August 13. It's been two months
since my son Jason's accident from which his life was saved by CPR.
He has suffered substantial brain damage due to cerebral anoxia
or lack of sufficient oxygen to feed brain cells.
Last week Jason experienced the most significant
improvement of his six-week stay at Kluge Children's Rehabilitation
Center in Charlottesville. In short, he had his best week yet.
When he entered Kluge, on the two scales
which measure effective response, Jason was classified a 1 on the
Rancho Los Amigos Scale which runs from 1 to 8. On the more sensitive
Western Neurosensory Stimulation Profile which runs to 113, he was
admitted at a 5.
Through the first five weeks Jason's condition
changed only very slowly. He had reached Rancho 2 and 18 on the
He is much more alert and capable of following
people around the room with his eyes in a continuous manner. He
is able to track objects vertically and horizontally. When not agitated
he has watched television for up to an hour at a time. Jason has
smiled purposefully 5 times.
We believe, as do his therapists, that he
senses our presence. He seems to draw a special comfort from his
maternal grandfather, Frank Vickers of Draper.
Last week, Jason took his first spoonful
of food since his accident. Polly, his speech therapist, coaxed
a couple of spoonfuls of ice cream into his mouth. After taking
several moments deciding what to do with it, he swallowed. Today
he ate an ounce and a half.
He is still unable to purposefully use his
arms or legs and cannot speak or signal in a conclusive manner.
Most days Jason is plagued with diencephalic seizures which cause
his muscles to cramp and remain rigid for hours.
Many of the doctors we have consulted have
given us little hope for the future. Nevertheless, Fran and I remain
hopeful. Our hope has been fueled by hundreds and hundreds of cards,
letters, and gifts from all over the Commonwealth. It has been breathed
into us by the many friends and relatives who have become intimately
involved in our tragedy. Many of them have graciously volunteered
days of time and traveled great distances at no small expense to
lend their hands and hearts and hope.
Among the most meaningful are the half dozen
letters and two visits we received from parents who had also faced
similar bleak prognosis. Sometimes over several pages they related
their own seemingly hopeless situations; all of which over time
and with great effort have continued to improve. Their message in
a phrase: "Don't give up hope
never give up hope."
Also extraordinary have been the scores
of beautiful cards and messages from folks we've never met. They've
come as far as Manassas, Norfolk, and Covington. More than 35 Sunday
school classes and churches have responded prayerfully and by mail.
My family and I rejoice in the comfort,
strength and determination these friends, known and unknown, have
lent us. We feel the thousands of prayers offered on our behalf
are responsible for Jason's progress.
Shortly after the accident, my wife related
somewhat philosophically, "this is going to teach us new life
lessons. We must be careful to learn them."
She was right. The most important thus far
has been learning to get through each day, not on my own, but on
the strength lent to me by loving people and my God.
Commonly, people offer condolences saying,
"I just don't see how you're getting through this." My
answer is: "We're not. We're surviving each day only by the
strength of those loved ones gathered around us."
Thankfully, Greg Rooker