Back to School

Look at me, keeping you up to date. 🙂 Well, sort of… this happened a little over a week ago, but it is worth mentioning!

I went back to my school for the first time last week. Let me start out by saying that it was incredible. The school was putting on a play of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it was really important for me to show support for these kiddos who worked so hard. I did not tell them I was coming because I didn’t want this to be about me. I didn’t want people to come for me, I wanted them to attend because these young actors have earned it. I did tell one of my sixth grade teachers and the play director so that they wouldn’t be caught completely off guard. My initial intentions were to just sneak in and watch so that I did not disturb the play. After some thought we decided that this would’ve been way too chaotic as people would see me and start to chatter 🙂 So as I came in I snuck backstage where the actors were getting ready so I could say hello. I didn’t want them to get distracted by me on stage! WP_20130315_003They all gathered together and I said that I was proud of them, I wouldn’t miss this for the world, and that they are very important to me. They were so quiet while I was in the room, and their eyes just lit up sparkles. As I left, I heard squeals of joy and the girls jumping on their cell phones to tell their moms that Ms.  Owen was here. It made me smile, and it reminded me how much I really do love my job. After that I went to the gym foyer so that I could say hi to everyone coming in for the play. WP_20130315_006I thought if I sat down in the gym I may have gotten ambushed by the wonderful people in my community. So welcoming everyone as they came in, gave us a good opportunity to say hello and then they could grab their seats. It was so sweet to see the families, the kids, and everyone else in my little school community. At one point, a student came out to grab something from their mom and saw me. He turned his head, paused, and said “oh, hey, Ms. O”, and then left. It was so cute to see him feel like everything was just the same.

The real stars of the night were the kids. The play was beautiful, and they did a really superb job. We may have some Hollywood actors on our hands. WP_20130315_007Frank Love did a beautiful thing by dedicating the play to me. At the end of the show, the director came up on stage and said that she was glad I came, that I was an inspiration, and that I have shown great persistence and determination. All 500 people in the room gave me a standing ovation. Cheering loud, long, and with true enthusiasm. I cried. I was just so touched by how much everyone cared for me. It made me realize that each person in this room is cheering for me, and that they think of me, and that I am important to them. It was one of the most heartfelt things I’ve ever experienced in my life.

After the show, I got an opportunity to see just about everyone. 🙂 It was so nice to see my students from this year and I got to see some of my kiddos from last year.

my sassy little 7ies-  with permission

my sassy little 7ies- with permission

They all looked handsome and beautiful. As kids from all ages came to greet me. They said things like, “I’m glad you’re feeling better”, “Ms. Owen how do you feel?” It was really wonderful to see kids trying to process this tragedy and my current state of being. They want to say the right thing. When they hear about people in the hospital they think about sickness, so understanding how this works is a challenge. My sweet sixth grader Heck, I’m not sure I understand it all the way. But what really makes my heart melt is that each of these children look at me in the eyes and wish me well, and mean it with everything they have. Throughout all of this I consider myself lucky for what I have, and for what I see in the future for all of us. Compassion, generosity, hard work, and love.

Stud muffin - with permission

Stud muffin – with permission

I think the pictures in the music room are blurry enough to protect student privacy. If you feel otherwise, please email me ASAP at lovetheowens@gmail.com

If you have a photo of your child  from the play that you would like me to add to this blog, please feel free to email me at lovetheowens@gmail.com. I would love to share your kiddo’ s sweet face with permission.

with permission

with permission

 

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Spare Hour

Well, it’s been evident that I’ve been slacking on my blog posts. It’s amazing how I can think of my life and it seems like I have nothing to do and then all of a sudden my day is filled to the brim. I haven’t had one second of time to blog… Actually, that isn’t exactly true. I found and hour here and there, but have spent it playing on Facebook, stumbling on the Internet, or watching Downton Abby. If I had the opportunity I might just spend my days watching Netflix, but in all reality, I am lucky to find a spare hour. But here I am ready to give you some much needed updates.

Let me first start with an amazing gift that I received from an anonymous altruist (kids look it up, if you email me the definition then I might be able to send you a special treat). Back in February I wrote a post referencing Lance Armstrong and how I needed a new biking role model https://lovetheowens.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/jessie-jessie-jessie/. As a result I got a perfectly wrapped present with a signed Greg LeMond jersey! For those of you living in a cave he is a three-time winner of the Tour de France. Currently he is the only American to have won the tour and has contributed a number of technological advances into the cycling world, including aero handlebars and carbon fiber bicycle frames. I am so honored by this gift and I have it hanging on my wall where I can see and be inspired by every day. Thank you.Fotor0329193419

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another”- Walter Elliott. I could not think of a better way to describe what I believe helped me through life. All my best, Greg LeMond

Socially, I have been able to do a few more things too. I’ve gone over to a friend’s house and had a delicious homemade dinner. Dang! I miss real food! We ate, chatted, and sipped on pear cider – and said a toast to my mom.Fotor0329180946 Pear cider was her favorite and on our special mother-daughter trip to Scotland last summer we found a true love for the beverage, the country, and each other. Dinner was fun. It made me feel normal and appreciate some of the small things that I’ve missed out on.Fotor032918143

In other news, I have officially gotten my neck brace off! I think we talked about it earlier, but I hated that thing so much that it is worth another mention! Can you imagine wearing that torture device for three months? Heck no! In all honesty, I really had been taking it off quite often before the official okay. But still, it was nice to be rid of that thing.

I know we have been slacking on the blog for a bit, but I have some good news coming up in the next few days that you should be on the lookout for.

I am such a tease. 🙂

Keep on keeping on

Updates from Jaime and Steven!

 
Jaime and Steven both got some AWESOME news this week!  You can read the good news in their own words below…
 
Also, FYI, the article in The Seattle Times on the recovery of this family won’t be published until at least Tuesday, but it could be later than that and we don’t have a specific date.  I’ll be sure to let you know if we hear that they are going to run it.  Happy Easter to all of you!
 
 Jaime’s Update…
 
Got great news from the ortho doctors today!  I’ve been cleared for  full weight bearing on my right leg & now barrel around on crutches instead  of the walker.  For PT this afternoon I finally stood up fully for the  first time in over three months.  The plan for me looks like no in-patient  rehab at Harborview (!!) as they think I’m far enough along that I won’t need  it.  I will probably be staying here at Kindred for another week or two  working on my balance, endurance, & building the strength to safely climb  stairs unassisted before I am discharged to go back home.  I will likely  continue doing out-patient rehab somewhere.  While I’m sad to be leaving  Steven & jessie, I can’t wait to get back to the apartment & to be  reunited with our kitty, Beth (I’ll also be right across the street & will  visit often). 
 
it has been really nice having Jer home for spring break & I’m hoping  to visit my apartment with his help this weekend.  Thank you to everyone  who has been supporting us on this long journey!
 
Steven’s Update…
 
So today was our big day at Harborview.  After 18 x-rays, they gave me the excellent news that both of my legs and arms are weight-bearing and to get working on it.  After arriving back at Kindred, I was excited to test these new changesl.  I was able to stand today as well as take about 15 steps with some assistance.  My balance is quite off, but that will come with time 🙂 
 
 
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You aren’t crazy!

The article didn’t appear in the Seattle Times today. The poop – face that was drinking and driving who killed two grandparents and injured a mom and her 10-day-old baby took precedence in today’s news. Believe me, I have much stronger words for this man, but I do believe some of my sneaky students read this blog. 🙂 A little shout out to you! However, I am reserving my grown-up language for those of you who are around for me to tell you just how awful this man really is in person.

The plan is for it to come out tomorrow. Clearly they want to do this story justice and a reporter has worked very hard on this article. So keep your eyes open, but you know how the news works! Cross your fingers that there are no zombie attacks tonight, tidal waves, or rampant elephants on the loose.

Keep on keeping on

 

Update and The Seattle Times!

Hello!  It has been a while since we last posted…sorry for the wait!  Jessie, Jaime and Steven have been chugging along in their daily routines at the nursing facility.  Therapy, visits with family and close friends, appointments, outings, and the immense amount of time it takes just to complete “normal” everyday tasks like eating, bathing and dressing are all-consuming these days.  A few of Jessie’s highlights from the past week include being cleared to no longer wear her neck brace (she seriously wants to burn it now that she’s done with it :-), taking a trip to a friend’s house for a yummy homemade meal, and enjoying lots of college basketball.  Jaime and Steven had a great visit with Steven’s mom, sister and nieces and nephew, they have also enjoyed getting out of Kindred a bit to go shopping.  They both have big appointments on Thursday to get their legs cleared for weight-bearing.  Everyone has enjoyed having Jer home for Spring Break!  He had his wisdom teeth removed last week and will spend the rest of this week cheering on Jess, Jaime and Steven during their therapies. 

If you have a chance tomorrow, you might want to check out The Seattle Times. They have been working on an article for quite some time now, and we are told that it will be published tomorrow  (possibly even on the front page).  We’ll try to post a link to the article as soon as it’s up!

Thanks again for your commitment to this amazing family.  They are all still in the midst of the biggest fights of their young lives, and the love, words of encouragement and affirmation, prayers and well wishes are healing to all of them.   They all have a long road of recovery ahead of them. Also, if you haven’t had a chance to post a memory of Tim and/or Cheryl on the “Messages About Tim and Cheryl” tab above, we really love and cherish these messages and would love to hear from you!  🙂  Much love to all of you!

 

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The Woodinville Weekly and Posts From Jaime and Steven!

A few weeks ago Jaime was interviewed by a reporter from the Woodinville Weekly, and I happened to pick up a copy of the paper while I was out today and lo and behold – there they were!  The newspaper was dated a few days ago, but the article is also on the Woodinville Weekly website, so you can check it out here: http://www.nwnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7748:community-support-gives-owen-family-strength-and-encouragement-&catid=35:features&Itemid=73

Life at the nursing facility is busy for Jessie, Jaime and Steven!  Their days are filled with therapy sessions, doctor appointments at Harborview, visits from their close friends and family, and time spent with one another.  We are so deeply grateful to each of you who check this blog regularly and send your love and prayers to these amazing four fighters.  You have been so faithful to them, and also to those of us who are caring for them in their daily lives.  What would we do without you?  Seriously!  Thank you! Tonight Jaime and Steven have written updates to share with you, as well as a few pictures.  Enjoy!

Jaime’s Update…

Walking continues to progress well.  I walk every day now including weekends so that I can avoid getting my blood thinner shot.  My big news of the last week or so was that I got to go out of Kindred for my first non-hospital outing!  Thanks to Aunt Terry & a few friends I was able to go out & get a massage & enjoy my first non-hospital, non-takeout meal at Mongolian Grill!  Then, earlier this week a good friend kindly loaded me & my wheelchair into her car & took me out for crepes & a trip to the mall.  It was really nice to get out & about in the “real world.”
 
Update for my timeline- it looks like I will be leaving Kindred to return to Harborview for in-patient rehab soon after I am cleared to weight bear on my right leg.  We think that will happen at the end of this month.  I was given an estimate of 2-4 weeks for in-patient rehab; quite a bit shorter than the original 3 months I was quoted!  As a result, I’ve tentatively registered for a summer course to get me back in the swing of law school.
 
Thank you to all our supporters for sticking with us this far.  It makes the recovery process a lot more pleasant than it could be & is incredibly motivating to know that there are so many people cheering us on.

Steven’s Update…

My father joined me on Wednesday and looks like I’ll have his company until Sunday.  He’ll be joining me for my Harborview trip this week.  I had an excellent visit from some of my coworkers in MACH IT.  We had some excellent laughs and I can’t wait to get better to enjoy some lunchtime dates with them.  Today I went to Harborview to get some updated x-rays of the spine.  They gave me fantastic news that it is looking great and there are no restrictions on my physical therapy (well, supposedly I am not able to lift pianos so there goes that hobby).  Because my spine is looking good, I no longer need to wear my spine/neck brace.  Happy days!

 

 Jaime is such a champ!  She is pushing herself so hard and is up on her feet as much as possible!

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Here is a picture of Jaime after she was reunited with her beloved dog, Bennie!

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New big thing!

The secret that I’ve been waiting to tell you is… I stood! Without further ado, I share some of the videos that I took while at therapy.

It’s a bit long…

Day 2 of standing – that moaning isn’t me, it’s my little “nephew” Rowan who came to help

What my future might look like…
In order for me to maximize my potential for regaining function, I will continue to need intensive therapy from spinal cord injury specialists. Since I moved to Kindred, I have been shipped out to the best facility in Western Washington (Pushing Boundaries) for spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Pushing Boundaries’ mission is to provide intensive exercise therapy that strengthens and supports people living with paralysis, and their families, to maximize health and improve quality of life. Three to five times a week I take the van to Redmond for 2-3 hour one-on-one sessions with exercise therapists. If you would like to learn more about Pushing Boundaries, here is the link: http://www.pushing-boundaries.com/.

Here is a video of some other activities that I do during my time in therapy.

Just to give you some background on my injury…
My spinal cord is bent, not severed meaning I have an incomplete injury. This means that there are messages getting through my spinal cord and that there is hope that I will continue to gain feeling and movement, but we won’t know exactly how much until we see it. In contrast, if I had a complete injury it would mean that what’s done is done and the brain doesn’t have a pathway to communicate anymore through the spinal cord. Although I have limited mobility, the silver lining is that I get to eat meals like a queen; getting fed by the spoonful with someone gently waiving palm fronds to create a tropical breeze while I enjoy my delicatessens.

Here is another little video treat that shows you more of my abilities. I am really good at showing you all the great things that I can do, but I have a very long way to go. I don’t often show you some of the challenges that I face during my therapies, here’s an outtake.

The tentative plan for my future is that I will stay here for about six weeks and continue my sessions at Pushing Boundaries until I have my major knee reconstruction, which will take place in the middle of April at UW Medical Center. A few days after surgery, I will return to Kindred for another six weeks or so, until my knee heals. Beyond that the hope is that I will return to Harborview for a shorter inpatient rehab stay and then move out of state to one of the most prestigious spinal cord injury facilities in the United States.

As you can imagine, the cost for this level of therapy is extremely expensive, and most of it is not covered by my insurance. The money that so many of you have generously donated has allowed me to rent a wheelchair accessible van that can take me to and from my therapies and appointments, and has paid for my sessions at Pushing Boundaries. The cost of the therapies mentioned above will likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. Please know that everything you are doing for me is being put to good use.

Love,
Jessie

http://www.helphopelive.org/find-a-patient/profile/index.cfm/patient/EC3BB5C7-DCAD-81B7-1C7A32460EBAC363

A little bonus treat. 🙂 I am just too strong