A brief note from JP:
My window is open and there’s a nice California breeze coming through the room. I’m looking forward to my first venture outside today. My friend Hal, my health aid Rizzi and I are heading outside to get a breath of fresh air. ! For the first first time in 3 months! It’s been a long and very difficult road.
I just want to write to let you know how much I appreciate all the love and support that you have given me over the last few months. It’s made a big difference. Thank you so much to all the people who have travelled to LA to visit, all the people who have sent cards and letters, all the people who have contributed to my GoFundMe page and to all the people that have sent loving and caring messages on CaringBridge.
Especially because my physical condition is substantially below par, I humbly ask for your continued prayers, love and support. As my life continues to unfold, I’m taking it one moment at a time. Through these hard times, I’m so glad that you are in my life. Blessings to you all.
Love, JP (Jahpa)
A note from Hal:
I had a beautiful and difficult visit with JP recently and I’m writing to give you an update. He’s currently in a rehab facility just 2 blocks from the Pacific Ocean. While I was there, he was residing in a single room with a window overlooking the blue skies and palm trees of Santa Monica. I was grateful to accompany JP on his first trip in a wheelchair to see the ocean, to give him his first shave since the trauma and to fulfill his craving for a roast beef sandwich from Whole Foods. I was grateful to laugh, cry and sit with JP as we took turns listening to each other tell our stories.
There’s no denying it, JP’s current reality seems beyond anything a person should have to endure. He is no longer in critical condition and his mental faculties are all there, but his physical state is shocking, terrifying and painful. In order to save his life, doctors had to give JP vasopressor medications knowing there would be a risk to his extremities but not knowing to what extent. He has experienced amputations of his left foot and his right forearm. His right foot has very little movement or feeling and his left fingers and right toes will eventually be amputated. He has very little mobility in his right shoulder and he’s experiencing phantom pain in limbs that are no longer there. When I was there, his 4th degree bed sores were “improving.” At present, he is 86 lbs and his muscles are completely atrophied from being bedridden. The focus of his rehabilitation now is to build his strength so that he can turn his body and sit up.
When I asked him what kind of conversations are most helpful, JP told me that at this point, it’s conversations where people can get a sense of how difficult this is for him. He is struggling.
During my visit, I had some realization of my own lack of hearing JP’s pain in the past. In 2013, JP witnessed a rogue wave pulling me and another friend Ash into the turbulent ocean. JP saved me from drowning with a 5 foot hiking stick, but had to watch as Ash's body disappeared, never to be recovered. After that traumatic experience, JP shared with me some of his struggles. I remember him telling me about the migraines and the post-traumatic stress that he was living with. Certainly, I would listen, but I think my underlying attitude was one of discounting his pain. I told myself, “It’s JP… he has special JP powers… he can handle this…etc.” I realize that I was more focused on my own pain than really hearing his.
In term’s of the future, JP and his family are facing enormous challenges and great uncertainty. He will have to re-learn all the basic skills of living and will need constant care for a long time to come. Even finding a facility for him to continue his rehabilitation has been difficult. His family is facing almost non-stop challenging decisions.
Though it’s uncertain where he will be a month from now, we are actively in search of people willing to visit and to be present with him through these days. At this point, JP needs strong, loving friends to visit and encourage him on his way. As substantial purchases such as prosthetics become necessary, the GoFundMe site will be updated. Please stay tuned. Please contact Hal at 330-554-5950 or email@example.com if you’d like to arrange a visit.
Peace to you, Hal