17 June 2014
But by no means is this journey over. The acute healing was just the first stage in this long road of recovery. I'm sure there will still be many ups and downs, but my hope is that being home with my family will bring me much needed comfort and mental relief.
Although I am excited to go home and be with my family, it is bittersweet to leave Craig Hospital. Because Craig is a non-profit hospital that specializes in Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), everything is tailored to people in those two categories. Everything at Craig Hospital is wheelchair friendly, everything is reachable for folks in wheelchairs, all the people who work there are trained to deal with all the uniqueness of these two injuries, etc., etc. But most of all, the hardest part was leaving the friends I have made during my stay.
Even though I will be back at Craig to begin out-patient therapy next week, it was difficult to say to goodbye to my friends. These are the people with whom I laughed and cried, who I helped keep going when things were tough and who helped pick me up when I needed it. It truly brightened my day to see my friends make advancements in their healing and their therapy. In a strange way I will miss being with these people every day. Not only did this accident change me but these friends I made while at Craig changed me. I will miss them.
Over the last several days I have watched more TV than my entire stay in the hospital because of the World Cup. I spent the weekend watching the games in my room and a community room at Craig that has a big screen TV. I don't have a favorite team so I'm not rooting for any particular team. I just love to see a good match and boy have there been some excellent matches!
But the best thing about this day was actually coming home. My family really worked hard on transforming our house so that I can live on the main level. My in-laws cleared out my office and our neighbors helped move our bedroom furniture from the second level into it. My wife had ramps installed and a neighbor helped my father-in-law and Dad build a platform to help with one of the ramps. And this is just a few of the many things that they did. But pulling into the driveway really made me smile because they had put up banners and balloons across the front porch and even one huge one across the driveway! As I got out of the car, I realized that many of the bunches of balloons were tied to various jars of Justin's nut butters, a product for which I had developed a huge affinity right before my accident. I used to eat it with a spoon right out of the jar and finish off a jar every few days. But I have no idea how I'm going to eat THIS MUCH nut butter! It was truly a wonderful welcome. The best part of it all was hugging everyone in my family and knowing that I get to stay at my own house and sleep in my own bed for good instead of going back to the hospital at the end of the day.