Thursday May 21st 2009: Arrival @ Shepherd
What a day! Up & at 'em early this morning in Boston and in the blink of an eye Will & I found ourselves on the ground in Atlanta a little bit after noontime. We had an amazing Air Ambulance crew and what a crazy experience it was to cram all of us in the leer jet alongside Will on the stretcher. Thank goodness the flight was uneventful. The jet ascended and descended very quickly which was cool & scary all at the same time. We did have a bumpy descent and I held on the best I could ;) .... I don't like to fly ;) Will did fine with flight....a few thumbs up from him along the way, as it was too loud to really talk to one another. Once we arrived at Shepherd we were greeted by so many wonderful, friendly people. It is clear they try and make you feel "at home." Will had a full gamut of x-rays, measurements, exams, and interviews. I was whisked away to have a tour and get oriented to my "penthouse" apartment. The facility is beautiful and there are endless support services/resources available. It really shows that they are #1 in the country and we feel very lucky to be here. I knew I would see A LOT of disabled, young people here, but I didn't realize how hard the reality of it all would hit. I did lose it in the hallway and 2 different people stopped to offer their gentle support. I am definitely going to use their family support services. This is a very different environment than the ICU and I know I will grow accustomed to it after some time. After I got settled, I headed back to be with Will and we met his physical therapist and his speech therapist. Some of you may wonder why he has a speech therapist. His speech is ok, but because he has a brain injury his memory & concentration are slightly impaired and that is what the speech therapist will help him with. Will has been assigned to the "dual diagnosis team" so he will have help with not only the spinal cord injury, but also with the brain injury. His roommates are a bit older, maybe in their 40's, but both of them came in not being able to move much or walk and they have both made excellent progress after 4-6 weeks. I know Will will make awesome progress because he is very motivated to work hard. He will work up to 3 hours of PT/OT a day. His PT (Blair) measured him for his wheelchair today and she hopes to get him right into a manual chair as opposed to a power chair. I got to take a peek at the gym & pool (both of which I can use too!) And his nurse put my name & number on some bulletin board so I can get hooked up with all the runners/bikers at the center. I already got one call from one of the admissions coordinators who said she would love to run & bike with me. Will is slowly getting back on his Blackberry, but I will have it with me during the day. He can have visitors, but the best time for visitors is on the weekend. I will post another entry with his mailing address and my phone number & email address for those of you that do not have it.