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Philip's Journal

Summer, 2000
(Update from Dad) Hello everyone from Dennis ( Philip's dad ). Many friends of ours have asked about Philip and have checked in on the website and saw no updates, so this one may be the last one for me. Philip has a new computer and hopefully he will be writing to let everyone know what's up. Philip finished his sophomore year in high school this spring. He had an attendant with him to write and get him around in school. He made many new friends since going back, and said that it was a fun experience for him. Some of his friends have been coming over to take him out, and he likes to go around with them. Philip went with me to see the Tour de Louisiane bike race in Mandeville, LA. ( nobc/2000/tdlpics/A004.JPG ) We saw old friends and met some new ones. He had a summer trip to a camp for kids with SCI, and he got to do some sports activities that he didn't know he would be able to do. Philip is getting around better each day in his wheelchair, it will take some time to get stronger and be able to do more. He is working hard to make this happen, and would like to be able to pedal a handcycle or get a racing wheelchair. Thanks to everyone who has written or called to ask about Philip. We are going to try to get a domain name change and update the website, so keep checking back. Hopefully next time you read anything here it will be from the "man" himself, Philip!

If anyone wants to E-mail, please note these changes for now. Write directly to Philip at
Dennis at

January 6, 2000
(Update from Dad) Philip had a good holiday season with friends and family visiting. He is feeling better and trying to use the voice recognition software to write a journal update on his own. It takes lots of practice to learn, so I am still writing for him. He did load it and get it up and running on his own! We all had a great day after Christmas when I rented a bright red Hummer to pick up Philip and Scott in to bring them over and have a day of visiting and opening Christmas presents with us. It was quite a suprise for both of them to get a chance to ride in this "awesome" vehicle, and I have to admit it was fun for me to drive also. I took some pictures of the day, so check out the new pictures while you are visiting here. The biggest and best news is Philip will be starting back in school to continue on with his sophomore year in high school. He has been taking courses at home with tutors and both they and the doctors feel that he is ready to get back in school. For now he will have an attendant with him to take notes on a daily basis. Thanks to St. Tammany Parish School System for all of the resources made available to him! Check back soon to see the progress he is making.

December 3, 1999
(Update from Dad) Philip has been making progress in rehab says his therapist at Children's Hospital in New Orleans. Bonnie, Ashley, Debbie, Linda and other's who care about him, thanks from our family. He is working on getting his strength back and also learning how to work his computer with some new voice recognition software that I bought for him with funds from his donation account. It allows Philip to surf the web just by speaking! Thanks to all who have donated, he has lots of friends who have been kind to help us with their generosity. Thanks to our friend Randy,( he set up the website) who also donated some Dragon Systems software for Philip to write with. This way he may be able to update on his own and tell everyone what's really on his mind. :) So for now this is what I do here, writing as Philip tells me how things are going for him, and from what I see happening while he is in rehab. We will add some new pictures for the holidays soon to let everyone see how Philip is doing.

November 14, 1999
(Update from Dad) Philip has started rehab at Children's Hospital in New Orleans as an outpatient. The therapists are very impressed with his efforts so far. He has had some return of function in both arms and this is what they are working on. Philip wants to work harder and he is going to be getting a new manual wheelchair that he can push himself in. He had a power chair on order since he left Houston but it had to be built custom for him, and has since gotten some strength back so the rehab team and he decided to try working from his manual chair. This past Saturday I walked with his friend John, while Philip pushed his wheelchair over 100 yds. to visit with his friend at their home! He is working during the week with teachers at home so his school work does not get behind. They are impressed with his efforts also. I made a trip up to the accident site in North Carolina last week to spend some time in Tsali and ride my bike. I saw some beautiful color on the trees and rode some trails. Camping was great this time of the year with temps in the 30's at night! Everyone with whom I spoke with was glad to hear that Philip was doing better than they last saw him. He has lots of friends up there also, and everyone sends their best. To everyone in the Bryson City and Wesser area, who made it easier for me to return, I will never forget what you did for me.

November 3, 1999
(Update by Dad) Philip has been home now for 3 weeks and getting settled. His brother Scott, is glad to have him back home too! He is starting rehab this week in New Orleans as an outpatient. Home school teacher is new for him also and his schedule will be keep busy now with rehab and schoolwork. The orders for powerwheel chair and other equipment have been placed and he can't wait to get going under his own power! To everyone that helped put on the bike race for Philip's benefit we thank you very much. The Lakeshore Cycling Club organized the race and Philip was able to get out and watch on a beautiful, but windy day at the lakefront course. We all had a great time, and he was able meet some of the people that have been thinking about him. The cycling community here in the New Orleans area has been very supportive of Philip since they first heard of his accident. New Orleans Bicycle Club has allowed us to link off of their website and the guys from Red Stick Racing/OFGIT have called in to offer support as well. There is going to be a story about the benefit race this month in the cycling publication, Velo News.

October 22, 1999
(Update by Dad) Philip has been home now for over a week. He is doing well and so glad to be eating home cooked meals again! His friends and family have been calling and visiting him at home. After a few weeks of rest, and time to get some strength back, Philip will start a new rehab program to continue making progress. He is going to be quite busy soon with his work in both school and rehab. Philip is reading the E-mail that has been sent to him, but he has so many that it is going to take awhile to read them all. When he gets stronger and can stay up working the computer we will try to get some software that can help him type and then he can write back to everyone that sent him mail. Until then, I will keep writing here to give an update on Philip's progress. We are going to get out to the Lakefront bike race this weekend and hope to see everyone that has been asking about Philip. Thanks to all who have kept our family in their prayers. There is an article about it on NOLA Live at <>.

October 3, 1999
(Update by Dad) I talked to Philip by phone this weekend and he gives this update. He is going to be released from TIRR Hospital around the 13th of October. He will be returning home to Mandeville to get settled in and continue his rehabilitation. Philip was working hard trying out a manual wheelchair in the hospital this weekend. He can maneuver the electric chair well, so he wanted to get use to another one while he is in rehab at the hospital. He will keep me posted on his progress this week. Philip is kept busy during the day, so the best time to catch him in the room is after dinner around 7 - 7:30pm. He enjoyed the cards and gifts sent to him by all for his birthday. Some friends sent birthday greetings by E-mail and Philip can now receive mail from his new laptop computer that was given to him for his birthday. Answering all the mail will take a little while, so when he gets home we will try out one of the new voice recognition software programs that will make using the computer easier for him.

September 27, 1999

(Udate by Dad) It was a big weekend for Philip in Houston. The Texaco Grand Prix race and his birthday party, we did not know which drew more attention! Family and friends drove over, and flew in on Saturday to help celebrate his birthday. Everyone including the nursing staff had cake and ice cream. Dad found a new way to eat cake by sitting in it! It was an accident, but the photographer has to risk all to get the perfect picture. Philip had a great time talking with all who came to celebrate his day. Some of his friends in the hospital came down to the party room to enjoy the festivities. He received many gifts, but by far his favorite was a laptop computer. Philip stayed up late that night getting setup and connected to the Internet. His nurse, Erica had to order him off of the computer to get some rest. Philip had to catch up on rest Sunday from the activities the day before. We watched the Houston Grand Prix race on TV in his room. He asked to get up and ride in his wheelchair later. Scott, myself and Marie were last to leave, so Mom and his Grandmother went outside with him to tell us good-bye. We all took some more pictures and Philip wondered out loud if we had taken enough already. HAPPY 15th BIRTHDAY!

September 20, 1999
(Update from Dad) Ready for the suprise from last week? Philip said it was all right with him if I announced that his birthday is this Saturday, Sept. 25! Many of his friends and family are going to see him and have some cake and ice-cream. Scott and I drove over to Houston this past weekend to visit. His Mom and Grandmother have been with him at the hospital. Philip reports to all that his schoolwork is proceeding on schedule. He and some friends in the hospital were able to go to a movie theater on Thursday night to see "The Sixth Sense." Friday was OK, and on Saturday TIRR Hospital had a picnic for patients and family and friends. This was Philip's first time out for an extended period and he enjoyed this, but it was hot and we could not stay too long. His friend Jack, from the hospital, was hanging out with us and that was good. Sunday was an exciting day for all of us because there was a Pro cycling race in downtown Houston. We got Philip right to the finish line area and he was up close to the race action. That was way cool for him and his brother to see. These guys were fast, at times they said the speed was up around 40mph! For all the race fans out there, some members of Lance Armstrong's USPS team were there, and he was scheduled to race, but his wife is going to have a baby soon and it was reported that he went back to Austin to be with her. Philip got a pass from his doctor to go see the race and that was the first time he had been out with his family. Good weekend for Philip, and he was resting comfortably when we left him on Sunday afternoon.

September 13, 1999
(Update from Dad) Philip got in an electric wheelchair on Thursday. He can work the joystick with his left arm now. P/T and O/T has gotten him this far,so he has more work to do. The halo was removed on Friday, so that is more comfortable for him. A different neck brace is being used and adjustments have to be made. Philip told me by phone he feels better with the new one! Some of his friends from St.Paul's High School came to Houston to visit this weekend and he was very happy to see them. The doctors think he will be coming home around the middle of October, and we will wait and see. Philip is in school in the hospital, and he has more work to do with this also. He is been kept quite busy while in rehab. His brother Scott and I will drive over this weekend to visit. His mother and grandmother have been with him at the hospital. Everyone at the hospital says he is doing great, and we are all trying to keep his spirits up. I will talk to Philip this weekend and we may have a little secret to tell everyone, stayed tuned!

September 3, 1999:
(Update for 9/3 from Dad) I met the hospital team for the weekly assessment and to plan goals. Philip is working hard in rehab with his P/T- Julie and O/T- Erin to get some muscle strength back in his arms. He is having some shoulder pain after the workouts that bother him. Getting more muscles working will help. Philip is up in his chair almost 6 hrs./day! That's hard work for him at this time. School work also started and he will be kept busy during rests from rehab. The doctors will be running tests to make sure his condition is stable since the accident. They still think he will be in the hospital for about 5 or 6 weeks. Every Thursday the team will report on his progress. Labor Day weekend had some friends and family drive over to visit and bring Philip's dog to lick his face! His brother Scott might have something to say about who's dog it really is. Her name is Merry, from Christmas a couple of years ago. The address at the hospital is: TIRR Hospital, 1333 Moursund, Houston TX. 77030.

August 31, 1999: Everyone, this is the report on Philip this week. He was transfered from UT Medical, Knoxville by air to TIRR Hospital, Houston on Wednedsay 8/25 to start rehab. The doctors said he will be in the hospital for about 6 weeks. Philip said the flight was smooth and quiet as compared to the chopper flight he took after the accident. It was loud and bumpy flying out of Smokie Mts., he remembered. Philip's condition was assessed on Thursday to determine his rehab program, he is still @ C5. He has some movement in both arms; this is good! I arrived on Saturday for the weekend. His mother, Susan, has been with him since the accident. Every Thursday the team will meet to check his progress. He is now able to get up in a wheelchair for 1hr in AM, 1hr PM, increasing 30 min. daily if he can handle it. We spent almost 3 hours outside on Sunday! Houston never looked so good. Sunday was a rest day for the rehab team and we got to spend some time talking, reading mail that he has received, and watched a video that his friends Matt and Adam from Metarie sent to him. Funny stuff from 15yr olds. way to go guys!

August 27, 1999:Philip is presently at the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, in Houston, Texas. He is expected to be there for 4-6 weeks, after which he will be returning home.


© Philip Dunham