Tuesday, September 8, 2009

9/8 Labor Day notes and letter from Sue Curtis

Lots of stairs, lots of walks, lots of laughter.

Great visit with cousin Sue Curtis and friend Elizabeth Wilson. From Sue:

Hi everyone,

I went to visit cousin Auburn and her husband Chuck at the rehab hospital south of Akron today. I took along some old photos of her and Mandela with our family that were taken when Zoe and Mandela were little and we were all having fun. I also took a book written for people dealing with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) that a woman at my church gave to me for Auburn (her son had a bad accident years ago and sustained debilitating head injuries). They were getting ready to go outside for fresh air so I just held my stuff till it was a good time to show them everything and give her the book. In the elevator, she saw the book in my hand and gasped. She said someone told her (just yesterday!) that she HAD to get that book and she hadn’t had time to go on the internet to order it. I was blown away! I couldn’t believe the timing and how perfect it was that I was there today to bring it to her. God works in amazing ways! She was so thankful to have it and was looking forward to reading it.

So it was a great visit. She wheeled Chuck outside onto the grounds and to the back of an old building where there are stairs and a railing going up to a door. She’s been taking him back there to practice his climbing, walking, and balance. I witnessed him go up and down the stairs pretty quickly…with her “spotting” him by his side and her hand on his back. She told me that yesterday when he tried it, he had both hands on the railings and went up each step gradually one step at a time. So today was a real breakthrough!

He still has balance issues and needs more extensive speech therapy. He is sometimes hard to understand but he is in such good spirits! He wanted to go visit their home this afternoon…he’s been in hospitals since the attack on July 1st. That rehab hospital is closing in October so he will be going home then. It’s a shame…the grounds are wooded and have many buildings and overgrown tennis courts, an old ball field…what a waste of beautiful land. They said it’s too expensive to keep up and to fix up.

Well, I just wanted to give everyone an update on Chuck’s progress and my visit there. It is Auburn’s purpose in life right now to help him progress back to a functional life and she really has her hands full. She’s living at the hospital, bathing and dressing him, educating herself on all his medical needs, and devoting almost all her time to his care. She realizes she needs to care for herself and has started getting out a little to ride her bike. But most of the time, her life revolves around him.

He is a good man (used to be a minister at her church) and I can tell, he is thankful to have her there and is also devoted to her. They both display a patience and love I’ve not witnessed before under such adverse conditions. They are truly an inspiration.

Sue Curtis

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