Assuming nothing monumental happens over this weekend, Brian is set to be released from Carolinas Rehab on Tuesday, March 3rd, marking the end to an 80-day hospital stay. Though he's understandably daunted by leaving a world where wheelchairs are the norm for one where they are anything but, I think at the same time he's grown weary of the hospital setting.
Again, I have to constantly remind myself to look back to day 1 of this 80-day journey so far & thank God for even getting us here. It doesn't hurt to remind him & all of us, especially when we feel so bummed out by what he's facing & how he's feeling, that he shouldn't even be alive. God has been so faithful in answering our prayers & giving Brian outcomes greater than ever anticipated by so many medical experts thus far.
I pray everyday that Brian will come to see how God has interceded in Brian's life in answer to our prayers (he honestly has no memory at all of more than half of this extended hospital stay) & encourage Brian to experience first hand what God will do for him--not just physically but even more importantly, spiritually--as he comes to lean more on Him as well.
[Through] the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. [They are] new every morning; Great [is] Your faithfulness. "The LORD [is] my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The LORD [is] good to those who wait for Him, To the soul [who] seeks Him. [It is] good that [one] should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD (Lamentations 3:22-26).
I really love those verses. Really, really do.
Next week, Brian will be moving into a small, one bedroom apartment not far from the hospital to try life in Charlotte the next few months. His dad & other family members will most likely be spending a good deal of time with him initially (yes, in a one bedroom apartment--yikes ;), helping him adjust & get settled. From what I understand, with the help of one of the doctors, his dad arranged for the complex to install an iron gate that will close off the apartment's small patio so that Rocco (his Rottweiler mix--the dog that was supposed to be so tough but is about as dopey & lovable as they get, sorry Brian, had to say it ;) can spend some time there with him also. It's been a long time since Rocco & Brian have been together--reunited & it feels so good, right?
Thanks, as always, to those of you who have already been so helpful in securing some much-needed items for Brian's apartment. Though he had been planning to move in with a friend before the accident, he had been staying with family in Charlotte for awhile trying to secure more steady employment in commercial real estate, so he definitely appreciates the assistance in equipping a place of his own.
This move truly marks a new phase in Brian's journey, one we can expect to be rocky, at best, for quite sometime, particularly for the first year. The hospital stay was all about rehabilitating him from the trauma of the accident & learning how to live with paralysis--no easy tasks, no doubt--but also nothing compared to the recovery journey that lies ahead.
Once released, Brian will be taking part in ongoing outpatient therapy meant to help him regain as much use of his lower body as possible given the severity of the spinal compression--the true initiation of recovery. Most of his therapy will continue at Carolinas Rehab in Charlotte. Unfortunately, insurance & Medicaid only pay so much of this process, most insurance companies consider their responsibilities complete with the discharge from rehab & successful transition to life in a wheelchair. Thus, the rest is often left up to the patient to find a way to cover.
Thus, he & his dad also will begin looking into what programs are available both locally & nationally to help him really recover what he's lost. I'm sure Brian's dad could tell you a lot more than I can, but in summary, for now they are leaning towards exercise-based therapy programs founded upon the premise that the spinal cord is a much more intelligent organ than given credit & that getting people with paralysis out of their chairs & moving in ways they used to helps it remember how to do a lot of the things it forgot.
For those interested, here are some examples of programs & facilities that offer the sort of things they would be looking into:
Project Walk (San Diego, CA)
Shepherd Center (Atlanta, GA)
Race to Walk (Mooresville, NC--& just a cool story about an NC family who recently started this program after experiencing their own paralyzing catastrophe).
Brian also will need access to some rather expensive & specialized equipment, once again, not often covered by insurance. Once he & his dad get settled this week following his discharge, I hope to post more specifics on all of this for all of you so generously wanting to help.
Of course, I also will be sure to let you all know how the "roomies" are doing.
Finally, I must say thanks once again to all of you for your ongoing support & prayers for Brian, these gestures are so incredibly integral to his difficult recovery journey.