Eddie's initial recovery was to take a full year. During that first year (1993) Eddie would stay in a critical rehab facility at North Fulton Hospital for 5 1/2 months and then another 6 months at Atlanta Rehab Institute.
After 3 1/2 weeks in a coma, Eddie began to regain consciousness. Even though he was awake, he didn't really comprehend or understand anything going on around him. Yet, it was still a major event for us to see him open his eyes.
Moving down to the critical rehab unit was a major transition. Eddie had to sit in a wheelchair at long intervals and begin speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Initially, a strap and brace on the back of his chair was used to hold his head up - he couldn't hold it up on his own. He couldn't talk, eat, drink, or manage any movement on his own.
We watched his initial physical therapy with optimism and pain as the therapists tried to help Eddie learn how to sit up straight without their assistance. It took four therapists to help him take his first step weeks after being there.
Speech therapy focused on working with Eddie's ability to recognize things. We brought in pictures of his favorite people, his dog Darby, and pictures of golf objects. The process began extremely slow but we could see the effort and that there was more there than the doctor's thought or would say.
Occupational therapy was just as challenging. In one session we watched as the therapist tried to teach Eddie how to pick up and hold a small ball. To see him so helpless was devastating, but we kept focusing on progress being made, no matter how little it was.
Eddie transitioned to ARI in July of 1993 for 6 more months of intensive "live-in" rehab. We visited every night and watched his slow but gradual progress. At ARI they focused on everything from learning to take a shower to eating with a fork. Physical therapy was very tough because Eddie couldn't handle the stimulation. It agitated him easily. He worked hard, the technicians were extremely patient, and we kept the faith and constantly encouraged and praised Eddie on his progress.
Nerf basketball games gave us opportunity to play with Eddie and to let him have recreation during our visits.
This first year of having Eddie away from home was a very tough ordeal but absolutely needed to help his recovery. He had great help from dedicated staff.