Today was an exciting day for Mark, with some huge milestones that we have been praying for. He started the day with physical therapy, and was able to sit in his wheelchair for two hours! He was begging us to wheel him around, of course, but several IV chords were standing between Mark and the open road. They removed his stomach tube, which was a huge relief, and started him on clear fluids – his first meal since Friday night..

The big news today was that Mark graduated out of Intensive Care! He is in a step-down wing, where he will be until he is well enough to be in a regular room. It’s very exciting, and I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see him out of ICU. I truly believe that all of the prayers have hastened his recovery, and in truly miraculous fashion, his “road rash” that was originally going to be treated in the burn unit has nearly disappeared from his back.

Mark is still in a good deal of pain, and he is just learning to navigate life without mobility. This can be extremely frustrating at times, as you can imagine. Please pray for his spirits, that he won’t get discouraged by his new limitations. It’s amazing the things we take for granted by having full use of our limbs.

We have been overwhelmed by all of your love and attention, and I know that this experience has made us realize how valuable life truly is. One of the trauma doctors relayed to us today how truly grim Mark’s situation was, and that the trauma team was amazed that he came out of this accident with no “chronic” damage. God is good.

§ Many of you have been asking what you can do to help us. It’s so great to know we are surrounded by such support. There are a couple ways you can do this:
§ We’d love for you to donate blood locally. Mark would not be here today if it weren’t for generous blood donors, and this has been an experience to realize what a difference this simple task can make in a person’s life.

§ The hospital does not like fresh flowers in the room (they are afraid of the insects flowers can harbor). If you would like to make a small donation instead of sending flowers, Mark’s parents have set up a fund for Mark. All monies will go towards making sure Mark has the best rehabilitative care once he gets out of the hospital. Send to:
Mark J. Howerton Good Samaritan Fund,
OC Teacher’s Federal Credit Union
Santa Ana, CA 92711-1958

§ If you live locally, we’d love for you to visit us . . . down the road. Right now Mark is getting amazing attention from the hospital staff, and our family has taken off work to care for his needs. But I know we have several months ahead of us that may be grueling, and that is when your help will be invaluable to us. I know so many of you are dying to see Mark, but the doctors have really asked us to limit the amount of visits for the time being. Unfortunately, there is no way to schedule visits. It is a minute-by-minute thing and we never know when he might have an hour of peace, take a nap, or have a painful bandage change or therapy session. There are many vulnerable moments that he’s not quite ready to share, as you can imagine. So we’re asking that you hold off and visit us once his is home from the hospital (and maybe even bring a meal then, too J ).

I’m still not sure what the rest of the week will look like, but I’ll keep you posted. The doctors have been intentionally vague in telling us how long his recovery will take, but their consistent comment is, “it depends on how fast he heals”. Let’s pray for a fast healing and give the doctors something else to marvel at!
Kristen