A letter from Vance Phillips – update from the hospital

 A Letter from Vance Phillips

Sussex County Councilman
November 2, 2011
Let me begin by saying a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to everyone who has reached out to me and my family in the past few days since the accident to offer their prayers, well wishes and words of encouragement. The outpouring of love and concern has been so overwhelming that I can barely process it all. I know one thing, though. That outpouring has been  a testament to the kind of community that is Sussex County, a community I am proud to call home.
Most of you know by now many of the details of what happened on Sunday, Oct. 30, as I was performing my first solo flight here in Virginia. So I am not going to bore you with what we already know. That’s something that I can regale everyone with on another day.
What I do want to do is take a moment to update everyone on my injury, and the path ahead for my recovery. Hundreds of calls and emails have come into me from concerned folks wanting to know what’s happening, what’s ahead, what can they do to help. Obviously, I cannot respond to every email or phone call. I wish I could, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day or battery life in my Droid phone to do it!
But I wanted to take a moment to put some thoughts to paper to let  you, my family, friends, neighbors, and constituents, know of where I am and where I hope to be going in the days, weeks and even months ahead.
My doctors here at the University of Virginia Medical Center, who are doing top-notch work by the way, are optimistic about my recovery. But it’s going to be slow, and frankly, it’s too early to tell exactly how things are going to pan out.
They tell me I have a shattered T12 vertebra. That’s a section of the spine located in the thoracic vertebrae, just above the lumbar. Upon impact of my landing, that T12 bone was pushed into my spinal cord, pinching it. Thankfully, it did not sever my spinal cord.
Surgeons have inserted a couple of screws and relieved the pressure by moving the vertebra back into alignment with the spinal column. The fracture is now stabilized.
As you might imagine, this was a violent impact, and it has caused quite a bit of trauma to my body. The human body is resilient, but it will take time to heal.
Every spinal injury is different, I’m told. So it’s hard to say how I will heal, how quickly it will happen, and when I can return to my life pre-accident. The good news is I have limited movement and sensation in my legs, and that’s a positive sign. The doctors are very encouraged. We’re hopeful that will improve each day and that  I can begin some therapy within the next week or so. But time will tell, and they keep telling me that for now, we have to take it day by day.
So, when do I get to go home? That’s the big question on everyone’s minds. My family and I hope to find a rehabilitation facility closer to Delaware that would be suitable for treating my injury. Hopefully, we’ll have that pinned down in the next few days. For now, I expect to remain here at UVa until sometime next week.
Beyond that, well, we just don’t know. The entire process of stepping down from acute care to intense rehabilitation to easing me back into some sense of normalcy could take anywhere from three to six months. Maybe sooner. Could be longer. It all remains to be seen.
Right now, I have to focus on each day. With your continued prayers and my trust in God that I will pull through this, I will be back at work serving the people of Sussex County in due time. To that end, I hope to begin taking constituent calls  next week. But, if you have a pressing issue, please contact the County Council office at (302) 855-7743. Our dedicated staff can help you in my absence.
Until then, please know that I am thinking of you all and I can’t wait to get back home to the people and community I so dearly love.
Sincerely,
Vance Phillips
Vance shared this November 2, 2011 at about 10pm.
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