Walking into Houston and more

Yesterday, Jamie, mom and I went back to St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, where we lived from December to the beginning of May. This was our first visit back to the hospital since we left to come to outpatient rehab at St. David’s in Austin. At the time, Jamie was more or less bedridden. She was able to get in her wheelchair with great effort, and she really couldn’t sit up straight for longer than a few minutes without getting sore or winded. She still had wounds that hadn’t closed, some MRSA on her right knee, and was still in isolation (meaning everyone needed to wear plastic suits and facemasks while in contact with her… well, we were supposed to…) It’s been a few months since that time, and, especially to the folks that hadn’t seen Jamie in months, everything has changed for Jamie. She left in a wheelchair and, yesterday, she walked on her own back into the hospital. She left with open wounds, and returned with barely a bandage on her. In May, Jamie had a few tufts of hair and nothing more, now, she has a cute little mini-fro. We’d worked to pass the Jamie Schanbaum Act (requiring incoming freshman and transfer students at all Texas colleges to prove they’ve been immunized from meningococcal disease) and attended a signing ceremony with Governor Perry. Jamie’s hung out with Ghostland Observatory, her favorite band, not once, not twice, but a few times… even getting an impromptu acoustic set in St. David’s by Aaron Behrens, Ghostland’s lead singers. She was on stage at ACL on the day before her 21st birthday. Jamie has reenrolled in UT-Austin and is back attending classes… you know what? You get the point. A lot has changed for Jamie and her fan club since we left Houston in May. The only thing that didn’t change? The weather in Houston: Still sucks.

So, the three of us woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Houston yesterday to see all of our old friends. Ostensibly, we were there to see Dr. Smith, Jamie’s plastic surgeon who performed the skin graft surgeries for Jamie. We were really there to say hi and show off. Oh, and Uncle Dean came to film some interviews with Jamie’s team of medical folks. We didn’t get everyone on film that we wanted, but we’re planning on coming back to Houston to get the rest of the interviews. Anyway, there were a lot of tears shed by Jamie, mom and all the ladies we saw at St. Joe’s… not being sexist here, it’s just that I, Dr. Lin, Dr. Thai, Dr. Smith, Michael, Anthony, Cody, Luke and the other guys are really tough… and cry on the inside. Everyone was blown away by Jamie’s luxurious locks of hair and how well her skin has healed. The biggest treat was seeing Jamie stand - remember, no one in Houston had seen her stand before…. In fact, no one had seen her stand from November 13, 2008 to May something. Jamie took pride in walking up and down the halls of the hospital, and when she wasn’t walking, we pushed her around on her walker, which has wheels. Jamie probably gave 40 hugs while she was there… everyone was so happy to see her. It was like old times. Dr. Lin was the cutest. Apparently, he had spent the week before our arrival spoiling our surprise visit… though I think mom forgot to tell him it was a surprise. Anyway, there are a bunch of pictures at the bottom of the post, so check them out. Thank you to all of our friends in Houston for taking such good care of our Jamie while she was in your… care. Also, thanks for letting us barge in and own St. Joe’s for another day. It felt good to be back.

On another note, Jamie’s spoke at the Blanco United Methodist Church last weekend and rocked it. She wrote about this already, and no, I wasn’t in attendance, but I wanted to give some impressions that I’ve soaked in from everyone else. Jamie did amazing… I don’t think Jamie wrote that, but she did. Uncle Dean produced a video that played to the congregation prior to her walking/speaking on stage. This was the first time anyone had seen this video and it was very good… very intense, as most videos of Jamie tend to be. [Something I’ve said several times in the past couple of days is, “I can’t believe how normal we thought this was… this was pretty intense.” … we looked over some old pictures of Jamie’s legs prior to her surgeries… it was … graphic]. This was her first time to address a crowd of strangers and talk to them about her story. According to all accounts of the story, Jamie knocked it out of the park! She got a standing ovation from the congregation and then there was a reception in her honor afterwards, as well.

Finally, we’re getting close to our first big fundraising event! I’ll have a separate post for this, with all of the details and whatnot, but it’s looking to be a rousing success! It will be held on November 7, from 12p to 6p (duh), at Liar’s Den (2710 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204). We’ve received commitments for a lot of big time auction items, some of which I’d like to be on the winning end of (for example, we’ll have some amazing tickets to the Mavericks, Stars and Byron Nelson). We’ll also be having beer pong and flip cup tournaments, with the tourney winners getting some actual prizes that they’ll want to compete for. More on this soon, but just mark this on your calendars and spread the word!!

OH! And, be sure to check out this amazing post, written in the Texas Jewish Post this past week and then, mom wrote a piece that was published today in the Dallas Morning News' mom's blog... you know, because she's a mom. Wow, that's a lot of links in one post... now for some more pictures!

Jamie and part of the Hyperbaric team:
Jamie and Mom hugging Allison and Michael:

Jamie and Dr. Lin:
Jamie and Waddell:
Jamie and Luke:
That's all for now!!