Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2006

Teenager recovering after stunt

October 19, 2006

Rose Pyle House sees her son, Joe White's, recovery coming in small steps.

He's awake. He's moving.

"Compared to this time last week, it's much more hopeful," House said.

White ---- a former Eudora resident and current senior at Washburn Rural High School ---- jumped Sept. 29 from a moving car in Topeka and hit his head on the pavement. He was attempting to perform a stunt in front of a home movie camera a day after he and his friends saw "Jackass: Number 2." In the movie, similar dangerous stunts are performed in front of the camera.

Since the incident, he's been at St. Francis Health Center in Topeka. He survived brain surgery, which removed an egg-sized blood clot at the base of his brain stem. He left the intensive care unit Saturday night, House said.

"The first night out of ICU was so scary," House said.

She was initially concerned because her son did not have the isolated care he had been receiving in ICU. She said she even spoke with St. Francis' director of nursing about her apprehensions.

"You came into the Cadillac of care and now you're in the Volkswagen of care," House said the director told her. "He doesn't need the level of ICU care anymore. That's an improvement. That's because he's better."

House said she's seen other improvements.

At one instance, a nurse put a wet

rag in White's hand and told him to wash his face.

He did.

"Every little stride we celebrate," House said.

Although White has made constant improvements, he's still not fully conscious, House said.

"Now I want him to open his eyes and recognize me. I want him to say, 'It's mom,'" House said.

White's family talks to him daily or updates him on current events, although they don't know how much he understands, House said.

"You just kind of share this information with him because you don't know what he hears," House said. "We try to keep it always positive, always upbeat."

White was transferred to Lincoln, Neb., by ambulance Wednesday to begin the next stage of his recovery.

He was checked in to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for at least 30 days.

There he will undergo physical, occupational, recreational and spiritual therapy, House said.

The staff at Madonna will try to get him to accomplish a series of goals. Some of the goals will be as basic as regaining movement; others could go as far as reintroducing him to everyday life.

"His mind has to reconnect," House said.

House said she hopes her son accomplishes a simpler goal ---- communication.

"Our hope is even if he can't speak, if he can do sign language or use a computer or anything where he can still communicate. That would be good," House said.

House said she's unsure where her son will go after he finishes his treatment in Nebraska.

"We'll research that once we get closer to that time to see what he needs," House said.

Although White's health continues to progress, support for him and his family has remained constant, House said.

Get well cards constantly fill her mailbox, she said.

Her cell phone is out of minutes for the month because so many people have called to offer support to the family.

In Topeka, a series of friends, both from his current high school and from Eudora, visited White regularly.

"So many kids from Eudora have come up. It's been so gratifying," House said.

House said her immediate and extended family has also been supportive during White's recovery.

"There has just been strength in our family that I never appreciated or never knew before this happened," House said. "That has really come out."

House said she drew strength from her family and also her faith.

"I feel at peace," House said. "Whatever God decides is going to be the right thing."

In the meantime, House directly linked her son's recovery to the power of prayer.

"Joe is a miracle," House said. "Joe really is a living miracle right now."

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