Monday, April 30, 2007

Good Morning

After 2 nights of light sleeping, ie. waking up and buzzing every 20-30 minutes with a question, and low 80/40 blood pressure issues, Dan is off to a great start today. He seems more motivated and ready to get up, drink and talk. [Can we get an AMEN! ?]

We're praying specifically for:
  1. Completion of daily therapy goals ["I don't care to do that" in not an option.]
    1. 10 tastes of various puree food & drinking lots of fluids
    2. "leak" speaking [talking with his trach cuff down so air can pass over his vocal cords]
    3. sitting up in his power chair [blood pressure issues still]
  2. Area pressure sore on his lower back has become a smaller but more deep cavity sore - possible danger of infecting his bone.
  3. Weight gain to toughen up his skin as it has become very thin, and lying in any one position for more than 1 hour creates a new pressure sore.
  4. Continued attitude and mindset of "This is my new life, and I need to start doing this"
  5. Mental and physical strength and perseverance for us, Bill & Debbie. [Thank you relief sitters for your help.]
We want to thank so many of you for recent generous gifts. Sorry we can't send out a proper thank-you note to each of you. Know that each expression of love is much appreciated.

Also, a dear family has given us the unlimited use of their nearby condo for the ENTIRE time Dan is at RIC, meaning that we will not have to move from place to place, pack and unpack every week or so. Thank you Bob and Sandi.

Once again, we are in awe of God's provision -- He lavishes us with blessing.

Dan's Family

p.s. It was good to have Jeff [Jen's fiance] here for the weekend, and thanks for a special visit from CU Student Chaplain and OPE friend Mark.

Friday, April 27, 2007



WOW, what does a guy say about a really wonderful
wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin & new grandma, all wrapped up in one?

Of course if we were living a "normal life" there would be a big surprise party for her at our house, with family and friends sharing in the festivities,

but EVERYTHING is different this year.

Matt, Em and the twins

are still in Guatemala waiting finalization of their adaption of the cutest twin grand babies in the world.

Jen & Jeff are only 49 days away from their big wedding day, and making last minute preparations.

Mike is slammed with preparation for finals next week and is also cleaning out 2 dorm rooms.
[He was just home last weekend anyway.]

Dan, well you know lots about Dan.
He just needs lots of love and special attention right now.

AND ... She has been living out of 3 places, Hospital, a Chicago condo, and home for the past 7 weeks. Driven far too many time between Geneva and Chicago [a 1.25 hour ride]. Not wanting to even think about selling her home of 16 yrs to accommodate Dan's new life.
Has only shared it with her husband twice since the accident. Wants to spend time with Jen before she moves away in June. Is not able to be in her classroom as much as she would like to [thank you students and parents for your understanding], and the ever changing list goes on.

And yes, she IS human and does have a good overwhelming cry from time to time, like just this morning. She came back to the RIC and wrote on the white board

Lamentations 3:22 & 23
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."

So, seeing that her life has taken a slight turn, there won't be any big party this year, and that's really a-okay with Deb. We'll have a quiet dinner with Dan, Jen & Jeff on Sunday and a open few gifts. For you see, she trusts that God is in control of her life and will bring us all together soon, knowing that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that she asks or thinks.

I think Proverbs 31 says it best ...

:28 "Her children stand and bless her. [you guys always have honored your mom] Her husband praises her [not enough]
Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." [they continue to go before her]



~ April 28th, 2007 ~

Opps! I might have deleted one comment, by mistake, from an Ohio CU mom.
please resubmit your comment. T-Y

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mumps? No, Chicken Pox

We received word that someone on the floor April 21 & 22 had chicken pox. This time RIC is simply requesting that if you know you are immune, then you may visit.

Because Dan had "the corner office" - a room large enough for 2 patients, and because there needed to be room switching in light of chicken pox exposure, Dan is now in Room 544, rather than 546.

Dan had another day of progress -- small, but forward steps!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Good Day

Dan does not have a bone infection. We are thankful for that. We'll see if the scan showed anything else unusual when the written report is submitted.
Dan has been able to do a little more this week.
We continue to be in awe of God's provision. Thank you AGAIN for your participation in our journey.

We could use ,,,

  1. A roll-a-way bed for the RIC. "WOW Our nurse found an unused one here at RIC, and it was just delivered. My back is happier already"
  2. A mini fridge for our room. We can wait for a few weeks for any college students who want to "store*" their dorm fridge here, with us at the RIC for the next few months. Reply to "WOW Received one with in 25 minutes of the post. THANKS!"

* Legal disclaimer. Free pick up and delivery subject to location of the bed or fridge. A mattress with the bed would be helpful. Anything would be better than the chair bed provided at the RIC. Condition of the fridge should be as good or better than when you loaned it to us. [especially considering the clean standards of college students] No left over foods need to accompany the fridge. Power supply should be adaptable to 110v, 120v , 130v etc.

"Thank you Heavenly Father, for your continued watch care over our family, even in the small things of life."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another CU connection at RIC

We have a CU friend at the RIC, thanks to Professor Richard Walker who got word about Dan to CU alumni Seth [‘00] and wife Haley [‘01]. They have a nephew, Dalton, who was severely injured in an auto accident last December, near his home in MI. His parents, Heath & Alicia, and brother, Brodie, were also injured, but have since recovered. Dalton is all boy, lots of fun, and working hard at his various therapies. You can read all about his story on CarePages.

Dalton’s grandmother, Sue, searched the RIC floor and found us this past week. It is not just the CU connection, but the instant bond that we Christians have in Christ. Just thought you would like to know.

Today we met another Christian patient, Richard III or known to us as "Tre", from Aurora. He has almost the same type of c2 injury as Dan. He was the unfortunate recipient of a drive by shooting, the 2nd leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the US. He is moving around the halls in his voice activated power chair. He will be an encourager to Dan as he is just a few weeks ahead of in injury and progress.

FYI - Dan had his bone scan today, a four-hour event; we expect results in a couple of days.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Update

We had our 4th Monday meeting this morning. Dan's goals are pretty much the same because he was not able to do much therapy last week because of not feeling well. He continues to have a fever, and since all cultures come back negative, he will have a full body bone scan Tuesday morning to see if the pressure sore has caused an osteo infection. Please pray that there will be an accurate diagnosis and that the doctor will have wisdom on how to proceed.

Dan appreciated college friends being in this weekend. We're thankful for their sacrifice of time.

Psalm 62:1,2
My soul waits in silence for God only.
From Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Our Eyes are on the Lord

When I (Debbie) was still in Mexico, I was trying to recall which king in the Old Testament had prayed something about his eyes looking for the Lord. By "coincidence," Grace, one of the missionaries I stayed with, was doing a Bible study on "eyes." Although I looked up that particular king soon after we got home, I just today started to do a word search on "eyes." These verses have become strength for me:

II Chronicles 20:3 And Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord.
6 O Lord, the God of our fathers . . . Power and might are in Thy hand . . .
9 Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, . . . (or a paralyzed child, etc.) . . . we will stand before Thee . .
12 For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee.
Psalm 25:15 My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for He alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies.
Psalm 123:1,2 To Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens! . . .our eyes look to the Lord our God, until He be gracious to us.

I've been talking to Dan about the enemies that surround him - fear, confusion, anger, unrest, etc. Please pray that he will be able to "fix his eyes on Jesus." It is very hard for him to concentrate, and of course, he can't exactly sneak away to a quiet place to pour out his heart to the Lord. Pray that his faith will be strengthened. He told me yesterday that he can't recall any of the passages that he memorized before the accident (not a physical result of the accident, but a concentration issue). I love when many of you have mentioned that you are "storming the throne of grace" for Dan.

Dan's temperature fluctuation seems better, but there is still some concern, so he is having a bone scan Tuesday to see if there is infection from his pressure sore. There's always something!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Don't move the wreath just yet

I certainly have been wondering why some people leave up their Christmas decorations after the holidays. Well, here are my excuses.

  • January went by fast; yes, someone did ask me to take it down, then Jen got engaged ... and I was gone for 2 weeks on business...
  • February was very cold, the wreath was mentioned again ... but I was gone for 1 week on business.. and ... oh, very busy for Valentine's Day ...
  • March was Dan's accident, and I have only been home 8 times. [only 1 time with Deb]
So when I finally went to put the wreath up in the garage attic, as I approached the front of the house, a bird flew away from the wreath. I knew what was going on. This has happened before.

The Christmas wreath is the last of the decorations to get put away. The robins love the warmth of the brick, the shelter of the porch overhang, and the protection from Slinky and Chip, our two cats. One year that I tried to move the nest, [yes this has happened before] the mother robin did not return. I felt bad.

So whoever is taking care of the lawn, and house... please don't touch the wreath ... just yet.

We'll keep all of you posted on the little guys' progress.

I am reminded of our God who cares for this robin and her eggs, yet our loving Savior who is far more concerned with the food, shelter, physical and mental health, and spiritual lives of the Knudsen's. Thank you once again for your caring for us in so many ways. We know that you are hurting along with us. God will see us through this new chapter in our lives.

Psalm 84:2-4 (NLT)

2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young
at a place near your altar,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God!
4 What joy for those who can live in your house,
always singing your praises.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thankful for Technology

We may not be posting every day, but we did not intend to let 3 days go by!
Dan was scheduled to receive his custom-fit wheelchair last week, but it ended up being too small, so the new one arrived today, needing only a few minor "tweaks" which will be taken care of throughout this week. Dan will soon be able to maneuver the chair himself using the "sip and puff" method for now.
Dan is learning to use voice and mouth to access a computer. He checked his gmail account today and had 60 messages, but since most were "junk," he didn't go through them yet. He may be accessing his Facebook tomorrow.
His swallowing looks good, but he does not desire to drink much. He lets the feeding tube do the work.
Dan has been pretty down lately. He knows how helpless he is, and seems to be entering a phase of hopelessness. Thank you for praying. God is so much bigger than this painful situation. I'm hoping the visit from college friends this weekend will be an encouragement.
Know that you are all loved!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Ways to Help II

This is a hard one for us Knudsen's, but we have dear friends begging for us to put this out. For those who are desiring to help us financially, currently you may send a check to:

Harvest Bible Chapel
Att: Drew Schmitz
1000 N. Randall Road
Elgin, IL 60123

Put "Dan Knudsen" in the check memo -- they have started an account for us. We are researching non-profit options that will be needed for Dan's long term care.

Again we want to say how thankful we are for all of you. Thank you for "checking in on Dan" so often and for praying. We continue to receive the kindest notes and cards and gifts, and we are humbled (a very good thing) at your generosity. What a privilege to be in the body of Christ.

"Thank you, Lord, for our family, friends, and many people we have never met who continue to shower us with the love of Christ."

P.S. This may be hard to believe, but we need to put Starbucks ["no, not Starbucks!"] and Subway on the "we have a lot" list. Gas cards, TGIF, & Corner Bakery seem to get used the most, and the RIC lunch room DOES take those Visa/MC/Dscvr/AmEx gift cards.

Thank you for the home made meals [frozen/single servings] that are able to be used by whom ever is staying at the RIC.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bed - Body - Peace

Dan got a new bed today! His previous bed seemed a bit short for his 6'1" frame. The air that flowed through the special air mattress also seemed to be warm, too warm for Dan's fluctuating body temperature. This new one keeps his back straight, and he can sit up better.

His white cell count has been on a gradual rise over the past week, possibly the reason for his temperature spikes. X-rays were taken today to see if there is any infection with his lower back sore. [from being on a back board all day during the Puebla - Chicago transfer]

Sleep has been better the past few nights, but the additional sleep/anxiety medications have affected his alertness during daytime therapy, as many as 5 per day. Dan still gets the feelings of anxiety, which he describes as a wave or feeling that overtakes him for a few hours, has no particular thought or mind set, and leaves just as quickly as it came.
  • Pray for the doctors to have wisdom in addressing the ongoing issue.
  • Pray for Dan's spirit to be protected from fear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


If I remember correctly, we celebrated spring sometime last month, the 21st to be exact. The daffodils are out in brilliant colors, along with crocus and deep fragrant hyacinths and the SNOW... yes it snowed in the Chicago area today. Fresh white SPRING snow. LOL

Psalm 37: 2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

Monday, April 9, 2007

1st Month Recap

It has been 1 month since we got "THAT" phone call, and here is a brief history.

While on a missions trip with Cedarville University, Dan, our youngest son, attempted a back flip and severely injured his C2 vertebrae . This severe contusion to his spinal cord caused a paralyses from his neck down, and requires a ventilator for his breathing.

He spent 2 weeks in Neurological ICU at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He received a halo to support his fractured vertebrae, and a screw to prevent slippage when he sat up. He has a tracheotomy and a feeding tube in his stomach.

He is now at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just down the street from NMH, and is preparing to learn how to live life with out the use of his arms and legs. He will be here 3 to 5 months.

His daily therapies are in the following areas.

  • Physical - He is out on the mats daily to keep his joints flexible.
  • Speech - They are challenging him to swallow more liquids and shake-consistency food, talk with his trach collar down, and to sit up in his wheelchair each day.
  • Occupational - We are addressing issues of him adapting to his different life in the real world.
  • Technology - He has started to operate electronic devices with a "puff tube" and use a computer with a "mouth mouse".
  • Psychology / Counseling - knowing God better, dealing with anxiety, relaxing techniques, discussing his "new life" and God's purpose or better yet, Dan's schema*.
His daily health issues, but common for spinal injuries, for the present are:

  • Constant temperature spikes - was only under 100* 1 day last week.
  • Loss of blood pressure - drops down to 70 + 80 when he get in his chair.
  • Headaches - they seem to come on a more frequent basis.
  • Weight loss of 30# - Lack of appetite and difficulty swallowing any milk or fat shakes.

Thank you for your prayers.

*The word schema comes from the Greek word "σχήμα" (skhēma), which means shape or more generally plan.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter '07

Happy Easter ~ Pascua Feliz

Just a bit of Spanish there for our Hispanic following and lots of blue links to right click on. The "previewers" thought this post sounded a bit depressing. It's not meant to be. LOL, It could be a sort of comedy of errors and real life for anyone who has planned a holiday gathering. "The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" "We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Proverbs 16:9

As our kids have gotten older, and started leaving the nest, there is nothing more we enjoy than seeing all the family together for whatever - holidays, church, dinners, family outings, etc. Easter 2007 was going to be church, then dinner together with Dan at the RIC, but it didn't quite turn out that way.

Deb stayed with Dan at the RIC for their own service reading Scripture.

Jen, Mike and I attended the Easter Together service at Harvest Bible Chapel held at the Sears Center. We all came in separate cars from 3 different places - home, RIC and a friend's house. [sorry for messing up the car pool thing] It was good for me to see church family, who expressed they were praying for us.

Matt attends Christ Community Church, but was by himself as Emily, his wife, and the twins are still in Guatemala, awaiting finalization for their adoption.

Dinner was about the same. Deb, Jen and I [Mumps MMR cleared] ate a delicious Heavenly Ham dinner here at the RIC [thank you Terry and Aunt Mary Kay] that we shared with the nurses. Mike [MMR not-cleared] ate at Kim's house [CU college friend] . Matt [MMR not-cleared] ate ... where did you say, or just what did you eat Matt?, and Dan just had his liquid tube food.

We know this is where the Lord has us for now, and gladly accept it, but know that He is keeping us together in heart and spirit. Thanks for your prayers, thoughts and expressions of love.

P.S. Can't wait for Jen's wedding in June:D

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Quiet Day

Dan rested most of the day, having had only one therapy session today. Some specifics we would love for you to pray about:
  • that Dan would not be fearful of swallowing
  • his headache would subside
  • he would not be anxious at night and would get good sleep
I Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1b-2 And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.


Sorry for the silence, but for good cause. We have been preoccupied with an RIC health issue, that has stopped visits by even some of Dan's immediate family.

There is a possibility of a Mumps exposure on Dan's floor. For this reason no persons, under 50, will be allowed on his floor between April 7th and April 22nd without proof of their MMR vaccination. [baby records, health records, etc.] Free testing is available there, but results will take 4 - 8 hours.

We do not wish this issue to be discussed in such an open forum, and have thus removed the comments section. We ask you to honor the requests of RIC as they are doing everything humanly possible to limit any public exposure. Please just make it a matter of prayer, as Dan's bloodwork showed him to be at risk.

If you have further question, were scheduled to visit Dan, or need more information, please email us at:

Thank you once again for your love, help and prayers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

from The President of the United States


March 28, 2007

Mr. Dan Knudsen

Dear Dan:

I recently learned about your surgery and wanted to wish you a full and speedy recovery.

I hope that you are drawing on the support of your loved ones during this time. Your strength and determination are an inspiration. May God bless you


George W. Bush

George W. Bush

Yep, it's for real. Thank you White House aid, CU grad and OPE* brother Matt, who arranged this for Dan. [Those OPE guys are everywhere.]

When Dan saw the former post title [from W] he said that was "a disrespectful name for our president". His dad meant no disrespect, and knows that the Bush campaigners even used "W" for their slogan. We in no way wish to be disrespectful to our president, let alone disagree with Dan in his current condition. Thanks Dan for the correction. love you, dad :D

* Theta Rho Epsilon (OPE)

Category:Social Service
Description:Theta Rho Epsilon is a men's Organization that seeks to develop character and friendships through social and service opportunities.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Relief Sitters Needed

Dear friends, So many of you have said, "How can we help?" At the time when there was so much news, and decisions flying toward us, you probably got a "Not sure" or "Not now, later" answer. Well now we know what kind of help we need.

We could use "relief sitters". We have had a family member here 24/7 since last Tuesday and a break is needed from time to time. So even to run down to the cafeteria or the kitchen/lounge can be a challenge. We are thinking about 30 minutes to 2 hours, any time of day or evening. We probably need help for the 3-5 month duration of Dan's stay at RIC . This would be for college age and up.

Dan is pretty helpless to call or signal for help. He likes to have an itch scratched, or a drink of something, or apply lip balm, or raise up the bed, or lower it, or flip on the small vacuum to suction saliva from his lips [he let's you know] or, ... you get the idea.

Medical concerns are minimal as his ventilator has alarms that go off if he doesn't breathe, the breathing tubes are plugged or kinked, the tubes come off the trach, [that's really un-nerving the few times it's happened]. So, medically he's protected, nurses and PCT's are just a buzzer away, and no lifting is involved either. Physically and mentally he just likes to have us around. He just needs our hands for a while.

For this reason, we have a new email address for direct communications with us.
  1. send us a note with your name in the subject line: relief sitter - [name]
  2. list your full name, and best contact phone number in the email body.
  3. list your day of the week and time of day for availability.
We'll send you the logistics of getting here, confirm your time and date, and what to bring, if anything. If you are not contacted within a week, please send a second email.

We can't possibly post every medical challenge that Dan has each day, but a sudden 103 fever only lasted a few hours this evening, and we are sure it because of the prayers of many who are constantly upholding Dan throughout the day.

Thanks you AGAIN for how each of you have reached out to us in various and special ways. Your love makes us cry [the happy kind of tears] :D

Monday, April 2, 2007

"nothing I didn't already know"

So many of you are bearing our burden with us, weeping when we weep and rejoicing when we rejoice. Thank you for helping with this new challenge in the life of the Knudsen family. Galatians 6:2

Our meeting went fine this morning --Dan said it best, "nothing I didn't already know", which means he's been thinking about his situation way more than what he's let on. Nothing was too shocking for us and some interesting information was shared. The most important thing for Dan right now is to tolerate getting upright in his wheel chair more often, with his pressure remaining stable, so there will be a gradual sitting up program.

Also, after an SCI (spinal cord injury), a patient's metabolic rate increases, so there is weight loss, like about 30#'s in Dan's case. We will work with RIC on getting the right calorie intake for Dan and him swallowing solids. As he gets stronger, focus can be on building muscle tissue and possibly being weened from the ventilator.

The therapists each gave their report on specifics of their area, and length of stay here at RIC was mentioned as 3 - 5 months.

His primary care doctor specializes in SCI patients getting back to school to finish their education. Dan will do whatever to accomplish this goal.

Is this what the Lord has planned for Dan and the Knudsen's? We are not brave, strong, or have been given any super human courage, and so, just like you, we continue to look to God for His wisdom and strength.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spinal Cord Injuries

To give you a glimpse of Dan's injury, here is an excerpt from a very informative article on spinal cord injuries. The entire article is here Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and is a very good explanation of spinal cord function.

Complete vs. Incomplete

What is the difference between a "complete injury" and an "incomplete injury?" Persons with an incomplete injury have some spared sensory or motor function below the level of injury – the spinal cord was not totally damaged or disrupted. In a complete injury, nerve damage obstructs every signal coming from the brain to the body parts below the injury.

While there's almost always hope of recovering function after a spinal cord injury, it is generally true that people with incomplete injuries have a better chance of getting some return.

In a large study of all new spinal cord injuries in Colorado, reported by Craig Hospital, only one in seven of those who were completely paralyzed immediately after injury got a significant amount of movement back. But, of those who still had some movement in their legs immediately after injury, three out of four got significantly better.

About 2/3 of those with neck injuries who can feel the sharpness of a pin-stick in their legs eventually get enough muscle strength to be able to walk. Of those with neck injuries who can only feel light touch, about 1 in 8 may eventually walk.

The sooner muscles start working again, the better the chances are of additional recovery. But when muscles come back later - after the first several weeks - they are more likely to be in the arms than in the legs.

As long as there is some improvement and additional muscles recovering function, the chances are better that more improvement is possible.

The longer there is no improvement, the lower the odds it will start to happen on its own.

Dan's injury is labeled as complete. He has no movement or feeling from his neck down. He has not felt the sharpness of a pin-stick in his legs. The meeting tomorrow morning will focus on how Dan is to function with his disability, not if his condition will change.

We know that our great God is the Healer -- He is able to do what the medical field cannot. We don't know His plan, but we know that it is good. Let's trust Him for the best.