Monday, August 4, 2008

Baltimore Memories

Following is the post Jen put on her blog.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Dan in Baltimore
I've kept wanting to blog about Dan's visit, so finally it's here!
In the 8 weeks Dan was out here at KKI, we got to see him about 2 times a week, which was such a blessing - catching up on his life and his therapy and all he wants to do.
Overall Dan is doing so well. The biggest joy over the past few months is that Dan is every bit his cheery, sarcastic, witty self and is a blast to be around. Sometimes when we would visit, he was so exhausted from intense therapy and lack of sleep he would forget what he was saying mid-sentence. Yes, we laughed at him - it really was hilarious! I've never encountered someone so tired, yet trying so hard! (Love you, Dan!)
But most of our visits he was pretty much awake. We played Yahtzee one visit, Monopoly another, and of course, the Cubs game was usually on when we were there. Visits always included touching up his nails, usually a shave, and even once a buzz haircut by Jeff (who also does his own hair). And Dan's favorite - a homemade meal!
My favorite times were when we went out to eat. No TV, no nurses distracting, just sitting around eating and LOTS of talking! The weekend before they left for home, we met up with Dan, Dad and Garrett at Don Pablo's. Again, it was such a blast sharing memories and finding out about the people Dan met while out here. In the car on the way there I had asked Jeff if we had ever been there together. Then I remembered - oh my goodness - the only time we had gone to Don Pablo's was March 9, 2007. While waiting in the lobby for our table we got a phone call from Dad that Dan was hurt. We didn't then know it was a neck injury or even that it was very serious so we continued our dinner. Dan had plenty of jokes to make about that when I told him that story! What a cool reminder of God's faithfulness - just over a year later from when we got the news that life would change forever, there we were laughing hysterically together in the same place.
Every time I'm out somewhere with Dan I think of how rare it is to see a person with his injury out and about. I think a big reason is that Dan has never minded being in public and what a huge blessing that is for us to be able to enjoy his presence anywhere! I think the biggest reason others don't get to go out much is because they just don't have the means or the support system that Dan does. Enter Dad and Mom and all their work to give Dan the best transportation, home, education, therapy, and all in all life that he can have.
Family is really a blessing and Dan encourages our hearts so much. Not necessarily because he's an "inspiration" or is "strong" (although those are all part of it), but as his family it's because he can laugh and keep us laughing. Because he's still Dan.

It was in Baltimore that we all realized that our Dan was "back." I had missed that laugh.


Bobby said...

Nikki and I just want to thank you Dan for coming to our reception. Everytime I see you I just smile. Its just like seeing Volpe, Josh, Mark, Mike or anyone else and just thinking of the goofy crazy we did and the talks that we had. God is not done using you. In fact he is just beginning to lead you where he wants you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your memories and visits, Jen.
You are so right on about the family support Dan[and all you kids] have.
Dan and your family know my work in health care as we have met. I am currently treating a 22 year old paraplegic in a nursing home who 4 years ago was in a car accident. This kid is totally alert and oriented, just a regular kid but is paralized from the waist down. Why is the young man in a nurinsing home where almost everyone is at least 80???? The sad answer is he does not have support form family. Mom is in prison. When he asked Dad if he could have just alittle money he told him to get a job. Geuss he should get on that busy highway and dart through the cars. It is heartbreaking. Once again, I shared Dan's story and how he is going back to college. I encouraged him to not give up but find a passion and go for it. Next visit maybe I will give hime the Jesus talk. Pray for me to have that opprutunity.
Hats off to the Knudson family!!!!

Your big sister said...

Bobby and Nikki - it was during Ben's "Dan will come to your wedding on his terms" conversation with you that I was afraid Dan was going to choke with laughter! So thanks for being good sports with Ben and helping with the laughter! :-D