Akron Children’s Rehabilitation Program gave my son his life back after he was struck by a foul ball at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game in 2009.
I know it seems cliché, but Luke wouldn’t be here, in the amazing capacity that he is, if we hadn’t lived day in and day out there for the six months that we did.
Speech helped him become able to eat and drink again and slowly learn to speak. OT painstakingly worked with the fine motor in his hands and relearn buttons and zippers and how to write, but PT remains the closest to our hearts.
Kate Patton was Luke’s therapist and literally took Luke from a lifeless boy in bed and gave him his spirit and purpose back. If I had been the patient, I would have called it “Pain and Tears.”
Every day consisted of two hours of grueling work to try and get a limp body and stiff brain to respond. He had to relearn everything from the infant stage.
If it was painful for him, you didn’t know it, nor did you witness many tears. One thing you never heard was, “I can’t.”
Kate was by Luke’s side every step of the way, literally. It took weeks for him to walk again, but she took each and every step he did, to help, to catch, to support. He trusted her explicitly.
By the time Luke had mostly recovered, we were all like family. Everyone knew Luke and could witness his healing.
Rhonda always had his schedule ready and started his day with a laugh. Laura greeted him on the days she was there and told him how great he looked and handled our insurance hiccups with ease. Gretchen always had a smile and frequently checked on Luke during lunch time.
Even though Mary wasn’t in his therapy circle, she always caught up with him on a therapy walk to tell him, “After while crocodile.”
Last but not least, Kate found a way to make things unique and fun for Luke and he always felt special. I’ve never experienced a team within a hospital or rehab facility that worked so well with each other or with their patients.
And despite its possibly sad and intimidating setting for an injured child and their family, Akron Children’s Rehab turned out to be one of the happiest and most amazing places on earth.
Here’s a video of how we’ve been paying it forward to honor Luke’s amazing recovery and help other families who find themselves in tragic situations.