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Terps News

Today is July 15th, so it's around the 3 month mark since Richard
Terpilowski has his riding accident. I'll try and bring everyone up to
date. Richard is still an in-patient at Northridge Hospital, having
approximately 3 to 4 hours of speech, physical and occupational therapy per
day, except Sundays and holidays. My general impression of the care which
he is getting is that it is first-rate, but he himself would like to be
progressing a bit faster.
About two weeks ago, he had the trach. removed, leaving a small but
distinct depression at the base of his throat. This has really improved his
ability to speak, and swallow food without aspirating (going down to his
lungs instead).

It's really great to be able to carry on a reasonable conversation with RT,
it seemed an awful long time where he wasn't able to speak, or we were
simply not able to understand him. The way he is speaking gives us a little
insight into how his brain is healing: he can speak words which he has just
heard very clearly, but when he wants to communicate a concept that he has
just thought of, the "new" words are a lot more indistinct. For example,
when we said to him "Do you want to go outside for a walk?", he said
something back like "Yes lets go outside for a walk", very distinctly. Once
we were outside, he gestured over towards the North Valley, and said
something like "I'd like to go and see the horses over there" (he's still
very fond of horses). He had to repeat the sentence quite a few time before
when got what it was he was trying to say.

We went over to see him on the late morning of July 4th, since it was a
holiday, we knew he didnt have therapy, so we thought we'd try to get him
out in his wheelchair for a while. We were told that we wouldn't be allowed
to take him off the hospital grounds without "training" and a doctor's
order. Actually, this turned out to be fairly sensible: the hospital staff
want to make sure that you can cope with RT and that he's not going to fall
over and hurt himself while he's out with you. So: we arranged to get
trained, then took RT down to the ground floor in his wheelchair. We had a
good run, all around the hospital grounds, and actually out onto the
sidewalk outside in the real world. It was quite a hot day, and Richard was
squinting a bit in the sunlight, so we asked him if we should go by the
store and buy a pair of sunglasses. He though that was a good idea, so we
wheeled him into the Pic'n'Save on the corner of Roscoe and Reseda. He
immediately stood up out of the chair, and made it clear that he wanted to
walk around the store. Great! We stood either side of him, and he walked
around the store for quite some time, stopping at the sunglass booth, and
chosing a pair of glasses. In all about a total of 15 minutes or so of
walking round, including going through the checkout. He was fairly glad to
sit down again, when we got outside, and we wheeled around for another 10
or 15 minutes after that. But what a great step forward! I don't think he
had actually been outside the hospital up until that point; we did somewhat
stretch the hospital rules, but he clearly enjoyed the ability to be able
to make a personal choice, and do something that *he* wanted to do!

In all I think we were out about 40 minutes or so. It was a very hot day,
so RT was quite tired at the end, and made it clear when he wanted to go
back to his room. When we left, he was settling down for a lunchtime
snooze, but seemed to be pleased that he'd managed to get out for a while.

Last Wednesday, my wife went in to the hospital to get scrutinized to be
allowed to spring Richard, and this finally happened last Sunday, July
13th. She went over to the hospital with David, Richard's riding buddy, and
signed RT out for the afternoon, just after lunch. David had driven RT's
car over there, so Richard at least got to ride back in his own car. RT
spent the afternoon at David's place in Sunland, which is where RT's mom,
Sabina, and his brother Ian, and sister-in-law Jane are staying, together
with RT's toddler nephew, Jo-jo, whom he clearly adores. I got there at
about 4:30, later in the afternoon, due to a previous commitment, and
Richard was having a wonderful time. He'd been down to the bottom of the
yard to see the horses which he and David had been riding regularly, and
his dog and cat, Tilly and Cleo were both over at David's too. His close
friend Janette also came by for the afternoon. It really was the best
therapy: it was a very peaceful and leisurely Sunday afternoon hangout at
his best mate's house, with a few friends and family, and although we were
thinking he might only be able to stand a couple of hours, RT only began to
get tired around 7:00 or 7:30 in the evening. We got him back to Northridge
just on 8:00, and settled him back down in his room.

So: a real milestone. Richard is able to walk pretty well, communicate
verbally and shows understanding and concern for his condition. I'm trying
to encourage as many people as possible who know Richard to go over to
Northridge and see him. RT knows who you are, but don't be too concerned if
he can't remember your name. He himself knows this is an area which is a
bit of a blank, but I'm sure he knows what context to place you in: for
instance, Donna and Peter from Options went over to see him during a flying
visit to LA. It took a few seconds, but RT knew who they were. Later on the
same week, Delphi from Innovation visited Richard, with the same result. If
you are hesitant about going to see him, talk to these guys, I've heard
from them since, and they are all glad they went to see him. Make sure you
bring a joke or two; Richard has definitely got his sense of humor back!

Contributions to the RT fund continue to come in, so I'd mention the
following people:

Cintel, Inc, Los Angeles
F.B. Bundesmann III, Los Angeles
Seamus O'Kane, London
Anonymous, Asia
David and Jean Warner, Atlanta
Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester
Joe Woolcott, Hollywood
Edmund Gutierrez, Hollywood
Marjorie Ward, Hollywood
Kent Feeler and Anna de Felice, Hollywood
Robert Buckner, Hollywood
Scott Sevcik, Hollywood
Melissa Hagman, Hollywood
Nadine DeLillio, Hollywood
Ruth LeFaive, Hollywood
Richard Harako, Hollywood
Wendi Smith, Hollywood
Gino Panaro, Hollywood
Shannon and Peter Koczera, Hollywood
Michael and Yasmin Orton, Hollywood
Scott Carpenter, Hollywood
Al Walton at Editel, Los Angeles for matching company donation

I'm only currently able to report on contribs. which have been sent via me,
due to a small accounting change. If you have sent something, please let me
know directly via e-mail, so I can verify receipt.
Once again, thank you.

God Bless

Mike Orton

| "I do not distinguish by the eye, but by the mind,      |
|   which is the proper judge of the man."                |
|         Seneca. 8 B.C.- 65 A.D.                         |

thanks to Dave Corbitt for support of the TIG in 1997
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