Saturday, March 31, 2007

3rd Saturday Updates

  • Jen [Dan's sister] is visiting Cedarville University this weekend.
  • Dan wanted to let his OPE brothers know that he is ready for their visits. Please coordinate with Jeff B. Do I hear road trip to Chicago? (and 'South' and 10-24!!)
  • Thank you to the CU soccer team for providing air transportation for Mike [Dan's twin] to be here on weekends with his brother. He told us last night that he loves being at school, but can't wait to see Dan on the weekends. Pray for Mike to finish this school semester well.
  • Monday will be the first prognosis update from RIC medical teams that are working with Dan.
  • Keep us in your prayers as we process all of Dan's future information.
Have a blessed Palm Sunday. Thinking and loving all of you more than you can know.

Friday, March 30, 2007

He slept!

Dan [and dad] set a record of 7 hours of sleep!

Even though Dan sported a temp for most of the evening, the doctor tried a different sleep medication and it worked. There were even a few buzzers that went off during the night, but Dan went right back to sleep. Thanks AGAIN for all of your prayers.

Today has been a good day of speech therapy that lasted for 1.5 hours. The breathing and then waiting to speak on the exhale is all about pacing and takes a bit of time for Dan to get used to. This session did blow away the therapist's goals for the next few days, so she will have to up the ante.

Dan continues to be a bold witness when he can. When an RIC psychologist asked him to describe his life, he stated "my relationship with Jesus is important to me". His body has not rebounded yet, but his spirit and mind have never wavered.

Thanks for visits from our pastors from Harvest Bible Chapel on Thursday, and a counselor from the Biblical Counseling Center today. There are lots of changes, new behaviors, future planning and environments to process by Dan and us. Continue to pray that God would be glorified in the lives of all us Knudsen's.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mom Update - Firsts

Dan's first day at RIC was filled with firsts! The therapists were amazed at how willing he was to get started. They had never had a patient so motivated. Though seemingly simple tasks to us, Dan accomplished goals that are often weeks down the path for a patient with Dan's injury. He dressed in "real" clothes (after 18 days in a hospital gown), "ate" (well, drank broth through a straw!), sat in his wheelchair, asked to have a tour of the floor, went on a "field trip" to another floor, and joined a social setting, which is unheard of for a first week, let alone the first day! But . . .
Today was difficult. It seems that when Dan has a big accomplishment, the next day is often discouraging. Dan is becoming quite aware of his helplessness and is fearful of the ventilator, so he is not sleeping. He is exhausted. He is even fearful of trying to talk again because of the difference of air flow. He has had a lot of information thrown out these last two days and now has to process it all. He was so tired, he was hardly able to do any therapy. And of course, when Dan hurts, I hurt, so . . .
I hope you don't get tired of us telling you how much your encouragement means to us -- sometimes it is like new life to my soul. Thank you to all who have sent gifts -- I tried to keep up with handwritten thank-you's, but you have been too generous, and I am not able to. We are humbled by your kindness. May I say again, Thank you for your prayers. The Lord's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
(OPE - Dan is ready for your visit!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

He talked ...

say “WHAT?” -- that was his first word.

It was with a flurry of attention paid to Dan upon his arrival at the RIC or Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. New place, new doctors, specialists, nurses and new evaluations. Someone was checking his trach, and didn’t quite like the way it was fitting on him, [because of his halo rigging] when suddenly it all came apart. Well within a few seconds, nurses come through the door, and see that this is a real “ventilator alarm” and whoa, do they work fast.

Watching all of this activity was a bit undoing for Deb and me, who left the room to sit in the hallway, and wait. A nurse came out for more supplies and stated, “He said, 'WHAT'” ! We jumped up and went in to see a beaming Dan saying “I can hear my voice!”, “I can hear my voice!”

We cried, I got out my cell phone and started to video him talking. Deb was still crying. We called Mike, Jen and Matt and let each of them hear their brother's quiet, but new-found voice.

You see, the trach is not adjusted much in an ICU setting and the air only flows down to the lungs. When a therapist loosened up the tracheotomy baloon cuff, air was allowed to flow both down to the lungs AND up through the vocal cords. She said to Dan, "say something" and he said "say what?!?" and on the "WHAT", air came back over his cords and he talked. Do you know what it's like to hear your voice after 19 days of nothing? See the story and response of Zechariah and yeah, it was sort of like that.

Of course Dan is not ready to have this dual airflow 24/7, as it makes him feel like he is loosing air more rapidly, and rightly so. There are technics that will improve this ability for speak. Thanks again for your prayers of strength and patience in this process. God IS Good!

More RIC "firsts" in the updates tomorrow. Time for bed, dad's tired.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"We're moving on up.."

"we're moving on up...
to the eastside...
to a deeeelux rehab ...
in the sky"

or so the tv tune goes.

Today, Tuesday March 27th, 2007, is moving day for Dan. His new home will be:

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
345 E. Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60611

The facility is one of the best,* with exercise areas that have unobstructed views of Lake Michigan, and will be Dan's home for ??? no one knows. They are only one of a few rehab facilities in the USA that can take patients like Dan, who has both limited mobility and is vent dependent. This is a very proactive environment, meaning "no progress" and you're out of there.

Dan will be out of bed everyday -- he's been on his back for 18 days -- and will have many sports-like trainers working him over. Daily he will go through a full battery of exercises for his vocal cords and swallowing, internal breathing challenges, and movement of his body. We will be intently involved also.

He's making his "psst" sound, as it is time for me to do his morning exercises. We will print more later, but just wanted to thank you for your prayers, especially about Dan getting a good night's sleep last night. THANK YOU.

The Knudsen's

* The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago has been recognized as the "Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America" since 1991 by U.S. News & World Report. No other specialty hospital has been consecutively ranked the "Best" by U.S. News & World Report for so long.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Specific Prayer Requests

Big sister just wants to add specific requests:

Dan had a stable weekend. He is off most medications, his trach looks good, he is very bored with his ICU "just lying around" life, and is ready to move over to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, on Monday or Tuesday. We hear they'll give him a good workout!

  1. Please please please pray for Dan to sleep well at night.
  2. Along that line pray for quietness in his mind, for the Lord's overwhelming peace to surround him and quiet his heart and mind, which will be a big factor in helping him to sleep.

We're entering a new phase with this process: the mental one.
The Enemy wants every one of us (especially Dan) to worry and fear and question God.
But God wants us to on Him.

Yours prayers in this matter are HUGE...thank you so much!!!

1st Minutes After the Accident

This weekend also gave us a visit with Cedarville U MIS team leader and friend Jeremy Hudson who was on the scene just after Dan's accident. We asked him for the whole story of ALL that went on those first critical minutes. There were a few more people involved in saving his life. ["THAT" phone call post has also been updated.]

  • Julie H., a mom, [Jeremy's wife], who saw Dan crumple to the ground, yelled for Jeremy to go over to him.
  • Jeremy H. [CU EMT trained] who had to determine that it was a blocked airway and impaired breathing, not a seizure. Helped bag Dan for over 1.5 hours.
  • Elaine S., OCS and camp nurse, who started mouth to mouth, [see her worshiping God comments at the bottom of 2nd Saturday Update post].
  • John S., camp missionary [MBI grad, paramedic too] who had a box of medical items on location including a mask ventilating bag and bite block to open Dan's clenched teeth. Helped bag Dan.
  • Dr. Joel S., [John's brother] who gave support.
  • Erica S., an R.N., [Dr. Joel's wife], helped monitor his vital signs and filled in as needed.
  • Joe B., missionary, who used his USA cell phone to keep us in contact with Jeremy in those first few critical hours
  • Ed O., missionary, who called 911 and negotiate [pay before you get to go] for the ambulance to take Dan to the hospital
We are glad that we did not know any of this story until now, and there are many other details between the lines. We lift our hands to heaven in total praise and thanksgiving, to our God who spared Dan's life.

I know we say this a lot, but thank you for all your notes and gifts, and especially your prayers. We still need you all so much.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Cookie Test

Yesterday morning when I walked in to Dan’s room, after smiles, greetings and kisses, he asked for water. We use one of those green swab things that hold a micron of water and dab it around his mouth. I did this, and he frowned and mouthed there was nothing on it. Well, I knew that, but I didn’t want to do the whole suction thing if he got too much moisture in his mouth. [See post “How are you doing?”] I told Dan this and he mouthed that he would swallow the water. Hmmmmm?

So I loaded it with water and he sucked away. I watched his throat move like he was swallowing. So then a while later, his nurse announced that he was scheduled for the “cookie test” at 2 pm. This is a test where they put fluids down your throat to see if you can swallow. It starts with a barium liquid that can be seen going down the throat via x-ray and the doctors watch what the throat muscles, esophagus, etc are doing. If all is working, it eventually progresses to a milkshake, pudding, then a cookie. The doctors warned that if Dan did not pass Friday’s test, it was not a big deal and they would try another day.

Well he passed!!! That is - anything up to the consistency of a thick milk shake. Dan had us get a bottle of a blue sports drink and we celebrated. Ladies, you can hold off on sending in your recipes of 101 quick blender meals for now.

Dan is stable enough, i.e. pneumonia gone, peg [stomach feeding tube] and trach ready to be moved over to RIC - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, This should happen on Monday. Thank you for the 100’s of expressions of blog comments, cards, emails, gift cards, food, gas and parking money, housing near the hospital, but especially prayer. God continues to provide for our every physical and spiritual need.

2 Corinthians 9

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ.

“Thank you, Lord, for your continued watch care over our Dan.”

Friday, March 23, 2007

Concert to benefit Dan Knudsen & Family

From the Cedarville U family, I pass on this announcement, especially for those in the Ohio area. Click on the links below.

>>> Stevens Student Ctr Mgt 3/23/2007 9:33 AM >>>

Most in our campus community are aware of the accident that one of our students, Dan Knudsen, had over spring break on a MIS trip to Mexico. The accident has left him seriously injured and he is currently being cared for at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

In an effort to help Dan and his family during this time, the
university has decided to donate $1 per Shane and Shane concert ticket sold to the Knudsen family along with any profit made from the concert. The break even point for the concert is approximately 1300 tickets sold. After we reach the break even point, 100% of the profit from ticket sales will go directly to the Knudsen family. The goal is to sell approximately 2000 tickets so that we can send the Knudsen's a substantial gift to assist them during this time.

Tickets for this March 31st concert will be available at the
Information Center during normal business hours. More information on the concert is available at and on the CU web calendar at

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I'm Amazed!!

Wow!! I (Debbie, Mom) just left Dan's side for a quick lunch while Dan gets some medical attention, and I decided to zip in to the hospital library to check Dan's blog. You all are so precious to us! Your comments continue to encourage us. This isn't the story I would have chosen, but the Lord taught me years ago "though my heart and my flesh may fail, the Lord is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." We choose to embrace this assigned portion, and thanks to you prayer partners, we get to experience the amazing presence of our Lord. Thank you so, so much. We are blessed.

We had an incredible day with Dan yesterday. He had Jen and me laughing -- probably too much for a hospital setting!!! :o)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cool Stats

Hey, Dan's bro here... As an analyst for a company that tracks internet browsing behavior (comScore), I can't help but post some of the cool blog stats. Not to boast in the numbers themselves, but to boast in our great God and thank all of you for your amazing support!

Quick facts from Monday, March 19th:

~ There were 829 visitors that looked at nearly 2000 pages! (2.4 pages/visitor)
~ 39% of people visited more than once on Monday
~ 12% of all visits came from someone clicking on a link in an email
~ 9% of visits came from other blogs & social networking sites

From Sunday through Wednesday (March 18th - 21st):

~ Visits came from 640 cities worldwide, 43 US states, and 24 countries!
~ The US contributed 91% of the visits; 2nd place is Mexico with a total of 253 visits
~ Ohio is the top state - contributing over 1/3 of all visits to the blog (Cedar where??)

So where do you fall in all these stats?? Keep it up and spread the word!

"How are you doing?"

We get this question often from you, folks who love and care for us, even people whom we have never met. We probably seem, sound, or act strong and brave, but we're human just like you. Deb, the kids, and I do get "overwhelmed" and have had a spontaneous cry from time to time.

We had many times of crying in Mexico during those first few days. Everything was overwhelming, his injury, the translations issues, getting him back to the states, and not to mention all the "what if Dan can't ever ... " questions. We asked God to sustain Dan's life and that we would gladly accept our son, in any condition.

Deb got "overwhelmed" last week just after the rehabilitation staff showed how to "exercise" each of Dan's limbs 2-3 times a day, 8 - 12 reps for each exercise. "How can I keep things up at home AND teach AND help Dan with his exercises?" she said quivering, then tears.

Yesterday's surgery went well, but the next few hours did not. Breathing issues, possible blood clots in his lungs, needing blood thinner is not good after a surgery, going down for another CT scan for possible clots, another possible surgery for a blood clot filter, his oxygen level not staying up at the norm, congestion in the lungs, temperature again but Dan felt cold. It never seems to be good news sometimes. We went home tired and uncertain about many things.

Dan DID sleep well, he looked great this morning, we can understand his mouthing of words better. [trach tube instead of mouth tube], there are no blood clots, [he's on meds to help with that] and the low oxygen readings are probably from pneumonia residue in his right lung, which is clearing out.

So enters the respiratory therapist to begin a treatment. The ventilator is replaced with a "mouth bag ventilate" [MBV], and they give a few big squeezes, removes it, suctions out with the Intubation, puts back on the MBV and then start again, and during this time, Dan's neck reflux muscles make him look like he is choking during the whole procedure.

Well, that got over and I was "overwhelmed". "How can I ever care for my son in this condition, what happens if I can't MBV him, or suction his lungs correctly, or get the ventilator back on in time, or a 100 other thoughts."

I had to call on a business customer [first time since 3/10]. In the car I turned on a favorite CD of mine - Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir "I'm Amazed" and as always, they ministered to my heart with their song "Thou O Lord" from Psalm 3:

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;

you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

4 I cried out to the Lord,

and he answered me from his holy mountain.

5 I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety,

for the Lord was watching over me.

Yes, God IS a mighty shield around Dan Knudsen, and the Knudsen family. We thank The Great Physician for His love, His watch care over us, and for "this portion" in our lives.

THAT'S how we are doing! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Surgery Done

Hi all, We just wanted you to know that Dan came out of surgery at about 5pm cst.

He now has a titanium screw in his c2 vertebrae, and the trach was also inserted. His vitals are good and both doctors were happy with the results.

When we asked how he felt, he moved his tongue around his mouth, signaling that the breathing tube was gone. He seemed glad.

More tomorrow. Thanks for continued prayer.

Surgery NOW

After a visit and prayer this morning with Jeff [Cedarville U. OPE faculty advisor] and Anthony [OPE bro.], Dan was finally escorted to surgery. The surgery may take about 3-4 hours.

He is not worried or anxious and thanks all of you for your prayers, verses and words of encouragement.

We will post the update this evening, but he will be pretty much "out of it" till Wednesday morning.

We Love all of you so much!!!
Bill & Debbie, Matt & Emily, Jen & Jeff, Mike, Dan, Gabriella & Adelina.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pre-surgery Update

Tomorrow morning is Dan's surgery to put the screw in his C2 vertebrae, and if scheduling permits, he will get his tracheostomy as well. We will let you all know how his surgery goes tomorrow evening. His slight case of pneumonia is cleared up enough to make surgery possible. We have not seen any physical improvement in Dan just yet, but we sure appreciate all of your prayer for him and our family.

Psalm 27

1I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Dan's Encouraging Attitude

Yesterday Dan received the following email from a dear friend:
"Do you remember when we were driving home for winter break? Well, at one point we were talking about what God had been teaching us during the semester. You were a little upset [because] although you had grown so much, you felt like no one realized it and that everyone still saw you as the same Dan. I tried to convince you otherwise but you didn't believe me so much. Well Dan, let me tell you that this past week has proven that people have noticed the changes in your life in a big way. The way people talk about you warms my heart because I know how much it would mean to you to hear it all. You are truly becoming more and more like Christ and it is so visible to those around you because of the way you live your life. Don't stop now, Dan! I know you won't."

After I read that to him he began mouthing more sentences that I have ever seen him attempt! He told me that at camp he had been talking with a friend who said again that Dan really has grown. Dan said he wasn't sure why, but he just felt like something big was around the corner. He had such an excitement and acceptance in his face. God blessed me so much as I was able to understand almost every word he said and by seeing how the Lord was preparing him for what He had in store and Dan is ok with that! This was the 2nd time Dan had said this; the first was a few days ago with Mom. Dan started talking about James 1 and how he knew this is God's purpose and that God had big plans in store for him. He gets so excited when he talks about this and told Mom, "It's ok; it's not about me!" Wow!

We know there will still be difficult times ahead for each of us as we have moments, like the Israelites I read about this morning, where we complain and ask "why, God did You bring us here?" But God has given and will continue to give such grace and peace and Dan's attitude and testimony is inspiring us and many others. Now, that is the best thing we could ask God for!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

2nd Saturday Updates

Up to the minute information of what is going on with our Dan. Please pass this blog on to all.

  • Dan's feeding tube was placed in his stomach, and he was very glad to receive food through it as they had made him wait all day to "eat" until after the surgery.
  • Dan is in great spirits -- we've laughed, read Scripure, answered a lot of questions, even took a family photo.
  • Dan will have surgery on Tuesday to have a screw placed in the vertebrae. The doctor was hoping the halo would suffice, but when sitting up, the vertebrae tends to slide backwards because of the slanted angle of the C2 fracture.
  • Surgeons are waiting until then to do the tracheostomy.
  • We're still asking the Lord to allow Dan to breathe on his own.

We read to Dan every blog comment, facebook message, email, ecard and get well card that comes in. He loves to hear from each of you. Thank you for temporary housing, financial gifts, food cards, other gifts, snacks, kind words of encouragement, but especially your prayers for our Dan. They mean so much to us.

Bill & Debbie, Matt & Emily, Jen & Jeff, Mike, Dan, Gabriella & Adelina too!

Psalm 3

3 But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;

you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.

4 I cried out to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy mountain.

Friday, March 16, 2007

6 weeks to 3 months

"6 weeks to 3 months" is about all we heard from the neurologist.

We arrived at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL on Monday, March 12th. A team of doctors from neurology, orthopedics, rehabilitation and more than we can remember, started a comprehensive diagnosis of Dan and his condition.

The Orthopaedic Surgeon and Neurosurgeon met with us later that night and used the words "6 weeks to 3 months" which was much better than "malo"or bad we had previously heard. This meant that within 3 months Dan will be ..... no one really knows. His injury is termed as complete, i.e. there is no movement or feeling below the level of his injury. The level of recovery with spinal cord injuries varies from patient to patient. We do know that recovery is a very slow process.

Dan has been fitted with a "halo" neck brace to help steady and heal the broken vertebrae. Surgery might also be required at a later time. We are waiting for a tracheotomy which will get the uncomfortable breathing tube out of his mouth. He is able to mouth words, but it's more difficult to understand him than one might expect. A PEG tube will be put directly into his stomach instead of the current feeding tube through his nose.

The doctor said Dan will be in ICU for a minimum of 2 weeks, and then if he remains stable, he will enter the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, next door. His therapy will be modified for him for whether he is on or off the ventilator. The links can give you more information than is here.

We had extremely encouraging news on Wednesday when Dan took several breaths on his own. This lasted several hours, but he has not breathed on his own again since that afternoon. The doctors told us that this if often the case with spinal cord injuries.

Although there are few answers now, we know the the Most High God is in control. We are comforted in the knowledge that not only is He sovereign over all, but our God is good and loves and delights to call us His own. We continue to be in awe of His presence and peace. Thank you for praying and taking care of us!

Ways you can help,

The following is from Drew Schmitz, a Harvest Bible Chapel family pastor.

Good Afternoon,

Please pray for Dan Knudsen and his parents, Bill and Debbie Knudsen. This last weekend, Dan had a serious accident involving a neck injury while serving on a mission trip to Mexico. He was admitted Friday night to a hospital outside of Mexico City where he was stabilized.
On Monday Dan was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, downtown Chicago, where he continues to receive care. He is unable to feel or move anything from his ear lobes down, and can only breathe with a ventilator. He does communicate some by blinks and mouthing words, although with much difficulty.

The doctors confirmed yesterday that his spine received an incredibly hard blow and is seriously
bruised. The recovery for such injuries will be lengthy -- 6 weeks to 3 months.
At this point, nothing is known for certain about the long term prognosis. i.e. what body functions will return.

For those who don’t know the Knudsen’s, they have attended Harvest since 2005, work the 9 am Welcome Counter in Elgin, and are members of a Small Group near their home in Geneva. Debbie also serves as a 3rd grade teacher at Harvest Christian Academy in Elgin.


    1. Pray
§ Ask God to heal Dan’s body. Pray for the swelling to diminish so that he regains response throughout his body.
§ Pray for the Bill and Debbie's physical and emotional strength and wisdom during the long recovery.
Ask God to give the Knudsen’s meaningful rest during the evenings.

§ Pray for wisdom for the doctors and nurses who care for Dan.
    2. Give
§ The Knudsen’s are looking for a place to stay near Northwestern Memorial Hospital. If you know of a location near the hospital or would like to contribute to the Knudsen’s accommodations, please contact me. *** Currently filled for a week or so.- a condo 2 blocks away.

§ Due to the Knudsen’s stay downtown, they will be eating regularly at local restaurants. You can purchase a gift card to provide a meal for the Knudsen’s Inside the hospital is a deli cafe, Au Bon Pain and a Starbucks Within a 1 block walk is
Subway, Potbellys, Corner Bakery , Chipotle, and TGIFriday’s . You can purchase gift cards online and have them shipped directly to the hospital, or you can bring them to my office and I will deliver them to the family.

§ Northwestern Memorial Hospital offers the opportunity to send an encouragement card via their website. The hospital staff have already personally deliver cards to Dan’s room. You can also mail cards to the Knudsen’s at: Northwestern Memorial Hospital/ attn: Daniel Knudsen/ 251 E. Huron/ Chicago, Illinois 60611. The family is unable to receive flowers due to hospital regulations.

The Knudsen’s have kindly asked that they receive no visitors during the next several days as the tests and prognosis change from day to day.

Bill and Debbie thank you for your prayer and love!

In Prayer,
drew schmitz

Adult Ministries Family Director
Harvest Bible Chapel
1000 N. Randall Rd.
Elgin, IL 60123
847-398-7024 ext. 3233

Join us for one of our four Good Friday services on April 6 at our Rolling Meadows Campus at 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, or 7:00 P.M. And do not miss Easter Together 2007 at the Sears Centre on Sunday, April 8 at 10:00 A.M. For details on these events, visit today!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

"THAT" phone call


What changes one phone call can make. It's that one that all of us parents have heard about, but silently dread getting.

Our 20 yr. old son Dan was in Mexico with a Cedarville University missions trip. They were helping out with a week long camp for missionary kids. On Friday, March 9th, he sustained a neck injury when he attempted to do a back flip. 3 people in Puebla, Mexico saved his life: Elaine, a nurse who immediately administered mouth-to-mouth, John, a missionary who is also a paramedic [who was supposed to be out of town] who knew instantly to get his bag valve mask, and Jeremy the MIS team leader who is an EMT.

added 3/25
This weekend also gave us a visit with Cedarville U MIS team leader and friend Jeremy Hudson who was on the scene just after Dan's accident. We asked him for the whole story of ALL that went on those first critical minutes. There were a few more people involved in savinghis life. [ "THAT" phone call post has been also noted.]

  • Julie H., a mom, [Jeremy's wife], who saw Dan crumple to the ground, yelled for Jeremy to go over to him.
  • Jeremy H. [CU EMT trained] who had to determine that it was a blocked airway and impaired breathing, not a seizure. Helped bag Dan for over 1.5 hours.
  • Elaine S., OCS and camp nurse, who started mouth to mouth, [see her worshiping God comments at the bottom of 2nd Saturday Update post].
  • John S., camp missionary [MBI grad, paramedic too] who had a box of medical items on location including a mask ventilating bag and bite block to open Dan's clenched teeth. Helped bag Dan.
  • Dr. Joel S., [John's brother] who gave support.
  • Erica S., an R.N., [Dr. Joel's wife], helped monitor his vital signs and filled in as needed.
  • Joe B., missionary, who used his USA cell phone to keep us in contact with Jeremy in those first few critical hours.
  • Ed O., missionary, who called 911 and negotiate [pay before you get to go] for the ambulance to take Dan to the hospital.
We are glad that we did not know any of this story until now. We can only lift our hands to heaven in total praise and thanks to our God.

We got the phone call at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 9th, 2007, from Brian, Director of Missions Involvement Services (MIS) at CU who informed us of Dan's accident. He put us in touch with Jeremy via cell phone for constant updates. Brian got Deb and I on the next flight to Mexico City. Missionary Ed picked us up and drove the 1.5 hours to Betania Hospital in Puebla.

Dan arrived at the hospital still unconscious, but was stabilized and put on a ventilator because he was unable to breath on his own. He regained consciousness over night and was able to mouth words and thus communicate via missionary Rick who translated to doctors and nurses around him. Rick NEVER left the hospital, or us, until we were on the flight back to the states. Supported BY missionaries ... "for such a time as this".

We get choked up when thinking of God's gracious protection on Dan's life. An overwhelming blessing this morning was thinking that we still have our Dan. His injuries seem minor compared to not having him. I can not tell you how at peace we are with everything, so keep praying!

We were at Dan's side around 9 am on Saturday, and he was so glad to see us. He seemed in good spirits, and kept mouthing the words "I love you" and smiling with a grin. We just cried.

Various tests and scans performed at Betania hospital revealed that Dan fractured his C1 & C2 vertebrae and bruised his spinal cord. This bruise of the spinal cord is what is causing the inhibition of any sensory and motor function below the ear lobes. Thankfully there was no visible swelling in his brain, his vertebrae were still lined up, and his spinal cord was NOT broken. But when we heard the words " malo" from the ICU doctor and neurosurgeons, our limited Spanish told us this was not good.

On Sunday Rick mentioned various missionaries who are air evacuated to the states for medical reasons, and that started a big wheel rolling. We called Nicole, a doctor friend from our small group, who suggested we get him to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The rest of the day was a flurry of activity for his safe transportation back to the USA.
  • acceptance from a NMH neurology doctor [received within 30 minutes of the 1st call]
  • approval to travel by the Mexico doctors
  • recommendation for travel by air ambulance doctors
  • securing a flight company, the crew and medics for spinal injury transport.
  • Mexican government and customs clearance
  • three way cell phone calls in, out and around a foreign country
  • could both Deb and I ride back, or one of us have to go back separately
World Wide Assistance, the CU insurance providers did most of the logistics, but there were also language issues that required medical translation from Rick and Jeremy. Everything got finalized about 4 pm on Sunday for all three of us at 8 am Monday. Many tears of joy were expressed by all.


RN Rose and EMT Tony arrived via Medway Air Ambulance at 10 am ["the marines have landed"], secured Dan for flight, and after a few medical delays, got him loaded in the ambulance [another story] for the half hour ride to the airport. We met Steve and Jordy, the pilots, who guaranteed that this jet could fly as fast at the big boys, were cleared by customs, loaded Dan, and off we flew. More tears of joy. Although Chicago has international airports, post 9/11 requires private jets to clear customs at the first point of entry to the USA, so we touched down in New Orleans, LA, refueled the plane, received boxed deli lunches for all, and continued on to Chicago's Midway Airport. So great to look out and see Sears Tower, and then land in front of a waiting string of commercial jets. A waiting ambulance whisked us to NMH, where the neurological team was waiting to assess Dan. He has had 7-8 medical specialists attending to his every need. God is Good.