(EDIT 5/13/12:  Getting a lot of incoming visits from the search term “CDH baby discharged” and “hopeful CDH stories”.  Please note that while the title of this blog post is “discharged”, it is not regarding our son, Benjamin.  Benjamin is our CDH baby who passed away due to additional complications.  Eddie is my husband who was assaulted recently at a movie theatre and was discharged from the hospital a few days ago.  Please click here for how to care for a CDH baby after discharge.  If your in utero baby has recently been diagnosed with CDH and you’re looking for success stories, please click here, here, or here.  If you are looking for hope after finding out that you or your partner have a balanced translocation of chromosomes, click here.)

Eddie was discharged this afternoon.  They kept teasing us with the “d” word so I didn’t really believe it until we were in the car.

He’s still in a lot of pain and moving very slowly, but they were able to switch him from morphine via IV to hydrocodone orally, which is a good sign.  When I got to the hospital this morning, he was more awake, alert, and talkative than he’d been since this happened.  He had also showered and changed his clothes – all by himself.  It was very encouraging to see that.

It’s still going to be a long road to recovery.  Even once he’s out of the brace, he’ll need physical therapy and these bones are probably going to give him problems for a very long time.  He’ll follow up with the neurologist in four weeks.  Until then, he’ll have to wear his brace anytime he’s not in bed.  The brace will probably be necessary for 6-8 weeks as long as healing goes as planned.

I’ve been pretty angry over all of this and the fact that a stranger could intentionally inflict this much harm on another human being.  Aside from the people we know (and those who have been commenting here), my faith in humanity has taken quite a hit.  But then something really beautiful happened on our way out of the hospital.

We passed by a man in a wheelchair who was about Eddie’s age (Eddie was in one too) on the way down the hall.  The man was very friendly and the two of them exchanged some brief, friendly conversation while in motion.  Then the man turned around and caught up with us, rolling right along next to Eddie, asking him if he was being discharged, what happened to him, etc.  And then he asked if he could give Eddie his phone number.

He said his name is Chris Carson and that he’s with a program designed for those affected by spinal injuries – a group called Believers of HOPE Foundation.  They help with emotional, physical, and financial needs incurred by spinal injuries.  With the lost hours (regular and overtime), I know finances have been heavy on Eddie’s mind.  Chris then handed him an envelope with some cash for gas, food, or whatever we needed right then and encouraged him to call if anything else came up.  When they said goodbye and the orderly started pushing Eddie toward the exit again, Chris stopped me and asked for our phone number.  He said men are less likely to call no matter how badly they need help and he wanted to follow up with us.

I was pretty blown away.  I don’t know what happened to Chris, but he is wheelchair-bound and barely has use of his fingers.  And yet…he seeks out those who need help.

The man who did this to Eddie uses his size and health to hurt people and knock them down.  Chris uses his disability to put them back on their feet.  Wow.  A piece of my faith in mankind has been restored.