Nick was on vacation with his family in Maui when he sustained a Spinal Cord Injury while swimming in the ocean. He had two surgeries and was in the ICU for 19 days and spent 9 weeks in rehab at Nation Rehab Hospital in DC.
He is home now and is giving his all toward recovery as an outpatient at NRH.
We started this journey with a much anticipated vacation back to Nick's birthplace, Maui, Hawaii. We lived there for 2 1/2 years and have always told Alex and Nick that we would return. This year was the year to make the trip. We were celebrating Alex's graduation from Lake Braddock and Nick's 17th birthday (July 31st). We flew into Maui on Tuesday, July 24th - we were very excited to be back home again. Even though the kids were too young to remember our time in Maui they have relived it several times with numerous accounts of our wonderful time there with family and friends who visited us. We went to Wailea Beach that night, had dinner at a local restaurant, breakfast the next morning at Duo's at the Four Seasons Resort and then to Wailea Golf Course to visit some of Steve's old co-workers. We made a tee time for that Friday. Nick received a call from the head coach of Christopher Newport University that morning interested in talking to him about playing for that school. Nick decided he should wait to call him after our visit to "Big Beach". At around 12noon we arrived at Big Beach and went straight to the water. The waves weren't as big as they normally are. Alex and I went back to our towels while Steve and Nick stayed in the water (they are always the last ones to leave!). The next thing I know there is a lifeguard buggy that passes our towels and then another one. Out of curiosity I walked toward the water wondering who was hurt. There was a group of people by the water and I saw someone lying on the sand. I noticed Steve hovering over someone and than I saw Nick's feet. This was the beginning of our vacation. We stayed in the hospital for 19 days in ICU at the same hospital he was born in 17 years ago.
Nick continues to work hard in acute rehab and we are coming close to a discharge date. We are targeting mid October for Nick to come home. Currently, home modifications are being made to get ready for Nick's second Homecoming! After acute rehab, Nick will continue with outpatient therapy every day for a few hours for about 6-8 months. Nick started school in January part time taking Honors English 12 and Government while still taking Geosystems on line to get his Advanced Studies Diploma. He is on the Lake Braddock Baseball Team cheering his teammates on and looks forward to graduation on Wednesday, June 19th when he can walk across the stage to receive his diploma from Principal Dave Thomas.
Here we are, Thanksgiving 2014 and since the last entry Nick was able to walk across that stage to receive his high school diploma to a standing ovation at the Patriot Center at George Mason University. He is now taking classes at George Mason. He is continuing with his therapy once a week at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in D.C. along with working out with his personal trainers at home 2-3 times a week. He has been asked to participate in the pilot program at George Mason for their Rehabilitation Science department in conjunction with NRH. We hope to start in December. Nick is in training to walk 2.6 miles at the Rehobeth Beach Marathon on Dec. 7th.! Nick is using a walker and his forearm crutches more often than his wheelchair. Progress has been steady and always amazing!
Friday was awesome! First, it rained the whole morning but it didn't dampen our resolve to try skiing on a twin ski with a seat. The instructor, Mike, was great and we had volunteers with us the whole time. By the second run Nick was waiting for me at the bottom of the mountain! He caught on so quickly that we had to chase him down the slope. We went in around 11am since it was pouring buckets and we were all soaked. We had an early lunch and I found some Lost and Found clothes that Nick could wear for Round 2. The afternoon was beautiful! The sun came out and we saw a blue sky for the first time that day. He was having a blast. The volunteers were from NRH and Kennedy Krieger Institute for the most part. It was a quite an accomplishment for Nick to ski as well as he did. We spoke to Dan who was a paralympian from Rhode Island and a professor from Lehigh University who designed different skiis for the disabled. We saw skiis that had poles you could lean on for those who could stand and monoskis that paralympians use. I really think Nick can ski upright with the attached handle next time. This experience has opened up the possibility of all of us going on a skiing vacation again - something we all love to do as a family. So happy about that.
Yesterday, Nick had his first interview for a summer job. He was in there for 2 hours. It was for a sales position and it seems it went really well since they offered him a job but it's not what he's looking for. But, it was good experience to go through an interview. Want to thank people who reached out to Nick about passing his resume around to some colleagues. Nick is most interested in working for the government, specifically in the Intelligence Field. He's done some research on some govt. websites - nice to see him getting prepared!
Nick took his first walk around the block with his lofstrands - said it was really hard. They are not as stable as a walker but it gets him to work on his balance and arm movement. Hope to go for another walk again today.