Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Settling In

Dan has now been home just over a week. You can't believe how wonderful this new house is for Dan. He is able to go into every single room and has abundant room in the open kitchen/family room area. Dan had never seen the house until last weekend, and he came in and was able to wheel around the entire kitchen island and move freely about the furniture. It may seem like a little thing to most of us, but having enough room to navigate and not be "stuck" in one spot enables a wheelchair-bound person to feel more "normal." We are greatly blessed. Thank you again Greg and Remington Builders. Most of all, thanks be to our amazing God who provides.

Friday, July 18, 2008

On the Road Again

But, we are not going directly home. We traveled to Cleveland Thursday afternoon, without much incident until we came upon a 5 mile backup, 2 hour delay just south of Pittsburg, PN. Arrrrg! While most people turned off their cars, got out and walked around, Dan needed to stay in the air conditioned van. We are getting good at doing most medical or physical procedures, or eating while in the van.

Thursday was Dan's release date from Kennedy Kreiger Institute. Having been there for 8 weeks, he, we, are ready to go home. [Another Post for another slow week]

Friday we saw Dan's pacer doctor, Ray Onders at Case University Hospital. This was a 10 month check up since the pacer was installed. Incidentally, the DPS has finally received approved by the FDA. A new study for those under 18 will probably be started very soon.

We celebrated 8 weeks at KKI, Garrett's very fast 2 weeks of initial training [he's really good] by going to one of those Brasil steak places. Since we had really not eaten since breakfast, it was delicious. We all stuffed ourselves.

Saturday Dan will be near Cleveland, attending the wedding of a very good CU [& OPE] friends Bobby '08 & Nikki '08. After the ceremony, Dan got to talk with many Cedarville & OPE graduates.

We are driving HOME now. :D

Thanks for your continued prayers, for God's watch care over our travels.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jordan got married !

There are always new defining moments in the lives of your kids. The first tooth, riding a bike, starting school, learning how to drive, going off to college, GETTING MARRIED. So I [Bill] felt a lot older because one of Dan's & Mike's best friends, Jordan, got married this past weekend in PA. [Jordan, Dan, Mike & Adam >]

Dan and Mike were both groomsmen, along with Adam [the 4th musketeer], Jordan's brothers Josh & Jeremy, and 2 other college friends. Jordan and Jana were so helpful and concerned the past few months to make sure Dan's quad status would be
accommodated for the ceremony and reception hall. Thanks.

The wedding ceremony went off without a problem, and we were off to the reception. Sometimes the best plans do get foiled. So the sizable church had one of those stair glide lifts to get to the lower level. We have never been on one of those, but life with Dan is an adventure. Dan rolls on, arms come down around the chair, the ends go up, a lady on some speaker above starts repeating "the lift chair is in use", and so down we creep. Rounding one corner, toward the second ... everything [except the repeating voice] STOPPED. The guy helping us to operate it could only get the lift to go up. So we went up a few stairs, tried to go back down, but no go. We could only go up. No problem. We'll just start over from the top.

We got to the top, Dan rolled back off, the platform folded up, and the system [and finally repeating voice] shut down. Zero, zilch, nada. OH NO, we broke the lift. The church maintenance guy drove over, but confirmed that for some reason it was not going to work. Well, I had Garrett go get some food, and I was trying to not take the whole incident too personally for Dan. I thought we could eat and head back a bit early. The father of the groom and friend, Dan, came up and reported that one side of the church, only had 13 cement steps direct from the parking lot to the reception area.

I explained that Dan was not the problem, it was his 350# chair that was. We ate, heard some intros of the wedding party going on, and I quipped something stupid like, "I guess these things will happen in your life, Dan". When I thought we were ready to depart, the 6 groomsmen and the bride's brother [big military guy] came up the stair well and stated "WE'RE READY TO CARRY DAN DOWN". I tried to explain again about the chair weight and Dan, but they didn't buy it. They wanted Dan to be with them downstairs.

What went on in the next 20 minutes was exactly like the NT story in Mark 2: 3) Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4) Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.

Through brainstorming, we transferred Dan to a small plain wheelchair that they found, then 6 guys lifted and carried Dan's power chair down the 13 stairs. They came back up and 5 guys, lifted Dan [while Garrett was holding Dan's head up] and proceeded down the stairs. Another transfer back into the power chair, lots of straighting of tuxes and wiping brows, and the entourage proceeded into the reception hall.

Yes, it was a defining moment in time, but not because one of the 4 best buds got married, but that many friends did not let a handicap or a failed lift, keep one of them from enjoying life.

Thanks, BIG THANKS, guys for loving a brother.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Meet Garrett, Dan's Personal Assistant

Boy, is this a big answer to prayer folks.

We've known for some time that Dan needs a full time personal assistant for him to attend college. Dan's injury level is such that he really can never be left alone, or too far out of earshot of us, a nurse, a friend, etc.

We have known Garrett's family for many years via church and AWANA. High school and college years distance many grade school friends, but last summer when we needed relief help at RIC, Garrett and his mom Sue [a nurse], drove an hour each way to help us out. Dan was not into many visitors during those days, but he did ask Garrett about his latest missions trip to India and the missions courses he was taking at a college out west.

Scroll ahead to this past January '08, when the HBC college group paid a visit to Dan. There was Garrett, who called us a few days later, expressing an interest in helping Dan get to some of the college studies and gatherings. We asked Dan, he said sure, and Garrett started dropping by a few hours each week, to learn things about Dan's care.

It was during one of these visits that Dan asked Garrett if he would be interested and pray about assisting him back to Cedarville U. in the fall. Garrett prayed about it, talked it over with his parents, and told Dan the good news on his next visit. Of course, we were ecstatic for Garrett and for Dan and his being one step closer to returning to college.

Garrett flew to Baltimore this past Saturday to be with Dan during Dan's last few weeks at KKI. Garrett will learn how to operate the e-stim device that is now a daily part of Dan's therapies. He will also learn everything he can about Dan's daily care.

At CU, Garrett will have a room of his own, in the same suite of rooms as Dan. He will be in charge of Dan's daily care schedule, and fill in for any gaps in the help schedule. He will be our eyes and ears as Dan transitions to being in charge of his own personal care.

We still plan on having nurses or CNA's [from the Cedarville area] come in and assist with Dan's daily care routine. Dan will also rely on fellow students for class helps and other school related care.

Please pray for Garrett, for his physical, mental and spiritual strength, especially these next few weeks, as he has much to take in about Dan's care. Pray that both of them continue to bond together, as they will be in close quarters 24/7.

Please give a big 'checkinondan' welcome to Garrett Boyer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good News

Dan does not have pneumonia! (most likely) Yesterday evening we were talking to one of the doctors here at KKI, and he said he wasn't convinced it was pneumonia, but was probably a mucous plug. (Whereas we can easily cough up and sneeze, Dan cannot.) After much vigorous suctioning, using the cough assist every few hours, and good rest, Dan is already feeling much better. Dan really wanted to run to the mall this afternoon, but the medical team was not quite comfortable with that yet. (understandably) Dan is up in his chair today and attending therapy. He continues to have such a great spirit.

Thank you for praying for Dan.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5,6