. Hugs (gentle ones) to Shelli and all of you.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjeanette
Air Hug is coming your way. I pray you will heal quickly Sheli. Hugs Veronica
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVeronica Meyer
Poor Shelli - that physical therapy does sound tough. Loads of hugs and prayers from me and my little team of UK demonstrators. We are all thinking of her and of you Sterling. Thank you for the updates and what a great idea of yours- a get well wish to Shelli on her blog and a card to someone else who needs one right now. I will do that.

Get well soon Shelli - keep smiling - and don't try to do too much too soon. Love and hugs. Elizabeth X
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth shannon
Sterling, thank you for sharing with us those difficult moments. We all want to know that Shelli is going to get better and better every day. You are with all of us in our prayers and our heart. I'm amazed by your generosity and your kindness. Hope the best for all your family and especially Shelli and you.
Lison (from Montreal)
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLison
Thanks for all of the updates! Sending lots of (((hugs))) from West-Central Illinois! :)
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia Caulkins
Shelli and Sterling,
You are both in my thoughts and prayers. I know it means the world to Shelli to have her "sweetheart" by her side helping her through this difficult time. Praying for a full recovery and comfort along the way.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne Everett
I'm sending lots of prayers for strength and healing. I know the therapy isn't fun, but I know how well it works!
Love & prayers~
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Howard
Bless your hearts! Sending lots of love and prayers to you all.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Lawson
God bless you Sterling for your love and support to Shelli. God bless you Shelli as you go through the very difficult therapy process. And God bless the rest of the Gardner family as your line of support! Prayers, hugs and love to you all!!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Reeder
Sending lots of prayers your way. Think of this as your new occupation for the next few months. It may be the hardest job you will ever have, but from what I know you have a tremendous support system....your family.....your company....your consultants.....your customers (that's me). Wishing you a speedy recovery. Thinking of your family as well. I am a nurse and I know when someone in the family is ill....the whole family is ill as well. Be strong .
God bless you all.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Asselin
Shelli and Sterling...I'm thinking of you both daily. You're right, the way back will be a journey. If anyone can do it, Shelli can! Just want you to know that I care and am praying for your full recovery.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn Olchefske
Thanks so much for the update; keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers, There was a time in my life when my youngest son was in the hospital for the entire summer... I was either at the hospital, going to the hospital, or leaving the hospital.. it was a long summer.. but we made it thru.. I am sure you will too... I am sure you will have all the caregivers stamping at some point..... Take care of yourself Sterling, and Shelli let everyone take care of you..... it's what they want to do...
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTami Gadd
Sterling - Your comment "considering that I am a pretty quiet, in-the-background kind of guy" made me smile. I've always thought of you as a "strong and supportive" type of guy. As I read your first blog post last week, I realized that those words were the first time I've "heard" you speak at length....and the words you chose brought me to tears. Thank you for generously sharing your story with us. Shelli is blessed to have you!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJodi Reinert
I read these posts and realize how very fortunate I am to have become such a part of this wonderful "family" , thank you for sharing this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of you, but Sterling especially to you, as a caregiver, it is very difficult to see your loved one in such pain, and knowing that there is so much rehab left to do. Keep positive thoughts, we love you all!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetty Weisbrich
You couldn't be more right when you said you both had "entered into a whole new world"! Tough love is the rehab approach but that also includes listening to the patient/family and be respectful to you both. As a healthcare worker for over 32 years, we sometimes forget to listen and only Shelli knows exactly what her body will allow her to do. I pray for healing physically, emotionally, and spiritually through this recovery. She is strong and loved by her "stampin up" family from all over the world. My daughter took 15 SU cards to Merida, Mexico to her "host" family this semester and they were thrilled! Touching lives all over the world.....through Shelli's SU dream!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa P, Shults
I bet Shelli can convert a few of the nurses at the hospital to Stampin' Up! Or you could Sterling! ; )
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Thank you so much for keeping us updated Sterling. I appreciate the updates as we are all praying for Shelli here and the updates do tell us the prayers are helping. I am also praying for you as I know being the one running back and forth to the hospital but not being able to actually help Shelli heal is difficult, at best. I know that this is really hard for you and the girls as well.
Shelli I am very impressed that you allows anyone to photograph you as you recover. I would not let anyone near me with a camera if I were in the hospital and I am impressed that you do (and that you looks so good too!). And through it all there is that amazing smile, I don't know how you manage that!
When it starts to hurt while doing PT remember that each step you take is a step closer to home!
Love you Shelli!
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrina Congie
Sterling - thank you so much for taking the time to keep us updated.. we really appreciate it. I can't even imagine how difficult this is for all of you. Your family has blessed so many of us over the years that now it is time to shower all of you with prayers of support. Please don't forget through all of this to also take the time to take care of yourself ! The road to recovery is very much a painful one as Shelli gets her body moving again... HUGS. Continued prayers of love and healing .
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer DiMarco
Sterling - first of all, thank you for the update - we are all very concerned about Shelli and your progress reports are much appreciated! I think it helps us all rest a little easier to see the pictures of Shelli, and I'm so glad she has so much support. The days ahead will not be easy, but one day at a time and it will soon be a memory. Praying for all the Gardners,...
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Duke
LOVE the country boy in you Sterling ;) Thanks for taking the time to post. You both will continue to be in my prayers xoxo
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMaxine Conrad
Thank you Sterling for keeping us up to date. It makes me cry to see & hear of Shelli in such pain. Shelli is an incredible role model for us, her grace and strength are always an inspiration as well as the wonderful marriage and partnership you & Shelli share. Prayers and thoughts for Shelli, you and your family. Please give Shelli's four legged angel an extra treat for protecting her.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTerry Saunders
Thanks so much for the updates Sterling! For a "quiet, in-the-background kinda guy" you are quite the wordsmith here on the blog - your posts have been a charming mixture of reality laced with humour! We really appreciate you taking the time to update us all. Shelli it is wonderful to see you smiling in these pics, and making progress - no matter how small! Please know that you are both in my thoughts, take care! Hugs all the way from New Zealand.
September 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharlene Meyer

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