Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Our story is almost unbelievable, even to us. As you may know, I (Allaina) am in a wheelchair due to a C 5-7 spinal cord injury and have been a quadriplegic for nearly 24 years. I met Rich met 17 years ago and it was an instantaneous connection. We are best friends, work together doing graphic design and web development, both create fine art, and are on our 15th year of marriage. We have a 13 year old daughter and 8 year old twins and the best puppy ever.
Rich took control of his health 7 years ago - becoming vegan, taking up running and obstacle course racing and working out almost daily. His whole existence is based in his physicality. Rich also does everything for us - cook, clean, drive, nursing, lifting... That is why this injury is particularly difficult. We sure need a lot of help. It is taking a lot of people to do just what Rich handled every day.
As far as what happened: on Tuesday, May 2nd, he woke up with severe pain in his back, arms and chest and went to the ER. Turns out there was a disc putting pressure on the spinal cord. When we got there, he had complete impairment of his hands, triceps, and weakness in his legs. We had no idea if and when full function would return. The amazing Dr. Kim Williams, Jr. from Hinsdale performed a spinal decompression and fusion a mere 33 hours after the onset of symptoms. The quick work of the doctors has made a big difference. Already Rich has more strength in his legs, the ability to grip some and open his right hand and some triceps functionality. We now have matching spinal fusions and that is like the Twilight Zone!
The staff at Hinsdale hospital cannot be beat and I am so grateful for their compassionate care and willingness to listen. Having been there, I am a staunch advocate for Rich and have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with his care team.
Without Rich here at home, we are reliant on many people to help us every day. Please consider checking out the calendar if you have free time to give or are looking for a concrete way to assist us. Inspirational stories and well wishes are so welcome too! I will be printing them out to decorate Rich's room. If you want to send a balloon or plant (no cut flowers please), he is at Amita Health: Adventist Medical Center, 5101 Willow Springs Rd, La Grange, IL 60525 in room 515.
Thank you so much! I will be trying to post updates frequently.