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Hope4Whitney

This site is for Whitney Bennefield who was critically injured in an auto vs motorcycle accident Monday August 22, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.

Latest journal entry

On the road.....again

Whitney is home.

On February 22, 2017, by the grace of God, Whitney Bennefield was discharged from Craig Hospital six months to the day of her accident. She will now continue the road to rehabilitation in New Mexico.

 It was a beautiful and unseasonably warm Colorado morning. A small gathering of family and friends assembled at the main entrance around mid-morning. From the main lobby Whitney emerged in her wheelchair and radiated with her signature smile, short red hair, a lovely necklace, hospital ID wristband, turquoise blouse, black pants, a sneaker on the left foot and a black walking boot on the right.

The culmination of this transition from institutional to real world environment evoked an optimistic anticipation from those watching. Around 10:15am, conversations lowered and phones were raised to record this distinguishing and symbolic event.

Whitney carefully arose unassisted from the chair to a standing position. This engendered some applause and cheers. She took hold of a used deluxe two button folding walker, outfitted with five Inch wheels in the front and carved up tennis balls covering the glide caps of the rear stability legs.

With limited assistance by her PT, Whitney resolutely walked the twenty-two feet from the entrance to the awaiting vehicle in about five minutes. The few onlookers gave verbal encouragement that was moistened with tears on their faces with every step she made.

Please understand, Whitney did not just wake up and do this on impulse. In the few days preceding, her inner deliberations about whether or not to walk as we leave Craig was a mixed bag of “I want to” and “I am scared”. We helped her recall the work, sweat, discomfort, tears, prayers and support that made this opportunity even plausible. She had nothing else to prove at this point to her therapists, her family or friends. This decision was for herself and on her terms. Those few steps were an affirmation of the bravery, confidence and hope that permeates her. The exit was truly a ‘symbolic step’ in the road to her impending independence.

It was difficult to describe the bittersweet feelings as we drove away from Craig. Lots of ‘goodbyes’ and ‘see you soon’ had filled the previous days with emotional moments. Many of the hospital team as well as other patients and family members had become fond of Whitney’s emerging personality and amazing progress. She had come a long way and had a long way to go. Had circumstances kept her there longer, of course she would have still made more progress. But it was time to move on to the next chapter of making those improvements in the Land of Enchantment. After a wonderful lunch, we drove to a medical suite to have her recent facial surgery sutures removed. We proceeded onward to retrieve her cat and his belongings. Then we were on the road…to recovery and to home…again. 

 Six months ago we embarked on this recovery process. From the very start and along the way, there was one phrase I heard many, many times from various team members working on Whitney…

“Whitney has a long road ahead of her”.

The first few times it was received as part comfort and part reality check. I would silently acknowledge with the shake of my head that I was beginning to embrace totally what that phrase really meant. After the first hundred or so times, I began to feel a sense of petulance, as I would end up finishing the phrase for the person speaking it. It was starting to mildly irritate me. I needed to create an appropriate verbal response that embraced the good intention but did not brandish my contempt for the situation. So, I decided that I would respond with…

“We are just grateful to have a road at all to be on”.

Direction and purpose are superior to speed in this instance. I was not really concerned with the pace of recovery as much as the path of the recovery. If Whitney is headed on the right path, the pace will take care of itself. It is tempting to desire speed over quality of recovery. I am hoping this response will express my gratefulness that she lived to have the opportunity for a road to recovery.

 Over the next few weeks, our family will experience new roads. As we get settled here at home, there are so many tasks ahead. We have unpacked all the items that carried us for this past half year. We restocked the pantry and refrigerator. We return to making our schedules rather than have it made for us. Rather than go through a serving line, we will figure out meal prep & dining while the food is hot and fresh. We administer meds and make the beds, not a hospital employee.

This road includes doctor visits, rehab sessions, medical coverage, legal issues, finishing the adaptive friendly house remodeling, revitalize the landscape plants that suffered neglect this winter, follow up visits back at Craig, organizing sending a ‘thank you’ to those who have contributed, our jobs and filing tax returns very soon to name a few.

 When we commute in our cars on the road, most of the time the detours we encounter in traffic are due to construction taking place. That is particularly the case here in New Mexico where many consider the state flower the 'orange traffic barrel". This life detour has revealed and reminded me my heart and mind are also under construction. I am moving forward with faith, hope and love in this ‘new normal’ metamorphosis.

 In 2012, Chris Mann competed in the second season of “The Voice”. Finishing in fourth place, he went on to make a debut album that fall. Chris delivered a passionate song called ‘Roads”. I urge you to seek and listen to it on iTunes or YouTube.   For 'educational purposes', here are the lyrics:

"Roads"

 There are roads in this life that we all travel

There are scars and there are battles where we roam

When we are lost or wherever we may go

They will always lead you home

 

There are roads that have lead me to another

To a friend or to a lover I have known

For every turn is a year that I have grown

As I walk along these roads

 

Some are long and some are weathered

Some will lead you through a storm

When you've gone astray you will find you way

As you walk along these roads

 

There were times when I stumbled and I wondered

But every choice and every step I don't regret

Cause I have lived and I have loved like no other

I won't fear what lies ahead

 

Some are long and some are weathered

Some will lead you through a storm

When you've gone astray you will find you way

As you walk along these roads

 

There are roads in this life that I have traveled

There are scars and there are battles, this I know

Cause I'd be lost, but no matter where I go

They will one day lead me home

They will one day lead me home

 

I am so glad that in the case with Whitney, the experience for me has been a road that leads back home...in all aspects of life. I hope that each of you embrace the purpose and inspiration that leads back home on your road each and every day. Even in those detours that present all of us with a ‘new normal’.

 May you find yourself…......on the road….again.

 

If you wish to send mail to our New Mexico home, please send me an email and I will respond.

scott@ironmanpastor.com