Chapters – Chris Rogers

January 30th, 2011 by Conor

(written at the end of their visit)

As my visit appears to be wrapping up, I realize how much changes so quickly with Danny not only day to day, but hour to hour. This is the nature of head injuries. When you break your leg or injure internal organs other than the brain, there is a set time period and path to recovery. Everybody thinks differently, therefore everybody’s brain will heal differently when injured.

Right before we were about to leave the hospital last night it dawned on me that once I left, the saga would still be ever changing. Once you enter room 5109 you seem to enter a time warp. All of the machinery and noises go blank as you focus on any interaction with DCT you can. Then you walk out and join the small community of friends and family keeping themselves busy in the lobby waiting for updates. Even in the lobby you feel content with just sitting, because you are close.

It is the thought of being back 17 hours, 1000 miles to the south, again with the feeling of helplessness that is bothersome, however, this trip will take away that feeling a bit, and allow me to visualize exactly what is going on when I read Michelle and Conor’s updates. I told this to Conor last night and he brought up a good point. We experienced a chapter in this book, much like Tom experienced what we did plus another chapter because he arrived a day earlier. Much like Josh Belcher experienced a completely different chapter when he visited…Much like Conor and Michelle are editing the book.

Our chapter was an amazing one…starting with the first sight of our recovering friend, then the interactions, improvements and further details of projected recovery. we hung out with The Toumarkine’s, Michelle, Tom J (ever steeped in NH tradition), and met the medical staff who have brought Danny to this level. I couldn’t be leaving with more reaffirmation that Danny is Danny and that he will be alright. what I did foresee was how much of a trip this is for DCT. Like Conor touched upon, He is slowly learning why he has tubes entering his stomach and why he sits in a Hospital bed in the middle of the Plains in northern Montana.

on the second day we were visiting, the unthinkable happened.

I walked into room 5109 to see Danny sitting up, no wrap around his head, less swelling, and him full conversating with Tito. I almost tripped backwards because, up until this point, the Tracheastomy had been prohibiting regular speech. We just talked for a long time, all of us kind of throwing out stories and updating each other. Danny recollected the night he fell down when he got out of his hospital bed in his room alone after Conor and Michelle were no longer allowed to do the night watch. Scary stuff. But he also asked about our lives and was genuinely concerned about Our well being…what a dood!

By the time we headed out for the long haul home through the high desert back to Tahoe, we had seen some amazing events unfold. Danny went from limited interaction, mostly involving his hands, with a tube in his neck for breathing, to sitting up and fully interacting. There ws No doubt in my mind that the next step was for him to leave ICU and begin the long arduous journey back to complete normalcy.

We were so lucky to be a part of this Chapter in Danny’s recovery, and I hope not to sound selfish because I got what I wanted…to See the Danny I know and be able to connect with him. This was by chance, we didn’t set up this trip knowing really anything about his precise condition, so it was a blessing, more so that he is touted as the “best TBI recovery story” that Benefis Hospital in Great Falls Montana has seen in three years. They will be telling Danny’s story to future families of TBI patients…and that will be future Chapters writing themselves in this saga.

Renee Cypher

January 30th, 2011 by Conor

As I sit here watching X-Games, and keeping up on Danny’s progress, I just feel that I need to write. I don’t know Danny, Danny’s family, Danny’s girlfriend – none of you. I heard about Danny’s accident through my brother’s girlfriend’s son and daughter (who I have never met either) but saw Micaela’s posts on facebook. I read this site usually every night and have prayed every night for Danny to have a full recovery and to be able to walk and talk. Now to know that he will be able to board again, someday! Amazing. The power of prayers, family and friends is what it is all about plus the excellent doctors and medical staff. I spent a month in the hospital with my son when he was 3 – he is now 18. Miracles happen. So I do know a little of the ritual of Conor and Michelle.

I have 3 sons who board – I don’t know a lot about it but they enjoy the hell out of it. As we are watching x-games, a boarder just did a triple flip – first time ever. Guy by the name of Hordmo or something like that. And it just seemed like the right time to send this. A parent’s worst nightmare is something happening to one of their kids.

I will continue to pray for you, Danny, and for your family. I think some of the best news was knowing that Danny will be able to board again. It may not be for a year or so, but at least it will be. Danny, continue the unbelievable progress that you have been making.

Renee

Update

January 30th, 2011 by Conor

The doctor is 80% sure that he is going to have to do another surgical procedure on Danny. There is a small fluid buildup underneath Danny’s skull that has accumulated since his last CT scan on the 25th. The doctor thinks that this is playing a part in Danny’s sever headaches. They are going to do another scan at the beginning of the week, but if things stay on course than they will be putting a drain in his head on Tuesday afternoon. This will probably delay our departure by 2 -3 days from what we were looking at before- which was unknown exactly. Hopefully that 20% will prevail and the surgery wont have to happen, chances are it will though. Stay tuned.

Keep On Keepin’ On

January 30th, 2011 by Conor

The emails aren’t coming in so regularly, the donations aren’t pouring in like they did. I knew this was going to happen. People have moved on. Totally understandable. As far as the world is concerned Danny is “better.” Yes, healing and on the road to recovery- still a long rocky road ahead re learning things like speaking and short term memory.

Just like I predicted, this is when Danny needs us the most. He found out yesterday that he probably won’t be snowboarding for at least a year. He also found out that his Subaru is totaled and that he had been moved out of his room in Tahoe. No big deal. I probably would be devastated to find out any other the things he has had to deal with let alone all of them them at one time.

Danny was definitely a little bummed out yesterday but he does seem to be dealing with it about as well as someone could expect. The one thing that he is holding onto at the moment is his sense of humor. He is in a pretty consistently good mood when he is awake. Its great to seem him look at himself in the mirror and point out that he looks like a “terrorist” or an “alien.” I have nicknamed him “Mac” due to the odd shape of his head due to the swelling. He smiled a pretty big smile when I came up with that name.

It’s been hard to write as much as normal because we want to be with Danny. He needs the company and love and support. He needs us to pick him up, take him for walks, get him excited for the future, and encourage him that even though it sucks, It’s not anywhere NEAR as bad as it could be.

Over the next could weeks we hope to get out of here. A lot is going to happen in that time. We will continue to track Danny’s progress and hope that at some point he might contribute.

When appropriate, we will begin to post some pictures of Danny. That’s it for now. Catch you all later on. Time to go hang out with Danny.

~Conor

Looking Back

January 29th, 2011 by Conor

Looking Back

It seems like it’s been weeks since we moved out of ICU room number 5109, but it’s only been one day. I guess time is moving slowly for all of us, not only Danny. His room upstairs is a place that I wish I could delete out of my memory. I wish I never walked through the sliding glass doors and past the electrical bed to the big rocking chair in the corner. I wish I hadn’t spent the majority of my month watching, crying, laughing, and feeling in that room. These things happened and the feelings are still here all too strong. The memories will never wash away, but at least I can look back. We are now in room 4105 and that is one step closer to being out of the hospital. Below are a few photos from room 5109 and each one of them tells a story on their own.

-Michelle

Update

January 29th, 2011 by MIchelle

Danny’s been having trouble sleeping lately. He simply hates the hospital and doesn’t feel comfortable here. He was about to get to sleep this morning around five when they came in to draw blood for labs. Every four hours they check his vitals and I’m not sure how often, but respiratory comes in as well to multiple times per night. I wouldn’t be able to sleep either. We’ve managed to push back the blood drawing to 6:30 or later tomorrow and they are now only allowed to check his vitals when he is already awake. They are going to try to give him Nyquil tonight in hopes that it will help him get to sleep. If that doesn’t work they are going to try ambien. I don’t think that Danny needs ambien, I think he just needs to be left alone while he’s sleeping.

He’s eating, not much, but he’s making an effort to even though he’s got stomach aches. They are giving him something for that as well now. It’s kind of tough to get him to eat sometimes, but we keep telling him that the more he eats the quicker he can get out of here. Conor and I took him for his first unassisted walk today (without a nurse or PT). We got the hall pass to roam the hospital! Our first stop was the lobby to say hello to David and Ellen. We then headed down to floor number two and walked to the waiting area where Conor and the Shreddy Crew spent a fair amount of time on the 3rd of January waiting to hear the prognoses of Danny’s first craniotomy. As we relived a lot of moments in the past three weeks with Danny by our side, we laughed at everyone’s reaction who passed us in the hall. They would smile at Danny, but it was an awkward smile saying something like I can’t believe they let you out of the room, congratulations, but you look like you’ve had a lobotomy. Danny’s scars and hair cut are wild. We laughed about making an edit featuring Danny scaring people in the hospital. Picture the elevator doors opening up to Danny with staples in his odd shaped head screaming at the unexpected elevator takers. We all got a kick out of that.

It’s exciting to be able to get Danny out of the room. It doesn’t seem like much to him, but we constantly remind him that the more he walks/exercises and the more he eats the quicker this will all be. Reality set in today when the Doctor informed Danny that he wouldn’t be snowboarding for at least a year. Danny was bummed. We all knew this, but no one had broken the news to Danny yet. It’s always incredibly hard to hear that kind of news, but hopefully with your help we can keep Danny’s spirits high.

He is eating a little bit. Mostly cereal and the occasional cookie. He’s drinking smoothies which is about the thickness that all of his liquids need to be. As long as he keep his caloric intake up then they won’t need to feed him through the PEG tube that runs into his stomach from the outside of his belly.

In other news, Conor informed me that we may have forgot to mention that Danny is clear of the tracheostomy and all that comes with it (the hardware anyways). He now has the hole there that will close up any day now. You can hear air coming out of his neck when he talks sometimes. It doesn’t hurt him, but it feels odd and annoying. He’s fast asleep right now and dinner should be here any minute.

Dinner is here…chicken noodle soup, chicken fingers, a fruit cup, and veggies. Bon appetite.

-Michelle

Goodnight World

January 28th, 2011 by MIchelle

It’s Friday and I’ve been slacking on the posts lately. With all of the visitors here it seemed easy to let one slide while they all had so much to say. They are gone and things are much quieter. I really enjoyed having people here to help make Danny laugh and to make us all smile. One night after we left the ICU I laughed so hard I felt like my cheeks had just completed P90X. I guess it had just been that long. Today I found myself missing all of you. You were good for us and thank you for coming.

Now I am here, alone on the fourth floor, outside of PCU. Danny is asleep and I was heading home, but found myself missing him too much to leave just yet. So I thought I would sit a little while and put some thoughts down. Danny asked the nurse if I could stay the night and he said that I could have a cot, but we figured I might as well just leave. Sleeping in a cot next to Danny’s bed would still feel far away from Danny.┬áLeaving him at night is the hardest thing for me to do. I get choked up every time, every single time.

Today Danny walked up and down stairs! Okay, I’m gonna hold on to that thought and head out of here. That thought makes me smile. Goodnight and sweet dreams!

-Michelle

Update

January 28th, 2011 by Conor

Danny is no longer on the 5th floor (YEsssssssssss!) He has been moved to the PCU down on the 4th floor. Things are looking up more and more every day. The rules are much less strict down here and they don’t kick us out during shift change. We still have a long way to go here in Great Falls but this change in location feels big. Very big!

New STICKER!

January 28th, 2011 by Conor

We have another sticker for sale thanks to Daniel Surette .

The sticker runs in two different sizes. The large one is 12″ x 5″ and the small sticker is 6″ x 2.5″


Sizes




Glen Junction Love

January 28th, 2011 by Conor

For those of you that don’t know Danny is a big fan of Glen Junction. It’s on the “must do” list anytime Danny is back at home in NH. Even in a cloudy daze, Danny requested to head there as soon as he got out of the hospital. In case you don’t believe me here is a conversation we had with him the night before his 3rd surgery:

In case you missed the coupon in the paper here it is again. Never expires… 20% Off food, 20% to Danny. Glen Junction is the Bomb!

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