I apologize for the long delay between posts -- no excuse other than laziness and neglect on my part.
Rest assured that Joe is doing well, continuing to make solid progress on many different fronts. A few of the highlights of the last week: Joe went on a bus trip and a "walking tour" away from the hospital with other patients and staffers, and got along well; he carried on a phone conversation with his brother Paul and sister-in-law Lisa on Sunday, asking logical questions, clarifying points he wasn't clear about, and inquiring about niece Devon and nephew Nick; he and Ginny both enjoyed a visit over the Easter weekend with Phil, Jackie, Keith, and Stephen; and of course he has continued to work with his therapists and doctors on dozens of daily physical and mental exercises.
Ginny's sister Patty has been there in Atlanta since last week, and has been a huge help. She left today (or maybe yesterday -- I've lost track), and will be replaced as Ginny' assistant tomorrow evening by Joe's sister Lisa (also famous as my wife), who will be staying until Sunday.
On a more somber note ..... During an examination by the neuro-opthamologist last Thursday, Joe "officially" received the news that the bullett that struck him severed the optic nerve to his right eye, resulting in his permanent loss of vision in that eye. The family has been aware of this since the night of the shooting, but we didn't want to disclose it publicly until Joe could understand the news himself. That day has now come and, to his great credit, Joe has accepted this new reality with grace, and even some ironic humor -- for example, when someone complimented him on some accomplishment, he said "Yeah, not too bad for a crippled pirate." (referrring to the patch he wears on his right eye). He is also battling some ongoing problems with his left eye (since it's controlled by the damaged right side of the brain). He has lost about a third of his vision in that eye -- the peripheral left side of the field of vision, and is working hard to make adjustments for that loss in his therapy sessions.
Another big milestone came today with the removal of Joe's tracheotomy. My understanding is that the trach incision is not closed yet -- rather, he's moved into some sort of transitional phase where there is a button controlling air flow, as a last step before closing the incision entirely. Ginny says he'll have this new device for a week to ten days. Among other things, this should allow for improved breathing and better speech, and is a great morale boost for both Joe and Gin.
I guess that's it for now. Hopefully, with Lisa going to Atlanta tomorrow, we'll be a little more diligent in our postings (but don't be surprised or alarmed if that's not the case).
On behalf of all the family, our love and thanks to all. Keep the faith and CHARGE ON.