By Mike Bush
St. Louis (KSDK)-They welcome new patients everyday at Ranken-Jordan Pediatric Hospital but their objective is to get them to leave.
13 year old Austin Emerson has been here for several weeks recovering from spinal fusion surgery.
"The surgery takes a c shaped spinal column and turns it straight, " explains Dr. Nick Holekamp, Chief medical officer.
It was a surgery without complications which is a good thing because Austin has already had his share of them.
"He had been born very early, " says his mom Amy.
And with cerebral palsy. Though he was special needs Amy and her husband didn't hesitate when adopting him. They have four kids in all, two adopted with special needs and they've faced the challenges as a family.
Austin has had more surgeries than birthdays. His mom estimates about 15 to 20.
"No matter what surgery we have, " she explains, "while we'd be recovering from the one surgery we'd be talking about the next time we'd have surgery."
But doctors say the spinal fusion surgery will probably be the last and as he continues to build his strength with help from his therapists for the first time ever he's actually taking daily walks.
"My therapist has pushed me to go the extra mile, " says Austin.
"Our philosophy is if you give kids time and space and a little support they can do great things, " says Dr. Holekamp.
And since this was Mother's Day, Austin didn't just have one present but two. He not only wrote a card, he learned that Mother's Day was the day he was coming home.
"You could not have given me perfect children and me had a better life than I have had so far with the ones that god gave me, "said an emotional Amy.
With three siblings waiting for him, Austin knows it will be a little more rowdy when he gets home so he's not so quick to say he's happy about leaving Ranken-Jordan.
31:32--"Yes and no" "Why no?, " we asked. "Because I need my sleep, " he laughs.
Still, flowers and candy can hardly compare to the good that sometimes comes from good-bye.
"It has been one of the best blessings of my life, " says his Mom.