January 25th, 2011 by Conor
It’s been almost a month since Danny got injured in Montana…Since Conor, Danny’s parents and Michelle dropped everything and went bedside…Since the Toumarkine Family grew into an international following of people who woke up distracted, waiting for news of the good, better, anything, about Danny and his condition. The timeline of emotions is subjective…for me it was disbelief that lead to a slow realization of what was really going on.
The detailed accounts of surgical procedures has been one of the hardest parts, reading about all of the changes happening to Danny’s body while he sat like a prisoner in his own body. As hard as these accounts have been, they are what let us know that Danny has been on the path to recovery. If it weren’t for my friends in the medical fields reassuring me that it is “procedure” to remove a piece of skull to relieve pressure and place it in his hip to keep the tissue alive, I wouldn’t know how to process the information.
As of yesterday, it had been 22 days, with 17 hours to go. Danny had sustained the injury, been relocated to the Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Montana, and undergone 2 craniatomies…about the undergo the third and final procedure to put the flap of skull back in his head. The crew in Tahoe had been sitting anxiously during this time, waiting not only for news of Danny’s recovery, but news of when we could make the 17 hour drive through the high desert from Norcal to Normont(ana). Then it came, Conor gave the go ahead, with the impending final surgery and DCT’s improvement overall, we were cleared to pack up and go. We would be meeting up with Conor and Michelle (who had been there for the duration) and Tom Januzzi (Hometown NH legend steeped in White Mtn tradition) who had just flown in the night before, right before the third surgery, as well as Danny’s parents.
January 24, 2011
I jumped out of bed at 4 AM Local California Time, threw together my backpack of belongings and hoofed it to the Shreddy House down the street on Dollar Hill, Lake Tahoe. As I walked in the house Ian Mcleod (DCT and Conor’s roommate), and Tito Gainza (good friend of Ian’s and subsequently big fan and friend of Danny’s who had just flown from his home country of Argentina) were scrambling to get ready. We then loaded up Michelle (Parker’s) truck for the mission…See Danny, Be with friends family, and deliver the truck.
The whole array of emotions was present, but at 5 AM there was just an attitude of “Lets do This!” we all had freshly shaven heads for Danny (Don’t worry Tito and Moss, you look badass with buzz cuts) and had dually noted that we would be in a traveling gang for the day…for entertainment purposes (more to come on Gang antics)
Tito annihilated the first 6 hour portion of the drive, starting in Tahoe, breezing through the Balmy Reno vicinity all the way until Jackpot Nevada. This is where I took over, and got a speeding ticket not 20 minutes after taking to the wheel…Michelle’s truck can Brawl! anyway…minor offense. I drove through the fine state of Idaho, saw little to no potato action. what we did experience was the vast amount of towns ending with the word “Falls”…Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, American Falls then Great Falls.
As Anxious and concerned for Danny as we were, 17 hours in a truck with two other bro’s makes you go nuts. After we filled up in American Falls we hit our stride on highway 15 North. With the Mate (South American tea drink pronounced ma-tay) bowl heated up, Tito graced us with his best version of a western accent…which was verbal Gold. It mixed the worldliness of the Argentinian vernacular with the slack jawed cowboy twang of a dusty Shurrrrrif.
Ian took the reigns right as darkness hit…as well as the only slick conditions and a mountain pass. He killed it without killing us, so props Mcleod. When his 6 hour driving shift was nearing it’s end we could see the lights of Great Falls, which were actually impressive considering the terrain we had traveled through all day.
Then the Realness set in. We had waited 22 days and 17 hours to be here, read countless hospital updates and friend accounts about Danny’s character. There had been emotional breakdowns and triumphs on DCT’s behalf, as well as the strength of knowing what type of people were sitting by his side the whole time…yet we felt like we could use another 17 hours to mentally prepare to see Danny.
As of 1/24/2011 we have not seen him yet…we are hoping to pop into room 5109 any minute.
on a side note…Great falls Montana is weird. There are Buffalo statues everywhere and its not in the mountains, they’re in the distance, but not here. This is not home for any of us…especially Danny.