If you want to make a donation by check, please make payable to Archer Senft Special Needs Trust and send to Archer at 102 Longwood Road, Baltimore MD 21210. This page is dedicated to the progress and recovery of our 17-year-old son, Archer Senft. They are not equipped for what has happened to him. I had already been to Baltimore looking for the local rehab and knew that Archer, who was then 6’1” (now 6’4”) would not fit literally and culturally in a room at KKI where the rooms had two children and a crib. Imagine, his holding a cup with his wrists because he could gauge the surface and the weight. Maybe he could even feed himself a sandwich, or be able to brush the hair out of his eyes, or itch the side of his neck, or adjust his baseball hat. Or help a caregiver thread his arms through his shirt. Or give a hug and feel the warmth of the other person. Oh dear Mother Mary, please wrap your arms around us and guide the doctors and guide us. If you would be so willing, could we all pause a moment now and together think about the possibility of this happening. What more wonderful trip could there be, after all. The trip began with my seeking his acceptance to go last October. She had her son showing us things he could do like hold a stance on his own while holding the back of a chair, moving on his own in a chair, telling me he didn’t have to be in a wheel chair for everything but could tolerate a regular chair for periods of time. I took a very open approach telling them a few times about Archer, his needs, how it rolls and then the list of factors we would be looking for and asking to be included in the decision-making, assuring them that would be better for all. So he was not able to even get onto a sidewalk for some blocks. I’m sure you have something on your mind right now that might be troubling you. Amen Sending love Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Archer Senft Friends and Family Update Wednesday 3-15-17, Month 7, Year 2 Hello dear ones. And it’s also year two for us with you, as I know we have been on this journey together. He will begin in August and we have every intention that he live on campus as a regular student. We can thank another unlikely collaboration we created between Baltimore City Public Schools, Home Schools, On-Line Schools, and our dear Mc Donogh School for all of that.On August 5, 2015, Archer broke the C5 vertebra in his neck while swimming in Cape May, NJ. He was strong and athletic and that is what they thought. And our other local choice, Kernan, now the University of Maryland seemed cold and remote for what I thought Archer needed. Close your eyes and see yourself using your arms and wrists for something, anything. We tried to figure it out, but there were so many obstacles mainly medical and physical related to related to such lengthy travel, difficulty of weight shifts, what if a bed sore that would scuttle the entire experience for him and takes months to heal, etc. We were not included and I don’t think fully heard in the beginning but we are now and it’s all very good. We managed but it meant my walking in front of Archer in the city street as I extended my arm in front of me to oncoming traffic to stop or make room for the traveler I had behind me. Like an old-fashioned traffic cop kind of scene with the little kids passing while the cop held back traffic with his hand. There’s no invention (yet) for an umbrella for a powerchair or a plastic wrapping of sorts, but when there is, it will be useful. After a lot of calls and talking with Security and the Police and Facilities and Disabilities, we have a decision. The most wonderful part is that everyone now understands so much more and the decision was arrived at after a lot of really good process. Lay your troubles down with a few deep breaths and a prayer that you can rest in God’s presence and forgiveness and love. They put up with me pushing and asking and hoping, and with Archer’s determination, and their care and Mc Donogh’s love, he is totally on track and now into UPenn.He delivered it beautifully, but only after giving us all a scare by almost tipping over in his 500 lb wheelchair when he hit a divet on the grassy slope as he rolled down in staggered procession with his classmates. It also didn’t matter that it took a few extra moments for this ritual with a new twist to be completed. I could feel the wet tears rolling down my cheeks as we all clapped at the end and felt so proud. I will tell you more about all that background later. On that subject of his being complicated, do you know what else just happened? Last week The Christopher Reeve Foundation contacted us and if they could write a letter of recommendation on Archer’s behalf when they heard he was making application for a scholarship from the Swim with Mike Foundation (wonderful group at Unit of Southern California) to help pay for college. It was extremely generous of them to Can you believe that. And I have begun to counsel those who have come and reached out and it really is a wealth of how to’s I guess you could say, of course unique to each injury but many across the board learnings I hope can help others. Nonetheless, their statement was sobering and included and reminded me that Archer had had 9 surgeries in 30 days, endured medical errors that were costly to his recovery such as placing blood pressure medicine in the saline drip bag, suffered 3 heart attacks, one resulting in 6 male medical workers having to beat his chest and back as he flat-lined for 6 minutes, required a subsequent pace maker implanted when he was only 17 years old, survived collapsed lungs on multiple occasions, bore a grueling searing pleuredesis procedure, endured the excruciating pain of a body trying to regulate itself while his entire body had to be rotated up onto his side every few hours 24-7 to drain his lungs and prevent pneumonia from settling into his lungs, endure three large chest tubes (inserted directly into the lungs and attached to containers we could see bedside) to drain fluid, experience his hands and feet curling in muscle atrophy because of the delay in physical therapy, live through his body being iced and de-iced in response to wild swings of high blood pressure, not lose hope at an alarmingly chronic low heart beat, endure constant deep lung suctioning (inserting long suction tubing through the hole in his neck snaking down into his tissue) 24-7 for six months, put up with machines needed for other machines when the use of an inexufflator was used to support the ventilator machine which was to used to support Archer’s breathing, but his body was not able to breathe on its own even with the ventilator support and additional boost because of the extensive nerve damage not providing enough enervation for his diaphragm, endured prolonged use of the ventilator and chronic lung desaturations and arrests in breathing requiring bursts of oxygen and other lung devices, and kept faith even when blebs appeared in his lung tissue and the machines were discontinued. We’ve all gotten better as his programs and now it’s a am weight shift and he can sleep until am. But what it means to go to college is…well, Archer wants to be like any one else who had always planned to go away for college. We are feeling very good about his choice and are searching and networking to those in places of power and influence there. Financial Aid let us know earlier that Archer is the first quadriplegic who has no function below his biceps to attend Penn, and they thought he might be the first with these limitations to attend an Ivy League.He pitched forward and his body landed on the TBar that he maneuvers to move the chair, causing the chair to race forward. The board of trustees also awarded him the Character and Influence award. The auditorium packed with students and Mc Donogh parents was hush quiet while Archer stopped the powerchair and then manipulated the T-bar to move his big 500 lb chair on wheels to Mr. The achievement and all it has taken to catch up, stay current and excel draped gently and lovingly around his neck. It is interesting and I tell you, it was like a suspense film week to week figuring it out. They sent a copy of the recommendation letter today. I was blown away when in the letter they said that of all the quadriplegics they have counseled and assisted, they have never seen a person with injuries as complicated as Archer’s and that he is the first they have written a recommendation for. But they stated that they had never known of a quadriplegic injury as medically complicated as Archer’s and that is really what gave me pause. It’s not to say look at him, it’s worse than others. It’s more to say, It was that bad, see what is possible. He wants to live in a dorm and be a regular student. We knew absolutely no one at UPenn before Archer’s acceptance, I know feel I have some real champions and open minded people who are willing to help us chart a good solid course of care for his needs. That just told me that we have a lot of educating to do, so that is what I began.
He holds a medical degree from the George Washington University and a Ph D in Computer Science from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
I will care for him with his mother as if he were my own son. If your prayer request is confidential, just write Confidential Prayer Request in the Subject line and I will copy it but not read it. Dutch said he wishes he were going with me and that so touched my heart. I went to every single showing, all 5, and sat in the front rows every time. We took out an ad in the school play program and said, Go, Onion Boy! Hopefully the seven months it took us to find good care at home will be shortened as we have learned too.
Please write LOURDES or PRAYER REQUEST in the subject line, and I will collect them and take them with me to lay at the feet the beautiful replica statue of our Lady of Lourdes, a reenactment of the apparitions with Mother Mary and a young peasant girl as the prayers of people from around the world are heard in unison as we gather together and process to this holy place. I will also do some reconnaissance so that someday Billy and I might take Archer and perhaps even the rest of our family, or whoever can go. Remember I told you he was in his school play, Shrek the Musical. The play was a hoot, and I laughed and smiled so much my face hurt. We will be there probably the first few months to insure a smooth transition and no trips to the emergency room.
His research interests include Electronic Health Records, Clinical Data Management, Clinical Imaging Systems, Clinical Simulation and Virtual Reality Systems, Computational Medicine, Software Engineering, Human Factors, Speech-Based Systems, Handheld and Mobile Computing, and Bioinformatics.
He is also a semi-professional trumpet player and is interested in the specific medical needs of performing artists, especially instrumental musicians.