This past week I got to spend some time with one of my favorite families-- Shirah, Brian and their brand new baby Dara. For just about 2 months old, Dara sure had a lot to say- though mostly through burbles and babbles. She was a bit too serious about the idea of a photo shoot to give me a smile- although getting to spend a few hours in the park with some of my favorite people sure made my day.
Justin continues to improve, in a way that overwhelms not just his family, friends and fans, but his doctors as well.
After his initial surgery I answered almost all questions by saying "It's too early for good news, but it's not too early for bad news-- and at this point, we have no bad news." I think it's safe to say that it's not too early for good news now. And, we've got good news. J is standing on his own; he doesn't just balance- he takes pictures, he cooks breakfast, he gesticulates wildly during arguments, all while never losing his balance. His walking is improving, and just this morning he was able to move his big toes- something that the doctors weren't sure he'd ever be able to do.
With these improvements comes pain and the reminder that things will never be the same, and J is sure tired of being trapped inside. But, I'm constantly amazed at his resilience and his spirit. (Although he is particularly cranky about all those games of Uno I've beaten him at lately).
Perhaps even more importantly, I'm reminded daily of the idea of community. J's community of photographers and explorers have gone above and beyond to keep him fed with non-hospital baked goods, to keep his film supply from running out, and to make sure he knows just how much people are rallying for him. If there's one giant silver lining in this whole mess, it's the reminder that we are as strong as our community-- and that even when shit happens, good people get by with the support of good friends.
Here are some edits from two recent trips to Philadelphia. You'll see walking, icing, thinking, napping and struggling.
There are also photos from the ambulance ride that we took to see his surgeon, a three hour trip that practically rivaled Gilligan's three hour tour. After an initial battle of philandering rush hour traffic and having to head back to the rehab hospital for some forgotten equipment, we made it about an hour away before the ambulance broke down. (Yes, you read that right-- the ambulance broke down). We waited almost two hours for the replacement rig, and when it arrived, I summoned every ounce of my "DO NOT MESS WITH ME" and demanded a bathroom and food stop. Eventually we pulled into the hospital at 3:30 for an 11:00 appointment, and got a thumbs up from the hipster surgeon. 12 hours later we returned to the rehab hospital, only a little worse for the wear.
More photos to come, although the hope is that future edits will concentrate less on "recovery" and more on "recovered".