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05-Aug-2017 12:28

If you want to make a donation by check, please make payable to Archer Senft Special Needs Trust and send to Archer at 102 Longwood Road, Baltimore MD 21210. This page is dedicated to the progress and recovery of our 17-year-old son, Archer Senft. They are not equipped for what has happened to him. I had already been to Baltimore looking for the local rehab and knew that Archer, who was then 6’1” (now 6’4”) would not fit literally and culturally in a room at KKI where the rooms had two children and a crib. Imagine, his holding a cup with his wrists because he could gauge the surface and the weight. Maybe he could even feed himself a sandwich, or be able to brush the hair out of his eyes, or itch the side of his neck, or adjust his baseball hat. Or help a caregiver thread his arms through his shirt. Or give a hug and feel the warmth of the other person. Oh dear Mother Mary, please wrap your arms around us and guide the doctors and guide us. If you would be so willing, could we all pause a moment now and together think about the possibility of this happening. What more wonderful trip could there be, after all. The trip began with my seeking his acceptance to go last October. She had her son showing us things he could do like hold a stance on his own while holding the back of a chair, moving on his own in a chair, telling me he didn’t have to be in a wheel chair for everything but could tolerate a regular chair for periods of time. I took a very open approach telling them a few times about Archer, his needs, how it rolls and then the list of factors we would be looking for and asking to be included in the decision-making, assuring them that would be better for all. So he was not able to even get onto a sidewalk for some blocks. I’m sure you have something on your mind right now that might be troubling you. Amen Sending love Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Archer Senft Friends and Family Update Wednesday 3-15-17, Month 7, Year 2 Hello dear ones. And it’s also year two for us with you, as I know we have been on this journey together. He will begin in August and we have every intention that he live on campus as a regular student. We can thank another unlikely collaboration we created between Baltimore City Public Schools, Home Schools, On-Line Schools, and our dear Mc Donogh School for all of that.

On August 5, 2015, Archer broke the C5 vertebra in his neck while swimming in Cape May, NJ. He was strong and athletic and that is what they thought. And our other local choice, Kernan, now the University of Maryland seemed cold and remote for what I thought Archer needed. Close your eyes and see yourself using your arms and wrists for something, anything. We tried to figure it out, but there were so many obstacles mainly medical and physical related to related to such lengthy travel, difficulty of weight shifts, what if a bed sore that would scuttle the entire experience for him and takes months to heal, etc. We were not included and I don’t think fully heard in the beginning but we are now and it’s all very good. We managed but it meant my walking in front of Archer in the city street as I extended my arm in front of me to oncoming traffic to stop or make room for the traveler I had behind me. Like an old-fashioned traffic cop kind of scene with the little kids passing while the cop held back traffic with his hand. There’s no invention (yet) for an umbrella for a powerchair or a plastic wrapping of sorts, but when there is, it will be useful. After a lot of calls and talking with Security and the Police and Facilities and Disabilities, we have a decision. The most wonderful part is that everyone now understands so much more and the decision was arrived at after a lot of really good process. Lay your troubles down with a few deep breaths and a prayer that you can rest in God’s presence and forgiveness and love. They put up with me pushing and asking and hoping, and with Archer’s determination, and their care and Mc Donogh’s love, he is totally on track and now into UPenn.

Right now, Archer is paralyzed from the top of the chest on down. Each upper school student who was also being inducted into Cum Laude Society, each wearing their kaki pants or skirts and their navy blue school blazers with the Mc Donogh seal, each was also donning another emblem, the small one-inch orange and black button with the words Archer Strong written across. Almost every student from the past year who was on stage as well as the current students receiving the prestigious and hard-earned academic honor, one by one, walked onto the stage with the Archer Strong button on the lapel of their blazer, boys and girls alike. They didn’t have to share it in that way, but they did. It didn’t take anything away; it made for greater celebration of each of them. Kernan was more honest in saying they didn’t do school, they did rehab. Remember about a week or so ago that news report about the experimental stem cell injections for a quadriplegic man? A friend sent me the email address I needed to try and reach the researchers. I gave them a brief overview of Archer’s condition and profile. This is what they were looking for: the perfect profile. There were many malades who had been recommended and they were each being interviewed and assessed that particular weekend at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore. When I arrived passing through the security and up onto the elevator, I slipped into a coatroom, hung up my coat, and stepped out into the hallway. He was brain damaged and partially paralyzed in his legs from a heart attack he had while running a marathon, now age 19, and medical help was not able to get to him for 15 minutes. His screaming, if you will, was the last memory I had as he was discharged and sent to another facility. I told her quickly the barriers and specifically what to demonstrate. He’s really amazing and thought long and hard about these things.

The Senfts believe in miracles and the power of your prayers. I loved each one of those dear young persons so very much in that moment. Shepherd assured me they had had other athletes graduate and that they would help transition him back to his school after he left there. Well, I emailed that doctor so fast since it looked as if Archer might be a good candidate based on the article. Remember last summer when we were angsting about when we could get that pace maker removed? Billy and I were at our house that Saturday in the middle of a meeting with a woman re college financial aid when I felt this really strong pull to go downtown to the Lourdes screening. Whom should I lay eyes on rolling through the entranceway but the boy/young man who had been Archer’s roommate when we first arrived at KKI in-patient. I recall his prognosis was that his speech and eyesight might slowly be restored and I felt hopeful for him. I could feel the unity like two schoolgirls hatching a good plan to do something together. Yes, he remains a top AP student, gifted in math and physics and yes, he had amazing scores on his SAT and yes, he also submitted an art portfolio of his digital work and yes, he’s been working tirelessly on school work with his “one finger” as he calls it, this metal stylus which we carefully attach every morning to a Velcro hand and wrist splint and then wrap both around his arm which he then powers, literally, by moving his bicep and shoulder.

I will care for him with his mother as if he were my own son. If your prayer request is confidential, just write Confidential Prayer Request in the Subject line and I will copy it but not read it. Dutch said he wishes he were going with me and that so touched my heart. I went to every single showing, all 5, and sat in the front rows every time. We took out an ad in the school play program and said, Go, Onion Boy! Hopefully the seven months it took us to find good care at home will be shortened as we have learned too.

Please write LOURDES or PRAYER REQUEST in the subject line, and I will collect them and take them with me to lay at the feet the beautiful replica statue of our Lady of Lourdes, a reenactment of the apparitions with Mother Mary and a young peasant girl as the prayers of people from around the world are heard in unison as we gather together and process to this holy place. I will also do some reconnaissance so that someday Billy and I might take Archer and perhaps even the rest of our family, or whoever can go. Remember I told you he was in his school play, Shrek the Musical. The play was a hoot, and I laughed and smiled so much my face hurt. We will be there probably the first few months to insure a smooth transition and no trips to the emergency room.

After all, Archer needs help 24-7 and during the day, opening doors, holding doors, taking his hoodies on and off, charging his phone and ipad, putting food on a plate or tray, giving his credit card or meal plan card to a cashier, being fed, having his Camel back water pack refilled, emptying his cath bag, getting the hair out of his face if windblown, putting his foot back on the foot plates of his chair if one falls off the plate, letting him know if there are people behind him when he turns in his chair, etc.

Like figuring out the location of the dorm room where and what and how big and accessibility given that all doors are card swiped, and figuring out tuition and cost of nursing care and what the days should be like.

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So, amongst many many things, we are having to rethink how Archer even has access to buildings, not re ramps and elevators, which are key and necessary, but to outside doors. Archer even making it past the first two years of Architecture School since he couldn’t free hand.Archer loves to cook and bake, so the evening was extra special! I watched him lift his right arm and extend his hand, always wrapped carefully in an arm and wrist splint so it’s not floppy and so he can extend it, to shake hands with his School Headmaster. A simple gesture really, but one that takes great effort for Archer as he still has no feeling, no sensation in his arms or his hands. Yes, there was a certain awkwardness, as it was a bit clumsy given that Archer has no means of accepting an award in the usual way, no ability to grasp or hold or even know if an object is touching his body unless he can see it and know from experience before 8-5-15 it’s weight or texture since his brain does not register any signals about any sensations of the body from the shoulders on down as a result of the severance of his spinal cord, but it didn’t matter. He stopped his chair in front of his headmaster, and Mr. It’s surprising how few teachers there are who can teach those subjects, and they certainly are not in the home and hospital pool by and large. I don’t think it would be unusual for many of you though if it had been your son or daughter. They had called last week for an interview with Archer. They noted how Archer had not sustained just a fractured C5 neck which required delicate neck stabilization surgery but a shattered C2-C5 neck which required a complete reconstruction of the bone before it could then be stabilized with pins. We had said then, Archer, we need to get everything we can out of your body to be prepared for what might come your way in future medical surgeries and advances. I’ve felt that way too about some surgeries related to his bowel and urethra too that might be worthwhile but could change the internal workings in such a way that IF he walks someday, might interfere. Oh, I think I’ll send you a little clip of one of our more recent PT sessions. I learned from my eye healer that dead cells in my macula can be awakened. Here’s another picture of where I was waking up the cones of my non-dominant eye, the one with the most macular degeneration. Because his nightly and morning routines each take about 90 minutes now that we have things smoothly running and know what his body needs and how to care for him, it means he is going to bed very late and we need to awaken him early in the morning again.



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