Injured teens recovering at home

Friday, April 30, 2004

GLENALLEN, Mo. -- The two teenagers injured April 14 in a car crash that killed two other teens are now home from the hospital.

Heather Martin, 13, was released from St. Francis Hospital Monday. Jerry Dees, 13, came home from St. Louis Children's Hospital Tuesday, said his aunt Pam Lindley.

Heather's mother, Cindy Martin, said Heather is able to sit up in a wheelchair for 20 minutes at a time.

Heather's parents have both taken a leave of absence from their jobs to take care of their daughter, although a nurse does come in regularly to change the bandages on her arm.

"It takes the two of us to put her in the wheelchair," Cindy Martin said. "She can't bend her legs all the way down yet."

The hospital sent a hospital bed home with Heather, which has made it easier for her parents to move her from the bed to her wheelchair.

Heather's mother said her daughter is improving, but has her bad days sometimes.

"She's sleeping good at night, but she has her time during the day," she said. "She likes to be outside. We run her wheelchair outside twice a day."

Heather is frustrated from being unable to move much without pain and being confined to the house, but her friends visit her frequently and next week a homebound teacher will begin bringing her school work to her which her mother hopes will keep her occupied.

Cindy Martin works for a home health care company, Walker and Associates, although caring for a patient with a back injury has been a new experience for her.

Once Heather is able to bend her legs, then Curtis Martin, her father, will be able to return to his job at Procter & Gamble, and Cindy will remain with Heather for a while.

Donations from the community have helped pay the bills while both parents are away from work.

"We're doing the best we can," she said.

Jerry is getting around by using a walker for short periods, aunt Pam Lindley said. He's doing well, she said, but his family remains concerned that he hasn't talked about the accident, which killed his two sisters, Jennifer Lincoln, 18, and Jessica Dees, 15.

"I told his mom that he will probably talk about it whenever he gets strong enough," Lindley said. "I think he feels like he needs to get well right now."

Jerry is still in pain, she said, although it is diminishing.

Lindley's daughter is a teacher a the junior high where Jerry is a student, and she has been bringing his homework assignments to him and helping out when needed.

Jerry's father is disabled and his mother is on leave from her job at Country Mart.

"His parents are holding up real well under the circumstances," Lindley said.

A fund-raising gospel singing to help the family will be held at 7 p.m. May 7 at the First Baptist Church Family Center in Marble Hill, Mo.

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