Reemergence Part II – Richmond, VA

July 15, 2008

Dad’s too tired for poetry tonight. A rather bland description of a rather remarkable day will have to suffice.

Leaving Walter Reed (7/15/08)

Leaving the Nest Behind (Walter Reed, 7/15/08)

After an emotional farewell with several new friends at Walter Reed, Mariah and her parents arrived at 1:30 in the afternoon at the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center Polytrauma Rehab unit (try saying that one time fast) in Richmond, Virginia. Mariah reportedly slept during the entire 2+ hour trip from NW DC in an ambulance. Her Mom and Dad, each driving their own car presumably did not sleep, at least not for the entire trip.

Shortly after being moved to her new bed, the staff rigged up a “Puff-n-Call” device that allows Mariah to summon a nurse by turning her head and blowing gently into a plastic straw-like tube attached to a flexible metal hose suspended nearby. This is the first time in nearly a month that Mariah’s been given the power to draw attention to herself without being peered at relentlessly by an anxious parent. She proved to be adept at using the Puff-n-Call, ringing the nurse several times – often while others were mid-sentence – with a look of pure delight on her face. Dad likes this place already.

She’s in a pleasant but plain room near the nurses station for a day or two, just to be on the safe side. Her permanent (lol – believe me, NOTHING is permanent) room is quite attractive. Pics and contact info coming soon.

In the hallway is a huge whiteboard filled with a matrix showing the daily schedule of each patient: one row per patient, one column per hour of the day. Mariah is already scheduled for four hours of therapy tomorrow, plus an hour with her social worker and time with her psychologist. As soon as she can handle it, her days will be filled, including Saturday mornings. That, of course, is the point of rehabilitation.

When the Medical Director of the Polytrauma unit did his initial assessment with Mariah, it was discovered that she’s had a pretty bad headache much of the time since her stroke. Duh! Feeling less smart with each passing day, Dad’s grateful reemergence is a team effort.

– Mark

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4 Responses to “Reemergence Part II – Richmond, VA”

  1. Cousin Charles King said

    Mark,
    Glad to hear that all three of you arrived safely in Richmond. Mary O. had called us while you were on the road. I have passed the blog address info along to several of the cousins in NC and FL. Mariah has lots of love and prayers with her from many places as she continues this journey. We have her on our prayer list at Saint Maark Presbyterian Church in Rockville, MD.
    Love,
    Charles and Jean

  2. Leah said

    I am happy to hear of each days progress and hope you like your new digs…

  3. Holly Leonard said

    Dear Mark & Mariah,
    It was such an honor & privelege to meet both of you just before you left for Richmond. If the transfer had been as scheduled I would have missed the opportunity. Though I don’t know you I could sense immediately the love,support & devotion you have. Faith & family are what sustains you through the most trying times. As I shared with you, my family has been through a similar reemergence with my nephew so I know miracles happen. After reading the blog I have a great appreciation for Mariah’s spirit & determination. That will be such a strong asset in her rehabilitation. Thank you for sharing a bit of your time with me. I look forward to reading more about your accomplishments, Mariah. It is all about baby steps but those will turn into giant steps. Today I lit a candle for you in the Resurrection Chapel at Washington National Cathedral & I will continue to pray for you every day. Holly

  4. Coli said

    Mariah has often said that as a veterinarian, she must overcome a unique barrier in that her patients cannot talk to her. She has said that vets develop ways to try to read other signals and understand their patients’ needs. Since her stroke, I have often wondered whether she wishes that her vet colleagues could consult in her care and help guess what her needs might be. It sounds like the staff in Richmond has great methods for helping her achieve that goal. I am so happy thinking of the relief she must feel at having some communication tools at her disposal. However, I’m sure that nothing is as valuable to her as the wonderful loving care she has been receiving from her parents!

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