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06-Sep-2017 02:15

He delivered it beautifully, but only after giving us all a scare by almost tipping over in his 500 lb wheelchair when he hit a divet on the grassy slope as he rolled down in staggered procession with his classmates. It also didn’t matter that it took a few extra moments for this ritual with a new twist to be completed. I could feel the wet tears rolling down my cheeks as we all clapped at the end and felt so proud. I will tell you more about all that background later. On that subject of his being complicated, do you know what else just happened? Last week The Christopher Reeve Foundation contacted us and if they could write a letter of recommendation on Archer’s behalf when they heard he was making application for a scholarship from the Swim with Mike Foundation (wonderful group at Unit of Southern California) to help pay for college. It was extremely generous of them to Can you believe that. And I have begun to counsel those who have come and reached out and it really is a wealth of how to’s I guess you could say, of course unique to each injury but many across the board learnings I hope can help others. Nonetheless, their statement was sobering and included and reminded me that Archer had had 9 surgeries in 30 days, endured medical errors that were costly to his recovery such as placing blood pressure medicine in the saline drip bag, suffered 3 heart attacks, one resulting in 6 male medical workers having to beat his chest and back as he flat-lined for 6 minutes, required a subsequent pace maker implanted when he was only 17 years old, survived collapsed lungs on multiple occasions, bore a grueling searing pleuredesis procedure, endured the excruciating pain of a body trying to regulate itself while his entire body had to be rotated up onto his side every few hours 24-7 to drain his lungs and prevent pneumonia from settling into his lungs, endure three large chest tubes (inserted directly into the lungs and attached to containers we could see bedside) to drain fluid, experience his hands and feet curling in muscle atrophy because of the delay in physical therapy, live through his body being iced and de-iced in response to wild swings of high blood pressure, not lose hope at an alarmingly chronic low heart beat, endure constant deep lung suctioning (inserting long suction tubing through the hole in his neck snaking down into his tissue) 24-7 for six months, put up with machines needed for other machines when the use of an inexufflator was used to support the ventilator machine which was to used to support Archer’s breathing, but his body was not able to breathe on its own even with the ventilator support and additional boost because of the extensive nerve damage not providing enough enervation for his diaphragm, endured prolonged use of the ventilator and chronic lung desaturations and arrests in breathing requiring bursts of oxygen and other lung devices, and kept faith even when blebs appeared in his lung tissue and the machines were discontinued. We’ve all gotten better as his programs and now it’s a am weight shift and he can sleep until am. But what it means to go to college is…well, Archer wants to be like any one else who had always planned to go away for college. We are feeling very good about his choice and are searching and networking to those in places of power and influence there. Financial Aid let us know earlier that Archer is the first quadriplegic who has no function below his biceps to attend Penn, and they thought he might be the first with these limitations to attend an Ivy League.

He pitched forward and his body landed on the TBar that he maneuvers to move the chair, causing the chair to race forward. The board of trustees also awarded him the Character and Influence award. The auditorium packed with students and Mc Donogh parents was hush quiet while Archer stopped the powerchair and then manipulated the T-bar to move his big 500 lb chair on wheels to Mr. The achievement and all it has taken to catch up, stay current and excel draped gently and lovingly around his neck. It is interesting and I tell you, it was like a suspense film week to week figuring it out. They sent a copy of the recommendation letter today. I was blown away when in the letter they said that of all the quadriplegics they have counseled and assisted, they have never seen a person with injuries as complicated as Archer’s and that he is the first they have written a recommendation for. But they stated that they had never known of a quadriplegic injury as medically complicated as Archer’s and that is really what gave me pause. It’s not to say look at him, it’s worse than others. It’s more to say, It was that bad, see what is possible. He wants to live in a dorm and be a regular student. We knew absolutely no one at UPenn before Archer’s acceptance, I know feel I have some real champions and open minded people who are willing to help us chart a good solid course of care for his needs. That just told me that we have a lot of educating to do, so that is what I began.

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.

His research interests include Electronic Health Records, Clinical Data Management, Clinical Imaging Systems, Clinical Simulation and Virtual Reality Systems, Computational Medicine, Software Engineering, Human Factors, Speech-Based Systems, Handheld and Mobile Computing, and Bioinformatics.

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The Senfts believe in miracles and the power of your prayers. I loved each one of those dear young persons so very much in that moment. Shepherd assured me they had had other athletes graduate and that they would help transition him back to his school after he left there. Well, I emailed that doctor so fast since it looked as if Archer might be a good candidate based on the article. Remember last summer when we were angsting about when we could get that pace maker removed? Billy and I were at our house that Saturday in the middle of a meeting with a woman re college financial aid when I felt this really strong pull to go downtown to the Lourdes screening. Whom should I lay eyes on rolling through the entranceway but the boy/young man who had been Archer’s roommate when we first arrived at KKI in-patient. I recall his prognosis was that his speech and eyesight might slowly be restored and I felt hopeful for him. I could feel the unity like two schoolgirls hatching a good plan to do something together. Yes, he remains a top AP student, gifted in math and physics and yes, he had amazing scores on his SAT and yes, he also submitted an art portfolio of his digital work and yes, he’s been working tirelessly on school work with his “one finger” as he calls it, this metal stylus which we carefully attach every morning to a Velcro hand and wrist splint and then wrap both around his arm which he then powers, literally, by moving his bicep and shoulder. I will care for him with his mother as if he were my own son. If your prayer request is confidential, just write Confidential Prayer Request in the Subject line and I will copy it but not read it. Dutch said he wishes he were going with me and that so touched my heart. I went to every single showing, all 5, and sat in the front rows every time. We took out an ad in the school play program and said, Go, Onion Boy! Hopefully the seven months it took us to find good care at home will be shortened as we have learned too.



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