4/12 - Mom and Nick's Excellent Adventure

On Tuesday night, Roni was visited by two of her favorite people in the world – Me (from Dallas) and Mom (from Houston). We’re getting things ready for Jamie’s return to Austin, which is looking like it will take place around the beginning of May… probably in 4 to 6 weeks from now. This update is entirely about the stuff we took care of on our trip to Austin. Mom is concurrently writing a post about the progress being made by Jamie in Houston. I haven’t been to Houston since last Sunday, so I don’t have anything to add that wouldn’t be better explained by her.

Among many other things, mom and I visited (1) St. David’s rehab center (which is part of the hospital, over on 30th), (2) DARS – Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, and (3) Hanger, a prosthetics place/store. All-in-all, the trip was a success. We learned lots, and we liked almost everything we saw and everyone we met.

St. David’s Hospital in Austin is a late entrant into the “Where in the world is Jamie going to go for rehab?” decision making process. We’d heard a few good things from Austinites (a.k.a. people from Austin) about their rehabilitation facilities and hadn’t heard anything particularly bad in advance. Interesting fact – when we choose where Jamie will be rehabbing, it will be first time we’ll actually choose where we’ll be staying. (You may remember, Roni took Jamie to Seton because it was the closest hospital, and we went to St. Joseph’s because only Dr. Lin would take the case, and he wanted to put Jamie in their hyperbaric chambers.) So, we wanted to see what we’d be getting ourselves into.

Roni, mom and I met with three folks from St. David’s: Estrella and M’Lissa (both of whom perform some sort of back office/admissions related services that I can’t remember) and Marianne, a physical therapist. They took us on a detailed tour of the rehab facility (clean and calm) and also showed us the main hospital (pretty and new), the cafeteria (delicious), and gift shop (expensive and coffee). First off, the good news. We’ve talked about the requirement that Jamie perform three hours of rehab before she can be an impatient rehabilitation patient. So, I’d venture a guess that she’s strong enough to complete those three hours now. It’s not like its going to be 180 minutes of painful, exhausting rehab. She’ll have options, which include using the Wii or rehabbing in the pool. She’ll have a lot of options, which should help ensure that her rehab is challenging, interesting and fun. There are a lot of patients there who are rehabbing from a variety of injuries. We were also impressed by the amount of people they had on staff. The ratio of patients to staff looks good… or at least, it looked good at 11:30 on a Tuesday. As for the bad news… There isn’t any bad news, but “First off, the good news”, is a good way to get rid of writers block, apparently. Oh, they’re doing a remodel of the floor above one of the two rehab floors, so that isn’t too cool, but that’s alright.

Ultimately, the most important part of St. David’s may be its proximity to Jamie’s home – Austin (!!) Roni has been living in the house we’ve been renting since November, waiting for our arrival. If we go to St. David’s, Jamie will finally be back in Austin. Let me tell you something – it just feels different in Austin. Jamie is a child of Austin and she’ll benefit from being back, without a doubt. Her friends will be able to visit more, since she’ll be practically right across the street. Finally, and VERY importantly, we’ll be able to take Jamie to her new home for short visits. She’ll be able to see her animals again and get snuggled, big time. Also, there are a lot more channels at St. David’s than at St. Joe’s. If I have to watch Jon and Kate Plus 8 again, I may have a seizure.

Then Roni split and mom and I got to go to a meeting with someone with DARS. It’s a governmental body that helps disabled people get things that they need – like wheelchairs or money – to get them to “reach their employment goal.” There are a lot more details to that meeting, which I’m not going to bore you with here, so onto some more cool stuff… but I can’t find the journal I wrote these notes in, so I’ll find it and report back tomorrow. Keep the positive thoughts coming, and I’ll be back to report soon about our visit to Hanger!