A scheduled spinal procedure on Aug. 24 turned into a 10-month roller coaster ride for Tyler Cool. The 20-year-old from Norton, who has spina bifida and other conditions, stayed positive and flipped many negatives into opportunities, such as: playing jokes on new friends at the hospital, learning new “adult-ing skills” and advancing to the next stage of his life – living away from his parents and brothers.
He was finally healthy enough to leave the hospital today – 291 days after that spinal procedure which he tracked by the second with an app on his phone. During that time, he endured weeks of rehabilitation and received a tracheostomy, which he’s expected to keep the rest of his life. A few outings allowed him to fulfill cravings for iced Starbucks coffee.
Tyler would often wheel himself to the nursing station in the morning to chat with staff. “He’s very social; he really likes to talk,” said Brittany McIntyre, RN. “He’s our buddy.”
Seeing “King Tyler” finally leave Akron Children’s room 7109 was bitter sweet for the staff. Kristina Peters, RN, said, “It will be sad to walk by his room now. It’s going to be so strange not to see him.”
Reflecting on seeing Tyler leave and begin his new, more independent life, social worker Denise Fabian said, “This is why we come to work.”
With a mischievous smile, Tyler’s response to many people’s well wishes and goodbye: “I’ll miss you — I guess!”