“I can’t wait to get back to work,” Hunter said today. He sat in his wheelchair and rolled it down the hallway with the PT and OT staff. It wore him out but the progress we’ve seen in the past few days are miraculous and we’re praying for more miracles.
This is the new normal. We won’t sugarcoat it. It’s painful, grueling and we celebrate each day’s “wins.” We also need to understand the “rules” of the new game we’re playing. Hunter is an athlete and a competitor. When we were told yesterday Hunter’s spinal cord injury is the most severe as measured by the ASIA (American Spinal Injury Assn.) test we also learned the percentage of people who walk again with a complete or total spinal cord injury is two percent. Hunter said “Wow! That’s so much better than I thought it would be. I’ve been in the two percent category before.” He went on to explain going to be a Division I athlete when coming from a class of 18 students, playing Class B nine-man football and other life experiences that built his character.
In the category of little wins, today Hunter was given a bigger and longer hospital bed which for his large frame was much awaited and “is so awesome.” We are surrounded by an incredible medical staff and I will share more about them soon but we know this is where Hunter was meant to be cared for at this time.
In the category of big wins, late this afternoon we were verbally told we have insurance APPROVAL and medical clearance to transport Hunter to Craig Hospital in the Denver area early next week to begin his rehabilitation. From where we were a week ago, this is a BIG praise.
This has been the most grueling week of our lives and yet the most hope-filled. One week ago today, Hunter’s life and the lives of all who are connected to him changed as a result of a skiing accident. Hunter did not lose consciousness. He clearly remembers the accident on “an easy blue run” as he says and we look at the dent on his ski helmet every day with thankfulness.
For anyone who has experienced trauma, tragedy, and adversity, you know the survival mode you enter to get through each and every moment. We’ve been carried by your immense prayers, care, and love. We can only explain this outreach as a greater purpose and calling. God’s got this. Hunter is alive. He does not have a brain injury. He has his mind, voice, use of his arms and hands and will work hard to accomplish new goals he has set for himself.
Hunter’s path is not one we could see or know. He’s shared last year the UND Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) theme was “Why me? Why not me.” We believe he has been prepared for this journey as best he can. Is there a lot of emotion? Severe pain, adversity, and unknowns? Yes. God is building a greater story from this experience, not only for Hunter but for thousands joining us in prayer. As a dear friend shared very early on last weekend with us, “more people will go to heaven from this experience.” Hunter is absolutely more faithful in his outlook right now than Nathan or I am. His complete trust has strengthened our faith just in the past week.
Keep praying please, anytime, anywhere. God listens and comforts. Prayers are needed as it’s a lot to process and persevere through and continues to be a traumatic situation. We also see many around us in this hospital in need of prayers. You have those same types of people hurting and broken around you. Let’s love on them, pray for them and fill them with hope as we have been this past week and will continue to be uplifted.
Specific prayer requests:
For Hunter’s continued medical stability and mental and physical strength building each day
For Hunter and fellow spinal cord injury patient Todd to get to Craig Hospital next week and get settled into their new hospital rooms and begin their rehab regimen
For all of the insurance approvals and housing needs Nathan and I are working to get done at Craig Hospital can be finalized on Monday
For our daughters and our entire family to continue to be supported and loved on a little extra during this time. Our daughters (ages 10 and 12) are experiencing this far away from us and we’re so grateful for those rallying around them. We miss them terribly and love seeing them on FaceTime daily.
Thank you. Your support is unwavering. Nathan and I talked together about how people have filled all the gaps in our life over the past week and are helping us find a path forward in our new normal. It impacts almost all aspects of our daily life. This network has filled all the needs we had and so much more. We will forever be grateful. #pinkestrong