An Adventure with Danny on the Graveyard Shift

January 22nd, 2011 by Conor

Last night I got by far the most sleep that I have gotten thus far. I went to bed at 1 AM and didn’t wake up until this afternoon around 4PM. I knew I was doomed. That was way too much sleep to even consider the possibility of getting to bed at any reasonable time. There wasn’t much I could do about it at that point so I headed to the hospital anticipating an all-nighter regardless of whether it was in Danny’s room or not.

I didn’t make it into the room until about 8:30 or 9. I found out that Danny would be having a baby sitter for the night this evening which was and Is LAME to say the least. We are paying this guy to sit in the corner. WHY? Because the doctor said he needs to be watched 24 hours a day…. hmmmmm I thought we were doing this pretty well until the other night when a certain nurse thought Danny would be better off without us– more to come on this at a later date when Danny’s health isn’t jeopardized by a rant on health care.

Needless to say Danny has a babysitter that informs me he is making $26 dollars an hour to color in a book 10 feet away from where I currently am writing this. In case you were wondering, I have a much better view of what is going on than Danny, someone tell me how that makes any sense. I wonder what the hospital bills him out to us at… Ahh healthcare I love you. Sorry, I said I wasn’t going to rant. I will stop.

So, I get into the room and I’m hanging out with Michelle and she starts to pack up her stuff at about quarter to 12. I ask where she is going and she informs me that she is heading out because she doesn’t enjoy the interaction when there is some random person in the room. I can’t really blame her, however, the interaction for me isn’t all that different so I don’t really mind, I just find the reasoning for his presence annoying as I have mentioned.

Michelle headed out, and there were three: Me, Danny and Guy. I know his name, but “Guy” is far more appropriate because no one, I mean no one, likes being called Guy. It just doesn’t get much more impersonal than that, and I feel that this guy is welcome in my life about as much as any Guy would be. So Guy and I are sitting here in total silence watching Danny in an effort to out do each other with “who is going to tell Danny that he can’t lie on his right side first” contest. I guess I am selfishly trying to beat him at this game, just as a reminder to him how much he is being overpaid to color.

Eventually, Danny wakes up from a long 2 hour or so nap. He stares around the room and looks very bored. I keep looking over waiting for any way I can help. Finally I suggest that maybe we move his room around. The next time Cindy comes in I tell her that we should go ahead and move the bed. She had suggested it earlier in the night and I tell her we mine as well go for it. Danny is in no mood to request it but I’m sure the rearrangement can’t hurt.

Danny doesn’t seem quite as excited as I was thinking he might be with his new view of the star-like skyline of Great Falls, Montana. I guess I shouldn’t have expected him to be excited. It really isn’t that exciting.

A little more time passes and I make eye contact with Danny again. He does a quick look over his head to confirm what he already knew. Guy has left the room. He proceeds to rip a steady constant 5 on the fart scale. Noticeable, but not too powerful. It was a solid 2 second fart and he kept a very serious an unchanged look on his face while he ripped it. When he finished his whole face turned and he gave me the biggest smile I had seen yet. It was a classic Danny I know that was funny, you should laugh look. And I did. It was great! I laughed so hard that he actually smiled a second big smile again at how big my laugh was.

The laughter wore off and the room became quiet again. I sat there doing my thing again for another 10 minutes when finally Danny knocked on his bed to get my attention. He motioned for me to come over. Nothing like this had happened to me yet so it kind of caught me off guard. I approached and pulled up a chair. I asked a lot of questions to see what was up before I finally realized that he just wanted some company- someone to hang out with. Unfortunately, as I mentioned once before, I can’t exactly sit there in dead silence like Michelle can so I suggested we watch a movie.

While “Pay it Forward” was loading I pulled up another browser and showed Danny a clip of our friend Nicki at the Dew Tour. She said that she was riding this weekend for Danny, that put a huge smile on his face. When the video ended he moved the mouse up to the search bar and typed in “Where is MP?” I immediately called her up because I knew that this was one of the girlfriendy moments that girls dream of. “Michelle your presence is requested in room 5109. Danny is looking for a snuggle buddy.” Michelle could barely speak but said something about being right there. I’m not sure if she was fully dressed or what, but it seemed to me that she made it to the ICU room from the hotel in about the time it takes just to walk here. So she either ran, or was fully clothed waiting for the call.

In the short time that it took her to get from the hotel to the room I opened up a Word document because I thought that maybe Danny would rather type than talk. Although I can now read about 10 different versions of his head nod yes and a shake of no, it still doesn’t give me much of an idea of what he is really thinking. Even though I have never before chatted with a person through a computer that was 2 feet away from me it was a pretty cool feeling. I was communicating with my brother much more than I had up to that point. Neither of us looked at each other from the time the phone call was made till the time that Michelle showed up. Even when she did show up the conversation continued for a little bit.

Here is what transpired.

So, I accidently found myself on the graveyard shift again. Didn’t see it coming but sure enough it’s back. Things are different now though. Danny’s bed has turned 90 degrees and is now facing the window, Danny and Michelle are snuggling 10 feet away from me, and we have Guy. Oh Guy, how we love to overpay you.

That’s it for now. Who know’s what’s in store for tomorrow. Another night down on the Graveyard shift. Another adventure with Danny.

Love ya dude.


In Bed with Michelle

January 21st, 2011 by Conor

I was nearly asleep when the phone rang. Cindy asked that someone come in to keep an eye on Dannny because he was too much to watch on his own. It was either we come in or she was going to pin him down with restraints. After my wild 36 hours of being way off the graveyard schedule I couldn’t have been any more tired, so Michelle went in. It sounds like shortly before she got there he had actually somehow managed to fall out of the bed and onto the floor. I’m not really sure of the specifics because I wasn’t there and the details are foggy because they are being relayed to me from Michelle, and she is now asleep. When Michelle got there, there was a 10 minute hold on access to the room because they were trying to get Danny situated from his fall. Cindy informed Michelle that since we had left he had pretty much been trying to escape. When Michelle got in there she was asking Danny about the fall and what happened and all he kept doing was taping the bed next to him. Michelle apparent’y asked him if he wasted to cuddle and he nodded. I guess that was all he wanted. Michelle tried not to fight the laughter as she asked Cindy if it was ok to cuddle with the Danny. Cindy replied by saying something like “If that’s whats gonna keep him in bed and happy then do it.”

So Michelle finally got the golden opportunity that she has been waiting for since she arrived on the 4th. She has been telling me since she showed up that all she wants to do is cuddle with Danny, and she finally got her opportunity. I don’t think she ever thought that it was going to happen while Danny was still in the ICU and I certainly know it wasn’t her goal in heading down there but it’s funny that it finally happened and I can confidently say it was the first medically prescribed cuddly I have ever heard of. The graveyard shift might be over for me but it’s back on for Michelle. I am considering changing “Bedside with Michelle” to “In bed with Michelle” and I couldn’t find it more appropriate that I changed my category to “Adventures with Danny’ even though it wasn’t my adventure I know this is a taste of what’s to come.


Adventures with Danny

January 21st, 2011 by Conor

Let me start by saying that the Graveyard Shift Thoughts can no longer exist. Why? Well the nursing staff would like to have the room cleared whenever they are trying to get Danny to sleep. I certainly can’t blame them. I know that I wouldn’t want someone in my room if I was trying to sleep. So I will begin to try to change my sleep cycles back to normal. I was so bummed that I didn’t get to see yesterday that I didn’t sleep at all last night. Instead I went in to see him first thing this morning and was there till the early afternoon. I finally crashed after a 24 hour run around 3 o’clock. I after the 3 hour nap I headed to the hospital until the newly modified night shift ended, which, was at about 11:30 or whenever Cindy gives us the boot! Side note: Shout out to Leah and Cindy. We love you!

Moving on. Danny is beginning to communicate but he can only talk if he has his voice activated plug thing in. I have yet to actually be in the room when he has the plug in. But I have been there for a few sessions where he wishes to write things down on paper. Tonight I thought I would share Danny’s writing.

1) Pants jeans

Danny wants his clothing back and he wants to get out of there. This is the second time that he has written down that he wants his clothes. I don’t think that he has any idea that he was admitted with his snowboarding gear on and that most of it has been absolutely shredded.

2) Who’s in the bathroom

He is convinced that there is someone in the bathroom. He pointed to the bathroom on two different occasions. He pointed as if to say “what is going on in there.” So as you can imagine this confusion was pretty easily solved when I opened the door, turned the lights on, and walked around the bathroom showing him that there was no one in there. He remained confused.

3) Danny’s signature

I asked Danny if he would sign his name. He signed it the same way he always does. That was a good sign.

4) Thanks for everything both of you!

An absolute highlight of the recovery process for me. Danny wrote this and then made eye contact with me and Michelle. It’s great to know that he already appreciates that we are there for him. It was pretty damn cool to see that he knew that and was already acknowledging it. You are very welcome Danny!

5) North Conway Hospital

I asked Danny if he knew where we were. Despite the fact that myself, Michelle and all the nurses have told him that we are in Montana at least 50 times Danny still thinks that he is in North Conway, New Hampshire. The question is how bad is his short term memory and how long will it remain bad for. Side note, I thought several days ago that Danny had solid memories of or day of riding up in Montana. I am no longer confident that he knows anything about even being in Montana. Time will tell.

6) Michelle asked him (in 5th grade format (mostly to be cute)) “Will you go on a date with me?” Yes, No, If your lucky!

Danny checked if your lucky and smiled at Michelle. It’s great to see that he seems to have a solid grasp on his sense of humor. That i something very positive that is going on.

Things are looking very good. He has his sense of humor, is regaining motor skills, he can write and interpret. We are excited about his progress and have some but not too many concerns about the long term. Danny is surrounded by such awesome friends and family that I am confident he will snap out of this with greater ease than most of the rest of us would. I am very happy with where he is at and excited about where he is headed. I just hope he can remain as positive as he possible when he begins to find out how this is going to change his life over the next year or two.


ps. since I have been officially kicked off the graveyard shift I feel it would be lame to continue writing under that category. I am now writing under “Adventures with Danny.” If I know Danny like I think I do, I have a feeling we are about go on a whole lot of funny adventures during the weeks to come.

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