Derek’s Journey Featured


TBI Hope is a magazine published a piece showcasing my use of technology in daily living with a traumatic brain injury.

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TBI Hope is a magazine dedicated to showcasing individuals living with a traumatic brain injury. The features highlight individuals living their lives against the odds.

I was published in the July 2017 issue. The piece details my journey from injury to recovery.

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Corinna Halloran told my story journey of living with a TBI

A piece was done about me by Brian Feulner of the BDN

I few videos showing my journey. Made by: Brandon Waltz when I was an intern at the VillageSoup.

I got to go skiing with Maine Handicapped Skiing (MHS) with my friend Andy Watras he videotaped me.

The summer of 2011 I got to experience something new sit water skiing I did this with Northeast Passage.

November 11, 2007 Today’s Update:

Hello Everyone,

Time is going fast and lots of things happening, just two more classes before finishing my course at U of M Rockland, I had a very good day at the craft fair at the Elks Club and sold a lot of my pictures on Saturday (some new and some old), want to thank Mark for helping me pick out pictures and Mom for helping me prepare and help sell. Of course, I’m still involved with all of my usual therapy, photo club (more and more outings), and for a short time I was having additional P. T. with Jill and I want to thank her. This is going to be a very special Christmas this year, we are going to spend it as a family at Disney World.

Sales of my photos will help towards my China trip, plans for the trip are moving along. I will be leaving on Jan. 11, 08 and returning Feb. 11th. A public supper is being held at the Elks Club from 5:30 to 7:30 in Rockland on Nov. 30th to help out with the China trip expenses. We have also just found out that Project Walk is going to have a site near Boston starting Jan. 2, 2008, it is a spinal cord injury recovery center, another possible step towards my recovery, for more information on this go to

I want to thank Aunt Kristin for posting these updates for me. Thanks to all involved in my recovery, Derek

September 30, 2007

Today’s Update:

Hello Everyone,

It has been a real busy month, I have been getting prepared to go to China in January with Nicole and my Mom for stem cell treatment(six stem cell injections and one bone marrow transplant from my own hip). It is going to be one heck of an adventure. I want to thank Neal for letting Nicole go with us and I especially thank Mom and Nicole’s research and hard work they have put into making the trip possible. They say that for it to work you must keep a positive attitude. While we are there, I’m going to get acupuncture, physical therapy, aquatics, many other things. If you would like more information log onto

We just found out more about project walk which is an intensive therapy that at one point was only offered in California, but now I understand a facility is going to open in Boston. That would be my next long term goal after China, I’m determined to try and get these legs moving. I have been doing my usual therapy in Rockland. Down there we have started a photography group which I thourgly enjoy. We have been doing a lot more group therapy. I recently started taking a course at the local branch of the Univ. of Maine, Mr.Moro is my teacher, he is a great man. It is kind of weird to be doing school work again, but it is a good thing, I thoroughly enjoy it, I am learning a lot.

I would like to personally thank the Ralphs for their hospitality when it came to the Windsor fair.

Don’t know whether I mentioned Nicole’s wedding, it was simple, but elegant and lots of fun (If it wasn’t for Elaina stunning beauty, I would not have looked as good as I did), I was one of the groomsmen in the wedding party. Mr. Stone did one heck of a good job performing the wedding.

I want to give my condolences to the McCormick’s in their recent loss of Aunt Dede, she was a great lady. Since there is so much going on in my life right now, it is going to be a month before my next update.

Thank you again, Derek

August 24th , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi yall. Sorry for the lack of updates. Where do I start, there has been so much going on. Let me highlight the important stuff because there has been a lot of usual stuff like therapy stuff. Camp was awesome. We did so much like sailing, biking, rope course, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The Wall Street dinner was awesome. Very well put together, very classy. It was so good seeing old friends and making new ones. That’s why I Love Shake. Shannon and I went to Pittsburgh, PA to our friends from CUA wedding. Thank you guys. It was unbelievable. It was top notch. It was a long trip, but well worth it. Then I had my sisters wedding this past weekend. It was unbelievable. Thanks guys. It was very well done. I got to go down the isle as an usher in my IBOT at eye level with everyone else. And I danced in my chair. This past weekend I went to the Union Fair to bet on the horses. I did alright but I would have done better if I had Papa O’s help. But it was still fun. Last night Papa M. took me to the demolition derby at the fair. I love that. I lost my cell phone yesterday, so I have to get a new one. So if you think I need your name and number, let me know. I did find my original phone and am going to try to get numbers transferred from it, but I don’t have any of the new numbers that I have collected over the past year. It is so weird how reliant you get on your cell phone. Shane got the Wii video system. He let me use it and it was awesome. This past few weeks my neck has been hurting. I can’t wait for it to go away. I found this great web page, It would be awesome to look into it. I don’t understand why our country can’t smarten up. It would improve people’s lives. I highly recommend you checking it out. Thank you for all your continuing love and support. Love, Derek

June 24th , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Yall I hope everything is going well I have been mad busy getting ready for camp, but it worth it — trust me! Know that it is here. There is a good group here I can learn so much from all of them, what works and whats good. Yesterday I spent the day with Dustin and McKenzie in Newport it was fun went to the Breakers and out to dinner. Then they left. I hung out with people from camp later at O’Briens. We have already done hand biking a lot of strength and conditioning.Getting my upper body buff hehe. It prob. helps they make us push a lot. The other day we did quad rugby that’s intense. But fun! Its not even the 1st week and I am already pooped, but its good for me. I am sure I will get use to it. I am a lil disappointed that I couldn’t bring the IBOT but I don’t think here would be the place to learn how to use it. There’s always next year hopefully. Alright well hope everybody has a good day. Bye!!!

P.S.keep the comments coming they’re nice and I will do better on the updates. SORRY!

June 21st , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi ya’ll, just wanted to let you know that I got my IBOT wheelchair last Thursday and it is amazing. I took it out on the town Fri night, and was eye level to some of my friends who were out! Thank you all so much for the help you put into helping me get it! I will be in Newport, Rhode Island at Shake-A-Leg camp (the same one that I went to last year) for four weeks. My address there is Shake-A-Leg, Attn: Derek O’Brien P.O. Box 1264 Newport, RI 02840 and I would love to hear from you. I hope that everybody is having a nice summer so far! Love, Derek

May 30th , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi yall, Hope everybody is doing well. I have been studying for my IBOT wheelchair and lets put it this way, there were classes that I took in college that weren’t this hard.. But oh well, it is worth it. I want to thank everybody again for getting me the opportunity to get this. It is going to change my life. I have not been doing as much accupunture. It’s fine with me because I have kind of platoed with it. I have been doing more groups down at MCIR which I thoroughly enjoy. We have been doing a fishing group, an upper extremity group and a cooking group. It is a lot more fun having the group therapies. I have been going to Pen Bay for hand therapy to try to strengthen my left hand so I can do the stairs with my IBOT by myself. My mom and I went to Maine Sport to get a few things like sandles and sunglasses. I really needed that stuff for camp. Marci cut my hair the other day. She did a great job. I am going to go again before I go to camp. It was nice of Dustin to take me out this weekend. That was fun. We went out on Sam’s boat. That was fun. Sam and Scott went wake boarding. Then we went out to supper and to the bars. It was fun! I have still been working with Sarah on my cognitive work. That is going good. I have been working with Mark on my photograghy. We have been trying to get everybody’s order done. Mark brought me back a sweet picture from his trip to the Galapagus Islands. I am getting some of my photographs ready to display at the Bagel Cafe in Camden for the month of June. Thank to them for the opportunity. My IBOT wheelchair is scheduled to arrive on June 14th. I will go to Orono for an eight hour training and test session to get it. I can’t wait. I should have it in time to go to Shake-A-Leg camp on June 20th. Thank you all for you love and support. Derek

May 3rd , 2007

Today’s Update: I want to thank everybody for their help, generosity and support. The fundraiser was very successful. We raised enough money to purchase my special wheelchair. I also want to thank Nicole for coming up and surprising us all. I knew that she could never miss a good time. You all don’t know how grateful I am for all that you have done.You have opened up many more doors for me that I once thought were impossible. This is all do to your generosity. I would like to thank my grandparents along with their friends, Carol and Jim, for bringing me home that night. As much as I would have loved to have stayed there longer, I was totally exhausted. The chair has been ordered and we expect the arrival in four to six weeks. Just before I leave for Shake-A-Leg camp. It will be great to have it there. I am working hard at strengthening my weak hand because it will be benificial to help me operate my new chair independently up stairs. I am still continueing to go to acupuncture, the chiropractor (Thank you Dr. Buckley), swimming and weight lifting at the YMCA, and all my other regular therapies. Sarah Dailey is still helping me with my cognitive work. I want to thank everyone for their support. I would not have made it this far without you. Love, Derek

Apr. 26th, 2007

Today’s Update: Last weekend Sarah came to work on my cognitive on Saturday and Becca came to give me a message on Sunday.  Dustin came up for the weekend to go to Sugarloaf skiing.  At night he took me out with Chuck, Meredith, and Shannon.  It was fun. Thanks guys.  I hope to see everybody at the fund raiser.  It is going to be a good time.  Yesterday I had a full day at MCIR.  Today I woke up early and went to Orono with my mom and grandmother to trial the IBOT again.  It was amazing.  Words can’t even describe it.  Thanks again all.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me, if it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t do or get half of what I get.  Good bye, Derek

Apr. 19th, 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Ya’ll. I hope that everybody is doing well. I want to thank Mark for all of the work that he has been doing-helping me with photoshop, taking me out to take pictures, helping me with my cousins invitation, and just helping so much with teaching me about photography. Thank you Mark! I also want to thank Papa McCormick for taking me out to take pictures the other day too…they came out great. I want to thank everybody who is helping with the fundraiser for the IBOT wheelchair. YOu have no idea how much it means to me as that wheelchair would change my entire life in so many ways.I think that the event is going to be pretty successful. In therapy, I have been doing more groups of which I thoroughly enjoy for it breaks up my usual monotonous schedule. Thank you Shannon for coming to get me the other day so that I could take pictures of the new addition to her family! Thank you! We have been having some crazy weather here lately, lots and lots of rain, but thankfully no flooding. I guess it was to make up for our relatively mild winter. In RT I have been working on my car model and its almost time to brainstorm for another project for it is almost done! Tomorrow I am going to the Y to work out which I like. I am getting back into shape which is good. I haven’t been going to the acupuncturist in yarmouth as much lately because I have been seeing Dr. Buckley in Rockport who is really really good. He helps a ton. Thank you Karen for taking me! The other night, Mom, Dad, Shane and I all went to Augusta to do a little shopping which I always enjoy. This next week I will be working with Mark to get my pictures ready for the silent auction at the fundraiser…I hope to see you there! I just can’t thank everybody enough for all of your help and support. Bye ya’ll! Derek

Apr. 9th, 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Yall,What a small world. That Christina, whose family was on the beach the day of the accident, her friend’s uncle invented the IBot wheelchair. The one that brings you up to eye level. I am telling you, it is not what you know, but who you know. The community is having a fundraiser to help me get the wheelchair. The details will be coming out soon. Thanks to all. I had a pretty relaxed weekend. It’s what I needed. Mark took me out to take pictures. We had fun! I also had Easter dinner at my grandparents McCormick’s. At therapy I have been doing a lot more groups which I prefer. It makes time fly! Today I am meeting with Sarah Dailey to work on cognitive work. Thank you Sarah! Tonight I am going over to Shannon’s to take pictures of her new nephew before they leave to go to Romania for a month.

Mar. 26th, 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Yall, I hope everybody is doing good. What a weekend. A long weekend. It was nice hanging with the family this weekend. Everybody was home. Thanks, guys. People who I haven’t seen in a while. Last week I got to try the IBOT wheelchair. It is unbelievable. It’s crazy in what it can do. It can climb stairs, go over curbs and four wheel outside. I can sit at eye level height. I was able to reach shelves in my closet and get dishes out of the upper cupboards in the kitchen. I really want one. There has to be a way that I can get it. It would change my life. I want to thank Mark Wallack for helping me do a colage of my grandfather O’Brien for his service Sunday. It came out great. Thanks Mark. And thank you everybody who attended the ceremony. It was really good and I got to see a lot of people. Thank you to McKenzie for updating my Ipod. I love all the new stuff. Dustin, McKenzie and Shannon took me out. Thanks for taking me out. Chuck and Meredith came too. We had fun! I want to thank Sarah Dailey for coming over and helping me with cognitive work. Today I had a full day at therapy in Rockland where I worked on my car model and sitting balance and group exercises and looked over my newspaper article in Speech. I am definately going to make it a short night. I am so tired. Bye Yall

Mar. 21st, 2007

Today’s Update: I want to apologize for the lack of updates…I have been a little busy lately as my grandfather O’Brien passed away Monday after only recently haveing been diagnosed with leukemia. It has been a very sad time for he was one of the greatest men that I have ever known. Big thanks to papa McCormick for driving me and Mark Wallack for helping me create a photo-collage of family pictures with him.

On a brighter note, Dustin, Shane, Sam Glover and I all went to Mr. Cawleys esate on St. Patricks Day for a tour of his incredible car collection. I have wanted to do that for so long as I am a big fan of cars and was also able to put to use my new camera. We then met Shannon there who was in the arcade room and had a blast. I want to thank Mark Wallack for helping me so much in getting a camera and being such an inspiration to me and also Bruce Bragg who showed us all the cars. Later that night, Dustin, Chuck, Mere, Shannon and Laurie all got dinner and drinks and celebrated one of my favorite holidays. It was a great weekend.

I just found out that I was accepted into Shake-A-Leg camp this summer! YAY. I went there last summer too and am really looking forwatd to going back. Thats all for now, I hope that everybody is enjoying the first few days of spring! Bye ya’ll.

Mar. 7th, 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Yall,

Hope everybody has had a good couple of day i want to thank Shannon for taking care of me this weekend it was great thanks Shans. We had a great time we went to Portland to watch the boys state bball game its to bad they didn’t win the game. It was nice Dustin and Mckenzie showed up surprising us. We went to the mall for a lil shopping my fav. thing to do. It was nice we went out to dinner after the game with a bunch of people. That was cool. On Sunday I went to the Y to work out. I have been increasing my time on the stainding frame. Mark Wallack came over yesterday to set up my computer and printer and my camera stuff.Thanks again Mark it,s all great. The camera is unbelivable it is the Nikon D80 it is 10 megapixals it is crazy. Then he got me a new computer and a photo printer it is crazy. Thanks again Mark and everybody eles who donated to this it means a lot. On Monday my mom and grandmother and I went to Yarmouth to acupuncture before we went to Portland to trial the IBOT. The trial never happened thanks to home hope and healing they canceled it and never informed us. But now they are going to come to our house. Today I had a full day down at MCIR it was a typical day.

Thanks again every one who has helped me. BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Feb. 27th, , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi yall, 

I hope everybody had a good day. I want to thank my grandparents for taking me and my brother to Bangor for the basketball game. What a game! They played really good! Good job! And thank you guys for taking me. I had a great time. On the way home, we stopped and had something for dinner. On Friday in theropy, I made some cookies in OT. They came out real good. I am not talking myself up. In RT I have been working on my remote car. Its taking a long time and there is a lot of parts to it but, it is fun. In PT I have been working on my sitting balance and neck strengthening. In speech I have been working on memorizing information and pronouncing words and taking a newspaper article and summerizing it. On Friday night Shannon and I and Shane went to Romeos in Damariscotta for pizza it was really good. I have still been doing the standing frame everyday. I am up to 65 minutes. It is a really good upper body work out. Its been really nice having Nicole home and just hanging out with her. Today I had a full day down at MCIR where I worked on my model car. It is taking some time but it is coming. I worked on sitting balance in PT and we do some kind of group activity in OT. And in speech we went over my newspaper article and discussed what I did good and what I need to work on. Tomorrow I have a Doctors appointment and hand therapy and swimming PT at the Y.

Thank you Mark Wallack for all the hard work you are doing on the camera fundraising and ordering all the equipment. He is going to deliver the equipment next week and help me get it set up. I am looking forward to having him work with me. Thanks for checking in on me. Take care. 

Bye D

Feb. 17th, , 2007

Today’s Update: Hi Yall,Derek here — and I am still sick as a dog. I cant get rid off this nasty cough its like I have something permanentpermarnently stuck in my thought. Its the worse feeling ever. I have been taking several meds for it. They help temperately, but not for very long. Then its right back to hacking. I want to just get suctioned god knows it would take a lot for me to say that. I have still been getting up and doing the standing frame even though I have been ill. I received my moms VDay gift on Friday I have no doubt she is going to love it. I mean it has to do with the dogs. So how can I go wrong. Thanks Nicole for help in getting it for me. Shannon is here taking care of me while my parents are away. She is doing a great job. Thank again Shans. I just hope I get better soon so I can get back to therapy and my regular routines. Cause being sick is no fun. Sorry for the short update, but I must get back to bed. -Bye-

Feb. 7th, , 2007

Today’s Update: Sorry for the lack of updates, I have just been a little frustrated on how they were getting done. My bad. I will work a little harder on getting them posted. I would like to thank Mark for his help getting me back in photography and the fundraisingfor my camera and the great photograph of my aunt and my niece Lilly. I want to thank Dustin for taking me out Thursday before he went up north, We manage to have a good time. In therapy I started working on my new erector set project. I am building a race car, it is pretty cool and there is a lot to it. In PT I have been going swimming twice a week and down to MCIR working on setting and balance. In OT I have been working my left hand finger balance and my neck stretches my left hand has been getting better slowly. We have been baking food, I am no Emril yet but give a little bit of time. I have been increasing my time on the standing frame, it is one hell of an upper bodywork out for me. Then when we got home we went to the Y to do a lil PT at the Y swimming pool. Everybody take care.

Jan. 21st , 2007

Today’s Update: Today I went to the Y to work out. The big news is that I got a new piece of equipment this week to have here at home. Through Papa McCormick’s generosity and hard work, as well as the help from Jill, my physical therapist, we were able to get a Standing Frame exercizer. I have been trying to use it twice a day. I just need one person to help me transfer onto the seat of the machine, then I use a hand pump (hydraulic) to get to a standing position. Once I am upright, I can move my hands and arms and it makes my legs move like I am walking, I am working in the pool with my physical therapist Jill and we mimic walking while in the water. I continue to go to Mid-coast Integrated Rehab here in Rockland on Mon., Wed., Fri., for PT, RT, OT and speech at various times. I work at the Y once each weekend with Sam who is doing personal training with me. This Wednesday, I have been invited to attend a Rotary luncheon with Papa McCormick. Right now I’m hangin out with Karen watching Extreme Home Makeover-one of my favorite shows. I wish it was on more than once a week. The updates have really dwindled since I am so busy with all my different therapies. We are in hopes to possibly switch to a Blog set-up, so if anyone has any suggestions let me know.

Jan. 8th , 2007

Today’s Update: Hello everyone, I would like to thank everyone who swam or supported the New Years Day dip in the Atlantic at Lincolnville beach. A special thanks to Peter Roper who organized the dip. It was great seeing everybody’s support. It was great seeing some of my family dip this year as well-Papa McCormick who is always there, and Auntie Sherry who is a real sport and a true Friendship girl ! Shannon McCafferty and family get a huge thanks for the New Year’s feast. It was delicious. We had that just before midnight, went downtown Camden to ring in the NEW YEAR , then went home to catch a few hours of sleep before heading to the beach for the chilly dip. Lots of fun but the weather was crummy. But oh well, we all had fun . It was great having all my family home for the holidays. Nicole showed off her diamond rock from Neal Baker. It is pretty impressive. Way to go Nicole and Neal. Dustin was home for a few days and took me someplace every night. We got some good male-bonding time in! In speech these days we are working on different memory strategies. OT we are working on relieving stress to my neck with some new stretching. In recreational therapy I finished my basket weaving and gave Mimi and Papa McCormick a basket for Christmas. In PT I am still going to the YMCA twice weekly to swim in the pool after traveling to Yarmouth for accupuncture in the morning on those days. I work with a personal trainer at the Y once a week. Thanks to Bill and Jill Glover for their gift at Christmas and to Jill who persists in helping me with school work which is a collection of subjects such as math, reading, comprehension, memory and anything else she can think of ! Thanks Aunt Kristen for the reminder to do my updates in a more timely manner!

Dec. 7th , 2006

Today’s Update: Hi Yall, I just got home from Portland thanks to my mom and grandmother for coming to get me. And thanks to everyone who wrote when I was away. Before I left I did autoambulater for about 15 minutes. Which was pretty fatiguing it takes a lot out of me to do that machine. But its good for me, it makes me work. Then we had to meet with all of the therapist to go over our plan for exerciser’s. On Thursday I had OT and PT and OT I worked on ADL stuff like dressing and we fixed my night time hand splints in OT. Got all the pocking points out out of the night time splints. And on our way home I had acupuncture in Yarmouth and we stopped at LL Bean to get a few things. The first thing I did was to hang up Kevron’s poster when I got home. I had to make some room for it. But I was determined that it was going up. Thanks again Kevron it looks dam good thanks to everyone who was a part of it. It means a lot to me. On the 4th I had OT, PT, OT and speech. In OT we did a lil stretching on my tight mussels. And a lil sitting balance on the edge of the mat. Then in speech we worked on counting numbers and listing the alphabet every other number I counted. On the 5th I had OT were we worked on dressing where I did like 75% myself there were a few things I couldn’t do. In OT we also finished the night time resting splints. They came out real good. On the 6th I had PT with Kiplee in there we worked on sitting balance on the edge of the mat. I just want thank everybody Maine Center for integrated rehab and my Aunt Bonny you were all so great. Well I am not sure whats planned for tomorrow but I will let you know tomorrow. I wanted to thank the Regans again for there vist and card and of course the woo-pee pies they were real good I shared a few of them with the fam. I had to I couldn’t just tease them. It was good to see them it had been way to long and it was good catching up with them. They had a lot info that I didn’t know. Thanks again guys. Love -D-

Dec. 2nd , 2006

Today’s Update: Derek called in his update for yesterday and today. He said he has been working on sitting on the mat in PT and has also had OT. He also got a new backrest for his chair — it’s taller and gives more lateral support to help reduce the strain on his back. He has also been working on independent transfers. On Friday Derek worked with AEL (which is dressing and showering himself) and in PT he worked on strengthening his neck, sitting, and balance. After all that work, he still said it was pretty boring, and he is looking forward to getting back home. Derek sends a big THANK YOU to Kevin for the poster. He loves it and it is hanging in his room right now. He’ll be coming home on Monday, so you’ll hear directly from him then. That’s about all for now.

Nov. 29th, 2006

Today’s Update: Derek does not have access to a computer while he is in rehab so he phoned in his update today: The therapists have been keeping him very busy! Yesterday he had OT, Speech and PT. In speech he worked on pronunciation and in PT he got to use a really cool treadmill. The treadmill has a little robot that moves your legs along the track. Derek said that he feels very fatigued when he gets done but “walking” feels really good. Today he had OT, Speech and PT again. In OT he worked on sitting balance, in Speech he worked on memorization techniques and in PT he was able to use the special treadmill again. In the afternoon a psychologist came to see him. He said that the Doctor “asked the usual psych questions.” He also reported that the food was “do-able” and better than some of the other hospital food he has had. Derek would like to thank Auntie Bonny and Mimi and Papa for coming to visit him. He also wanted to send a special thank you to Papa for the cribbage game.

Nov. 26th, 2006

Today’s Update: Sorry I haven’t posted too many updates for awhile…I’ve been a little busy with Dustin as he came home for a few days for Thanksgiving. Thank you to everyone who sent along Thanksgiving messages…I hope that everyone’s holiday was nice and enjoyable. I had a great time with Dustin and many friends who were in the area for the week. I will be going to New England Rehabilitation Center in Portland, Maine starting tomorrow (monday) through December 7th for some intensive therapy unlike what I have been doing recently. I will be living there for this week and part of next, so if you’re in the area, stop by and visit or give me a call.I think that this rehab will be beneficial as it is catered to those with spinal cord injuries specifically. I will not be posting as many updates (if any) during my time in Portland, but I love getting messages, so feel free to drop me a line! Hope all is well, take care, Love Derek

Nov. 21st, 2006

Today’s Update: Hi everybody, I hope everybody had a good day I surly did. This morning my mom and I went to Yarmouth to the accupuntureist. Then when we got home we went right to the Y to do a lil swimming with Jill my PT in the therapy pool. I did a lil swimming with my webbed gloves and used my floating dung bells and my ankle floaties. On Monday I didn’t go to therapy because I didn’t feel to well. O WELL it happens right. But I feel better now though. On Friday the 17th I had a full day down at MCIR down there I had OT with Jan in there we made mutty butties and they were real good if I do say myself. In RT I worked on my lil project I finished that up, it didn’t come out as good as I wanted it to, but o well. This weekend I spent the night over at my Aunt Renee’s and Jacks house Thanks guys. Then on Sunday my grandparent took me to church then after that we went out to breakfast at Fitzy’s were we ran into my aunt Karen and my Uncle Greg and there lil ones. Tomorrow I have a full day down at MCIR we will see how that goes. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving my brother will be here and we will be going out. Bye Yall -D-

Nov. 16th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day! Today I had a busy day I want to thank my grandfather for taking me to Yarmouth to the acupuncturist were she stuck my body full of needles. When I got home I had a quick break before my Aunt Karen took me to the Y so I could work out – thank you Karen. Tomorrow I have full day, down at MCIR. I will let you know how that goes tomorrow. Night Yall -D-

Nov. 15th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) :Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I had a full day at MCIR. I had speech with Jamie in there we worked on memorizing information by making groups for information. We also worked on putting things in my palm pilot so I could remember things. Since my short term memory doesn’t work that well. After that I RT with Jenn we worked on our lil project. After lunch I had OT with Jan were we worked on thearapody with my fingers. In PT I worked willies with no assistance. And then we put some heat to my neck. After that Coastal Trans brought me home I just chilled when I got home then eat dinner when everybody got home then worked on our puzzle that we are almost finished with its a 1000 pieces. But it is fun. Tomorrow I just have acupuncture in Yarmouth I will let you know how that goes tomorrow . Bye Yall -D-.

Nov. 14th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Sorry for the lack of updates I have been real busy though, On Sat. the 11th I had my craft fair at the Elks were I did fairly well, being that it was so slow. I want to thank Nancy for bring over all my stuff. On Sunday I had a pretty relaxed day not to much was going on. I did go over to Karens for one of her little ones BDay party. On Monday I was supposed to go to Dr.Eggena, but I didn’t but, I did go Demers to get adjusted that’s always enjoyable, my neck was really sore so that helped it. Today my mom and I went to Yarmoth to the acupuncturist then when we got home I had to get ready to go to the YMCA for PT with my therapist Jill and my mom and I, worked on standing and weights in the water. Tomorrow I have a busy day down at MCIR I have Speech, RT, OT, and PT I will let you know how that goes tomorrow. -Bye Yall-

Nov. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day.Thanks again for everybody in coming to the craft fair and thank you Nacy for taking stuff to the craft fair it meant a lot. I want to thank Nicole for doing the update while my Internet has been down. On Sunday Becca came over to give me a message . Thanks Again Becca! This morning we were supposed to go to Dr.Eggena’s but she is ill so I wont be seeing her today. That’s about it for today hope everybody has a good day.

Nov. 10th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) :Hey, Nicole here. Derek’s internet is down so he phoned in his update. He had a busy day at Mid-Coast Rehab. In RT with Jen he worked on this birdhouse. He did his last sanding and last coat of varnish. In PT with Jill they worked on wheel chair mobility. It was nice out so they went outside to work on ramps and stuff. In OT with Jan Derek worked on putting on long socks and putting his jacket on while in his wheel chair. In Speech he worked on “rhyme and rhythm.” Example: 2-4-3-8 would stand for Chemistry I Hate. Also he worked on Meldeding which is when you mix up times and dates. Tonight, Derek and Kathy are working on pricing his pictures for the craft fair that he will be in tomorrow. Everyone is welcome to stop by and say hello. He will be at the Rockland Elks from 9-3 on Rankin Street selling his pictures. Hope everyone is well. Good Night!

Nov. 5th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I had a pretty relaxed day. I was supposed to go to church today with my grandparents but, I didn’t. I messed up the message between them so therefore I never went SORRY. On Saturday I had a relaxed day the only thing I had a message with Becca Swan that’s always enjoyable. I love those ! Sorry again for the lack of updates I will do better at doing them. -BYE Derek –

Nov. 3rd, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : On the 1st I went to Yarmouth for accupunture at Fern’s. My mom and I went to Portland to see another rehab facility.  It was pretty cool.  They had one of those tredmills that can move your legs robotacly so other people wouldn’t have to move your legs physicaly. I want to thank my aunt Karen for going with us. After that we stopped at xmas tree shop to get a few odds and ends.  Yesterday we were supposed to go to Dr.Demers to get our backs adjusted but, the van broke down before we could get there in Rockland.  Thank you Cheryl for coming to our rescue. Today I had a full day down at MCIR were I had speech,RT,OT, and PT. In speech Jamie and I worked on mnemonics and that is when you relate something to a word or sentence  such as HOMES which stands for Heron, Onterio, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Its just a different memory stratagy.  We also talked about repitition when you repeat something to remember somthing. On my bird house I worked on sanding off the news paper that had stuck to the wood after I stained it. In PT we worked on wheelies and the ramps outside of MCIR . Jill was not in she was out so somebody else was there for her. In OT with Jan I worked on putting on long socks with adaptive devices which was successful.   Tonight was pretty relaxed. Not to much going on.  -BYE Derek-

Oct. 26th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a great day. My day was pretty relaxing this morning, I had acupuncture in Yarmouth this morning. When we got back, mom and I went to Wal-Mart so I could get a batteries for my watch. Which we found while we were cleaning out of my stuff. Then I worked on my model with my grandfather, we tried to figure out what glue will work with the model. Then I had Watsu. It is best thing ever, you are floating around in this heated pool while you are getting a massage I recommend to everybody. That’s about it for today. Yesterday I had speech in the morning were we worked on me saying AHhhhh. I average 8 sec. we also worked on me pronouncing every word. We also worked on me pronouncing every word. We worked on me memorizing, my speech therapist’s home phone number. I did thispenb by a method called chuking. It is where you remember parts of something looking for patterns. In RT we worked on the bird I am building with Jenn. In OT I worked on making sugar cookies Tomorrow I have a full day down MCIR. -Derek- 

Derek is having trouble with his internet. His updates have been hampered by this. No worries — we’re looking into it.

Oct. 24th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi Yall, — Hope everybody had a good day. Today I had an appointment with Dr.Demers to adjust my back, it always needs it. Then later today we went to the Y, were I met Jill my pt, where we worked in the therapy pool. I worked on strengthening and standing in the pool with my mom and her. Tomorrow I have a nice long day down at Maine Center for Intergrated Rehab. I will let know how that goes tomorrow.

Bye D

Oct. 23rd, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi Yall, Sorry for no update lately I was a lil busy this weekend. We cleaned out our garage this weekend thanks again to the Sands for there help. Thanks again to Dustin and Shannon for there help aswell. On the 20th I had RT down at Maine Center for Integrated Rehab were I stained the bird house that I have been working on were I standard the piece. I got those all done so now I can start the assembly next time. After that I had PT where I worked on wheelies with Jill. After that I had OT were we worked on me filling my medication pill box with different color buttons representing different pills. After that my mother picked me up and we went home to get ready for the Sands to arrive. They arrived early that evening. As did Dustin arrived here. We all went to Mere’s and Chucks new place over by Rankins it was really nice. When I was there I saw alot of people that I hadn’t seen in while. Then we went to Quatar Deck& for a few cocktails. On Sat. we cleaned the garage and all my stuff that I had brought home from DC. Nee took me to the Y were I worked out. Thanks again Nee. Then I came back and counted to sort through all my stuff in the garage. Which was a lot of stuff. Later that night we all went to dinner at Peter Otts. It was really Delicious. After dinner Dustin, Shannon and I all went to the QD for a few drinks and we meet a lot of people there. It was really fun. On Sunday the Sands left. Then on Sunday I just relaxed and did some school work for Jill. Dustin headed back to Mass with all the stuff that he had taken from me. From what we cleaned out the garage. The garage looks pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Today I had to get up at the ass crack of dawn because the PCA came to the house this morning to get me ready and breakfast and to do a lil housework. Later today we went and saw a doctor that would finally take me, so we saw him and asked a bunch of questions we had. After that I just relaxed. Tomorrow I just have PT at the Y with Jill where I am going swimming. Well I hope everybody has a good night.

Oct. 19th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, I hope everybody had a good day I had a pretty relaxed day this morning I had rekee, then later today I went the Watsu pool. Watsu is a heated pool where you get a message while you are floating in heated water. It was probably the most relaxing thing I have done in a long time. So I am pretty relaxed right now. Coming from having rekee and a massage its been really relaxing. On Monday I had a massage at Demmers thanks Heather. Then my OT came over on Monday. She wanted to see how my house functioned for me. She wanted to see how I got around my house. And see what I could do different. It was good very helpful. On Tuesday my mom and I went to Yarmouth for accupunture were the ladies who usually see me her daughter treated me. Then later that I went to the Y were my mom and I meet my PT there to use the heated pool were we worked on standing and strengthen. I really like the pool. On Wensday I went to therapy down at Mid-coast rehab. On Wensday I had speech in the morning. We worked on memorizing tools like memorizing phone numbers. Then I had RT were I told my therapist about the web site life rolls on. We then worked on the bird house. We sanded the pieces of wood for the bird house that I am working on. Then I had PT were we worked on manipulating nuts and bolts. Then I came home and relaxed for a lil bit then Jill was going to come over but she got a lil held up at school. Today I had rekiki this morning with Judy Fisher always relaxing. Then this afternoon I went to the new Watsu center. Watsu is a type of massage that takes place in a heated pool it was one of the most relaxing thing I have done in a long time. Tomorrow I have full day, I have RT, PT and OT then I am coming home. Amy, Hillary and Dustin are coming tomorrow. To help with cleaning out the gauge. That’s the big thing this weekend. Bye Ya ll -D-

Oct. 15th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Tonight we went to Shane’s soccer banquet at the High School where we had pasta and a silent auction. Today we got home from Massachusetts after spending the night at Dustin and McKenzie’s. Thanks again you guys. They have a relly nice place even though Dustin’s closet is full of my clothes. We had fun down there. We met the Sands for lunch yesterday. It was nice to see them. Sorry about your leg Pete. Earlier that day we went to the Acupuncturist. On our way home today we stopped at Best Buy and the mall so I could look at cameras and get a new phone. It’s about time, I needed a new one. I didn’t get the chocolate phone because it really wasn’t that good. It looks nice but it isn’t what it is cracked up to be, so I didn’t get that one. I got something else. Now we are finally home for the night. Happy belated B-Day to Neil. On Friday, I had Speech, RT, PT, and OT. It made for a long day, but I made it through it. Love, Derek

Oct. 10th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today my mom and I went to acupuncture in Yarmouth early this morning. When we got back this afternoon. When we got back we got ready to go over to the Y. to go swimming with my mom and my therapist we did a lil weight bearing on my legs. I want thank Mary Chochrek for all the swimming equipment they all worked great. Tomorrow I have a full day down at Maine Center for Intergrated Rehab. I will talk to you tomorrow. -Derek-

Oct. 9th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Sorry for no updates for a couple of days, I have been real busy. On Friday the 6th I had OT with Jan down at Maine Center for Intergrated Rehab where we looked at kitchen equipment like knifes and ADL tools in a magazine. Then I had PT with Jill where we worked on neck exercises and neck rotation. And we worked on side flection 10x on each side. Then we did a heat pack on my neck. After that we did sitting balance on the edge of the mat. I did it for the longest that I have done it for. Then on Saturday I went to the Y to work out. Then with Nicole and Neil and Shane and mom and dad went Aunt Sherry’s and Jeff’s where they had a lil shin dig. It was a good time. We played kings. Then we went home. Yesterday we all went to Lewiston to country club for my cuz’s wedding. It was very nice well put together. I was just tired after because I had to sit in the manual chair the whole time. But it was good though. Nicole and Neil left today to go back to DC. It was fun having them up. Today I have PT with Jill then I have OT with Jan. After that I am going to the Y to work out. then I should be done for the day. -BYE- D

Sept. 28th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. This morning we meet with a lady, that was suppose to find us home service, but she was just another paper pusher. Pretty much of no help, she just told us stuff we had already known. Later today we went to Augusta with my mom and grandfather and my P.T. Jill to trail a tanding frame. A standing frame has many benefits like its good for weight baring and the bowl movement. By going up there we could see if that device would work, weather I could get into it and work it. The device worked great. I could get a good upper body work-out and have that weight bearing on my legs. So when we got home I just hung out. Thanks again papa for going. Bye, Derek

Sept. 24th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Sorry that I haven’t written in a while, but I haven’t been by my computer.  Since my last update, I went down to Maine Center for Intergrated Rehab and had OT and recreational therapy where we worked on sitting balance in OT.  On Saturday I had a massage with Becca Swann.  That was very enjoyable.  I really need that.  Then I just relaxed and worked on Jill Glover’s homework that she left for me to do.  Today Papa O’Brien came by for a visit.

Sept. 21st, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I finally went to the chiropractors so he could adjust my back, that was dyer straight in being adjusted. Thank You Again. After that mom and I went to the Y so we could work out. It was good. Yesterday was a real long day down at MCIR, but a good one. Tomorrow I’m goingto OT and recreational therapy. I hope everybody has a good day. I will talk to you tomorrow. Bye

Sept. 20th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I went to Mid-coast rehab, down there I had ot, pt, speech, and counseling. We worked on pronouncing words louder in speech and shoulder strength and then counseling and then played a game to work on my fine motors skills. When I got home, I got ready and went to Shane’s soccer game it was fun. I want to thank all the Blackwells for there hospitality on Sunday night. Yesterdays trip to Boston to the acupuncturist took a lot out of me. But we made it though. I am not really sure what is planned for tomorrow, but in short time I will find out whats going on. I hope everybody has a goodnight. Bye DHO

Sept. 15th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, I hope everybody had a good day. Today we Finlay met with a Dr. today finally it’s about time. She was so nice and full information. I then went to therapy down to mid-coast rehab and I had some therapy down there. I spent all day in my manual chair. its good for me. I also had rekee today that is always enjoyable. I just relaxed. My aunt Pat came down tonight to take care of me tonight. It should be fun. We are getting her trained. It should be fun. I will talk to you tomorrow. -Derek-

Sept. 14th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, Today I started off having therapy down at Pen-bay my moms friend so kindly took me down so my mom could work on some paper work. That she really needed to get done. Later this afternoon my mom and I went to Thomaston for an appointment with a doctor down there. It wasn’t very helpful but, o well it was worth a shot. Then we stopped by Mark and Nancy’s on the way back home and ran into uncle Jeff as well. We had to let Mark and Nancy know what a joke that appointment was. Other than that I really didn’t do that much. -Love- Derek

Sept. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall, I hope everybody had a good day. Today I went down to mid-coast rehab. I had a full day down there. I had speech, counseling, and pt. Then coastal transportation brought me home. Then when I got home I just rested up. I am not really sure whats going on for tomorrow but, I would like to go to the Y. I don’t see why that can’t happen. Well I hope everybody has a goodnight. I will talk to you tomorrow. -Derek-

Sept. 12th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi Yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Its one year from today I was headed from NJ to Mass Gen. crazy to think about it. Huh? Tonight we celebrated Shane’s bday at the house with just close family. Today mom and I went to acupuncture down in Mass. It was a long trip, but worth whiled. Tomorrow I have therapy all day. Good times Not I have to spend all day in my quickie that’s not cool. Because it’s going to be a long day . I will let you know how that goes. Talk to you tomorrow. -Derek-

Sept. 10th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm) : Hi yall. I hope everybody had a good day. Today I hung out with my grandfather we went to my lil cuzs soccer game over at the rec park, it was a good day for it. Then I came back and played a game of cribage with him. Other than that it was a pretty relaxed day. I hope everybody has a good night I will talk to you tomorrow. Bye Derek

Sept. 8th, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm) :Hi, I hope everybody had a good day. Today I went to the Y and did some laps around the track while my mom was having her training. After that we got Scott’s my favorite. Then we went down to mid-coast rehab for a lil therapy. I had OT and PT. I was a lil tired after that since I had already worked out. But I still did it. Tonight I just hung out at the house it was relaxing its what I needed. I hope everybody has a good night. Derek

Sept. 7th, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm) : Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I went to Pen-bay for OT so she could fix my night time sleeping splints. Then this afternoon mom and went to the Y to set up a work out plan. Now I am doing a lil research on a new digital camera. I think I am going call Mary Hall to see what I should get. Any suggestions? Well hopefully I can find something. I hope everybody had a good day. -Derek-

Sept. 6th, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm) : Hi Yall, Today I went to Md Coast Rehab down in Rockland. Today I had Recreational, PT, Speech, counseling, and OT. Then I came home. And got ready for Shane’s game. In speech I have to take two images and write down the directions in how to mirror two images. Pretty fun if you ask me. Tomorrow I have to go Pen-bay for therapy it shouldn’t be as intense as today. I think we might go to Y as well tomorrow. I hope everybody has a good night. Derek

Sept. 5th, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm) : Hi, Hope everybody had a good day. Today I went to accupunture with my mom. That’s a nice long trip. This weekend we spent it at Lake Pemquuid. It was nice to see everybody, people who I haven’t seen in a long time. It is weird to see everybody with kids now, it really lets you know that times have changed. But it was still good to see everybody. Tomorrow I have full day down at Maine Center For Intergred Rehab with all sorts of therapy. It’s going to make for a long day. But I will keep you informed. -Bye-

Sept. 4th, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day. Sorry for the lack of updates. have been down to camp. Today we left camp around mid afternoon. When we got home, I just hung out at the house. It’s to bad that it was rainy lastnight — it just makes for a dreary night. I think I am going to make it a early night tonight. I have a lot to do tomorrow and this week. It was good to talk to Matt the other day. He informed on what everybody has been up to. Thanks Matt! I am really feeling like I need to get down to DC sometime soon. It would be nice to see everybody down there. But I would have spend like a week down there, just so I could see everybody. Plus it would be good to get away from here. At least this week is a short week, maybe it might go faster. — Prob. not but Owell. Well I hope everybody had a good long weekend.
Bye, Derek

Sept. 1st, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek phoned in his last update before the holiday weekend. He is enjoying his time camping with the family. They spent the day relaxing and playing games: Monopoly, Yahtzee and cribbage. If the weather is nice tomorrow Derek may go boating and swimming with some of the “seasonals.” Hope everyone has a

happy and safe holiday!

Aug. 31st, 2006

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek phoned in his update today because he and the family are camping at Lake Pemaquid for the holiday weekend. Today he had a busy day with PT at Pen-Bay in the morning and this afternoon he and Kathy met with Matt, a representative for Alpha One. Alpha One is and independent living program that helps people get the assistance they need, such as helping to find PCAs (personal care assistants). Derek said the meeting was very informative. There may not be any updates over the weekend since both Derek and Nicole will be away from their computers. As Derek would say, “Night Y’all.”

Aug. 30th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): Hi Yall, Hope everyone had a good day. I know that I did. This morning I went to Maine Intergrated Rehap in my manual wheelchair. Coastal Transpertaion came to pick me up. At rehab I had counseling, physical therapy and speech therapy. After that I came back to the house and had a Reiki session. It’s always enjoyable. Then I got to relax after that. Love, Derek

Aug. 29th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:30pm): Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day.Today I went to acupuncture in Needham today. It always a long day, but oh well. It is always worth it. Tomorrow I have a full day of therapy. and I have reiki tomorrow. That’s always enjoyable. I think I am going to make it a early night do to a busy day tomorrow. I hope everybody has a goodnight I will talk to you tomorrow good night. Derek

Aug. 28th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Hi, Hope everybody had a good day.  Today I went to rehab at Pen-bay for ot and pt. I want to thank Papa for taking me to the fair and demolition derby. It was a good time.  Yesterday we went to the Scarborough fair for a lil horse betting and saw meme and papa O’Brien there, that man knows his horses thanks again papa. Karen brought me my awards and pictures from the fair. Tomorrow we are going to Needham to the acupuncturist, it is always a long day, but worth it.  I think I am going to make it a early night. Night Y’all. Derek

Aug. 24th, 2006

Today’s Update (5:30pm): Today I went to the Maine Integrated Rehap Center for evaluation for speech. I have two more evaluations tomorrow and then they will come up with a rehab plan. I had cognitive therapy with Jill after that. I got new splints made today at Pen Bay to keep my hands in functional position. Dustin and MacKenzie will be arriving tonight and incidentally they are looking for things to furnish their new apartment together. That’s all for tonight. Hope you have a good evening.. -Derek-

Aug. 23rd, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): I hope everybody has had a good, I know I had a chill day.  Today I had Rakee I love that. And I had therapy down at the Rockland rehab center.  Other than that it was a pretty relaxed day not to much going on!  Sorry for such a short update. But not much to say. -Derek-

Aug. 21st, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): Hi Everybody,Hope everybody is doing well, Listening too my boys Kev’s cd right now sounds great. Big John stopped by a good surprise.   Today I had OT and PT at Pen-Bay. Then I had Jill for an hour. Then mom, Shane and Shane’s friend and I went to the fair for a lil bit.   It was chill tomorrow we are going to Mass to the acupuncturist that is such a long day, but well worth it though.  That’s about it hope everybody had a good day talk to you tomorrow. -Derek-

Aug. 20th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): Hi yall, Hope everybody had a good day.  Today we went to Union Fair to watch the pig scramble and the heaman competition it was  funny to watch those guys. They tryed really hard.  Plus I wanted to see how my picture’s placed, they came in first and second not to bad if I do say so myself. There were some good ones up there.  Its to bad that it was rainy.   I am listening to my boy Pi’s CD that he sent me sounds great Pi. Later this week they have handicap day at the fair so I am going to try to go that. Last night we all went down to the Anchor Inn it was so so not really up to par if you ask me defiantly not worth the hour drive. But o-well who knew. I think I am going to hit the sack early I have a long week. I hope everybody has had a good week -Derek

Aug. 19th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): On Friday, I had a recreational therapy evaluation at a rehab center in Rockland that I hopefully will be going to for rehab.  Today we went to a cook out at Meme and Papa McCormicks.  I had fun with all my relatives.  Tonight we went out to dinner with Nicole, Neal and Alaena and my family in Round Pond.  Tomorrow we are planning to go th the Union Fair if the rain holds off.

Aug. 17th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): Hi. Yall, Hope everybody has had a good day, Nicole is here with Neal and Alena we are just hanging out tonight. I cant wait to go to the fair to do a lil House betting it always fun. Today I had physical therapy at Pen-Bay. Later today I had Rackee here, it was enjoyable. Then Nicole showed up with her friends they are supper nice. I was thinking I should probably put one of my pictures in the Union Fair, but we will see. Tonight I think we are just going to take it easy. I have a busy day tomorrow. All the evolves at the Mid Coast rehab. At least we are starting some kind of rehab. It will be good for me. Talk to you tomorrow. -Derek

Aug. 15th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm): Hi, Sorry for no update yesterday I was a lil busy at the Red Soxs game sitting on the Green Monstor with Beth they were awesome seats the best that I have ever sat in.; Thanks again Sands!;Today I had acupuncture in Needham it was enjoyable; After that we went to LL Bean so I could get a few things for my wheelchair. And I finally used my gift certificate from X-Mas.  Thanks again Auntie Bonny. I am ready for another week of hard work. Hope everybody has a good week. Derek

Aug. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm):We are still waiting for the neurosurgeon at Mass General to get back to the neurologist here in Maine to let us know what to do about Derek’s failing shunt.  We are still trying to find a physician here that will accept Medicare patients wo they can write a prescription for Derek to get therapy at the local hospital.  We did go for an interview last Friday at a rehab facility that accepts patients who have had a brain injury.  We will hopefully go there for evaluations sometime this week.  I am taking Derek  to Boston tomorrow so that he can go to the Red Sox game tomorrow night.  Beth Sands is taking him and she got tickets so that they can sit on the Green Monster.  He should have a great time.  We will spend the night with the Sands and go to the accupuncturist on Tuesday.

Aug. 9th, 2006

Today’s Update (9:00pm):Hi everybody, Hope everybody is doing well. I want to thank Becky for the link to the Shake-A Leg Camp video. The link to it is on the Comment page. It is comment number 2350. I urge everyone to watch it to see what I did at camp and what it was all about. We found out that I do not have a programmable shunt in my brain. We are still waiting for my neurologist here in Maine to talk to a neurosurgeon at Mass General to see if I need a new shunt put in and where that would be done. Mom is still working on getting me set up with a doctor and therapy here in Maine with not much luck so far. I worked with Jill today on cognitive and she bought me a great lap desk to work on in my wheelchair. Thanks Jill. Papa and I went to the hobby shop today to get supplies to start working on a model Chrysler Building. I went to occupational therapy today at Pen Bay where we worked on folding socks and hand strengthening. Bye Yall

Aug. 8th, 2006

Today’s Update (8:00pm): Hi yall,     I hope everybody had a good day.  Today we went to Needham to see the acupuncturist, always enjoyable.  The only thing is the drive is so far.  I want to thank my aunt and her friends for the clean up and the candy next to my bed and the dinner.  I want to thank everybody who has been following me for the past year it means a lot to me.   Thanks, Derek

Aug. 5th, 2006

Today’s Update (2:15pm): Hi everybody, Hope everybody is having a good day. Today has been a pretty relaxed day — perfect for the weekend after a week long of hard work. I think tonight Shannon and I might go to RockO later we will wait and see. Later today I am going to do the leg gate on the treadmill. Other than that I am not sure what else is going on. I am content in having a relaxed day. Well hope you all have a good day. Derek 

Aug. 3rd, 2006 Today’s Update (7:30pm): Hi everybody, Hope everybody is doing well. Today I had my surgery where they tested my spinal fluid pressure. It went well. I had to stay in the hospital for this afternoon. They found out the pressure was too low. Now we have to wait on the surgeon at Mass General to see about a programable shunt. Other than that everything else is going good. Talk to you tomorrow. Love Derek

July 26th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Hi Yall Hope everybody is doing well today. Sorry for no update yesterday just way to much going on. Yesterday we visited with Papa O’Brien at his house then he made his way up to our house making the rounds. Later that day we went to Marks and had a lil BBQ I opted not to go swimming just a lil to tired too, but we had a good time. I taught them all how to play kings a good game they all enjoyed it thoroughly. Then we all ate dinner and watched a lil TV then went home and went to bed. Today I had OT at Pen-bay which went good then I had an eye appointment over at Dr.Mardens office and my eyes were all good. Then we rushed back to the house to meet up with Jill for cognitive work then after that Papa came over to work on fine motor skills AKA play Cribage with my left hand. Well hope everybody had a good day. Love, Derek

July 26th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Hi everybody, Hope everybody is doing well I know I am. Today I had therapy at Pen-Bay it was good not very exciting but it must be done. Then we came back to the house and ate a quick lunch. Then Jill Glover came over to work on cognative stuff. Thanks again Jill. Then Papa came over to work on fine motor skills thanks again Papa that wasn’t to bad all they things that I need to work on. Know it’s around 5 and I’m finally done doing things. So I want to relax for the rest of day. If I had it my way I would take a week off and just relax, but I know can’t that would not be fare to me and everybody else who has donated there time. Goodnight to all.

July 25th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Hi all, Hope everybody is doing well I sure know I am. It feels great being home but we need to get into some kind of a routine. There can’t be any sleeping in witch always to bad, but “things happen every morning” right Meg. Today we went to the acupuncture in Needham for a two hour session which is always a good thing well I appreciate it. The ride was little boring but, doable. I just want to thank everybody who has been following me through this crazy roller coaster, it really means a lot. Love, Derek

July 23th, 2006

Today’s Update 11:04pm: Hi yall, I hope that everyone is well. Thank you Jess G. for the link to the pictures of Shake-A-Leg camp to let everyone know that we had a great time at camp. Tonight we went out to dinner at the Waterfront with my family and McKenzie because today was the one year anniversary of my injury. My friend Grady was our server. I want to thank everyone who has been here for me over the past year. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by. Time flies by when you’re out of it for a few months. Who knows what a year from now will bring. I want to thank the Regans and the Eddies for their time visiting at Lake Pemaquid. It really meant a lot to spend time with them like the old days. Thanks to the Posts for the fun times at Pemaquid. Brook, you has better practice up on your memory game for our next match. I’m sorry that I haven’t posted more updates, but now that I am going to get back on a regular schedule, I will try to post them daily.

July 20th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Hi Ya’ll! Hope everyone is having fun – I know I am — Chill’n at Lake Pemaquid with Annie Eddey and waiting to have a reunion with old-school campers and fellow twins Marissa and Lindsay (&EJ too). Last night Daren and Missy cooked up unlimited lobsters and clams and we all went to town (except me cause I don’t like either. I had a hotdog instead.) My old man set the record with eating four lobsters and Gary and Daren tied with three. Today I went fishing with Terry and we each caught a bass. Good times on the lake. Terry also helped me go swimming in the lake with Annie. I stole her raft and chilled out all day. We bought a real expensive snorkel and it didn’t work. : (We are going to give it one more chance tomorrow. Off to dinner – will check back in soon!

July 17th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Hi Everybody, Hi hope everybody is doing well we are here at Quarry Hill visiting my grandmother because she had here knee surgery. We are down at camp at Lake Pemaquid right now and feels real nice to be back in Maine. I just been relaxing Shannon, Chuck and Meredeth and I went to the blues festival on Friday it was a good time we saw so many people down there people who I haven’t seen in a long time it was real good. We are going back down to camp after this to relax. Camp is always a good time it feels good to just do nothing right now because I know next week we start doing our therapy at home. Well I hope everybody is doing well I sure know I am. Thanks Love Derek

July 13th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Today we went to the pool, the gym and now were at dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s. It was a pretty chill day. A pretty relaxed day, im ready to go home and relax for a couple of days; a well deserved break. Love D.O.

July 12th, 2006

Today’s Update 11:30pm: Derek was supposed to go on a sailing trip today, however the rain ruined those plans. Derek ended up spending most of the day in the manual wheel chair, which was a tough day, but ended with a trip to the gym.

July 11th, 2006

Today’s Update 09:50pm: edit: Hi Everybody’ Hope everybody had a great day. Sorry that I have not been able to do the updates myself duo too tequinal difficulty.Today was a great day it poured last night like buckets. Today we had regular day but today we got to go swimming witch I always thoroughly enjoy. We are getting to that point were everything we do is for the last time. Kind of sad not going to lie its just because we have gotten so close to everybody and made long term friends. Well I better get going to bed early so can finish the week off strong thanks for everybodys support and well wishes, it means a lot. Love, Derek There still isn’t internet at camp, so Derek called in his update today. Last night he went out on the town and he said that he had a great time. He said it was “Just like the old days.” Today was a relaxing day. Derek had a massage and they didn group meditation. Derek sends his love to everyone.

July 9th, 2006

Today’s Update 10:05pm: Hi Everybody, Pretty lazy day here in Newport. We woke up kind of late then had a late brunch now we are watching the Fifa World cup. Some people went to the tennis match today but I was alset in seeing that. I think we are just going chill out today at the house. Which is fine with me no complaints from me. Sorry for no real excitement but, what are you going to do. Love, Derek

July 8th, 2006

Today’s Update 11:59pm: Derek is too busy again today to write the update. He was sailing in a Newport and his boat won the regatta. Now he enjoying himself at the after-party. Hopefully he will be able to provide more details tomorrow. 

Sorry for the delay in the updates, we’ve had lots of storms and power outages here in Virginia & the internet has been down

July 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00pm: Derek is too busy to write the update today so he called me, Nicole, and asked me to spend a quick hello. Today he was part of the crew on a large sailboat that was competing in the Wall Street Cup Challenge. He really enjoyed this but wished there had been more wind. Tonight the people from the race are taking Derek and the rest of the campers out to dinner at the Hyatt. Hopefully Derek will be back to writing the updates soon!

July 6th, 2006

Today’s Update: Hi, this is Nicole. Derek called and asked me to write a quick update since his internet is still not working. He said he had a good day working out at the gym and going swimming in the pool. He wore O-rings on his legs and hand-buoys to keep him afloat in the water. He really loves swimming and said he feels like he is able to swim fairly independently now. Also, he spent all day in his manual chair. Derek sends his love.

July 5th, 2006

Today’s Update: Hi, it’s Kathy. Derek phoned and asked if I had time to put the update on for Wednesday. It was overcast so they went to the movies to see Superman. In the morning he had physical therapy and worked on balance. He also has a wheelchair mobility workshop. He just hung out last night. Jill Glover and I got together yesterday and discussed what she would be working with Derek on for cognitive work when he gets home. She is going to work with him three times a week. Thank you Jill. At home here, we are working hard on the renovations of Derek’s room and bathroom. I don’t know if they’ll be done by the time he gets home, but close. I think that Derek has been doing a great job with his updates. I now find myself running to the computer each day to see what he has done or has to say. I am so proud of him. Love, Kathy

July 4th, 2006

Today’s Update: Hi everybody, Happy 4th to all. Pretty relaxed day due too the holiday. Dustin and Mckenzie are to visit we are going to fire works and to dinner as well as having few cocktails you know how we do! We went down to cliff walk. I want to thank my aunt uncle and my lil cuzs for there surprise vist I am sorry that I wasn’t here for that but, it did mean a lot thanks again. Sorry for the short update but there wasn’t much going on here.

July 3rd, 2006

Today’s Update 11:50pm: Hi yall, Hope everybody is doing well. I want to give a personal thanks to all that sent me a letter in mail it made feel loved. Today we went bowling with the big balls it was kind of challenging, but doable. Then when I got home I had a nice surprise from Karens kids they had made me personal cards. It was very thoughtful Thank You! I am not really sure what is planned for tomorrow, but I will most defiantly keep you informed. Love, Derek O.

July 1st, 2006

Today’s Update 11:50pm: Hi, Hope everybody had a good day. Today we went to rope course somewhere in RI not really sure where it was but it sure was fun flying in air with no stupid wheelchair attached to my ass finally. I think we are all going downtown Newport tonight for a few drinks. I don’t think we are going make it a late night because we are going to a place tomorrow for a lil shopping my favorite thing to do. Well I hope everybody has a goodnight and I will talk to you tomorrow. Love Derek

June 30th, 2006

Today’s Update 11:50pm: Hi yall, Hope everybody is doing good. I am doing good tonight, tonight is going to be an early night because we are getting up mad early for a rope course tomorrow. Today I took a nice dip in the ocean. Good thing I couldn’t feel my legs it was lil cold. My kayak flipped over so that was the end of that. Then I came back and had to take shower to get that salt off me. Hopefully we go out tomorrow night I could a few cocktails.Other than my lil dip not to much went on just regular day in therapy lifted some weights and did some mat work. I will defiantly let you know how the rope course is. Night, Derek

June 29th, 2006

Today’s Update 3:00pm: Hi,hope everybody is doing well. I know I am. Pretty relaxed day here at camp. Its kind of cloudy here a lil overcast but at least its not raining YET! I think tonight we are all going out dinner at Yesterdays I have never been there but we looked up the menu and doesn’t seem too bad. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself since being at camp. There are so many life long things I have learned things they defiantly don’t teach you while your in rehab. I am looking forward to this weekend chillen with my bro and his girl down here in Newport. I think we might hit the town have a few cocktails who knows we will see what happens. I feel like I gained so much independence since being at camp, because the people will help you if you need them too, but they would rather have you try to do it first which always a plus. Well I hope everybody has a goodnight god knows I am going to try to.

Well, I hope everybody has a goodnight and I will write to you tomorrow. I want to personally thank everbody who has been checking on my progress through this whole ordeal it really means a lot to me to read everybody comments each day it means there are people out there who do care about me. Love, Derek O.

June 28th, 2006

Today’s Update 2:00pm: Hi. Hope everything is good with everybody. Its kind of a rainy day down here but that’s not going spoil our day. We were supposed to go sailing today and I was really looking forward to that. So now I think we are going to hang out at the house and watch a movie. Today I ordered these new gloves to prevent from getting calluses on my palms. That’s about it for today a pretty relaxed day.

Today’s Update 6:00pm:Hi. Hope everything is good with everybody pretty boring day here at camp, sailing was canceled duo to the weather but owell. So we just watched a movie Failor To Launch it wasn’t to bad a lil cheeses. I want to thank Mr.DiBella for his card it was very thoughtful it meant a lot. Now I am just waiting for dinner hopefully it is something good tonight. Today I spent the whole day in the manual chair it is still very tiring for me. But I know its good for me you defiantly take this chair more places than the power chair. Well everybody have a goodnight. Talk to you tomorrow. Love, Derek

June 27, 2006

Today’s Update 7:00pm: Hi y’all, Hope everything is good with everybody, I just back from going swimming today I swam with no life jacket just a boogie board I really enjoy swimming I never want to get out of the pool. I also did some strengthing in the gym as well. I also had a message today witch is always enjoyable. Now we are going to order out for dinner I think Chinese food. After that I think I am going to make it a early night I am lil on the tired side from swimming. Its fun but it sure takes a lot out of you, to try to keep yourself a float. Anyways have goodnight y’all.

June 26, 2006

Today’s Update 7:00pm: Hi yall, Hope everything is good with everybody. Here at camp staying mad busy with all the activities.Today I had a message it was great those are my favorit if anybody knows me knows that. We did meditation group, then wheelchair mobility. Now its time for dinner which is always a good part of the day. Today I enjoyed spending whole time in my manual chair. My therapist were quiet happy to see that. I have feeling tonight is going to be an early night. I am a lil on the tired side, but o well. Well I am going to eat that crappy dinner it’s always the same just a different night but beggars can’t be choosers. Love to all, Derek

June 25, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30 pm: What a pretty relaxed day a late lunch well it was more like brunch but O-Well. We are going to eat dinner soon. Then I think it is going to be an early night for me. I need the rest I feeling its going to be a busy week with lots going on but, it should be a fun week. I defiantly need a nice break when I get home by that point I will be 1 year into this lil break. I really look at as more of a stepping stone for greater things to acquire. Well sorry for the short update but it was a pretty relaxed day. Love, Derek

June 24, 2006

Today’s Update 10:20 pm: Hi yall, hope everything is going well. What pretty relaxed day we went to the movie theater and watched Fast and Furious Tokyo drift. It was really good. Then we came back to the and had dinner. I going to take a nap now so I have energy to do something tonight. I would like to thank the Sands for the piece of mail at camp, feel free to send me anything. Well have a goodnight.. Much Love, Derek

June 23, 2006

Today’s Update 10:20 pm: What a great day it started off like any other day. Today we did cooking where we were all responsible for part of the meal we made Greek food.It wasn’t to bad a lil different. Then met back at the house were loaded in a van and went to the harbor to trial out hand bikes they were so much fun I had a blast I really want one now. I got going like 15mph on the bike I felt like I was flying. I think I want to get one now it was such good upper body work-out. I needed very lil adaptations to make it work. Other people needed more. It would be great to start on the H.S. track then progress to the hills of Rockport. I think we are going to hit the bars of Newport tonight. Well goodnight and have gnight. Love Derek

June 22, 2006

Today’s Update 10:20 pm: Hi everybody how are things going? What a beautiful day here in Newport not to hot or cold just perfect. I am having the time of my life down here. Looking forward to the 4th with Dustin and his girl. Hitting the town of Newport making our mark on the town. Today is a pretty relaxed day not to much going on really need that since they make us go non stop from the time we wake to the time we go to bed. But it is good for me. I feel like I learn so much everyday like life long tools. There are a lot of people that know a lot because they have lived with it for many years. Thanks for the messages everybody it means a lot. Thanks again 1 love Derek

June 21, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00 pm: Hi yall, Hope everything is good there. It is beautiful here in Newport! Today we went sailing in the harbor the houses here are huge and so old. It was really nice to be back on the ocean since my accident. It seems like I have been doing a lot of first this week witch is good don’t get me wrong. I have using the manual chair a lot having a broken thumb doesn’t make things that easy. I want to thank everyone who has been checking my updates since I have been here it means a lot to read each comment everyday Keep It Up! Thank again and have a goodnight!

June 20, 2006

Today’s Update 11:25 pm: What a great day I had first it started like any regular day with physical theory and all that good stuff. But this afternoon I got to go swimming for the first that i had hurt myself. It was one of the coolest thing I have done since breaking my neck.You feel so light in the water. I can’t wait to start that up at the Y when I get home. Tonight I am showing off my brain age game, they think is pretty cool and fun. Well gnight and I will talk to tomorrow.

June 19, 2006

Today’s Update 8:25 pm: Hi y’all Here from Newport, camp is by far the most intense thing I have ever done. Everybody here is so nice though.We are responsible for every little thing. But its good for me, its good to see how other people coup with things. Its a real learning expense deff. for the better though. Sorry for the short update but I must get RUNNING to a new theory. Love to all and god bless Derek O

June 15, 2006

Today’s Update 8:55 pm: We took Derek to an orthopedic doctor here at home yesterday for a second opinion and follow up on his thumb. They left the same removable cast on, said go to camp, and he can do just about anything he wants. He has to leave the cast on for three weeks and then take it off and start using his thumb again. We have to go back right after he gets back from camp. So I am busy packing today and we head for Newport, Rhode Island tomorrow. He had a message this morning. This afternoon he and I are going to get his pictures printed that he going to sell this summer. He loaded them on his new Dell organizer and coded them along with the sizes, mattes and frames needed. This is a big step for his memory and cognitive. Jena, you would be proud of him. If anyone would like to write or send Derek anything while at camp, his address is as follows: Attn: Derek O’Brien, WLT PARTICIPANT P.O. Box 1264 Newport, RI 02840 There are two computers available to the campers, so hopefully Derek will be writing his updates for us all to read.

June 15, 2006

Today’s Update 8:55 pm: Today i went to the dentist and hung out with Papa! Later, Im going to the Waterfront with friends for dinner and drinks. Then its a quiet night before I go to camp on Sunday. Tommorow I have to meet with the lady who is selling my pictures for the summer.

June 11, 2006

Today’s Update 11:59 pm: Derek has had a quiet and relaxing weekend back home in Maine. We saw an orthopedic hand surgeon on Friday in Boston. They have put a removable cast on his hand. We also had an appointment with his doctor at Spaulding Friday. He recommended that Derek still go to camp. So he is going. He got a much needed massage on Saturday which he really enjoyed. Derek is getting wireless internet in his room on Tuesday, so hopefully he will be able to write more of his updates.

June 9, 2006

Today’s Update 10:40 pm: Sorry there hasn’t been a update in several days, when I was transferring from the car to the chair I flipped over and broke my thumb. Now I am not sure if I can go to camp. Well the day is here its my last day here in Boston I am finally going home for good. Its been a longtime coming. I can’t wait to go home and just relax I don’t want to get out of bed for a couple days. Its been a long time coming but the day is finally here. Time too pack ship and leave get the hell out of here before the summer rush. Love and thanks to all that have fallowed me through this journey. Love Derek

June 6, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00 pm: We were late getting back to Boston last night so we didn’t make it to class. As we sat still in traffic for an hour last night, I reminded Derek how nice it was that this was the last time that we were making this trip to stay. We won’t miss the traffic jams. Therapy times are a little reversed this week. We start therapies around 9:00 each morning this week and we are going to the acupuncturist in the late afternoons. The only bad part of that is fighting the evening commute getting back into the city. Derek is having a class today in adaptive technology. He will be working on using a voice program for the computer to help him be able to write faster on the computer. He will have another class in this on Thursday. This afternoon he is going on another community outing with the brain injury group. They are going to Whole Foods. They each have to bring a recipe with 10 items to give to another person. They have to find all the items on their lists and write down how much they cost. His speech therapist, Jena, is also having Derek take a list of items that we need for him to find and pay for himself.

June 5, 2006

Today’s Update 11:00 pm: Wow!! What a great time yesterday. It was so good to see so many people that Derek and I haven’t seen in such a long time and to meet new friends that we have met along the way. It was very heart warming to see all the love and support that we have on our side to get us through these tough times. A special thanks to the Rockland Elks for the lodge and food and the staff that worked the function, to Debbie and Lauren Proctor for the music, to the Sands for the flowers and all their help, and to all who baked the delicious desserts. It was a wonderful time. Derek is sleeping in this morning before we leave at noon to go back to Boston. He had a meeting this afternoon for his brain injury study and school tonight. Thank you again. Much Love, The O’Briens

June 3, 2006

Today’s Update 2:00 pm: Reminder: Please join the O’Brien family on Sunday June 4th at the Elks Lodge in Rockland, ME. This is an open house from 1pm – 4pm to welcome Derek home. We hope to see everyone there! 
Below is a short essay on Derek’s daily routine that he wrote to share with everyone.: 

Hey what’s up its Derek here. I just want to thank everyone posting a message it means a lot to me to get to read the updates every day. It lets me know there are people out there who care about me. Let me inform you on what a typical day is, but there is never a typical day TRUST ME!!!! It would have to be waking up at 7 am starting the day off with the bowel program, then getting washed up, then getting dressed, then its time to either go transfer to the car and go off to acupuncture. It takes like 30 minuets to get to acupuncture which usually consist of eating in the car and taking my meds (after I have something in my stomach.) Then its time to do my brain training in the car or listen to my Ipod. Then we get to acupuncture. Then go in and see Dr.Zhang. At this point we had already done 7 transfers (from bed to chair, chair to toilet, back to chair, then from the chair to the shower bench too wash up and shave, then from the shower bench back to the chair, and then to the bed, and then back to the chair, then down to the car it isn’t even noon yet) Anyway back to my day. So after the nice visit with the acupuncturist sticking my body full of needles waking up my nerves. So after a visit with Dr.Zhang its time to transfer back in the car and either stop at a market to get lunch or rush back to get lunch at apt. Then we have to ride around Beacon Hill tying to find a handicap parking spot to go up stairs to take noon meds and to get lunch. After lunch, its time to get ready and go over to Spaulding. If it is not raining we will go over in the power chair, otherwise we have to transfer into the manual chair. Then after lunch we will transfer into the car and go over to Spaulding. Once we get to Spaulding we have to go to outpatient and check in. Then its time to start all of my outpatient therapy. I go to OT, PT, and speech. In occupational therapy, we are working on my fine motor skills, posture and hand strengthening. After that is over it is about time to start physical therapy which, works on strengthening my back and neck doing various exercises. Then after all that its time for speech with Jena. In her office we work on cognitive skills, memory and thinking activities. So now its around 4 or 5 and its time to go back too the apt. But not before stopping at Whole Foods to get something for dinner or go over to CVS to gather supplies. Now its time to go back to the apt. When I get back there I get to relax for about 30 min. Then its time for dinner. After eating dinner it time to either to do my neck exercises so I can keep all of the therapist happy or hand exercises. Then it is time to get ready for bed. I like to get in a snack before I go to sleep either ice cream or cheese and crackers. Then after my snack, its time for my herbal tea, which is from the acupuncturist and that is for nerve re-growth. Then it time to get into my shorts for bed. And put on my padded boots ( so I don’t get toe drop) and my hand braces so my hands don’t cripple up into nothing. Then its time to sleep well at least it is for me. My mom on the other hand, has to wake-up every 6 hours to cath me and every 3 hours to turn me. Then around 7 its time too wake up and do all over again. That would be a typical day in my new life.

June 2, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00 am: I appologize for not putting an update on for so long. We haven’t had access to a computer while in Boston for the past week. We did go back to Maine for the long weekend. We didn’t do a great deal, but relax. We socialized with friends a couple of nights. Shannon took his to Scott’s Place for hotdogs on Saturday. While we were home, we tried Derek on the lift that we have hitched up in the garage with the harness and treadmill. He did it twice for about three minutes. It was a good starting and learning process. Derek received his permanent manual wheelchair today. It is made of titanium. It’s lighter and more compact. We will try it in the apartment tonight. It should be easier for us to maneuver. Derek’s speech therapist is working with him to have him do some updates on the computer, so keep and eye out for his writings. He is doing well at finding his way around the computer again. Yesterday he went on another community outing with his brain injury group. Derek was the leader and was responsible for finding the directions to and from the aquarium. He had to research on the computer to find out which subway lines to use and if the were handicap accessable. They didn’t have time to go to the aquarium because it took so long to get there and back. It was the first time that he rode the subway with his wheelchair. We are off to school as soon as he gets done with therapy this afternoon.

May 24th, 2006

Today’s Update 11:00 pm: Yesterday after we returned from the accupunturist, Derek went on a community outing to the mall with the brain injury coping group.  He will do this on the next few Tuesdays — weather cooperating.  The group has to decide where to go, how they will get there, if it’s handicap accessable, and try to find the answers to questions about where they are.  These outings help them learn how to get back out into the community and figure out how to deal with what they might encounter.  He has started using the new e-stim bike in physical therapy.  They attach electrical stimulators to his thighs and attach his feet to the bike.  He hasn’t done this for about three months.  He will do this a couple of times a week. This morning he is meeting with a new therapist for coping with brain injury.  He is with her for the first half hour and then I need to meet with her.  Then we will go to all his therapies this afternoon  and then go right to his class tonight.

May 22nd, 2006

Today’s Update 11:00 pm:We had a busy weekend at home. Derek had his messge therapy on Saturday and then spent the afternoon with his grandfather who took him for a walk up to visit his uncle Ross. We still haven’t made a final decision for a vehicle, but hopefully this week. Steve has the bathroom gutted out to make the renovations necessary for Derek to use the bathroom. I got tile and fixtures picked out this weekend. Derek helped us measure and make the decisions on heights and placement of fixtures so that everything will be excessable to him. We attended Beth Sands graduation party on Sunday on our way back to Boston. We met the Sand’s family and friends. They are all just as nice as Amy, Peter, Beth and Hilary. Two minutes before we got back to the apartment to unloadk, a terrible thunder storm started. We sat in the car for an hour waiting for it to pass. We are back at therapy today and attending the college class tonight. Derek had to write a short essay on his family culture.

May 19th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00 pm: School went well Wednesday night. Derek did well taking notes. I’ll say that I did OK. The professor was very nice and she told Derek that he could do as much as he felt like with the course. He has a book to read and he is going to attempt to write a short essay this weekend. He had his first adaptive sports this morning. He went canoeing on the Charles River this morning. It was a long canoe with an outrigger on the side. It sat Derek and three therapists. The weather wasn’t very cooperative, but they got at least an hour in before the skies open up and poured. He enjoyed it and will do adaptive sports again next week. He has a full afternoon of therapy this afternoon and then we are headed back to Maine. Derek is scheduled for message therapy tomorrow morning and I have to go car shopping because I have no way to haul his power wheelchair. I tried to get a lift to fit my vehicle, but my vehicle isn’t large enough to handle the weight of the lift and wheelchair. It is going to be a short trip, because we are leaving Sunday morning to head back to Mass. To attend Beth Sands_ graduation party Sunday afternoon in Arlington. 

May 17th, 2006 Today’s Update 11:45 pm: We went to Mass General this morning to get the stitches out from Derek’s stomach surgery. His stomach and toe are healing great. Derek is in therapy this afternoon. After therapy, we are heading right to Suffolk University to start a course. The course is Cultural Contact in World History. It will run from 5:00 to 7:40 on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Derek’s speech therapy has been working with Suffolk University to arrange for Derek to take this class to work on how he will do back in a school setting. We will be working on different ways for him to take notes and comprehending the information. This will be a test for me also as I have to attend the classes and take notes also. I think that I am too old to go back to school. The University has been wonderful at working with Derek to take this class. We thank them very much. If anyone from out of town is coming to the open house at the Elks in Rockland on June 4th and would like hotel information, give Steve a call on his cell phone at 207-691-1391 and he can help you with names and numbers.

May 16th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:00 pm: We went out to Needham to the accupuncturist this morning. Derek was scheduled to go on a community outing to the mall this afternoon with a brain injury group to help them learn coping skills to get back into the community. But, because it is raining again today(What a surprise), they cancelled the trip. Hopefully they will reschedule it for next week. So Derek and I went to the mall anyways. He had a gift certificate that he had from Christmas that he wanted to use. He had fun buying some new clothes. The only therapy that he had today was physical therapy.

May 15th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:00 pm: Derek had a very busy, but enjoyable weekend in DC. It was a good learning experience for us all in how to travel with a handicapped individual. The airplane flight down went smoothly and helpful as to what to expect while flying with the wheelchair. We were very fortunate that Derek’s dear friend Shannon had her mom’s minivan down in DC and she picked us up at the airport and transported us all weekend. Thank you to Amy Sands for taking us to Logan Airport early Friday morning and to Shannon for all her help. We ate at a few of Derek’s favorite places while there. He got to see alot of his friends, went to his friend Bernie’s house where he had spent alot of time in the past, went and spent time at the house on 12th Place which he was supposed to move into the week after the accident, and got to see his 4-runner. I must say that we think the 4-runner is beyond repair, but we hauled it home anyways. We attended graduation on Saturday. First they have graduation for all of the students of Catholic University and then they break off to their respective schools for their own graduation and receiving of their diplomas. When we arrived at the school of Architecture graduation, they were so glad to see Derek and escorted him, Steve and I up front to sit. We were unaware at the time that they were having a special dedication to Derek. Beth Sand wrote and presented an amazing speech for Derek. There weren’t many dry eyes in the place. Thank you Beth for all your love and support. After getting Derek to take a nap Saturday afternoon while Steve and Nicole got the rental truck, loaded up the 4-runner, and we all packed up his belongings from 12th Place, we all went to Fado’s Saturday night for a celebration and dinner. Uncle Scott, Aunt Kristin, Meghan and Molly joined us. We celebrated with a lot of friends and had dinner with the entire Bernie O’Brien clan. Derek used to work at Fado’s and Bernie still works there. This is where they had a two huge fundraisers for Derek. Saturday night they presented him with a poster they had made for him and all signed from the fundraiser. It was wonderful to see the Welsh family again since we left Atlantic City. They were waiting outside Fado’s to see Derek and us again. We left Sunday morning for the long ride back in the rental truck hauling the 4-runner. The weather was wonderful in DC. We ran into rain outside of Hartford, CT and came back to flooding rain. Needless to say Derek was exhausted, but very happy about the weekend. We had therapy first thing this morning.

May 11th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:00 pm: Steve and I are taking Derek to Washington DC this weekend for the graduation at Catholic University. I know that it is going to be hard on me and probably Derek to attend graduation, but he really wants to go and is looking forward to seeing all his friends. Our other reason for going is to bring back his truck and all his belongings that have been down there since the accident last July. We are flying down tomorrow morning and renting a truck and car hauler to drive back on Sunday. Derek has already picked out restaurants that he wants to go to while down there. He is very excited. Being our first traveling with the wheelchair, it should be a real learning experience. There may not be any updates until we get back home. May 10th, 2006 Today’s Update 6:00 pm: We are beginning to mold down here. Derek just looked up the extended forcast for Boston and it is predicting rain for the next ten days. In OT, Derek has been working on his fine moter skills by following directions in a book to build a screwpress with an erector set. He has almost completed it. In PT, he is working on upper body strengthening and posture. We have been continuing to go to accupunture on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Thank you Kristin for posting our invitation to Derek’s Open House on June 4th at the Elks in Rockland. Check out the website for more details.

May 8th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:00 pm: We are back in the city and back to work. Derek had physical and occupational therapy this morning. After lunch, he went to the memory study. Last week he had to use a Dell organizer and this week he has to use the Palm Pilot. This one has a camera in it also. Now he is meeting with Laura who is running the photography study for brain injury. She brought the pictures that he had taken with the disposable camera that she had given him. He took alot of the pictures while riding around in Maine with his grandfather. They will discuss these pictures and he also is going to show her the pictures that he took a week ago while we were in the Public Garden and Boston Common. It is so nice to have the g-tube and toe taken care of. Derek’s headaches have also gone away since we have gotten these taken care of. He feels much better and enjoys not having to change his shirt all day long.

May 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:00 pm: Derek has had a quiet weekend in Maine recovering from his surgery. He had message therapy yesterday. Other than that, he has done nothing but rested in bed. He did beat his grandfather in a game of cribbage this afternoon. We will be headed back to Boston tonight to start therapy in the morning. May 4th, 2006 Today’s Update 7:00 pm: Derek’s surgery went very well today with no complications thus far. The surgeon did decide to put him under with general anesthesia rather than the local anesthesia they were originally going to use. Also, they told us before the surgery that they would keep him over night for observation. In the morning the doctors will evaluate the situation and decide if he is well enough to go home. We were planning to spend the weekend in Maine, but we will have to wait and see at this point. Derek is currently recovering in a very nice, private room at Mass General. The room even has a pull-out couch for Mom to sleep on. Thank you to everyone for their continued support and well-wishes. May 3rd, 2006 Today’s Update 3:00 pm: It has been rainy and cold in Boston for the past two days making our walk to Spaulding not very pleasant. Yesterday after therapy, I took Derek to the emergency room at Mass General. He has had an infected ingrown toenail for two months that hadn’t gotten taken care of correctly the first time it was looked at while in-patient. After trying for the past two months to get a podiatrist to take care of the problem with no luck, we decided to sit it out in the ER. It took four and half hours, but it was well worth the wait, because it is now taken care of. After the surgery tomorrow, Derek will finally have all his wounds taken care of after ten months. Meme and Papa McCormick stopped by for a visit and to take us out to dinner, but we were already in the ER in line, so we visited there and took a rain check on dinner. This was important to get taken care of. We are praying for a successful surgery tomorrow. We will update you when it is over. The O’Brien family will be hosting an Open House on June 4, 2006 from 1 to 4 at the Rockland Elks to thank the community for there support. Please keep watching the website for more information and the invitation.

May 1st, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00 pm: Happy May Day. Yesterday Derek and I went out for the afternoon to the Public Garden, Boston Common, and around Beacon Hill. It was a beautiful afternoon and the trees and flowers were all in bloom. We took Derek’s camera, but for some reason it wouldn’t work. We need to take it to a camera shop to see if it can be repaired. We ended up buying a disposable camera for him to use. Saturday night we went out with the Sands to Hooters for wings and to watch the Red Sox game. We had a great time. This morning, Derek went to Mass General for pre-admission and his pre-op work. We are all set for Thursday morning for the surgery. In physical therapy he has been working on arm and upper body strengthening. In occupational therapy he has been working on posture and fine motor skills with his hands. In speech, he has been working on a wide variety of memory skills. In the Memory study that he is in for the brain injury, he got a Dell electronic organizer to use this week. They have programed certain times with alarms that he needs to call in. They test different forms of paper and electronic reminders to see what works best for him. He is wearing his Red Sox clothes today in preparation for the Yankees game tonight. We will probably be able to hear the boos for Damon from our apartment on Beacon Hill.

April 28th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30 pm: It’s Friday afternoon and we’re done with another week of therapy. One month has already gone by since being discharged from the hospital. Derek and I are staying in Boston for the weekend. It’s nice to come to Maine, but it is a lot of work. We don’t have a lot planned for the weekend other then going to the accupuncturist tomorrow and we are going out with the Sands family on Saturday night. It is pretty cold here in Boston, but sunny. The trees and flowers are all in blossom. Derek is bumming this afternoon. Dustin and McKenzie went to DC today for the weekend. When they arrived, Bernie took them to his house to check out Derek’s 4Runner. He found out that it had been broken into and his stereo and speakers had been stolen. Dustin tried to start it with no luck, so they jumped it and took it for a ride. The next phone call that we received was that the radiator had blown. Derek thinks that Dustin is killing his truck. He isn’t surprised at the truck getting broken into in DC. He says that he lives in the ghetto. Derek is looking forward to resting and relaxing this weekend. Have a great weekend everyone. April 26th, 2006 Today’s Update 2:30 pm: We had our appointment at Mass General this morning. Derek is scheduled to go to Mass General early Monday morning to meet with the anesthegiologist and do pre-op testing. The surgery is scheduled for next Thursday, May 4 at 10:00. It is scheduled to be a day surgery. Derek is busy in therapy. We brought the power wheelchair to therapy today, but we are continuing to have a problem with it. The back to the chair keeps falling backwards. There is a problem with the locking system for this. They have worked on it before, but apparently they haven’t fixed the problem. I am hoping that they will work on it again while we are in therapy today.

April 25th, 2006

Today’s Update 2:00 pm: There isn’t a lot new to report. Derek really enjoyed his weekend at home. Saturday night he went out on the town in Camden with his Uncle, Nicole, Dustin, cousin Adam and friends. He saw alot of his friends. He was quite surprised when they carried him and his wheelchair up the stairs at the Quarterdeck. It was great for me to see him get back out into the community. We are back full swing into therapy and accupunture treatments. We are scheduled to see a surgeon tomorrow morning at 9:00 at Mass General about the leaking G-tube. We will let you know tomorrow what we find out.

April 22nd, 2006

Today’s Update 9:00 pm: We are at home in Maine this weekend spending time as a family. Nicole and Dustin are home this weekend also. It is the first time that I have had all my children home since the Christmas before last. Uncle Mike is also visiting from Illinois this weekend. Derek had message therapy today. We can never stop with the therapies. We will be back in Boston Sunday night and back to therapy first thing Monday morning.

April 19th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00 pm: Derek has been busy with therapy the past three days. We are continuing to go to Needham at least twice a week for accupuncture. Today Derek signed up for an adaptive sports program that will start the first of May. It has several outdoor sports to choose from. He chose rockclimbing, cycling, kyaking, and wind sailing. We don’t know which one he will get to do yet. Alot depends on scheduling around therapy. Thank you to Steve Pingree for his help with finding a surgeon who is willing to see us regarding the leaking G-tube. We have an appointment next Wednesday with the surgeon. The infected toe is looking better thanks to the suggestion of Becca Swan when she was giving Derek his message last weekend, which he loved. Thanks Becca. He is looking forward to his next one.

April 17th, 2006

Today’s Update 12:00 pm: Happy Easter!! We have had a nice weekend at home. Derek had a two hour message therapy session on Saturday which he truly enjoyed. We are going to continue the message treatments whenever possible when we are home. It will help to stretch the muscles that are preventing him from sitting up straight. It is also beneficial in many other ways. We went to church this morning and it was so heartwarming so be received the way that we were. We want to thank Our Lady of Good Hope Church for all the prayers and support that they have shown for Derek and our family over the past nine months. We couldn’t have gotten this far without it. Papa O’Brien got over to see Derek this morning. We want to thank Mimi and Papa McCormick for a delicious Easter dinner — as always. Derek is playing cribbage with Papa and Uncle Granville. We will be heading back to Boston soon so that we can start therapy first thing Monday morning.

April 13th, 2006

Today’s Update 4:00 pm: We had a very busy day yesterday so we didn’t get to a computer to do an update. After all Derek’s therapies and appointments, we went with Amy and Beth Sands to look at a bigger apartment in Medford. It had two bedrooms, but the kitchen and bathroom were smaller. The bathroom is the most important room for us to look for to do transfers with the wheelchair. We are getting more used to our very small crowded apartment. Parking on Beacon Hill is the most hassle. Yesterday Derek met with the lady who is conducting the brain injury study with photography. Derek brought his computer to therapy yesterday and enjoyed sharing his pictures with his therapists and the lady conducting the study. He has also started the brain injury study with the palm pilot. He hasn’t gotten his palm pilot yet, but he has started some testing and his assignment for this week is to remember to call in Tuesday through Saturday at 4:00 to show he can remember to do this. He had to bring his power wheelchair to therapy to get the wheelchair representative to make some adjustments for a better fit. Derek wants to come home to Maine for Easter, so we will leave when he is done therapy tomorrow afternoon. We will probably not post an update tomorrow as we will be on the road fighting Friday afternoon traffic leaving Boston for the holiday weekend. Happy Easter to all.

April 11th, 2006

Today’s Update 2:00 pm: It’s opening day for the BoSox and they’re winning. Derek is wearing his Red Sox shirt and socks proudly today. We drove by Fenway Park on our way to Needham to the accupuncturist this morning. It was packed on Yawkey Way already this morning. Derek did all his therapies today. Still no word about the surgery. I’ve left more messages for the doctor. We got a phone call today from the Shake-A-Leg camp in Newport, Rhode Island. Derek has been accepted. It runs from Mid June to Mid July. We haven’t gotten all the written comformation and information yet and there are still a lot of details work out, but Derek is very excited about this opportunity.

April 10th, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00am: Friday night Derek and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner with Dustin and McKenzie. Saturday morning we went to Needham to the accupuncturist. In the afternoon, I had Derek help me do the laundry. Everything has become a therapy session. He worked out with his new arm weights that the Glovers bought for him while he was home. Thank you to the Glovers. It was great to see you while we were home. We have enjoyed having Nicole stay with us this weekend. She is heading back to DC on the train tonight. On Sunday afternoon, we used Derek’s new power wheelchair for the first time to go to the Bank North Garden to a Celtics game. We want to thank Steve’s cousin, Bill Charette, for giving our family wonderful tickets. It was the first time that we have been able to take Derek to a venue and all sit together with him. Usually only one person can sit with the handicapped person. These seats were great and we all enjoyed the game together. Bill even had Derek’s name put up on the big screen during half time. Thank you very much Bill. I got to cook dinner twice this weekend for more than one of my children for a change. I really enjoyed having the kids for dinner. This morning Derek and I walked to Spaulding for therapy using his power wheelchair. It is a pretty nice day here today. He has already had PT and speech and is now in OT. He got a lot of homework to do for speech tonight. At noon, he has a meeting with a different speech therapist to sign up for a palm pilot study for traumatic brain injury. This study tests the ability to use electronic devices verses paper planner to keep track of their daily commitments. It should be good therapy for Derek. Still no word from the surgeons.

April 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 4:00pm: We have had a full day at Spaulding today. Derek had a doctor’s appointment at 9:30 this morning to hopefully get a lot of matters finally taken care of. This meeting lasted until noon and therapy sessions started at 1:00 and done at 4:00. We are waiting for the surgeon from Mass General to get back to Dr. O’Connor as to when we can schedule the surgery to repair the leaking G-Tube site. Hopefully we will know this on Monday. We are waiting to find out on Monday also if we can get some home-health nursing care at our apartment. We got one prescription changed that was upsetting his stomach and got a new prescription for help with the spasticity and tone in his legs. We got the prescription changed and submitted to help us get wheelchair transportation. We also got the prescription submitted to get Derek a hospital bed with an appropriate mattress for the apartment. When we were waiting in the doctor’s office, Derek saw what he thought was the coolest wheelchair he has seen. It had gyroscopes. It could climb stairs, balance on two wheels raising the patient up to others eye level, it could go four wheeling, go in the woods and through snow. In speech today, Derek met with the lady who is running the study for Traumatic Brian Injury using photography. We will meet again next Wednesday with her and sign papers and get his camera to use. Derek is very excited about getting back into photography and will also share some of his own photos with her. We are going to go out to dinner with Dustin and McKenzie tonight. We aren’t sure where yet, because if it stops raining, we would like to go somewhere that Derek can use his new wheelchair. Nicole is also coming into town tonight for the weekend. Tomorrow morning we have to go to Needham for an accupuncture session.

April 6th, 2006

Today’s Update 2:30pm: Derek and I went to Needham for accupuncture this morning. At the doctor’s recomendation, we tried a shorter route home and found ourselves getting a real tour of Boston. We found our way home, but I think that we will stick to our original route. In occupational therapy today they did Spaulding’s standard test for fine motor skills of his hands. They plan to do this once a month to track Derek’s improvement. It was an hour and a half of just using his fingers and hands. Now he is in physical therapy. I sat in his new wheelchair for a while last night. We haven’t had a chance to take it outside and try it yet. Hopefully the weather will be nicer this weekend and we can get outside with it.

April 5th, 2006

Today’s Update 4:15pm: Derek just got done with therapy for today. He said for me to tell you that he is very tired. They are working him hard and he has all three of his therapy sessions in a row unlike inpatient that was spread out over the day. But he is doing great stuff. His power wheelchair got delivered today. They fitted him for it here at Spaulding and then took it to our apartment. We are headed home now so he can try it out. He says that the seat is comfortable. Last night Derek got on his laptop and got to instant message with his friends. I had a hard time getting him off to go to bed. He had fun.

April 4th, 2006

Today’s Update 2:30pm: We had a busy day today doing outpatient therapy until 5:30. We had Derek’s evaluation for occupational therapy. Derek worked very hard in physical therapy. In speech, he worked on choosing an airplane itinerary and programing his phone with his daily routine with alarms to remind him. This morning we went to our first accupunture in Needham, Mass that was outside of a hospital. With the help of the directions that Amy and Peter Sands gave us, Derek navigated as Mom drove through Boston. For any of you who knows Kathy’s driving abilities, this was quite an experience. But we made it there and back with out getting lost.

April 3rd, 2006

Today’s Update 10:00am: Derek enjoyed his weekend home in Maine. On Sunday he went to his Mimi and Papa McCormick’s house to have lunch and visit with his Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends from my side of the family. His grandfather beat him at cribbage every time. He’ll have to do some more practicing. We drove back to Boston last night and he spent the first night in my apartment. It went all right. I have a lot of organizing to do to make room for all the supplies that he has. We went to Spaulding for our first outpatient therapy with physical therapy and speech therapy. We were very impressed with the speech therapist and all her plans for working with Derek. I’ll give you more details as they progress. I had to push his manual chair to Spaulding and back because the transportation that his case manager had arranged never showed up to take us and when they came to bring us home, they sent a car. Apparently, they never submitted us for a wheelchair van. Hopefully this will get straightened out soon. Derek’s power wheelchair is getting delivered to Spaulding tomorrow. We have to meet the gentleman delivering it at 12:30 before we go to therapy. The G-tube and the infection in his toe were a big problem while we were home. I have made some calls today with no luck at trying to get in touch with the surgeon. One secretary that I talked to suggested that we take him to the emergency room at Mass General, which is probably what we will have to do. While we were waiting out on the sidewalk for our ride that never came, Derek was looking down the street and said, “There’s Shean”. It was Shean Hall, a friend from home that he graduated from high school with. Shean lives three streets over, so Derek gave him his phone number and they are going to try to get together later this week. It’s a small world that we live in.

April 1st, 2006

Today’s Update 1:00pm: Thursday night we took Derek to visits relatives from Steve’s side of the family and we had dinner with them. Derek had a great day yesterday when he went out for the day with his friend from high school and college, Shannon. They strolled around the streets of Camden and ran into a lot of people who have been following Derek’s journey. He got sick last night and is still sick today with a headache and vomiting, so he is spending a quiet day in bed. I haven’t been able to get him to eat or drink yet today.

Mar. 30th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00pm: After 250 days in a hospital, Derek got discharged from Spaulding yesterday afternoon. Derek and I had been so busy making final arrangements for discharge the past three days that is wasn’t until we were driving on I-93 heading north toward Maine that it sunk into us that we were really going home. We both started to cry when we thought of the times we weren’t even sure we would ever bring him home alive and now we were actually going home. It’s been such a long eight months. Derek still has a lot of hard work ahead of him, but at least he can begin to enjoy some of the world around him. The first thing that he wanted to do last night was go to McMahon’s Rockport Grille to have an Ingraham’s Filet. It was the first steak that he has had since the accident and he ate every bite. The first night at home went well. In the hospital, he always had to get up early, so I let him sleep in a little longer this morning. He wants to take a ride around Camden today and have lunch at Dan Gabriell’s restaurant to thank him for coming to see him so much and being such a great coach during his rehab. He wants to visit with friends and relatives that he hasn’t seen before we go back to Boston on Sunday to start outpatient rehab five days a week. Thank you everyone for all your love and support over the past eight months. We could not have gotten through this without you.

Mar. 28th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00pm: Today has been very hectic! Kathy and Derek have been busy getting ready for discharge tomorrow. Derek is having his last full day of therapies while Kathy has been signing papers, learning about PCA’s (Personal Care Assistants) and getting the rest of Derek’s things packed. They will go home to Maine tomorrow night and be back in Boston by Sunday so that Derek can begin outpatient therapy on Monday morning. Kathy will write more when things settle down.

Mar. 27th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:00pm: I think Derek is a little tired today after a very full weekend of company, which he seems to really enjoy. We are still shooting for a discharge on Wednesday. Dustin packed up and took some of Derek’s belonging on Sunday and tomorrow night he is coming back to pack the rest up and move it to the apartment. We are getting the details worked out for discharge. The loaner manual wheelchair will be delivered tomorrow. He had more cognitive testing today, OT and PT. He is having accupunture today and we will continue this after discharge at the doctor’s office.

Mar. 25th, 2006

Today’s Update 12:00pm: Derek had his appointment with the surgeon at Mass General yesterday morning. Our options for the leaking g-tube site were surgery or waiting another month or two to see if it would heal on its own. Derek chose the surgery, but after the surgeon learned of Derek’s history of two cardiac arrest, which one was while he was under general anesthegia and he would have to have this for the surgery, the surgeon was hesitant to do the surgery. We agreed to wait one more month. If when we go back on April 21st it has not healed, then we will schedule the surgery. Derek had some cognitive testing by a neurophyschologist yesterday and an accupunture treatment. I am home for the weeked to try and get moved upstairs in our house so that we can begin renovations on the first floor to make the bedroom and bathroom handicap accessable for Derek == then we will be able to start and bring him home on weekends. He is enjoying alot of company this weekend with friends.

Mar. 23rd, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: We survived our night in the apartment. I think that Derek did better than I. He has trained himself to sleep through most things at night. I on the other hand got very little sleep and probably didn’t have quite the patience that I should have. We tried to leave the bed lying flat and no hand rails, as this is the situation he will have when we get discharged. This was difficult for him and something that I passed on to the therapists so perhaps they can work more on this before we leave. I did cook dinner and breakfast for the two of us. A hot homemade meal while sitting up to the table was a nice change for us. Derek’s accupuncturist is back from his trip to China and came to do a treatment on Derek last night. His speech therapist started some cognitive testing on him today and will continue on Monday, so that she can give the results to the outpatient speech therapist. Tomorrow afternoon, a neurophsychologist is coming to do some scholastic cognitive testing. This hopefully will give us a better idea of what the possiblity is of Derek going back to school at some point. We have to get up and going early tomorrow morning so that we can get transported to Mass General for the consult with the General Surgeons about the leaking G-Tube site. Derek’s friend from high school, Erin Rist, flew in this morning from California to spend the weekend with Derek. Just this afternoon, she has seen great improvement in him since she saw him in January. To all his friends at Catholic University, Derek loves the shirt that you designed in his honor for St. Patrick’s Day. He wore it proudly today.

Mar. 21st, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Another busy day preparing for discharge. I had to be at the hospital early this morning to do more training with the bowel program, transfers, and showering. Tonight Derek and I are spending the night in the Functional Living Apartment on the sixth floor here at Spaulding. Before discharge, the patient and a caregiver have to stay from 5:00 tonight until 10:00 in the morning and take sole care of the patient with no outside help. I have to give Derek his medications, catheter him, change his dressings, roll him every two hours thru the night, and we have to do all the transfers, bowel program and morning shower on our own. We will do this tonight and possibly tomorrow night depending on how we make out tonight. The G-tube site in is stomach is still leaking and is getting more irritated. We still did not get a consult with the gastrointerologist, so Friday morning they will transport Derek to Mass General to meet with a general surgeon to see what can be done. It will be good to get this taken care of. He is getting a hair cut tonight by a visiting beautician that takes care of the patients haircuts.

Mar. 20th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Check out the photo album for Derek’s St. Patrick’s Day pictures. He sure does look good!!!

Hello everyone. I’m back after a very much needed break. Steve and I went to Florida the first week for the bike week at Daytona. A lot a sun, fun and riding. The second week I spent at home getting caught up on eight months worth of things that have been put on hold. Not a lot of time for relaxation, but it is the longest that I have been home since the accident. It was a little taste of normalsy. I want to thank Annie for the incredible job she did all week with Derek. I know that he really enjoyed it. I would also like to thank everyone else who pitched in: Papa McCormick, The Sands family, Shannon, Nicole, Dustin and McKenzie. Steve and Shane came back with me and we are taking Derek out for dinner and to the Celtics game against the Lakers tonight. Today has been a really busy day now that the discharge date is next week. There are a lot of things that have to be decided and worked out before the discharge date. We started to pack up some of his belongings in his room today so Steve could take them back to Maine, as I have very little room in my apartment for extras. We have sure accumulated a lot in the past four months.

Mar. 18th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: A night to remember! We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our week of hard work and fun. Sporting a deep-dish cup holder (courtesy of the Sands) and shamrock attire, Derek, me, Shans, and Nicole met Dustin, McKenzie, and Mary Lambarti at the bar (Harp) down the street from Spaudling. We all had a blast and cannot wait for many more to come.

I’m sad my week has come to an end today. Derek and I had so much fun chill’n like old times. It was also awesome to see how hard he works every day. And although we had various discussions about how screwed up America’s health system is, such as the massive medical costs and things like waiting over a month for the Gastroenterologist to examine Derek’s stomach, (which still oozes everything he eats) — Derek still keeps an amazing attitude and humor about everything. 

Cheers, Annie & Derek

Mar. 14th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Today is warm-up round for tomorrow night! On my way to the hospital, Derek called and told me he “would meet me out for lunch.” (At first I thought he was going to sneak out, but then he told me two of his therapists were taking him.) We all went to Half Time Pizza down the street and had a lot of fun. Wheeling himself to the restaurant acted as today’s Physical Therapy, as it takes a lot of energy and arm power. He did great though and recharged with two slices of sausage pizza. Travis Anderson sent Derek a personalized cribbage board. Travis made it himself, and engraved Derek’s name on it. Derek and Dustin love it! 

Derek has worn green every day this week and has made the Spaulding staff join in on our Green festivities. I also ordered him a cup holder to attach to his wheelchair, so hopefully it will arrive tomorrow or we will have to resort to a beer helmet 😉 [As suggested by the Sands 😉 — or duct tape (As suggested by Nicole) 🙂 ]

Mar. 14th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Derek had another good day with Annie. He had all of his usual therapies. In PT he worked on posture and practiced doing more wheelies in his manual chair. Annie tried to pop a few herself and says she failed miserably. The exciting news is that Derek has been cleared to go out on St. Patrick’s day. Today he and Annie went online to look for pubs in the area. Also, they were looking on the web for wheelchair accessories. He wants to get a cup holder for Friday night. Derek suggested duct taping one to the chair (in true Maine Style!) All in all, another good day.

Mar. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: It has been decided that Derek will stay in Boston and do outpatient therapy at Spaulding when he is done with his inpatient care. He will be staying with Kathy at her apartment close to the hospital. Yesterday Aunt Pat and Scott surprised Derek with a visit and he also spent the day surrounded by his siblings and friends. Today he did more great work in his therapies. His regular speech therapist is back from vacation this week and they worked with money (making change, etc.) and on memory recall. Derek also spent some time on the computer this afternoon looking at the pictures on the website. Also, he shared his thoughts about keeping a good attitude while dealing with his injury with Annie, who is staying with him for the week. Derek really does have an amazing attitude! Steve and Kathy are home in Maine after a nice trip to Florida where they enjoyed some relaxation and sunshine.

Mar. 11th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Derek has a full house today. Mom and Dad came back from their vacation, Nicole is visiting for the weekend and his friends, Shannon, Annie, Jen, TJ and Briana are also here. Quite the crowd! Annie is spending her spring break from American University with Derek. She will be here all week keeping him company and giving Kathy the opportunity to go home and get the house in order! Derek had PT outside yesterday in the beautiful sunshine. He demonstrated his prowess in the manual wheelchair for Nicole and Shannon. Today he is spending more time outside. Nicole is amazed at the progress he has made since she was here a couple of weeks ago. He can now transfer from the bed to his chair with little to no assistance. Also, he can use his upper body strength to position himself once he is in bed. Oh, and he can beat her in arm wrestling with both his left and right arms! Derek is enjoying all the company and playing XBOX his friend Matt sent to him. It is sure to be a fun weekend.

Mar. 9th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Derek is now using the manual wheelchair for most of his activities during the day. This is a huge improvement and means that his back, neck, shoulder and arm muscles are getting stronger. In PT he continued to work on sitting balance and did more push-ups. This afternoon his friends Jay and Natalie, from Camden, came to visit. Tonight Amy, Peter and Hillary Sands brought Chinese food and are having dinner with Derek. He sounded tired from a long day of hard work but excited for some good food and great company.

Mar. 8th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Derek phoned in his own update today. He had another busy day with all of his therapies and accupunture. His usual speech therapist is on vacation this week so he worked with a different therapist on his memory. The therapist gave him a list of words that he had to memorize, put in alphabetical order and then recall. He was able to stay in the manual wheelchair for three hours today! In OT he worked on hand and trunk strength. Also, he continued to beat Papa in cribbage. Yesterday the therapists began to teach Derek how to pop wheelies, which he enjoyed! This is so he can get over curbs in his wheelchair. Tonight Dustin is going to bring him dinner. Papa has left to go home. Both Derek and Papa said they enjoyed their visit.

Mar. 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 9:30pm: Derek did 20 push-ups today, even though he was only asked to do 10. Way to go Derek!!! Papa McCormick has been getting his hat handed to him in cribbage by Derek, but he’s going to keep playing until he can win one. Today Derek had another busy afternoon with OT, Speech and PT, and he was able to make the transfer between his bed and his chair by himself.

Mar. 6th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: Sorry about the lack of updates but Kathy and Steve left this weekend for a much deserved and much needed week away together. Papa McCormick is in Boston to spend a few days with Derek. Today Derek had a busy afternoon with OT, Speech and PT. Derek said that in PT he worked on balancing while sitting on the raised mat, transferring from his wheel chair to the mat without his slide board and sitting up straight. Sitting up straight has been a challenge for Derek and he was very pleased that he was able to hold this position for over a minute today! He is going to have acupuncture this evening which he really enjoys (especially the neck massage that he gets at the end). Papa was also going to challenge Derek to a game of cribbage.

Mar. 2nd, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: Derek had accupunture last night and it went well. The doctor is going to try some new therapy with his hands to try and regain more use. Dan Gabrielle came yesterday and brought Derek a t-shirt from the Waterville tournament that Dan coached his 7th grade team to victory at. All the players signed Derek’s shirt for him. It meant a lot to Derek because Dan had coached his team, the Road Warriors, at this same tournament. He practiced putting his pants on in OT. He continues to work on his memory in speech therapy five days a week. He is trying to tolerate the manual wheelchair a couple of hours each day.

Feb. 28th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: I came in this morning and Derek’s trach was gone. Dr. O’Connor decided to skip the button altogether. I cried when it finally got put in in Atlantic City and I cried when it finally came out. That is the last tube that Derek had to get rid of. I think that he is as happy as I am. He did some real good work in therapy today. We had accupuncture last night. He also enjoyed his steak and cheese sub last night and spaghetti O’s for lunch today. Ahh!! some of the simple pleasures of life.

Feb. 27th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Not a lot new to pass on to everyone. Respiratory wise, Derek has been doing much better lately. He hasn’t needed to be suctioned and has been able to cough up his secretions on his own. Still in the talking stage is the possibility of taking out the trach and putting in what they call a button which will keep the hole open and allow for suctioning if needed, but there will be nothing going down inside his trachea. Hopefully this will happen soon. They are talking of a discharge date around the end of March. We are still getting information and trying to decide whether to stay in Boston or go to Atlanta, Georgia for outpatient rehab. Derek’s friend, Beth Sands, is home on spring break from Catholic and has been coming in often to visit and fill him in on the happenings of the architect studio and around campus. She is bringing him a steak and cheese sub tonight for dinner. He is going to finally get one.

Feb. 25th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Karen, the kids, and Shane left at noon today to head back to Maine after stopping to visit friends in New Hampshire. Natalie Talbort came to visit Derek this morning. Karen and I finished Derek’s application to Shake-A-Leg Camp in Newport, Rhode Island this summer. Only 18 are accepted, but we will keep our fingers crossed. It is snowing today in Boston and Derek and I are hanging out playing games.

Feb. 24th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Auntie Karen, Alex, Emily, Michael and Grace came to visit today. We all went to Disney on Ice, the Incrediblies. Derek really had a good time. Sometimes it’s just about living. Kathy will give a more detailed update tomorrow. Thank you for your good wishes and prayers. Feb. 23rd, 2006 Today’s Update 7:30pm: Kathy moved into a new apartment down the hall in the same building that she has been living in on Beacon Hill since arriving in Boston. The new apartment is a little more handicap accessable. Kathy took Derek and his occupational and physical therapist to the apartment today to see if it would be suitable for Derek upon discharge. We tried some transfers on and off the bed and tried the manual and electric wheelchairs for use with the bathroom chores. We saw what Derek would need to work on in the next month so that he would be able to live in this apartment. He is enjoying visiting with Shane and beating us all playing Yahtzee.

Feb. 22nd, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek looked great when I arrived back in Boston this afternoon. His nurse and doctor told me that he was doing good. They did some more lab work and his calcium and tests look great. Respiratory wise, he is doing better with less suctioning. He went to a manual wheelchair clinic this morning to get fitted so one can be ordered. He didn’t get his physical therapy today because they were running late and the accupuncturist arrived earlier — so he had accupuncture. His cousin Lacey arrived tonight to visit Derek and spend the night with us. Shane came back to Boston with me to spend a couple days. He was trying to teach Derek how to use the controller for his XBox 360. Shane thinks that it would be good therapy for his fingers.

Feb. 21st, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Auntie Bonny is here today for a visit. She got to watch Derek do back strengthening exercises in physical therapy this afternoon. He was also practicing moving from laying on the mat to sitting up on the side — without help! He used his new slide board that Papa McCormick made for him. Derek uses this to slide from the wheel chair to the therapy mat, or from the wheel chair to his bed, etc. Derek asked Papa to make this board with three holes for gripping the board. This is a new design; all the hospital’s boards only have two grip holes and they are far apart. Derek wanted a board with a grip hole inbetween the others, and it is much easier for him to use. Perhaps he will take his design skills in a new direction to design aids that better meet people’s needs! He is stronger that he was when Auntie Bonny was here 3 weeks ago and able to do a little more with more confidence. He is also talking more. He is having a treat tonight — ordering a calzone from Ernesto’s in the North End here in Boston! He told Auntie Bonny that it was a large calzone, but he thinks he can eat the whole thing!

Feb. 18th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek is feeling better. We are still awaiting consults with the urologist and gastroenterologist from Mass General. They did get the results from his sputem culture from his lungs. He has two organisms growing that they haven’t seen before. But they both should be taken care of with the antibiotic that he is currently on. I told the doctor that I wasn’t surprised that he had something nobody had seen before, because that is how Derek journey has gone. If there is something rare or a bump in the road that shouldn’t happen, Derek has encountered it. He had therapy yesterday and some OT this morning, but nother else planned for the weekend. His friends from home, Nick Wilson and John Knutson came last night and are coming again today, since they got lost and weren’t able to spend a lot of time with Derek last night. Nicole and his cousin, Lacey are also visiting him today. I am going home tomorrow for a couple of days to get some paperwork done. I will try to keep posting the updates on Monday and Tuesday. SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM STEVE: First off, Kathy and I would like to thank everyone who have organized all of the events, all who participated in them, and all who have volunteered their time to help Derek’s cause. It has definately been overwhelming for us. I would like to thank Elise Marshall for helping me out when I go down to Boston. She is a very special friend to us both. (We Love You Elise) I would like to thank the Ingrahams, Erin Flanagan, Sue Carlton, Sue Wooton, Peter Roper, Viking Lumber, Key Bank, and everyone at Catholic University. There are so many other people to thank who have helped, especially with the donations that have been made. We would like to thank everyone for sending messages to Derek. Keep up the good work, it really helps Derek a lot. I would especially like to thank my wife for her unbelievable strength throughout this ordeal that we’ve been dealt. It has definately put a strain on all of us, especially Kathy. Derek, you are unbelievable!! The strength that you have shown throughout this is nothing but unbelievable. I know there is no way that I could have gone through what you’ve gone through. I Love You Man. Keep strong for all of us. Love, Dad (Go Redsox)

Feb. 16th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek has had a good day today. He practiced putting his sneakers on and off with a little tying practice. This afternoon, he went to the aquarium here in Boston with another patient, Ned, who is the same age as Derek. Five of his therapists and myself went with them. It was my first time to the Aquarium. The weather here was beautiful today. It seemed like spring. Feb. 15th, 2006 Today’s Update 7:30pm: We got the results from Derek’s urine culture. He does have a urinary track infection. He had us all puzzled because he didn’t show the same symptoms as he has in the past. Urinary track infections are quite common for patients with spinal cord injuries, but usually they have the same symptoms and can predict that they have one. He is continuing on the antibiotic that he is on. He wasn’t feeling well and his blood pressure dropped in occupational therapy, but he managed to do some fine motor with his hands. He practiced on his balance while sitting on the edge of the mat in physical therapy. He is having a peer visitor this evening who is three years out from his injury. Derek and I are hoping that this will be informative to us as to what is facing us in the future even though we know each case is individual and different. Any information will be helpful.

Feb. 14th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Derek sent me a dozen red roses today along with my husband. Derek won’t tell me how he managed to surprise me this way. I love them and they certainly brightened my day. Derek had a better day today. He seemed to feel a little better with more energy. They did more blood tests today and the results of these were all very good. He seems to be re-hydrated and his urine output has come up some. We still don’t have the results of the chest x-ray nor the urine and sputem cultures. Still waiting on the g-tube situation. In occupational therapy, he worked on putting on his own sneakers. He tried very hard to tie them. When we were in his room this afternoon, he had one of his shamrock sneakers which have thicker laces, in his lap and he was able to tie it. We will keep practicing on the thicker laces before going back to the thin ones. He went the longest that he has ever gone on the treadmill doing the lite-gait where the therapists move his feet like he is walking.

Feb. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: We are still dealing with Derek’s medical issues. He hasn’t felt well for the past week. He had a chest x-ray this afternoon and they took a sputem culture. They are doing a urine culture and more blood work. He is starting on an antibiotic tonight just in case an infection is brewing. If so, we will have a two day jump on it while the cultures are growing. We are still waiting for the consult with the gastrointerologist about the G-tube site which is still leaking. He is dehydrated because he has been sweating out his fluids and this is why his urine output has been low. Dr. O’Connor is giving 24 hours to try and hydrate himself on his own, before he goes back to giving him IV fluids. We did get some therapy in today and an accupunture treatment. To make matters worse this past week, his girlfriend of four years called him on the telephone and broke off their relationship. This has really bothered him emotionally on top of not feeling well. I am in hopes that we will get to the root of his medical issues soon and get him back on track. I did want to mention an accomplishment that he did last Thursday. He shaved himself with a regular razor. This was a big step toward being independent and using his fine more skills. Feb. 11th, 2006 Today’s Update 2:30pm: Derek has had a rough week both medically and emotionally. It has made therapy tough for him. We are still waiting for the consult from Mass General to see what to do about the leaking G-tube. He did do something new this week. He was able to use a regular razor and shave himself. He did a great job too. On Friday, he had some pictures taken with a nurse for some publicity things they were doing for the hospital. We must have a celebrity on our hands. We are getting ready for a Nor’easter coming tonight into tomorrow. They are calling for blizzard conditions and 10 to 14 inches of snow. It should make my walk in tomorrow interesting. There probably won’t be an update on Sunday because I don’t think the computer lab will be open. Let us know how much snow you get at home.

Feb. 9th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Derek’s left hand is still swollen and sore. It interferes with all of his therapies. He got his calcium and blood test results back — now his potassium (which goes along with the calcium) is low so they are going to give him potassium, but his calcium is now low enough that he can have milk and ice cream again. I am going to get him his favorite flavor, Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. He was anxious to get his G-tube out because it has always leaked and made a mess of his shirts — now that it is out, it leaks just as much. Dr. O’Connor put in for a consult with an internal medicine doctor to look at it. I just met with her this afternoon. She says that because it never fit properly inside and has always leaked bile, that he has probably developed a fiscular between the stomach and the outside which is still allowing drainage of his stomach contents which prevents healing. She is now putting in a consult with a gastrointerologist at Mass General to see if they think we should get a surgeon to operate to remove the fiscular. The saying amoung the spinal cord patients is “There is always one thing after another”. A spinal cord injury has to be the most complex medical problem a person can have. I don’t think that there is a part of or function of the body that is not effected. We have had alot of medical issues to deal with this week, but hopefully by next week, we can get back on track.

Feb. 8th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: We had a little scare over the past couple of days. Derek’s urine output declined over the past two days. They have been trying to straighten out Derek’s calcium problem which is related to the kidneys. The decline in urine is a sign of kidney failure. Since he has had kidney failure in Atlantic city, this could be why he is having a problem with the kidney and the calcium levels. They did a kidney function test and a lot of other tests over the past 24 hours. They put another IV in and gave Derek IV fluids through the night and this morning. We have gotten all the test results back by this afternoon and his kidneys seem to be fine along with his chest x-ray and other tests. The doctor is going to do more blood tests and calcium tests again tomorrow. I was really scared that we were going backwards again and thank God that everything is alright. Therapy has been hard for Derek to do today since he has an IV in one hand and the other hand is still swollen and sore, but he did manage to do some. He got a haircut yesterday as did a lot of the other patients by a beautician that went around offering haircuts. With the haircut and his beard shaved, he looks like our Derek again.

Feb. 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Derek enjoyed his weekend with his sister, Dustin, McKenzie, and Auntie Bonny. On Saturday, Derek decided that he wanted to shave off his beard that he had been growing since he got to Spaulding. Dustin did the shaving while Nicole and McKenzie took pictures. They all had a lot of laughs while Dustin tried different facial hairdos on Derek. We are in hopes to get the pictures on the web site soon. He and Nicole watched the Superbowl together. Nicole’s friend Bre and her boyfriend, Ryan, gave Derek a pizza party one night and he ate a lot of pizza! When I got back on Monday, Derek was already in bed. His hand was swollen. I had to ice it down, wrap it and elevate it last night. It is a little better today. They think that it was caused by an IV that he had in his hand that accidently got pulled out while bathing him. He did get a one time dose of a drug to prevent him from loosing calcium from his bones on Sunday night. Last night he wasn’t feeling real well. His blood pressure was elevated a little and he was running a fever. This morning they did a chest x-ray, blood tests, and urine tests. This afternoon they are doing another urine test and a sputem test. His doctor thinks that the fever might have been a reaction to the medication that they had given him. I am hoping that an infection isn’t brewing. Travis Roy was is the building today visiting patients. He came and visited with Derek for about half and hour. Derek did the e-stim bike today with electrodes on his quads, glutes, and hamstring muscles. He did the best that he has ever done. He was able to peddle the bike some on his own. Derek had accupunture yesterday. The doctor tried something new — after he had put all the needles in he hitched up electrodes to two needles on each leg and sent electical pulses through them. He is going to try this for a few times to see if we can gain more control back.

Feb. 3rd, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek is dictating the update to Auntie Bonny today. He spent so much time looking at Toyota 4runners on eBay that he is too tired to type this! He got dressed by himself today. This is HARD work when you can’t lift your lower body. Derek worked on his back muscles in the gym today to strenghthen them. This will help him sit unsupported better and straighter. To help him with this right now, he has a small Tempur Pedic pillow to support his lower back. Derek also worked with Marianne, his speech therapist, on memory strategies relating to whole foods. He is spending the evening relaxing with Auntie Bonny. Nicole is going to be here for the rest of the weekend, and she will have a pizza party with Derek and Bre. To be continued on Monday . . . .

Feb. 2nd, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek got his G-tube out of his stomach this morning. No more tube feedings and one less tube in him. When we were discussing what to put on the update today since I was leaving at noon to come home for the weekend, I said that I would put on that he had put his pants on by himself this morning. He wanted me to remind people how very lucky they were and not to take something so small as putting your pants on everyday for granted. It took him half an hour to put them on and he used up every ounce of energy that he had in his body. He couldn’t move for a while afterwards. It breaks a mother’s heart to sit in a chair and watch your child struggle so hard and know that you can’t get up and help. I am home with Shane and the dogs this weekend while Steve is away. Amy Sands is with Derek tonight getting his dinner. Tomorrow Auntie Bonny and Nicole will arrive to spend the weekend with Derek.

Feb. 1st, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Occupational therapy worked on stretching Derek’s shoulders out. This is an ongoing problem with his back, shoulders, and neck from so many months lying in bed, the neck brace, and using his chect muscles to breath. We are making progress, but still have a ways to go before his posture will be correct. This discomfort trickles down to a lot of his therapy. His Meme and Papa O’Brien drove down by themselves to visit Derek today. They got to participate in a memory therapy game with Derek. Now I know where Derek gets some of his humorus personality. His grandfather had us all laughing. He did the lite-gait on the treadmill today. He was able to stand up much straighter than when he first started this therapy. He had accupuncture today. When the Doctor manipulated a needle on the top of his right foot, Derek could feel sensation in his toes of that foot. He could not feel him touch his toes, but definately had feeling in them when the nerve was manipulated. We are hoping that this is a sign of the miracle that we have all been praying for. We will continue to pray for more signs of recovery.

Jan. 31st, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek worked on his ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) today. He showered and dressed himself with only a little assistance. It is very hard because he has to sit up straight, which is uncomfortable because of the back and neck. We had a family meeting with his doctor, case manager and therapists to discuss what the goals are for the remainder of his stay at Spaulding and about discharge. We are looking at a discharge around the end of March. We are still looking into where to do his out-patient rehab. He got to eat some salt & vinegar potato chips today. A nice treat. He’s trying the manual wheelchair this afternoon with a goal of lasting 45 minutes. Auntie Bonny came down last night so she could attend the family meeting and take notes for us.

Jan. 30th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek visited with Auntie Karen and the kids Friday night and Saturday morning. He played nerf darts and Yahtzee with the kids. He had company Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, Steve, myself, and Scott and Sandra Anderson took Derek to a nearby mall. He enjoyed getting out and going shopping. Dustin and McKenzie met us there and we went to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. Derek’s first time to a restaurant since the accident. On Saturday, we had a consult with an endochronologist because Derek has too much calcium in is blood. One cause can be that he is loosing calcium from his bones due to being less mobile. He had to have an IV put in on Saturday and take IV fluids. They did a 24 hour urine test and they have taken blood everyday for testing. We are waiting for the results to see if he will have to have a medication every three months like you would for osteoparosis. He had to have a chest x-ray this afternoon because Saturday night he threw up and was running a fever. They want to make sure that his lungs are clear and that he didn’t aspirate anything. He didn’t have a lot of therapy today due to all the other things that he had to get done. They did test him with eating Graham crackers and upgraded his diet to regular. Now he can have anything he wants to eat. He wants his bagel with veggie cream cheese and a steak and cheese sub. It was brought to my attention last week that when I talk about Derek’s work with his memory, some people were unaware of his brain injury. He did not receive the injury to his brain at the time of his spinal cord injury. He had the shunt put in his brain at Mass General because of his brain sustaining an injury along the recovery part of his journey. It affected his short term memory severly and some of his working memory. He also lost parts of his memory from before the accident. He has youth on his side. I have been told that younger people have a better chance of improving after a brain injury than older people. There will be more neurological testing before we leave Spaulding to determine the damage and what is needed for outpatient therapy for this piece of the puzzle. He had accupuncture tonight. The accupuncturist is also working on the memory.

Jan. 27th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:30pm: Derek practiced dressing himself again today. Worked on his memory, did stretching group, arm strengthening group, and did the e-stim bike in PT stimulating his glutes, quad, and ham string muscles. Dan Gabrielle came to visit him this morning. Auntie Karen and the kids are coming down tonight to visit and spend the night with Kathy. The kids always bring a smile to Derek’s face. It is a great experience for the the children also. They are getting more comfortable around Derek and handicapped individuals. It is a great learning experience for them. They will grow up with a much better understanding of people with special needs.

Jan. 26th, 2006

Today’s Update 7:00pm: Derek worked on dressing himself today. He put his shirt and pants on pretty much by himself with help getting set up and verbal help from the OT. This simple chore that we do automatically every day is now one of Derek’s greatest challenges which is very hard for him and time consuming. He did more memory therapy and physical therapy. He had accupuncture this afternoon. After all his thereapy today, he attended a peer support group with two quadropolegics from the Mass. Spinal Cord Injury association; there were six patients there. Derek asked alot of questions and found it very informative. We learned of some other programs that would be beneficial for Derek. One is a camp in Rhode Island in the summer. We are going to get more information and hopefully be able to attend. The other was a water therapy program. Auntie Bonny came down tonight for a visit.

Jan. 25th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Not a lot to say that is new for today. Derek had a good day. With the journey that we have been on, just to be able to say that today is a a blessing. We would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to put on the basketball benefit and the community who so generously came forth to support it. We would never have been able to get Derek this far without the love and support of our family, friends, Derek’s classmates at Catholic, the great community in which we live, and all the new friends that we have met along the way. Thank you so very much, and may God bless you all.

Jan. 24th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek worked hard in therapy today. This afternoon he had to use a manual wheelchair to go on a scavenger hunt. The therapists had him wear one of his t-shirts that have a shamrock on it and his new sneakers with the shamrocks on them. He had to keep wheeling the chair to look for the clues by finding the shamrocks. He had to wheel from his room to the 7th floor gym, back to the elevators, down the elevator to the first floor, to Dunkin Doughnuts, back up the elevator to the seventh floor, and back to his room. His pot of gold was a big box of Apple Jack cereal. He did all this under protest. He does not like the manual chair because it is very hard for him. He lasted a half hour in the chair, so we will try for a little longer next time. I reminded him that we went through this same thing with the power wheelchair when he first got here. It will come with time and practice. He is exhausted and back in bed by 5:00.

Jan. 23rd, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek had a quiet weekend with little therapy. Leigh was down to spend the weekend before she leaves to go back to college in Maryland on Tuesday. Dustin and Leigh took Derek outside for a walk on Saturday while the weather was really nice. Derek bought me roses while he was out. I was very touched at his thoughtfulness. Today he worked on moving his fingers and strengthening the muscles in his hands. He did arm strengthening in the afternoon. In PT this afternoon, he worked on sitting up in the hospital bed and transfering from the wheelchair to the bed and back. He played around on his laptop this weekend.

Jan. 20th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek brought to my attention last night after I told him what I had posted for his update, that I didn’t say that he finally got the pick line out of his arm. It had been in for over three months and really bugged him. He was amazed when he saw how long it was and that it went up his arm and into the valves of his heart. He said that it was so long. Derek received a package yesterday from his friend from college Matt Dibella. It was a pair of Adidas sneakers with shamrocks all over them, green shoelaces, and I love Boston on the sides. He thinks that they are so cool. Everyone who really knows Derek knows that he has always had a shoe fettish and likes to always coordinate his clothes and shoes. He picked out his green St. Patricks t-shirt from Catholic to go with his sneakers to wear today. He was the hit of the floor. Everyone loved his sneakers. It is great to see these parts of his personality still there. He did a lot of therapy today and is tired tonight and wants to just chill. He wants to say thanks to Jill for the newspaper clippings.

Jan. 19th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: In OT today, Derek practiced dressing himself. In his afterfoon PT, we did a new therapy. We did the exercise where they strap his lower leg to a skateboard ant he tries to move in on a board. But today they hitched some electrodes to his quad muscles and stimulated them. The stimulation made the muscles work. The test will be if he will be able to make the muscles work himself after time. Hopefully he will. He got a new mattress today. He got upgraded from an air bed to a regular mattress with just a stationary air mattress on it. He worked on his memory in speech today. Yesterday the mom of another patient here brought in a wooden box to show Derek. When he opened it, it was a Boston Red Sox world series ring. Derek got to try it on. He said that it was huge. The ring belongs to Carl Yastremski (Excuse my spelling). Derek said that it was sooooo cool.

Jan. 18th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: I just arrived back in Boston this afternoon. All the therapists are raving about how well Derek did while I was home. They say that he was very social and did better remembering his schedule and what he was supposed to do. I have seen a big improvement in his memory since I left last week. Nicole and Derek have both told me what a great weekend that they had together. Derek said to me that Nicole spoiled him. They laughed a lot; they talked a lot; and Derek asked many questions about what had happened when he was in Atlantic City. He is beginning to eat better. Auntie Karen baked him a lot of his favorite foods for me to bring back to him. This afternoon we picked out the kind of wheelchair he wanted and he got measured for it. Now that it is being ordered, it will take about three months for it to arrive. In therapy today, he practiced using a manual chair.

Jan. 16th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: I am sorry that I have not gotten an update up this weekend, because I came home for a few days and Nicole is spending the weekend with Derek. Nicole has kept in touch with me and I have talked to Derek several times. He has had a good weekend. Some of his friends from high school came to Boston to visit him over the weekend. He really enjoyed their company. He has had therapy over the weekend. He really enjoyed the sled hockey game on Friday night. He said that I would have liked it too. He has been enjoying talking on his cell phone. Dustin brought his laptop over to him Sunday and showed him his photography to help him with his memory. Today he wanted Nicole to tell him about when he was in Atlantic City Medical Center. He has a hard time realizing that he is making progress. He says that he doesn’t see it. We have to keep reminding him of how incredibly far he has come. He says that the rehab is so hard. Thank you for all your support and encouragement that you send him.

Jan. 13th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: Derek did some testing with foods today. His diet has been upgraded to advanced solids. He can now have cold cereal and milk in the morning. He doesn’t have to have his meat ground up or his food pureed. It increases our options on food that he will eat. His doctor also just ordered his tube feedings to be discontinued at night. Another step toward getting the feeding tube out. It won’t be too soon though, since he now has a bladder infection and has to get his antibiotics through his G-tube. We went outside for a walk today. The weather was beautiful. He had a lot of therapy including the e-stim bike. Mimi and Papa McCormick, along with their friends Ken and Mary Gricus, stopped by for a quick visit this afternoon. Derek is going on a community outing this evening with another patient and two of his therapists. They are going to Harvard University to watch the Canadian and United States sled hockey teams play. It should be a fun outing.

Jan. 12th, 2006

Today’s Update 6:30pm: Derek’s education class today was on adaptive technology and driving. It was very informative about how and the steps to take for Derek to learn to drive again. In PT, his therapist helped him to work his way up onto his knees. As she supported him, she had him work on moving his hips. In his morning session, he practiced sitting from a lying position. He lifted weights in upper body group. In OT, he worked on showering and dressing. I took Derek outside to eat his lunch since it was a fairly warm day for mid January. While we were outside, he said that he remembered being outside once at a different hospital. I was very surprised to hear him say that he remembered that since he has no memory from before the accident until about a month ago. I told him about his nurse Danielle which he had the second time that he was on the RACU unit at Mass General before we moved to Spaulding. Danielle and I took him outside in a rolling recliner with his oxygen one sunny warm day in November. It was the first time that he had felt the sun or wind on his face since the accident in July. He had loved it and smiled a lot while we were outside. When we came in from lunch, he was working on memory with his therapist Marianne. All of a sudden he had a visitor. It was Danielle. It seemed really strange that he finally had a memory of his journey which was being outside at a hospital and within a half hour, the person that made that possible walked into his room. He did not remember Danielle, but was very happy to meet her again and told her to come back anytime. Danielle was very pleased to see his improvement.

Jan. 11th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Yesterday Derek had a meeting all morning. In the afternoon, Marianne worked on his memory in speech and he did the E-stim bike in PT. Today he worked on his hands in OT and in his two PT sessions he worked on sitting up on the side of the mat while working on balance, and he did the leg gait on the treadmill. He did some driving of a manual wheelchair. Marianne worked again on memory, which will become her main focus in speech now. Dan Gabrielle came today to visit and fill Derek in on the basketball benefit. Derek seemed to really enjoy hearing about it and expressed how much he wished he could have been there. Derek met another young man today who is the same age and who also sustained a spinal cord injury and brain damage this summer. They shared stories. It will be good for both of them to be able to talk to someone who is going through a similar experience.

Jan. 9th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek stayed up and watched the whole Patriots game Saturday night, while managing to call some friends on his cell phone. He figured out on Saturday night that he could once again use his cell phone on his own. I think that I will have to increase the minutes on it soon. Sunday was not a great day for Derek, but we have bounced back today. He practiced dressing himself in OT this morning and went to stretching group. He lifted weights for his upper body group, and worked on leg movement for PT. We were on the computer checking his web site and cleaning out his Catholic University e-mail site. He is now having a speech therapy session to end the day. We have heard great things about the basketball tournament and look forward to seeing the video. Thank you to all who organized, participated, worked and attended it. We are so blessed to live in such a caring and loving community. Derek is reading about the Dip for Derek that was in the local paper. Thank you again for all that organized, participated and supported this event.

Jan. 7th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek had a day off from therapy today. He hung out with his friends Annie and Gary Eddey. His friend from college, Beth Sands, came this evening to visit bearing gifts of a Patriots t-shirt to wear tonight, ice cream, Arizona ice tea, and mineral water. He was very excited. He still wishes that he was at the benefit basketball tournament, but he and Kathy will be watching the Patriots game. Jan. 6th, 2006 Today’s Update 8:30pm: Derek did great work in therapy today. He was able to move from lying on his back to pushing himself with his arms to a sitting position. He had stretching group. In PT, he did the Easton Bike. They put him in a chair and strapped his legs to bicycle pedals. They attach eight electrodes to his quads and hamstring muscles and then they turn the bike on to stimulate these muscles. He did it for ten minutes. He said that his legs felt tired when he was done. He went the equivalent of 2 miles. He passed the test for clear liquids, so now he can drink water or anything he wants now. No more thickening agent — HOORAY!!! He was very excited about this. He friends Annie and Gary Eddey came to visit him today; they are spending the night in Boston and coming to visit again in the morning. He has started to attend spinal cord education classes each day at 4:00. We had wanted to bring Derek home this Saturday for the benefit basketball tournament at Camden Hills Regional High School, but because of being sick a couple of days this week and his lungs have been a little junky this week, we don’t want to take any chances with him getting sick and going backwards so unfortunately we won’t be making the trip. We will be thinking of everyone there and hope that everyone has a great time. Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to put this on. Derek said today that he wished that he was playing. We will look forward to seeing the video of it.

Jan. 5th, 2006

Today’s Update 8:30pm: Papa McCormick said today was a terrific day. Derek is feeling better after his bout with nausea and was able to do some spectacular work in therapy today. He was up on his hands and knees, working on his abs, and moving muscles on his own that Papa hasn’t seen move since the accident. Derek will be having another swallow test tomorrow to see if he can begin having his liquids without that thickener he loves soooo much.

Jan. 2nd, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Papa said that Derek vomitted last night and still wasn’t feeling that well today and didn’t have much of an appetite. His lungs are also a little junky today. He said that Derek still worked hard in therapy and Papa got to see some leg movement.

Jan. 1st, 2006

Today’s Update 5:30pm: Kathy, Steve, Dustin, Shane and Derek spent New Years Eve in Boston Common watching the 7:00 pm fireworks show. Derek used a power wheelchair to get around. He really enjoyed being outside in the falling snow. Derek and his family also went to Beacon Hill so that Kathy could show him the street where her apartment is. Derek enjoyed his night out on the town. Kathy is going home today for a couple of days, and Papa McCormick is coming to stay with Derek. Thank you to all who organized and participated in the Polar “Dip for Derek” today and Lincolnville Beach. Also, thank you to the spectators who braved the frigid temperatures!!! Dec. 29th, 2005 Today’s Update 5:30pm: As Auntie Karen put it, “Today was a beautiful day.” Auntie Karen and the kids came to visit Derek today and spend the night with me. They arrived this afternoon in time to go to Derek’s afternoon physical therapy in the gym, which consisted of him lying on his side on the mat with one leg at a time supported up on a flat surface. The leg on the board is attached at his calf to a skate board apparatus. He then has to try to move his leg by concentrating to get his brain to fire the nerves and muscles to move his leg. He was able to do some movement with both legs. He got movement today in both hamstring muscles and hip flexor muscle on the right leg. It was thrilling to watch. All the prayers must be being heard. He worked on his fine motor skills in OT today. Dan Gabrille and his daughter came to visit during his morning PT session. He is able to have two meals a day of soft solids, and hopefully will be adding breakfast in the next couple of days.

Dec. 28th, 2005

Today’s Update 3:30pm: I apologize for not getting Derek’s updates sent to Kristen to post on the website. Kristin also apologizes for the delays, but I was sick with pneumonia over the Christmas break. As Derek gets stronger and makes more progress, they add more therapy sessions and group activities, so our days are getting very full. He is getting two meals a day now and they are trying to rearrange his schedule so that he can have breakfast too. I have to be present to assist with the meals, so this is taking up more of our day also. Before I know it, it is time to start the nighttime routine. Yesterday Derek got measured for a power wheelchair. He took one outside yesterday to power himself on different terains. Today he was the first person to trial a brand new model that just came out. After trialing a few this week, they will make the decision as to which one is right and order his own chair. Yesterday Derek had quite a few friends from High School and College come to visit him. The Stones from Camden also came to visit him last night. He has been getting some extra therapy lately so they will have time to work on both upper and lower extremities. He practiced writing in OT yesterday. Speech is doing some testing of his cognative abilities, so that we can begin therapy on his memory loss, particulary the short term memory. He did the leg gait on the treadmill in one PT session today. He had an accupunture treatment tonight. He started in a fine moter skill group today that meets once a week. He has also started a stretching group that meet Monday thru Friday. He is working hard and tired at the end of the day. So am I.

Dec. 26th, 2005

Today’s Update 2:30pm: We had the most wonderful Christmas. Derek did so great with his trip to Maine yesterday. It was a real long day for him, but he said that it was all worth it. He loved going home to Maine and being with his family. He didn’t want to leave. We had no problems with the trip. He loved his grandmother’s cooking. Papa built a ramp into the house and made sure the wheelchair would fit. Derek has spent today resting. It is still a holiday for almost all the therapists today. Pam, the one therapist who worked today, did a little therapy with him. The accupuncturist also came today. We hope that everyone had as an enjoyable Christmas as we did. Dec. 23rd, 2005 Today’s Update 10:00pm: Derek is having a good day. He ate lunch and had some therapy today. We are still planning our Christmas day outing to Maine. There will be no more updates until after Christmas. Derek and I thank you all for your love and support. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Love, Derek and Kathy

Dec. 22th, 2005

Today’s Update 10:00pm: Derek worked really hard today. In occupational therapy, Erin worked with him to put his own pants on. She thinks with practice he will be able to learn to do this himself. He had two sessions of physical therapy today. The first one that he had this morning worked more on sitting up, balance, and his transfers. For the second one this afternoon, he did the leg gait again on the treadmill. It is hard work, but he stuck with it. He is able to have one meal a day at noon of soft solids and a thickened liquid. He ate 1/2 a sloppy joe and some sprite. He still doesn’t like the taste of the food, but we told him that it wasn’t the taste that we were going for, just for him to learn to eat and swallow. Derek got to watch the video tape of his swallow test to see how he did. Derek is very excited about the thought of coming to Maine on Christmas Day.

Dec. 21st, 2005

Today’s Update 10:00pm: Derek went on an outing today with two other patients. He went to the Omni theater at the Science Museum to see Wired to Win. It was a movie about the Tour de France. Derek found it informative and enjoyable. He did feel that the trip was too short. I took Derek in my own car so we could practice transferring in and out of my car. We are in hopes to bring Derek to Maine to Meme and Papa McCormick’s house for Christmas day. He has to be back that evening. Derek ate a forth of a chicken salad sandwich today. He did fine eating it. Hopefully he will be able to start having one meal a day to start.

Dec. 20th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): Derek ate 2/3 of a banana and had some thickened apple juice in Speech Therapy today. This noon I finally got to give him some Arizona Ice Tea that he has been wanting for since two days after the accident. It was thickened of course, but he said that it tasted like ice tea. He then threw it up an hour later, but he liked it going down. He worked with his fingers in OT. Erin thinks that his hands are getting a lot stronger. Dan Gabrielle showed up just as Derek was going to physical therapy. He seems to know when to show up when Derek is going to be doing something new. Today they put him in a harness that pulls him up with a lift so he is in a standing position while being held that way by the lift. They put his feet on a treadmill while two therapists each hold a foot and move his legs in a walking movement. Dan and I were both so excited to see him doing this exercise. Coach Hart will be glad to know that Derek said his basketball drills were easier than doing this. Papa McCormick drove my car down this afternoon, so that tomorrow we can practice car transfers and take Derek on an outing with other patients to see a movie at the Omnie theater.

Dec. 19th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): Derek had a busy weekend visiting with family and friends. He enjoyed the family Christmas party that was attended by 33 members of the McCormick side of the family. The swallow test showed that Derek still cannot swallow thin liquid without asperating it into his lungs. He is now allowed 4 ounces of liquid twice a day that has been thickened which he takes with a spoon and has to swallow twice with each spoonful. He will be starting on some pureed food. Derek did two car transfers with the physical therapist on Saturday with Kathy’s car. We are working on getting on an outing this week to practice so that perhaps we can go out for the day on Christmas. He lifted some weights with his arms today for OT. He did several transfers for PT and did some leg and arm strengthening excercises.

Dec. 16th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): Derek had the swallow test again today. We will find out the official results on Monday. He is trialing a manual wheelchair a little today. His occupational therapist said that he did some great work with his hands today. He played Connect Four with her. He did the bike in stretching group today. In physical therapy, he worked on his sitting balance and Carrie started having Kathy learn how to do transfers to and from the wheelchair. It seems like he might have a little cold coming on. The whole McCormick side of the family will be in Boston this weekend to get together for Christmas.

Dec. 15th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): Not a lot new to talk about. Derek practiced sitting in the uncomfortable x-ray chair. They might try the swallow test again soon, if he can tolerate the chair long enough. He had his OT and PT. Even though there is not much to report, this is better than all those roller coaster days.

Dec. 14th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): Derek fed himself applesauce and ice chips in Speech therapy today. His regular occupational and physical therapists were out today, so he had substitute therapists working with him today. His accupunturist came tonight. Derek could feel pain in his left knee when it was squeezed. Not that we like him to have pain, but the fact that he has the sensation somewhere in his leg is good.

Dec. 13th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:00pm): I am going to have to start cooking for Derek. They gave him mashed potato and he ate it fine but he said that it was gross. I never thought that I was that good of a cook, but apparently he likes my cooking. His occupational and physical therapist worked together this morning and had him lay on the mat on his stomach with a wedge under his chest. This is the first time that he has been on his stomach since the accident. He was doing push ups. This afternoon he did some leg exercises in physical therapy. Another productive day.

Dec. 12th, 2005

Today’s Update 9:00pm): Last week was such a giant step in Derek’s recovery. We got the official word from Derek’s doctor on Friday that he has some muscle movement in his legs. The accupuncturist also noticed muscle movement last week. Where this will go or how much he will be able to utilize these muscles, we don’t know. We are optimistic and very hopeful. We think that all the prayers that you have all been saying for Derek right along are being answered. We will continue to pray for more movement and Derek’s ability to capitalize on it. His doctor also changed his diagnosis from an Asia B to an Asia C. This is a big improvement on how they rate his injury, meaning he has muscle movement below the injury site. Derek and Dustin celebrated their 23rd birthday yesterday with family and friends. Derek did all his therapies today and had an accupuncture treatment. The accupuncturist was so pleased with the improvements that he feels that Derek only needs accupunture twice a week now. He is continueing to ask to play Yahtzee which helps with his fine moter skills and thinking.

Dec. 9th, 2005

Today’s Update 7:00pm): Derek has improved so much this past week. His respiratory status has improved greatly. His breathing is much better, he has to be suctioned much less, he coughs less frequently and much stronger, allowing him to bring secretions up on his own. He is also doing great with his trach capped. His heart rate and blood pressure are down and they have been able to greatly reduce his amount of medicine for these. Today was the first day that he has not had to have his legs wrapped with the ace bandages on top of the teds stockings for his blood pressure — another step forward. He is doing great things in his therapy. He is working on slide board transfers instead of the Hoyer lift transfers all the time. He is able to stay up in the wheelchair a lot longer, some days up to seven hours. We are very excited about Derek’s progress and look forward to great things ahead. Derek and Dustin will be celebrating their birthday on Sunday with family and friends.

Dec. 8th, 2005

Today’s Update 7:00pm): Derek continues to eat applesauce each morning. He likes it and tells me it is good when I arrive each morning. They capped his trach today. This is a hugh step towards getting rid of the trach. This means that they took the speaking valve off and Derek is doing all his breathing through his mouth and nose. He is breathing and speaking the same way that we all do. He does not have to wear an oxygen mask anymore. It is much easier for him to leave his room without taking an oxygen tank with us. They take the cap off if they need to suction him. OT worked on his hands today. He did some great stuff in PT today that he has not tried before. He did some legs exercises and they hitched him up to a bicycle that electronically moves his legs like he was pedaling. He said that he couldn’t feel his legs moving, but it was still great to see his legs doing that motion. He does have another urinary track infection and is starting on antibiotics. Derek and I played three games of Yahtzee today. He could shake the container and pick up the dice. I kept score. He enjoyed it and asked to play again each time.

Dec. 7th, 2005

Today’s Update 3:00pm): Derek is having a very quiet day today. He is not talking much today. Speech took him to x-ray for a swallow test, but he did not pass. He found the chair that they had to sit him in to be painful to his back and was unable to swallow the liquid. They will attemp the test maybe next week. He is going to have accupuncture this afternoon.

Dec. 6th, 2005

Today’s Update 5:30pm): Derek had a great day. He loved mom’s applesauce and ate a whole tupperware container full. The first words he said to me today were, “The applesauce was good”. OT worked with his showering and dressing today. Dan Gabriell came and took Derek on the computer to work today. He did awsome work in his PT in his bed today with new apparatise called leg lifts.

Dec. 5th, 2005

Today’s Update 6:30pm): I made Derek applesauce this morning, but when I got here, he had already eaten yogurt. He ate almost a full container. Speech had changed their time to early in the morning. So he has applesauce waiting for him in the morning. He had OT and PT today. He took a long nap this afternoon. I think that he probably was tired from yesterday when he stayed up in his chair for 7 hours and visited with family and friends. He also made quite a few phone calls yesterday. I am sure people were surprised to hear Derek on the line when they answered the telephone. It was so good for us to see him smile and converse. Nicole made it up this weekend to see Derek. She was so proud of him and all the progress that he has made. Derek had another accupuncture treatment today.

Dec. 3rd, 2005

Today’s Update 5:30pm): Derek had OT and PT today and did a great job. He went on the computer today. He put a comment on his website by himself. He read his comments. His whole family was with him this afternoon. He also had Leigh and some friends visiting him today. It is so nice to hear his voice and be able to communicate. Dec. 2nd, 2005 Today’s Update 5:30pm): Derek was started on a new drug yesterday to try and give him a boost so that he would be more alert and participatory in his activities. We have seen some improvement the past two days. He ate blueberry yogurt in Speech therapy today and requested Mom’s applesauce for Monday. He did some great work in Occupational Therapy today with his movement of his thumbs and fingers. Very impressive! He worked hard in Physical Therapy. His major hurdle is his lungs, and secondly is his neck pain. The neck pain is a combination of his surgery, the tightness of his chest muscles, and stretched back and shoulder muscles all being used to help him breath. He wore his speaking valve all night and we are hearing more words. It is great for him to verbalize his needs. He talked to Leigh on the phone last night.

Dec. 1st, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Another busy day. Occupational Therapy fitted Derek for two new hand splints today. They change them as Derek’s mobility and range of movement change. In speech therapy, he ate half a jar of baby food apples and strawberries. Not crazy over it, but ate it. They told him that it will take a while for his taste buds and sence of smell to come back, so things won’t taste the way he remembers them for a while. He is trying to keep the speaking valve on for 24 hours a day now or as much as he can. He did good in physical therapy with a transfer from the mat to the wheelchair using a transfer board instead of the lift. His highlight of the day was the package that he received from the Boston Red Sox ambassador. It contained a Red Sox magazine, a picture of Curt Schilling and Jason Veritek, a bag of Fenway dirt, and a very encouraging letter with an invitation to a Red Sox game. He kept telling Dustin and I that this is cool. (Note from the “webmaster” — Thank you Sue Paul for orchestrating this!!!) We took him to the computer room because he wanted to e-mail the Red Sox and thank them. We couldn’t get his Catholic University e-mail account up and running at first. After getting help from the school, we got on, but I need to go on and delete a lot of stuff before Derek can use it. Hopefully soon.

Nov. 30th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Derek’s grandparents, Bob and Sharon O’Brien, came down on the train today to see Derek. They had not seen him since the first time that he was on the RACU unit of Mass General before his shunt surgeries. They were very pleased with Derek’s improvement since they saw him. They were impressed with his therapy sessions and all the hard work he is doing. They were tired just watching his busy day. In OT they fit him with a new daytime brace for his left hand. In PT, he worked on rolling and sitting up on the mat. In speech therapy, he ate chocolate pudding, which he didn’t like. They are finding out that he is a fussy eater. Kathy is going to bring in some pureed foods for Derek to choose from for tomorrow. He is doing great with the speaking valve. Yesterday he met the goal to wear it from 8 to 8. It doesn’t look like it will be a problem today either. He had an accupunture treatment today. The doctor seems encouraged with it to this point. Time will tell.

Nov. 29th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Derek had a real good day. He did great work in occupational therapy and he did the applesauce test in speach therapy and passed it. He didn’t like the taste, but everything went down into his stomach and nothing in his lungs. He threw it all back up about an hour later, but at least he passed the swallow test. A big step towards real food. Dan Gabrielle came to give Derek his pep talk and Derek asked him to bring a steak sandwich when he came again. He wore his speaking valve all day. We should beat his record today for the length of time that he wore it. He had a good work out in physical therapy. They put him on a bed that they raised him in a standing position to 50% and did arm therapy. Kathy took him out on the patio for about 10 minutes this afternoon for some fresh air. He attended an educational class for recreation and adaptive sports.

Nov. 28th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Derek had a pretty good day. He had OT and PT. With speech therapy, he tried the applesauce swallow test, but he could not swallow it. They think that they might try it again later this week. The pyschiatrist came to see Derek today. After he had listened to enough questions, he said “Go Away”. I thought that this was a big step, because with the speaking valve, he could finally say what he wanted to say to people. He did say that he would talk to him again another day. Derek had some visitors from home and from school yesterday afternoon.

Nov. 27th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:00pm): Derek has had a quiet weekend with his Mom. He had some OT and PT on Saturday. He is watching the Patriots game this afternoon. Kathy came down with a cold today, so she is trying not to get to close. Derek will be back to his busy day tomorrow. Nov. 25th, 2005 Today’s Update (4:00pm): On Thanksgiving Day, Derek talked to Nicole and Leigh on the telephone! Nicole shed tears of joy when she heard her brother’s voice after 4 months. Today Derek has had several visitors, including Auntie Bonny who came to help Kathy celebrate her birthday. Derek had acupuncture and physical therapy this afternoon. Then he went to the solarium to visit with friends. It is so awesome to watch him with his friends. He asked short questions and made humorous comments during the conversation. Kathy wants to make sure that folks check out the update for Nov. 21st since it was posted later. Derek really enjoyed that visit from his coaches and teachers; it is described in more detail on the Nov. 21st update.

Nov. 23rd, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm): Derek made great improvement with his speech therapy today. He was able to tolerate having the speaking valve on for two and a half hours today. He said several words and ate a full cup of ice chips. A huge step!!! He had occupational and physical therapy and he had an accupuncture treatment this afternoon. We hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow with family and friends. We will put another update up on Friday.

Nov. 22nd, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm):Derek participated in all his therapies today. He was able to leave the speaking valve on for 15 minutes today. Not much speaking, but ate ice chips. This is still an improvement. Derek’s attitude is hard to deal with. He is going through a very angry stage. Shane is in Boston spending some time with his mother and Derek.

Nov. 21st, 2005

Today’s Update (10:30pm): Derek had a busy day with therapy with small improvements. He had accupuncture this afternoon. He was back in bed and asleep by 4:30. Derek had a group of 6 visitors Sunday morning that he enjoyed alot and made him smiled a lot. They were Coach Hart, Coach Stammen, Coach Cook, Steve Moro, Jon Moro, and Perry Goodspeed. They presented Derek with some t-shirts and both his basketball jersey. We want to thank them for their encouragement and prayers. It meant a great deal to all of us and made Derek’s day.

Nov. 19th, 2005

Today’s Update (10:30am): Kathy is home for the weekend so Papa McCormick and Leigh are with Derek this weekend. There probably won’t be any more updates this weekend. We will go with the assumption that no news is good news. Papa said that he had a good and very busy day yesterday. They worked him hard in his therapy sessions. Papa was tired too at the end of the day.

Nov. 17th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): The Ear, Nose, and throat doctor could not find anything anatomically wrong, from what he could see. They are going to continue working with the speaking valve slowly — it will take time. He had physical and occupational therapy today. Derek got to have a shower this morning for the first time. He was looking especially refreshed this morning. Nov. 16th, 2005 Today’s Update (4:30pm): Derek had a good day today. He had occupational therapy in the morning. It was a warm day today in Boston, so at 1:00 I was taking him outdoors when Dan Gabrielle and his daughter, Linsey, showed up. They accompanied us outdoors. I took Derek’s camera with us for him to try and use. Unfortunately, I forgot to check the batteries. They had enough life to turn the camera on, but not enough to take the picture. Derek was able to hold the camera up to his eye and push the button. It was good just to see the camera in his hands. We will try again another day. Dan stayed to watch Derek in physical therapy and cheer him on. He had visitors tonight — Danielle, his primary nurse on the RACU unit and his two physical therapists, Kate and Lilly from Mass General. He had an accupunture treatment today.

Nov. 15th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:30pm): Derek has napped quite a bit today. He had a good night. His breathing seems to be improving and getting stronger and stronger at coughing up secretions. He had another accupunture treatment yesterday and is scheduled for one tomorrow. Occupational and physical therapy worked togeter today in the gym. I saw an improvement from a week ago. He has a consult with an Ear, Nose and Throat physician tonight to make sure that there isn’t anything anatomically wrong as to why he can’t use the speaking valve. Dustin and I took Derek to the computer lab today to show him his website for the first time. He was able to browse it himself. He read some of the comments, checked out the photo album (which he smiled a lot while watching the slide shows of pictures), saw how we posted the daily updates, checked out the Catholic University link, and best of all check out his message on the comment page. We were all into the computer so much, we actually kept Derek away a lot longer than we were supposed to. He wanted to get onto his CUA site, but we ran out of time. I think that he will be wanting to get back on the computer soon.

Nov. 14th, 2005

Today’s Update (12:30pm): Derek just arrived back at Spaulding around 4:30 today. Dr. O’Connor was waiting for us when we arrived. He has his old room 717 back. He is attached to a monitor to measure his oxygen level that will alarm if goes below a certain point so that we don’t have another episode like last Saturday. This will be safer until he is able to communicate that he is having trouble breathing. He has had a pretty good day with his breathing and less secretions having to be suctioned from his lungs. We are in hopes to start back with rehab tomorrow.

Nov. 13th, 2005

Today’s Update (12:30pm): Derek is stable and resting comfortably today. He will probably be at Mass General until they get all the culture results back, which take 48 hours. So far the only negative result is the urinary tract infection which is being treated with antibiotics. He has to be reavaluated by speech to make sure he can swallow so that he can have some ice chips which he wants badly. They are going to do this test this afternoon. Other than that, he is visiting with family today.

Nov. 12th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:30pm): I was awoken at 5 this morning by a doctor at Spaulding saying that a nurse had found Derek not breathing. They resusitated him and took him by ambulance to Mass General Emergency room (where he still is). They sedated him and have done a multitude of tests including Cat Scans of his brain and shunt, chest x-rays, blood tests, urine tests and ultrasounds of his abdomen. The only thing that they have found abnormal is a urinary tract infection. Which he has started antibiotics for. They are going to admit him to Mass General for observation because they nor Spaulding know why this has happened. He has not come out of sedation so we do not know what his mental state is from this episode. Nobody knows how long he was not breathing. If we find anything new, we will pass it on. Today’s Update (10:30am): Derek is back at Mass General. He had a respiratory episode last night so Spaulding transferred him to the ER at Mass General where they are checking his lungs and his body for infections. The initial CAT scan looks good, so more tests will follow. We will keep you advised. This is certainly not a good thing that is happening, but it also is not something to panic about — he is getting good care at the right time. At this point Derek has still not been put back on the respirator. Keep praying for this dreaded roller coaster. Thank you.

Nov. 11th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek had a good day today. He tolerated the speaking valve a little better today and said a few more words. Baby steps each day. An ear, nose and throat doctor is going to come see Derek on Tuesday to make sure there is not damage to his vocal cords which could be one of the reasons why he is having problems speaking. Occupational therapy did exercises with his hands. He did the most physical therapy today and lasted the longest. They worked on sitting up, leg exercises, and stomach crunches. Nicole is here visiting this weekend. Maybe he was showing off for her. He was exhausted after PT and wanted to go back to bed and nap.

Nov. 10th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): The speech therapist tried the speaking valve with the new trach this morning. Derek said a few words and didn’t seem to cough as much with this new trach. She will try again tomorrow and hopefully Derek can tolerate it longer. He went to physical therapy in the gym and they worked on his shoulder and back muscles to help him roll to the side. He did well with his right side, but when they tried his left side, he got coughing and couldn’t breath. So they had to stop and suction his lungs. This caused them to end physical therapy for today. It is quite a process just getting him ready for therapy and out of bed — it is very time consuming and takes a lot out of Derek. This should improve as Derek is able to build up more stamina and muscle tone. For occupational therapy today, they molded a splint for him to wear on his right hand to keep his hand in a more functional position. He is wiped out for today and napping while reclining in his wheelchair.

Nov. 9th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): They used a Hoyer Lift to get Derek out of bed and into a wheelchair today. He got a new trach this morning. It is the same size, but a different kind. It will allow more air to flow by the trach when the cuff is deflated. They will try the speaking valve tomorrow and see if this trach makes a difference. Dan Gabrielle came to visit this afternoon and got to go to occupational therapy with Derek. He was able to do 5 repetitions each of a couple exercises on his right hand with a weight around his wrist. They didn’t push him since he was tired and they don’t want to strain the muscles that he hasn’t used in a long time. Dan and I were able to take him outside for 15 minutes again today. It was a little cool here today. Then he went to his first physical therapy in the gym. They laid him on a matted table and did stretching of his legs. Derek slept through it. Then they sat him up on the side of the table, which he didn’t like. From there, they transferred him to a motorized wheelchair. He drove it a short way and then didn’t want to do any more. It is a start and we all have to start somewhere before we can improve. They also stopped giving him continual tube feedings. He will get tube feeding from 4 PM to 8AM and then a can of formula at noon. This allows him to be more mobile and also to get his body to be hungry for when he starts to eat. This roller coaster is continuing.

Nov. 8th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Kathy spent the night with Derek last night — they didn’t get a lot of sleep. They wake him up every two hours to turn him. They MIE him a few times a night. This is where they hitch a machine up to his trach to make him cough to try to clear out his lungs. He finds this very painful and does not like it. His feeding tube came out last night when the nurse was trying to hitch up his tube feeding, so the doctor had to insert a new one. He had IV fluids through the night until they could do an x-ray this morning to make sure the new tube was in place. Physical therapists came in first thing this morning to do chest PT to try and loosen the secretions in his lungs. Then respiratory therapy did some tests on his breathing. Next was speech therapy to try the speaking valve. He again did not tolerate it. The only word he said was STOP. The speach therapist is going to wait for the doctor to downsize his trach before she will try the speaking valve again. Once he can tolerate the speaking valve for long periods of time, she will do some more swallow tests. They are agressively working on his lungs to clear them of secretions. Physical therapy sat him in a wheelchair and took him to see the gym where he will start therapy tomorrow. Occupational therapy worked with his hands and fit him with a split for his left hand to be worn at night. She is going to mold one for the right hand tomorrow. Dustin and Kathy got to take him outside today. We all enjoyed it a lot. Derek didn’t want to come back in, but the oxygen tank was on empty. I think that he will be having us take him out whenever possible. He is still sitting reclined in the wheelchair. I bet that he will sleep better tonight. It has been a full day of activities and getting to know new people and routines. A new section of the roller coaster is beginning. Nov. 7th, 2005 Today’s Update (6:30pm): After 108 days in the hospital, Derek has finally made it to rehabilitation. We arrived at Spaulding around 11:30 today. He has a private room. I don’t think that he realizes as much as we all do, what a hugh step this is in his recovery process. He has overcome so many hurdles to get here and has made so much progress so far. We are anxious to see what will happen now that he is in rehab. He has been evaluated by the physical and occupational therapists, Dr. O’Conner, and his psychiatrist. His new address is: Derek O’Brien, Room 717, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, 125 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114. He is not limited here as to what he can receive. It has been an exhausting day for him, so he has napped a lot this afternoon. Praise God for answered prayers!!!

Nov. 5th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek had a surprise visit from the Red Hat Socitey today (Mimi, Auntie Barbara, Auntie Pat and Auntie Bonnie). It really lifted his spirits. Derek wanted to go outside again today, but because it is the weekend there wasn’t enough staff on duty to make that happen. The visit from the Red Hats made up for that. We are still on track for moving Derek to Spaulding on Monday at 11:00 — keep praying for that. We may or may not have an update tomorrow — the weekends tend to be quiet. If you don’t hear anything assume it is good news. Keep on praying for the transfer on Monday. Nov. 4th, 2005 Today’s Update (7:30pm): Derek has had a great day today. We put sweatpants, a new sweater, and his Red Sox cap on and took him outside in the reclining chair. It was the first time that he has felt the sunshine and fresh air on his face since the accident. He liked it and didn’t want to go back in. Danielle, his nurse, has not seen him smile so much as when he was outside. He wanted some ice tea while out there. Back inside today, he let Danielle cut his long hair that was left on the side and back of his head after the two shunt operations. The speech therapist gave him a couple of spoonfuls of applesauce, but he didn’t like it. It didn’t taste like the homemade applesauce that Mom makes with cinnamon. So she gave him some chocolate pudding. He did well with it and liked it. Physical therapy sat him up on the side of his bed with protest. The respiratory therapist let the cuff in his trach down to allow him to get more used to the air flowing up through his mouth. He is tolerating it much better. He was able to speak some words louder and clearer than he has in the past. Leigh came while the cuff was down and she was able to hear him speak. At first this morning, we were told he was going to Spaulding today at 1:00. Only to find out a little while later, that we are not going until Monday. He is scheduled to go at 11:00. I have learned from past experience not to pack his room up until they show up to get him. But we will keep our fingers crossed.

Nov. 3rd, 2005

Today’s Update (7:30pm): Derek is still off the ventilator. He went for a barium swallow test today. It is done while getting a x-ray. He did not do excellent, but it was an improvement over the two previous swallow tests. The speech therapist gave him a few spoonfuls of chocolate ice cream. A little went down the wrong way, but it is a start. It wasn’t quite like the Ben & Jerry’s Chumby Humby that Derek likes, but it was food. The therapist plans to try a little pudding next time. This took a lot out of Derek, so he napped this afternoon and didn’t have any other therapy. Spaulding came to do another evaluation today. The representative said that we should know something by this afternoon, but they did not get back to the Case Manager today. So we will keep our fingers crossed and pray that it will happen soon.

Nov. 2nd, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm): There is not a lot to report today. The main thing is that he is still off the vent. They tried the speaking valve again today, but he did not tolerate it so nothing was said. Nov. 1st, 2005 Today’s Update (9:30pm): Derek made some great strides today. They took him off the ventilator this morning. He just has what they call a trach mask which provides some moist air for him to breath. He is doing well with it. Spaulding came to evaluate today. If he can go 48 hours with just the trach mask, they will come and evaluate him again on Thursday. If he could go directly to the Spinal Cord Floor instead of the Vent Unit, he may be able to get there sooner. They down-sized his trach today to better enable him to use a speaking valve on his trach. They put the speaking valve on and he was able to say a few words, but he found it very difficult. This process will take time and is something that they will probably try each day to get him used to using his vocal cords. Physical therapy sat him up on the side of the bed. He sat upright in the recliner for an hour this afternoon and is now reclining and napping. He had another accupunture session today. The accupunturist will be away until the 12th, when he will continue sessions with Derek.

Oct. 31st, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm): Derek is back on the ventilator because he has another case of pnuemonia. He is being treated with antibiotics. They are still going to try over the next couple of days to play with the ventilator settings and perhaps let him try on his own some. He had physical therapy and occupational therapy today. The occupational therapist wants him to start to wash his own face and brush his own teeth. He is going to have an accupunture treatment tonight.

Oct. 29th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek did great breathing on his own for 24 hours and his tests came out great!!! With the onset of the weekend, and a new attending physician, the plan was changed. The doctor decided to put Derek back on the ventilator for a weaning process. He’ll be on it for a while, off for a while, and so forth until he is weaned. Although Derek did not want to be put back on the ventilator, his mood was fairly good. He is thoroughly enjoying his visits from family and friends. Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes. The messages get read to Derek daily and they really make a difference.

Oct. 28th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:30pm): This has been a great day in Derek’s road to recovery. The doctors shut the ventilator completely off this morning at 9:45. Derek is breathing completely on his own with no tubes and no help from the ventilator. The doctors told us not to be discouraged if they need to hitch him back up to the ventilator, but he is doing really well. They will monitor him very closely. If he can go 24 hours without it, it will be a very good sign that he will be able to stay off the ventilator. There have been a lot of tears shed over this hugh step. The physical therapist had him sitting up on the side of the bed today and gave him a good workout. Papa is coming home tonight and Leigh and Auntie Karen will be with him this weekend.

Oct. 27th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Papa McCormick said Derek had another good day. He had physical therapy today (of course — Papa is there) but since he is having quite a bit of back pain they didn’t sit him up today. His spirits were good and everything else is still on track for Derek to go to Spaulding. Kathy is still at home, recovering from a cold, but Steve and Shane are really enjoying having her there. Elise, I’m sure you’re enjoying her home too. Thank you all for your faithfulness to Derek and his journey to wellness. Oct. 26th, 2005 Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek had a good day today. Papa McCormick was with Derek today and called to say that Derek’s nurse said Derek breathed on his own for 11 hours today — 6 hours yesterday. They plan to have him breathing on his own for 12 hours tomorrow. Praise God!!!

Derek had both physical and occupational therapy today, and he participated vigorously. His mood was better today, and he enjoyed a visit from his friend Dan and Dan’s son (sorry, I didn’t catch his name). We are still looking forward to Derek’s move to Spaulding when a bed opens. Thank you for your continued interest, prayers, and well-wishes — they are reaping wonderous rewards.

Oct. 25th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek got his stitches out last night. This morning when I walked in, Derek was out of bed and sitting up in a recliner with his neck brace off. The orthopedics gave him the OK to not have to wear his neck brace anymore. His neck and shoulder muscles are sore and will need some strengthening. Physical therapy was working with him in the chair. He stayed in the chair for two hours this morning and is reclining in it this afternoon. He is trying to go another six hours today with just the peep and oxygen on the ventilator. He is taking all his own breaths with these settings. Depression has set in the last few days. Psychiatry is coming tonight to discuss what our steps are to help him through this stage. He is having some problems with memory. Hopefully this will just be a temporary thing.

Oct. 24th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek enjoyed a lot of company from family and friends this weekend. He didn’t sleep at all Friday night, so he was pretty tired all weekend. Sunday was the first time that Derek remembers seeing his father and Shane since the accident. He had physical therapy today. The respiratory and speech therapists put the speaking valve in the trach to let him use his vocal cords. He said Hi, Leigh, and counted to five. It was very painful for him, but they will keep trying this. The doctor is supposed to take his staples out of his head and stomach tonight. We are still waiting to hear from orthopedics as to whether he can have his neck brace off. Praise God — what great strides!!! Some of you were concerned that there was no update this weekend. As Derek heals, less will happen on the weekend so no news is good news on the weekends.

Oct. 21st, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek got a lot of sleep last night and looked great this morning. He had another CAT scan of his spine so orthopedics could make the decision whether or not he can get rid of the neck brace; we don’t have the results yet. He sat up again on the side of the bed with help for a couple of minutes without quite so much grimacing. He also worked better with occupational therapy today. They turned off the pressure support and peep completely and just supplied oxygen for 25 minutes today. Everyone was pleased with his numbers and how well he handled it. They wanted his to try longer, but he didn’t want to. It feels different to him because the machine has breathed for him for so long, but it is a start to a huge step in his recovery. There has been no fever for 24 hours. We have to go another 24 hours before Spaulding will consider taking him when a bed is available. Nothing new has grown in his cultures yet. We will keep our fingers crossed. He has friends from Catholic University visiting him now. He is expecting quite a bit of company this weekend.

Oct. 20th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek has had a busy day today. He had occupational therapy first thing this morning. He complained of pain and didn’t want to cooperate much. Next he had physical therapy. He still didn’t want to cooperate a lot. He didn’t want to sit up on the side of the bed, so they sat him up in his bed. Dan Gabriel came to visit Derek this afternoon. I think that this pleased Derek alot. Dan gave him the Road Warrior pep talk. I am hoping that Derek will listen to him as much as he used to when Dan was coaching him. Dan got to stay and hold Derek’s hand while the speach therapist did the swallow test with the scope again today. The difference with todays test is that they took his neck collar off while doing the test. He did much better than yesterday, but he did still swallow some into his airway. The therapist was encouraged and feels that when he has the collar off for a few days and gets used to swallowing his saliva, he will be able to perhaps have some ice cream sometime next week. Amy Sands stopped by to say Hi to Derek also. It is 5:00 and we are waiting to move Derek to the RACU (Respiratory Intensive Care Unit) as there are no available vent beds at Spaulding at this time. He does not have a fever today. He is sad and quiet today. Bernie O’Brien is coming to visit Derek this weekend from Catholic University. This should definately bring a smile to Derek’s face.

Oct. 19th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): Derek’s nurse said that he did not have a good night last night. He did not sleep and seemed to be agitated by banging his arms all night. The doctors felt that it was spasticity, not something that he was doing on his own. So today they put him back on anti-spasticity medicine. He also spiked a fever last night and it has continued today. His urine had sediments today. They have done more urine, blood and sputum cultures today to see if they can find the source for the fever. He had a swallow test with blue ice chips. He passed that test so he can have ice chips now and then. Tonight they did a more intense swallow test with a scope they put through his nose to look down his throat to watch him swallow. He did not pass this test. They feel that he might be able to when he gets the neck brace off. They could look at his vocal cords with this test also. They said that they were strong and he was able to make a noise. Spaulding is still on hold until they can find a source for the fever and they have a ventilator bed available. Keep up the prayers and good wishes — they really mean a lot to Derek and his family.

Oct. 18th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm): Derek had another good day. His tests and CAT scan came back fine. Lily, his physical therapist, had him sitting on the edge of the bed today! Derek said he didn’t like it. He was a little dizzy. After nearly 3 months laying on his back, sitting on the edge of an air mattress was probably a little scary! Mimi McCormick came to visit Derek today and he gave her a nice smile. He also had Dustin with him for the day and they were “playing ball” to strengthen the fingers and arms. It looks like the move to Spaulding will be soon; of course, we never pack up until the ambulance crew shows up because plans can and do change frequently! Thank you all for keeping Derek in your thoughts and prayers!

Oct. 17th, 2005

Today’s Update (10:00pm): Derek had a fever today but it had dropped to 99 degrees by evening. They were doing a few tests to make sure there isn’t an infection. He still had a good day with visits from the physical therapist, the psychiatrist, a doctor from the surgical team, the rehab doctor, and the respiratory therapist. His nurse, Christine, said this parade of medical personnel is normal for a Monday. Both Auntie Bonny and Derek found it a little tiring; Derek took a couple of naps and they enjoyed watching a Bruce Willis movie together in the afternoon.

Oct. 16th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Derek is having another good day. Deb, his nurse last night, was encouraging him to exercise his arms, hands, and fingers more. Today he is trying to do some repetitive arm exercises on his own. He is also starting to mouth some words and to gently shake his head for yes or no. His nurse, Amy, is working with him on this. Today his cousin Amy and her fiance Ryan came to visit, and Auntie Bonny is here until Monday evening. Derek is enjoying the company. He also likes to have the comments from the web site read to him. Keep sending those inspirational messages and prayers; the real work is beginning and Derek is going to need your help.

Oct. 15th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:00pm): The surgery went well. Derek is alert and communicating by answering yes when he sticks out the tip of his tongue and no when he blinks his eyes. Using his tongue also exercises his mouth and face muscles. He is moving his arms much better and his fingers some. He actively participates in exercising his arms and hands. He even did the Sign of the Cross when we said prayers with him! Derek had a lot of questions about what was to come in his journey back to an independent life. His mom was able to answer those and to tell him about rehab at Spaulding. The doctors are talking about sending him to Spaulding soon, hopefully right from the Surgical ICU unit. Dustin is also telling Derek about what he saw on his tour of Spaulding. Derek wants the information and this helps calm some of his worries.

Keep the faith; it helps Derek a lot!

Oct. 15th, 2005

Today’s Update (10:00am): Derek’s surgery happened last night at midnight and the surgeon said it went well. Kathy has been unable to get any further information about it yet, but as soon as she knows something we will post it. You should expect an update later today. Thank you for your prayers — the surgery “went well!”

Oct. 14th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:00pm): Derek is scheduled for surgery today to put in the permanent ventricular shunt. The surgery was originally scheduled for late morning but has been pushed back a couple of times. Now they are expecting to do the surgery this evening. It may take three hours for the surgery and recovery room, so we won’t be posting the results until Saturday morning. Auntie Bonny is here with Kathy for the weekend. She is so happy to be able to communicate with Derek again! He answers yes or no to questions using eye blinks. He was also using his right arm and hand to tell his mom to change the channel on the television. Auntie Bonny also knew when Derek was telling her that he loves her–he has such expressive eyes! She told him how much all of you think of him and check his progress every day. He was touched by that. Keep praying and believing; it definitely helps!

Oct. 13th, 2005

Today’s Update (11:30pm): Papa and Dustin both said that Derek had the best day that they have seen him have since the accident first happened. He had an hour of physical therapy and an hour of occupational therapy today. Derek is scheduled to have his permanent ventricular shunt operation tomorrow, 10/14, around noon. The infectious disease doctors feel that this is the best window of opportunity to do the surgery. Kathy would like everyone to say an extra prayer for Derek to have a successful surgery. Papa is going home to recover from a cold he just came down with, and Kathy and Bonny are going to be with Derek for his surgery.

Oct. 12th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek had a very quiet day today. There were no changes in his treatment at all. He had both occupational and physical therapy today, and his Papa was with him to help. I’ll bet he really got a workout!!! Because Papa was there, Kathy was able to go home to West Rockport yesterday and attend one of Shane’s games. She really enjoyed watching Shane play!!! Well, the roller coaster is smooth right now, PRAISE GOD!!! Tomorrow the update will be late because I don’t get home from class until 10:30 pm, so don’t worry that there is no news. Thank you all for your patience, prayers and love.

Oct. 11th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek seemed to enjoy the company that he had this weekend. It was also good for all of us to see him have emotions and be able to express them. The CAT scan that they did on Saturday showed nothing abnormal. He will be remaining on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit while he has the temporary ventricular shunt. He has a new bacteria growing in his lungs, so they will be starting him on another anitbiotic today. He has to wait until the infectious disease doctors give him the all clear sign of infections and fevers for a few consecutive days before he can have the permanent shunt put in. They have made some ventilator setting changes since he has been in the SICU. He seems to be able to adjust to them. Kathy, Nicole, Dustin, and Leigh went to Spaulding Rehabilitation this morning for another tour. The decision has been made that this is where Derek will go to rehab. It make more sense to have him go to Spaulding because of all the medical issues that he has. It is an accredited hospital and if an accute medical problem arises, he will come back to Mass General because it’s affiliated with them and they are familiar with his history. Thanks for being patient for the update. Kris just got home from class (remember, they’re Tuesdays and Thursdays). Try to remember, if you don’t see an update it is good news. If there is trouble I will find a way to get it up on the web no matter what else is going on.

Oct. 9th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek is awake and alert and interactive today. He is experiencing emotions for the first time. He laughed from the depth of his soul today, several times. His surgery was apparently successful. Today Derek had a CAT scan, and the results will be in tomorrow. Several of his friends from Catholic University were in today, as well as members of his extended family. Today was a good day. We’re still on the roller coaster, but this is not the scary part.

Oct. 8th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek is out of sugery. He is awake and alert. They put in a temporary shunt which will stay in until he is clear of infections. They are hoping that in a week or so they will be able to put the permanent shunt in. We will be looking for signs of improvement in his alertness and interaction over the next week to see if relieving the pressure will help his mental status. He is back in the surgical intensive care unit (Ellison 4). Auntie Pat and Renee came down last night to support Kathy, Nicole and Leigh. Derek has some friends from school coming to visit him this afternoon.

Oct. 7th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek was bronched today. The secretions they got were just saliva that is going from his mouth, around the inflated cuff in his throat, and into his lungs. The harmful secretions in his lungs seem to be gone. They are going to give him some medicine to try and dry up the secretions in his mouth. He has seen many doctors today. Many were nuerosurgeons and nuerologists. They took a sample of his spinal fluid from his lumbar to see how much pressure he has in his brain from the fluid built up in his ventricles. There was significant pressure, so he is on the OR schedule for sometime tomorrow to put a shunt in his brain to drain off the fluid and relieve the pressure. We are waiting to talk to the nuerosurgeons to answer our questions and find out if they are going to put a temporary one in due to the infections that he has now or if they are going to put a permanent one in tomorrow. They feel that this situation is due to the head trauma he received at the time of the accident. Everyone is hoping that this will help with his ability to be alert and interact. He will not return to the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit after the surgery. He will have to go to a Neuorological Intensive Care Unit to deal with the shunt. Nicole and Leigh are with Kathy and they are watching the Red Sox with Derek. We are hoping the Red Sox will win so Derek can continue to watch them during his recovery.

Oct. 6th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Derek has been more awake and able to follow more commands than yesterday. He had a chest xray this morning. It showed nothing new and no changes from the previous one. He is having new cultures done on his blood, sputum and urine. He had his MRI of his brain done last night. The doctors did find some abnormalities with the ventricals of his brain. There seems to be some blood in these and the cerebral spinal fluid does not seem to be draining. They are wondering if this is why he isn’t really able to be alert and communicate. We are waiting for the neurosurgeons to come for a consult. Hopefully sometime tonight. We will find out what they determine from the MRI and if he might need to have a drain put in to drain off the fluid. Hopefully we will have more information on this by tomorrow’s update. They lowered the cuff on his trach. What this means is that they put a different piece in it to allow air to flow over his vocal cords. They will continue to do this off and on to let him get used to the feeling, so eventually he will learn to speak as the air passes up over his vocal cords and out his mouth. Please forgive the lateness of todays update. For the next 2 months I (Kristin) am taking a computer class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will probably be late on those days getting the update posted. If there is something urgent, we will figure out a way to get you informed. The family continues to be comforted and strengthened by your prayers and well wishes — thank you so much for your loving comments.

Oct. 5th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Derek has been very sleepy, quite non-responsive, and non-interactive today. No changes on the ventilator. They had to put the foley catheter back in last night, but are attempting the straight catheter again today. The speech therapist came in today to do a swallow test to see if Derek could swallow the liquid from ice chips down his throat and not his airway. He was not real responsive and could not do it. This is a test that they will continue to try in hopes that he will be able to swallow and be able to drink and eat. His temperature has been rising this afternoon. They are keeping an eye on this to see if they need to do some more cultures. He is scheduled for an MRI of his brain tomorrow. The roller coaster is back.

Oct. 4th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Derek was more awake today, and really enjoyed the surprise visit of his Auntie Bonny. This was the first time she has seen his eyes open all summer. He was even able to watch the Red Sox on tv today because the physical therapist had him sitting up at 60 degrees for about 2 hours. Unfortunately the Sox were playing so terribly that he gave up and went to sleep. Derek took his first step towards rehab today because his foley catheter was taken out. He has been switched to a straight catheter to prepare him for his transition to the rehab facility. Hooray Derek!!! The decision about which rehab center Derek will go to has not yet been made. Please pray for wisdom so the family will know which place Derek belongs. Also, please continue to pray for his caregivers and their families as they continue to care for Derek.

Oct. 3rd, 2005

Today’s Update (5:30pm): We had a family/team meeting this morning with all his caregivers. It went well. We got our questions answered and everyone is on the same page as to Derek’s care. His pneumonia continues to improve. Physical therapy had him sitting up in bed at a 60 degree angle for a short period of time. They put the speaking piece of the trach on for a couple of minutes. We got no sound out of him, but he was able to tolerate the air passing up through his throat and out his mouth. Kathy and Karen went to tour Spaulding Rehabilitation this afternoon. They were reasured that he could go to Spaulding’s vent unit and get good rehab care. He would begin to get rehab while weaning off the vent. The decision as to where he will go to rehab with be made soon, as Derek will be able to be transferred to a vent unit rehab after the pneumonia has been cleared.

Oct. 1st, 2005

Today’s Update (5:30pm): Derek had a good day today. The x-ray of his chest today showed improvement in his lungs. He is breathing on the ventilator with just support. He is intiating his own breaths. Dustin and John Knutson came to watch the Red Sox game with him. Too bad he couldn’t have seen them win. Mimi & Papa went home this morning. Derek is enjoying the company of his whole family this weekend. His friends at Catholic University had a successful and fun-filled wiffleball tournament today, and his cousin Molly threw out the first pitch. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and comments and well wishes. Derek and his family are really uplifted by them. Sept. 30th, 2005 Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek was bronched again today. They removed less secretions than yesterday or the day before. This with him doing better on the vent, leads the doctors to believe that the antibiotics are working and the pneumonia is getting better. He had some physical and occupational therapy today. The respiratory therapist put what they call a voice piece in his trach for a minute to allow air to go up thru his throat. He has not had air thru his throat since the accident. Although he coughed all the while, the respiratory therapist feels that his vocal cords work. When the time comes that he get off the vent, they feel that with therapy he will be able to use his voice again. His Mimi and Papa McCormick surprised him with a visit today. Papa exercised Derek. We think that we may hire Papa as his personal therapist. We are still discussing and working on the rehab facility situation. Derek’s family will be with him this weekend.

Sept. 29th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek has been awake a lot today, but not a lot of movement. The doctors bronched Derek again today and removed a large amount of fluids from his lungs. They received the urine cultures back and Derek does have a urinary track infection, which can be treated with the same antibiotics that he is currently on. They also feel that he may have an infection in his bowels, so they are starting him on a different antibiotic for this. We are still trying to sort the whole rehab situation out. We were told yesterday by his attending physicians at Mass General that he could not go to Spaulding on a ventilator. Instead of talking with the physician that they requested for the consult, Kathy talked with Dr. Sneider, who she has been communicating with since arriving here. Come to find out, he is the partner of the physician that the consult was for. He informed Kathy that Derek could go to Spaulding on the vent. So the question still remains where will Derek be of the most benefit? He cannot go to any rehab until the pneumonia and infections are gone. There will be a family/team meeting on Monday. Kathy and Karen are going to tour Spaulding Monday afternoon. Hopefully after these meetings, the family will be more able to make a decision on what is Derek’s best option for a rehab center.

Sept. 28th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:30pm): Today has been a busy day for Derek and Kathy. Derek does have a bad case of pneumonia. He is resistant to the three antibiotics that they put him on yesterday, so they put him on two new ones. He has received one and they are getting ready to give him the second one. The wound specialist was able to get the vaccuum seal on the trach site wound. She said that she will check it tomorrow and if it is successful, she is in hopes to leave it on for a week. This is supposed to reduce the healing time of the site. We are keeping our fingers crossed. They bronched Derek this afternoon and took a look around inside his lungs and secreted a lot of fluids from them. Kathy was told that Derek’s lungs have not collapsed. The ultra sound of his legs that they did yesterday shows no blood clots in them. The major development of the day is the conversation that I had with his medical team today. We have a decision to contemplate as to what is best for Derek in reguards to a rehab center. Because of the pneumonia setback and the length of time that it might take to clear him of this and then wean him off the vent, do we want to move him to a rehab center somewheres else in the country that he can go to with the vent. The other option is prolonging his rehab to stay here and get off the vent to go to Spaulding. I am waiting for a consult with a top Rehab doctor who specializes in Spinal Cord Injury to see Derek and consult with me. We are also setting up a family team meeting with all the caregivers hopefully on Monday. More to follow. Kathy

Sept. 27th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:30pm): Derek had a cat scan of his chest today. He has pneumonia again so they will be starting him on three antibiotics. He had an ultra sound of his legs to check for blood clots and we should know the results of this tomorrow. Derek has been very quiet today, meaning he showed very little movement today and wouldn’t follow commands. His Meme and Papa O’Brien came to visit him today. It was nice that they could get to Boston to see Derek. Kathy enjoyed their visit also. They stopped the pain medicine Dilaudid today, but they said that it would still take some time to get the narcotics out of his system. Hopefully we will see improvement with his allertness soon.

Sept. 26th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:30pm): Not much to tell today. Like the saying goes: “No news is good news”. The doctors are continuing to wean Derek off of the sedating medicines. He dozes on and off most of the day. He moved his arms some today, and he managed a small smile. The doctors left the ventilator settings the same today, but they feel that his lungs are healing slowly. It is just going to take time. Kathy read him some more of his messages from the website while he was awake today. He listened intently. She will read him more each day. It was good for Derek to be able to see his family this weekend. They enjoyed seeing the progress that he has made and his bright eyes and smile.

Sept. 25th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:30pm): Derek and the O’Brien family have had a good weekend together. The doctors have reduced Derek’s medication to the point that he was able to be awake, smile, wink, and enjoy his entire family, Mackensie and Leigh. He was able to read some of your comments and he really enjoyed them — and wants to read more!!! Let’s just give him what he asked for, okay? There were a few tests on his lungs this weekend, and although they are not nearly well yet, the doctors feel there has been improvement. There will be a more detailed update tomorrow night, but for now we can be happy with his state of mind. Thank you all for your continued prayers and well wishes.

Sept. 23rd, 2005

Today’s Update (7:30pm): The respiratory acute care unit is much different from the surgical intensive care unit. It has a whole new team of nurses and doctors which all have their own ideas as to what is best for Derek. They feel that his high blood pressure is caused by him being taken off the pain and sedative drugs too fast, so they have put him back on pain medicine, sedation, anxiety medicine, and blood pressure medicine. Thus, Derek is again sleeping most of the time. They say that they will wean him off these a little each day. The past few days he hasn’t been awake to have his physical or occupational therapy. They bronched him today to make sure his trach tube was in the right spot, which it was. They also found that part of the airway below the trach tube was partially collapsed due to the aggresive behavior that they took yesterday when he arrived on the unit. He doesn’t get the one-on-one nursing care that he got on the SICU. It is very hard for me to watch what is going on with Derek on this unit. They made a vent setting change last night at 5:00, and today he just looks like he is having a hard time breathing. He is doing a lot of mouth breathing. Hopefully things will improve in the near future. Lilly, his physical therapist, told me this afternoon not to get discouraged. She said that this is where he needs to be and he will get better. I am just having a really hard time with this new phase.

Sept. 22th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:30pm): Derek is having another good day. Praise God!!! Derek has graduated to the Respiratory Acute Care Unit. His lungs are going to be topmost in this unit’s care for him. Kathy says that we will know more tomorrow. There are new doctors, new rules and new ideas — all very exciting. They have begun to address his inability to talk and will be working towards a solution. Derek will be bronched tomorrow, during which the doctors will assure that the tube is correctly placed, and if necessary correct it. Other than this, there is no change. Please continue to leave messages and pray for his continued healing and journey to wellness. Thank you.

Sept. 21th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek is having another good day. Praise God!!! When Kathy came in this morning Derek was awake and smiling. He is aware of what is going on and is frustrated because his ability to communicate is limited because of his trach. The physical therapist came in and gave him a workout and then sat him up in his bed. He was sitting up until he got tired, about 2 hours later. The rehabilitation doctor came in and assessed him and Dr. O’Connor (the doctor that helped make his transfer to Boston a reality) came in and met Derek. What a nice man!!! The medical team still intends to transfer Derek to the Respiratory Acute Care unit later this week. Right now Derek has a nurse dedicated only to him around the clock. When he changes units, he will have great care, but his nurse will have other patients. We are looking at this as a graduation of sorts — he won’t need one-on-one care then. Praise God again!!! As always, the family thanks you for your continued prayers and well wishes.

Sept. 20th, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm): I would like to thank everyone who helped prepare and attended Shane’s Birthday party. It was wonderful to make it home to share that with him. It was great to see so many of my family and friends this weekend. I have missed you all very much and look forward to getting home more often now that Derek is in Boston. Love, Kathy.

There is not much new to tell today. The only thing that they are working on today is Derek’s medication. They continue to try to wean him off the amount of medications that he has been on for so long. This means making changes and adding medication to handle the anxiety and high blood pressure that goes along with this process of trying to wake him up. The physical therapists worked with him today and sat his bed up higher than it has been. He handled it well until he got tired.

Sept. 19th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm): Derek is having another good day. He is continuing to come out of his sedation and become more aware of his surroundings. This is causing his blood pressure to rise, so the medical team has decided to put him on blood pressure and anxiety medications. His blood tests look good, so he has been taken off of antibiotics. He no longer has any infections. His lungs were bronched yesterday and today and there is no change. The nutrition team is continuing to give him loads of vitamins and he is definitely tolerating his feedings very well. The medical team is discussing the possibility of moving Derek to a ventilator weaning unit at the end of the week. Most of the issues Derek arrived with have been addressed and are under control. We are still awaiting his neuorlogical (nerve) assessment. He needs to be more awake before a plan can be formulated. Please continue to pray for his peace, his doctors wisdom, his healing, and anything else that has been placed upon your heart. Thank you.

Sept. 18th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Leigh called in the update tonight, on her way home to visit with her parents. Derek’s temperature and blood pressure are down, which she is pleased with. The medical team lowered the pressure from the ventilator from 30 to 20, which Derek did not tolerate very well. They then raised it to 25, and he has been doing well at this setting since last night. The physical therapist was in today, and Derek tolerated the exercises quite well. Also today, Derek’s lungs were bronched and they were able to get some of the fluid from the bottom of his lungs. There are no blockages in his lungs and they are doing well, considering his adult respiratory distress syndrome. Papa McCormick is still in Boston with Derek, and will be there until his mother returns from celebrating Shane’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHANE. Thank you for all of the heartfelt messages you all are leaving, and of course your continuing prayers.

Sept. 17th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:30pm): Papa McCormick called in the update tonight. He and Leigh have been staying with Derek this weekend so his mother could go home and celebrate Shane’s birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHANE!!! Derek is having another good day. Dustin and Mackenzie came in to visit and he was smiling. The pulmonary doctor was in again to assess his lungs and repeated that it will take some time for the lungs to heal. The occupational therapist was in and Derek was able to move his fingers on the right hand, and a little of the left hand. Papa says that Derek has his own nurse — she is responsible ONLY for Derek’s care. This is such a blessing. There is not much more to report, other than Derek smiled today. Praise God!!! Thank you all for your continuing prayers.

Sept. 16th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Leigh called in the update today, and she sounded upbeat and good. Derek had a CT scan of his head and neck yesterday and the results were good. Today he had a CT scan of his lungs and the doctors are in agreement that they to not look good. He has adult respiratory distress syndrome which will take weeks to months to heal. They decided to reduce his peep today and they made some ventilator setting changes to expedite his healing as much as possible. Also, a larger feeding tube was inserted today to help seal the insertion site which was previously seeping bile. He is slightly awake today and recognized Leigh’s voice, as well as his Papa’s, who couldn’t wait any longer to come and be with him. I didn’t ask, but I bet Derek exercised today. The updates will probably be in the evening for the next little while as each day is filled with exams and tests and we have to wait for the results. Thank you to everyone who has offered places to stay. For right now, the hospital has worked with Kathy and she is staying a short walk away from the hospital in an efficiency apartment. We will let you all know if her living situation needs to change, but for now this apartment is a perfect place for her, and the cost is almost nothing. Please continue to pray for Derek’s doctors and for his healing, as we have seen what miracles prayer bring about.

Sept. 15th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:00pm): I would like to thank all of the wonderful people that I met in Atlantic City for all their support, comfort, and care of Derek and I. There are so many of you; from the wonderful people on the 44th street beach and the DiBello family who helped Derek at the time of his accident, the wonderful crew on the helicopter who quickly got him to the Trauma Center, the medical staff who worked quickly and hard to get Derek the medical treatments he needed, the nursing staff who cared for Derek on a daily basis, all the hospital personel who treated us with kindness and would just stop by to pray for Derek, and Sister Mary Frances for her inspirational support which she continues to give me with phone calls that make me smile. With every tragedy, there comes something positive. One of the positives of Derek’s accident are the wonderful friends that my family has made during our stay in New Jersey. You will all remain very special people in our lives. We look forward to getting Derek well enough to bring him back to New Jersey to meet all of our wonderful new friends. Many thanks and much love, Kathy

Derek is holding his own today. As you nurses who have cared for him would recognize, when his cheeks get flush in the afternoon he is starting a temperature. This has continued here also. They have come down with Tylenol. His heart rate and blood pressure have been on the high side since yesterday when they changed the trach tube and bronched him. They feel that these things are from weaning him off the sedation and pain medicine. They have decided to do a CAT scan instead of the MRI of his neck and head. This is scheduled for this afternoon. He is still tolerating the tube feedings well. He is beginning to track with his eyes and respond to commands.

Sept. 14th, 2005

Today’s Update (2:00pm): Mass General is amazing. Derek has had so much done to him since he arrived here. They are starting at the beginning again to evaluate and start addressing a lot of different issues. The sedation has been completely shut off. He is off the morphine and replace by Dilaudid which has been turned down to .5 per hour. They want him to wake up and see what his neurological state and functions are. He is taking every breath on his own with the ventilator providing the oxygen and pressure. He is taking around 35 breaths per minute with a SAT rate of around 97. He is back on tube feedings and tolerating them very well. They have a nutritionist involved to try to get his nutritional needs addressed. His vitals and temperture are good. He is having a larger Trach tube put in this afternoon. They are in hopes that this will make it easier for him to exchange air. This will also allow them to more easily bronc him — which they plan to do this afternoon to get some of the secretions out of his lungs and culture the sputum for pneumonia. The infectious disease doctor came in today to evaluate what infections he may still have or not and determine whether he still needs to be on antibiotics. A rehabilitation doctor who also works with Spaulding came in to evaluate today. He will come back again after he is more alert to re-evaluate. The physical therapist was in yesterday to do an examination and is waiting for the orthopedic surgeons to do their evaluation to determine how much she can move him around, possibly even attempting to sit him up at some time in the near future. He got new feet splints today to help keep his heals off the bed to help heal the sores on his heals. They will also help to prevent foot drop. He is still waiting for the MRI of his neck. This will give them a better idea of the swelling around his injury site, what the site and bones look like, the depth and looks of the wound site on back of his neck, and if there is infection around the site. They have replaced his catheter, taken out the central line that was put in for the dialysis (which they don’t think that he will need anymore); they are going to take out the other central line that has been in his shoulder for a long time and replace it with a pick in his left arm which hopefully will be able to be done today. They are giving him lasics today to try to get some more fluid out of him. He turned his eys toward Kathy today when she spoke to him. He knew when Dustin spoke to him last night. The chest tubes are out and they don’t feel that he will need them again as his chest xray today looked good. He has made such strides in 24 hours. Thank you all so much for your continued prayers. This transfer could not have been made without them.

Sept. 13th, 2005

Today’s Update (9:00am): GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!! Derek is in Boston after quite an ordeal. The ambulance arrived at the Atlantic City hospital quite late, and there was quite some difficulty getting Derek onto the board that would be used to transport him. The equipment on the ambulance was faulty, but after a return to the hospital for replacement equipment, Derek was loaded onto the plane (with help from Kathy and everyone else around). He arrived in Bedford, Massachusetts and was unloaded. He took an incredibly bumpy ride to the hospital on Boston’s torn up roads, around detours and basically it took forever. Once at the hospital his day of testing and prodding began. His chest tubes were removed because they were not placed properly. They could have moved during his transport — they just don’t know. His temperature was really low, so he has been under heated blankets and as of the time of this update it was up to 96. His vent settings and vitals are good, but the doctors at Mass General are basically starting over from scratch. He is putting out 100 cc’s of urine per hour, so his kidneys are functioning. Mom said she just continued to watch his chest go up and down during this process, and prayed for him to make it. We are soooooo happy this tansport is done. Please continue to pray for Derek’s caregivers, as well as his family as this new phase of Derek’s Journey to Wellness begins.

As you can see from the web, our server his having problems today. I am working on it with them, but it is apparently a large outage. There is really nothing I can do but wait. I’m sorry this happened on this day, of all days, but it has highlighted a problem. I’m working on an e-mail solution to this. Please e-mail me as the “family contact” if you wish to receive e-mail updates in the event of web trouble like we had today. You know, really important information that just can’t be posted. If you wish, you can form an “e-mail tree” with your friends and family that are checking the web and pass the information on that way. This is just another way that God is using Derek’s journey for good purposes — I’m not sure how yet, but I’m sure He’ll tell me when He’s ready. If an outage occurs again, I will e-mail the update to this list of people, and each of these contacts can inform their group. If everything is working as it should be, just keep checking the web for your updates. We can’t let this lack of information happen again. Thank you for being so patient today, and again I’m sorry about the kink.

Sept. 12th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm): GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!! We are leaving at 7:45 tonight for Boston. I am shaking as I write this. We just got the phone call from Mass General. They have a bed. Derek and I are leaving here at 7:45 and we will arrive at Mass General around 11:30 tonight. Pray for a safe flight and I will send an update tomorrow morning. Thank God for all the prayers and help to get to this new part of Derek’s Journey underway. Love, Kathy

Today’s Update (12:00pm): Derek is holding his own today. They did not do dialysis again today because his numbers and urine output are good. He did have some swelling come back yesterday afternoon and evening; they will re-evaluate again tomorrow. They have put him on vent support for a few hours today to try and strengthen his lung and chest muscles. This means that the ventilator is supplying the oxygen and the pressure and that Derek is initiating every breath on his own. So far, he is doing very well with it. The wound specialist changed the vaccuum seal on the wound on his back. It was a new specialist that he has not had in the past, but she felt that his wound looked clean and is healing. We have gotten approval from the insurance company for the transfer to Boston. They need 24 hours notice to arrange the transportation. The way that we understand what is happening with the transfer is that Mass General has accepted Derek, but they have no beds available. When a bed becomes available, the doctor there will contact the doctor here to get a report on Derek’s condition, and then the doctor that is on call at Mass General will become the accepting physican on his records. Once this has taken place, then the insurance company can make the necessary transportation arrangements. We are all praying that it will happen soon.

Kathy and Steve would like to thank Jackson Landscaping for showing up in their dooryard this morning to take care of some yardwork as a surprise. It was surely needed and much appreciated. They would also like to thank the anonymous donor of the Boston Whaler Boat for the raffle. Everyone has been so generous, helpful, and supportive. They cannot begin to thank everyone who has helped in their own way so that they can concentrate on Derek’s needs and recovery. God Bless everyone of you. PS. Good Luck Shane with your soccer game. A note to Nicole and Leigh, here are the pink letters you have been asking for. Hope Derek enjoy’s them when he wakes up

Sept. 11th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm): There is no change in Derek today. They have decided to reevaluate tomorrow when it comes to dialysis. His kidney numbers and urine output are much better today. His vent settings are staying the same, and his blood pressure is holding it’s own in the normal range. We will be working hard tomorrow on finalizing and coordinating Derek’s transfer to Boston. We are hopeful that it will happen this week. Scott, Kristin and Nicole are headed home today, leaving Kathy and Leigh to keep Derek company. We all thank each of you so much for your continued prayers and well wishes — it is truly helping us keep on fighting. Kathy wants to thank each of you who offered leads and help in getting Derek transferred. At this moment we THINK it is under control, but we will certainly let you know if any more assistance is needed. Thank you — you are all such a blessing.

Sept. 10th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm): I’m sorry the update is so late today, but I am here visiting with Derek. I will be here through tomorrow, so the update will probably be delayed tomorrow also. I’m sorry about the worry I have caused. There is very little change today. Derek is having a little trouble with his blood pressure, so the doctors have postponed his dialysis until tomorrow, but he is still putting out urine on his own. We are continuing to work on his transfer to Boston, and we remain cautiously optimistic that will happen soon. Nicole and Leigh are still with him, and Scott and Kristin have come up for the weekend. We’ll do another update tomorrow.

Sept. 9th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:30pm): We have utilized every lead that we could today to intiate a transfer to Boston for Derek and we want to thank everyone who has come forward with their help and contacts. This outpouring of help in our time of need has truly been a blessing. We have found a doctor who will accept Derek as a patient at Mass General. We are cautiously optimistic, but it still has to be finalized with Derek’s doctor here in Atlantic City talking directly with the doctor at Mass General. This has not taken place yet. Once this huge hurdle is jumped, then there are all the details that have to be worked out to physically move Derek — such as the insurance approving the transfer, Mass General having a bed in an appropriate ICU unit, and coordinating air transport. We ask for continued prayer that this will all work out. As far as Derek’s condition today, things look good. He tolerated another dialysis today. More of the fluids were drained off and the swelling decreased. His kidneys have started to produce some urine on there own. His peep on the ventilator is at 8 and he is doing well with it. His blood work and vitals are all good today. At this point we are hoping Derek remains stable over the weekend so perhaps he will be able to be transferred sometime next week.

Sept. 8th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:30pm): Derek is holding his own. The dialysis is going well. We are guardedly optimistic. Karen says his improved appearance is noticeable. There are still other problems that need to be addressed, but since the dialysis is working there is time to address them. The family met with Derek’s care team today, and have agreed that when Derek is moved, it will be to Boston. The risks of moving Derek do not change if he goes to Philadelphia or if he goes to Boston, so we are focusing our energy in getting him accepted at Massachusetts General. The staff in Atlantic City is focused on making sure Derek gets the best care possible. On a more agreeable note, Shane is holding down the home front, taking care of the home fires, the dogs, and the Maine friends and family. In addition, he found time to participate in winning his first soccer match. Go Shane!!!!! We continue to be amazed at the outpouring of love, affection and real help pouring out on Derek. Thank you so much. 

Today’s Update (12:30pm): There are no changes from yesterday. Derek will have dialysis again this afternoon. Derek’s entire immediate family is with him. They are still pushing for a Patient Care Conference today with much resistance, but they are not giving up until they get results. They still have not heard back from any hospital reguarding acceptance of Derek. It is hard to believe that the care of your loved one depends so much on who knows who and will go to bat for you.

Sept. 7th, 2005

Today’s Update (9:30pm): Derek tolerated the dialysis very well!!! HOORAY!!! His blood pressure stayed constant, which is apparently an issue with dialysis. His session lasted 3 hours, the first 2 hours were spent on removing toxins, and the last hour was spent on removing fluid from his body. He will go in again tomorrow afternoon for another session of dialysis, and it will be a longer session. The formula of how much on toxins and how much on fluids is not yet determined. There will probably be several updates tomorrow, assessing Derek’s progress throughout the day, but Kathy says that Derek looks better after the dialysis — a lot better, but still very bad. We are cautiously optimistic about tackling the other problems tomorrow. 

Today’s Update (1:30pm): They did not open up his abdomen. Thank God. As I am writing this they are attempting to insert the IV line for the dialysis in his shoulder. If they are unable to put it in his shoulder, they will try in his groin. They will start the dialysis this afternoon. They are also at the same time putting an A-line in one of his arms to get a better blood pressure reading during dialysis and to draw blood more easily. Calls have been made to Mass General and Jefferson in Philadelphia to see if there is a facility that will accept him. The family is in hopes to have a conference tomorrow with a team of doctors and go over our options to make the difficult decision as to the risks and benefits of Derek’s transfer. 

Today’s Update (9:00am): DEREK REALLY NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS TODAY!!! He is in real trouble. Derek’s kidneys have completely shut down and he will be starting dialysis today. He is unable to process the proteins that he needs to heal. He has been getting completely digested protein into his feeding tube, so that all his body has to do is absorb them, and he is unable to absorb them. His abdomen is so distended from this that the doctors feel that is why his kidneys are unable to function. Right now they are saying that they may need to open his abdomen to relieve the pressure. His vascular system is not functioning, which is why his lungs won’t heal. Kathy is asking for prayers for Derek, his doctors and his caregivers. Steve and Karen drove down from Maine last night, and Nicole returned from Virginia so Kathy is not alone. The O’Briens sill wish to transfer Derek to another, more specialized, hospital, but because of his condition it will have to be much closer to Atlantic City than Boston. Any help that anyone can give towards this goal will be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me at with anything you think can help with this and I will get it to the right people. I will update this as soon as I know more. I would ask that you cover his family in prayer as well, so that God will help them and the doctors make the right choices for Derek’s continuing journey to wellness.

Sept. 6th, 2005

Today’s Update (12:00pm): The medical team made a lot of changes last night. They put a larger chest tube in one side to try to prevent some leakage of air, they changed his sedation, and they have continually changed his ventilator settings last night and today. The swelling continues to worsen, and Derek’s heart rate has been high today. Kathy is very frustrated with the inconsistancy of care and changes being made between one shift to the next. She is going to continue to fight hard to get Derek transferred to a more specialized ICU unit. Please continue to pray about this transfer. We appreciate the help that has been offered to accomplish this transfer.

Sept. 5th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Today Derek slipped a little backwards. His blood gases were low this morning, so they went up on the peep of the vent. His white blood cell count went back up today. This morning, his vitals were all high. After making adjustments on his sedation and morphine, these have improved over the afternoon. He went for a CAT scan at noon as there still seems to be an air leak somewhere. We have to be thankful for the two good days that we got in a row. Kathy wishes to thank Sue and Denise, as well as the class of 2002 and everyone who participated in the car wash. It truly means so much that you are willing to help out in this way.

Sept. 4th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:00pm):Yesterday and today have been two of the best days that Derek has had since the accident as far as his respiratory and blood test results. His swelling due to the air under his skin is about the same. That will take some time to go away on its own. His ventilator settings are the lowest that they have been. The peep is down to 8. He is tolerating the settings because the vitals and blood work are great. They have reduced his sedation to 40 and his morphine to 5, and he is still staying sedated and so relaxed. He is in just a relaxed sleep today. We have been working on his skin care the past couple of days. We have been able to take alot of the tape off the wound sites and allowed the air to get at the skin. Without any stimulation and treating the wounds with different ointments and air, his skin has seen improvement in the past couple of days. Kathy wants to thank everyone who is participating in the car washes today. It sounds like everyone is working very hard and it is so appreciated. Thank you.

Sept. 3rd, 2005

Today’s Update (3:00pm): Kathy says that there is no change today. Usually no change happens on the weekends unless there is trouble, and since this is a long holiday weekend hopefully Derek will just rest and continue to recover. Kathy is in Atlantic City by herself this weekend, taking a little time to rest herself. Please continue to uplift her by leaving comments — I’m sure she could use a smile from time to time. The entire extended family truly appreciates, and is encouraged by, all of your prayers, well wishes, and wonderful feedback that you leave in Derek’s journal. As an aside, I have changed the layout of the web page, and since I’m really new at this, please leave comments, or e-mail me (family contact) — (not Kathy or the O’Briens) and let me know if you are having trouble seeing the updates or accessing the links. I could really use some feedback as to whether this format is working for you.

Sept. 2nd, 2005

Today’s Update (10:00am): Today is going better than yesterday. We got through last night. He had a blood transfusion during the night. They were able to complete the procedure on the hematoma site on his back this morning. He tolerated the turning during it. Keep the prayers coming. 

Sept. 1st, 2005

Today’s Update (8:00pm): Today is a backwards day. We have had to deal with a few issues today. We started with a wound specialist coming in to deal with the leakage of bile from his stomach tube and the draining site of a hematoma on his back. The site of the feeding tube has been getting larger since it was put in two weeks ago, thus the balloon has continued to go deeper allowing more acidic bile to bypass the balloon and continue to eat away at his skin making the hole larger. He now has an aparatis that keeps the balloon tighter to the opening, preventing so much leakage. The hematoma that burst on his back last week has developed an infection called psuedomonas. Luckily the nurses caught this before is got into his bones. He is on a new antibiotic for this. They attempted a procedure to clean the site and insert an vaccuum to clean out the drainage and aid in the healing of this site. Unfortunely, he went into distress during the procedure and it was aborted at that time. Upon doing a chest x-ray, they discovered that his left lung had collapsed and he had another pocket of air in his chest. They have inserted another chest tube in his left lung to help inflate his lung again and drain some of the air. Now he has two chest tubes in his left side and one on his right. Thus the swelling has increased because of the increase of air in his chest cavity. They are going to try again later today to finish the procedure of hitching up the vaccuum to the wound in his back. While all of this has been happening today, we have also been working with Mass General for a transfer. They have not accepted him yet. One doctor has agreed to accept him, but until he can find a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon to accept him, we cannot proceed with the transfer. To let you know how quickly things change, we went from him being stable enough to transfer, to an hour and a half later he probably won’t be stable enough to transfer until sometime next week. If we can’t get accepted to Mass General, Kathy will start the process again at another hospital to get Derek into a specialized trauma ICU.

Aug. 31st, 2005

Today’s Update (11:00am): Derek’s swelling had continued to get worse last night, so he went for a CAT scan of his neck and chest this morning to see if there was a leak somewhere from the trach surgery. They did not find a leak, but did find a good amount of air in his chest cavity around his left lung. They are now putting a chest tube in his left side to give the air around his lung an escape. The tube that is in his right chest is only for fluids in his chest cavity. The air that is already in his soft tissues will have to disapate on its own. This could take several days. His is still running a fever of 103 to 104. We started to give him alcohol baths today. It is very disturbing to see him in the condition that he is now, but they say that it is only temporary. They assure us that it is only cosmetic — not a medical threat.

Aug. 30th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): He has the Trach in. Yeah !!!!!!!! They did the surgery late this afternoon. The surgeons said that he didn’t make it easy for them, but it was successful. He gave us, the nurses and the doctors a scare after he got back to his room. His face started swelling up like a balloon. We all started racking our brains to think of a reason why he might be having an allergic reaction. After Dr. Monk came back to examine him, he concluded that during the transition of airways, that air had leaked out in his body and settled between the skin and the tissues. He said that it was cosmetic and would subside in a few days. He looks like he has gone 10 rounds with Joe Lewis and lost the fight. This is one huge step in the recovery process of Derek’s Journey. Thank you for your continued good wishes and prayers. The comments you are leaving mean so much.

Aug. 29th, 2005

Today’s Update (1:00pm): Derek is running a small fever today. Also, the ventilator settings have been increased due to the closing of some of the air passages in his lungs. There is still nothing definite on the trach surgery. The good news is that Derek’s swelling is continuing to go down a lot — he’s getting some definition again 🙂 Also, his rash is much better today. Thank you for continuing to pray about his lungs as this is where he is having the most difficulty.

Aug. 28th, 2005

Today’s Update (2:00pm): Derek is having another good day. There haven’t been any changes to his ventilator settings. Derek has developed a skin rash which his mother thinks may be related to his sheets irritating his skin. Derek’s grandparents arrived this weekend and Leigh has decided to stay with Kathy for a while. Steve and Nicole are also still there. Kathy checks the comments very often and is truly uplifted and encouraged by them so please continue to leave your thoughts, wishes, or just silliness to make them smile. Thank you all, each of you, for your support.

Aug. 27th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): Derek has had a good day today. We consider a good day one that is uneventful and he maintains without going backwards. They lowered his peep to 13 and he seems to be tolerating it well. They are giving him additional protein and medicines to reduce the swelling. He actually has real definition to his shins and feet today for the first time. His temperature and vitals have been good all day. Auntie Bonny left for Maine today. Leigh decided to stay with Kathy for a while. Steve and Nicole are also there for the weekend.

Aug. 26th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:05pm): Derek is doing well with the ventilator changes that were made yesterday. His vital signs are all good, and he is resting comfortably. His doctor wants to continue to slowly change the ventilator settings to prepare for the trache surgery. He is currently hoping to do the surgery in the middle of next week, but we will have to wait and see! Derek’s parents, sister, and girlfriend are all here with him this weekend; he enjoys seeing them! Keep sending those prayers and encouraging messages!

Aug. 25th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:20pm): Not a lot to report today. We are in a holding pattern. They continue to make changes on his vent settings. They repositioned his chest tube yesterday which has improved the drainage of the fluids in his chest cavity. They gave him protein and lasik (?Spelling) to give his kidneys a boost to increase his urine output to hopefully help with the swelling. We are looking toward the weekend maybe for the trach surgery. But we have learned not to get our hopes up. We just take it one day at a time and the day that they tell us they are taking him to surgery, is the day that we will plan on the surgery. Kathy is not coming home next week as she had planned due to the impending surgery.

Aug. 24th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:10pm): The major change today is the ventilator settings. They are trying some different things than in the past. They are reducing the total volume, but increasing the peep which is the amount of pressure that the vent is supplying to keep his lungs expanded. They have increased his sedation with these vent settings to keep him from fighting the vent. We have to get the trach surgery before we can try to transfer him to Boston which we are working very hard on making all the necessary phone calls and arrangements.

Aug. 23th, 2005

Today’s Update (2:55pm): Quick Note: His fever is down. He is anemic today and is getting some plasma and blood today. His eyes are open some. The pulmonary doctor has been in and she seems very nice. She is going to work with Dr. Monk for a few days. She says the anitbiotics are right on. She wants to leave the chest tube in because of the high pressures of the ventilator so the lungs won’t collapse. She said that his lungs are very stiff from the phneumonia. She is going to work with Dr. Monk as to the timing for the trach surgery and she is aware that we are looking into transferring him. So I have made it aware to her that she needs to consider if he would be better to have it before or after transfer. I am working very hard on the transfer situation. It is very complicated and time consuming. It may take days or weeks. Through all of these conversations, I am also learning a lot about the process of getting into a rehab facility. It is not as easy as we had thought. They all have waiting lists, some may not be right for Derek, you need Physician referrals, and they may not accept him. So I am also now starting the process to talk with rehabs so when he is ready, he will hopefully be able to get into one.

Aug. 22th, 2005

Today’s Update (8:15pm): It has been a rocky weekend. The roller coaster ride just never ends. I don’t know if I’ll ever want to ride a roller coaster again. He was doing pretty good going into the weekend. He began to have problems tolerating the tube feeding and with his bowels. Today I was awoken by the nurse because he had gone into cardiac arrest. They got him stable again, but he has developed a fever today (104). All of the swelling from the spinal shock has come back again. It had started to really go down over the past week. The doctor bronced (Suctioned) his lungs today to see if he could get some of the stuff in his lungs out this afternoon without a lot of luck. They are culturing it for another infection. They put him on a new ventilator today that adds moisture to his lungs. The goal is to see him improve over the week and attempt the trach surgery at the end of the week. I have been making phone calls yesterday and today to try to get him airlifted to another hospital where perhaps something different could be tried to help speed the recovery up. Thank you for all your support and prayers.

I would like to thank, Sherry, Lacey, Brianna, Collen, Mathew and everyone who helped put the benefit on. I want to thank everyone of you who donated and attended it. It brings tears to my eyes everytime I think about it. It is overwhelming the love and support that everyone has shown us. We are so blessed. I hear that it was a great party. And most of you know how much Derek and I like a good party. Derek and I will surely be at the party that we will have when we get him back to Maine. All my love and gratitude, Kathy

Aug. 21th, 2005

Today’s Update (10:00pm): I want to apologize for the lack of an update for today, the 21st of August. I am experiencing technical difficulties, prohibiting me from posting an update. Sorry, just be on the look out for tomorrow night_ s update, and hopefully I will be able to post by then.

Aug. 20th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:10pm): Nothing has changed today. That is not all bad. A day that we don’t go backwards is a good day to us. Everyone attending the benefit tonight; have a great time! Kathy, Meghan and Molly cannot wait to hear all about it.

Aug. 19th, 2005

Today’s Update (7:00pm): They have made some ventilator setting changes today. His peep is at 11. They changed the ventilator so that he was initiating every breath on his own with the oxygen support of the machine. They left him on this setting for two hours and his blood gases were excellent. They plan to try this setting off and on through the night to see how he tolerates it. It will take a while for him to build up the muscles in his diaphragm to be able to breath on his own because he hasn’t been able to use these muscles for so long. They have put him on a second antibiotic for a second infection in his lungs. His color and appearance are greatly improving. They have reduced the sedation slightly. He moved his hands and opened his eyes for Auntie Pat. Pat and Scott Graffam are leaving to drive back home tonight to be home in time for the fundraiser.

Aug. 18th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): There haven’t been any changes made so far today although the doctors have scheduled the surgery for Monday. His peep on the ventilator is at 13. He got two units of blood last night and his numbers were better this morning concerning that. His chest x-ray today showed the right lung better than yesterday, but showed the left lung worse. Kathy is hoping for a stable weekend, as the family is going home to attend the benefit that is growing larger every day. Kathy can’t wait to see the video and pictures and hear all about the event. Also, there is an article in a local newspaper called “Village Soup.” To check it out, click the email address in comment # 343.

Aug. 17th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:00pm): We are having another positive day. They have lowered his peep to 15 on the ventilator. This is the most important number to us on the vent. The lower we can get this before the surgery, the better chance we have of everything going well. His chest x-ray showed improvement today. His blood oxygen levels were greatly improved today. Both are positive signs. We think that all your positive thoughts and prayers are working. Keep them coming.

Aug. 16th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:30pm)Today is a good day. Although surgery was canceled, we are making progress. Derek’s chest x-ray looked better today. His ventilator dependency is decreasing and the staff continues to wean him off the sedation medication. All of these are important before we take him back to surgery. His surgery to have his tracheotomy placed has been rescheduled to Thursday or Friday if he continues to make progress. His chest tube may be able to come out at the end of the week as well. He has an awesome team here today helping him: Mom, Nicole, Aunt Pat, Scott, Aunt Karen. Oh yes, Emily and Grace are here cheering him on from the waiting room and drawing him pictures. Sherry, Lacey and Briana continue to work diligently, along with the Ingrahams, to pull together the fund raiser this Saturday night. Be sure to check the site for the latest auction items. Also, continue to send those great pictures you have of Derek so we can add them to the album!

Aug. 15th, 2005

Edit of today’s update (6:45): Since the last update, the doctors have decided to postpone the surgery from tomorrow to sometime towards the end of this week, until Derek gets a little bit healthier. On a more minor note, Derek’s IV lines are are being tansfered from one arm to the other, but the doctors expect this procedure to go free of complications. Lastly, please check out the online photo album we’ve created for Derek, and send what you can to

Today’s Update (6:30pm) Today finds Derek in about the same condition as yesterday, except they did a culture of the fluid that they took from his lungs yesterday. He does have an infection in them and they have started him on heavy doses of antibiotics. Dr. Monk is going to re-evaluate him tomorrow morning to see if he is well enough to go ahead with the surgery at 8:00 tomorrow morning. We just don’t want to take any chances with his life again if he isn’t strong enough. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a safe and successful surgery.

Aug. 14th, 2005

Today’s Update (6:30pm) Things are not much different for Derek today than they were yesterday, which is a good thing since yesterday went well. His vitals are good, and he still remains with a low grade fever. The only change is that he is fully sedated due to his breathing being off sync with the ventilator. Please be sure to check the Benifit Dinner link, to see the items that will be in the silent auction. And lastly, be on the look out for a photo album, and continue to send pictures to

Aug. 13th, 2005

Today’s Update (4:00pm) Things are going better for Derek today. He is still slightly sedated and on morphine. Every once and a while he’s been opening his eyes and his vital signs are looking pretty good. He has a low grade fever, but his blood pressure and heart rate are good. The doctors have been gradually lowering the settings on Derek’s ventalator to see what he is able to tolerate. They have also rescheduled his trach surgery for Tuesday morning at 8:00am. Thank you for the continued prayers and comments, they really are a blessing. Also, thank you to those who have sent pictures of Derek and friends, we are currently working on an online photo album to remind us of the fun loving guy he is. We would love to have as many pictures as we can, so please send them to Kristen’s email address:

Aug. 12th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm)Derek gave us a real scare today. He went into surgery at 10:00 this morning to have the Trachiotomy and the feeding tube inserted into his stomach. At 12:00 they brought him back from surgery with the feeding tube in but he still had the ventilator tube in his throat. Dr. Jacobs informed Kathy that he had gone into cardiac arrest on the operating table when they tried to do the transition from the throat to the trach. Thank God that Derek is the fighter that he is. He wasn’t going to give up yet. His vitals are better, but at this time, his temperature and blood pressure are on the rise. They stopped some of the sedation this afternoon just to see if he would wake up and how he would tollerate it. Kathy got to see him open his eyes for the first time for her in two weeks. Even though that is about the extent of his response, it was very reassuring. The roller coaster ride is not over yet. They will try to stabilize him and maybe try the trach again sometime next week. Auntie Bonny left for Maine this morning and Nicole is arriving tonight for the weekend. Please continue to send encouraging comments, they really mean alot to Derek(I’m sure) and the family.

Aug. 11th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00pm):Derek is resting comfortably today. The sedative drug has been decreased and he is more aware although he still sleeps a lot. This is good because his body needs lots of rest to work on healing. He grimaces sometimes when the nurses have to do something he doesn’t like, and he moved an eyebrow today to let Auntie Bonny know that he wanted to listen to his radio for a while. (These movements may not be huge, but they let us know that the paralytic drug is wearing off and he is more aware.) Derek has also been listening to some “Bob Marley” music. Auntie B. is going to look for some new CDs at the stores this afternoon so Derek will have some variety. She is hoping that Derek will open his eyes for her this evening because she has been here for a week and he’s been sleeping the whole time; she has to go back to Maine on Friday. Derek will have a “small” surgery tomorrow to get the tubes out of his throat. (See Aug. 9th update for more detail.) Right now the surgery is scheduled for mid-morning, but that could change if some emergencies come in to the hospital. Keep sending those prayers and caring messages!

Aug. 10th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:00pm): Derek’s temperature, blood pressure, heartrate, and blood oxygen level are all good again today. He is still 40% on the ventilator, but his breathing seems to be much less labored. The doctor has decreased the sedative medication and the morphine so Derek will be more aware, although he was still sleeping when Kathy and Bonny left his room at 3 PM today. His muscles and joints are quite flexible, thanks to all of the exercises that are done each day. His Auntie Bonny keeps telling Derek that he could become a Rockette since his straight leg extentions are getting so high! We are looking forward to getting through the operation on Friday to put in the trach and the stomach feeding tube — then Derek won’t have any more tubes in his throat. He will definitely like that! You can go to yesterday’s update for a couple of links explaining these procedures in more detail. Also, starting tomorrow, and for the next 2 weeks, the updates will be posted on the web in the evening as Nicole, Molly and Meghan will be taking over while I (Kristin) am out of the country. Thank you all so very much for your continued messages and prayers — the entire family and circle of friends are truly being encouraged, uplifted and embraced by them.

Aug. 9th, 2005

Today’s Update (3:30pm): Today the doctors took Derek of the paralytic drug that he has been on since last Thursday. It will take a few days for all of the drug to leave his system. Once this happens, we think Friday, Derek will be going into surgery again for two procedures which will greatly improve his quality of life and comfort level in the immediate future. First he will be having a tracheostomy which will allow the ventilator to be used through his throat instead of having a tube down his throat. The doctors have found that it is easier to be weaned from a ventilator if you have a tracheostomy rather than a tube down the throat. At the same time the doctors will be removing the feeding tube from his throat and replacing it by way of a gastrostomy. Although his eyes are closed, he seems to be aware of family members being there, and we think that he hears what we are saying to him, so we keep talking to him and holding hands with him. His heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level, etc. are very good. He is still at 40% for the ventilator. The occupational therapist was in to see Derek today, and Suzanne, his physical therapist, will also be in to work on his arms and legs. He is exercised at least 4 times each day to keep him limber for rehabilitation. His Auntie Sherry and cousins Lacey and Briana are visiting Derek for a couple of days. Please keep praying for Derek’s health to continue to improve!

Aug. 8th, 2005

Today’s Update (1:30pm): Derek is still on the paralytic drug to help him rest so his lungs can heal. The sedative drugs have been reduced some but he is still not conscious. His temp and blood pressure are the best they’ve been and the oxygen level in his blood is good. Kathy was able to resume doing Derek’s full load of exercises to keep his muscles and joints limber, now that his blood pressure is down again. The ventilator has been reduced to 40%, the lowest it has been, so this is good. The doctors aren’t going to change anything else today so that Derek can get used to these levels of drugs and ventilator. They want to keep him stable so it looks like changes will be made slowly right now because that seems to be working for him. Kathy, Steve, and family want to thank Colleen and Matthew Ingraham for their generosity and superhuman effort in planning and hosting the benefit event planned for August 20th!

Aug. 7th, 2005

Today’s Update (5:30pm): Derek’s temp is normal; this is the first time it has been normal in the two weeks he has been here! His heart rate is down to 88 from 120 +/-, another improvement! He has also been at only 50% on the ventilator for over 24 hours, another good sign. Today we are working on getting his blood pressure down and to relieve some of the distention over his stomach and abdomen. This distention may be causing some of the blood pressure problems. The family could not exercise him much today because of his high blood pressure, but they are doing light range motions with his hands. The doctors have stopped the tube feedings and will be starting a new type of feeding through his IV. This has more sugar and is for greater healing. He may need an insulin drip to balance the high sugar. Dr. Lowe, one of the neurosurgeons who did Derek’s surgery, removed the staples and examined the incisions; the doctor said they seemed to be healing well. Derek will have to wear the brace for at least 3 months and possibly up to 6 months. It takes at least a year for the bones that were replaced and repaired to heal. The continued prayers and inspirational messages from so many people are so important to Derek and his family. Thank you! August 6, 2005

Today’s Update (12:00 pm): Derek has received a blood transfusion, which has improved his blood oxygen level. The ventilator is currently at 50%, down from nearly 100% the night before last. Derek’s temperature continues to be a problem, but it is currently at 102.4, down from 107 the night before last. He continues to be sedated and kept still by a paralytic, which will probably stay the same throughout this weekend. There probably won’t be another update until tomorrow. Thank you for the continuing lovely comments.

August 5, 2005

Today’s Update (1:30 pm): Kathy met with Derek’s doctor @noon. Derek’s fever is down at this time. The doctor was unhappy with Derek’s blood gasses and ordered 2 units of blood. The skin splotches are likely related to latex, which Derek is alergic to, and the doctor is not concerned with any complications from that. Derek will continue to be sedated and immobilized with a paralytic for a couple of days while his lungs continue to recover. The family will continue with the physical therapy to keep Derek’s muscles limber. There probably won’t be another update until tomorrow. Thank you for the wonderful loving comments.

Today’s Update (9:30 am): Derek is having a rough time today. The nurses said the doctor spent most of the night with Derek. Derek’s breathing, lungs and temperature are not good. His skin is beginning to have splotches that look like an alergic reaction. Derek has been put back on the paralytic and is still being sedated. Kathy, Bonny, Jack and Suzie are with Derek and doing physical therapy constantly to keep his muscles flexible. The roller coaster is still dipping. Kathy is meeting with the doctor today to get more detail, so another update will be coming sometime after noon. Thank you for your continued prayers and well wishes.

August 4, 2005

Today’s Update (10:00 pm): Kathy spoke with the nurses and got an update. Derek had a CAT scan today to check out the infection in his lungs from the seawater he inhaled in the accident. After the CAT scan Derek had his lungs suctioned, with very little result. The ventilator has been increased to 79% and Derek’s breathing is very labored. Because of the discomfort level of his breathing and the increased ventilator pressure, Derek has again been sedated. The roller coaster ride has taken another dip. Today’s Update (9:00 pm): Jack and Suzie spent the day with Derek. In the morning he was receiving hourly physical therapy and was cooperating with moving his arms and hands. He has had an elevated temperature which was aggressively treated today, including icepacks, and as of this time the fever has receded. Kathy and Bonny have arrived from Maine and are with Derek at this time. Upon a report from Kathy, another update will be posted. Your comments and well wishes continue to uplift the family. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

August 3, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00 pm): The report from Karen is good. The doctors have decided to be more aggressive with the ventilator to help Derek overcome his atelectasis. Click here for an explanaton of this condition. Because the pressure of the ventilator has been increased and can be uncomfortable, Derek’s sedation has been increased again. Prior to being more deeply sedated, Derek was able to move his arms for Karen and was very awake and aware that his family was with him. Today’s Update (1:00 pm): Derek is still being sedated, however he is very aware and alert. The doctors have increased his antibiotic to help fight the problem that has his lung partially collapsed. Since Derek is awake today, Karen, Jack and Suzie are doing physical therapy every hour. Since Derek has been immobilized for so long it is important to make him move his arms, hands and fingers every hour to prevent any loss of mobility,building the foundation for increased mobility in the future. Derek’s nurse, Trish, is encouraged and tells Kathy that Derek is having “a good day” today. There will probably be another update tonight once I speak to Karen about Derek’s mood, wishes, or anything he wishes to share. Thank you so much for continuing to share your hearts with the family.

August 2, 2005

Today’s Update (5:00 pm): Derek is still sedated, however he is slightly more awake today. He is aware of the people around him and was able to respond by nodding to some simple questions. His temperature is still elevated, but is well within what is expected by the doctors. Other than becoming more awake and aware, his day was uneventful — uneventful is wonderful. His grandparents arrived today and will be staying with him until Kathy returns. Thank you for your comments and well wishes — the family is deeply touched.

August 1, 2005

Today’s Update (8:00 pm): Derek is continuing to be sedated, however he has been removed from the paralytic which was keeping him immobilized. Kathy and Steve are returning to Rockport tomorrow to attend to things at home, which include setting up a way to accept the donations that many of you are offering. Karen and Mike will be with Derek tomorrow through Thursday, when Kathy will be returning. The doctors have mentioned inserting a tracheotomy tube to help wean Derek from the ventilator — more news on this to come. Thank you to everyone who has signed the “comment” book. Please continue as the family is uplifted by your messages.

July 31, 2005

Today’s Update (4:30 pm): Derek is being sedated and immobilized so that his body can rest and recover. The ventilator is breathing for him so his lungs can continue to recover. His blood pressure was quite elevated and has now come down.

July 31, 2005

Today the website was launched! Please spread the word about this site to those who know and love Derek. This portion of the website will be updated constantly with the most up to date information regarding Derek. Also, don’t forget to sign the guest book.

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