Today is a very big day. For those of you who don't know what happened, here's an abbreviated version:
This summer, my aunt's 14-year-old nephew, Nick, was on his way to Florida with his friend and his friend's mother. In Alabama, they got hit by a truck on the interstate. The friend's mother was pretty much okay, as was his friend, but Nick was another story. They flew him to a children's hospital in Alabama where they realized that he had a broken back and was paralyzed from the waist down. He also had damage to his stomach. He couldn't eat anything without getting sick. They say he will always have trouble with that b/c he now has irritable bowel syndrome. This was really hard for Ape's family b/c Nick's dad, Jeff, was killed in a car accident a couple of years ago. And his mom, Melinda had just now started to feel safe about Nick and his sister, Elizabeth, going on long car rides. And then this happened. Melinda went down to AL to stay with Nick, while Elizabeth stayed with friends and family up here. It hasn't been easy for Elizabeth either. She is having to start going to school for the first time. She has been home-schooled up until now. They were very blessed by a Church of Christ in AL b/c they gave Melinda a furnished apt. very close to the hospital. It's been a very, very rough couple of months for all of them. Then about a month ago, the doctors finally allowed them to move Nick to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. They brought him up here in an ambulance from AL. He was nervous about having Melinda 30 minutes away from him instead of just 10 minutes, but he adjusted well. He's been in physical therapy ever since. On 9/11, they took out his feeding tube, and since then he has struggled some with keeping hydrated, but he's improving. He has been in sort of a funk, which is easy to understand considering the facts. Anyways, today he is finally getting to go home. He is far from out of the woods, but he is so glad to be going home. His doctors think he will improve more quickly if he is at his own home. They had just moved to a much smaller house a couple of months before the accident, so they are not sure how easily he'll be able to move around, but their church has been working on getting the house ready for him. They have built ramps, etc, so he'll be able to get around the house. This will also be a challenge b/c Melinda will have to do all of the work for him. He will travel back and forth for physical therapy.
Ape's family is having a parade of cars filled with friends and family go by his house tonight, so he'll know they are glad he's home. They are doing this so he won't be overwhelmed by people coming to the house at one time. I'm sad that I won't be able to go, but I know that he will have support from tons of other people.
If you believe in God and are a praying person, please please pray for that family. Pray that Nick will continue to improve and that he will work hard in therapy. Pray that he will realize that he can still lead a full life and that his friends and family will love him no matter what. Everyone refuses to believe that he won't walk again on his own. Of course, everyone has been praying for the continued healing of his body and cling to the hope that God will let him walk again...if not today...someday. Everyone knows that God will bless him in that aspect. Pray for Melinda and Elizabeth as they work to keep Nick comfortable and help with his medical needs. And pray that they aren't overwhelmed with everything that's happening. Please pray that God will provide the means to pay for all of Nick's medical expenses, as well. Thanks so much for everyone who has been praying for him since the accident. The journey is far from over, but everyone knows that God is leading us down the path and we will follow HIM!