Last evening, just 23 days after the bombing attack on Boston, our seven-year-old daughter Jane underwent her eleventh surgery. While she has more trips to the O.R. ahead of her, last night’s operation marked an important milestone, as doctors were finally able to close the wound created when the bomb took her left leg below the knee. Part of the procedure involved preparing Jane’s injured leg to eventually be fitted for a prosthesis.
By closing the wound, the incredible medical team at Boston Children’s Hospital laid the groundwork for Jane to take an important step forward on the long and difficult road ahead of her. One of the things we have learned through all of this is to not get too high or too low. We take today’s development as positive news and look ahead with guarded optimism. If things go well, Jane could be ready to transition to the rehabilitation stage of her recovery in the next few weeks.
Getting to this point has not been easy for Jane. In addition to all of the surgeries, she has also had to fight off infections and other complications. After not being able to communicate with Jane for the first two weeks, she woke up with difficult questions that needed to be answered. There are not words to describe how hard sharing this heartbreaking news was on all of us.
As for the rest of the family, Bill and Denise were discharged from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center a week after they were admitted. While no sight has returned to Denise’s injured eye, her doctors have been pleased with how she is healing from her surgeries. Bill is healing from the shrapnel wounds and burns to his legs, and we remain hopeful there will be improvement over time from the hearing loss he suffered. It will be several months before we know what, if any improvement Denise or Bill will experience. Henry is back at school, which gives him a needed sense of routine and normalcy. We will continue to stay together in the Longwood Medical Area until Jane is discharged.
Our focus as a family remains on healing from our injuries, both physical and emotional.
We would like to take this time to also acknowledge the strength we draw from the community. The outpouring of support from friends, family and total strangers has been incredible, and it is uplifting to our family in this most painful and difficult time. Well-wishes reach us, and they help more than anyone can know.
From the moment of the attack, all of us have been in the hands of well-trained people who are incredibly good at what they do. We thank the courageous first-responders and Samaritans who stabilized and comforted us on the scene as well as the medical staff at the hospitals for quick action and life-saving care. We particularly want to thank the people who quickly got to Jane and addressed her injury in the street because they saved her life. We also salute those who stood guard over Martin’s body so he was not alone. Those officers will never know how comforting that was in our very darkest hour. The doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, technicians, orderlies, volunteers and administrators at both Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have been incredible. We will recover because of these dedicated and talented people.
People near and far have made loving gestures and poignant remembrances. We are aware of tributes and vigils across the area and around the world. Martin was a big sports fan and what has taken place across the sports world – from our local teams to our arch rivals, by teams and by individual players – reminds us why. Martin was “Boston Strong,” and now we must all be for him and for all of the victims of this senseless attack as well as their loved ones who are going through a hell we wish we never had to know.
Many of you feel an incredible need to do more, which is understandable and gracious. We will need help, as we cannot get through this tragedy on our own. We know how difficult it is to stand idle when something terrible happens, so we thank you for respecting our privacy and giving us space to not only recuperate and rest, but also to ensure the one thing the attack does not break is our bond as a family.
As hard as it is for us to do so, we ask for your continued patience as we work through something for which there is no road map, and there are no instructions.
We look forward to sharing another update when Jane leaves Children’s Hospital for rehab in the coming weeks. We will post any future statements at RichardFamilyBoston.tumblr.com.