LEO–Law Enforcement Officer.
I wanted to offer an update on Sgt. Rob Holloway, the husband of my
longtime colleague and friend Stephanie.
If you’ve read my posts as of late, you will recall that Rob was a
Carrollton City (west Georgia) police officer who was shot in the head
while responding to a county-wide call for assistance during a shooting
and high speed chase in the wee hours
of a Monday morning three weeks ago.
Rob was shot in the head by the fleeing suspects, and subsequently crashed
his patrol car into a utility pole.
The bullet remains lodged in his brain while the surgeons had no choice
but to remove part of the right lobe of his brain.
Rob spent two weeks in Atlanta’s Grady Trauma unit and was recently
transferred to Atlanta’s Piedmont Shepherd Spinal Hospital for rehab.
One thing I will always remember about my years of working with
Stephanie was her enthusiasm and positive high spirit.
Stephanie is much younger than I am, yet she taught my son when he
was in high school and assisted me when we implemented a food pantry
for our at risk kids.
It seems that both Grady’s trauma center and the Shepherd’s Spinal Rehab
have each played important roles in the lives of several of our school’s
A few years back our beloved basketball coach was involved in a near
fatal bicycle accident.
He was life flighted to Grady and eventually transferred to Shepherd.
We all read his wife’s daily journal postings regarding his progress
And now once again our Carrollton City School System,
along with extended friends and family, are reading the progress
of another member of our city’s family as they struggle to
survive a life threatening injury.
I am including the last three posts offered by Stephanie regarding
her husband Rob’s progress.
In a word, it is “miraculous.”
Stephanie references our school system’s superintendent Dr. Mark Albertus.
When I was still teaching, Dr. Albertus was my last principal.
He was promoted to superintendent following my retirement.
Mark is a former military officer and father of 4.
I considered myself fortunate for having him as my “final” principal.
The last two principals, out of a total of 8, were truly men of God.
Stephanie references a book that Mark had his school’s leadership team
It is a book that she is now reading to Rob.
I am amazed by both Rob and Stephanie.
Their faith is so very tangible.
While this nation reels over so much drama as it works its way
to outright socialism…while groups such as Antifa and
Black Lives Matters vie for supremacy as a weak and truly
weak minded president struggles to find a way to lead a waywardly
lost nation—the lives of our first responders are in grave
Please take the time to read Stephanie’s latest three postings.
Find joy and hope–just as I have…
May 5, 2021
Journal Entry by Stephanie Holloway — May 5, 2021
What a wonderful day!
Rob woke up around 7:00 a.m. ready to get started marking things off of his list.
He started the day by taking a shower with his occupational therapist and a tech.
The tech was able to help him walk from the bed to the shower
and sit on a shower bench.
The therapist helped him shower, wash his hair, and get dressed.
Then the tech helped him walk all the way back to his chair.
It was miraculous!
After his shower, he was served breakfast in the room.
Today, we had his usual – scrambled eggs, grits with cream cheese, and yogurt.
While I was mixing the cream cheese in his grits,
he started eating the eggs all by himself.
He was almost finished with them by the time I was able to finish the grits.
He ate almost all of his breakfast and fed himself.
All of his medications have been converted to a pill form so
‘that he can take everything orally.
He is doing that well, too.
After breakfast, Robbie went to recreational therapy,
speech therapy, and then physical therapy.
Once he got back to the room after physical therapy,
he was weighed to see if we could take out the feeding tube.
He gained two pounds, and since all his blood work and vitals are still good,
the feeding tube was removed!!!
The process was quick and a little uncomfortable,
but he took it like a champ.
Then, he was ready for his lunch.
His speech therapist brought him another sampler plate,
and Robbie was able to eat two slices of London broil, pasta, a bowl of fruit,
and his frosty.
He said it was delicious and was so grateful he is able
to eat a regular meal.
The speech therapist is going to see how he does tonight and tomorrow,
and if all is well, he will be moved up to the next level on his diet.
No more shredded, mushy meals!
After his lunch, he had about an hour break before his neuropsychological evaluation.
So, we reclined his chair and he took a little power nap.
He worked with the neuropsychologist and was able to recall about 75%
of the information that she shared with him.
This is a great starting place.
When she brought him back to the room, he was ready for
a real nap in his bed.
He napped for a couple of hours while I worked a little.
When he woke up, it was almost time for dinner.
We were able to get him out of the bed without using the lift
and we were also able to mark two things off his goal list:
(1) removing the feeding tube and
(2) not being required to sleep with with the mitts of shame.
It felt really good to strike those two things off his list.
Once dinner arrived, we learned that his speech therapist and his dietician
had permitted him to have regular foods.
He was served tortilla-crusted tilapia and macaroni and cheese.
I tried one bite of each, and they were both delicious.
He enjoyed dinner, and then we were able to mark something else off his list:
(3) eating real food instead of pureed.
Dr. Albertus (our school superintendent) purchases the district leadership team
a book every summer that we read and study together.
Last year, he gave us the book, Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven.
The lessons discussed in each chapter are very fitting
for many situations in life.
Dr. Albertus said he asks his children to read it during their senior year,
so I had Grady read it with me last summer.
It’s an incredible book and a very easy read.
If you have not read it, I strongly recommend it.
Anyway, the book discusses overcoming obstacles within the context
of Navy Seal training, but the author applies the lessons
he learned to other situations in life.
I felt it was very applicable to what Robbie is experiencing right now,
so I started reading it to him this morning.
We got through the first chapter, and he loved it.
Tonight after dinner, he wanted to continue reading it.
Like a good teacher, I checked for understanding before I started
the second chapter this evening.
He remembered a lot of the details from the first chapter,
so I was very excited and quickly began reading the second chapter.
I was about halfway finished with the second chapter when he said,
“Steph, I’m sorry but I’m ready for bed.”
So, his tech and I got him settled into bed.
His nurse gave him his evening medications,
and he is sleeping soundly beside me.
He did ask me and his nurse to make sure he was up tomorrow
for “his training.”
Robbie’s medical team is meeting tomorrow after lunch.
My prayer is that they have enough information
collected with his evaluations to give us some idea of a timeline
of our stay at Shepherd.
I do not want to leave here until Robbie is ready physically,
mentally, psychologically, etc.,
but I desperately hope we can be home before Grady’s birthday and graduation.
Grady will turn 18 on May 26th, and he will graduate with honors on May 28th.
So, if you would like to help me pray for Rob to be well
enough to be home for Grady’s birthday,
I would greatly appreciate your help.
Also, please help me pray for Rob to have the strength,
willpower, and endurance to accomplish his goals.
I cannot wait to tell you what goal we cross off his list tomorrow.
Until then, may God richly bless you and your family.
May 6, 2021
Journal Entry by Stephanie Holloway — 23 hours ago
Today was so amazing!
There are several things we were able to check off of Robbie’s goal list today.
But, I will not get too ahead of myself.
Let me start from the beginning.
Last night was the first night Robbie was able to sleep
without the feeding tube and mitts.
Every night before, his nurses came into our room every three hours
and rotated him from laying on his left side, laying on his back,
and laying on his right side.
Last night, every time the nurses would rotate him,
he would roll over another way.
This is great news because now they may not have to turn him any longer.
They will just check to make sure he is not staying
in the same position all night long.
We both slept really well and woke up refreshed and ready for the day.
Robbie freaked out a little thinking he had overslept
and I had let him miss therapy.
If you have traveled anywhere with me,
I make a schedule for every day.
I do not want to waste a minute,
and so I plan out my entire trip.
My family makes fun of me.
So, can you believe he would think I would let him oversleep?
When his breakfast was served, we were surprised to find bacon
accompanying his scrambled eggs, grits, and yogurt.
I make a picture of his meal before and after he eats
to share with his dietician and his speech therapist.
They are tracking his food and liquid intake to make sure
he is eating and drinking enough.
Before I could take the “before” photo of his breakfast,
he grabbed a piece of bacon and had the entire thing in his mouth!
Needless to say, he ate well for breakfast even if my before picture
did not capture the entire meal.
After he ate breakfast, we read Chapter 2 of Make Your Bed,
and the lesson for this chapter was so timely
for our current living situation.
We were both in tears when we finished it.
Rob’s morning was full of therapy,
so I worked from about 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.
At 11:00 a.m., I was on the phone speaking with a member of our family,
and the door opened, and Robbie was standing there!
I almost fell out of my chair.
He walked from the therapy room all the way to our hospital room.
He had his therapist there with him and supporting him,
but it was him! Standing!
He was exhausted by the time he returned to the room,
so his therapist helped me get him settled into bed,
and he slept until his lunch arrived.
But, wow! I
t took my breath away.
How great is our God!!!
Robbie was scheduled to have therapy again after lunch,
but his therapist invited me to join them for his physical therapy session.
She wanted to train me to help him walk so that I could help him in our room.
This was the highlight of my day!
I got to watch him walk with her, and she taught me how to do it as well.
We also traded in his big wheelchair for a smaller one that he can use
all by himself for longer distances.
After that, he continued therapy until around 3:00 p.m. while I worked.
His amazing nurse joined us when Rob returned to our room
to let us know she had the order to remove his staples
and take out his mid-line IV thingie in his arm.
I walked away while she did all that because I didn’t want
to faint and have to receive medical attention as well.
Afterward, I was able to help him stand from his chair,
walk to the restroom, use the restroom standing like a man
(sorry I know that is gross, but it’s a big deal right now),
and then walk back to his bed for a nap.
What a victory!
That’s three more things off of his goal list!
After all of that excitement,
he enjoyed a nap until they brought his dinner.
He enjoyed his dinner, and then we decided to go to the garden again.
The weather was perfect, the garden was not crowded,
and we enjoyed every minute. We were able to sit together
and talk for a while, and then he wanted to call some of our family.
We lost track of time and the nurses had to come to
get us to go back inside.
By the time we got back up to the room,
Robbie was ready for a bed bath and his night medications.
His tech helped me get him in bed, and his nurse administered his meds.
They were doing shift change though,
so I volunteered to bathe him and get him settled.
I love taking care of him. He takes such good care of me.
So, it did not take long for him to doze off, and he’s sleeping soundly
beside me now and looking forward to another miraculous day tomorrow.
Someone asked me how we stay so positive when this
road is so very difficult.
I want to be real with you.
There have been times where I have been terrified
of losing him or his condition worsening.
Every day has not been on the mountain top like today.
BUT, the answer to that question is simple and found in some scripture
that I’d like to share with you to digest this evening.
The pastor that married us had a verse he would quote often.
Philippians 4:8 reads,
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,
whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Even in the darkest moments of the last few weeks,
I could hear Brother David repeating these words.
It is easy to dwell on the negative and let fear consume you.
But, fear is the absence of faith and is not of God.
You have the power to change your thoughts and your words.
There is so much power in thinking and speaking positively.
So, we choose to focus on the positive and to fill our minds
and our speech with His Word.
We celebrate every victory, and we will not let fear or doubt cloud our minds.
When we are discouraged or afraid, we quote scripture.
It gives us peace and hope, and we focus on the end of this journey –
not the present.
We also have a huge support system and when I need a boost,
God always puts us on the mind of someone who will send me a text
or a Facebook message at that very moment when I need it.
There are a ton of things in our lives right now that are true,
honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report,
virtuous, and worthy of praise – we think on these things,
and I share these things with you.
So, if you are discouraged or afraid,
if you have had a rough day or even a string of rough days,
fix your mind on the things described in Philippians 4:8.
Cast your cares upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).
Your Father in Heaven loves you (John 3:16),
and we love you, too.
Thank you for walking this journey with us.
Your comments bless me so much, and one day,
Robbie will read this journal and your comments will bless him, too.
Until then, I’m trusting in his complete restoration and a graduation
day at Shepherd before Grady’s graduation day at CHS.
Have an amazing evening and a wonderful Friday.
May 7, 2021
Happy Friday, Friends!
I hope you all had a wonderful day today.
Our day was full of happy moments.
Rob and I both slept really well, and then we woke up and ate breakfast together today.
I ran downstairs to the cafeteria while he was still sleeping and picked up the same breakfast he had. When I got back upstairs, I had a table set up for us both to have breakfast together.
We were able to get him dressed, transition him from his bed to the chair at the table,
and eat breakfast like normal. He blessed the meal, fed himself while I ate,
and other than the location, it seemed like a normal meal together.
After breakfast, Robbie wanted to call and talk to my parents.
It’s the first time he has really spoken with both of them since his injury, and it was a tear-filled, joyous call. After that, he had a morning full of therapy.
He worked on word puzzles with his speech therapist, played a card matching game
with his occupational therapist, and worked on sitting and standing without assistance and without using his hands for balance with his physical therapist.
When he got back to our room after his therapy today, he told me he spent the whole morning dominating card games and working on squats. He was laughing and joking with the therapists,
and even laughed and joked with his doctor about his glasses.
By the time he returned to the room, he was exhausted and ready for a nap.
During Rob’s afternoon therapy sessions, the “games” his therapists used to help
test the limits of his memory and processing abilities frustrated him.
So, his physical therapist suggested we all go to the garden for her session and walk around the garden.
I loved that idea and jumped on the opportunity to participate in therapy with Robbie.
The weather was perfect in the garden, and there were several people enjoying the fresh air today with us.
His physical therapist parked his chair at the base of the ramp entering the garden and asked Robbie to go ahead and stand up. She walked behind him providing support using his gait belt while I walked beside him holding his hand.
His therapist would designate a target (bench, flower pot, etc) and ask Robbie to walk to it. We would walk to the target area, rest a moment, and then stand back up and continue.
We walked around the entire garden holding hands together. It was so wonderful. When we got back to the chair and ramp entering the building, Robbie did not want to sit down just yet.
So, his therapist suggested they “try the steps.” Rob said ok, and off they went.
He walked up three steps into the building like he had been working on climbing steps all week.
It happened so fast that I almost missed the video opportunity!
Once we got back into the building, Rob wanted to walk all the way to the room.
So, while he and his therapist walked together, I pushed the wheelchair.
We walked around to the Shepherd Building elevators, rode up to the 2nd floor,
and walked all the way to our room. By the time we got there, ‘
Robbie was exhausted and ready for a nap. His spirit was triumphant though,
and he was smiling as he fell asleep.
While Robbie napped, I met with one of his therapists and we discussed his injury in great detail.
Rob has an acquired brain injury to the right hemisphere of his brain.
This injury causes him to have trouble with attention, perception, memory, and a loss of mobility on the left side of his body. In the paperwork she shared with me, the right side of the brain also is in charge of “visual awareness, imagination, emotions, spatial abilities, face recognition, music awareness, 3D forms, interpreting social cues, left-hand control, and some math estimations and comparisons. We discussed how this could impact his daily life; however, he has really been doing well in most of these areas this week. We also discussed ways I can help him work to improve these areas and ways I could help keep him safe with deficits in these areas as we transition home. While she believes we are still weeks away from going home, she did say that every brain injury is different and that it is still too early to even estimate a date we might get to go home. So, I took this opportunity to remind her of the dates of Grady’s birthday and graduation ceremony. She said that Robbie reminds all of them daily that he cannot miss these dates. She promised me that his team is keeping Grady’s week in mind when they plan. But, she also said Rob’s health and wellbeing will determine when he leaves Shepherd.
Robbie started waking up from his nap as I returned to his room. I ran down to the cafeteria to get my food, picked up his meal tray, and we ate together again like normal. After dinner, Robbie spoke with his mom for a little while and with Grady. Then, he decided he wanted to sit in the big comfy chair in our room for a while because “his butt was going numb” in his chair. So, I helped him move into the chair and put my feet beside him in the chair. Then, he started rubbing my feet for a while while we talked about the day. Before his injury, we would sit like this in the man cave and he would rub my feet the same way. Right now, I’m enjoying the opportunity to take care of him, but it was so nice to slip back into our pre-April 12th routine.
After a while, he was tired and ready to get back in bed. I helped him take a bed bath, changed his sheets and clothes, and helped him settle in bed. His nurse came in and administered his evening medications, and he has been sleeping soundly for a while now.
I hope you all have a wonderful evening, and I’ll update you again on his progress tomorrow. Luke 1:37