Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012

Dearest Family and Friends,

From both you and other friends coming from your circles have come so many emails with such thoughtful and heartfelt support.  We so appreciate them, every one. While we may not have time to respond to each one personally, we want you to know that every single one is meaningful to us and we pass them along to Seth and family as well as to all our family.  We have been strengthened and touched and really don't have the words to adequately express the ever growing circle of love they have created.

Today has been significant in that Caroline and the kids have accompanied Katie on a medical flight to Johannesburg where she can get better care and the whole family can be together.  What joy and comfort that will bring. In addition, family also arrived today to support them all and lend help to Seth Wiggins who has continued to be the best friend anyone has ever had. Gratefully, Seth has been moved out of the "high care" ICU to the neurological surgery unit (bed E26, Sandton Clinic) and that means he is more stable and making welcome improvement.

Before relaying the bad news of the extent of his injuries, we want to tell you that there is lots of good news as well and Seth is not degrading, to the contrary he's making wonderful progress and the potential of paralysis seems distant and unlikely.  But it breaks our hearts to read the medical report from the hospital, we can't even relay it in print without a flood of tears.  Seth reports that he "looks pretty gnarly", and why not: he broke or fractured nearly every vertebrae in his spine through the cervical and thoracic regions, he has a contusion of the disks in the spine and spinal cord along with one lung, his skull and scapula and nose and ribs were fractured, and he has cuts and swelling in numerous places.  He reports that he has "racoon eyes" and feels like a "bobble head" -- not funny Seth.  How can a body survive so many serious injuries?  It is a miracle from start to now that he did not die nor is he permanently paralyzed. Oh how our heart goes out to him and to Caroline, Katie, Tommy and Cali for all they have been through and the long road to recovery that lay ahead.

On the bright side -- surprising bright:

1.  Seth was fitted with a Miami J Brace to stabilize his neck and no surgery is planned for the current time.  A less invasive surgery/s than were originally proposed will likely take place at a later date when the swelling goes down.

2.  Seth Wiggins sent the following: "Hey all, just a quick update: Today was by far and away the best day possible. Seth slept soundly through the night, proudly displayed newfound arm mobility (enabling head scratching), and overall felt great. Very quickly this morning we learned that he was being moved from high-intensive care to a more general ward, so we packed up and said goodbyes to the nurses there. Upstairs is awesome - much less intensive care, which is great. Then Seth's physiotherapist comes in and says she wants Seth to walk. Yeah me too. And then Seth walks. Holy crap. After a nap, he does it again, going about a total of 30 yards. Yeah. Then Caroline, kids, and Katie show up. Not much time spent at the hospital as the kids need to get settled, but still great. They get to the Desilvas, then Seth and Katie head to sleep. And when writing this [family from the US] shows up. Things are going to get a lot, lot better here in the next few days, I'm excited to see it."

Of his walking, Seth Sherry told us that after the physiotherapist got him to stand, she said; "that's probably enough for the day." But Seth said; "hey, while I'm up I'm going to try and walk" -- and he did, about 5 yards before he was exhausted and had to lie down again.  But it sounds like he got back at it later in the day -- just amazing.

3.  Seth held the phone to his ear himself while we talked - a first!

4. Katie Raynor, who has had a very difficult time recovering in a poor medical facility (by US standards - but the best they had in Zimbabwe) was finally approved by insurance to be flown to Johannesburg and placed in the same hospital as Seth.  As mentioned before, Caroline and the kids came also.  Oh how important it will be for them to be together and finally, Caroline who has carried such a burden through all of this, will have some relief and be reunited with Seth and have more support from Seth W. and family from the US.

That's all for now.  So many blessings amidst such tragedy.  We appreciate each and every one of you and your interest, prayers, and extensions of the heart.

Annie & Tom

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