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"Closer to Fine"

Since that first stand-up moment two weeks ago, Bob has continued to move forward – literally. The next day, July 7th, with his smiling physical therapist by his side, he took five steps, rested, and repeated the drill four times. He increased that record each day, and by the end of the week was able to do it holding onto a walker instead of grasping bars on each side. We know you can believe that watching him was as meaningful to us as those historic first steps on the moon.

I’m writing this on July 19 – three months since the accident. Bob is now back at the Shady Grove Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital, which means he has graduated from “sub-acute” rehab to “acute” rehab – technical-speak for a more vigorous regime of work he can start doing in physical therapy now that his legs have gained strength. We feel grateful to the great PT team at the Hebrew Home in Rockville, who got him started on his first steps. He’s excited to be working with the Adventist team, especially with Erica, a wonderful therapist with a magic way of inspiring a sense of “I Can Do It!”

To help his efforts, Bob wears a specially designed pair of “boots” which give his legs support. Even more important: consistent, loving support – visits and beautiful messages from his Williams Syndrome family, as well as from aunts, uncles, cousins, dear friends, and fellow workers from the Government Printing Office. As he moves through this life-changing experience, he tries to see what’s happened and what’s ahead with new understanding. His sister Susie has been his special mentor in this ongoing process – listening, helping him to find words for feelings and to keep his emotional balance in the face of so many changes and uncertainties. One of us is there with him for several hours every day, and his brother David and sister Mimi make the trip as often as possible.

His thoughts and insights are gifts to us as we travel this road by his side. He and Susie have been keeping a journal (he dictates, she scribbles down his words) of his reflections, his difficulties, pain, grief, and wishes. What has helped him get through? “Low expectations,” he dictates, drawing on conversations he’s been having with his sister. “One day at a time. And waiting to see what comes…”

Yesterday, he said, “I can walk gingerly, but I can walk. And from little seeds, flowers can grow. I’m hearing the Indigo Girls’ song in my head – ‘Closer to Fine.’ And that’s the way I feel – a little bit closer to fine.”
Click here to send Bob a note! (9)

Bob stood today!

From Barbara:

Have you heard? - Bob stood up today, for the first time. I saw it, with tears. He held on to the bars on each side, and as the physical therapist encouraged him, he drew himself to standing, then pumped his arm in the air, shouting, "I'm up! I did it!"
Click here to send Bob a note! (6)
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