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Archer loves to cook and bake, so the evening was extra special! I watched him lift his right arm and extend his hand, always wrapped carefully in an arm and wrist splint so it’s not floppy and so he can extend it, to shake hands with his School Headmaster. A simple gesture really, but one that takes great effort for Archer as he still has no feeling, no sensation in his arms or his hands. Yes, there was a certain awkwardness, as it was a bit clumsy given that Archer has no means of accepting an award in the usual way, no ability to grasp or hold or even know if an object is touching his body unless he can see it and know from experience before 8-5-15 it’s weight or texture since his brain does not register any signals about any sensations of the body from the shoulders on down as a result of the severance of his spinal cord, but it didn’t matter. He stopped his chair in front of his headmaster, and Mr. It’s surprising how few teachers there are who can teach those subjects, and they certainly are not in the home and hospital pool by and large. I don’t think it would be unusual for many of you though if it had been your son or daughter. They had called last week for an interview with Archer. They noted how Archer had not sustained just a fractured C5 neck which required delicate neck stabilization surgery but a shattered C2-C5 neck which required a complete reconstruction of the bone before it could then be stabilized with pins. We had said then, Archer, we need to get everything we can out of your body to be prepared for what might come your way in future medical surgeries and advances. I’ve felt that way too about some surgeries related to his bowel and urethra too that might be worthwhile but could change the internal workings in such a way that IF he walks someday, might interfere. Oh, I think I’ll send you a little clip of one of our more recent PT sessions. I learned from my eye healer that dead cells in my macula can be awakened. Here’s another picture of where I was waking up the cones of my non-dominant eye, the one with the most macular degeneration. Because his nightly and morning routines each take about 90 minutes now that we have things smoothly running and know what his body needs and how to care for him, it means he is going to bed very late and we need to awaken him early in the morning again.
He was voted by his classmates to give the commencement speech. Amen Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Archer Senft Friends & Family Update SUNDAY, 4-30-17, Month 20 We can never hope too much; the one who hopes for everything, obtains everything. But a cultural gesture he knows well to do which was graciously received by Mr. Archer was being inducted into the Cum Laude Society. Britton gently placed the signed parchment certificate on Archer’s legs, his lap, a fine resting spot. Anyway, no need to dance on the head of that pin about it, Archer wanted to graduate with his class. When they said he was more complicated than any they had seen, it brought a flash of memory not so much of horror, but more like, well, sort of distant, a memory, just that, a memory, still there but not really sharp. And I am deeply grateful for those parts that are behind us, a new beginning. Ah yes that dive, that crack, that shatter that changed our lives and most importantly his life in a split second. The ICU protocol of neck stabilization surgery, feeding tube, and as needed ventilator, as well as full body weight shifts and the shock and adjustment to being paralyzed is horrific for any quadriplegic. And I have come to love a number of those families I have met along the recovery journey. Sure, the degree of impact and the lungs filling with ocean water added grave additional factors, but it’s so uplifting to think of what is possible. It was a 3am weight shift for many months followed by a am wake up. He says he doesn’t want to waste any time and he needs all that he can get.
It was a close call, avoided by interception of a faculty member. Another standing ovation, 3 in all, all initiated by the students. Britton’s side to make it easier for his headmaster to drape the yellow gold ribbon and Cum Laude Society pin around Archer’s neck. And there it was, the symbol of an academic achievement worn around his neck. No 18 year old should be required to navigate the adult academia world on issues unrelated to academics. If you have any ideas for us, please pass them along. When he visited last summer and fall, one person in the Engineering School expressed doubt that Archer could be fast enough to code on a computer given he had use of only “one finger”.
We all waited and I think watched as much in curiosity as in amazement. I have met with some closeminded thinkers and I have met with some amazing people who were not only creative thinkers, but I could tell they were believers. I feel pretty good about where we are now at UPenn for Archer, their decision to accept him and his decision to say I do, and the team we are building there for his care. This was similar to Billy’s and my beloved alma mater, University of Virginia, who told Archer on a visit last summer that they couldn’t see 1.
After all, Archer needs help 24-7 and during the day, opening doors, holding doors, taking his hoodies on and off, charging his phone and ipad, putting food on a plate or tray, giving his credit card or meal plan card to a cashier, being fed, having his Camel back water pack refilled, emptying his cath bag, getting the hair out of his face if windblown, putting his foot back on the foot plates of his chair if one falls off the plate, letting him know if there are people behind him when he turns in his chair, etc.