Brian Went Home – A Guest Post

Hi, my name is Sarah Herrin. I have been doing occupational therapy since 2010 and currently work in the Alton/Godfrey area. One of my favorite things about my job is getting to meet, work with, and help people and their families. Although meeting and getting to know new people all of the time is great, working with them every day and watching them progress and recover is extremely rewarding and keeps me coming back every day! I have met and worked with a lot of wonderful people, young and old, and from every walk of life and watched many overcome huge obstacles!

Now let me tell you about someone special I met and have had the pleasure  of working with for many weeks now.  His name is Brian. He is a son to two wonderful people, a father of two children, a grandfather to three little children,  a brother to one sister , an uncle to one nephew , a grandson, a nephew, a cousin, and a friend to many!

After battling back, neck, and shoulder pain for quite some time Brian became very ill and his pain continued to become unbearable. At the end of December he was hospitalized due to a serious infection in his spine and underwent a neck surgery. He had to have C4-C7 cervical plating leaving him paralyzed from the waste down, having no use of his right upper extremity (his dominant hand), and unable to eat or swallow causing him to be placed on a feeding tube. He remained in the hospital for many many weeks receiving therapy, learning how to eat and swallow again, and recovering from his surgery. He was then discharged to a rehab facility to receive more skilled therapy services, which is where I met him.

I came into work on a Monday and saw a new name on my schedule and a face I had not seen before. I reviewed his medical chart and read about what brought this young guy to our facility. I then went and introduced myself to Brian. He was very friendly, but kind of a quiet guy. He was a little anxious and not very excited to be there and unsure and unfamiliar with the whole situation. I don’t remember exactly how our first conversation went, but I do know for sure we were both laughing by the end of it! I realized immediately even though Brian was quiet, he had quite the since of humor and was a very sweet person. I knew it was going to be a challenge, but we were going to have fun! I also realized he had and continues to have a long difficult road ahead of him.

From day one he has given 100% and worked to his fullest potential in therapy, no matter how much pain he is in or how bad he feels. Spending nearly every day, all day in the therapy room since he got there, doing whatever is asked of him and whatever he can to get stronger no matter how hard it is.

His determination, motivation, and positive attitude and outlook is amazing!! He wants nothing more than to get better! Not to mention his since of humor has been great entertainment and gotten us through some pretty tough and challenging days. He has brought so much joy to my job and has once again reminded me of why I come to work every day and do the job I do!

Although his life will never be the same and this is not the life he ever imagined for himself, he continues to stay positive about his situation and motivated to become as independent as possible. Every day he is making progress, learning, and working hard to adapt to his new life!

Due to his insurance he will have to be discharged in the next 2 weeks. His goal is to be able to some day live in his own home or apartment again with hired assistance. But, for now he will be going home to live with his wonderful parents.

He is anxious and excited about going home, but also a little scared and nervous about what his future holds and overwhelmed by the financial burden and strain of his medical expenses, the cost of care,  the astronomical cost of equipment, and the cost of supplies that will be required for him to live a happy, healthy, and safe life .

In order for him to return home and get the care and therapy he needs there are things he must have including a wheelchair ramp to be able to get into his home, adaptations to his parents home to make it wheelchair accessible,  a power wheelchair carrier for the back of an automobile so he can get to appointments, family functions, etc., assistance with daily tasks, supplies for his daily tasks/needs, and continued therapy services.

Please please help me HELP BRIAN GET HOME and live the life he deserves !! He has come so far and made such huge gains I cannot bare the thought of this young guy not getting the things and funds he needs to be successful when he leaves to go home.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. I believe there was definitely a reason Brian ended up at the facility where I work and although my co-worker and I have worked with him every day to get him where he is today, my job is not done yet and unfortunately I cannot do it alone. I have created this gofundme account to make this challenge possible for Brian and his family.

I cannot thank each and everyone of you enough for your time and your help to make this possible!