Martha Childress learning self-sufficiency at rehab facility

ccope@thestate.comOctober 25, 2013 

Childress

— For the first time in several days, Martha Childress was able to do something most take for granted.

She took a shower.

It was her first shower since the 18-year-old USC freshman was paralyzed by a random bullet in Five Points while waiting for a cab at the fountain in the early morning hours of Oct. 13, her uncle, Jim Carpenter, said Friday in an email updating her progress.

Childress spent the week at a spinal rehabilitation facility in Atlanta, where she is learning to maneuver a wheelchair, Carpenter said. She was able to use the wheelchair to go to the cafeteria for a meal for the first time, he said.

“It was good for her to get out of the room,” Carpenter said.

Her wounds are continuing to heal and her chest tube has finally come out, Carpenter said.

Now rehabilitation can begin in earnest, he said.

Childress’ mother is at the facility with her, and both are participating in a vigorous training program aimed at self-sufficiency.

At the end of the day, Childress is ready for a good night’s sleep, he said.

She has a larger room than the one she had at the hospital in Columbia, and it is cheerful with large windows, Carpenter said.

In Atlanta she has met other young people who have suffered traumatic spinal injuries, some even more debilitating than hers, Carpenter said.

“At least she knows she’s not alone,” he said.

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