Cherie in her room at Shepherd Center in December
It's been a while since I noted Cherie's progress and I wanted to let you all know that her time at the Shepherd Center for Spinal Cord Rehabilitation in Atlanta has been extended! Her original discharge date was January 13, but they have given her another week, now she will discharge on January 19 and hopefully continue to receive outpatient services after that, until the end of the month.
Since Cherie has no health insurance and the rehab is being paid by Medicaid, we are all very happy and thankful for this extra time she has to perfect her skills with adaptive equipment. When I was there she told me that she was learning to operate the computer completely by voice, with Dragon software. She was also learning to control her electric wheelchair with "sip and puff" technology. Basically, since she is paralyzed from the shoulders down, all adaptive equipment utilizes "sip and puff" which is basically using a tube positioned near her mouth at all times, to blow or inhale, as a controller for highly specialized equipment.
Cherie maintains a positive attitude, she has made friends with another patient across the hall from her and now has someone to talk to and share down-time with. Her sister told me that they all enjoyed Christmas dinner in Cherie's room. It snowed in Atlanta this Christmas, I think it was the first time it did that in about 100 years! Maybe this is a sign of very special things to come for Cherie.
I wanted also to report that my fundraising book Art with Heart has raised over $500 to date for Cherie's family, which they are utilizing to convert her sister's home to accommodate Cherie, building ramps and widening doorways. The biggest expense they face is a customized van, the expense of this is overwhelming.