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July 11, 2005

Oak Tree That Fell On Our House at 6:30 AM, July 11

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11:30 PM, July 11

I drove back to Chattanooga about 3:30 PM this afternoon, and it took me about 30 minutes to go less than 3 miles between where the Shepherd Spinal Center is on Peachtree Road and the entrance to 75 N off of Northside Drive is located. I was going down Collier road and ran into a road block due to the many trees that had fallen across the road the night before and then detour that took me to Northside Drive was also strewn with fallen trees all along the route.

a bad storm had blown into atlanta and the surrounding area last night and at one point a tornado warning was issued. that meant all the patients at shepherd had to leave their rooms and move to the nurses station to wait for the warning to be reduced to a watch. due to the veracity of the winds and the down pour of rain i wasn't surprised at all by the downed trees i saw as i was leaving atlanta. rather, the surprise came when i pulled up in front of my house and saw the extent of the damage done to our house by the tree that fell on it early this morning.

it actually could have been so much worse. a chimney on the front of the house, that crumbled above the roof line when the tree landed on it, also kept the tree from sinking down any deeper into the house, because below the roof line the chimney remained intact all the way to the dirt floor in the basement below the house. if the chimney had not held the tree up, given it's excessive weight, it would have most likely gone all the way through to the first floor where our house and dog sitter, kayb, was sleeping. we all just have so much to be thankful for, even in the midst of the realization that we are, in a very real sense, homeless. actually, we are beginning to feel more like refugees than homeless people.

part of the reason that we feel that way is that we have experienced yet more temporariness at shepherd's today. again, due to reconstruction, they moved asher, not only to another room for the 3rd time, but to an entirely different floor. his room is now on the third floor, but all of his therapy, as well as meals are still on the second floor. in between therapy sessions, when he is put back to bed for rest, he will now be put into a room on the second floor with 4 other patients who have also been moved up to the third floor. it is really feels kind of like he is in a refugee camp during this part of his day.

gloria, hadrienne and i were discussing this before i left this afternoon to come home and the more we talked about it the more it seemed to be ok. you know, asher is at shepherd because it is one of the best spinal and brain injury hospitals in the country. it is not a hotel, and we are not on vacation. his getting moved around is an inconvenience, i guess, if you want to look at it that way, but it doesn't seem to affect the over all excellent care that he is getting there. so, we really don't have anything to complain about, it's just that things beyond our control have a way of making us think that we can somehow make them better or be able to control them if we will just get a bad attitude about them or complain enough. it is not that i don't have any problems doing my share of complaining or getting very cynical, it is just that with all that we have been through since asher was injured i just don't have the strength or the will power to go very far down that path. i have found that if i will really take the time to find a positive spin on the situation i don't seem to dwell on it any more and can get on to the next obstacle at hand, like our house getting partially destroyed. believe me it is far better to have this happen to your house while you are temporarily not living in it than if you were.

as far as getting the house back in a condition that will make it livable for us to move back into when asher is through with his rehab, there is no way i am going to think about that right now. all i can think about is being back in atlanta with asher, gloria and hadrienne. i pray that i will be able to go back, if only for a day, before too many days go by. asher is communicating better every day and we are learning, sometimes multiple times a day, new things that he is able to say and do. for instance, today i discovered that asher can add, subtract and multipy. that was absolutely amazing to discover. he is also revealing to us that he still has his dry sense of humor about it. humor has always been one of the really enjoyable traits that i have enjoyed about asher since he was really little. before his accident, he could always make us all laugh, seemingly, without even trying, and i can't tell you how wonderful it is that he has started doing it again.

gloria also told me (this happened several days ago when i was out of town, but she just told me today) that asher's vision is now 20/25. i couldn't believe this when she told me, because less than a week ago asher was having a hard time seeing 2 inch letters 2 feet away. they were really blurry. i am just astonished that his vision is now as clear as it was before he was hurt.

the nurse also told us that, because he is communicating so well and able to respond to directions that he is now between a 5 and a 6 on the rancho scale (the scale that measures the level of coma you are in). what is even mor amazing is that he seems to have passed right through level 4 with very few of the characteristic effects from it. this is usually the level that most patients are very angry, frustrated and even violent. they also, quite often, use a great deal of profanity. i am just so thankful that both he and us seem to have been spared these effects.

as i think i mention yesterday, asher had to have his feeding tube replaced today. there were a few feared complications to this procedure that the doctor that performed it was anticipating, but none of them occurred. he was able to take asher's old feeding tube out and put a new one in through a brand new hole that they made in his stomach. one of the things he feared was that the old hole had some infection in it, but as it turned out the old hole was actually in a lot better shape than he thought.

please pray for asher to be able to each solid food soon. like really soon. all he kept saying to me this morning was "taco bell" and "chalupa." i don't mean just a couple of times either. it must have been over 20 times. that was just so heart breaking to have to tell him that he would still have to wait just a little while longer. he is really having an hard time accpeting that, though. he is to the point where he wil hardly even look at his soup-food (what he now calls pureed food) any more.

you know when i think about asher's progess and all of you who have been so faithfull to continue to pray for us, our house getting caved in just doesn't seem that serious. i don't mean to sound flipant about it, but i just continue to remain so thankful to God for not only giving us back our son, but for each day that i get to spend with him since it happened. i am also very thankful for each day that we, as a family, get to spend with him too. gloria and hadrienne are 2 of the most phenominal people i have ever met, and even though i have always known this, it has been as a result of this situation that i have come to fully appreciate that fact rather than to take it for granted in the ways that i tend to do with those i am the closes to and love the most. which really makes me so very sad when i think about it.

Lord bless you all for helping to make, what would be completely unbearable under other circumstances, bearable because of the continue fervency of your prayers.

thankful to be thankful,

andy mendonsa

| By Andy Mendonsa | 11:19 PM

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Comments

God never gives us more than we can handle, and perhaps there is a reason for destroying part of the house. Maybe God is planning a "rebuild" more Asher-friendly for when he comes home?
I have been reading this blog for a couple weeks now, and am keeping the family in lots of prayer. May God make it easier for all of you.

Posted by: Denise at July 12, 2005 12:24 AM

when i read that a tree had fallen on your house,
i felt as if i'd been hit myself and have had a heavy feeling since then.

ultimately defeated satan is thrashing around because he's very displeased with how much glory GOD is getting through asher's injury and healing.

ALL things work together for good. . . romans 8:28

though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet i will rejoice in the LORD, i will be joyful in GOD my SAVIOR. habakkuk 3:17,18

GOD bless you with comfort, strength, and joy.

Posted by: grace at July 12, 2005 12:34 AM

i wrote the above comment before the pictures and update had fully come in. it's so good to hear you sounding so upbeat. i LOVE your "thankful to be thankful." it's inspired and inspiring. thank you for being thankful and setting an admirable example for the world to read. GOD be praised.

Posted by: grace at July 12, 2005 12:54 AM

I work with a lady whose sons know Asher and have skated at the park in Chatt. for years. I heard about the accident on the news but it was not until yesterday - July 11 that my friend and I spoke of it. She showed me your web site. I read almost all of it lastnight. Two years ago my 18 year old son was hit on his motorcycle and his back was shattered. His arm and 11 ribs were broken and he had two punctured lungs. After his 7 hour back surgery he developed pancreatitus and nearly starved to death and died. God delivered him. He was in the hospital off and on for two months and I took leave of absence from my job for 3 months to care for him at home. The doctors are amazed that he was not paralyzed in any way. Today is he strong and healthy and able to do almost anything he wants to. Praise God! He does have two 12 inch steel rods in his back with two plates and 12 screws and he had a bone fusion. I KNOW what you - as his parents - are feeling and going thru. Believe me! I KNOW! And you are looking to God for your strength. At the time of my sons accident I was not close to God at all. I could talk for hours about how it has impacted our lives. I just want to say that I am praying for Asher and the family and I will be keeping tabs on the website from here on out.
In Christ's love,

Lisa

Posted by: Lisa Erwin at July 12, 2005 07:21 AM

Please Let us all know how we can help you with the house. My heart sank when I read what had happened yesterday. I know God has a plan for you, but let us know how we can help with God's plan for getting your house back to being livable. There are lots of people who would consider it an honor to help in any way possible.

Posted by: Patty Carter at July 12, 2005 09:47 AM

Andy and Gloria,
I have been keeping abreast (via e-mail) on your precious miracle! I want you to know that I am SO praying for "THE COMFORTER HIMSELF" to guide and console each of you. I am encouraged each day by your updates and the incredible way our Father is moving and STILL providing. What a tremendous witness for all you to be able to share the good news and the wonderful message about our Savior. I thought I would forward this to you and you may find that you can help each other for such a time as this we are to encourage one another and be ever reminded that we do indeed have hope! Please call if you should need anything. Much love and prayers!

His,
Robin Massengill (We met at Erlanger ICU waiting room, my mom was in the hospital and my family and I attend Silverdale Baptist Church)

Posted by: Robin Massengill at July 12, 2005 07:55 PM

AFTER BEING GONE 7 OF THE LAST 10 MONTHS WITH MY SON KIRK WHO HAD A TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND STROKE, I CAN IDENTIFY WITH THE ISRAELITES IN THE WILDERNESS...WANDERING AWAY FROM HOME AND FAMILY ALSO GIVES A NEW PROSPECTIVE NOT TO SWEAT THE INCONVIENCES OF LIFE AND FOCUS ON WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT...AFTER READING YOUR WEB SITE I CAN SEE MANY SIMILARITIES IN OUR JOURNEY...ASHER HAS LOTS OF ROOM FOR IMPROVE AND IT SOUNDS VERY OPTMISTIC CONSIDERING HIS INJURY...DEVIL 2...GOD 4..KEEP UP THE FIGHT..KATHY WILDER

Posted by: kathy wilder at July 12, 2005 09:57 PM

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