January 15th, 2011 by Conor
It was a short sleep but I am packed up and have said bye to Conor and Michelle who are still sleeping at the hotel. I did not want them to see me off. They need every minute of sleep they can get. I grabbed my bag full of clean clothes, that I never wore, since I lived in a pair of sweatpants and a hoody the whole time and walked over to the hospital. It’s about a 2 or 3 block walk which isn’t bad but the single digit temperatures are numbing even with a down jacket on. When I walked up to the ICU, Ellen was on the phone and David had gone to the gas station. I walked in to see Danny and the two of us just chilled for a minute while I talked to him. He looked peaceful today, as if he was taking a nap. Shortly after, David returned and we both talked with Danny for a few minutes. It has been about 15 hours since the last time they paralyzed him and it seems that he is able to hear us even though comprehension might be a bit scrambled. His mouth moves, his eyes are slightly open and he is squeezing my hand. Only one last thing could make this better so I asked “Danny, will you give me a thumbs up?”……there it was! While drugged out on the same medicine that killed Michael Jackson, Danny fought through the fog and gave me a thumbs up that implied “Thanks for coming to see me bro. I’ll keep fighting. Soon enough we will all be back together laughing.”
Overall I think this trip was successful on many levels. First, was to show support to my best friend Conor and his parents whom have been a huge part of my entire life. Second, to give Danny another familiar voice to hopefully respond to, even if he wont ever remember I was there. However, the third is completely selfish intent. When I first heard of the accident I was miserable and could barely sleep. I wanted answers and I wanted to see if I thought he was going to be ok. The only way I could satisfy this inquisition was to go see for myself. With some help from a great friend, Kelley McRee, and her families travel agency they were able to get me on a flight with short notice from Knoxville, TN to Great Falls, MT….UNBELIEVABLY HUGE! Now it’s Friday and I’m on my flight back. I was able to ask all the questions I wanted. I was able to see his condition and in my non-credible medical opinion I am under the impression that Danny is doing great and through time he is going to be fine.
In the brief 48 hours I was really excited to see the progress he was making. Of course all this needs to be placed in perspective, which Conor is quick to remind me of. The doctors have estimated that it will be a month before Danny would even have the ability to leave this Hospital. It’s easy for me to come in for a couple days and be satisfied with the progress he has made. The tough part is that when Danny comes out of the coma, the struggles will begin for him. I hope we all realize that the most support will be needed when the impact of this accident no longer affects us. It’s easy to be supportive when the feelings of grief are affecting us individually, but when those feelings disappear it will be a true test of friendship to offer the support he will need during the recovery process.