In March 2012 Joan answered the phone early one morning and heard her son’s unit commander on the other end. All she could do was make a few notes: Jake has been wounded… gunshot wound to abdomen… medevac’d to field hospital … update when there is more information.
After five days she was informed her son was on a medical ship and that he been shot in the stomach. As a combat medic, he had fallen running to the aid of a comrade in Afghanistan. His stomach, spleen, small intestine, and pancreas were damaged and he was paralyzed from the chest down. Jake spent the next two years in and out of four hospitals and endured over 40 operations.
Joan and her husband, Alan, had been planning retirement as empty nesters. Their life had changed as they were about to become the full-time caregivers for their son. They were needed to assist with all aspects of his daily living. Joan and Alan still lived in the same home that they had raised Jake and his sister in. It was a small, three bedroom home with a narrow hallway on a large, well landscaped piece of land that Alan took lots of pride in maintaining.
- Jake was going to need lots of space for his heavy duty power wheelchair and the supplies that he needed.
- While Joan and Alan needed to help with many of Jakes daily living activities, Jake still enjoyed a level of independence by getting his own snacks and doing some minor tasks in the kitchen.
- Because of the size and layout of the existing home, only extensive and expensive modifications would create a bathroom, access to a bedroom, and a kitchen that Jake could use.