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Dan’s Story

Welcome to our CaringBridge website.  We cannot thank everyone enough for the love, support, and the prayers you have all given our family.

Dan, Amy, Joe, and Jamie

3618 Poe Ave

Racine Wi, 53405

Heres a link to a video from the benefit.

New link to Benefit Videos

The Scene of the Accident:
On Monday late afternoon, Dan was riding over to his mother's house to cut her grass. He often rides his bike without a shirt on and had the shirt wrapped around the handlebars. The shirt must have loosened and found it's way between the tire and the brakes of his bike, causing the front tire to lock up.  He remembers hearing a "pop" and thought he had blown a tire, and the next thing he remembers is waking up on the ground in a fetal position. Thankfully there were people in the area who immediately rushed to his aid. He informed the people around that he could not move or feel his arms and legs, and they were able to stabilize his neck until paramedics arrived. The paramedics (who he obviously knew) transported him to All Saints where he underwent a CAT Scan and MRI. The CAT Scan came back with positive results, showing no damage to his brain or skull. However, the MRI found issues with his spine and All Saints felt they were not equiped to safely treat him. So, late Monday night, Dan was transfered to Froedtert Memorial Hospital in Milwaukee.

Life at Froedtert:
Once we received the news that he would be transported to Froedtert, Amy called her sister Meg who has worked there for many years. Meg contacted people in the neurosurgical department to make sure that he would get the best of care. On Monday night Froedtert determined that Dan suffered a central spinal cord injury and would require surgery. They took him into surgery Tuesday around 2:30 p.m. Surgery went as well as the neurosurgeon had hoped for- no complications and no surprises. It was a very long surgery, finishing around 11 pm, and it involved extensive work to the back and front of his C3, C4, and C5 vertebrae. To make a long story a little shorter- he has a lot of hardware (screws, metal rods, titanium plates, and cadaver bone) in place now that will give his spinal cord the space it needs and will keep it protected.

On to Rehab:
For the next 10-12 weeks, he will be in a neck brace to protect the area as it heals. As many of you can imagine, all he has wanted to do since the accident, is start whatever therapies or rehab will help him get back to his active self. Yesterday (8/13/09) he had his first therapy session. They got him out of bed for the first time and into his wheelchair. They wheeled him down to the great rehab facility where he was able to show some strength and coordination while peddling a stationary wheel. After that, with a lot of help, he was able to bear weight on his legs, and showed great core muscle and good trunk control, all positive signs.

As of 8/16/09 Dad's room number in "5 SE 19" ( 5th Floor SouthEast Wing Room 19)  He should be here for the next 4 - 8 weeks.

Latest Journal Update



I am back and apologize for not posting since Dan got home from RIC. I know everyone has been worried about us and I want you to know we are doing ok.

It was a very emotional homecoming and has taken some time for us to get back in the swing of things. We appreciate all the support and prayers sent our way during this adjustment period. Everyday is getting better and we are slowly falling into a new routine for Dan.

Our experience at RIC was very positive even though at times we didn't see it that way. It was very tough for Dan being so far away and for so long. Lots of changes in his life and some days it was hard for him to see the long term results but as he works through these changes he looks back and can see why things had to change.

We got him right back into therapy with the same therapist he had before RIC. He goes two days a week for PT and three days for OT. He still struggles with upper body weakness but I think that will be the rest of his life due to the location of his injury.

Last week we went back to Froedtert for botox mostly in his upper body so we hope to see some improvement in the next few weeks as the botox kicks in.

When we first got home from RIC he was nervous about me going to work for the afternoon but now is able to stay home alone. He set up his own exercise routine with biking,walking and stretching. Big break through last week when he was able to get on his bike independently. He hadn't been able to that for the last year and a half.

The crutches are totally out of the picture and the walker is his new best friend for getting around when upright. He doesn't go very fast but his posture has improved greatly.

He still uses his powerchair more than his therapist would like so that is something he needs to work on daily. They want him to start timing himself during the day on how long he stands. Something else I get to nag him about.

We still have many challenges we face on a daily basis. He is never really comfortable anywhere for a long period of time so going out is an issue. It is a process and we are taking babysteps to work through the anxiety he experiences with new situations.

Nights are still long again back to the fact he is never really comfortable in one position for any length of time. He wears lidoderm patches, hand splints,and topical anti-inflammatory gel to help with comfort but it only last for short periods of time. He even gets up and stretches on his stall bars some nights. He even takes melatonin but nothing seems to ease his discomfort. Hopefully we will figure it out.

We changed up is bowel program and he is having much success. I'm sure he loves me sharing this with you but that was a big problem this past year causing many of his issues. Bladder issues also developed lately so we are now seeing a urologist in town. Dan really likes him and he helped us with a plan to improve that part of the process to improve his quality of life.

Everyday is still a struggle for Dan. We never know what is going to bother him and limit him for the day. We continue to stay faithful and rely on God's grace to get us through the day. We give him thanks and know he will always be there for us just like all of you have been here for us.

Thanks for all your concern for our well being. Like I said when I started this post we are really ok. Tough at times but we are stronger for all we have been through.

with love,