Tying your son’s hockey skates. Walking in the woods. Cooking dinner. Showering. Driving the kids to soccer practice. Boarding an airplane.
Everyday activities take on new perspective after a life–changing accident. Bodily healing is the immediate concern, overshadowing the need to modify a living space or obtain special tools for occupational needs.
Aaron and Amanda Holm realized all the challenges they were facing following an accident that resulted in Aaron losing both his legs above the knees. Changing a co–worker’s flat tire on the shoulder of a busy freeway, Aaron, always a “Good Samaritan,” was pinned between vehicles when an inattentive driver crashed into the stopped vehicles.
Aaron’s CaringBridge site was created that evening by a close friend, who posted updates – sometimes several – during the first few critical days. He also supplied Aaron and Amanda with a laptop with wireless access on which they could read the guestbook messages from his hospital bed. They immediately found CaringBridge valuable. First, because it quickly reduced the volume of calls to Amanda’s cell phone. She amassed $1,000 in overage charges in the first days after the accident.
Thousands anxiously followed Aaron’s progress. He said, “I became a success story, going from losing my legs to recovery relatively quickly. People grabbed a hold of my story for hope in their own personal situations.”
The site was also an ongoing source of information, referrals, physical help and encouraging words. Thanks to their requests posted on CaringBridge and big–hearted friends, their home was ready for Aaron and his wheelchair when he came home just 17 days after the accident.
“CaringBridge was a phenomenal tool for engaging other people,” Aaron said. “We purposely put out requests and people would post back, directing us to physical therapy or a neighbor who was an expert on phantom pain.” Posts also led to a practical way to prevent blistering of his skin grafts by the prostheses. Without that information, Aaron said he’d have been grounded for a month or two.
“Because of the people around me and being able to engage them through CaringBridge,” Aaron said, “I was able to put the accident behind me and start planning for the future.”
Five months after the accident, Aaron was fitted for his battery–powered, microprocessor–controlled prosthetics. He was walking a month later and playing golf, with the help of inventive friends, six weeks later. (For the record, he chipped in for an eagle from 25 feet on his first round.)