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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Mold discovery spoils homecoming
Thursday, 11 October 2007

Stricken man, family are handed new setback
It's been nine months since Scott Slade collapsed and became paralyzed. It also has been nine months since Slade's wife, Kathy, became so distraught over his collapse that she went into premature labor and gave birth to twins five weeks early – one so fragile the 4-pound infant spent weeks in intensive care. So after surviving all this, yesterday should have been a happy homecoming for Slade, 44, who was returning from a Denver rehabilitation hospital. But his return was shattered by the discovery Monday of toxic mold in the family's three-year-old house in 4S Ranch.

Stricken man, family are handed new setback

UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

 

October 11, 2007

 

It's been nine months since Scott Slade collapsed and became paralyzed.

It also has been nine months since Slade's wife, Kathy, became so distraught over his collapse that she went into premature labor and gave birth to twins five weeks early – one so fragile the 4-pound infant spent weeks in intensive care.

So after surviving all this, yesterday should have been a happy homecoming for Slade, 44, who was returning from a Denver rehabilitation hospital.

But his return was shattered by the discovery Monday of toxic mold in the family's three-year-old house in 4S Ranch.

“This family has been through everything life could throw at them,” said Slade's sister Erin Aas, who had flown in from Houston for the homecoming.

Last Christmas, Scott Slade had been searching for work after losing his consulting job in marketing for a start-up company. He had scheduled a visit to the doctor to look into his lower back pain, but he never made it to the appointment. He collapsed from what doctors later told the family was a staph infection that had attacked his spinal column.

Because Slade remains paralyzed and is dependent on a ventilator to breathe, the family couldn't risk exposing him or the babies to the mold. The family moved to a hotel in nearby Rancho Bernardo.

There the healthy twin girls, Samantha and Stephanie, roll about wide-eyed at the beeps and whirs emanating from the motorized chair holding their father.

And so the family waits and racks up more bills as the experts deal with the black mold. It was discovered Monday by contractors performing $40,000 in retrofitting to accommodate Scott Slade's wheelchair and other equipment.

 Online: For more information or to make a donation, go to scottbslade.com.
Kathy Slade shrugs it off, and is anticipating the next hurdle after the mold problem is fixed: How will they get Scott home? They don't have a handicapped-accessible van.

“We get through by focusing on what's important,” she said, handing Samantha a new straw to gnaw on.

In the hotel suite, therapists and nurses circle about dealing with the technical end of Scott Slade's constant care and rehabilitation, services Kathy Slade estimates at $10,000 per month that is not covered by insurance.

“It's been crazy. At one point I counted 15 people in here,” she said.

For his part, Scott Slade savors the taste of breakfast.

“Bacon,” he said with reverence, excited about being free of the feeding tube.

“They had the most amazing fruit at Craig (Hospital in Colorado). Peaches, nectarines, like you wouldn't believe,” he said.

Scott Slade loved to cook and specialized in such gourmet offerings as poached fish French-style. He adores the Food Network, and talks about how happy he'll be to get home where he can finally watch the Golf Network, which was unavailable at the hospital.

Despite the most recent setback, the couple remain upbeat, marveling at the kindness of friends and strangers. Kathy Slade's colleagues at Cricket Communications pitched in to raise $50,000 toward the family's mounting expenses. Some Little League coaches and players in 4S Ranch raised more than $7,800 for the family.

Scott Slade's recovery has been steady, he said, and he now can move his head. It means that when the Slades can afford to install specialized adaptive equipment, he'll be able to control lights, doors, TVs and computers via voice-activated software.

 
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