Formerly "Neil Stone Updates"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

It's a Bird...It's a Plane...

The Young family reunion held in Utah recently had the subtle theme of "Superman" in Neil's honor. I say subtle because no one wanted to embarrass him by making a big deal over him--and yet, how could they not? These were grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles who had fasted and prayed for a miracle and here was one standing right in front of them! The original plan was to play the movie theme as he walked into the house, but they didn't, which was probably a good idea. He was a little shy at first--there were twenty-eight people ready to give him a hug!

Acing the Serve

Neil proved true to the comic book hero's namesake on our trip. He hiked nearly two miles up a steep and rocky trail to some hot springs, then came down the same trail after a soak in the water. He swam, bowled, played volleyball (and made some great one-handed serves!) He braved the chilly water at a mountain reservoir. He did everything the clan did. Even we, who see him everyday, were amazed at his confidence and his abilities.

at the hot springs with Alison and cousins

We almost didn't make it to this reunion. At the time we had to make our plane reservations Neil was not quite to the point where we would have been comfortable taking him so far from home. We weren't sure how he would react to crowded quarters with so many people. But when the departure date rolled around, we knew we'd done the right thing in buying the tickets. He was ready. And how glad we were to put our arms around those loved ones who had kept Neil in their hearts continually since January 24th and thank them for their love and support!

Several years ago, we attended a YMCA family camp with my brother and his family. We enjoyed the enthusiastic staff who led us in singing grace at mealtime. One of the blessings on the food was sung to the Superman movie theme song. The words began, "Thank you God, for giving us food..." Throughout our recent reunion I heard the same song in my head with the words, "Thank you God, for giving us Neil!" I know I wasn't the only one singing that silent prayer.

You can join us here. Start singing at around 44 seconds!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Neil turns 19 today! He had sesame chicken for breakfast already. He's looking forward to Chipotle with friends for lunch. We'll have pizza for dinner. What more could a kid ask for? Of course root beer will be involved. Neil is passionate about his food these days, and these are his favorites.

Yesterday was six months out from the accident. His gift to us on his birthday is his amazing progress and happy spirit. What more could parents ask for?

Call or text him a happy birthday message, or comment here and I'll be sure he sees it.

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Testing, 1-2-3

Everybody wants to know what's going on in Neil's brain. At the beginning all we had was what could be seen on his CT scans--obvious extensive damage, but no way to know just how he would be affected. As Neil started waking up, moving, and reacting, more could be deduced about the extent of the injury. Since then, he has worked very hard to regain use of his body, and he has spent much time trying to relearn speech and language skills. We've been amazed as we've witnessed the wheels in his head spin as he tries to retrieve facts from his past 18 years of learning. He's reached a point in his rehabilitation, and his attention span is such, that he is ready to give us some more clues. Testing in earnest has begun!

Neil has lately been sitting for hours at a time being evaluated by psychologists, speech therapists, a learning consultant, and a social worker--representatives from both Kessler and the school district. And there are more tests to come. Just the ability for him to stay on task for those long periods is progress in deed. At the end of all this, efforts will be coordinated by both institutions and us to find the best path for Neil's future goals: college, a career, a social life, a family.

We all want to know what's going to happen this Fall. Most assumptions are that he'll be at the high school getting some remedial courses to help get him as close as possible to where he was academically. He wants very much to attend the local community college to get ready to eventually transfer to BYU-Idaho, the school where he was originally accepted. I want to see him in Kessler's CRP (Cognitive Rehabilitation Program). In addition to these possibilities, Neil is still needing his speech, occupational, and physical therapies. How will we coordinate all these plans and resources? Stay tuned to find out!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day

News worthy of fireworks and parades: Assistance is no longer needed for showering. Enough said on the subject.