Around Town: East Cobb's Moon finally awakens from coma
by Otis Brumby, Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
January 21, 2011 11:29 PM | 5714 views | 6 6 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THERE IS HEARTENING NEWS this weekend from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: northeast Cobb's Victoria Moon has come out of the deep coma she had been in since falling and severely fracturing her skull on Nov. 22.

"Victoria decided to fully awaken today!" wrote her husband, former Cobb County Commission candidate Stephen Moon, on his wife's Caring Bridge website on Wednesday. "On our 15-minute journey through the underground hospital tunnels on the way to Northwestern, she kept rubbing her lips and saying 'mouth.'

"We asked if she was in pain, and she shook her head no, and said 'I'm fine.' I asked her who I was and she said, 'husband.' I showed her a picture of our 7-year-old and she said, 'Max.' She was unable to find the words for (younger children) Sam and Rosie. She did not find the words for the name of our church, but I told her of the hundreds, or even thousands in our community and worldwide friends praying for her.

"We had about a five minute conversation, and I told her about her injury, and the hospital stay, and coming to Chicago. She watched a video greeting from our kids, and then she had enough stimulation."

***
MRS. MOON'S FRACTURE occurred while at her doctor's office. She had just had a routine exam and blood draw, and feeling nauseous, stood up to go to the restroom. She then felt faint and grabbed a door but toppled backward and hit her head on the floor, fracturing it from the temple down almost to her jaw, Moon said.

Victoria, 41, has been a stay-at-home mom for about eight years, raising the couple's three children: Max, Sam, 4, and Rosie, 2. She was the primary therapist for the couple's daughter, a special needs child, Moon said.

She had shown gradual but slight improvement in recent weeks before her breakthrough on Wednesday. Her revival continued on Thursday.

"We are struggling in physical therapy for Victoria to sit up straight, hold the head up under her own power, and to regain the right side which is unable to move," Moon wrote. "Victoria also lost 30 lbs. over the last eight weeks which she could ill afford to lose to begin with.

"Yesterday afternoon, I lost my 'husband' title, as she was unable to place who I was, but last evening she did whisper her name for me, 'Moon.' This phase will be a lot of ups and downs."

***
STEPHEN, AN ARCHITECT, made private arrangements to take his comatose wife to Chicago on Jan. 13 after the family health insurance provider refused to pay for the $63,000 Chicago treatment, which the company apparently deemed as "custodial care that does not seek a cure." He declined to name the insurance company.

The Chick-Fil-A across from Sprayberry High School will host two fund-raising days for the Moon Family. On Monday, Jan. 31 and Monday, Feb. 7, the restaurant will donate 20 percent of net receipts to the family. There will also be donation boxes at the front counter and at the drive-thru window for cash donations, said Tracey Pitts, the restaurant's marketing manager. The restaurant is at 2530 Sandy Plains Road, near the intersection with East Piedmont.

A fund was also set up at Helping Hands Ministries to collect tax-deductible donations for the Moons' expenses, and about $37,000 has been raised so far, Stephen said. The family belongs to Piedmont Church, which has also raised money to help the family during this crisis.

To make a donation at the Helping Hands web site with a credit card, go to www.hhmin.org and click on Make a Donation. From there, select "Donate to Helping Hands Ministries Approved Projects." Under project category, select medical projects, and then under project, select "Moon Family."

Checks can be mailed to Helping Hands Ministries, Box 337, Tallulah Falls, Ga. 30573. Be sure to note "Moon Family Medical Project" on the check.

***
STEPHEN TOLD AT via e-mail on Friday that Victoria "is awake each day now, and is deemed conscious, having graduated from coma, vegetative and minimally conscious states."

Although Victoria was originally slated for a two-week program of treatment, the doctors there would like her to stay there for acute rehabilitation after the current program ends. Stephen is contemplating the logistics of such a stay, he said.

"We are grateful to the entire Cobb community for rallying for Victoria," Stephen told AT. "She was not supposed to wake up, but with the course of treatment and prayers of hundreds of people for 58 days, she has reached this goal. Now, we immediately begin to assess whether she can thrive and regain cognitive abilities and motor skills.ll be as uncertain as her waking up. But after waiting at her bedside in silence for two months, hearing her speak even a little for the first time on Wed. Jan. 19 was cause for joy."

We here at AT, like the rest of the community, share that joy.

***
WE ALSO HOPE you'll keep in your prayers Alberta Kinney, wife of AT columnist Bill Kinney, who is recuperating at WellStar Kennestone from a recent heart attack.

AS HAS ALREADY BEEN REPORTED, Republicans are lining up to run against new Cobb Board of Commissioners Chairman Tim Lee in next year's election, but state Rep. David Wilkerson (D-Austell), says don't write off the Democrats - they'll be running a candidate, too.

Republican candidates believed to be eyeing the position are homeowners' friend Northwest Commissioner Helen Goreham, former northeast Cobb Commissioner Thea Powell, former county Chairman Bill Byrne and southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, although Ott denies it.

In an interview with the Journal last week Wilkerson, a former chair of the Cobb Democratic Party, said the Cobb Democrats will run a viable candidate for chair in '12.

"I believe we will," Wilkerson said. "When I was chair we always talked about Cobb being a split county by 2012 or 2016. Basically, you put up a good candidate and you have a chance to win. I definitely think it helps the Democratic Party, but it also helps the county by putting up some quality people on both sides, so yeah, I think we will."

Cobb Democrats did not field a candidate for commission chair in 2010, when a special election was held to succeed longtime Sam Olens, who resigned to run for state attorney general. But they'll have a significant advantage in fall 2012: the presence of Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, which should translate to a big turnout in Cobb's heavily Democratic African-American precincts.

***
BANKER KESSEL STELLING JR. of east Cobb/Columbus has been named chairman of the search committee for the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia to succeed Erroll B. Davis, who is stepping down. Another on the 21-person committee with local ties is executive secretary Dr. Kelly Henson of the Georgia Professional Standards Committee, who was principal of Pope High in east Cobb from 1986-93, when it was named a Georgia School of Excellence. He later served as both assistant and associate superintendent of Marietta City Schools from 1993-2001.

Also on the committee is Wilheit Packaging president Philip Wilheit Sr. of Gainesville, one of Gov. Nathan Deal's closest allies.

The committee will have a big say in the final choice of chancellor, who will be chosen by the state Board of Regents.

COBB Commissioner Bob Ott is being sent to the chairman's doghouse, so to speak. Ott has been seated immediately to Chairman Tim Lee's left during commission meetings since Lee took office in July, and also held that position during then-Chairman Olens' tenure. Cobb's chairmen have traditionally placed commissioners in the seating arrangement they prefer to have them in. Previously, if you had viewed the chamber from the audience, Commissioner Woody Thompson was seated to the far left, Commissioner Goreham was to his left, Lee was to her left, Ott was to Lee's left and interim Commissioner Powell was seated at the far right end.

But after newly elected northeast Cobb Commissioner JoAnn Birrell took office this month, succeeding Powell, Ott was told he would have to relinquish his seat to Birrell and move to the end. So now, the order, as seen from the audience, is Ott, Goreham, Lee, Birrell and Thompson.

"I don't really care where I sit, but I also don't really see any point in moving people around," Ott said. "And if you're going to move us, just put us in District order. But it's his decision. He wanted to move us around when he first took office, but Thea told him she didn't want to move because zoning-wise she wanted to be by me."

Ott has sometimes butted heads with Lee, so it may not be a surprise that Ott was exiled to the chairman's outer orbit. And it's natural that Lee would want the commissioner expected to be among his closest allies, Birrell, next to him.

Also, a source told AT that Lee asked Goreham - who rarely gee-haws with the chairman, to say the least - to move to the other end so Thompson would be seated next to Lee. But the formidable Goreham refused to budge, causing Lee to run up the white flag.
Comments
(6)
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anonymous
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January 22, 2011
Thanks be to God that Victoria is making some progress!

Once again, Timmy Lee shows just how petty he is: requesting new seat assignments for the commissioners. Is this because he needs to signal to JoAnn Birrell how to vote on each issue? Or, will they be sharing 'love notes' during their public meetings?

Cobb voters, you elected a real loser! Some of us told you this would happen.
West Cobb Resident
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January 22, 2011
I agree with you, I really miss Sam Olens. I think Lee will not win the election next year. Very petty attitude towards the seating assignments.
Just wondering
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January 22, 2011
How can Bill Byrne run for local office when he lives in Polk County on his horse farm?

Oh, wait he is going to use his wife's address as legal residence.

Did he not get slapped down in Polk County for trying to pull the same stuff?

And 8 years of him nearly destroyed the county the first time.
Pat H
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January 22, 2011
God bless you and your wife and family Mr. Moon, and hope and patience for a complete recovery.

Wcob
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January 22, 2011
Teddy Bear Tim, let the dog out.

We know that this is just one of your fronts.

Bob is your closets Allie.

Go Helen we love you and need you.
We Miss Olens
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January 22, 2011
Good grief. The County Commission looks as if it is going to operate like the City of Marietta, 95% petty arguing and 5% work. Heaven help us all!
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