Monday, July 30, 2007


All of you who know us Knudsen's or Matt and Emily are invited to an open house to celebrate the homecoming of Gabriella and Adelina. Drop in at the Schmanke's this Sunday, August 5, from 2 - 5 PM. This is for family, friends, church friends, my HCA co-workers, all who have traveled the adoption journey with us. You know how to get a hold of us to let us know if you can make it. Your presence will bless us.

Friday, July 27, 2007

VIsits are Great!

Dan is feeling so much better. I can't wait for him to be back up in his chair all day instead of, "Now let's do 1 1/2 hours twice a day." (The pressure sore surgery was quite extensive.) He never has a taste for anything, but he at least eats something for each meal.

Watching or listening to the CUBS play is a much anticipated activity, but Dan really enjoys visitors. He especially enjoyed his nieces! Dan has been looking at their photos every day and can tell them apart easily. Their visit was definitely the highlight of his week! He is fascinated by everything they do.

We will be home very soon. Sometimes I get discouraged because other spinal cord patients are 'zipping' around in their wheelchairs before they leave, and Dan will be going home still working on just being upright for an extended amount of time. But, nothing of Dan's process has been "normal"!!!

Let me just say again how much we love you. You take care of us above and beyond the call of duty.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Knudsen Twins are Home

Yep, the twins are officially United States citizens and are now at HOME in IL with Matt [CU' 05] and Emily after a 14+ month adoption process in Guatemala. Bill and I actually get to grandparent in person. Addy and Gabri Knudsen will be visiting Uncle Dan this week and pictures will be posted !!! They are the cutest.

Dan is not back up to his June status physically, but is progressing well, feels much better, and is trying to add 15 minutes each day for being up in his chair, provided that his blood pressure remains stable. His appetite has increased slightly, but best of all, since he feels better, his fun personality is shining through. He's back to teasing and being sarcastic with the therapists and nurses and can't wait to see his twin nieces!!!.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chipotle Today

I think the new strategy for anyone who visits Dan, is to eat food in front of him. He has been inspired in the past, to eat food that is being shown in TV commercials, etc. [yes we have requested that the food channel be added to the cable line up at RIC].

Take today for example. Dan had only had a few sips of my Jamba Juice for his breakfast. Nothing else.

"Dan, how about a banana?"~ "(head shake), NO"
"Dan, how about a frosted flakes?" ~ "(another head shake), NO"
"Want some Gatorade?" ~ "(head shake), YES"
[half hour later] "Dan, how about McDonald's sausage biscuit?"
~ "(head shake & frown of the face), NO"
"Dan, how about a PB&J sandwich?" ~"(slight look of disgust to me) "NO"
[much later] "Dan how about cheeseburger from McDonald's" ~"NO"

THAT was breakfast.

A CU college dorm mate of Dan's stopped by on his way through Chicago. [Thanks Griffin] We decided to have Chipotle, but Dan was still not hungry and didn't want anything to eat. Shortly after we started eating, Dan asked for a taste of Deb's chicken taco. This is the most exciting thing in a few days. He ate a few bites, and asked for more, so we ran 3 blocks and got 2 more chicken tacos and he ate one of them. YES!

So to all who visit, come with an empty stomach and plan on eating in front of Dan. LOL Maybe this new tactic will work.

Dan has been in his manual wheel some for the past few days, but has NOT been increasing by 15 minutes increments each day. We have yet to leave his room and go around the floor, or go out for a stroll as we did before his surgery. Continue to pray for these things.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Good Day

Dan is having a good day today. What does that mean? He is enjoying conversing with the therapists about baseball. He ate some breakfast. He had a visit from CU friends. He was up in his chair for 45 minutes. We talked with the head respiratory therapist about diaphragm pacers. (electrodes implanted on the diaphragm or phrenic nerve to stimulate the diaphragm to "work", thereby allowing him to breathe without a ventilator. Dan's lungs are in good condition, but the diaphragm is the muscle that causes the lungs to do their job.) Doesn't seem like a lot, but that's a good day.

Dan is narrowing his preference of technology equipment that will enable him to be more independent when we get home. He's pretty sure he has decided on the exact computer "mouse" and speaking program. When we get to our new home we'll focus on the exact environmental controls (lights, TV, etc.) we need.

Thank you to those who are constructing Dan's new room. Drywall is up, electricity needs are in, floor gets done this Saturday. Alan is working on the ramps to allow Dan to be in the first level of our house. Although our first level is only one big room, we'll be able to put a table there for family (all 3 of us) meals, and the TV is in that room.

Thank you to those who have been helping get our house ready to sell. Wow, I'm worn out! There is a lot to do to "stage" a house for selling. I personally think the Lord will provide the exact buyers and the exact new house for us!!

How great is Your goodness which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You. Psalm 31:19 I love it!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slow Going

Dan actually ate almost a whole BLT for lunch and a salad for dinner. He slept a lot Sunday, but was so refreshed when he woke up. He watched the CUBS game [GO CUBS] and then the ESPY awards. He also "participated" in the weekend house clean-out by sorting through his clothes. (We brought to RIC a suitcase full of his clothes and he had to decide "keep" or "give away." -- it took me 3 times of bringing clothes to get through all of his ... college kids!!!)

It is slower going than we thought it would be for him to be sitting upright again, but it's coming, although he has only been sitting up in his bed. Now that this pressure sore is taken care of and his staples are soon to be removed, he is finally ready to begin square one of a much-needed 2-or-so month rehab, and REALLY participate, learn and grow. Of course, the insurance company wants him out of there today, so we're not sure how long we will be able to stay at RIC. We're excited for him to get home, but he's missed so much therapy from not feeling well all these months.

Another item of prayer!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

garage sale: going, going, almost gone

(only 1/4 of the total "junk" ~ discounts galore)
Final garage sale on Sunday 9 am - 2 pm (went to Saturday Eve church :) to help with a final day of selling and then clean up from the sale. We could use help with the boxing up of unsold items for give away Sunday afternoon. If you have 1 or 2 hours available, there will also be a final touch up and cleaning Sunday, Monday and Tuesday before the house gets listed. Reply to or give us a call.

There are still loads of homeschooling books, kids and educational books, garden tools, college age and adult clothing, adult shoes, still loads of household items, small kitchen items, linens and picture frames, golf clubs, sporting items, old records, a very used Foosball table [more than 1 headless player-LOL], POGS or Milk Caps, electrical & plumbing parts, it goes on.

We were finally able to attend "our own" Elgin church campus of Harvest Bible Chapel tonight. Pastor Stowell's continued his message on "Thinking right about God's capacity!" Our family was mentioned. The upload is at 3 pm Sunday.

Dan's last week was not so good. He had severe stomach pains on and off because of high calcium levels, slept alot, had a restless night, got light headed when trying to sitting up in bed, and just felt lethargic over all. He finally make it in his wheelchair on Friday, but got light headed after only 8 minutes and had to be quickly put back in bed. [He's blacked out when this has happened in the past] A big problem is his lack of appetite. He has eaten only very small amounts. No meat or protein or "Happy Meals". It feels like a repeat of his "no eat April" all over again.

Thanks as always for your prayers. Love you all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Garage Sale

Knudsen GARAGE SALE & household clearance sale will be held this
Friday, July 13th ~ 7 am to 3 pm
Saturday, July 14th ~ 7 am to 1 pm

[times subject to be changed]

type and paste this on Google Map> Old Kirk Rd, Geneva, IL 60134

actual address is 0 N 784 Old Kirk Rd in Geneva, IL - near the corners of Rt. 38 & Kirk Roads, access via Cherry Lane, at the Kane County Cougars baseball stadium

Oh my. You never saw so much "stuff." Anyway, for those in the western suburbs of Chicago, this Friday and Saturday is our garage sale. My sisters-in-law have done all the work to get this ready, and they have sacrificed above and beyond.

Notice to all you homeschooling moms:
I am selling curriculum from 15+ years of homeschooling.
There is A LOT here!!
Spread the word and plan to load up your bookshelves. (please!)

(2 dear friends organized and priced everything for me.)

Unofficial listing of items to be sold.
  • dishes and kitchen items
  • household gifts, notions, picture frames
  • games, puzzles, POGS
  • adult and college age clothing - men & women's
  • sports shoes [men's size 11-12]
  • Oak executive desk, 17' comptr monitor, fax machine, printer, scanner.
  • jig saw, tools, electrical parts, plumbing parts, home repair items, garden tools
  • 5 - 3 man tents 7'x6', camping gear, golf clubs, base balls
  • old records, music, children's record player, musical instruments
  • '93 Nissan Maxima (Jen's college car-rough condition-uses lots of oil)
  • Ray Greene [daysailer] sailboat and trailer, life preservers

  • the House. 4 levels, 3000 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 3 car extra large garage, 1 acre, professional landscaped, horses allowed, mature trees, 27' pool [above grnd]

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus

For a few weeks I have been mulling around in my mind about sharing with you how we are doing. Our family experienced God's presence in a special way at Jen's wedding, which was an incredible blessing, but we want you to know that we never stop hurting. The statement I have been sharing when people ask is that "It is too horrible to be true, but it's true, and it never goes away."

BUT, we do not despair. Psalm 27:13 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Bill and I went to church [Harvest Bible Chapel] again this past Sunday morning, together, for the second week in a row! Pastor Stowell's message was life to my soul! I would like it to be required listening for all of you readers!! (just click on the blue link)

We are allowed to complain to our God. It took me until May (accident was March 9) to be able to say to the Lord that I didn't like what He did. And you know what? He's big enough to handle my saying that, and He flooded me with His grace and the sweetness of His presence. He gave me rest again and new strength to face Dan's many issues.

  • Do we know that God is sovereign? Yes
  • Do we know that God is good? Yes
  • Do we like Dan being paralyzed? No
  • Will we say yes to that question some day? Maybe, maybe not until heaven
  • Do we doubt that God is working this out for good? Not at all -- we are able to face each day because we know that God has purpose.

Dan suffering a C1 & C2 spinal cord injury alone is so devastating. Why then, has he had to go through all the loss of weight and appetite, week-long high temperatures, plastic surgery, extra pressure sores AND blisters AND stomach aches AND severe headaches and worst of all, being vent-dependent in addition to the paralysis?

We don't have a clue.

It makes no sense to us, makes us sad and we cry over this often, but as Bill wrote earlier, "God's ways are higher that our ways".

God is worthy to be praised regardless of the circumstances.

Our worship service ended Sunday morning with us singing:

" 'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus . . .
just to rest upon His promise . . .
Oh, for grace to trust Him more

That's where we wish to live.

Monday, July 9, 2007

4th Month Recap

We'll let you do the looking up and reading if you are interested in any old posts. Just right click on any of the following blue words, and open up in a new window for all the details.

March 9th, 2007 our cozy world changed with "THAT" phone call. We were glad that we didn't learn about 1st Minutes After the Accident until a few weeks later. The neurosurgeons said that we would know the extent of our son Dan's injury in 6 weeks to 3 months. There were never any medical professionals who actually sat us down and fully explained a C1 & C2 Spinal Cord Injury to us, or that he would be a quadriplegic forever. The verdict is still out if he will ever be able to breathe on his own again. Most of what we know and have shared with you folks has been from our own research.

Some things gave us mixed signals and should have been challenged or re-evaluated, like his Cookie Test, causing us to think that we would be tube feeding for ever. Thankfully the nurses, aka "medical doctor with more interesting uniforms", encouraged Dan to eat and he responded with "I'd like a Happy Meal"

We live at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and with each therapy session and physical progression, Dan looks and feels better, i.e. removal of his halo Going Going Gone, The Collar Is Off, putting his cuff down and speaking, power wheelchair, Back Flap surgery, even a letter from The President of the United States. Each forward step is usually proceeded with 3-4 set backs, i.e. that nasty back sore, so many sleepless nights, no appetite for food, trying to get him to eat, more bed sores, etc. Like just a few minutes ago, when respiratory was doing their twice daily "deep suctioning & cleaning out of his lungs" [we do all of this also], they said his heart rate it looked extra high, and soon a portable EKG was brought in with 3 resident doctors in tow and a flurry of activity, only to say that there was a possible "something blockage", not emergency and a "We'll monitor it". Okay... will that happen at home too?

Dan, now 21, has been able to get out of the hospital and rehab environment from time to time with a movie, the zoo, the aquarium, his sisters WEDDING, Each of the outings is a learning experience and "testing of the waters" with equipment, logistics, strengthening his endurance, this works that doesn't, everything striving to get Dan back to some sort of normalcy in his life... HIS NEW LIFE. He does think about before the accident, like when we saw an magazine announcement about a Chicago Ultimate Frisbee game, he quipped "I really miss playing sports". He's thinks about that sort of stuff more than he lets on.

There are many other things we could write, like how all of you care for Dan with Relief Sitters, are helping and paid for Selling Our Home , have prayed and cried over us, and Prayer from our Church Elders. You have overwhelmed us with Ways to Help, too many food cards, provided free condos near the hospital to live in, raided piggy banks, had fundraisers, given up class trips, and even Concert to benefit Dan Knudsen & Family ... too many Gifts From Above to list. We have experienced the universal body of Christ loving us daily.

We do share many comments with Dan. We hope to have a few posts from him soon. His immediate goal is to be up in his wheel chair daily and add 15 minutes each day.

Thank you for checkingondan. We love you more than you can ever know.

Dan dancing with sister Jen,
[Dad helping out], to the tune
"You Raise Me Up"
or here

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Back To The RIC

As noted in the side bar, Dan is back at the RIC. Room 502, with a great view of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.
  • Good stuff: His surgery spot on his lower back is healing nicely and new special boots are keeping the blisters on his feet from getting any worse.
  • Not so good stuff: He has zero appetite, has only eaten protein shakes, little solids and his stomach seems to hurt when he has a tube feeding. (This loss of real food caused the original back sore to worsen.)
The doctors think he looks great over all, but is addressing both of these issues. We have to be vigilant with making sure that he gets turned every few hours, that any existing red spots are protected and continue to apply Vitamin E [Bill's cure all for everything] and sheep skin under the affected areas. This has worked in the past.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

—Isaiah 55:8-9

We wrestle with understanding Dan's situation often. Thank You for your prayers.

FYI The Knudsen household clearance GARAGE SALE will be held next
Friday, July 13th and Saturday, July 14th.
Old Kirk Rd, Geneva, IL 60134
More info & lists of items to be sold will be posted next week.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What's New?

I told Dan that we haven't posted in a few days, and we both said at the same time that not much has gone on -- Dan is still flat in the strange bed!

Good news, though: Dan has had only one slight headache in the past week. Bad news: he has zero appetite and has some blisters on his feet.

Really special news: Dan said thank you to a respiratory therapist after she suctioned him, and she said that in 7 years, that was only her second thank you. The resident doctor said that Dan is the only smile on the floor when they do their rounds in the morning. Dan's resident doctor from RIC said that spinal cord patients are angry, so staff is not used to pleasant attitudes. Praise God for His working in Dan's life. That is a result of your praying for him.

Happy Fourth of July! (Of course I brought decorations for Dan's room.) I always wanted to see the Chicago fireworks, and I thought maybe from Dan's hospital room we could, but there was one building in the way, so we watched them on TV. (Chicago has their big show on the 3rd.)

We'll be back to RIC on Friday as far as we know. We hope Dan will be able to resume therapy quickly after being flat for two weeks. Something to pray about! :o)