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Landon’s Story

On Sept. 13, Landon (who was 16 years old at the time) was hit by a car while rollerblading with his friend, Sherman, about a mile from his home in rural Minnesota. 

Due to concerns about brain trauma, he was life-flighted to the Neuro-Trauma ICU at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, MN.  He sustained multiple skull fractures, severe brain injury (diffuse axonal) and brain swelling as well as a broken leg and collarbone, a damaged lung and carotid artery and many cuts and bruises.   Landon was in a coma for many weeks and in a minimally responsive state for months.  His alertness grows little by little every day.

Landon was a Junior in High School and is #6 in a family of 8 children.  He has 7 splendid sisters (of which I am one) and 3 brothers-in-law.  His parents (Les and Gayle) and two younger sisters (Jonae and Brittany) live north of Detroit Lakes, MN, near Strawberry Lake.  Gayle homeschools Landon and his sisters and Les is a self-employed carpenter. 

Landon goes to Strawberry Lake Mennonite Church where he rocks the worship band and where the congregation agrees that he is generally awesome.  Landon played hockey on the Detroit Lakes High School varsity hockey team. 

He loves the Vikings, sleeping in ridiculously late, kicking it with his friends, playing music, being at camp, playing hockey, being really good at so many sports, fishing, late-night frozen pizza snack binges, making his sisters yell 'ewwww,' being the favorite uncle of his 4 neices and 4 nephews, finding a bargain at a garage sale and not mowing the lawn.

He really is a gem.  He is kind to those around him and carefully  shows love where ever he can.  He is a confident, natural leader who often blows us away with his intelligence, his sense of humor and his killer dance moves. 

We (his family) have been by his side since the day of the accident working our tails off making sure Landon has the best recovery possible.  He was in the Trauma-Neuro ICU for about a month and in rehab at Bethesda in St. Paul for 2 months and then at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul for 3 months.  He moved home on March 24, 2011.

We love him so much. 
And you would, too. 
Thank you for praying for Landon.

Landon's address:
31837 Co Hwy 34
Ogema, MN 56569

The address to send financial contributions to Landon's fund:

Wells Fargo Bank
211 Holmes St W
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501
(Make checks payable to: Landon Hochstetler Benefit Fund.)

Latest Journal Update


team landon,
we are weary.  maybe it's the lingering summer sunshine.  maybe it's the reality of plowing our way through transition.  maybe it's facing the five year accidentaversary a few weeks ago.  maybe it's the fact that the lawn constantly needs mowing and, at this rate, we may still be mowing at christmastime.  maybe we're getting old. 
and to be clear, i started this update in july.  so the wearyness does not seem to be a passing moment. 

here's the main story of this update: the carrick brain center.
(spoiler alert: this is not going to be the most uplifting journal entry you've ever read.  you've been warned.)

you likely recall that we have been back from our *great atlanta adventure* (alternative title:  the hotlesters rock hotlanta) for over three months now.  and really, when i updated after our return, i left out most of the nitty gritty of our adventure. 

so here's the deets.
as promised, they are both nitty AnD gritty.
we scheduled with the carrick brain center one week of treatments, as per their suggestion.  that meant six days of treatment, three treatments each day, and then regular follow-up care after by way of video, phone, and email.

the first day was mostly diagnostics and treatment planning and then the rest of the week, the treatments focused on building the connections that landon's brain was already able to make.  we had a stellar team in place, as you will remember from the journal entry while we were down there.  all was going along beautifully. 
until tuesday morning (our second to last day of treatment).  it was then that we learned that monday afternoon just after we left, carrick brain center corporate decided this would be a good time to clean house. 
we're not talking scrubbing floors and dusting ceiling fans.  we mean, --clean house-- (serious emoji face).  as in, get rid of people.  as in, landon's entire team.  oh and also, frederick carrick himself.  (pause)  say, whaaaaa?  yes.  they fired the guy who is considered the father of modern chiropractic neurology. 
now in the interest of clarity, corporate didn't use the word "fire."  what we were told was something a smidgeon more gentle/vague/unclear than that.  something along the lines of corporate re-structuring.  and to be clear, we're still not sure what happened-- it seems like maybe some of landon's team were fired and others walked. 
and NoNE of this was even a teensy bit clear at the time, all we knew was that they were GoNE-- dr. duffy, dr. sass, coach.  All GoNE.

what we got was a WHoLE NeW team of doctors.  on our second last day of treatment.  sometimes a whole new thing is good-- such as in a whole new pint of ben&jerrys, or a whole new pair of pants, or a whole new bunch of dance moves.  but what is rarely a good thing is a WHoLE nEw TEaM of DoCTORS right at the end of your treatment.  especially if you are, say, nonverbal and severely brain injured.  just sayin. 
we were wildly unimpressed.  we were a mix of angry, confused, powerless, pissed, and feeling punched right in the gut with exhausted on top.  we were, in a word, pooped. 

and then we met our new team.
and to our surprise, they really were *fantastic*.  they were kind, respectful, understanding, and quick to dive right in, ensuring we didn't lose any more valuable treatment time.  and landon actually connected with them right away. 
this did not change that we felt frustrated, but we did feel cared for by our treatment team.  we powered through our last day.  we were given exercises to take home and instructions for how to send videos back to carrick for the doctors to continue to guide landon's recovery and treatment. 
and as quickly as it arrived, the week of intensive treatment in hotlanta was over. 
the hotlesters were on a plane to minnesota where highways hold a reasonable number of lanes and the weather wasn't, as les would say, hotter than refried beans. 

fast forward a few weeks. 
mom taught ben (super pca) the new exercises.  landon was becoming a pro at sticking out his tongue.  (huZZaH!)  dad was happily back to driving on two lane roads with exactly zero gibangus corporate office buildings to be seen.  things were humming along. 
as instructed, mom sent in videos of landon doing his exercises. 
mom sent in a few more videos.
mom emailed to say, um, hi, where's the feedback?
just no response.
mom played like it was 2001 and gave the carrick brain center a telephone call. 
at which point she found out that LANdON'S EnTiRE B*TeAM was now also gone. 
no, not dead.
just gone.
the b team. 
in summary, there is now not a single soul employed at the carrick brain center that treated landon.  or even saw landon. 
if you're into face-palming.  now would be an appropriate time for it. 
if you're into planking, you could also take a moment to plank something.  just for a break from this weird, stupid story.  also, grab a pickle or a slice of pie on your way back.  snacks help.

there were massive amounts of planning and praying that went into preparing to go to atlanta.  not only was the cost of treatment huge, but there were also other tremendous costs and challenges involved.  and traveling with landon includes even more careful preparation-- from having to call hotels because 'wheelchair accessible' means many different things to many different people to having to haul just the most ginormous amount of care supplies and StUFF. 

you know that feeling when you muster up all your energy and your last remaining coherent thoughts and you take a flying leap of faith in the direction of the sunny south?  when you pile all your busted up hope and you take a big fatty breath and decide, ok, YeS, we are doing this? 
that was hotlanta for the hotlesters.
and then this. 
this is where we are. 
it's not a nice, heart-warming ending. 
but sometimes healing isn't heart-warming.
so here's what's real for us right now.  we feel like carrick brain center sucked all the busted and mustered up hope right out of our center.  we're having trouble recovering from our leap, struggling to find energy to move on, not sure how to grab onto the next opportunity for healing.  and maybe that's why we've been sitting on this for so long. 

too much of a downer?
sorry 'bout it.
TBI is a big, crappy downer.
and here's what i'm going to choose right now: to leave it. 
leave this sitting in a poop pile of weary.
do you mind sitting here in this with us for a bit?
we promise not to stay here.
there's too much good, too much healing, too much lovely out there to stay here long. 
but for now, for this minute,
we're just going to invite you into the weary poop heap.
let's sit. 

5 people hearted this



Bonnie Laber
By Bonnie, St. James Basilica, Jamestown
I think carrick brain center needs to send the NEW TEAM to your place. That is the least they can do. It is easier for them to travel to you than it is for Landon and his team to travel to them.
You are all such a strong family, you will get through this but it SUPER sticks that you are all pushed to your limits of patience and understanding. May prayers are for Strength and Peace for all of you as you continue on your journey.
elizabeth warren
That's discoursing and overwhelming. We won't stop praying and thankfully our God is bigger than major brain institutes closing down. Can't imagine you are loved by many.
LaRae Jorgenson
By LaRae Jorgenson
So sorry to hear this devistating news! That is just wrong and very unprofessional of any one or group of people! Prayers for all of you as you muddle through this latest, dare I say crappy situation. Keep the Faith!
Kim Berg
By kim*b
um. this post makes me want to kick the wall. or perhaps throw 18 dozen eggs in the direction of hotlanta.

also. ditto on what greta h-b said.
Shirley Chupp
By Shirley Chupp
Just let me say, so sorry. Not fair! Love you.
Donna Blauw
By Donna Blauw
This is so terrible. I am in tears as you must have been when you found out what happened. Wish I could come and hang out and just do some really dumb stuff to get you all laughing again. I am really good at that. Just ask any of my friends.
I will be praying our Great and Mighty God will rectify this and bring out all He intended for Landon and the family!
There was this dog and he was lonely so he went to the nearest house and sat on the porch and whined! After a time a small child came to the door and asked what was wrong and the dog wound himself around her ankles and moaned. She was totally taken by the dog but was sure her parents would not let her take him in, but she decided to risk it. She took the dog into the kitchen where her parents were sitting and having afternoon coffee.
Dad and Mom asked her about the dog and she told them what had happened. The dog sat next to her as if he had known her all his life and looked hopefully at the parents. Quiet filled the room as the parents looked at one another with surprise. They had been discussing getting a puppy for the child and this happens. As they sat and watched their precious little one and this dog play and enjoy one another so much they knew what they must do.
The dog became a part of the family and took very good care of the child. They grew together and and became inseparable!
The moral of the story. Do not let Donna tell you stories she is making up as she goes!
Sorry! It just sort of happened! Do with it what you will!
Love you all and am praying for you!
rose thompson
By Rose Thompson
Just a thought....lately there was an article in the Readers Digest about "mirror" therapy. Could this also be used for TBI people? There is a bit of hope there!
Kim Becky Lovgren
By Kim & Becky Lovgren
Sadness, disappointment, more sadness, distress and anger, MUCH more sadness! We're keeping you ALL in our thoughts and prayers--and know that the 'dwelling' in the "poop pile" will be therapeutic and you'll come out fighting!! Hugs from the Lovgrens.
Alan Hansen Begg
i'm so very sorry. basically this just simply deserves a huge gigantic what the fuck. but i know you aren't into cursing, so i'll do it for you. what the fuck. this is devastatingly terrible and i'm so sorry this happened to landon and to your whole family. this is the crappiest news. i don't even know how to console you so yes, i will sit in your weary poop heap with you and cry. greta
2 people hearted this
Katrina Epp
By Katrina
I have no words :( But we will sit with you and "virtually" hug you all and hold your hands until you have the energy and the strength to climb back out of the poop pile. Praying that God will help you find your way out to a pile of something that is not poop. Like chocolate or gummy bears. :)
1 person hearted this