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Dec 20, 2009 10:48pm
Dear Family, Old Friends and New,
It has been quite a year for our family when Jim was hit and drug by a truck on November 28, 2008 while pushing a stroller in the crosswalk that carried our 11-day-old grand daughter, Sara. He was not expected to live but God and a wonderful trauma surgeon had other plans. God is still with us during this journey and Jim and Sara survived.
In spite of the terrible circumstances, God gave us many blessings and surrounded us with wonderful angels in the form of emergency personnel (Englewood & Littleton Fire Departments, Littleton Police Department, Arapahoe County Court, caring doctors and nurses), family, friends and strangers. He helped me learn more about being patient, looking for ways to help others and taking one day at a time and most of all, looking for and holding on to the many blessings and joys He has been giving us.
I don’t believe that God caused this accident to happen but when it did and because He has given us free will, I had a choice to use it for good and to Glorify His name or to spiral down into anger, worry and depression. If we tell people that we live by faith, the only way they will see how it works is by our behavior and attitude especially during the difficult and tragic times.
So many people have helped and encouraged our family: Dan and Susie Ammann: Dan watered all of our indoor plants every two weeks until we came back. Susie cleaned our house so I would have a nice place to come home to in January. She even placed a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my night stand. Dan helped monitor the snow pack and organized the snow blowing day with the fire department. Susie stopped to see Jim on her way home from Seattle. When it was time to finally go home the middle of May, Dan and Susie helped us haul several car loads of belongings back to Durango and much more. Lynn and Marv (our cousins) came many times during our six months in Denver and provided so much support. The Durango/Fire Rescue Authority: Chief Dan Noonan, Mark Quick, Bob Harms, Duane Jenkins, Jim Applegate and Kevin Dzekciorius came out and snow plowed our long driveway so I could get into our house in January. Duane repaired our snow blower. The Garden Club of Durango: 10+ people came out and weeded our massive flower bed in the island and topped with lots of mulch. Durango Lions Club: Andy and Lucille Saez delivered a beautiful box of cards and goodies from the Durango Lions Club. Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad: sent cards, pictures, a book and a framed photograph signed by all of the volunteers and staff. First United and Longs Peak Methodist Church: Pastors Steve Easterday-McPadden and Jeff Huber came often to visit or call Jim. The FUMC congregation sent many cards and made visits, La Plata County Government: sent a wonderful gift. Family and friends from California flew in to be with Jim: my brother and sister-in-law John and Donna Tolle and friends Jerry & Sue Ross flew in from California to be with Jim. Mrs. Camp’s Town Ladies & Gents: sent cards, pictures, music CD’s, posts and constant support. Nancy Derosier nominated Jim for Channel 4’s Pay It Forward award which he won. Neighbors: watched over our house, called and sent cards and flowers from The Ranch where we live. Bob Miller (Kris’ dad who is a truck driver) was able to get load to Denver so that he could visit Jim in the early days of CCU. Chaplain Nancy Boyer (and now a friend) from Swedish: came regularly to see Jim, pray with us and even visited him when he was at Craig. Aimee Martin: witnessed the accident as she crossed the street ahead of Jim and immediately started praying. sent cards and flowers and came to visit Jim. She was able to verify everything that other people have told him. Aurora, Baltimore, Durango FRA, Englewood, Golden and Littleton, fire departments: sent gifts of T-shirts, hats, calendars and visited Jim. David and Julie Downs and Sandy Burke have been such support. The 20th Annual Mile High Hook and Ladder Fire Muster: invited Jim and our family to ride an antique fire truck as guest of honor in the parade and be part of the muster event last June. Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Foundation: Presented Jim with a nice gift and recognition. The media has been so kind and very respectful. Southwest Republican Women: Sent meals & cards, made phone calls and visited. Bible Study Fellowship: sent cards, called and made visits. SpecialFriends & Family: Beth Cugini, Larry & Dee Cox, Bob & Susan Davis (my cousins), Donna Edwards, Jay Hardesty, Wayne & Terry Jefferies, Dick & Mary Jane Marshall (our cousins), Mountain View Presbyterian Church, Judy Spolum, Pat Wainwright & Sue Whitfield. There has been so much love shown to our family that it would take several pages to complete the wonderful list of people and organizations who have reached out to us.
Our children have been a tremendous support. Angel (our dog) and I were able to stay with family (our daughter Kim) instead of staying in one of the nice apartments at Craig Hospital. The kids and grand kids came every day during Jim’s stay at Swedish to be with him. They spent many long hours in the Swedish CCU waiting room taking turns going into Jim’s room. What a challenge it was to pack all of the necessities (food, diapers, toys, etc.) in Suzanne’s airline roller bag. They did everything possible to keep his spirits up, encourage and support him.
Some of the special celebrations this year were: Jim participating in Sara’s baptism and then our family and friends gathering at a restaurant to share a special meal, Jim receiving a Citizen of the year Nominee award from the Colorado Law Enforcement Officers Association, riding on the antique fire truck in the parade, our family driving to Missouri the first week of June to attend one of my former student’s wedding, country dancing again at the Wild Horse Saloon in Durango, going to the Bar-D for a special celebration of several special people in Durango.
Even though this has been quite a year, it has turned out to be a very joyous year. We have found wonderful doctors and therapist both in Denver and in Durango. Jim is making great strides in his rehabilitation. He attends therapies and doctors’ appointments two or more times per week. He is still blind in his left eye. He is regaining stability, coordination and strength on his right side due to the stroke. His 7th cranial nerve is almost at a 5 out of 6 (normal and whole) which means that he is able to drink better, chew without biting his cheek and blink his right eye. We are hoping for a 6 so that Dr. Willoughby will be able to remove the tuck and the gold weight thereby allowing Jim better vision. He is still unable to drive but is slowly adjusting to my non-professional driver status. When he critiques my driving, he says he was a professional driver (which he was). Ha, ha, ha! Jim has said over and over that Sara and he are starting at the same stage of development in the area of walking.
We have found wonderful people to mow our yard, finish our backyard, snow plow our driveway and do some installations and repairs that Jim is unable to complete at the moment.
I have eliminated some of my volunteer duties and I was able to buy my dream camera and lenses and will eventually get back to taking many more photographs.
We can't say enough good things about Swedish and Craig hospitals. They are kind and caring and do great work healing broken bodies.
All of your posts, cards, e-mails have been such a support to us and we thank you. You have shown us in so many ways how to care for other people.
The year is a new birth, new normal, new beginning with so much to be thankful for. We hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a year filled with joys and blessings. We hope you live in the now, don’t mourn the past which can’t be changed or agonize over the future which is unknown. The more thankful we are, the more God gives!
With much love and appreciation to all of you,
Jim and Carol & Family
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