Wednesday, May 9, 2007

2nd Month Recap

If you had told US a year ago .....

.... that we would be caring for our 20 yr. old son full time, spending most of our time in hospitals and the rehab center with lots of medical equipment AND knowing what it does and how it all works, talking medical care and terms, like ventilators, spinal cord injuries, quadriplegic as everyday language, living out of 3 places all at once, spending less than 2 days a week at your home, sharing that home with your spouse less than 3 times a month, selling of your home, modifying your somewhat comfortable life, noticing every person and thing in the handicap world, applying for permanent disability status with Social Security for one of your own kids, [and the list goes on] ... well, you would say " I'LL PASS", as all of you would be doing the same thing that Debbie and I have doing since March 9th, 2007.

If YOU had been told a year ago .....

... that a simple tumbling accident would leave you paralyzed, on a ventilator, living in a hospital and rehab center, with high temperatures, headaches, sleepless nights, a nasty back sore, and the feeling that each time you wake you feel that you are still buried alive in a sand dune, with only your head exposed and moving, unable to speak and eat without lots of effort, feeling like you need more oxygen, watching other people care for your every need, knowing that life is this way because of you, listening to medical people, family members, college buddies and friends pass by you, trying to converse with you, but usually talking about you and your situation. That has been Dan's life since March 9th, 2007.

It has been 2 months since we got "THAT" phone call, and our life has taken a bit of a curve.

While on a missions trip in Puebla, Mexico with Cedarville University, Dan, our youngest son, attempted a back flip and severely injured his C2 vertebrae [& some to his C1] . This severe contusion to his spinal cord caused an instant paralyses from his neck down, and the inability for him to breath. It is a miracle that he is still alive. 1st Minutes After the Accident

He was rushed to a private hospital, were he was stabilized and received excellent trauma care. Deb and I were by his side early the next morning. He was still paralyzed and on a ventilator for breathing. We were taken care of by the missionary community who never left our side.

Dan was med-evacuated by air 3 days later to the Neurological ICU at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he stayed for 2 weeks. Besides a ventilator for his breathing, he received a halo to support his fractured vertebrae, and later surgery to place a screw in his C2 vertebrae which prevented slippage when he sat up. They also added a tracheotomy for better breathing and care, and a feeding tube in his stomach. He lost 35 pounds.

He was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago just down the street from NMH, and after a few rough weeks of high temperatures, headaches, sleepless nights, a nasty back sore from the evacuation, and other spinal related issues he seems to be gaining ground with the mental game. At the first full evaluation, the doctors and therapists said that it will take between 3 to 5 months to get Dan ready for life outside of the RIC. Dan said it best with "nothing I didn't already know". We have a long way to go.

There have been numerous tests regarding any feeling in his limbs, and detections for any breathing on his own. The results are always negative, no change in his quadriplegic, vent-dependent status . He has his trach cuff down more than not, is eating food by mouth, has been out side the center in his power wheelchair, and has gained about 5 pounds back. He still has restless nights, with only about 4-5 hours of sound sleep. The sore on his lower back has not gotten better. More on that at a later date.

Job expresses some thoughts of ours at this time in our life. 6:10 At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One.11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.

Thank you for your love, care and support, but mostly for your prayers. We so need God's help each minute of every day, and especially nights.

We are all slowly learning how to live new life as it is uncharted territory for the Knudsen family. If we had only been told...


Laura Elliott said...

Dear Debbie, Dan, and Bill,
Whenever something tragic happens to us, we all wonder if we would have been better prepared had we known ahead of time. But you wouldn't have been able to handle it ahead of time. No doubt even ahead of time God was preparing you for His plan for your life. But when this happened He bestowed a huge tremendous extra dose of his grace to be able to walk the path you walk. Everything we need from Him increases in the measure we need it from Him as we go to Him. Your story shows His mighty hand and His unbelievable grace. Take comfort in His great presence and grace for you, and especially His faithful love.
Laura and Matthew

Anonymous said...

Hello! I read about Dan and pray for him daily! I have told friends and family and asked them to pray for his healing as well and for your family. I am a blog reader from SC and "just happened" on a girl's blog that was there on March 9 in Mexico when Dan was hurt. The strength and love of your family is truly inspiring. Dan is "telling a story" for God. His life has obviously touched so many even before the accident. Thank you for sharing and may God bless and keep you in his loving arms. Oh yeah, congratulations on the twins! They are darling.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill, Debbie and Dan,

We are continuing to stand with you in prayer. Although things aren't going according to your plans, God is still in control. I have been considering a lot lately how God puts us in different circumstances to be somewhere at the right time. We can't understand the plans of God at times but He does. "For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." (Jer. 29:11NAS95) Keep your eyes on Him throughout every day. I know it isn't easy but He is with you in it all.

Your lives are light to a dying world. Even as Dan is in his bed or wheelchair, others are observing his reactions and efforts, everything he does testifies of Jesus' work in him. We encourage him to let his light shine!

Ps 112:1-4,7 has really stood out to me this week while praying. I hope that it will give you strength as well.

With love,
The Lohner Family
Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Thank you for telling us your we can look at each day as a gift from God. That we can look at each of our children as a blessing from God. Thank you for sharing your we can look at ours and move on knowing God is real. Also thank you for your warning that we don't know what one year will bring to our lives so we need to make the best of today, and trust God to be faithful on the path he may choose to take us on....THANK YOU.

Amanda Martin said...

Thank you for that update/recap. He is faithful. Praying right now.

Jane-Jane said...

It is my honor to be on this path with you, praying daily for even the smallest of lifes comforts. Dan, you have an awesome family that loves you so very much... count your blessings because not everyone has family that would be willing to come along side them.
Always praying, Jane

Anonymous said...

I am always ENCOURAGED to read your blog. God has done a tremendous job in each of you and I stand amazed. We're going through a bit of a valley which has lasted for almost 6 years. Something (talking about time) we've become aware of, is how God has planned things ahead of time to provide for these situations. The other day, we had a huge bill come in and no money (none). Someone called and said that 3 years ago they had put aside some offering money in an envelope and then it disappeared. They could not find it anywhere. Three years later, (now), it reappeared in a desk drawer and it was just almost exactly the amount we needed to pay! Could we use it? Well, WOW!!! God has each of your needs already covered, even though it doesn't "feel" like it. We'll keep trusting Him for the best.

Wish we could give you a hug. God is there with you.

Adam Merry said...

dan, you continue to amaze me every time i read the blog. In spite of everything that has happend, your still, you. A strong testament to God in everything, a man who loves the Lord. i'm comming home for the summer in a couple of weeks dude cant wait to see ya. you have been in my prayers constantly. Were brothers man, if theres anything you need all you have to do is ask. Don't let discouragement get you down, stay strong in the word, and continue trusting in God. He has a plan for us all, even if we don't understand it right at the moment. Hope to see ya soon so we can catch up a little bit. love ya bro.

Anonymous said...

Still praying for you and your family.

- A Cedarville student

Sweetness said...


My family is praying for you DAILY!!! The other night, 7-year-old Sara prayed that "Dan would be able to have fun again with the OPE boys." We love you Dan.

Aunt Sue said...

WOW, Dan, I had not checked in since the "banana"--amazing progress in 10 days! Don asked me how you were last phone call, and sends good thoughts and love from Baghdad. He says things are "busy" there, but "busy" is a relative term, as you well know, and takes on many meanings, depending on the circumstances. You keep working hard, to get stronger, to do more stuff, so when someone tells you how "busy" they are, you can give them a big laugh! I love you and can't wait to see you in June.