Dear Family and Friends,
Joe continues to make great progress during the brief periods of the day he is awake. He stood with assistance for a full 30 seconds and did not experience the vertigo/disorientation of a couple of days ago. He also surprised us at the 4:30 visit as he spoke very loudly and clearly to Keith and Stephen through the trach collar--I really think he is learning to adapt to the trach. He's been getting some breathing treatments in the past 12 hours or so to loosen the secretions and he sounds better already. Joe is also looking a lot better as the swelling has decreased significantly despite the fact that much remains.
The pace is picking up around here as we prepare to transition from Huntsville Hospital to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. We are very fortunate that there is an opening for Joe in this state of the art rehabilitation complex as it specializes in brain and spinal injuries but can also accommodate patients that are ICU status. Ginny will travel in the ambulence with Joe and Joe's mom and dad will follow; we also have arrangements for friends to follow and take Ginny's car to Altanta. Joe will have intense therapy every week day from 9-12 and then 1-4. Family can visit at lunch and between 4 and 9 and anytime during Saturday and Sunday. We are trying to get all of this coordinated plus Ginny has to pack both herself and Joe. Thanks to Joe's brother Paul and wife Lisa (blogger of last night) who visited this weekend and shopped for Joe's needs at Shepherd. Gin's family working on thank you notes and I blog and organize cards for Gin to take to Atlanta. Mom and Dad at house in Madison with the boys. Soon Ed, Gin's bro, will be with the kids while Joe's parents visit at Shepherds and then pack up the condo in Florida. At some point Mom and Dad will be back in Madison and Ed will return to Ohio. When Joe goes to Atlanta which could be Tuesday but probably Wednesday, Gin's parents and sister will return to Ohio and I will return to Omaha. However, Ginny will update Mark and me so we can continue to blog out of Omaha; she refers to Omaha as the location of her IT department! We are not sure how long Joe will be in Shepherds but we'll keep you posted. There is a housing unit for families that is connected to the hospital via walkway--4 people can stay comfortablly there and perhaps 6 with sleeping bags. Again, we don't have this all figured out but we have a strong and loving family with wonderful support from friends so we'll meet this challenge as well.
We are meeting with the case manager and the Shepherd's representative tomorrow morning so I will blog soon after that to let you know plans. I know that Ginny will have to be in Madison to pack and there will be the need for more family meetings so stay tuned for Ginny's requests regarding visitors.
We ask for your continued prayers of healing and support for Joe and the family as this will be a very long and challenging journey for all of us, particularly for Joe, Ginny, Stephen and Keith.
We are so happy that Keith was able to transfer to U. AL in Huntsville for the spring and summer and are grateful the Mississippi State was so kind and cooperative in helping with this transition. Stephen is going to help Keith pack up his dorm during spring break and I know Keith has really helped Ginny and Stephen by being here.
We ask for your continued prayers of healing and support for Joe and the family as this will be a very long and challening journey for all of us, particularly for Joe, Ginny, Keith and Stephen. However, we know that our faith and the loving support from so many family and friends will continue to strengthen us. As the priest said today at Mass we meet God through the love of others, and we have certainly been blessed by all of you.
Blessings and Virtual Hugs,
P.S. Jeff : We received the shirt and patchn and Joe is happy to be an honorary member of the Circleville Fire Department!