Friday, September 3, 2010

One Year Later...

August 1st was a bittersweet date for our family as it marked the one year anniversary of Kyle's accident. We were fortunate enough to spend that week in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with our dear friends the Grants, the Goods, the Drurys and the Schwendemans. While the accident last year was certainly a turning point in Kyle's life as well as the family, we are so proud of him and what he has been able to achieve in 12 months!

Kyle graduated from North Stafford High School in June and participated in the ceremony at the school. It was so wonderful for him and for us to celebrate his remarkable achievement and finish up his last three classes that year, mostly from a hospital bed. This could not have occurred without the assistance of Barbara Smiley, Susan Weber, Mrs. Gingrich and the rest of the faculty at North Stafford High School. They did everything they could to make sure Kyle had all the resources he needed to finish up and get his diploma. Kyle worked very hard and at times it was very tough, but he accomplished his task and everyone is so very proud of him!

The "man cave" is finally finished and Kyle has moved into the basement of his dreams. Like we promised, a 52 inch flat screen HD television was installed on his wall (we would get this for him only if he graduated on time...amazing was electronics can do to motivate a kid!), furniture, wonderful new bathroom and all his gaming tools are now in place...and we don't see him much upstairs! He's very comfortable down there and is happy to have a place where he can entertain his friends and spend some time with them.

He continues to work hard on keeping his body in shape and taking care of himself physically. He begins an extensive aquatic physical therapy program for 4 weeks at the National Rehabilitation Program in Washington, D.C. on Sept 10th. This will allow him to get familiar with mass transit and testing out everything he has learned from months of therapy and support from some of the best in the field. He's nervous but excited at the same time that he'll be able to explore on his own again.  After this therapy, he will continue PT in Stafford and build up more strength to get ready to begin college in January. 

While at the beach, we reflected on the past year and Kyle was able to talk openly and candidly about it. He continues to ask questions about what we remember when we first saw him in the ICU at Mary Washington and he talks about what and how he felt during the weeks after the accident. He is of the mindset that yes, this happened, and yes, I am in a wheelchair, but I am still alive and thankful for that. He just wishes that others will learn about what has happened and what something like not getting enough sleep can do to do and those around you that love and care for you. We are very proud of Kyle, what he's been able to accomplish but yet at the same time, scared for what the future may hold for him. You only want what's best for your loved ones, and we have never wanted less for Kyle. We are sure that he will overcome his future challenges and use his experience to help others....we couldn't ask for more.

More soon!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's Finally Spring

Sorry for the length of time that we've posted, but things have been quite busy and getting Kyle settled at home has been a big priority. Kyle came home from Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center on Friday, March 12th having met most of his rehab goals! After being there every week since January 4th, he has built up his strength, mastered his transfers (from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to chair), able to go up curbs at least 3 inches high and many more daily activities of independence that we are able to do without thinking twice.

We continue to work on renovating our basement with the help of some of the most wonderful people - Gary Daniels, Tim Albright, and Cathy who have spearheaded the project, bringing in experienced laborers, electricians, plumbers and the  most wonderful tile man I've ever met, to make the basement Kyle's Man Cave. We hope to have everything done in a few weeks and then Kyle can move out of the upstairs family room and into his newly renovated digs!

Kyle is under the care now of a wonderful Physiatrist - an M.D. that specializes in rehabilitation medicine. Gary and Kyle went to see her last Friday where she performed an initial evaluation of him - she actually met Kyle for the first time when he was in Intensive Care at Mary Washington Hospital - and she is telling us she wants to change his condition from at C6 complete Quadrilplegic to a C7 Incomplete Quad....this means his level of injury to his spinal cord is actually lower than initially thought, as he is able to move more of his limbs and has regained some of his lower body sensations! This is wonderful news as now, she believes that with adaptive equipment, he will one day be able to stand and possibly walk with the help of braces and crutches! This was wonderful news, news that we always hoped we would hear from someone.

He will start an intensive outpatient physical therapy regimine 3 days a week including aquatic therapy and she hopes to strengthen his mid section to support his weight a little bit more. We are so optomistic of her findings and Kyle wants to work hard to achieve these goals.

Over the summer, Kyle will concentrate on finding some work in the area to get him out of the house a little more and try to continue to learn more independence skills and get into a community college this fall and take some classes.

Our family continues to receive so much love and support and we are just so appreciative of everything that has been done and continues to be done for us. Kyle is a very lucky kid to have so many people care about him and our family is truly blessed to have these people in our lives. We are looking forward to getting together with friends and family again in early summer at a fundraiser that is being put together in Alexandria. Kyle's got a few pieces of exercise equipment that he needs in order to stay in shape and stay strong and our family is putting a fundraiser together to help with the purchase of all the equipment...we're so very lucky.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hello everyone! Sorry it's been so long since we last posted. It's been a VERY busy time for us and we are still in the midst of a lot of changes and renovations and rehab and work and ....just a busy time!

As many of you know, Kyle left for the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fishersville, VA, just outside of Staunton, VA on January 4th. He is in the inpatient rehab therapy facility and works with their Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Vocational Rehabilitation area. He is there Monday through Friday and then home on the weekends. When he first entered, a long list of goals were set for him such as being able to transfer from the wheelchair to the bed, chairs, and car, being able to work in the kitchen, do laundry, clean -yes clean-, dress, all these wonderful things that those of us not in a wheelchair and that have use of all our limbs take for granted....he works very hard to achieve these goals and is doing a tremendous job.

It was a little rocky at first, but Kyle has developed great working relationships with his PT and OT staff and has been able to reach most of the goals that have been set for him! He is now able to do so many things on his own or with minimal assistance and we expect Kyle him permanently by March 5th!

The week of Feb 22nd, Kyle will start the Vocational Rehab part of his stay, where they will work closely with him to determine what skills he does best to get him ready for the working world. He hopes to go back to work part-time at Wegmans when he comes home and they will get him ready for that! Things like handling money, operating a computerized cash register...all those things. Then, they will focus in on the skills he does best and might want to carry over for a more permanent job in his future...He's not quite sure what he really wants to do as a career, so this program may help him come up with a list of things he can do really well and then he can work from there.

We are busy working on the basement, or his "Man-Cave" to have ready for him when he comes home. We have been very blessed to have some wonderful friends in the construction business who have volunteered their time and talents, especially with the very difficult bathroom set up we've had to build. We can't thank them enough for all they've done! The basement won't quite be finished when Kyle comes home but when it's done, we will be holding a "Welcome Home" party for all Kyle's friends and our family! We'll be sure and let you know when that will be. We've been faced with snowstorms just about every weekend since early January that has pushed our renovation schedule back at least a month..what a pain this snow has been!

Kyle is also very blessed to have some wonderful people that held a fundraiser for his medical fund. The Falls Run Players, a group of very talented people in the Falls Run community in Stafford, held a weekend of skits and plays for audiences the weekend of January 13th. Kyle was home that weekend and we were invited to come and see their performance! What a wonderful evening! So many thanks to Jodi Trzyna for organizing this event and to all the performers! Kyle was just overwhelmed with appreciation for what everyone did for him and they were able to raise over $2000 for his fund! It's just so touching that people who had never met Kyle have done so much to help him...we could never thank them enough. We hope now that these friends will stay in our lives for a long time!!!

Kyle faces new challenges every day and he has had wonderful direction from great professionals who have taught him how to approach these challenges. He does a great job trying to become more independent and rely less on people to help him. He will always need some element of help, but he try's very hard to minimize that. We're very proud of him and what he has been able to accomplish since he was released from Mary Washington in August. We hope to be able to continue to find programs for him that will help him continue to learn independence and skills.

Thank you again to everyone that has written, called, stopped by and to say hello to Kyle or just give words of encouragement and support. We all appreciate it so much!

More soon - I promise!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

After a busy Thanksgiving holiday, we are now in full Christmas mode and SOOO much is happening!

Kyle continues to make progress in his rehab and we received some of the best news yesterday that Kyle has been accepted into the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fisherville, VA and will be going there on Monday, January 4th. He'll be there for an undetermined amount of time while they focus on sharpening his activities of daily living, physical therapy, and independence skills. Also, they will be working closing to work with him in the vocational skills area, getting him ready to go back to work and school. His family is thrilled that this is happening so fast after his discharge from Kluge, so that he can really continue to focus on his recovery.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy continue in the home and we have a wonderful home aid, Sam, that stays with Kyle during the day to help him out. Kyle's physical health is good and he loves getting visitors at home!

Christmas is extra special this year with Kyle home and then getting ready for the next phase of his life. Our family wish you all a very Happy Holiday season and we pray for your good health and success in 2010!

Friday, December 4, 2009

We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Our family had so much to be thankful for, mostly for Kyle coming home and being able to spend the holiday at home! We had a wonderful day with family and good food and Kyle enjoyed just getting out and about.

He's had a busy week and a half home and is beginning to get into a regular routine. PT and OT have started coming into the house and working with him 3 times a week, and he is working very hard to become more independent. As much as we all want this to happen, we have to keep reminding ourselves that it will take more time and we need not rush his progress. He's doing a great job transferring into his wheelchair, mostly by himself, and has even been able to go out on his own with some friends for a couple of hours last weekend!

Last night, we were fortunate enough to get tickets for seats at the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse in Washington, DC., and sat only a few rows away from the President and his family. Kyle just loved being out of the house and did so very well with the huge crowd. This injury has proved to us that while we have to take more time to go places and be more aware of our surroundings, it will not prevent Kyle from participating in and enjoying outings. We found the crowds to be very respectful of him, always asking if we need any assistance, and overall being very accepting of his situation. This wasn't always the case in the past and we find it very refreshing that people we've never met make an effort now to say hello or offer assistance.

Kyle has some minor medical procedures taking place in the next couple of weeks and we will be travelling back to Kluge for some follow up, which will allow Kyle to visit his friends and staff.

While you are busy preparing for your holiday plans, please know that our family is very appreciative of EVERYTHING that you have done for Kyle, from your prayers, donations, gift, emails and cards. We could not have gotten through this without you and we are feeling truly blessed that Kyle is now home and able to get on with his life.

When he was asked on Thanksgiving day what he was thankful for, Kyle answered "a second chance." All of his family second that and are just thankful that we have that second chance to allow him to live his life to the fullest and please know that you are all a part of the second chance.

Make sure you take the time this holiday season to tell those you love how much you appreciate them and how happy you are that they are in your life.
Below is a picture of our good friend, Diane Dawson and Kyle at the National Christmas Tree Lighting, December 3, 2009.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A New Beginning...

After 4 long months, Kyle will be coming home tomorrow, Tuesday, November 24th. He has been working so hard to regain as much independence as possible so he's on his way home...just in time for the holidays!

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Kyle, with some great news - he is now able to wiggle his toes on his right foot and lift up, ever so slightly, his right leg! This is wonderful news meaning that the nerve connections in his spinal cord are making connections with his muscles. Kyle's PT's, Marc and Brian, have been working with this new discovery to continue to strengthen his legs. Kyle is now able to transfer himself from the bed to the wheelchair and back in to bed. This is all wonderful news and will allow him to continue to work on his activities of daily living at home.

Kyle will be home for about 6 weeks and then go to the Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center in Fisherville, VA. We're not sure the exact time frame he will be there, but it could be 1 to 3 months. They will work with him to strengthen his already developed skills and help him with vocational skills to get him ready for work, college and more independence.

Kyle has also been working hard to educate the public about his story and the dangers of driving drowsy. He was featured on WUSA Channel 9 two weeks ago. Here's the link to view the broadcast -

He appreciates everyone contacting him and sending cards and letters. His new address for those who want to continue to write to him is:

Kyle Preston
60 Larkwood Court
Stafford, VA 22554

We'll be sure and post some pictures of his coming home!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Kyle continues to make good progress. We have a definite return home date of November 24th! Just in time for Thanksgiving and Kyle's favorite holiday for food!!

He's working hard in physical therapy and occupational therapy and we are now starting to evaluate equipment and determine what he's going to need to come home. He continues to work hard on transferring from the bed to the wheelchair and's not as easy as it looks! He'll continue with outpatient therapy when he returns home in a few weeks.

Then, he'll get ready for his next journey to the Woodrow Wilson Rehab Center in Fisherville, where they will access his condition and work on sharpening his skills in areas such as computers. He will start that program on January 4th.

Thanks to everyone that has offered their assistance in helping us get the house ready for Kyle's homecoming. We'll be calling you all very soon!

The holidays will have a special meaning for us this year as we celebrate Kyle coming home and just being thankful that we can all be together!

More soon!