Saturday, June 8 ( last Saturday’s activities Posted today June 16* ) We hope you’ll find this a fun read,
Saturday morning, about 8:30 a.m., Michael and I went over to the Shepherd Center, while Kim took one of those rare mornings to work. She works in the evening or during the day when Anthony is sleeping. Between helping with Anthony’s care and working at MUSC, she’s putting in 12- to 15-hour days.
Michael and I entered Anthony’s room, and, of course, we’re approaching the AM as a guys’ morning. We were just starting to have a little fun when weekend occupational therapist came in about 10 a.m., so we went right over to the gym. He has only one session on Saturday. Anthony sat up as tall as he could. I helped him stretch out his back as he sat on a raised mat. Working together, Anthony and I learned how to pivot from his wheelchair to his bed or gym mates.
When we were done Anthony, Michael and I went back to Anthony’s room. We wanted to have some fun, and Anthony was up for it. The day before, we had discussed some of the things we could do. That night I bought a Buzz Light Year kite. I’ve told Anthony I love him like Buzz Light Year said in “Toy Story,” as Buzz said as I have told Anthony many a time “Infinity And Beyond I how much I love you” so the kite had special meaning to me – plus Anthony really likes “Toy Story.” With Kim’s encouragement, I bought some awesome bubble makers. I mean they can make some huge bubbles. I pictured Anthony reaching for the sky trying to burst the colorful bubbles as they glided through bright blue sky.
Now the questions is: Where to do have our fun? We have a “push pass,” so where should we go? I thought the top level of the parking lot would be sunny and empty. After Kim arrived, it didn’t take us long to take off down the halls of the Shepherd Center and up the elevator to the open parking lot. It was great – open, somewhat private and easy for us to roll Anthony around. We got Buzz up in the air a couple of times. Anthony held the line, Michael held Buzz and I rolled Anthony up and down the parking lot as Kim shouted: “Watch it Bill. Don’t go to fast. Please be careful.” You can see Anthony holding on to the kite in this picture. Those of you who know Kim and I you can use your imagination concerning what she might be saying to me.
As the wind died down, Buzz sort of lost interest in taking another flight. But what was really cool was that one parking lot away was Piedmont Hospitals helicopter landing pad. While we were there, we got to see a helicopter land and take off. Here’s a picture of Kim and Anthony watching a takeoff. See picture on right.
The day before, Michael found a park that was really close to the hospital. Although I tend to be adventurous, I realized that this was our first real outing with Anthony in a wheelchair. The park was awesome. I found that we could take Anthony through Piedmont Hospital’s hallways, parking lots and elevators. We would be in a controlled environment before we hit the streets and sidewalks of Atlanta.
At about 3 p.m., I asked Anthony if he was ready for another adventure. He raised his thumb high in the air and his eyes lit up. That’s all we needed. Michael, Kim and I were ready. I helped Anthony into his wheelchair, and once again the four of us headed down the halls of Shepherd to the tunnel that connects to Piedmont Hospital. We found our way to Collier Street, which took us to the Atlanta BeltLine and Ardmore Park. Of course, we had a few challenges. Kim had her ideas on the best way to get Anthony there. I have to say some of the roadways can be somewhat challenging. But with teamwork among Michael, Kim and myself, we safely navigated Anthony down some pretty steep roadways and hills to the BeltLine and Ardmore Park.
As you can see by the photos, we were having a good time. It was a great way to end an adventurous day full of bubbles, kites and a walk in Atlanta’s newest Buckhead park. We hope other Shepherd patients will be led by a little adventure in their soul and discover the BeltLine.
Later I talked with Anthony. I told him there are all sorts of ways to leverage what we have to make sure we have fun.
*this past week has had some rough times for Anthony. He keeps throwing up. Friday he had a x-ray scheduled to see how his digestive system is working. He is scheduled for another x-ray Monday. We hope to get a reading on the Friday and Monday x-rays sometime Monday. We hope and pray next week will be better. Friday, June 21 and Saturday June 22, Kim, Anthony and I will be living together in Shepherd apartments designed to help families learn to live together under special circumstances. We’re a little nervous but we’re looking forward to being together. Your continued prayers combined with your constant river of hope provide us with additional strength. Thank you.