Category Archives : Month 1

Trip Across Town

Hello fellow Aaron supporters. 🙂
It was a full day at Magee today. Aaron had his 1 month follow up visit with the doctor who performed surgery on his neck the day of his accident. That was in Atlantic City; amazingly the doc’s office is less than a mile from Magee. Aaron made the trip via ambulance with Jaime (somebody pulled some strings for her!). The doctor said his neck seems to be healing fine so Aaron won’t need any additional surgery at this point. Aaron was hoping he would be able to “lose” his cervical collar today, but it just wasn’t meant to be; the doctor wants him to wear it for another month.
Please continue to pray for Aaron as he has developed another fever. The Magee staff are in the process of doing various tests to find the cause; we’ll know more in a couple of days. Aaron is very tired from his therapy, traveling today, and his fever. Hope to have him back making his own posts soon.

New Sensations!!

Hi, this is Aaron’s mom.  Just wanted to let you know that on Thursday, Aaron had a new sensation that he had not had after the accident up to that point.  Without getting into a lot of detail, it had to do with his bowels.  It happened again later that same day.  The physical therapist was very excited about Aaron having this sensation.  On Friday morning, Aaron’s doctor did some more testing of sensations regarding Aarn’s bowels and Aaron’s body responded in a very positive way!   Thank you God for hearing our prayers!   We know this will be a slow process, but we are so grateful for these positive signs!   Everybody, please keep the prayers coming!!!

Prayers prayers everywhere!

Hello Everyone,

This is Aaron’s sister, Alexis.  I was talking to Jackie (my boyfriend, Bret’s mom) on Facebook the other night.  She has been keeping updated on Aaron’s progress through this blog and she said she was amazed at how far reaching all this prayer and support for Aaron is.  It got me thinking that it might be fun to give folks a visual picture so here’s what I came up with…

This is a link to a pin point map that I created where you guys can go and create a pin point for your location with a message to let Aaron know that you’re praying for him.  All you have to do is copy and paste the link into your web browser and an interactive map will appear.  You can zoom in or out and use your mouse to drag the map to find your specific location.  Then go down to the bottom right of the map, just underneath there is a link that says, “add extra pin to this map”.  Once you click on that you should be able to go back to the map and click on your location which will add a pin and bring up a balloon for you to type a message.  It will ask you for a password to preview the pin.  The password is 1234.

I know we have a lot of people and their churches all over this country and beyond praying for Aaron.  Let’s cover this map in pins and show Aaron just how many people are pulling for him and how awesome our God is.

Love you so much Ern!

***Update***  For those of you who attempted to add a pin but were unable, please try again.  The problem should be corrected.

It takes a thief…

Ok….before I confess let me set up the scenario.
I stayed with Aaron over night last night and anyone that has done so can tell you that you don’t get a lot of sleep. Lights on…lights off…. bells and whistles going off….nurses in and out. So I get up this morning at 5:20 to drive straight to work getting dressed in the dark. I get the news from Diane around noon that Aaron’s sneakers have gone missing. After a long day at work I drive home and pop open the tailgate to my Jeep Cherokee and guess what I found…………you got it. Aaron’s sneakers. I WAS SET UP! I THINK THAT IT WAS AN INSIDE JOB! THE EVIDENCE WAS PLANTED! I plan to turn my self into the authorities at Magee on Saturday. I will probably be placed under house arrest! Anyone who knows me is not surprised by this wild tale.
In all seriousness I am sorry for any undeserved suspicion that was cast towards anyone at Magee as they have been nothing less than wonderful.
Jaime & Aaron are having an NFL kick-off party at Magee tonight for the Steelers vs. Titans game. I took Aaron’s terrible towel down to him on Wednesday so that he would have it tonight. Enjoy yourselves tonight guys!

We love you!


Sticky Fingers Wood (my criminal name)


Hi, this is Aaron’s mom.  I am not with Aaron today, but I received a call from my husband, Sam, who IS with Aaron today.  He told me that somebody stole Aaron’s new sneakers.  Aaron was a little bummed out, but not as much as I was!  At first, I was extremely upset that someone was heartless enough to do this.  Then, I started to think about all of the very generous things so many of you have done for Aaron and/or his family, and that helped me get over the anger.   Aaron, apparently whomever stole your sneakers, needed them more than you do, so we’ll just consider it a donation, OK?

I got you another pair of sneakers today and we are going to do something to them (not sure what yet) that identifies them as yours, so nobody else would want them!  

Just want you to know, Aaron, there are people out there who will take advantage of others and their situations, but for the most part, people are good and kind and so many of those people are behind you and are praying for you!  Those prayers will protect you  from  the bad apples you meet along the way!   Can’t wait to see you tomorrow!   I love you !


New Pics

Hello all. Got a few pics of Aaron today. Aaron and his dad Greg (aka Woody) on the roof at Magee. You can’t tell from this pic, but on the roof level, there’s a library, pc’s, ping pong tables, picnic area, garden area and a car. I have no idea why there’s a car on the roof! Anyway, Aaron did his 2nd therapy outside on the roof today. 🙂
The 2nd pic is of Aaron with his friends Brian Sullivan and Greg Rittenberry who visited with Aaron today.
The 3rd pic is of Dave the respiratory therapist (I confess I don’t know Dave’s last name!) and Aaron. Dave has been working with Aaron to get rid of his ventilator. Dave said Aaron really worked hard on that today and made good progress. 🙂Woody and AaronAaron with Greg and BrianAaron and Dave

Thank You

We have been amazed by the outpouring of love and support by friends, family, co-workers, classmates, church members, and people that we don’t even know. Your kind and comforting words, emails, cards, calls, and most importantly prayers have been uplifting for Aaron as well as his family. We continue to hear of people and churches from all around the country that are praying for Aaron. Please continue to pray daily as we trust God for strength and healing.
Aaron continued with his therapy today at Magee. The skill and commitment of the staff as they work with Aaron to help him meet his goals is very apparent. We look forward to each new day and the hope and progress that it brings.

Post from Aaron through Jaime.

Even though I can’t respond to cards, facebook, posts, emails, etc..please know Jaime or someone reads them all to me. Words can’t describe what they mean to me. I’m saving them all, and will respond when I’m physically able to.  All your love, support, and prayers is what will get me through this. Its cliche, but please don’t take life for granted. I was guilty of complaining so many times and now it all means nothing. Be thankful for what god gave you, I know I am already. Special thanks to the greatest family, friends, and girlfriend I could ever dream of. I love you all.

Labor Day!

A scrapbook is going to be in the making during Aaron’s long “journey”, therefore we have began taking pictures. With Aaron’s approval of course, we thought we would put up some pictures to show just how tough this journey is and how he still keeps his contagious smile through it all. Aaron had a great day today! Worn out because Magee is amazing and works these people to recovery ; ). They are in the process of weaning him off the ventilator. Not sure how long that will actually take, but sooner than later because he tolerated it like a champ today! The respiratory therapists are amazing, the sneak up behind him and turn down the settings without him knowing. It’s great. Mind over matter as Aaron would say…And let me sum up the pictures..he has to wear a neck brace due to his spinal fusion surgery(that took place the day of the accident) for 4-6 weeks..and the tracheostomy is the tube from his neck that the ventilator is hooked to. Once he gets off the ventilator for several days that WILL be removed. The tubes to his chest are a form of chest physical therpay..the tubes hook to a vest and a machine that shake, rattle, and rolls him to get the fluid out of his chest (pneumonia). That picture was taken in the ICU at Hahnemann. He only gets his “vest” treatment a few times a day, about 20 minutes long. It’s funny, but annoys him(however very productive!!). And I put the shower cap on him to be silly.
Aaron smilingAaron

Fantasy Draft

Hello All!

We’re here in Aaron’s room at Magee getting multiple laptops setup for the Fantasy Football Draft tonight at 6:00. Aaron & Woody are coaching a team; Jaime & Marie (Jaime’s roommate) are coaching a team, and Brian Sullivan is here and will be drafting his team tonight with us. Aaron has a loose schedule today as far as “Magee stuff”. Yesterday, he had physical therapy in the gym. They completely re-evaluated him since he was away for a week. His therapist said he had really good flexibility and she was able to feel muscle activity in his right leg and deep muscle activity in his right arm. She was touching his left side fingers too and he could feel that as well. He will be back into a routine again tomorrow. Bret, Lexie, and Kat-lyn just arrived. It’s a full house! Aaron’s smiling and laughing. 🙂

Back to Magee tomorrow

Hey everyone! I’m sitting next to Aaron and we’re doing this together because we don’t have his account activated yet. Ha. Aaron says he had a good day, pretty tired, and sick of Hahnemann. Doctors say he is having a procedure(bronchoscopy) to get the rest of the mucous out of his right lung. Then he’s due to return to Magee at noon. The only thing holding him back now is if he has a fever between now and then AGAIN (Aaron says over his tracheostomy lol, which sounds like he has just sucked a helium balloon). He says thank you for all the comments and he’ll write as soon as he can himself : )

Hand Test

Jaime did a test on Aaron today! She squeezed his fingers one at a time and asked him to identify which one she was squeezing and he got it right! In case you’re wondering he had his eyes squeezed tightly closed.  🙂

Aaron is very anxious to get back to Magee to see what else he can do.  So far his tests are coming back with good results so PLEASE pray fervently that his fever will go away and stay away so he can move asap! In fact pray that NOTHING will delay his move back to Magee.

Also a side note… we were reading picture captions in Adam Taliaferro’s book (he was a Penn State football player with a similar injury and prognosis as Aaron’s and walked out of Magee in 10 weeks!) and the one showed him and his family in his room on the day he was discharged from Magee. You’ll never guess what his room number was. That’s right… 543… Aaron’s room number. Pretty cool, huh!

Scrabble Letters

Jaime's Scrabble Letters

Scrabble Letters

Aaron’s mom Diane forwarded this picture to me. Aaron’s cousin Bill and his girlfriend Danielle were playing Scrabble on their cellphones and when it was Danielle’s turn her Scrabble letters read “Ern Heal”. “Ern” is the name Diane’s side of the family has been calling Aaron since he was little.
All I can say to that is we’re all thinking the same thing.

August 20th Update

(Admin Note: the following excerpts were taken from an email sent by Alexis Noll on August 20th and is being added to help fill the gap between Aaron’s accident and today. This post in no way represents Aaron’s current situation.)

“First about his injury.  It is rather difficult to explain.  He didn’t actually compress his spine.  It’s just that the nature of the dislocation compressed his spinal cord which caused some pretty nasty bruising.  To give you a bit of a visual… imagine pulling on a rope to ring a big bell.  The rope represents the spinal chord and if you place your hands grasping that rope right on top of each other they represent two vertebrae in your spine.  With one hand directly over top of the other you have alignment and the rope (spinal cord) is protected within your hands.  What happened when Aaron hit his head is that one of those vertebrae shifted about 50% according to the doctor which caused a severe misalignment (also called subluxation) that is the equivalent of you shifting one of your hands to the right or left an inch or two.  What happens to the rope is that bends and gets pinched between the part of your hands that are still overlapping each other.  That rope you’re grasping is a lot stronger than your actual spinal cord so you can imagine how easily it’s going to give way and be pinched between those two vertabrae.  A complication that occurred with Aaron is that when these vertabrae subluxated they also somehow jammed and got locked like that which is why they had to do surgery to see what was going on in there and how to pull them apart to put them back in alignment.  Along with putting the vertabrae back in place and unpinching Aaron’s spinal cord, the doctors also removed the disc between the vertabrae because it had ruptured and became unstable.  For those of you with no backround in the anatomy of the spine, the discs between the vertabrae serve as shock absorbers and allow for movement and flexibility of the spine.  Since Aaron’s disc was ruptured and the structural integrity of those two vertabrae was compromised, the doctors fused the two vertabrae together to stablized them.  The doctor also told us that with spinal cord compression, the first 8 hours are critical.  The doctors were able to realign those discs and relieve the compression caused to his spinal cord within that window which they say limits the damage caused.  The discs that were affected were C-3 and C-4.  Everything below those discs is basically cut off (or there is severe interference) from the messages being sent by the brain which is why Aaron has lost so much function. ..”

“Aaron at this point is only able to move his shoulders and everything above them.  He does not have any use of his arms or legs.  We did get some encouraging news today.  Aaron is having some sensation in his pinky finger.  Also Aaron’s girlfriend Jamie is an RN and has been assisting his nurses when she can.  While she was helping one of the nurses lift Aaron today, she was rubbing his back and Aaron said that he could feel something.  Aaron also said he felt something when Woody was rubbing one of his calf muscles.  The staff are trying to exercise his muscles to keep them from atrophying or deteriorating from lack of use.  The doctors did caution us that this may or may not be a good sign.  These sensations may come and go and they are not necessarily indicative of Aaron regaining function in any of these areas.  However, we are very hopeful and encouraged.  Aaron is still on a hefty dose of morphine to manage his pain and we are thinking that it is also most likely dulling his senses a bit so we are eager to see if the sensation increases as the dosage of morphine decreases.

Aaron was taken off the ventilator because he didn’t appear to be having too much trouble breathing which is rather miraculous with an injury involving C-3 which is the vertabrae that houses the nerves directly related to lung function.  However, the doctor did recommend to put Aaron back on the ventilator for the time being because while he is inhaling enough oxygen, he is not exhaling enough carbon dioxide.  This may seem like a step back at first but really what the doctor is trying to do here is make sure that Aaron’s body is less focused on trying to breath normally and focusing more resources on healing itself.  They are also inserting a feeding tube for the same reason.  Aaron will gain more nourishment from that than he will from an IV drip which will help his body to heal.  They are going to insert a trach so that these things will not affect his ability to communicate.  They are going to do that tomorrow even though Aaron was ready for them to do it today.  Aaron is doing very well mentally despite his circumstances.  He’s keeping a positive attitude and seems to be very ready and willing to face the challenges of healing which is good since it may be a long road to recovery.  Aaron will remain in NJ for about a week and then be transferred to an inpatient rehab facility somewhere closer to home…”

Aaron’s Blog

For a little while this website will be a way for those closest to Aaron to provide updates on his condition. Hopefully soon Aaron himself will be able to take over and start talking for himself. Each posting includes a “comment” link that will give anyone a chance to add their own thoughts of love and encouragement.

We’re all rooting for you Aaron…stay strong!