On July 9th, 2017, Dillon was T-boned by a tractor-trailer on the bypass around our hometown while driving home from work. He was life flighted to Atlanta Medical Center and spent the next 40 days in the trauma unit. He had a team of eleven doctors who did not think he would live due to the severity of his injuries. Every major organ was damaged. He had fractures in his neck, 17 broken ribs, a torn aorta, a lacerated liver and the most severe traumatic brain injury you can have. He was hooked to every machine they had. I stayed with him and Chic worked and drove back and forth to visit. About 4 weeks into his stay he started to respond with his eyes and hands. After 40 days we moved him to a facility in McDonough that specializes in brain recovery. He spent a little over a year there and learned to eat again after 7 months on a feeding tube. He developed some aggressive and repetitive issues so we transferred him to a facility in Roswell to help him recover. There, they work worked on speech and mobility. He spoke for the first time a year and a half after the accident. The therapists stated working to help him walk with assistance and learn skills that he would need to be more independent as we had decided if he could live adjacent to us in his own home we would pursue that course.
We found a farm in Watkinsville and began to renovate the main house so he could get around and have access to a wheelchair bathroom complete with roll in shower. We added a ramp to the door in the garage and set up a make shift bedroom off the wheelchair bath and brought him home. When Covid broke out, the facility in Atlanta had 38 employees who were coming and going and we felt we could keep the number of folks he was exposed to down at the farm. His house was under construction but far from finished.
Chic got online as I was becoming overwhelmed with all of the design decisions for his home and all of the specialty items needed in order for Dillon to enjoy his new space. Morgan came on board and immediately I felt confident that Dillon's house would move forward and she would help us realize our goal for him to be our neighbor. We met many times to put all of the pieces together to get Dillon's house ready for him.
Morgan made samples of stained panels for his movie room to help the painters get exactly the right look for the walls. She helped us to pick out moldings and trim for each space, paint color and curtains, door handles and faucets, lighting and we even took Dillon furniture shopping for sofa's and chairs and his bed. We modified the house as we caught issues that the architects didn't consider due to Dillon's needs. We powder coated rails on toilets to make them look exponentially better than shiny metal sore thumbs in an otherwise beautiful bathroom. We worked on each room to minimize the visible signs of handicapped accessibility to make the house cozy and comfortable for Dillon and not sterile and cold like many of the hospital settings we had previously been in. Morgan worked with builders and electricians and painters and all of our subs as well as found special artisans to customize furniture and upholster pieces special to our family that we wanted to incorporate.
This project for our son was a major undertaking for us as we had never built a home before and this had to be very specialized. Dillon tells us multiple times each day how very much he loves his house and all the things we put in it to make it special for him. Morgan was a Godsend and it has been such a pleasure getting to know her as she worked to make Dillon's house a special place for him to enjoy. It is so good to be home.