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Wang moves to Colorado rehab hospital

From David Chen, husband of Theresa Wang, who is recovering from injuries sustained in the Nov. 19 car crash that also injured Colt Brennan:

Aloha to our Ohana,

The lateness of this update is because we traveled all night and arrived in Denver, Colo. just a few hours ago; and am I ever jetlagged!

After almost seven weeks at The Queen’s Medical Center, and thanks to our Lord’s healing powers, Theresa’s fractures and internal injuries have healed to the point where she is cleared for travel, although it still had to be of the non-weightbearing variety.

Theresa did very well on the somewhat bumpy 7-hour flight, sleeping in the reclined seat most of the way with a flight nurse riding shotgun to administer to her medical needs.

While other passengers were dining on the chicken tortellini, Theresa had to make do with the IV drip bag hanging from the ceiling, but I’m sure we’ll make up for it on the return trip. The chief purser was nice enough to allow Theresa’s seat to remain reclined even for take-off and landing, which probably made the crossing feel like relaxing in a Barcolounger compared to the discomfort of the cardiac chair.

We would like to give special thanks to those friends and supporters locally and worldwide that donated to the Friends of Dr. Theresa Wang fund through First Hawaiian Bank, PayPal or in person. Your generous gifts helped to cover a significant portion of the medflight transfer costs.

Even before the flight, Theresa was quite animated, smiling and waving at the airline staff and the TSA at the Honolulu airport, showing her excitement that we are heading on the next leg of our healing journey. With the current functioning of her wrist, Theresa really has that floppy hand wave reminiscent of the queen down pat.

A few people in line recognized Theresa (probably from the media photos) and happily stepped aside to let the stretcher go by.

Overall, the transfer went smoothly with the exception of a delay at the Denver airport because the medical transport attendants had a difficult time convincing TSA to let them and their stretcher through to the gate. TSA wanted them to wait for us at the passenger greeting area after an airport porter brought Theresa out on a wheelchair.

If the TSA weren’t part of the Department of Homeland Security, some of them wouldn’t be fit to be mall cops (no insult intended to mall cops.)

Even with all of the transfer arrangements in place, this trip almost did not happen because of a mix-up with our health insurance coverage. Thankfully, with the tireless advocacy of numerous people behind the scenes, God answered so many of my prayers yesterday that I don’t feel right asking Him for anything else anytime soon, but I still will.

With each small setback, I prayed for a resolution and by the end of each prayer, a solution appeared either by phone, e-mail or inspiration. Literally beyond the last minute due to the 3-hour time difference, approval finally came through that our insurer would cover Theresa’s rehabilitation program at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, a quiet suburb of Denver.

The reason Theresa needs to go there is because of the nature of her brain and spinal cord injuries. There really is no other facility in Hawaii or even the west coast that can offer the degree of specialized rehab therapy needed by Theresa.

This hospital has helped the likes of Christopher Reeve, many football and hockey players, and even some of the Columbine High School shooting victims. That the Director of Traumatic Brain Injury, Dr. Alan Weintraub, would evaluate Theresa on Christmas Day and recommend her for their rehab program is another act of providence for which I am truly thankful.

So this afternoon, following seven weeks of critical and acute care at The Queen’s Medical Center, Theresa checked into Craig Hospital. She was evidently tired from the flight and medical transports but once she was transferred to her new bed, Theresa still showed enthusiasm by responding attentively to the initial evaluations of the various nurses, therapists and Dr. Weintraub himself.

When the physical therapist asked if Theresa had any questions, she silently mouthed her reply “When can I start dancing hula?”

Over the next few days, the specialists here will evaluate how Theresa’s fractures and other injuries are healing and make a plan as to when she can begin the treatments.

Even late this afternoon, they were fitting Theresa for a mobile chair so she won’t have to lay in bed until the imaging of her injuries is reviewed. I think they may regret letting Theresa loose on the floor, given how much grief she caused those wonderful people at Rehab Hospital of the Pacific just two years ago.

While it saddens us to leave behind Hawaii and the large ohana that adopted us as their own, the absence will only be temporary. Based on the experience of the Craig Hospital staff, Theresa’s stay here should last 2-3 months, so she will emerge just in time like the green shoots of spring to return to her beloved Hawaii.

We would not be here today without the support of so many friends, and strangers that have become friends.

While there isn’t enough bandwidth to properly thank everyone that helped us in our time of need in Honolulu, here are some friends that deserve special recognition: Geoff, Ward, Roy, another Roy, Benjamin & Laura, Kristie, Danny, Gerard, Mary, another Mary, yet another Mary, Jill, Ian, Darien, Norma, Florian, Wendy, Belinda, Ryan, Leslie and dear Lleander.

And of course, we would not be where we are today without the continuing prayers of our worldwide ohana; with so much love and praise, God must be listening.


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2 Responses to “Wang moves to Colorado rehab hospital”

  1. Rae S. says:

    Our prayers are with you and your wife at this time. Craig Hospital is a wonderful facility and your wife is in the right place for this type of recovery. My son was in a motorcylce accident on the Big Island in July of 2007 and spent 6 1/2 weeks at Queens and took that long 7 hour flight to Colorado with a wonderful Nurse who guided us the whole way. Craig made the difference in his long recovery. My son suffered an incomplete sever at C5-C7 and a Rt Radial/Ulna Fx. We were at Craig for 5 months. We owe them every accomplishment he makes each day. God Bless you on your Journey to recovery.

  2. saw ching says:

    we are so happy to learn that Theresa is improving each
    day. Even though we are far from Hawaii, we keep in touch on news
    about her. We will continue to pray for her speedy recovery. Our
    warmest aloha to both David and Theresa from George and


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