Well, it has been a busy few weeks for Wes. There hasn’t been much time for sending updates so now you get a big one.
May 23, 2012
We have covered a lot of ground the last week. Last Wednesday, we left Arizona in the afternoon and drove all the way to Salt Lake City and Wes did a great job traveling. We met with Dale at Neuroworx on Thursday morning after traveling most of the night. We are so glad we are here. Their experience and state of the art equipment are far better than anything we have seen in Arizona; these people know what they are doing. We know great things are going to happen for Wesley in this place. The staff are amazing and they have a reputation for doing amazing things with spinal cord injuries. After visiting with Dr. Hull, we drove home and arrived there Thursday night. I cannot even explain to you how nice it was to walk into our home with Wes after 3 1/2 months. We approached it with mixed emotions because everything was as we left it when we went to Arizona. Our good friend, Lance, set up a ramp so we could get into the house. It made it easy for Wes to go inside. We all had a great night’s sleep. Friday, Wes got up early and we drove him to the high school where he attended graduation practice, everyone was so happy to see Wes and he was elated to see them. He was able to see and visit with all of his close friends and many of his teachers and school administrators. In a smaller school like Three Forks it seems like you know everyone and are friends with teachers and administrators.
In the early evening Wes went with many of his friends to the movies in Bozeman. His friend, Tanner, drove our van and he really enjoyed being out with friends. They stuffed a lot of kids in the van and a few cars followed. Wes was in his wheelchair for over 15 hours today and was happy and tired.
I failed to mention that Wes received his new powered wheelchair; we will take a picture and post it in the near future. It has a top speed of 8 mph and often we have to get out of his way to keep him from running us over. It is loaded with features to help make his life easier. Friday afternoon Dallin and Ashley and their family arrived in Three Forks to be there for Wesley’s graduation. They acted as proxy for the rest of the family who could not be there for such a short period of time. We were all so excited to see Dallin, Ashley, and the kids. Wes comes to life when the kids are around. They don’t see the wheelchair, they see their uncle who they dearly love and climb in his lap and give him hugs and kisses and want to sit with him and watch tv and love to have him give them rides. They treat him no differently than they did before the accident. Coming back after an accident like this can sometimes be a little awkward for some people because they don’t know how to react or what to talk about. Truth of the matter is they want to be treated like they were before and talk about the things that they talked about before and do as much as they can, just like the did before.
Saturday, Wes slept in for a while and enjoyed getting caught up on his sleep. Karen watched the grandkids with help from Wes, while Dallin, Ashley and I went on a horseback ride. We had a wonderful ride together. Riding horses is something that I really enjoy and so does the rest of our family, especially Wes. We hope to get Wes back on horses this summer, it is one of our goals. Karen and I worked around the house and fertilized the grass and replaced a few shrubs that had died during the winter. It was so nice to be outside and working around the house. The weather was great and just doing little chores made it really enjoyable. Everything here is turning green and it is so beautiful to see the farms and fields turning green.
Sunday was amazing. It was so wonderful to be back in our home ward where everyone has been so encouraging, supportive and loving. It was so amazing to see everyone and for Wes to feel their love and excitement to have him home. So many of the children came up to Wes and told him that their family has been praying for him everyday. It was nice to see the faith of the kids. Wes felt very much at home with the friend and church members as did Karen and I. All of the graduating seniors were asked to speak in church and so Wes got that opportunity. It was nice for him to share his thoughts and bear his testimony. He did a much better job than I could have, my emotions are still way to close to the surface and I am afraid I would have cried the entire time. Wes did great.
Wes and friends
Saturday at graduation practice
Graduation started at 2:00PM and we had Wes to the school early. He looked great and was very happy to be there. Many of the speakers mentioned Wes and talked of his courage and effort. The principle, Mr. Peck, had a difficult time holding it together as he read Wesley’s name and goals. Wes’s goals were to attend BYUI and get his degree in Biology and go into the medical field, to spend time in Rehab and have an amazing recovery and to serve a mission for the church. Wes also received a scholarship for being on National Honors Society. Karen and I were emotional as we thought about how some things have changed for Wes and how well he has adapted. We know that Wes has received only a fraction of his physical abilities. Miracles continue to occur daily as Wes discovers new things and as his strength increases. He continues to have an amazing attitude and is very easy going. Please continue to pray for his recovery and continued miracles in his behalf. We are constantly running into people who are knowledgeable about spinal injuries who are amazed at his progress for such a short period of time.
After graduation there were several graduating seniors from the ward who had a party at our house. It was great to see so many wonderful people supporting these seniors. Wes and I left the party before it really got started to attend a stake priesthood meeting in Bozeman. President DaBell in the stake presidency was called to serve a mission with his wife in South Africa for 23 months. He was released and Brother Hetherington was called to replace him in the stake presidency. We felt like we had to be there so show our appreciation for President DaBell for all of his unselfish service to the members of the Bozeman Stake and to show our approval of the new counselor in the stake presidency. Wes was really wiped out from all our travels (over 1000 miles in two days) and I tried to encourage him to stay home and he said, “Dad, I really want to go.” We were not disappointed and the meeting was awesome and it was great to hear from the stake presidency. Wesley was one of three young men that was called extemporaneously out of the body of the priesthood to share his testimony. He did a great job, and after priesthood he had so many stake members greet him and tell him how great he looked and how well he was doing and that their families were praying for miracles in his life. We have become so attached to so many of the members of the stake, it was wonderful just to be with them. Sunday was an amazing day for all of us.
Monday we loaded up the van and headed back to Utah to start our first formal day at Neuroworx of therapy that would start Tuesday. We arrived late Monday night because we stopped at the cabin in Idaho and did a few chores. We unloaded everything into an apartment and had a few hours of sleep before we had to leave for therapy. The staff at Neuroworx is amazing and they know how to work with spinal cord injuries. They are not satisfied with old school therapy and are constantly updating their methods and equipment to push and help their patients achieve far more and more use and function of their bodies. They are very encouraging, positive, and understanding of what must happen to have a winning attitude. Wes already has a winning attitude and is willing to do anything to get better, that is why he will enjoy Neuroworx so much. It is a happy and fun place to be and the patients mirror that happiness. If you have not had a chance to google Neuroworx, please take the time to see how they are instrumental in helping miracles happen. After Neuroworx we drove to the University of Utah Medical Center and met and worked with Wesley’s Occupational Therapist Nikki. She came highly recommended from Neuroworx and she did not disappoint us. She was so excited with the progress that Wes had made and she felt like he had so many positive things going on that she could help improve on. It is so nice to work with angels, like Nikki, who see so much potential and help instill that excitement in Wesley in such a positive way. She knew that Wes wanted to go into the medical field and she told him not to change his goals, that he would be there if he really wanted to be. He believes that and so do we. U of U Medical Center also has all of the latest equipment and it looks new and they know how to use that equipment. Nikki set some short term goals with Wes to really work on his hands and triceps. Today she put him on a hand peddled stationary bike that stimulated his triceps and she was so encouraged that he did so well. We are going to eventually have strong and functioning triceps which will require an amazing amount of work on Wesley’s part. We feel that we are in the very best place we could possibly be and that Wes is receiving the very best care possible.
Tuesday afternoon we went to visiit my sister, Tondi, and her husband, Cliff, in American Fork. They have invited us to come stay in their basement and we took them up on their invitation. We were so happy to come and stay with them. Their basement is very comfortable and it is very accommodating for Wes. We are very comfortable here and so grateful for them.
Our mailing address for now in Utah is:
315 West 1120 North
American Fork, UT 84003
Today at Neuroworx we spent part of Wesley’s therapy talking about a manual wheelchair. They were impressed with his strength and said now is the time to start working on it. Wes will be demoing several wheelchairs over the next couple of weeks and then after we find the right combination we will order a chair. This opens up all kinds of progress that can happen quickly. He will get strong in his upper body and core and balance. He will have the ability to transfer into regular cars and not be limited to just our wheelchair van. We are all really excited about this improvement which will allow him to use this type of wheelchair. Yes, he will have to keep his power chair and use it on days when he will be in the gravel or have long distances to go, or when he is just so wiped out from working hard he will want a break. But for the most part he will, over time, use his manual more than the power chair. This is fantastic progress.
we will do better at taking video and pictures of his progress now that we are settled and can begin to have some sort of routine. At both places he is getting therapy, they have programs where we can come in and use much of the state of the art equipment on our own after they have trained us, so that we can spend more time helping Wes. There are also some amazing resources for spinal cord injuries with an organization that does activities weekly during the summer that includes handcycling, kayaking, sailing, swimming to just name a few that Wes is interested in. Wes will be getting involved in these activities during the week when we are not in therapy. People with spinal cord injuries can have an amazing life and do way more than most people think they can.
Well this is the last 2 weeks’ overview. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Miracles have happened, are happening, and will continue to happen. It is a miracle that we are in Utah right now getting the best care possible. Thank you for your encouragement and love.
Right before Wes tried to strangle me…