Megan Misiak on the mend in Greencastle

PAT FRIDGEN
Megan Misiak is now rehabing at home.

Megan Misiak's first week back home since her Aug. 31 motor vehicle accident was fairly momentous. She has a break from treatment at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadephia and is home with her parents, Tim and Penny, until the doctor says she can get rid of her back brace. She is already free of the neck brace.

Megan arrived in Greencastle Oct. 25, and three days later her boyfriend Curtis Marshall asked for her hand in marriage. She was amused by the setting. They were watching the movie "Bad Teacher" when he produced a ring.

"It was a surprise when he asked me but I knew I was going to get it," she said. "You just have to know him."

Megan also reached a milestone at Magee, celebrating her 18th birthday Oct. 21. She hoped to keep up with classes at Greencastle-Antrim High School, but it was too hard while adapting to her paralysis from the waist down, and the dramatic change to a daily routine that created. When her neurosurgeon, from an office in Gettysburg, declares her spine healed enough to toss the brace, she will return to Magee for a month to six weeks. There she will continue to strengthen her arm muscles; improve her balance while sitting; learn how to transfer from the bed to the wheelchair, from the chair to a car; and maneuver without having to depend on a Hoyer lift.

At home, Megan works with dumbbells and a stretch band, and plays the Wii for a cardio workout. Her parents help her gain range of motion with her legs, and eventually she will have the right equipment to do the exercises herself. She has enjoyed the cards and visitors, especially her longtime friends, Desi Barrett and Kendall Greenfield, who each have babies.

"It's fun watching them grow," said Megan. "I cried when I couldn't pick them up."

The family is rearranging the house to accomodate Megan's bed. With help from friends, they will convert the laundry room into a bathroom. Her dad's former "man cave" in the walkout basement is now her domain.

Everyone has been awed by the response from the community.

"There have been prayers from the east coast to the west coast," said her grandmother, Gladys Griffith.

Penny and Tim are amazed by the prayers and support, financial and otherwise, from friends and people they don't know. "It helps a lot," said Penny.

Megan encourages people to "appreciate your life. You don't know when it will change."

She plans to attend school second semester. She has to take three electives and will graduate in June.