Friday, May 30, 2008

KKI Week 2

Dan has completed his 2nd week of intensive exercises and therapies at Kennedy Krieger Institute [KKI] in Baltimore, MD.

Sunday Mike flew in town to stay with Dan during this week #2. Jen and Jeff joined us, as we went down to the Baltimore Harbor, which has old ships, shopping and ESPN Zone. We played arcade games, while Dan got a good laugh at the old people trying to race cars. Jen wrote a few notes about it on her blog. Eating out with a wheelchair bound person takes some effort at times, like convincing the hostess that a narrow table down a crowded aisle, was not good for Dan as he could not see any of the TV screens. It's just something that we're getting used to when going out. "Prepare the way first"

After lunch, which included watching the Cubs game and the Indy 500, we did some shopping, and Dan
picked up some clothes for his extended stay.

Extended stay you said? Yes, we were a bit surprised to
have Dan's stay increased from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, which we learned at the first week's "steering committee" meeting. They include the 10 departments that are involved in Dan's care and therapies at KKI. Everything in Dan's life is on the table for review and revising, i.e. internal issues, therapies, medications, exercising, daily care, respiratory, eating, sleeping, etc.

Dan's therapies increased this week with the tilt table, which increases his tolerance for being upright at a 90* angle. The heart rate and blood pressure go up with each increase of 10*, the PT's wait until all goes back down to normal, and increase the bed another 10*

Other medical notes for Dan's nurses and care givers back home. His trach has been reduced to a #4 Shiley. His pacer breaths per minute [bpm] is up to 15 for everyday use, and 18 for exercise. His toes about the same, his spasms under control, and his sleep a bit better this week, getting about 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. He had a 4 injection of Botox, [he felt the needles] to his left leg, to relax the muscles, thus helping the foot to stay flat instead of curving in.

The video below is Dan moving his arm with e-stim help, ever so slight, and it's tiring work on his part, but he is glad for the progress.

Dan also started 2 online classes this week. He says it's harder and different than before his accident. He needs the most help with turning pages. arrrrrgh to thick text books.

. Keep us all in your prayers, as the next 6 weeks hold, the closing on our home, modifications for Dan, moving, many trips back and forth to KKI, a wedding or 2 that Mike and Dan are involved in ...

That's all for now

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

30 years

"Happy Anniversary to us. May 27, 1978"

Yup, we've racked up 30 years of marriage.
Most of you are saying "Man, that's really OLD". . .
and we're saying the same thing here.
Our kids can comment on some of their favorite memories,

but a few of the priceless ones are:

  • Seeing Deb come down the aisle on our wedding day - she was gorgeous.
  • Buying our first house ... a 80-yr. old 3-flat rehab special.
  • Lamaze classes before we had baby Matthew ... but not using much of it at his birth.
  • Going to the grocery store with a buggy and bike ... no car again.
  • Being so excited about our little baby girl ... Jennifer
  • Buying our 2nd house ... a 40-yr. old, tiny 2 bedroom rehab special.
  • We stared in disbelief & shock, at twin’s ultra sound ... there were Michael & Daniel at 16 weeks, in the same B&W 3x3 photo. [This only happens to other people]
  • Buying our 3rd house ... a 30-yr. old 4-level rehab special.
  • Annual trip 1.5 hours each way, to look at 100’s of Christmas trees ... then returning back & cutting down the first one seen.
  • Going to Disney World with the Herman's, with only a 24-hour notice.
  • Having 2 of our children married, with very fun weddings.
  • Being grandparents to 3 perfect grand daughters :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Savannah Faith

Savannah Faith Knudsen
is finally here.

KKI Week 1

From the KKI website.
"The ICSCI’s RT program focuses on Functional Electric Stimulation (FES). [aka e-stim, or stim] With FES, a computer sends electrical messages telling a person’s legs to contract and relax, just as the brain does normally. For example this process allows a person with paralysis to "pedal" a specially designed bike. [or Dan's Diaphragm Pacer]. "

E stim pads are hooked up to various major muscles. In the arms, legs, stomach, back. When the charge is initiated, the muscles contract, and cause the body to move.

Dan has good stim at all points that have been tested. Nerves will grow back faster, when stim is used.

This was watching e-stim movement from Dan's arm. It involves thinking of what you are trying to move. Dan says its like bench pressing one and a half what you would normally lift. It's hard, and he gets worn out quickly.

He has been given a very aggressive therapy schedule, over 6 hours each day [between 2 sessions]. Just like getting back into the gym, for the first time in your life.
Dan is still dealing with lack of sleep, waking up often in the night and not being able to get back to sleep.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

KKI traveling

We Are Here.
Dan and I drove [Dan is truly a "back chair driver", but that was good] about 13 hours on Sunday, only making stops for gas and food and one 15 min cat nap for me. [Dan's "cat nap" was a bit longer.] LOL. We ate in the car, [Dan's suggestion, it's tight, but it works] as it was raining and windy most of the way across the tops of IL, IN, OH, and into PN.

The winning CUBS game "GO CUBS" on WGN, could be heard all the way into OH, and then it was Seinfeld via a DVD player borrowed from nurse Trish. At 11:30 p.m., we finally crashed at a hotel in Hagarstown, MD, and both enjoyed a good night of sleep. After a very filling hotel breakfast, we completed the 1.5 hour drive to Baltimore and Kennedy Kreiger Institute [KKI].

We were met by a smiling Jody, our point person for getting Dan to KKI, and the nursing staff, who seemed genuinely excited to have Dan there at the center. He was examined, weighed, measured, and retold his spinal cord history a few time to his new doctor, and various therapists. I sense a sincere commitment from each new person we meet, for helping patients in any way possible, and to help "push the bar" to a higher level of living. Jody said KKI likes to be the "2nd rehap facility" in a persons life. Dan is ready for game.

He has a room mate, Eric, a new C5 teen, whom we had met on our March visit. Eric has a few weeks left as in patient, then goes to out patient status.

We got a full tour of the therapy room and equipment, saw a juggling event in the lobby, with most of the centers patients - spinal, neurological, CP and others. We were hungry and Eric's dad suggested Subway that was in John Hopkins Hospital food court, all accessible through a tunnel system that connects various buildings. Speech therapy dropped by and we discussed all of the techno things that Dan needs to access via the control device or "ECU" unit on his chair, ie automatic doors, fans, lights, TV, etc. She did get his room TV set up with a sip n puff control, and is looking forward to helping him when he starts 2 online college courses next week.

Jen and Jeff, who live in the Baltimore burbs, showed up in the evening. Dan enjoyed catching up on family stuff, watched the CUBS "GO CUBS" on ESPN, while Jen gave him a really good manicure. I got in some gym time and also got Jeff's bike to keep up with "my game" while here.

See Dan's KKI address is posted on the side bar, but email greetings are just fine by us. As soon as I get issued a wireless, super secret user id and password, I will post on daily activities.

Thanks for your continues prayers, and good thoughts, AND that you cared to checkinondan.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baltimore or bust

Woo Hoo ROAD TRIP!!!

Dan and Bill are headed to Baltimore this Sunday.
(14 hours in a van ;~)

Approval just came in from the insurance company for Dan to be at
Kennedy Krieger Institute
& International Center for Spinal Cord Injury

Approval is only for 1 week, but that is the normal routine, i.e. one week approval at a time, "convince us that another is needed". This was good news . . . no this is GREAT news, as dead lines were approaching to purchase cheap tickets for travel back and forth to Baltimore, over the next 4 weeks by Deb, Mike and Bill.

Since our visit to KKI in late March, there has been a flurry of activity
to make this happen. Lots of paper work and forms, medical tests, doctor approval to travel, phone calls to KKI, [Jody, the KKI manager] the insurance people, Dan's doctors, etc. Thanks to our nurses Trish & Kathy for helping with all this too. Enjoy the 4 week break, but know you will be missed.

The minimum Rehab / Therapy stay KKI requires is at least 2 weeks. [see Rummerfield, KKI, and Dan's future] Dan has daily "range of motion with his hands, arms, legs& feet, but is lacking in regular physical daily "hard core" therapy [see KKI video], thus the first 2 weeks will be conditioning his body toward some new goals. He is looking forward to all of this. Patients are asked to stay on as long as improvement and progression are being made.

Continue to hold Dan up in prayer for:
  1. physical stamina [as Dan is on a DPS], and
  2. that he stays healthy,
  3. no infections.

Anyone, or any blog folks, or any CU family [Steve S.] are welcome to visit Dan during his stay. Just send an email to before you visit.

Thanks to all of you who have held this matter up in prayer. God Bless.

p.s. look whose photos made the CU parents email. Taken by CU photographers.
[Where are Jen & Jeff? oops]

Dr. Brown congratulates Mike.

Knudsen's in their usual grad photo place.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My CU Class of 2008

From Dan:

I just had one of the best weekends! My mom, dad and I went to Cedarville University for Mike's graduation. It was amazing and extremely humbling for me to see the extent of how God has used me to touch people's lives. There were many people, some that I did not even know, who would come up to me and say that they are praying or were somehow encouraged by my story.

There were a little bit of mixed emotions. For example, on Friday night there was sort of a parents and seniors chapel type of thing, and all the seniors were asked to come on stage to sing the senior class song, and it just felt like I should have been up there. My mom sometimes asks if it's hard for me to see stuff like that, but I always tell her that it brings me joy to see my friends and the ones I love having a good time and being happy.

I was able to see a lot of friends from my class of 2008, many perhaps for the last time (I still do and probably always will consider myself in the class of 2008, and besides who knows when I actually will graduate). There were lots and lots of pictures!

I guess the main story though is the senior class gift. The senior class decided to raise money to renovate a dorm room for me and others in similar situations. The great thing is that I plan, Lord willing, to return to Cedarville in the fall, and the room would be available for me to use. It was very strange/kinda cool to hear my name announced at graduation because the room is being named after me.

Overall, I can say God is good for bringing all this together (well, He is good regardless, but you know what I mean). I feel extremely loved by my class of 2008, (led by class president Brittany Donald) and the Cedarville family. I have to extend a huge thank you, to those who contributed to help this room become a reality.

PS - "We [KKI] have not made our case yet to Great West Insurance, but will do so today [May 8th]." Please pray about insurance approval for Dan, to attend therapy at KKI & ICSCI at John Hopkins in Baltimore very soon.

OPE grads sporting their OPE shorts

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Gabri & Addy

Happy Birthday Gabri & Addy

Already 2 years old, May 3rd, and it seems like you have been with us forever.
Both of you are so much fun.
We enjoy your talking, counting, singing, giggling and saying "ohhh no".

"Pa & Gamma" [& Uh Dan"] were out of town today, but can't wait to get back, and see their two twin grand daughters. We have more ice cream, Dora Dora snacks, and whatever else you can find in our cupboards. LOL
AND just wait till you see what Gamma is making for each of you.
Hugs & kisses.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Mike Graduates

Hip Hip Hurray for

Michael John Knudsen

for a job well done, and earning his
Athletic Trainer Degree from Cedarville University,
Saturday, March 3, 2008.

We are very proud of you, and look forward to having you a few miles closer to home this next year, as you start your masters degree at Western Michigan U.

During some very dark days, [Dan's accident, March 07], you persevered, added home trips to your schedule, and kept with it. Thanks.

Thanks to CU friends, faculty, and staff, who have guided Mike these past 4 years. He has grown and learned much from your lives, more than you can know.

Thanks to that great bunch of OPE guys who are just . . . incredible. You rock.

Look for us at Saturday's graduation exercises, stop and say HI!.

Other note of interest:

Dan is meeting with a few CU staff Friday, in preparation for his return to college this fall.

Checkinondan this Saturday for 2 special birthday greetings.