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If you have hard work to do with someone, it just can’t get done without face-to-face dialogue. I see my job for Archer as removing the obstacles that he shouldn’t be expected to have to do at age 18 or as a paralyzed young person when his energies are on finishing school and all that goes along with that. And re Archer moving to college, there is soooo much to do ahead of time and so many doors and emails that may never have been opened but for going and physically, sometimes if only a few minutes, but nevertheless establishing connections.After working the lunch rush in the kitchen as the cook at the Beach Club of Cape May, Archer went down to jump in the ocean and cool off before returning to clean up and get ready for the next day. Luckily, Archer was surrounded by capable and caring lifeguards and friends, and he was quickly taken to Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. And as for Archer, well, it’s an inspiring aspect of Archer I must say, his inner drive. I really never had a chance to write the education chapter, as it was always happening but there was just so much more happening medically. And then everything changed after week two in the ICU, and they told us we needed to find a long-term acute care facility, as Archer would never breathe or walk or move on his own. In the insurance scramble and the chaos, I had received a call from a stranger, now I see her as an angel, affiliated with an organization that had been following these very blogs. That led to beginning to look and consider other out of state alternatives. You know the rest of the story of the scramble of calls to the Chief doctor there at the Shepherd Center and the flight and the Blue Angels pilots and the crazy delay and well…we were on a flight to Shepherd in about 48 or so hours. Delight in the use, the ease, how often you need them all day long. Breathe in the goodness of your own use of arms and wrists. But back then it was also Archer’s not being able to tolerate being hand lifted out of his chair without great pain. And it’s not that it was every hostile or closed, it was just unusual for them to be collaborating in this way they said. And because Archer’s hands have no sensation nor do they have nerve endings to help move them, it’s nearly impossible to get gloves on him, so his hands can get very cold, and he doesn’t even know it. Well, the crazy thing about quadriplegia is that the brain doesn’t register the discomfort, and that is when Autonomic Dysreflexia sets in, so…. For those of you who might be thinking mittens, we tried them too, as they were definitely easier to thread on, but he was not able to maneuver the chair and the T-bar since he could not tell whether he was on the bar or not through the thickness of the knit. It just takes time and a lot of follow up and educating about a situation. By the way, happy late Passover, and late Easter and Happy Spring! We create energy fields for healing and hope and truth of what is possible. And I will take your prayer with me if you would like to Lourdes. Bruno said, We can never hope too much; the one who hopes for everything, obtains everything. He surprised us with his decision to apply Early Decision as he is interested, at least for now, in a specific program that is not offered many places: a dual degree in Engineering and Fine Arts/Film/Animation/Design.We’ve created this page to keep friends and family updated. But in essence, Archer told me within weeks of the fateful dive while in the ICU, using our message board of letters since he could not talk because of the ventilator and oxygen and feeding tubes in his nose and mouth, that he wanted to graduate with his class. I mean, the ICU was telling us in the first days that Archer would be discharged and we should look for a rehab center where he would be rehabbed for 2-4 weeks and he would then come home. The education part of that is that as I had been looking at facilities in Baltimore, one of the top things on my list was Archer’s schooling. Hold the image of Archer having the use of his triceps and wrists and whisper your favorite prayer. Again, another real marker in his progress as Billy and a few other strong men lifted him last month when they took him on a Spring Break trip with his lacrosse team to North Carolina. It seems that all the many hours of physical therapy and time have helped with further healing and strengthening without a doubt. The chief doctor who had delivered to me the disappointing news about Archer and I were friends and I did understand the whys. And, we are always learning too, so the educating goes both ways. Oh, Archer has been asked to have an art show, more about that in a later entry. Here’s a pic of all of us together for Easter Sunday. I want to sign off with joy in my heart and asking you to please pray for our trip to Lourdes and for the young man I will accompany, and for Archer that he will be chosen as the right match for the stem cell therapy, and for other injured young adults and their families who have reached out to me in the last six months or so for assistance. And in the interim, advocate when necessary, pray always. Two other schools with the program, Cornell and MIT are too far north for Archer’s quadriplegia to tolerate as his particular injury doesn’t allow his body to acclimate easily to changes in temperature, especially cold temperatures, and ice and snow make it hard to get out in his powerchair where he can maneuever it and still be able to communiate if needed on an ipad/phone which he can access by voice but not if it’s cold and or raining/snowing.Archer loves to cook and bake, so the evening was extra special! I watched him lift his right arm and extend his hand, always wrapped carefully in an arm and wrist splint so it’s not floppy and so he can extend it, to shake hands with his School Headmaster. A simple gesture really, but one that takes great effort for Archer as he still has no feeling, no sensation in his arms or his hands. Yes, there was a certain awkwardness, as it was a bit clumsy given that Archer has no means of accepting an award in the usual way, no ability to grasp or hold or even know if an object is touching his body unless he can see it and know from experience before 8-5-15 it’s weight or texture since his brain does not register any signals about any sensations of the body from the shoulders on down as a result of the severance of his spinal cord, but it didn’t matter. He stopped his chair in front of his headmaster, and Mr. It’s surprising how few teachers there are who can teach those subjects, and they certainly are not in the home and hospital pool by and large. I don’t think it would be unusual for many of you though if it had been your son or daughter. They had called last week for an interview with Archer. They noted how Archer had not sustained just a fractured C5 neck which required delicate neck stabilization surgery but a shattered C2-C5 neck which required a complete reconstruction of the bone before it could then be stabilized with pins. We had said then, Archer, we need to get everything we can out of your body to be prepared for what might come your way in future medical surgeries and advances. I’ve felt that way too about some surgeries related to his bowel and urethra too that might be worthwhile but could change the internal workings in such a way that IF he walks someday, might interfere. Oh, I think I’ll send you a little clip of one of our more recent PT sessions. I learned from my eye healer that dead cells in my macula can be awakened. Here’s another picture of where I was waking up the cones of my non-dominant eye, the one with the most macular degeneration. Because his nightly and morning routines each take about 90 minutes now that we have things smoothly running and know what his body needs and how to care for him, it means he is going to bed very late and we need to awaken him early in the morning again.He was voted by his classmates to give the commencement speech. Amen Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Archer Senft Friends & Family Update SUNDAY, 4-30-17, Month 20 We can never hope too much; the one who hopes for everything, obtains everything. But a cultural gesture he knows well to do which was graciously received by Mr. Archer was being inducted into the Cum Laude Society. Britton gently placed the signed parchment certificate on Archer’s legs, his lap, a fine resting spot. Anyway, no need to dance on the head of that pin about it, Archer wanted to graduate with his class. When they said he was more complicated than any they had seen, it brought a flash of memory not so much of horror, but more like, well, sort of distant, a memory, just that, a memory, still there but not really sharp. And I am deeply grateful for those parts that are behind us, a new beginning. Ah yes that dive, that crack, that shatter that changed our lives and most importantly his life in a split second. The ICU protocol of neck stabilization surgery, feeding tube, and as needed ventilator, as well as full body weight shifts and the shock and adjustment to being paralyzed is horrific for any quadriplegic. And I have come to love a number of those families I have met along the recovery journey. Sure, the degree of impact and the lungs filling with ocean water added grave additional factors, but it’s so uplifting to think of what is possible. It was a 3am weight shift for many months followed by a am wake up. He says he doesn’t want to waste any time and he needs all that he can get. For any of you who might have special prayer requests, please send them to me. Being website and click Interested in Learning More. From the time of tryouts to now he too has grown more and more and he is now, as an 8 grader, 6’ 1” feet tall! He said it was a like a long sports tournament but with a lot more diversity and that it was really fun. So, it’s as if we need a somebody in close proximity but who is invisible until Archer needs him or her. We are actively seeking night nurses, two full time nurses who can care for Archer. He will forever be shiny on the inside as a result. He never once talked about it until all the performances, and then he wouldn’t stop. He looks back and talked about the rehearsals and the fun they had and what it feels like to have everything so nothing and then have everything come together. Interactions with others and college friendships are as important as the academics and quality of teaching it seems to us.
The Senfts believe in miracles and the power of your prayers. I loved each one of those dear young persons so very much in that moment. Shepherd assured me they had had other athletes graduate and that they would help transition him back to his school after he left there. Well, I emailed that doctor so fast since it looked as if Archer might be a good candidate based on the article. Remember last summer when we were angsting about when we could get that pace maker removed? Billy and I were at our house that Saturday in the middle of a meeting with a woman re college financial aid when I felt this really strong pull to go downtown to the Lourdes screening. Whom should I lay eyes on rolling through the entranceway but the boy/young man who had been Archer’s roommate when we first arrived at KKI in-patient. I recall his prognosis was that his speech and eyesight might slowly be restored and I felt hopeful for him. I could feel the unity like two schoolgirls hatching a good plan to do something together. Yes, he remains a top AP student, gifted in math and physics and yes, he had amazing scores on his SAT and yes, he also submitted an art portfolio of his digital work and yes, he’s been working tirelessly on school work with his “one finger” as he calls it, this metal stylus which we carefully attach every morning to a Velcro hand and wrist splint and then wrap both around his arm which he then powers, literally, by moving his bicep and shoulder.All the entry ways on UPenn campus, embedded in the heart of Philadelphia city, are security locked, openned with a card swipe. Well, Archer was not daunted; it may have made him more determined actually but in his very pragmatic way, he is soooooo even tempered, he said he would look elsewhere for a program already combined and that is how he found UPenn.And, I honestly believe that with technology and Archer’s countless hours put in on digital art these days, he will be close to free handing soon as he is on fire with his art designs. Sorry I am rambling, there is so much to tell you and I’m just wanting to hit some highlights.We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received. No hardware in the body other than the rods in the neck. The only thing that might give us trouble is they are looking for a C5 injury. We would plan to go for the surgery as soon as Archer graduates in June. If selected, it would mean the potential for him to regain his triceps, so he would have the muscle in the back of his arm to move his elbow, which would make Archer very very happy. And, it’s as if a door opened that we hadn’t anticipated at least at this moment. So many people from around the world have been healed, Christians and non-Christians. There is a sense of self in unity with God and with God through others. And a great deal of laughter and conversation and quiet prayer. I smiled over the phone lines, Oh you know all the usual stuff that prevented Archer from going. And also being in close proximity to the School of Engineering was very important. I took him after a snowstorm in March and there were a few streets that were difficult to cross given UPenn are in the middle of Philadelphia. We are in the beginning of seeing the fruits of a beginning collaboration at UPenn.Click Here for more info about how the donations are processed to help Archer. But you’ve got to get your son the hell out of there. She confirmed what I felt, what I knew but did not know. Archer as you know is very “high injury” as they say, meaning high on the C spine, a/k/a not good, as a C2-C5 burst, but technically he is a C5 as that is where they placed his rods after they reconstructed his neck from the donor (thank you again, dear donor, you donated your hip bone and Archer is the beneficiary). It could also mean a restoration of the sensation in his arms below the elbow to his wrists, which could mean he might be able to grasp items between his two wrists because he could feel them rather than just meet such items now with stiff extension arms and droopy hands. Bruno Lanteri, please intercede for us as we ask for mercy. So, you might be assuming that Archer is going with me. Well, that woman came in with her son like a drill sergeant. We didn’t want to be demanding nor did I want a situation where we were adding things. We really did explore a number of dorms, but either facilities or disabilities had concerns or I had concerns. The curb cuts were still icy in some places but the most typical scenario was that the snow for walkers had been plowed and dumped in the curb cut, the only place someone in a wheelchair can go to get up onto a sidewalk. Can you believe it, already well into a new year and half way into year two for us on this journey with Archer and his quadriplegia. Last fall, Archer was admitted Early Decision into the School of Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the class of 2021. Stepping back to look at the big picture, it’s a big deal that he is even graduating from high school on time.
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It was a close call, avoided by interception of a faculty member. Another standing ovation, 3 in all, all initiated by the students. Britton’s side to make it easier for his headmaster to drape the yellow gold ribbon and Cum Laude Society pin around Archer’s neck. And there it was, the symbol of an academic achievement worn around his neck. No 18 year old should be required to navigate the adult academia world on issues unrelated to academics. If you have any ideas for us, please pass them along. When he visited last summer and fall, one person in the Engineering School expressed doubt that Archer could be fast enough to code on a computer given he had use of only “one finger”.