Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, July 29, 1998

RECOVERY

July 29, 1998

Advertisement

The family of accident victim David Yoe has gotten support from an unlikely source, the Internet. A family friend set up a Web page to keep people updated on Yoe's rehabilitation.

Friends and relatives of 14-year-old David Yoe have to go no farther than their computers to get a detailed and up-to-date account of his June 16 bicycle accident and subsequent struggles to recover from his injuries.

A family friend has set up an Internet Web site devoted to David.

It is the latest derivation of the over-the-fence discussion of ``how's he doing?''

So far, it may have saved the Lawrence family 262 emotional phone calls. That's how many times people have signed on to the site to check up on David.

``I think it's wonderful,'' said David's father, Dan Yoe. ``It's really very import to you, but there are times you just get tired of talking for a while.''

The Web site can do the talking for the family.

With updates at least every couple of days, the Web site -- www.geocities.com/heartland/bluffs/5219 -- includes a summary of the accident itself and the first few, nail-biting days of treatment.

There is a place to find out what the family is praying for, a place to learn what help the family needs and a place to respond with well wishes.

And there is an ongoing account of David's trials entitled ``The Saga.''

Thankfully, it is an uplifting story.

David is doing much better than doctors had initially feared.

``At one point, the doctors were very much trying to prepare us for him not having any motor control or ability to speak or understand speech ... or die,'' Yoe said.

A combination of science, prayer and old-fashioned hard work have gotten him to where he is.

He can pull himself to standing from his wheelchair. He can say ``Hi, Mom,'' through his tracheotomy.... tube. He can smile. He understands most of what is said to him.

And he can get out of bed, which is what he was doing when Yoe came back from a quick break and found him on the floor.

``We made him promise he won't try doing that for now,'' Yoe said.

They are small steps, but ones doctors weren't at all sure he would make after he was struck by a minivan while riding his bicycle across 31st Street near the Baker Wetlands. He had spent the afternoon riding the gravel roads on the property and was late getting home.

``When he wasn't back in time for dinner, I went out looking for him,'' Yoe said.

David was rushed by helicopter to Overland Park Regional Medical Center.

``He suffered a very serious brain injury,'' Yoe said. ``One of the nurses had said, `Really, this type of injury is seen much more frequently with gunshots.' It was so deep in the brain.''

But David responded well to treatment and was moved July 9 to Meadowbrook Rehabilitation Hospital in Gardner, Kan.

He is having the most difficulty with the right side of his body in particular. He has double vision. Shown pictures of everyday objects, he can't always pick the right one.

He goes through at least three hours of rehabilitation exercises each day with his father and mother, Janet Yoe, taking turns being by his side for support.

In turn, the Yoes have received support from friends and relatives, most of whom use the plain old telephone to get ahold of the family.

But the Web site has brought support from an unexpected source. A physical therapist in Florida has kept tabs on David through the Web site. Based on the information there, she has offered comfort of the kind only an objective professional can give.

Her opinion of David's recovery so far: ``Miraculous.''

Yoe said he has taken strength from that, but it is hard to substitute for physical contact.

As Yoe puts it, there have been ``lots of hugs.''

-- Kendrick Blackwood's phone message number is 832-7221. His e-mail address is kblackwood@ljworld.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.