Mavens With Moustaches

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fathers Day Eve

I would like to take a quick lil break from our fun and festive fathers day weekend that we have devoted to my soulmate Jamas and my BFF John..I love these 2 guys...but right now...on this Fathers Day Eve...I would like to reflect on my dad...Walter..who has been dealt a roller coaster kinda life...some great highs and some very low lows.  My dad has experienced some of the toughest couple of years of his life in this recent past...and even though life goes must go I mean.  It is hard to have one day go by where I dont think of my Fathers horrific accident that occured on the first day of 2009...the experience...the fear...the tears...the strength we all had to muster...the patience we all had to find..and most important the faith we all had to rely on to move fight...and to believe.  I have never been great with articulating myself in person about deep and emotional experiences in my in order to avoid people asking me about my father...I began to email updates to my loved ones...and tonight on this Fathers Day Eve...please allow me to reflect and share with you these stories....

Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well with you all!

As some of you might already know this Jan. 1 my family begun the new year in the most tragic way...our beloved and TEDDY BEAR of a father had a really bad fall down a long flight of stairs landing on a brick floor.  You can imagine this has been the MOST devastating days of my life!!!!! For those of you who have met my charismatic, hilarious and warm father know that he is just SUNSHINE....when we walks in a room happiness follows!!!!  To see this same man lay in a coma is just about the most heart wrenching thing to me... I just have been devastated.  However, what I have learned is that God in many ways (sometimes HARD) is leading us down a path...I have already taken many lessons away from this and the most important is to just BELIEVE that God has a PLAN...that he will not give you more than you can handle and that it all has purpose!  I am HONORED to have the father and mother that I have...they both have shown me such strength and will this week and for that I will forever be grateful.  Life is too fast we must slow down and enjoy every single minute...everyone around us....everything that happens.  I am so grateful for all my friends who have given me such support this week ....I really Love you!!!!!

My dad continues to be in the SICU Unit in Mission Hospital in Missioin Viejo where my mom, AMAZING sister and I have been at his bedside since this happened.  This will be a marathon of a recovery but we are all willing and waiting to run along side him!!!  I have been speaking with his Neurosurgeon, pulminary doc, trauma doc and nurse (THE ANGEL ...MISS. HEATHER...who I will probably end up tatooing her name on my body :)) and they all agree that my dad is progressing and has maintained a good and stable state right now.  His ICP (brain pressure) is good and his oxygen levels in his brain have been I quote "FANTASTIC"!  He has developed Pneumonia but they are aggressivly treating it.  He also has sustained many fractures to his face but that bridge we will cross later!  Again thank you for all your prayers...I love you all and hope too see you all soon!  Keep the prayers COMING!!!!

Lots of LOVE
Maria Arnold
Daughter of the STRONGEST man I know!

Hello Friends,

Many of you have been calling and inquiring about the updates on my father...I thank you all for your continued support and prayers...they have been working!  

For those of you who have never met the character who is Walter Alfonso Serrano...well let me tell you ...within minutes you just simply fall in love with this man...I've actually heard grown man refer to him as "cute" ....He is 5 feet and 6 inches of cuddly love....and for a 59 year old man let me tell you he was rocking an amazing head of hair!!!!  I remember for a split second when I found out he was in surgery that first day I thought ..."O my goodness they are going to shave off all his hair that he has always been so proud of".   So my sister and I were in the waiting room this past Friday when we saw the nurses wheeling out a bed...I popped up and sure enough it was my dad.  I ran out to ask where they were taking him only to be SHOCKED to find out they had removed all of his dressings and wires from his head exposing his new "Do" and my sister Leslie took the words right out of my mouth..."He looks like a cuter, shorter version of Matt Lauer"  where I quickly agreed!  I can't believe how fast his hair has grown!  Once over the shock I asked where they were taking him and it was off to another CT scan for him..where I later got reports back from his amazing Neurosurgeon that his bruise has shrunk....I was sooo happy.  Up until this day they had said "slightly improved" so to her Dr. Nhuagu be that enthusiastic about the size was AWESOME!!!!  

My dad is sailing through just as they hoped he would...this week they are aggressivly bringing him out of his medically induced coma where we will then be able to access the rehabilitation that will be needed!  I ask that you all please continue with all the prayers that my dad recovers quicky and we can hear him speaking with his strong and really cute accent  or as he refered to it.... his "Bostonian Accent".  

My mom continues to be a rock....I am inspired by her strength...and hope that everyone in their lifetime feels and lives the love that my parents have for each other!  On Friday the nurse was trying to wake my dad saying "Mr Serrano...Mr. Serrano" he is responding with opening his eyes a little...but then the nurse called my mom over and she begun "Sera...Sera" (that's her nickname for him) and the nurse told me when my mom did that a tear came out of my dad's that not the sweetest and at the same time heart wrenching things ....o my ...Love is a strong!

God Bless You all!

Lots of Love
Maria Serrano- Arnold 

Hello Friends,

So here we are 26 days later!  A wonderfully wise friend of mine recently shared with me what her mom used to say to her when she had a problem, an injury or an illness..."Today is the first day of the healing process"!  Thank God that time we are 26 days later and I have only joyous news to report about my DADDY!  

The man is on the move.....this evening he was transported via ambulance to the Kaiser hospital in Anaheim Hills.  This was a hard change being that we all became so close and fell in love with the SICU nursing staff over at Mission Hills Hospital...including of course my father's neurosurgeon the FANTABULOUS Dr. Nuguagu....this was a hard but good thing.  We were told from the beginning that he would not be going anywhere until he was completely we are grateful and optimistic that Kaiser will take great care of our TEDDY BEAR:)!  My father is now off ALL of his drips, all of his moniters are off, and (drum roll please) they even ALREADY took the hose off of his TRAECH....WOW!  They have weaned him almost completely off his medications and so this has just opened the flood gates for him to wake up....we need his smile, voice, and energy back!  He started waking up last week slowly but surely ...but the big moment came this past Friday....I was already having a great day when after work I called my mom to check up and she told me .....HE KISSED HER!!!!!  I down right just FLIPPED...I was so HAPPY I was shaking!  This was amazing news not only for the obvious ROMANTIC reasons but because he started showing voluntary movements...not just reflexes.  The next day I decided to finally take the kids to see him for the first time and....I can't even try to put it into words...the look on my Dad's face when he saw them was a look I will NEVER, EVER forget!!!!!  That day he was kissing up a storm, responding to questions with his eyes, smiling at my cheesy (and I mean cheesy) jokes, and tracking really well with his eyes.  The kids handeled it very well especially Little John whom just blew me away with his strentgh..the whole time infront of my dad he was holding back tears...and told us that he knew he had to be strong for ABUELO.  The doctors continue to be blown away with his progress and fight....I secretly am not surprised because I have watched my father all my life and all I've seen in him is strength, faith, love, and an amazing fighting spirit.  I have NEVER seen my father give up on anything in the past....even when many thought it couldn't be done...he has done it!  WAY TO FIGHT DAD!  

Many of you have requested to visit my father but we were holding off until the right time...well now is that time!  The doctors have told us it is good for him to see, hear, smell familiar things to him so for those of you who would like to visit please contact me so we can arrange a time.  Again, I cannot say this enough times...THANK YOU to all of our wonderful family and friends for your support and prayers.  It's amazing how loved my Father the past month we have received calls from Venezuela, Spain, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, and all around the United States from friends and family checking up on the ball of energy that is my DADDY! Thank You and we love you all!!!!

Big Hugs,
Maria Serrano-Arnold

Hello My wonderful Friends and Family,

So here's an many of you have become Walter Fans that I feel there should be some kind of Fan Club...kinda like Clay Aiken's Claymates or The Jonas Brothers screaming hoard of groupies....we can call you all "The Teddy Bear Chasers" or the "Walternettes"...just an idea...:)  Seriously though I can't tell you how nice it is to have such a loyal and supportive group of people who are always inquiring or visiting my has been really life changing to all of us.  And, even more gratifying has been that with every update I can continue to bring you positive news and his great tales of progress. 

This week started off with a bang (much to my father's dismay) they have been WORKING him over in the PT's his own fault for instantly showing so much potential.  The PT team started off by sitting him up for short periods of time with assistance and off to one side of the bed.  Then on Monday they transferred him onto a wheelchair he went on his first expedition through New Hills Facility....sporting his ever so dashing helmet....which I must say he wears very well!  So off he went whizing through the halls with my mother in tow and the occasional visiting grandchild...this has just been super exiting for us all!  Not only because he is getting out of the room but he is able to strenthen up his core once again..I was afraid I would have to call in Richard Simmons pretty soon to get him going...thank God that won't be neccesarry I just don't think my dad could handle his energy and not to mention those teeny weeny shorts!  So now that they got him in a chair came the standing.....which he....NAILED!  His PT told me the first time she barely had to assist he pulled himself up on the parrallel bars and stood for 10 sec....he did this twice the first day...WOWY ZOWY DADDIO!  So now they will continue working him to the bone and hopefully I will have even greater strides to report on the next update!  We are soooooo blessed to have such a strong dad physically but much more important spiritually strong...his will is untouched...his drive is awesome and he will not QUIT!!!  I I tell him everyday ....REDUNKULOS...thats right not rediculous....but...REDUNKULOUS proud of him!!!!  

My mom continues to be the ever so vigilant and strong angel that is ALWAYS at his bedside...wiping his face, rubbing lotion on him, massaging his arms and legs, and talking his ear off.  This is love so unconditional that I witness with these two not only through these trying days but through my entire life.  I have only great memories of my parents love story...watching them hold hands like teenagers in love, and missing each other (kind of at a ridiculous amount) when my father was away for I've said in the past this is the type of love I wish everyone finds in their lifetime!

My sister Leslie...continues to be strong and is only a little over a month away from giving birth to her second son Santiago brother to the one and only Angelo!  She is amazing "Strong as on Ox" .....she probably wouldn't appriciate me speaking of her and an Ox in the same sentence at this time of her pregnancy...but you know what I mean...strong willed!:)  We are all confident that when Santiago arrives my Daddio will be in great spirits and health to hold his sixth grandchild.

John and Isabella have been SENSATIONAL through this and really is such a delight to see them at work over at New Hills...I say "at work" because the second we get there they whip out the dry erase board and they start writing down questions for my dad and test's actually quite impressive!  Bella will draw a picture of 4 trees 1 being different...then she asks "which is different"  being that my dad can't verbally answer she writes down 1= blink your eyes, 2=move your legs, 3=blow a kiss or 4= open your mouth...the first time they did this I nearly fell out of my cute.  And Johnny proclaimed today that his new favorite hobbie is to visit Abuelo and read to him!  

Again...many hugs, kisses, and thanks to all of you for the continued support and prayers!

Maria Arnold- Serrano

Hello my friends and Familia,

What a week it has been!  It is so marvelous to watch the strides my father is making.  This weeks adventures brings us the tales of mobility, speech, and to my dad's great!  On the Physical Therapy front I can report that he continues to rock and roll in his wheelchair all throughout the New Hills Facility...with great posture I might add!  He is taking steps on the parallel bars and they even have him exercising on the stationary bike (note to self...get the man a flashy sweatband..he's gonna need it)! In fact, this past Monday morning my mom arrived promptly at 8am as she does every morning and when she walked in his room to her surprise there was no Big Poppa to be off she went to hunt him down.  Checking the dining area first (I don't know why this point the man can't eat...but I guess it has a force of habit as we all know my Daddio enjoys his meals) realizing this my mom headed to the therapy room where...Bam...there he was WORKING OUT on the bike...WOW!  When she called me all I could say was NO...I don't believe you (you have to understand even before the accident I would have responded the same way... my dad does not enjoy ...let's sweat).  So we are just above the moon proud and grateful for the success he has been having with the great physical therapists over at New Hills.  The speech on the other hand had not really started rolling so I met with the therapist to discuss his program and she explained that he was the very next day going to be assesed to see if they can size his traech down from a #8 to a #6...which would enable them to work alot more diligently and aggressive with his speech and swallowing.  So fingers crossed..... he was looked at and....APPROVED on Thursday...he was off to #6.  The next day he was sized down and given....drum roll PLEASE...a speaking valve which would enable the sweetest sounds my ears have ever heard to be possible. It was Valentine's Day...I myself have never really been a fan of VDAY (I just feel love should be expressed 365 days out of the year) but this day would prove me wrong and quite frankly just shush my anti-vday rants for good.  I walked in to his room ..#108C...and there he has looking quite handsome in his cozy Pj's when right away he looked at me and....said my name!!!!!!  It was the first time I heard him utter ANYTHING in 2009 and it was my name!!!!  It was as if he were waiting for the PERFECT day and time!!!!  I lost a VERY good way...crying like a baby...I still get chills.  So yes even though I still have some reservations about Corporate America telling me to express my love on Feb. 14...I must now and forever hang my anti-vday hat up.....thanks to my Daddio!  The kids were with me and he was also calling out to them...they were so redunkuous happy...wide eyed and smiles from ear to ear...they both later in the car ride home proclaimed it to be the best day of their lives....and you know what it was!  Abuelo is coming back to us ...slowly but SURELY!  The following day was incredible even MORE talking...this time he was cracking jokes with the same expressions to his face and EVERYTHING!!!!!  The man literally had me jumping up and down laughing my head off!  A great moment came when my mom and I were hoovering over him trying to anticipate his next words...when he paused...looked at us ...and he just started CRACKING was GREAT!  And, just yesterday they started feeding him applesauce...never one of my dad's favorites but I'm sure on this day it tasted like Filet Migon to him!!!  He swallowed like a champion...but ofcourse.  

My kids continue to be amazing and devoted to their Abuelo looking forward to every visit.  And, up til now I always thought Johnny would grow up to be a big Rock Star and Bella a graceful ballerina...but I tell you what they are filling the shoes of nurse and Therapists quite nicely...who knows time will only tell.  

My dear mother continues to be an awesome cheerleader spending her entire days with my father.  But don't worry the other day I popped in on them and while my Daddio was sleeping my mom was watching her NOVELAS (for those of you who don't follow's her spanish soap operas) so I know she's happy!  She loves calling us up updating every little thing...and she actually started surprising the family with calls from my dad.

The countdown to Santiago continues with my sister...she looks beautiful and less's been quite a pregnancy for her...God Bless her she has been a PHENOMENAL woman through all of this!!!!!  I am sure there is nothing that woman could not endure!  I am so happy to report that she has packed up and moved down to hood. We did it all in 1 day and all I can say is I'm never moving...I'm was chaos...ALOT of work.  And I thank John, James and Pedro for coming out to help us ALL DAY LONG!!!!  They are AWESOME!!!!!!!! It will be great to have us all together helping my mom when my Dad comes home. 

As I sit here writing this update knowing and seeing the clear light at the end of the LONG tunnel..I am grateful to God...for all his blessings...and for since day one putting a sense of calm inside my heart that my dad would be okay!  I look back now and I can't believe what a year it has been....HOW in the world did I survive this?  The only answer I have is that it was with Gods love!

I love you all very much.

Maria Serrano-Arnold 

Hello Dear Family and Friends,

Again I send my gratitude for all of the loyal "Walternettes" that continue to send their love, support and prayers...your love is felt...always!  And much needed as we continue to run this long marathon with my phenomenal father.  You might remember a certain "Flashy Sweatband" that I noted to myself to purchase for my Father in my last update...well let me tell's been put to good use this week!!!!  They continue to work him to the bone over in the PT room...most of the time my dad goes with the flow...but...every now and then the feisty Costa Rican in him comes out and he avoids them like the plague!  In fact this past week I was pushing him around in the wheelchair and sure enough one of his PT's turns the corner and says "HI..WOW Walter you're out of bed...Perfect...Let's go work out"!  I swear if that wheelchair was motorized and had reverse I would still have the wheel marks on my face from him running me over to get away from the PT!  But... he was cornered and I wheeled him right in and with his entire cheer squad behind him he did an awesome job!!!  His legs are moving great and his arms are getting there...unfortunately he has a bad case of "frozen shoulder" which is painful but very common with injuries of this nature.  This week he also has been very mobile with a platform walker making it from the PT room located in the front of the facility...all the way back to his room..this was REDUNKULOUS!  But....BEST of all..hence the Best Day Ever...came today when...he walked by himself on the parrallel bars...6 times...oh yes....6 times....seis veces....we are blessed! Much to my father's dismay that his swallowing has not progressed as quickly as I'm sure he has hoped..I know he dreams of his Ice Cream and Costa Rican Cuisin filled days...infact on his feisty PT days all you can hear us say to him is "Come on Daddy...think of Cookies n' Cream...think of Rocky Road" and let me tell works like a charm! The second the therapist clears him for food I am bringing him a Costco sized tub of ice cream..and he is going to town with it!  His speech continues to blow me away...just the other night...I CALLED him...I can't believe I can even right that...I actually picked up the phone to dial his number and expected to hear his voice on the other end...I get so emotional because before the accident there was not a day that went by where I didn't call my dad.  Even if it was for a quick was your day...or a lengthy historical lesson (for those of you who didn't know my Dad was a history professor back in Costa Rica...and whenever possible he would trap you and talk your ear off about history...but actually most of the time it was entertaining to hear about).  So after the accident it has been weird and horrible to have that part of my day not hear his thick accent and corny jokes...and like I've said before this has been a priceless gift to have back!

My mother is there so much that one nurse even joked with her and said she might as well apply for a job there!  I do worry that she is there everyday...all day..but I also know she would be miserable anywhere else right now.  However, don't worry..Leslie and I still force her out as much as we can...and are confident that they will both be bidding a fond farewell to New Hills Rehab shortly.  We are just so grateful that it will hopefully be sooner then later.  

The kids are doing well and continue to take care of their abuelo with great love!  Johnny has read a small library to my father and Bella literally makes him laugh every day we visit...with her theatrical ways of detailing her days and's absolutly heart warming to watch.  Infact, everytime we visit I usually give my dad a quick kiss and then I just sit back and watch the kids just explode with stories and jokes and questions....and to watch my dad's face light up while watching them words can describe. 

In exactly 1 month Leslie is scheduled to deliver The Great Bambino...Santiago!  We are all super excited and preparing to make this as easy for Leslie as possible...God Bless her she has obviously had a stressful pregnancy and I just want to make it as good as can be for her before Santiago arrives.  She is officially nestled into her home in Westminster...3 minutes from me...AWESOME..infact this afternoon we went to the grocery store together for the first EVER. I can walk over and borrow sugar or mustard...whatever...the point is she is right there....YEAH!  I wanted to thank James and John again for helping us finish up the move and get her guys are great!   

I thank you all and look forward to bringing you another great "ice-cream filled tale" of my Father's progress in the next update!

Lots of Love Always,
Maria Serrano-Arnold

Hello Wonderful Friends and Family or as I like to lovingly refer to you all as "Walternettes",

With gratitude in my heart I proudly come to you all once again with good news on the health of my "warrior" father.  This week we've been back and fourth to Good Ol' Orange Hills as always...but as the days go by...and the stronger my dad gets...the more exciting the visits are becoming.  Just chalk full of "oh my GOSH" moments as we watch my father continue to hurdle the many obstacles that await him....and oh yes he hurdles them with an untouched fighting spirit!  Today's visit was filled with so many great and funny moments...we begin with a little girl in a purple beret.  As I was walking down the halls with my kiddos in tow...greeting the many families, patients and nurses we have come to know...we come up to room 108..from far I could see my dad's cute face because his curtain was opened just enough that I could catch a glimpse of his face.  I quickly stopped and let the kids go ahead of me..knowing and wanting the the first sight he was to see was that of Bella Bella wearing her bright purple beret and sporting her new lost front teeth.  As she peered around the it came ...the most genuine and sweet smile my father face gives only when he sees his grandkids.  The kids smothered him with hugs and kisses as always and as I watched I started noticing...he looked different...he just did!  I made my way close up to his face and I said.."Wow..Daddy you look really good!"  I don't know if it was the day, the time, or just the sight of that bright purple beret...but he looked the best I've seen him in 2009!  His valve was in so he was speaking clearly (and just as a side note "very important" side note....THANK GOD...he still has his accent).  Today was the first time that instead of getting my PT and Speech update from the therapists I actually was able to pull up a seat beside him and ask him...and he went on and on about his incredible feats.  The man is walking 99% independently!!!! He is able to walk the halls with a strap around his waist and the therapist barely holding on to the strap just in case...don't get me's still a work in's SLOW walking..I mean at this point he is the tourtaise not the hare...but I am confident the hare is in him!!!!  He continues to do as Olivia Newton John preaches and he "Get's Physical" in that gym (did I just actually write that.....I told you all I was cheesy).  Anywho, yes we is working out hard and getting his strength back!  He told me today that he's getting tired of being in bed...he wants get out and get the business going...that is when I know the man is coming back!  I know there is frustration inside him...that he is "over it" but to me that is a good sign...he is no longer wanting to stay in bed more than out of bed...this is what we need to get to the next level.  On the "food" front I am so glad to be able to report that he is swallowing ALOT the kids and I had the great pleasure of watching him eat his second serving of yougurt and he did GREAT!!! Infact, I must was Soda Fountain day and so the kids walk down to the lounge where they were greeted with BIG and yummy ofcourse much to my father's dismay they walked back to his room with them.  The look on my poor father's face when he saw those floats was PRICELESS!!!!!  So..I confess..I him some Ice Cream's just...between the look in his eyes and the fluffy white whipped cream staring back at him...I couldn't resist...I did it...I feed him som yummy..yummy ice cream.  In my defense I had just witnessed him chomping the yogurt so I knew he would be fine.  Just then my mom walked in and I looked at her with I guess a guilty look on my face...cause right away she asked me "What's wrong?"  I confessed to her what I had done and she quickly replied..."I did it yeaterday....What...Oh snap...I thought I'd be the first...oh well I guess she deserves the Ice Cream Glory more!!!!  

My momma continues to be a champ...and has been in good spirits.  She now sees the sooner than later...we all do! I hear her laugh more, talk more, eat more, and most important and true to herself and every latin woman I know I hear her GOSSIP don't you guys worry about her!

My Beautifully Round and Wonderfully Pregnant sister is READY for Santiago to arrive...and although she is excited this week I;ve caught her crying a number of times...and when I ask her what's wrong she tells me she is sad that our dad won't be at the hospital for Santiago's birth...which I understand but I quickly reply to her..But he will meet him soon...we must thank God for that blessing because on January 1st I honestly thought that just would not be the case!  I am throwing her a baby shower this Sunday...and really it's more for her than the baby...I wanted her to have a day to relax and think and talk about what pregnant women usually do like..sardines with jelly...or the latest and greatest bottle warmer...or some silly contraption that traps poop oder...whatever...I just want her to chill!

My love goes out to all of you...I thank you all as always and look forward to bring you many more tales on this book we can now call...The Man who LOVES Ice Cream!

Much Love
Maria Serrano-Arnold

reetings to all of our beloved "Teddy Bear Chasers",

Well here we are... March 19 almost 3 months since this gut wrenching journey began....and looking back I am amazed with the fight my father has's been a tough one and what is amazing is that he never has shown us a decline in his spirit!  I know it would be a tremendous challenge for many, including myself to endure this in good spirits but I can honestly say this is what my father has done!  

What a week!!!!  He is accomplishing so much... so fast that pretty soon I won't have much more to update and I'll just have to babble about random tid bits like "WHO will be voted off American Idol this week?" and we don't want it to go there!!!  On our visit yesterday we skipped on down the hall ready to see our champion...where we found him in the "chillin' position" you know that position...when you're kind of slumped down with your leg casually crossed and your head leaned back with the swagger and look on you're face like "what's up":)...yeah that one!!!  So already it was so cute and FUNNY to see him chillin' and also he was rocking a "stach....that's right a straight up...70's...Burt Reynold's moustache...where little John quickly giggled and proclaimed "WOW, Abuelo you look like Nacho Libre" I cracked up and agreed all we need to do is get him a great pair of "STRETCHY pants".  What I failed to mention so far....drum roll that I was given the green light to.....bring him some........ICE CREAM!!!!  And so I DID...I brought him a nice frosty bowl of one of his favorites...Mango Sherbet.  It was to be a surprise but my Dad spotted the bag right as we walked in and asked "WHAT is that?"  My should have seen his face....he is always so happy to see us...but this time...I will venture to say he was happier to see the ice cream :)!  So yes that moment finally was see him enjoy and taste and smell something he loves so much and dosen't come from a tube.  Another grand feat this week is that they sized his treach down AGAIN!!!  Realistically he dosen't need it anymore but just incase they are keeping it in until they know he can tolerate the swallowing.  So now he doesn't need the speaking valve...the treach is always plugged and he is always ready to talk.  On the PT side of things he continues to do very well....he walks so cute....little steps but they are getting quicker....he looks like Speedy Gonzales without the hat...remember him? :)  Anywho we were watching him walk around and Little John said  "Oh my GOD"...I asked him to please say "Oh my gosh"....and he replied..."Sorry Mom...this is just too heavenly..I have to say God"...alright you got it!  The kids were beside themselves HAPPY to watch him walk...they just want their Abuelo back...and they have been so patient and strong...never losing faith...I am REDUNKULOUS proud of those kids!  On the OT front they have my Dad doing alot more brushing his own teeth and dressing himself...this it posing a bit of a challenge because of his frozen shoulder but he is making great strides.  

My Momma continues to be amazing....she is the one that does EVERYTHING for my dad...she can get him in and out of bed on her own now....and she told me that on Friday she is bringing my Dad her famous and DELICIOUS Arroz con Frijoles and platanos...I think this day my Dad might be so happy he'll break into song...atleast I hope he does! :)  

Our strong Lady...A Mrs. Leslie Adams continues to be very strong, very brave and VERY PREGNANT...I mean she is giving OCTOMOM a run for her money (don't tell her I said that...she'll ban me from her jacuzzi)!  I gave her a baby shower this past Sunday and it turned out great!  She was able to sit back, relax, eat some super yummy food and was a ball and I am thankfull for all of you that came out!  Santiago is on his way!!!!

Until next time my fellow "Walternettes"  and just a little sneak peek into next week....I heard some rumblings yesterday that my Dad might be on the move again...but you'll have to tune in next week to find out.

Much Love,
Maria Serrano-Arnold   

Hello Friends,

January 1, 2009...pretty much was the most devastating, heart pounding, emotional, mind numbing, surreal day of my life.  This day is still some what a blur to me...I just remember crying a lot, hugging a lot, rubbing my sister's pregnant belly a lot, not eating at all, going without sleep for over 36 hours (still don't know how I pulled that one off) and then clicking into fight mode...the fight we jumped in with my father...and we've never looked back.  I remember on this day the nurse coming in with a serious look on her face...I'll never forget her face...every line, every freckle, her piercing blue eyes, her dark brown hair, her necklace...I just remember staring at her listening but I wasn't all was an out of body experience.  She started off saying....that he was out of surgery...and that it was SERIOUS...that it would be a LONG road....that it would be life altering...and that if his brain pressure continued to rise that the damage and his survival would be very highly at risk.  I would be lying if I told you that I right away felt like that was a crock...because for a split second I tried making peace with the fact that on that very day I would be losing my Father forever...that my kids would lose the greatest Abuelo that ever graced this earth and that I would lose one of my very best friends and strongest shoulders that I had cried upon all my life.  I would also be lying if I would say that not 2 minutes later I remembered who Walter Alfonso Serrano was and of his strength.  At this moment I was convinced that YES it was a LONG journey but a journey with a happy ending!  At this moment I knew that I would not accept or allow anyone to ever utter the word NEVER to me again...that my dad would NEVER be the same, or that he would NEVER drive my kids to the movies, or the he would NEVER laugh at my jokes again, or that he would NEVER tell me exactly where the Democratic Republic of the Congo was located.  On this day I would take that credo of NEVER say NEVER and I would run with it ...forever (even tattooing it on my arm...:)..I did...Am I crazy?)  I have my seen my father fight this fight often tired, but more often strong....and today was the day where I felt like I have my Daddy back!  As I sit here balling my eyes out typing slower than my brain is going...because I am overhelmed with emotion, words, thoughts, moments, pictures in my mind....I'm trying to articulate what I have seen my Father do, accomplish, and prove all the NEVERS wrong.  Today was unlike other days...his face looked so alive....his words were so clear.....I was having a conversation with him that was so involved that I really for a second forgot where we were and that he was wearing his helmet (I'm not trying to dis on the helmet...we all know it's dashing...but come Dad was always known for his stylish DO). We were sitting outside in the courtyard and it was a PERFECT spring weather day, the kids, my mom, myself and Mr. Teddy Bear....enjoying some DELICIOS Ice Cream Floats...ah yes the Ice Cream revisits (can you blame me I need to put 50 pounds back on the man...OK maybe just 25!)  It was so amazing we were just telling old stories that he was recalling like they happened yesterday!!!!!  And let me tell you the man is a celebrity over at New Hills...everyone is always yelling out to me as I walk down the halls "You're Walter's daughter right?  Wow he is doing AMAZING!" All the therapists fight over who works with him so they can have bragging's awesome!  I can even report that his frozen shoulder is MUCH much so that he feeds problem!  And ladies and Gentelmen...his TREACH was removed yesterday...and his feeding tube today!!!!!!!! MY was so nice to know no tubes were on him....I didn't have to remind the kids to be careful..I just literally grabbed Bella and threw her on him!!!!  He continues to walk like Speedy Gonzales but now he can actually throw out an "Arriba Arriba...andale...andale!  At this rate I can proudly report that we are looking at a couple more weeks and he is out!

My mother is beyound estatic to know her MAN is coming home...she has ALWAYS complained of my father's snoring (for good reason...the man snores like a hibernating joke...growing up kids did not want to spend the night at the Serrano home because it was the home where at sounded and felt like a 8.9 on the richter scale) but she is ready to have her hibernating bear back!

My sister is soooooo ready to deliver Santiago and we are soooooo ready to meet this love!  We ask for all your blessings that the delivery this coming Friday April 3 goes smoothly!

I cannot tell you how nice it has been to share these tales with you all....and please know that I do only because each and everyone of you are special in my life!

Much Love,
Maria Serrano- Arnold

Hello Sweet Family and Friends,

The weeks are now just flying by.... and with them the improvements and strides my father continues to make are just REDUNKULOUS (that's Maria slang for RIDICULOUS)!  Ever since my father's treach was removed last week we have just seen more and more of the light in his eye return...the spunk in his step...and the wit in his words!  I do already have my Daddy back...but it's also nice to see and hear all of his ADORABLE dorkiness slowly come out as well.  This was and has always been a concern of ours because as I believe I had mentioned in a previous update we were told that my Dad's brain injury was primarily sustained to the left frontal lobe where speech and PERSONALITY are produced (and we are talking about MR PERSONALITY)!!!!!  So when they told us that... I just about lost it....that was my breaking moment back in that moment I would have rather heard that my Dad would never smell, taste, or yodle again....but lordy not his PERSONALITY!!!!  So to see him today shoot out all of his trademark Walter puns and jokes was an absolute delight and tremendous RELIEF!!!!!  I would like to proudly report that I for the first time was able to help him out of bed into his wheel chair with no assitance (thank you very much)!  The reason why this is big news is because I have been petrified to do this...I have nightmares of dropping him without his much so that my 10 year old son acheived this feat 2 weeks before I did...yes I know I'm a chicken...but atleast I went for it today!!!!! Yeah!!!!!  Today was another beautiful day...and we took great advantage of it with a pizza party out in the courtyard....I couldn't get that box opened quickly enough...between Johnny, my dad and my 40 week pregnant sis the pizza did not stand a chance!  It was so nice to kick back and just watch something as simple as grubbing on some pizza become such an amazing success for my Dad.  He continues to do amazing with his PT...continuing to build up his strength and balance in order to get him walking independently.  His speech has dramatically improved with the removal of the treach...his voice (and accent...THANK GOD) are very strong and clear!  His OT is also doing very Dad is more and more independent every day!!!!  At this rate I hope, pray and believe that we might be spending Easter Sunday over at the Arnold Abode together... all of us for the very first time in 2009!!!!!  

My mother is AWESOME...I CANNOT believe the AMAZING job she has done....the AMAZING strength she has displayed....and the AMAZING endurance that she musters every single day without complaining!  I often ask her "Mom...aren't you just DONE...tired of being here...GO OUT...ANYWHERE!!!"  and she always answers the same...."I will...with your father...when it's time!"  I only hope that in the past I have sufficently articulated these two wonderful human beings spirits and love for each other...and it's not because my mom has been there everyday that I am so impressed by's because she has WANTED to be there everyday that impresses me...her love for my Father is sublime!  Love can be sooooooo Sublime!

My sweet and round sister is as cute as can be!  I love this woman...I've said it in the past and I will say it again....I can only PRAY that when my daughter grows up she is strong, caring, loving, funny, and as tough as my baby sister Leslie!  2 more days and this phenomenal woman will be a phenomenal mommy for the 2nd time....YEAH!!!!!!  

I send you all many warm hugs and gratitude for all the continued prayers and support you all send us every week!  

Much, Much Love,

Maria Serrano-Arnold 

ello Again to all of our friends and family,

Well there is just no other way to start this update but to say.....HE'S HOME!!!!!!!  We were warned that there would be a point where it went form 0 to light speed...and let me tell did!!!!  At the time of my last update there were some teenie tiny rumblings that the time was coming but I just had no idea that it would come this soon!  I was at work on Monday when I got literally like 12 calls in a row...I was away from my phone so I just waited to listen to my message after work....I then got the call from my sister who said "Daddy's coming home tomorrow!" this is the part where you might expect me to write that I screamed for joy...totally excited...and although I did (deep down) feel these emotions....I would be lying if I said they were my only feelings.  I instantly went into a mindblowing, overwhelming, and numbing sense of anxiety!  I know....I know...what's wrong with me?  It's just I want to know that my Father will be safe, comfortable, and that his constant therapy continues....I felt that leaving New Hills was leaving the INTENSITY that the therapists were giving my dad and the constant care and tabs that were being kept on his health...and above all the help of caring for him that my strong mother was receiving would come to an end.  My mom is totally capable of helping my father...but I was always relieved to remind myself that she had support when we weren't around.  So I spent the next 24 hours not sleeping, barely eating and running like I was training for the olympics....did it help..... not really!  I wanna say thank you to my friends who snapped some sense into me...reminded me that this is a GREAT thing...and that it will all be OKAY!  Did my friends words help me.....absolutely!  They reminded me that although this can and will be another transition that will be stressfull and a little is a transition that brings us closer to our lives with our DADDY!  My Father does continue to improve....still running that long marathon....but getting closer and closer to the end everyday!  It's amazing to call his cell phone and have him answer, when for the past 3 months instead of receiving that thick accent on the other end ....we would receive my mother's "Hola" offense to my sweet MAMA but it is sweet music to hear his voice!  It is actually amazing how on the phone... it sounds as if nothing happened....he answered yesterday "Hola Mamita (mamita is his nickname for me :) ) and he continued to chit chat and then asked me to bring him some eggrolls....where I quickly answered "If it's eggrolls you's eggrolls you'll get" so I raced over with some nice greasy eggrolls!  So now we enter this next phase of recovery at home...where he will be receiving home therapy...not as often but we will make the best of it!!!  And ofcourse the power of the love surrounding him will also hopefully give him a boost!

So as if this week hasn't been eventful enough.....we finally welcomed SANTIAGO MARCIELLO ADAMS into our crazy and very loud family! :)  Hence the title to this update "Welcome Home X 2"!  Leslie delivered him via C-Section this past Friday April 3 at around 1:45pm and let me tell you he is REDUNKULOUS CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!  It was love at first sight for me...he is just divine!  Mom and Santi did very well and continue to do so....Leslie is a CHAMP...I am so proud of her...what a pregnancy it was for her...but the rewards really made up for it!  So here comes the I wrote in the past Leslie had been really upset the week leading up to the delivery because it became apparent that my Father would not be able to be there...she was crying left and right....praying...and wishing upon every star in the sky!  All she wanted was for her Daddy to be there to welcome his grandson....but Wed. rolled around and Leslie visited my Father for the last time before the delivery...with a tearful good bye she told him she would bring Santiago to visit as soon as possible....but that just wasn't good enough...oh no no  no!  So the permit to take him out was secretly granted to us with no knowledge to Leslie.  And on Friday after getting out of recovery and nestled into her bed....the big surprise came and my mother wheeled in my father....the look on Leslie's face was PRICELESS!!!!! She ofcourse erupted in tears (of joy as Bella so often points out) and they were all united....sounds like I'm taking this out of some movie...but it's true it all happened....I was there with my trusty camera in tow...capturing it all like your modern day Annie Lebovitz....yeah that's right I said it...Annie Lebovitz! :)  Moments like these are what make our life so sublime...moments like these are what make the hard times surviveable...and moments like these are what make up strong family and friendships.  I have shared many of these moments with my family so I like to think that is why we have been so strong, united, and happy.  I have also shared many of these moments with many of you... my friends...and that is why I will forever be grateful, honored and supportive to you all.  I know this book of my fathers journey still holds many more chapters to be written....but boy oh feels so good to know there will be a happy ending!

Much, Much, Much Love to you all,
Maria Serrano- Arnold

ello Friends

One of the last phone conversations I had with my father before his accident was about this FANTASTIC movie he had just snuck away to watch (I say snuck because my DAD... as do I have an obsession with great flicks and we are always getting slack for skipping out to the sometimes a meeting or errand would turn into a movie).  I am one of 3 kids and the only one to adopt my Dad's love for anything and everything cinema...I remember when I told my dad that I would be majoring in FILM he was so happy and not at all surprised.  You see...I was the one that from a young age would discuss and analyze everything from Star Wars to Braveheart with my dad...he would indulge me in random and deep conversations about the directors vision and the wardrobe and make up in a film.  So when he called me and told me about this flick "Gran Torino" I listened as he described what sounded like an instant classic.  I have been counting down the days for its dvd release to be able to watch it and see what all the fuss was about....and ....YES...he was correct...the film did not disappoint....but what I realized was...I maybe..did not fully allow myself to break down and absorb the intensity of what Jan. 1, 2009 brought into my life.  I realized this as the movie title appeared on the screen...I just started crying...picturing my father in the theater probably at the 2pm himself...with his tub of popcorn and movie bites....and I found myself as I do EVERY single day since Jan. 1, 2009 wishing that I could rewind the hands of time to that very day that very theater....and maybe call him and asked him to please be careful...take his time...don't rush down those scary steep stairs ...that I always had a bad feeling about.  But I realize now that I can't continue to think that...what I must do is thank God for helping my father and keeping him firmly on the path of recovery.  I must stop thinking about the what ifs and start thinking about the CANT I can't wait to take my Father to the movies again....and I can't wait to see my father drive again...and I can't wait to watch him shoot some baskets out in the backyard.  My point in all this is...that it's so important to look at the whole picture...and to quote Mr. Gran Torino himself...we must look at the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY!  I tend to always look at the GOOD but that BAD and UGLY always manages to sneak up on it's important to be mindful of that as well.  I just went into survival mode and probably never allowed myself to breakdown...but don't worry Mr. Clint Eastwood took care of that for me tonight...and now it's back on the fighting path!!!  :)

My father....Mr. Teddy Bear himself is as I mentioned continuing to walk firmly on the path of recovery.  Three weeks ago I can HAPPILY report ....he had surgery to replace his bone it's GOODBYE Helmet....HELLO beautiful mane of salt and pepper hair.  Before the surgery the doctor did inform us that he would be regressing a bit....and he did...but I can already report that he is once again out of his wheelchair and walking around.  And, tomorrow he is off to the Docs to have his staples removed....YEAH!  From here on out it's all about getting him back to his old self...continuing the OT and PT....and just getting him out and about in order for that charming WALTER SERRANO that everyone knows and LOVES to come out and shine!  In fact, just the other day we went out to dinner with my parents and it was just WONDERFUL to watch my dad talk like he use to...and slowly but surely start seeing that adorable charm of his come shining out!!!!!

The kids are happy to have him home....and Johnny is above the moon excited to FINALLY have his abuelo...his buddy...and as he promised my dad in the hospital...while still in a coma...THEY WILL BE WATCHING THE TRANSFORMERS MOVIE TOGETHER....NO DOUBT!

My mom is doing very's alot of work....but a job she could not see anyone else even attempting.  She is LOVING being a GRANDMA for the sixth time and enjoying the bundle of joy whom she has finally nicknamed "Frijolito" which means little bean (sounds cuter in spanish...I know).

I thank you all...and will look forward to write you all about the upcoming tales of Mr. WALTER SERRANO turning 60 this coming July 14th....WOW!

Much Love
Maria Arnold-Serrano

World's longest blog entry I KNOW!!!!  But I just felt impeled to share these letters with you on the night before Fathers Day...because now and forever when I think of my dad....I think of this struggle that he survived...strength is an understatement when it comes to describing his spirit!

Good Night...God Bless..and Happy Father's Day

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