Monday, April 30, 2012

Welcome Home Cole

Welcome Home Cole

In an odd way the weeks ahead will be the most exciting time our family has ever spent. On June 1 we will be moving back to our hometown of Manhattan Beach. While we have only been away for 6 months, a lot has happened in our lives since we moved, and it seems like an eternity. Manhattan Beach is really the only home we have ever known, as Nancy’s family has lived there for over 50 years, and the Cameron family has roots in the city that date back to 1937….over 75 years. During our time away, we have come to better appreciate what a special community it is, and how much we miss the South Bay friends we left behind. So while we await our homecoming, we will have a chance to reflect on the events that led to our return.

Our story really begins a year ago when, after planning the move for over a decade, we had finally decided to make Hawaii our permanent home. Our 19-yr old son Cole had been accepted to attend the University of Hawaii, which he began in August.

Living in the dormitories, Cole quickly adapted to being away from home and college life. His grades were good, he made a lot of new friends, and was busy swimming, scuba diving, and paddling to prepare for the Winter surf season. Fortunately, we were able to find a new place to live in a small town on the North Shore of Maui. Things were good, and we were looking forward to joining Cole and starting this new chapter in our life right after Christmas. And then we got THE CALL. Little did we know how much our life had changed, and would never again be the same.

It was October 29, and we got the word that Cole had been involved in a terrible traffic accident and had suffered a very serious Traumatic Brain Injury. He was unconscious at the scene of the accident, and spent the next 2 weeks deep in a coma at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. Sadly the driver, Cole’s 19-yr old friend Tayler, was killed in the accident, and his friend Justin, like Cole, suffered a TBI and lapsed into a coma. Fortunately, his friend Chavez, the 4th person in the car, was able to avoid serious physical injury.

The first few weeks were a life and death struggle, and keeping the pressure inside of his brain at an acceptable level was a constant challenge for the medical staff. While fighting for his life, Cole, among other things, battled 2 bouts with pneumonia and a major C-Diff infection. After he awoke from his coma, the neurologists in the ICU spent the next month assessing the extent of Cole’s brain injury, and getting him medically well enough to be flown back to the Mainland to begin his lengthy therapy and rehabilitation at Casa Colina Hospital in Pomona, California.

Cole’s first 6 weeks were spent in acute care at the facility, and once the staff was satisfied that his progress was medically sufficient, he was transferred to the Transitional Living Center, where he remains today. Each day is filled with extensive rehabilitation, including speech, physical, and occupational therapy. Recovery from the type of brain injury he suffered is such a long, slow, and arduous process, and the work is exhausting. Although there have been many setbacks along the way, and the future is far from certain, Cole continues to show progress.

While we are heartbroken about his injury, and are very concerned about the financial impact this is having on our family, we take great comfort knowing that things do happen for a reason in life, and that God does have a plan for Cole. The Hawaiian people have a phrase that best describes Cole ….” Ho’o Ikaika” which, roughly translated means strength of body, mind, and spirit. Or, said differently, persevere, and you will push through. He is fighting the fight of his life, and we are very proud to call him our son.


1 comment:

  1. hi mark! i miss all of you so much and just read about cole on the daily breeze website. my heart goes out to all of you during this difficult time. i want to come by on sunday to say hi to all of you, hope to see you soon.

    -diane from koffee kart