Wayne Dodge Update
*New updates posted below this message*
Dear Haven Community,
Wayne Dodge is one of The Haven’s much-loved true friends, with 2021 marking 40 years of his association with us. During this time he has filled multiple roles: core faculty, board director, special advisor, mentor, elder, regular contributor to our Shen Blog, author of the Zeitgeist series, and more.
Sadly, one week ago Wayne had an accident and is in hospital. Wayne and his partner, Larry, now wish to inform the wider Haven Community about this—see Larry’s message below.
On Saturday March 27th, Wayne fell backwards down stairs and fractured his fifth cervical vertebrae. He is in stable condition at Harborview Hospital. He has had surgery in his neck and had stabilizing bars implanted. Currently he has no feeling or the ability to move below his upper chest. His gross motor skills are impacted, and have improved since Saturday.
At this point, his mind is fine and he is well grounded. He will likely be moved to the rehabilitation center at Harborview next week and will remain there for several more weeks. The staff has been very caring and responsive, but we are not able to visit due to Covid restrictions.
We do not anticipate any significant changes for several weeks. It will be a long process of rehabilitation. We are optimistic that he may regain some gross and fine motor capabilities. We just need to wait patiently.
Wayne specifically asked, “please do not call or email. Keep me in your heart and loving.” I have set up a google document to collect well wishes if you want to share these with Wayne, our family, and the Haven community. The Well Wishes Collection link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11la8mlqyyg0MrzNYgLIznnV87fING3g1lWWkOTKJtjQ/edit?usp=sharing
Wayne doesn't mind if people know what's happened, just that they get the correct information. Feel free to share this information with anyone that is a part of the Haven community, with which he has worked for 40 years, or part of his broader community.
In lieu of flowers or gifts please donate to the Haven in Wayne's name at https://haven.ca/giving.
Wayne is heavily scheduled in the rehabilitation center at Harborview Hospital, from about 9:30-3:30 daily. He is in a wheelchair much of the day. The swelling from the surgery has subsided, and his swallowing is easier but he is still not able to comfortably handle soft foods so the naso-gastric tube will continue to provide meds and nutrition for a while. His breathing is much better and sitting up probably has helped in clearing his chest.
Physical therapists are working on stretching, strengthening arms, working on balance, and wheelchair mobility so he can direct aides about transfer and moving the chair. They have ordered and will start work on using a power wheelchair, which is equipment that will go with Wayne when he leaves Harborview. They intend for Wayne to be able to drive the chair without help indoors, though he will need assistance outside. Wayne is noticing slow improvements in micromovements. It’s really early. He may see additional motor muscle function, which usually takes many weeks, up to a year after injury. For those that do have motor recovery, it is most likely to see more movement at the elbow and wrist.
The occupational therapist is working on strengthening muscles in Wayne’s arms, helping Wayne to use voice control on iPad for communication, and to access media. The speech therapist is focusing on improvements to his swallowing so that he can eat by mouth and they can eventually remove the feed tube. The doctor indicated that they anticipate 4-5 weeks in-patient and assured me that they would monitor progress and keep him longer as necessary.
The positive news is that Wayne has a much easier time talking without catching his breath frequently. He also has some sensation returning to his right arm and hand--enough to give us hope that improvements will continue in his upper body over the next months. We have frequent phone calls, several Facetime calls (when technology works), and Zoom visits so that
he has been able to talk face-to-face with me, Robin, Marie, and our weekly support group. As you can expect, some days are good, and some are rough and it is challenging for him to remain optimistic with progress so hard to see or predict. But I have been sharing your cards, emails, and caring words with him whenever we speak, and it is of great importance to him, particularly as the hospital is still restricting visitors.
I remind you that you can visit the Google doc that Robin set up and see the outpouring of prayers, wishes, and caring coming from all corners. If you want to add your own comments, you just need to scroll to the end, input your name, and your message. There is no “send” button. Robin will monitor and “approve” your comment as she checks the document regularly. https://docs.google.com/document/d/11la8mlqyyg0MrzNYgLIznnV87fING3g1lWWkOTKJtjQ/edit?usp=sharing
It will be a long and winding road ahead, but healthy outcomes result from having this kind of support from so many.
Wayne has gone through a number of days in which his spirits have been very low but there have been lighter days as well, when we have spoken at length. Yesterday I read him about half of the first group of Google doc comments, finding myself choking up and tearing up at various points and pausing. I plan to do a second group today.
He had a shower earlier this week—a 45 minute ordeal but one during which he had a shampoo and felt better afterwards. He also has mastered a few of the verbal commands on the iPad to the point where he told me yesterday he had finished reading my sister’s first murder mystery on Kindle, as well as being able to access his music stored on the iPad and with some challenges in locating particular recordings, he is now capable of doing that and listening. This week he is also learning how to use his breath to move about in the wheelchair. So minor accomplishments but all directed toward giving him some sense of being able to control his surroundings
Dear family, friends, and colleagues,
Wayne continues to make slow but markedly important improvements. His physical therapist has been working with him on his ability to control the motorized wheelchair they are outfitting for his particular abilities using his breath and his head motion. Learning is challenging but, as you might expect, Wayne pushes himself beyond many of the others in rehab. He has already figured out how to make a “full turn around.” He is also becoming more comfortable with mastering the fairly complicated process of using voice commands to call and end calls on Facetime, to access the music and books stored on his iPad, and to dictate text messaging and email.
Last week, they did a procedure to insert a food and medication port into the stomach, which allowed them to remove the uncomfortable naso-gastric feeding tube. That has made Wayne much more comfortable, and his breathing and communication have improved markedly since then. He still has difficulty with swallowing, and his speech therapist continues to work with him on swallowing exercises with the goal of having him able to manage drink and food intake at some point so that his stomach port will no longer be necessary within the next few months.
I have been sharing your actual cards, emails, and caring words by phone with him whenever we speak, and deliver the note cards periodically when I bring him some of the requested items he needs. They are of great importance to him, particularly as the hospital is still restricting visitors—I can only drop off packages and have a fourth floor staff person pick them up outside the hospital entrance.
In summary, progress is going as well as expected toward preparing Wayne for a move to assisted living by mid-to late May, though that awaits an assessment by Horizon House prior to his discharge to confirm that he meets their criteria for the level of care they can provide. We have confidence he will meet that criteria.
I remind you that you can visit the Google doc that Robin set up to add your own “suggested” comments. Robin will monitor and “approve” your comment as she checks the document regularly. (She has since removed some comments to allow newer submittals to be at the top) https://docs.google.com/document/d/11la8mlqyyg0MrzNYgLIznnV87fING3g1lWWkOTKJtjQ/edit?usp=sharing
I said it last week and it bears repeating--it will be a long and winding road ahead, but healthy outcomes result from having this kind of support from so many.
Until next time,
On-Going Energy Circle for Wayne
This offering, from Susan Clarke, is for friends of Wayne and Larry to gather together to send intentional energy — our loving — to Wayne. A group gathering, 30-45 minutes every other week, on Wednesdays starting at 6pm PT, on Zoom, where anyone can join. If you are interested, please sign up for the automated reminder. You will receive a reminder the day before, with the Zoom link.
Here is the link to sign up for the reminder. https://susanclarke.pages.ontraport.net/wayneenergycircle
Susan notes: This isn’t a process group or a check in group or Haven group — it is more designed along the lines of a Power of Eight circle.
- We gather
- If there is an update about Wayne, that will be shared
- We go into breakout rooms to share a favourite Wayne memory and connect with 1-2 other folks on the call
- We come backhand spend 10-15 minutes in a form of meditation around an intention for Wayne. Not words — background music and silence together.
- We finish