Friday, August 19, 2011


It's Friday morning, 8 am.  I slept at home last night for the first time since the accident.  The sight of the Olympics as I pulled into the parking lot just after sunset was a balm for my very tired psyche.  It felt so good to walk down the ramp, see the water, feel the air.  I love where we live.

Dan woke me up about at 7 calling to say hi and check on a couple of systems-related things on the boat.   Ha! So - that part of his brain is working just fine!

But here's the best part.  He was calling me from UW Medical Center's In-patient Rehab Unit!  Yes indeedy.  Yesterday, Thursday, at 6 am, we were awakened by "GOOD MORNING MR. HOPKINS." I opened my eyes to four white-coated doctors standing in a semi-circle around Dan's bed.   One of them told us they had secured a bed at UWMC and Dan would be moving over there by afternoon.  I could have cried with relief a) that they feel him well enough to do that and, b) that we will be at UWMC.  That was worth being woken up for, but can I just say, 6AM?  REALLY?

During breakfast the detective assigned to our case visited, bringing Dan a few things from the crash scene that he thought we might want (his hat and a lock).  We talked for about 30 minutes but I can't reveal any of the details of the investigation.  He advised me not to be in touch with witnesses and so I'm keeping quiet until the investigation is over and we have all the results.  But I will say, Dan is not in any way at fault.

After showering (where we discovered a rash that has spread all over his body - heat rash?  Not sure...), I started packing.  Loaded up bags with things that had accumulated during the week, gave flowers to other patients I had gotten to know.  Chuck got one bouquet, the lady from the waiting room got another....  So those of you who sent flowers, know that they served more than one purpose.

We were told to leave Harborview sometime after 1.  Around 2:15 after Dan had lunch, and Julia and I ate food Aileen brought us, the discharge coordinator came rushing in saying she was sorry but we were supposed to BE at UWMC at 1 and that they might give our bed away if we didn't get there soon.

Let's skip the part where I gave them my FEEDBACK on the misinformation....

Warp Speed.  On my mark.  Engage!   I helped Dan into his street clothes; Julia and Aileen packed the last few things; we signed discharge papers; got a wheelchair ordered for discharge. We were out of there in 10 minutes!  Thank you Aileen and Julia! It had been determined that he didn't qualify for a Cabulance ride (although the day before I had been told that he was "impulsive; had problems with balance; had dizziness issues").  WHAT-EVER... So Julia pulled the car around,  a transporter helped me get him and all our stuff down to the main entrance, Aileen helped us load up the car and then we got Dan into the front seat and headed over to UWMC with Aileen following us.

Arrived at UWMC.  My second home.   For those of you who don't know, I have worked there for 24 years and my department co-runs the transport services for the medical center.  My co-worker arranged for three guys from the Lift Team to meet us outside the hospital and help get Dan into a wheelchair.  A couple of my office mates were on hand for long, hard hugs.  It felt so, so good to be there.

We got to the room around 3 or 3:30 and almost immediately there began a battery of tests and evaluations.  Julia, Sarah and Aileen were there so I had back up for my tired brain.  The docs and Physical Therapist all thought he was in remarkably good shape and that boded well for his recovery.  They anticipate him being there for 1-2 weeks.

Dan is determined to get out asap.  He will be having intensive therapy, both one on one and in group class situations.  He will have a combo of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy (which is for his brain function as opposed to his speech which is fine).  His goal:  Physical.  My goal (because I have no doubt about his ability to get the physical part back together):  Cognitive.  Again, his intelligence shines through and is impressing everyone.  The docs all say they can see what an intelligent, analytical man he is.  His main problem is tracking, staying on topic, but we can see him working hard to make connections.  He is one determined guy.

The room is beautiful, has a view looking west, is right near nurse's station so they can keep an eye on him when I'm not there, the food is incredible, and, the cream on top is that he doesn't have a room-mate.  As Kevin said, "You're at the Ritz now, Dan."  That works for me.  As they say, "You can take the girl out of Scarsdale..."

Best of all, though, he is now in the #3 Rehab Facility in the entire nation.  Over and over, UWMC is rated in the top 3 nationally so I feel an enormous sense of relief in that.  Aileen said my face changed visibly as we began to settle in...

After going back and forth as to whether or not to stay with him, I decided to go home.  I need sleep, I need to be with Julia.  I trust the staff at UWMC so thoroughly and Dan was encouraging me to go home.  Aileen and I went out to dinner and then I went to the boat and got clothes for Dan so he would be ready for PT this morning at 9. 

Ran into a couple of dock buddies - what a fabulous community we have down here at Shilshole.  One of our neighbors, Christi, walked me up the dock as I was on the way back to UW with Dan's clothes.  By the time we got up the ramp, Christi said she would drive me over.  Thank you, Christi.  I am hyper aware of bad drivers and don't want to be responsible for hurting anyone due to impaired judgment and fatigue.

Julia has been a champ all week.  Give her a hug if you see her.  She needs it.  Sarah is stepping in today.  She has been working and moving and so busy but she will be with Dan over the weekend and giving us a break.

I am still discouraging visitors for just a bit longer.  I'll let you know via this blog when that changes.  He will be tired and needing rest between therapies.

OK - enough for now.  Thank you all for your love and caring.

Much love,

Irene, Sarah & Julia

1 comment:

  1. What great news,you deserve all the love and support you are getting....YAY...each day is better and I know Dan will be firing all cylinders soon. Thank you so much for keeping us informed Irene.

    Love Ragnhild