Saturday, May 3, 2008

Laine's Medical Update - Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

The Long & Winding Road to Recovery

Today will be a full week since Laine's accident. During the past week Laine's broken body parts have been tested, treated, reset, relieved, patched and presently, stabilized. There is little more doctors and nurses can do, having done the bulk of their incredible handy work during the most critical period of time. It now comes down to time; the slow arduous process of healing the many broken pieces of body and spirit. The long and winding road to recovery has now begun with Laine's jaw surgery being completed yesterday. Procedures going forward will focus on "taking out or off", rather than "putting in". Soon Laine's chest tubes will be removed, having been reduced to their lowest setting as of this morning. The ventilator weaning steps have been implemented and if all goes well, Laine will be breathing on her own in a matter of days, with only an apparatus that feeds oxygen into the breathing port in her neck. The latest addition to her myriad challenges being a tightly wired jaw.

My heart breaks for my daughter each time I see her grimace and thrash about in a semi state of consciousness, as she motions to get out of bed and off of the restrains that bind her motion. She's still so vary disoriented, yet will awaken suddenly in horror; as though she is re-living her terrible fall and at the same time gripping with the inevitable realization that her dream of making the 2008 Olympic team has been shattered, just as badly as the broken bones of her body. Both realities are intertwined and hit with a powerful force. This quest is what has driven and defined her for the past couple years of her life. She is not ready to receive the truly devastating news of the loss of her beloved Frodo. Laine is such a brave kid. Determined, to a fault and dedicated to a cause, she has lived with a single minded focus. But still, at least through her father’s eyes, a little girl.

So, today we start the long and winding road to recovery. Getting off the ventilator and eventually the healing of the tracheotomy passage. Learning to adjust to a liquid diet. Dealing with the excruciating pain of eight broken ribs where each life sustaining breath comes with a price of pain. Then, the emotional trauma of forfeiting a dream so close to attaining - - that was taken away in a mere instant and along with it, her special horse. A horse she trained herself, day in and day out, while carrying a full load of classes while attending University of Virginia . A life changed, abruptly shaken, without warning or preparation; the proverbial “card” that she has been dealt. All these things will test her metal. So, while her broken body has been reassembled and is ready to heal, the living spirit is about to be tested. As her father (and second biggest fan), all you can do is offer help, encouragement and love. The real battle is Laine's to bear. Soon she'll be asking questions, trying to make sense of it all. It will be at this point, she'll need her friends, her family and her fans, more then ever before.

Thank you all for your kind and considerate emails, cards and letters. And thank you for your heart felt prayers. Having witnessed Laine’s terrible fall and the immediate aftermath, I feel more blessed than anything else. Laine will walk out of this hospital on her own strength, she will ride her horses again and she will enjoy the full measure of her life.

Michael Ashker