Past Updates On Michael 3…

Past Updates On Michael 3…

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Subject: Quick Update

Date: 4/11/2005

From: Chrissy

 

Hello everyone

Quick update on Michael…

He’s doing great as usual, eating more and more real food all the time. Bigger portions, more variety. It takes a long

time to help Michael feed himself, but it’s so much better for him than the liquid nutrition he’s been on via the

stomach tube feeding routine. Michael looks forward to eating tho, he wakes up hungry and wants breakfast! And

you should see that kid suck down a smoothie, like they are going out of style! Some days he still has trouble

swallowing and can’t eat as much as he’d like to, but for the most part he’s getting plenty of real food in him daily.

 

And the standing frame is working out great! He’s been using it for longer and longer periods as his strength builds up.

It’s a lot of work for his muscles to learn to bare all of his weight again and he gets pretty tired after a while, so we

have to work him up slowing into standing for extended times and then onto taking steps and walking again (with help)

like he was before he had to leave the Silverado Care Meridian. I forgot to mention in my last update that one of his

therapists Hans from the Fairfax Care Meridian brought his wife and son to visit with Mom, Paul and Michael for a

weekend a few weeks back. Hans had Michael standing up and helped him walk around the house quite a bit over the

whole weekend. I got to see him take several steps when I stopped by, but by the time I got there he’d been at it a while

already and was ready for a break. He was struggling, but he was doing it.  It takes a lot of work on everyone’s part to

assist Michael in taking steps. The stronger and better balanced Michael is, the easier it gets tho. That is why he needed

the standing frame so badly, to help him build up his strength and balance. So far so good.

 

Combined efforts from Michael’s Massage Therapist and his Hands On Healer are paying off and making a lot of progress

with Michael’s left arm and wrist, it is SO much more relaxed and he’s able to relax it and rest it on his lap when we ask him

to so much easier now. He’s got so much more movement in his hand and fingers, he’s able to open and close his hand, show

you 1, 2, 3 fingers, a thumbs up etc. We are so thrilled that there’s been so much progress, because as it was, Michael was

facing more nerve blocks, botox injections and maybe even surgery. Michael thinks it’s great to. It’s really amazing to us that

something besides traditional medicine is so beneficial to Michael.

 

That’s all for now

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Standing Frame!!!

Date: 3/24/2005

From: Chrissy

 

Got some great news today…

A standing frame has been ordered for Michael and is on it’s way!!! Our stepdad Paul told my Mom to order one

and he will cover the cost!!!! He knows exactly how badly Michael needs it if he is going to progress faster with his

standing and walking, (not to mention this will also help Michael reach his goal of getting on one of my dad’s 4

wheelers on his birthday!). Thanks for being SO generous Paul!!! If any of you guys out there would like to and can

help out with this major expense of the standing frame, you can make a donation to Michael’s expense account,

the information you will need is posted above.

 

That’s all for now, just wanted to share the good news with everyone!

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Do you guys know what today is?

Date: 3/23/2005

From: Chrissy

 

Hello Everyone

 

Do you guys know what today is? Any guesses? It’s the 2 year mark in Michael’s traumatic brain injury recovery! My

family and I are so Thankful for all of the progress he’s made, considering where he was 2 years ago and what the Drs

told us we might be facing as far as his recovery progress possibilities. We knew all along Michael would beat the odds

and statistics and that he will continue to do so, as he is getting better every day!

 

There was an article in The Union today about my Mom and Michael. I think the author Gina Gippner did a pretty

good job describing the GREAT job my Mom has done making sure Michael gets the care he needs. Here is the direct

link to the article for those who want to read it…

http://www.theunion.com/article/20050323/OPINION/103230079/0/FRONTPAGE

I am so proud of her undying devotion and her goal and focus of Michael always getting what is best for him never ever

faltering. Not everyone can say their Moms would or could do the same. It’s too bad that Gina did not mention the time

and effort also put in by so many others over the last 2 years too. One thing confused me about her article tho... I do not

remember my Mom ever saying "Excuse me, but he's my son and I'll be taking him home now." I am not sure why Gina

included that in her article. I wish Gina could have stated that his insurance company stopped paying for any brain injury

rehab and that our only choices for Michael getting cared for were to bring him home or send him to a convalescent hospital.

Most of you that know my Mom already know that she does not consider a convalescent hospital as an option, and neither do

I. So for those of you who read that statement in that article, please read it as "Excuse me, but he's my son and I'll be taking

him home instead of sending him to a convalescent hospital." I think from now on I will be overseeing any articles pertaining to

Michael so there are no misquotes or incorrect information. We still appreciate the article and getting Michael’s recovery

progress info out there for us tho.

 

I’m glad she mentioned Michael’s goal of getting back on a bike again. Yes and no it scares us that he wants back on a bike… but

we do want Michael to take that victory lap knowing he beat this head injury. For now, he needs short term goals, and he pretty

much set this one for himself. I will keep you updated on his progress and what all he’ll be doing to work towards this goal.

 

Enough about the article, let’s get into the great stuff going on with Michael’s progress these days…

You guys would not believe the amount of food he’s been eating these days! I’m talking square meals, enough to replace one or 2

stomach tube feeding portions on most days! He’s been eating foods like pancakes, pasta, augratin potatoes, lasagna, pot stickers,

scrambled eggs/omelets, cream of wheat, jello salad, yogurt, banana bread with lots of whip cream, cooked veggies, chicken and

dumplings, pigs in the blankets and the list goes on and on. He even got a few bites of an Animal Burger from In and Out Burger

finally! He’s been sucking down smoothies everyday like they are going out of style too. His swallowing has improved so much lately,

it’s awesome. Some days he has what we call “choke days” tho, and has a hard time swallowing correctly, but the good days wayyyy

outnumber the not so good days. Water and thin liquids are still difficult for him tho, so Mom still has to give him extra water and

his special teas via the stomach tube to avoid fluids in his lungs. Real food seems to be helping his energy and his attitude, way better

than that adult vanilla liquid nutrition that has been getting via stomach tube all this time!! He gets to choose what he wants to eat

and we make him feed him self most of the time. He struggles some days, but he gets it in there eventually. He takes some pretty huge

bites (while grinning at us) sometimes too and argues with us when we tell him not to take such a big bite.

 

Lately he is also getting back more use of his left leg, arm, hand and wrist back, and less contracture in his left arm, wrist and hand... 

it's all been starting to happen recently since he’s been seeing the Hands On Healer, who I finally had a chance to meet and watch him

work on Michael. It was really great to see Michael so locked on to what was going on. As most of you already know, Michael’s left leg

and arm have been pretty useless to him for the last almost 1 1/2 years since he came out of his persistent vegetative state... we were

told by brain injury specialists that it was the brain misfiring signals to the muscles, so they were contracting, very common for head

injury patients... but the Hands on Healer that is working with him now is telling us it is because the injury impact was on that side

and the body/brain thinks it needs to protect that whole side, so in a way his body is still flinching from the blow, which is sad if you

think about it. He's also been getting back into standing up for periods of time and taking some steps again more frequently too, which is

great because he'd backslid a ways from where he was before his insurance company stopped paying for rehab. He’s also has more and

more body strength and can help us stand him up to transfer him from his chair to his bed, to the toilet, to the couch or a recliner etc. 

 

His recovery has been a bunch of ups and downs for all of us closely involves, but still he is getting better and has come so far when you

look at the WHOLE picture. Regardless of the setbacks he's continued to make progress in so many other ways tho, and so we just have to

take the good with the bad. At the 2 year mark so much of him is back and functioning again, it's amazing. If only he could do more for

himself we'd all feel a little better...  We know it'll happen eventually, and 'til then we take it day by day...

 

I’m posting a few recent pictures of Michael holding my Rottweiler puppies. He gets to see them quite a bit, he says they are “cool”. And

if you ask him, I’m sure he has no complaints about more Pet Therapy J

 

Thanks for everyone’s support and prayers over the last 2 years, it’s all played a part in getting Michael to this point and we hope it all continues

as he keeps on progressing.

 

Hope everyone has a great Easter!

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~




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Subject: Finally, An Update For The New Year

Date: 1/26/2005

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

Now that I am finally finished moving over to Nevada County I figure it is time for a long overdue update on Michael.

I have just been way too busy moving and unpacking to sit down and do any updates. I was hoping some of Michael’s

visitors would help out and write in with something to post here, but no such luck, except for Betty… THANKS Betty!

 

Michael is still doing great. He has had a few more visitors lately, and I want to Thank everyone that has stopped by!

I know he really enjoys having some company. He also likes phone calls, I talk to him quite a bit, almost every time I

talk to my Mom on the phone (which is quite a bit). For those of you who can’t come for a visit a phone call would be

just as great and really brighten Michael’s day. It’s amazing how much he remembers and I know hearing the familiar

voices and talking about and remembering the good times you’ve had with him makes more things click and connect

for him. As I mentioned before in previous updates he’s not that much of a talker, but he does respond to questions

and laughs at the funny stuff. Sometimes he’s hard to hear, but if you ask him what he said he repeats it. He’s always

incredibly patient with us when we can’t understand what he says, he tries really hard and if you still don’t get it he

laughs at you instead of getting frustrated. And he ALWAYS wants to talk on the phone if my Mom offers, so I know

he enjoys it. I have watched his face light up and his smiles when he gets calls when I am there. Whenever I call and

talk to him I always hang up the phone smiling after I talk to him, cuz I it’s just so DAMN GREAT to be able to

communicate this much with him after this long. So if you guys want the number so you can talk to him too, please

email me - CHLNGHER@msn.com.

 

More and more of his strength is returning. He’s helping move his body more and more every day. Transfers

from his chair to bed, chair to car etc etc are getting easier all the time. Sometimes he’s a little too tired to help as

much as we’d like and need, but usually if you ask him if he’s going to help and how much, he puts a lot of effort into

it. And if what you are asking him to help with is something he REALLY wants to do, he helps an amazing amount, so

sometimes it surprises us and we end up over lifting. Sometimes an elbow or knee gets bonked, and he will let us know

it hurt with voicing an OWWW, but then he usually laughs at us. It’s pretty amazing he has such a good attitude about

that kind of stuff, not always, but his personality and outlook is pretty amazing most of the time, considering.

 

Since I have moved over here Mom has brought him out quite a bit. He loves all my animals and always gets a good dose

of Pet Therapy when he is here. I have 4 cats, a dog, 8 birds, 4 tanks of fish and 2 horses. On his last visit he enjoyed

all of them. Especially one of my cats who’s nickname is “Wubbie” and my big quarter horse “Casey”. We had Michael out

on my deck in the sun and he was patting his leg inviting the cat up and saying his name. Mom was going to put the cat in

Michael’s lap but he doesn’t like to be held so she didn’t. I was worried he’d scratch Michael getting down from his lap.

Mom and I walked into the house for a minute to put some stuff in the fridge, came back out and “Wubbie” was

completely sprawled out across Michael’s lap and thinking he was KING! It was pretty cool, like I said, the cat does not

like to be held, he always squirms and wants down immediately, so maybe he just sensed something about Michael. I asked

Michael if the cat just jumped up there on his own or if he invited him up and he said he invited him up. That was really

cool to see. I’m attaching a picture, with the cat smiling like a king on Michael’s lap. He also enjoyed checking out all my

fish tanks and watching the fish. He was able to tell us their colors and how many were in the tanks.

 

Later on we brought Michael out in the driveway and I got my horse “Casey” out of the pasture so Michael could touch

him and interact with him. “Casey” is very affectionate, and he’s a big gentle giant. He loves people so I figured Michael

would get a kick out of the huge guy. And he did, we helped him hold his hand flat and feed “Casey” some carrots and

pet his soft nose. Michael was a little intimidated at first, the horse is huge and Michael was sitting in his wheelchair,

but he had a great time feeding carrot after carrot and putting his hands on the horse’s face. It was really great to see

the expressions and smiles on Michael’s face when “Casey” would take the carrot out of his hand. “Casey" is sort of a

slobbering pig when he’s fed carrots and Michael did not like the slobber, so he wiped his hand on his pants each time,

smiling the whole time of course! I did not have the camera with me, but the next time I will try to get some pictures. I

can’t even begin to put into words how great it was to see the looks on Michael’s face!

 

Michael now has a Hands On Healer coming to see him. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about… Hands

On Healing is a type of natural healing therapy using natural energy, touch and massage methods, it’s completely different

from conventional medicine and therapies. For some people it is very effective. Mom said it was amazing and Michael was

totally tuned in and into it the entire 2 hours the Healer worked with Michael. I have not met him yet I wasn’t able to make

it to the session, but I plan to as soon as possible. I will let you know how it’s going in my next update. This may be exactly

what Michael needs to really start moving forward again. Unfortunately his care budget is stretched pretty tight and he

has not been getting enough “professional” therapies and there has not been a huge amount of progress lately. He IS getting

therapy tho, from us, which is enough to keep him going, but it’s just not enough to push him up over the top of his present

recovery road block like we want to see happening. So we are really looking forward to seeing some results and progress with

the Hands On Healing.

 

So that is all for this update. I’ll post more when I have things to report.

I hope the emails, calls and visits he’s been getting continue! Thanks Everyone!

 

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Quick Update

Date: 11/9/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

Sorry for lack of updates, I’ve been really busy. So has my Mom, if any of you can even imagine. I am not sure

how many of you guys even check this page anymore, I hardly ever hear from anyone these days. And

unfortunately in the last 11 weeks since he’s been back in Grass Valley not as many friends of Michael’s have

stopped by to see him as we thought would, considering how there were so many complaints that he was so far

from home for his recovery. Out of sight out of mind I guess. It’s both irritating and disappointing to us, and

to Michael I am sure, but then again it makes us appreciate all that much more those who do take the time and

make an effort to come see him or come help out and give my Mom a break. Having Michael at home with minimal

outside help and no rehab therapy (his insurance company is telling us it is NOT medically necessary and we are

having to fight them) is taking some serious adjusting, for all of us who are in the small circle of hands-on family

and friends. Despite the lack of interaction with most of his old group of close friends, Michael is doing fine tho.

He gets excellent care, Mom goes above and beyond for all of his needs, and having him in Mom and Paul’s home

instead of a nursing home or convalescent hospital has made him a much happier person, and given him back a

sense of “home”, you ask him where he is and he will tell you. His progress is presently in another slow phase, but

he IS still progressing, because he is Michael, of course. Who could expect anything less from him? He has not

been able to move forward much with his standing or walking, we need strong reliable helpers for that, and are

having a hard time finding someone to fill that need, within the boundaries of Michael’s monthly care budget.

But don’t get me wrong, he’s still progressing in many other ways. He’s very communicative, answers more quickly,

makes his own decisions when given choices, has way more trunk control and over all body strength and more

controlled use of his left leg. He recently had to go back to Marin for some Botox injections to help his left arm,

it’s still neurologically affected, but he is gaining some control of opening and closing his hand and relaxing his arm

on command. He’s also doing better with his swallowing and frequently sits at the dinner table with us for a few

bites of this and that. He even communicates what he’d like a bite of, and you know real food has got to taste really

good to him.

 

So that is all for this update. If anyone would like more information, my only suggestion is to pick up the phone and

call Mom and Michael. If you need the number, email me CHLNGHER@msn.com

 

Oh and if anyone knows any physical therapists or even massage therapists that would be willing to do any pro-bono

work, send them our way.

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Another “Home” Update

Date: 9/27/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hello everybody

 

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been really busy these past weeks. I am back on the every other weekend visiting

schedule, and have been meaning to type an update but haven’t gotten around to it until now. But hey… don’t gripe at

me about no news, everyone should GO SEE MICHAEL instead of relying on this update page! (Hint Hint).

 

Michael’s doing great tho, in fact I had a couple of really great weekend visits with him. He really showed me he’s

hanging in there thru all the moving and adjusting, he is still improving and getting better every day :) He’s getting

lots of strength built back up in his body and legs and is a huge help now helping us transfer him from his bed to the

wheelchair, wheelchair to the recliner or rocking chair, or into the car and vice versa. Mom usually asks him on a

scale from 1-10 how much he is going to help and he will answer, then help at LEAST as much as he says he will! He

even helps us stand him up. I’m always in awe when I see him completely vertical and standing there with hardly any

help to steady him, I forgot how tall that guy really is! He will stand there and count with us how many seconds

he can stand before his muscles get tired. He’s been getting to go out to places in the car lately too - he went to the

movie theater, the grocery store to pick out what kind of pie he wanted (apple) and even for a ride in my Mom’s

convertible with Paul! I am pretty sure my Mom told me he even got to go to a local track somewhere and watch some

racing or at least some guys practicing.

 

Speaking of the apple pie… he’s still been getting to eat a few bites at a time of quite a few different foods lately too.

He’s still on stomach tube feeding, still having some trouble with his swallows, but he’s been working hard on it. And I’m

sure having the tastes and textures of REAL foods in his mouth are quite the ambition builders. When we offer him

foods, we usually give him a multiple choice “menu” and he tells us what he wants a few bites of. I saw him concentrating

so hard on swallowing correctly and getting all the food down the right pipe. He was even able to get the spoon up to his mouth

and feed himself a bite. There’s so many simple things we all take for granted that he’s got to re-teach his body to do

correctly. It breaks my heart to see him struggle so hard sometimes, and I usually end tearing up when I see him accomplish

his goal after such a struggle, and especially when I see the look of satisfaction on his face because he knows he DID IT

HIMSELF!!

 

Paul tore out the bathtub in the guest bathroom in their house, designed and worked with some of his crew and my Uncle Tim

(the tile man of the family) to build Michael a roll-in shower, so now he gets a hassle free shower every night YAY! For the

first week or so… poor guy, we had to roll him out to the back deck on the warm evenings and give him a warm hose shower. He

said he didn’t mind the outdoor showers, I guess because he knew at least he was getting clean, it didn’t feel too bad, and it beat

the hell out of a nightly bed bath! So now the nightly showering routine is so much easier, warmer and private for Michael. He’s

even able to help wash and rinse. He’s getting good at brushing his teeth on his own and leaning forward in the shower chair to

spit out the toothpaste while he’s in the shower too… he was laughing after he spit, he was probably glad he can finally do that

again!

 

These last 2 visits I have heard more of Michael’s voice than I have in what seems like forever! He’s a bit lazy about using his

vocal cords to answer you when you ask him simple questions, but when you really coach him to use his voice, he really tries hard

to make sound come out. I heard him say all the vowels… “A E I O U and sometimes Y”, and all the different sounds the vowels

can make, he even said “I before E except after C”. He and Mom did counting and the alphabet too out loud, alternating the letters

(she says A, he says B, she says C, he says D etc) a couple times… and he always knew what letter came next and even got ahead

of Mom a few times because he wanted to go faster. I also heard him doing some addition, subtraction and multiplication with

Paul’s Mom Pat in the living room. They even did some spelling and Michael corrected Pat a time or two when she misspelled a

word! Again… these are simple things we all take for granted that he’s got to re-teach his body… but at least his brain is already

ahead of the game :)

 

I hear Michael’s had a few visitors since he’s been home too. I know he loves getting company. Really breaks up his days for him.

Hell, he’s even glad to see his bratty sister every 2 weeks. So if any of you guys that are close to Grass Valley would like to pop in

for a visit, email me (CHLNGHER@msn.com) and I’ll give you the home number so you can talk to my mom about when the best

time/day for a visit would be.

 

That’s it for this update… I know I have probably left out a gazillion details about all the great stuff Michael’s been doing… but

that’s all for now. Hope to have more news to report after my next visit over, maybe even some current pictures too.

 

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Michael’s at Mom’s And Paul's now!

Date: 8/28/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hey Everybody!

Just wanted to let everyone know that Michael is now living at my Mom’s and Paul’s! (also in his home town of Grass

Valley). Mom and Jason moved him and most of his stuff yesterday morning and Dan and I loaded the rest of his

equipment into the back of my truck in the afternoon and got busy getting him all moved in, and I will tell you all

that he’s really happy to be here, he told me so! It was just too inconvenient for everyone with Michael way out at

Dad’s. This is a much better location for him and for the first time in 17 months, finally Mom and Paul, (as well as

Michael) are the closest to having their normal life back as they have been since Michael got hurt. He used to live

here a while back way before his injury, so he’s completely familiar with this place and knows where he is. He has a

bigger brighter room that accommodates him and all his “stuff” really well now and there is just more room for him

here period. Mom has 2 great girls helping her out a lot with Michael’s care during the evenings, thru the nights and

mornings, and some therapy is already set and happening up for him. So as you can see, things are coming together

pretty quickly and it all feels really good to all of us! Michael is doing so great, I wish you could all see how strong

he’s getting and how much he now helps us to get him around, he helps us sit him up, dress and undress him, get him

from his bed to his chair, or into and out of a recliner in the living room etc etc with a huge amount of his own

strength. It’s so great to see him doing so much more. He’s also very verbal, not too loud still, BUT he’s very willing

to answer questions, especially those that help us keep him as comfortable as we can.

 

I’m posting below a picture of Michael I just took a little while ago while he was in the recliner… we were goofing off

and laughing and I asked him to give me a cheesy grin for the web page… as you can see, he gave me one, haha! Gotta

love that kid’s sense of humor!

 

So that is all for now… if you’d like to give Michael a call and don’t have my Mom’s number, drop me an email and I will

send you the phone number! Also, you can keep those emails coming for those of you who are not close enough to come

see Michael in person! My email addy is CHLNGHER@msn.com

 

‘Til next time…

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Michael’s Home!

Date: 8/16/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everybody…

Just a quick note to let everyone that checks the page that Michael is back in Grass Valley! We are working

frantically on getting him set up with all of the therapy and care he needs and a normal routine. Things are a

little unorganized right now, and we have a ton of details to work out, but he said “yah” when I asked him if he

was glad to be home, and seemed pretty happy about it. The move went great, and his buddy Jason went down

to help with the packing and the driving. For those of you who are anxious to visit him… please give it a few days

until all the care and therapy details are worked out. This was not a planned moved and not everything is set up

yet, his damn insurance company [Blueshield] blindsided us with the denial of his Acute Rehab coverage, so we

are kind of scrambling. He gets evaluated on Wednesday by Medi-Cal to see exactly how much and what kinds of

home care he needs, and unfortunately what will be provided will not be enough in our eyes, because no matter

what, it’s still not Acute Rehab, and we worry that if he doesn’t keep getting everything he needs it could possibly

set him back. And we all very much want him to keep progressing forward! We will soon need a strong reliable and

devoted network of friends and family to fill all the gaps in his days and possibly nights. I will keep everyone very

well informed of what he needs. But despite the last minute scramble… it sure is nice to have him (and my poor

Mom!!) back home to Northern California!

 

That’s all for now…

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Moving Plans Postponed

Date: 8/8/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

 

Sorry for the lack of updates. Just wanted to let anyone that reads this page that we have hit a wall with

Michael’s insurance company. After having the move postponed another week due to lack of paperwork being

filed on time, Blueshield has ripped the rug out from underneath of us again and now DENIED coverage for

Acute Rehab for him. They say he hasn’t met their recovery criteria and does not show enough promise for

long term improvement and they do not see Acute Rehab medically necessary. HELLOOOO have they even

sent someone from Blueshield to evaluate him and see how much he’s progressed? NO. How can someone who

is standing, walking, has his trake out now and can feed himself bites of food not be showing enough promise

for longterm improvement!?!?! We will have our bad faith attorney appeal it and see what we can do, but as of

this point everything is up in the air right now. We are still planning on getting Michael back to the Bay Area

as soon as we can tho, and we will keep you updated on the move.

 

On a brighter note Michael is doing really well. Been doing lots of work on walking, standing, pivoting and doing

transfers with the therapists and has also been eating more solid foods by mouth. Mom said he actually fed

himself a few bites of canned pears. He’s still coughing a little when he eats, but hasn’t shown any signs of

pneumonia. He is also more audible when I talk to him on the phone… still talks with a harsh whisper but I can

hear him answering me with short answers. It’s nice to actually be able to have a conversation with him. So if

you guys would like to give him a call and talk to him let me know and I will give you his room phone number. I’m

sure he’d like to hear some familiar voices. Not sure how long he will still be at the Santiago Care Meridian and

have his own number, but as I said I will keep you up to date on the move.

 

That’s all for now…

~Chrissy~

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Subject: Birthday Weekend Pictures

Date: 8/8/2004 (from 7/26/2004 tho)

From: Chrissy

 

Sorry I did not post these sooner…

 

Here are a few pictures taken on the weekend of Michael’s Birthday. The top one is Michael with his room mate

John’s wife, Margaret, (the wonderful lady that brings Calli the puppy), and she is showing him one of his Birthday

cards… and as you can see by the expression on his face he is a little surprised… it’s a naked lady! Below is a small

picture of cute little Calli’s darling cute face, she is so adorable! Michael just loves her.




 

This picture is of course Michael with my Mom, and Michael is drinking something yummie from Starbucks on his

Birthday! All by himself mind you! He also got to go out for the day and have some french fries with ranch dressing

(his choice, he specified ranch). He had a pretty good Birthday!



 

This picture as you can see is Michael FULLY in the VERTICLE position!! Mom said he was barely leaning any of his

weight on her, so he was standing there balancing on his own! YaYyYyYy Michael!!!



 

And this last picture is very emotional for me to post… because I have not gotten to see him do this in person on my

visits yet… and even tho he has help and support on both sides of him… LOOK YOU GUYS, Michael is taking STEPS!!!

17 freakin’ months later and we finally get to see pictures of him WALKING!!! I know he looks a “little off”, like he was

having a difficult time, but that is because he was… it’s take an incredible amount of work, strength, coordination and

major determination for him to get his body to do something it forgot how to do, but look at him, HE’S DOING IT!!!!!!

He’s gotten much better at it since these pictures were taken the last weekend in July!



 

I hope to have some more pics soon. Hope everyone enjoyed seeing these…

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Michael Is Hilarious!

Date: 7/20/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

It is so great when Michael makes me laugh!  Like the other day when he was holding John and Margaret's dog,

Calli, who Michael loves dearly, and she was kinda sqirmming around trying to get settled on his lap.  On top of

two pillows and with Michael's feet firmly on the floor with a good lap for Calli, she all of a sudden slipped

down thru his legs to the floor with a soft plop. Michael tried to close his legs to save her when he felt her

start to slip, she was fine, of course, but Michael got this half-grin-whooops look on his face and then broke

into a real grin when we all started to laugh. So we put Calli back, Margaret gave her a chew stick and she

settled in to chew for a while, and dropped it a couple times before I handed it to him and told him to feed

it to her. He put it in her mouth to let her chew a few seconds, then slowly brought it halfway to his own

mouth with his mouth half opened, stopped and broke into a grin when I said, uh uh, Michael. Seeing the

grin, I asked him if he was just messing with me and he nodded yes and went for the chew stick again with

another big grin!!  He was really messing with me!!  It's awesome to see his sense of humor!!!

 

The past few days he has been trying a few more foods, with fairly good success without much coughing, tho

not in any huge quantity. He had probably 4 bites of pumpkin pie, 3 or 4 of ripe banana the next day, lots of

ice chips and then today a few nibbles of cake donut and later with speech therapy, he fed himself quartered

grapes and pieces of mango with a fork, no less!! His aim was good thankfully, and he only coughed when a lot of

grape juice slid down. Sunday we are celebrating his birthday with rootbeer floats, and for breakfast on

Saturday, he's gonna have some of a Cinnabon, as long as he handles it all. There of course, is still some question

if he is aspirating any of what he eats, and apparently not, or he would show signs of congestion in the lungs, or

an infection. He seems to do a lot better with more solid foods, not runny or watery. Also, on Thursday, Shaney,

his speech therapist, with Mary, activities director, as chauffer, along with me, Michael is having an outing to

go somewhere to have some not-too-crispy french fries with ranch dressing, I remembered, and not catsup!  I

am sure he will do fine and also sure he will enjoy getting out. 

 

And it looks like we won't be leaving before Aug. 2, if all the arrangements can be made on both ends, for

Kentfield Rehab for acute rehab. Michael has been steadily improving in taking lots of steps, like 40 feet each

way, back and forth with max to mod assist. That means he is doing lots more on his own, and yesterday I saw

him pick up and bend his left leg, in addition to his right eveytime, while walking with Bruce on one side and an

aide on the other. Aslo, he is standing unsupported on his own 2 feet for a minute plus, with us on each side to

help correct him if he starts to lean, or with him putting his hand on the bedside or counter. He was pretty mad

at Eric the other day for pushing him to go again, and wanted Eric's hands off him, and stood there sorta batting

him away!! He wasn't quite ready to do it again, but he darn well was going to do it by himself if we were going to

make him do it! It's amazing how motivating adrenaline is for Michael, but then, not surprising at all! Michael has

also started to do standing pivots with prompting, as well as half-squats and sitting himself back down from

standing, slowly and with control! I will try to get some good digital pictures this weekend for all to see. It's just

great!

 

And I laughed hard again with him today, he was in bed resting after a big day, waiting for his bath, watching Lance.

I sat the bed as far upright as it would go, for a change of position, and he had been sorta on his side so he started

slipping sideways after a while. A pillow that had been under his head began flopping over on his head, and he was

trying to wriggle away from it, reaching up.  I told him to grab it and throw it off the bed and he made a couple of

feeble efforts, as I pointed out to him (more tough love---he gets it a lot from Eric too, he tells Michael he throws

a ball like his sister!). So finally I moved it as he was getting a little frustrated, and from the wriggling, he was even

more sideways. So I told him to grab the handrail and pull himself upright and he tried to reach it with his right hand

and couldn't get ahold of it. He said "S---" and "F---" and quit trying. (I told you he was getting frustrated.....) So I

told him he has to start doing those kinds of things for himself and I placed his hand on the rail. I told him to pull

himself over and he resisted, taking his had back off and I urged him to do it and he said "NO!", I said, why not and

he said "BECAUSE" and I said because why and he said, "CAUSE YOU'RE A PAIN IN THE ASS!"  I asked, cause I'm

a pain in the ass??? and just busted out laughing, and he said "yeah" and couldn't help but bust out a big smile, too. 

Well, needless to say, still laughing, I put his hand back on the rail, once again urged him to pull himself more upright,

and he made 3 or 4 good, productive efforts and mostly righted himself, and again let me know he wasn't in agreement

with a couple of raspy fed-up sounds of exasperation!! It was great! I told him see, I knew you could do it and that he

has to do stuff even if he doesn't feel like it., I thanked him and...blah blah, blah, blah, blah.... the usual from Mom. I

told him I love him, asked if he was mad at me, he just looked (well, more glared) at me, I asked if he loved me, he said 

"yeah" and promptly closed his eyes and fell fast asleep! It is seeming more and more often that Michael has to get to

that place where he is a little PO'd to get motivated to move from his comfort zone, kinda like when he is racing. It's

like his inner power surfaces and he breaks thru some invisible barrier. And thats O.K. Whatever it takes. Often I will

ask Michael if he was glad he was able to do the things we push him to and he always  says "Yeah".

 

Michael and I have been spending a ton of time engrossed in the Tour, and I am taping some for him to watch again and

again.  Michael is wearing a LIVESTRONG bracelet that his Aunt Nancy and cousin Megan sent with a card!  Thank you

so much for sending it, Nancy, it's something I knew Michael would want and I just didn't get around to getting one.

Tomorrow is a big day, Alpe D'uez, and I will be sure to tape that too. I need to go, Michael will be out of the bath soon, 

and be ready for sleep. And then another big day tomorrow!   

 

Once again, thanks to all who care and until next time, 

 

Love from Team Stanton!      

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Standing Up!

Date: 7/14/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

Just a very quick update about yesterday's therapy.....

 

It was Eric and Eduardo helping, Michael walking the hall with the tall table to hang on to, and he was initiating his

right foot without help and his left one often on his own, more than ever before! Then he walked over to his bed

with the bed raised as high as it goes so that he could just stand with his right hand supporting him on it and

worked on doing like half-squats.  He did several reps with us coaching and also got really good at lowering himself

with control down into sitting in his chair. After that was the best part: Michael was standing with Eric and I on

each side, with little support for balance, and then I had him put his right right arm around my shoulder and

without Eric and him just resting his arm on my shoulder he stood there, tall and straight. I have seen him stand

many times, but since he had his arm on me, I could tell for the first time how little he was relying on me! There

was so little pressure from him on me and he didn't wobble or anything!!! It was great! Right now he is in his chair

with his feet on the bicycle stand and he has been doing revolutions on his own, at one point we counted 7 together

and as always, HE is our Lance Armstrong!!

 

Until next time,

Love,

Theresa and Michael

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Long Overdue Update

Date: 7/9/2004 & 7/13/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

July 9th, 2004

 

I'll start by saying the past two-plus weeks has been a hell of an experience that I hope no one reading this has to

go through, even at the distance I am from it. I am speaking of the heartwrenching events that unfolded that first

week after Brett's accident and then my incomprehension of the downturn in his condition and finally the grief and

sorrow because of his passing that still lingers in my heart. I wish that I was there to be of what comfort I could to

Julie and L.J., Brett's parents who I know pretty well, afterall, they are my sister's best friends and really, their

extended family. Julie has done much for us through her continued support, care and concern throughout Michael's

ordeal and I wish that I could be there for her now. She's spent time at Michael's side, brought him gifts and I know,

prays and continually sends positive thoughts his way. I also wish I was able to be with my family there that have such

heavy hearts at this time and I hope every one knows that my heart goes out to all of them.  (I will be there soon to

give hugs and do whatever I can to try and comfort them.)  I hold on to the thoughts of the good that has come from

this tragedy.  Let's all take a moment to send comforting thoughts to all who are feeling the pain and sorrow of Brett's

passing..........................................

 

 

 ********************************************************************************************************

 

 

My apologies for not sending updates about Michael for the past two weeks, I just wasn't able to feel and pass on joy

during that time. A lot of good things are happening, and Michael is awesome. The Tour de France is practically on

constantly and last night I witnessed Michael watching it very intently and purposefully. Yesterday morning I went in

to his room as usual to do our morning stuff, and asked Michael if he wanted to watch the Tour and he loudly whispered

"Yeah". I asked him if he knew who was in first place and he asked "WHO?" and I said "You tell me, who do you think is

in first place?" He shrugged his shoulders and I said "You KNOW who must be in first place Michael, who do you think

that is?" and he said, WITH HIS VOICE AND VERY CLEARLY "Lance" !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I said he was right and then

proceeded to cheer and hug him for his audible response! It was really great, huge in fact and I wish everyone heard it. 

Then later that day he also tried using his voice and again he said Lance out loud when I gave him the choice of Lance or

music. Michael has idolized Lance for years now and we are beginning to see what a mentor he has been and continues to

be for Michael. Like I said from day one, Michael is OUR Lance Armstrong!

 

One thing that we are doing as much as we can is giving Michael choices and making him choose. It's one of the few ways

that he can feel his control in those kinds of situations. He is also showing us in other ways, funny now, but hard to see

when it's going on: One of his swallowing therapies I do with him is to have him hold 3 (taped together) tongue depressors

between his teeth on either side in his mouth and have him swallow while they are in his mouth and sometime, well, most

times, actually, it's a bit of a battle to get the sticks in his mouth. Yesterday I was persistent as usual, and Michael was

resistant, mouthing his opinion and desire for me to quit, and when I finally did get it in his mouth, he rapidly grabbed it

and threw it to the floor with gusto! This continued on for a few times and there is a point where we have to stop when he

gets too upset, but I always thank him for communicating and tell him we can do it later. As many of you know, I am not a

pushover and am practicing tough love here, and don't give up easily, but there times when Michael has to be able to have

free will.  And he had a medication change the past week that caused him some side effects that made him even less co-

operative so I take that all into consideration, too. I tell Michael often that I am going to push him til he takes it over

completely and I can see that coming soon. He is now walking with max assist, (therapists and an aide on each side) for

longer distances without resting, my guess is 40 feet or so, 3 or 4 times with recovery periods of a few minutes in between,

and almost daily. He is in training, and you can tell by the look of persistence on his face when he is doing it...... is a joy to

see. And when he is done with the session, spent by the effort, we ask if he feels good about what he just did and he

mouths, "Yeah!" 

 

A couple of days ago more great work and interactions with Michael: He had been walking with a tall table for support and

Eric, his PT, helping advance his left foot when needed. (He is doing it more on his own, too!!)  He sits down at a rest period,

we give him a break and don't ask anything of him at that time, just let him rest.  When it was finally time to go again, Eric

asked him if he was ready and Michael wouldn't answer. He just kept his head to the left, towards the Aide, Gloria, (and

away from Eric, directly in front of him, and me, to his right). I tapped his shoulder to try to get his attention, saying

Michael, then more of a jab or two on his shoulder to no avail. Then I loudly and firmly said "MICHAEL!" and he got a mad,

trying to mouth cuss words that just wouldn't come out (this time). Then he stopped, shaped his middle finger of his right

hand into the obvious, still gazing to the left, and of course we got the message, tho Gloria said, "Is that for me, Michael?" 

and still looking in her direction, he shook his head "no" and tilted his head and thumbed twice towards ME! It was so clear

and yet we had to cheer because of all the steps he had to plan for and go thru to make that happen! Of course, I hugged

him and thanked him for communicating so clearly to us and then of course, made him get on his feet again and start

walking

 

There is no definite date for the move yet, but Michael will be returning to Kentfield near the end of the month, graduating

to acute rehab! I will keep everyone posted as soon as the details are known, but we are happy that Michael is ready to move

ahead to the next level in his recovery. We will be back with most if not all of our wonderful therapy team from CareMeridian,

Fairfax, and it will be great for Michael to work with them again.  I am also hoping that his friends will be around more, IT'S

SOOO IMPORTANT!! And you need to see for yourselves his progress, it's awesome to witness!

 

We are nearing the 16 month mark and Michael IS recovering! I want everyone to know that Michael still has huge potential for

much more recovery, and that it will take time. Many patients with this injury continue improving for years and years and some

forever! Nowadays, docs don't even consider venturing to project how long it will continue, with 5 years now being a minimum to

try to make that kind of a guess with Michael's type of injury. Because no one knows. Michael is fortunate that not any one area

of his brain has huge injury, his are lots of little injuries that he is busy rewiring around.  (I tell him he is working for his buddy,

Tack, All Around Electric and he's rewiring!). Michael has come so far, even if it's been with baby steps at times, leaps at other

times, and he will get where he wants to be. A lot of this is going to be up to Michael, and up to him getting the help he needs to

get where he is going!! Any of you that really know Michael, knows that he is not a quitter and once he sets his goals, he gets

there. He is doing great, you guys, and Michael would say "No worries", can't you just hear him? I want to thank those of you who

continue to send those positive thoughts and encouragement to Michael.  (Some of you, I am surprised by your not showing your

confidence in Michael some way, but everybody handles this differently. Please know that I understand and I can only hope that

Michael understands. I also realize that for many of you it's not been possible for lots of different reasons and please know that

we know that. I know you are still putting the positive vibes out there!! Thank you!). All I know is that Michael will be home before

too long, he is going to have continued therapies for a long time, and he will have the continued support of those who have been

around all this time. He will need it more than ever....... I am grateful for all of you, and you know who you are! And I also look

forward to having those of you who now can't be involved being there for him when we get home in a few months! And we will be

doing some fundraisers for present medical expense burdens and future medical and therapy requirements, which we have been in

need of for some time, and there will be those of you that I know will come through for Michael in whatever way you can. 

 

Michael is starting therapy with Eric right now, so I gotta go!  More important things to do!!

 

Thanks to all and keep cheering for our Lance Armstrong! 

Bye for now,

Michael’s MOM

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Latest News

Date: 7/6/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hello Everyone

 

For everyone that has checked this page and saw the post about Kim’s best friend’s son Brett…

I have to sadly let everyone know that he passed away this weekend. More of his brain lost blood flow and died and

there was just no hope of him surviving. Several of his organs are being donated tho… so parts of Brett will live on thru

others that are lucky enough to get another chance… My heart and deepest sympathies go out to his family and friends,

I know their loss is completely devastating.

 

I went to see Michael this weekend. He looked good, even tho he was sore from a couple painful injection procedures

done to his left arm. He had a nerve block done to help relax his left arm as he still has some neurologically caused

contracture going on in that arm and because of it he can’t do much with it. So the nerve block is supposed to keep

the brain from telling his arm to contract. He also had some botox injections that are supposed to help too. All the

injections made him sore so we couldn’t do much physical stuff with him this time. But it was still great to see him.

 

And unfortunately I did not get to see him do any walking this visit, but I hear he’s doing well with it and starting to

advance his left foot on his own. Hopefully I will get to see him walking (assited of course) next time. Maybe I’ll even

get to take a walk with him.

 

He needed a haircut badly, and when ever Mom asks him if he wants one he says no… and when I asked he said yes, so I

got out the scissors and cut off just about a grocery bag full of hair… well not quite, but it was a lot! He looks much

better and I’m sure it’s more comfortable for him. I should have taken some current pictures, I will try to remember to

get some next time.

 

He has a few more weeks to go down at the Silverado Canyon Care Meridian and then we will be bringing him back to the

San Rafael area to start his Acute Rehab at the Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital. That was the place we first moved him

to last year after he left the trauma center in San Bernardino. It’s so hard to believe it’s almost been 16 months already.

When you look at the whole big picture he has come so far but still has so long to go. His therapists all feel he’s ready to

move to the next level of care. And it will be a relief to all the family that he is so much closer to home again finally.

Hopefully he will get more visits from friends too. Not many have visited him while he was down in Southern Cali.

 

That’s all for this update. I imagine my Mom will be sending in a long one soon…

Take Care

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Michael’s Hanging’ In There

Date: 6/29/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

Sorry for the lack of updates on Michael. He’s hangin’ in there still of course. One of his medications was changed

last week and he’s had a rough time adjusting and hasn’t been feeling all too great. It kind of slowed him down a

little but Mom said he’s feeling better today. I will post more details on the new things going on with him when I

get them.

 

Our hearts and thoughts have been with Julie’s and L.J.’s son Brett. We know their pain, worry and fears all too well,

and it definitely makes us realize how lucky we are to still have Michael with us. Please everyone send their positive

thoughts, energy, strength and prayers Brett’s way, sounds like he needs all the healing help he can get right now.

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Urgent Request -- Let's all please send positive thoughts to Brett

Date: 6/27/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

 

To all of you who are reading this on Michael's update:  My sister Kim's dear friends' teenage son was involved in a

terrible car accident on Friday evening, with head and spinal injuries in addition to many lacerations. Brett is currently

in the Critical Care Unit of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. At this time he is in a coma, fortunately showing signs of

response, with a bruise to his brain and fractures to two vertebrae in his spine. His spinal cord is intact, thankfully, and

he is able to move on one side at this time. We all have faith that he will recover, so please, let's all send positive

thoughts to Brett, as well as prayers for his full and speedy recovery. Thank you all.

 

Julie, L.J., Heather and Brett, our thoughts are with you and my heart is breaking for you, 

I know what you are going through....

 

Theresa

 

 

Update 6/29/04…

 

Sadly, Brett’s condition has taken a turn for the worse, as an artery in the left side of his brain has ruptured, it is

inoperable and there is nothing they can do at this point.  It is unknown if he will survive. That is all the information we

have so far. Everyone please send extra positive thoughts and prayers his way

 

Correction and update 6/29 PM

 

There wasn’t a rupture as the Drs thought, but instead there was an occlusion, or blockage to the left side of Brett’s

brain. The blood supply has been cut off and a major part of his brain on that side is now dead. If Brett survives there

will be a considerable amount of brain damage for him as well as many other complications. It is still possible he can

survive this, but at this point the odds are greatly stacked against him. This is so disheartening to hear his condition

has changed so drastically in such a short time, and my heart goes out to his Family and friends. And also to my Aunt Kim

and her Family as well as my Aunt Rebecca and her Family too who are there supporting Brett’s family and once again

reliving an all too familiar nightmare all over again.

 

Everyone please keep Brett and his loved ones in your thoughts.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Bicycling!

Date: 6/20/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

Well, today is a big day for Michael, as it's the first day he pedaled the stationary bike on his own, for 10

revolutions, (he also counted them)!!!  Yesterday was the first day he has used it since before his ankle surgery,

and he kinda got a revolution or two going. But today, Paul and I worked with him, limbering him up first, with

us pedaling his feet on the pedals, and after a rest, we asked him to go for 10 on his own and HE DID!!!!  Lance

Armstrong, look out!! The bicycling is so good for his range of motion, as well as reprogramming his brain with

the repetious movement.  I will be setting him up on it every day! Oh, another first today is that he himself

bent and lifted his LEFT leg from the floor up to the therapy platform he was laying on. Purposeful movement

is returning in that leg now!! He can turn from his left side to his right on his own too and is starting the

scooting himself over to make room for me when I read to him. I bought the book, "Wide Open" by Jeremy

McGrath while I was out today and began reading it to him. He is really enjoying it a lot. He is still

enthralled with Lance Armstrong's books, and I read or play the CDs while he is resting, and he will listen

to them over and over. 

 

Yesterday Michael stood up with Paul!! Michael and Paul were doing some sitting on the platform, in which

Michael helped Paul with the transfer from his chair and when Paul asked him if he felt like standing up,

Michael said he did. So Paul helped him to standing, and Michael stood firmly on his feet, with Paul's hands

on Michael's waist! When he started to tire, he sat down and continued with more mat work with Paul. All

this stuff is just great, and we are still working on trying to get bigger windows of work out of Michael. He

has a lot more windows now than has had since surgery, and he does spend longer period in the standing frame

working with cards and working on speaking. His words still come out a loud whisper, and when he coughs or

sneezes his voice is there, so once he is able to put more force behind his words, we will hear his voice better. 

He is also responding spontaneously with hand signals, like giving a thumbs up when he agrees with something. 

He also has his very special ways to let us know when he doesn't!! 

 

Tomorrow, Michael will be having a modified barium swallow test to help pinpoint where his difficulty in eating

is stemming from as well as to rule out that he is aspirating any food when he coughs during eating. He often

coughs while eating, we have been trying things often during therapy and we can give him sublingual tastes, and

there are things we can focus on to help retrain that and make his swallowing efficient. It's just a matter of

time and he will be back on the In and Out Burgers!  I gave him tastes of a Cinnabon, the sticky syrup, not the

bun, and he loved it and didn't want to stop.  Root beer floats are coming up next! I will keep you all posted,

and I am so glad I have all these new things to write about! There wil be many many more!  I will try to write

again soon!

 

Thanks to all who read this awesome website (Thanks again Chrissy!!) and keep those positive thoughts coming

Michael's way!!

 

Love,

Theresa

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: 20 Steps & A Pic

Date: 6/15/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everybody

 

Just a quickie to tell ya my Mom left me a message saying that Michael took (with help on each side of him)

about 20 steps, all the way across the PT room Today! I’m waiting on a more detailed update from my Mom,

and then I will post more about it. And I’m sure there’s a lot more to report about than just the 20 steps! I

bet Michael was proud of himself, because he’s 20 steps closer to a full recovery!

 

Here’s a picture of Michael holding the sweet little puppy Calli that I told you about, it's a little blurry

but you can see he has his hand on her and he’s grinning big…

 

I’ll update you with more details soon, or post an update from my Mom

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Latest Visit

Date: 6/14/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Guys

Had a really good visit down in So Cal visiting my Mom and Michael this last weekend. He’s improved quite a bit, and

let me tell ya, it’s such a relief finally! Mom’s updates pretty have much covered all the great stuff that’s been going

on with him, but it was really great seeing how good he’s doing for myself. He’s so close to being back to where he was

before the surgery set-back. In a lot of ways he’s already better… the trache is OUT, he’s much easier to understand

when he’s trying to tell us something, he’s working on standing and taking steps, plus he is helping a little with the

assisted transfers from the wheelchair to bed and the matted PT table and vice versa by using his legs to help get

him up and then they pivot him and sit him down where he needs to be… no more putting him in the sling and using

the patient lift. I’m sure he feels a lot better about himself not having to be moved around like that any more too. He

never needs a head rest behind him any more when he’s sitting up in his chair, his balance and trunk control are so much

improved. I finally got to meet sweet little Calli, the Cavalier King Charles puppy that he’s been spending time with the

last few weeks. She belongs to Michael’s room mate John’s wife Margaret and she’s there visiting all the time. Michael

holds her on his lap and ruffles her fur and pets her while she snuggles up for a nap on his lap. He even puts his hand

behind her so she doesn’t slip off his lap. Her owner plans on using her as a Therapy Dog when she grows up, but she is

already WELL on her way. She’s calm, gentle, affectionate, and she seems to know that that those who hold her need

some extra love, she’s so perfect for the job! And Michael loves her! We all know she’s been a big help with all the

progress he’s made lately and has helped him shake the rest of the effects from his surgery, because he’s really kicked

it into gear since she’s been around. Mom has some pictures of Michael with her that we will post on here soon, I forgot

to take them with me so I could scan them, but I’ll get them on here as soon as I can.

 

That’s all for this update, I’m sure there will be more news very soon! Things are lookin' up again!

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Our Lance Armstrong!

Date: 6/13/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

Hi, Everybody! Part of Team Stanton assembled here in sunny So Cal, consisting of Chrissy, Dan, Michael's

Aunt Rebecca and of course me, and are proud to report witnessing Michael doing most of what he did prior

to his surgery just today:  He played "basketball", trying over and over again to make baskets and did, twice;

He "bridged" his hips off the mat so that he could help us scoot him sideways; He managed to lean his bent

legs side to side repeatedly; He resisted me trying to push his bent knees apart and the opposite; He used

appropriate hand signals to communicate, a new one, scissors for "cut it out" when Chrissy pestered him to get

a response, "all done" or finished with his hand, and hand motioning "come here or come on" for us to continue

rolling the ball for him to kick; He kicked with both his right and left foot, and when the ball went past him

on the right, he leaned over and reached for it, trying to either stop it or pick it up by palming it; He rolled it

down off his lap, down the front of his legs to then kick it with his right foot; He helped unwrap a tootsie pop,

fed it to himself with minimal coughing, and with perfect aim looking at himself in the mirror; He again laughed

out loud at our funny stories, as well as using his voice, and mouthing and whispering a lot more than usual. Oh

and one more brand new thing was a punching balloon on a rubberband with lots of determination to accomplish

those fast movements required to do it. So much in just one day!!!  I can't even remember the things he did even

yesterday, there's so much new stuff today. I will let Chrissy tell her own interactions with Michael this weekend. 

It was great having them here and also Rebecca who will go home on Tuesday. Anyway, I am so happy to report so

many of the old things back that Michael did 2 1/2 months ago, as well as the things he is doing for the first time!!

Right now he is watching the Pistons and the Lakers and when I asked who he was rooting for, he said "Pistons"!! 

He is using words so much more the past week and even more today than ever before!  

 

I will write again soon, and know I will have lots more good stuff in the days and weeks to come! Please keep all

those positive thoughts coming Michael's way...........He is working hard, tho stubborn at times, but then all of a

sudden he is self-motivated doing things we don't even ask!  I am not surprised, because, after all, it IS Michael

and I am so proud of him and tell him many times a day! And again, thank you all for your continued support!    

 

Team Stanton!

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Subject: First Steps!!!

Date: 6/11/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

I am happy to report to everyone that on Friday, June 11, Michael took four steps!  He was being supported on

either side by Bruce, his physical therapist, and Eduardo, his aide, and with assistance advancing his left foot, 

he walked forward!!  I unfortunately wasn't there to see this, but everybody here was excited to tell about it! 

I am hoping we will do it again in therapy, on Monday. Also, on Saturday morning, during speech and language

therapy with Tricia, Michael fed himself, with our assistance, 3 bites of mashed potatoes!!  Monday is his next

speech session, and he is going to have pumpkin pie with whipped cream! He has been waiting and waiting for it! 

As of Saturday night, the hole from Michael's trache is completely healed!! He had been coughing enough to

keep it open, and he has to cough very little now, so his swallowing is becoming more efficient! It will be In and

Out Burgers, (Animal) before we know it!!

 

More next time,

Love and thanks to all who care,

Theresa

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Subject: Standing Longer !!

Date: 6/10/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

June 10, 2004

 

Hi, everyone, I am home for a much needed rest and I just got off the phone with Eric, one of two of Michael's

physical therapists at CareMeridian, Santiago, and he had just finished up therapy with Michael for the day. 

Eric reported that Tuesday he had to push Michael because he was being stubborn and wouldn't do what Eric

asked, with Michael baring his teeth at him. He actually does that and also takes repeated swings with his right

elbow (we call that "Chicken Wings") as well as punches with his very serious fist. So far he hasn't tried to stab

anyone there like he tried to stab his therapist, Hans, at the other CareMeridian. Yes, Michael actually tried to

stab Hans with a felt tip Sharpie pen during therapy in rebellion for not wanting to write the letter "O" on the

end of the word "Chico". Often when Michael gets mad he usually does something phenomenal after that so it

seems to remove some kind of a block or it's him letting go of his rage, so we welcome it and sometimes have to

even provoke him a little to get him started. But that is few and far between because he is more motivated now

that his casts are off and I am sure there is a lot less pain in his feet.    

 

But Eric said that today Michael was really working!! Michael was standing for 2 minutes at a time today, and if Eric

was standing Michael as he did with me last, Michael sits at bedside with his chair right there with the back of it

towards him so that he can hang on to the push handle to standing. Then he stands there hanging on with his right

hand and forearm and doesn't even break a sweat. He doesn't use the standing frame in this position and he has to

work lots harder this way. Eric was really happy that not only did Michael stand for 2 minutes, he moved his right

foot forward to take a step and also moved it backward!!! BABY STEPS!!!! It will take time and work of course, but

he'll be walking before you know it, I will bet!!!

 

Yesterday his other physical therapist, Bruce, told me that he was standing up on the tilt table for an hour at a time

and that is awesome.  He used to have a hard time tolerating it before surgery and now it is less painful. The surgery

was a success and Michael is released from the orthopedic’s care to the therapists for continued therapy. I am so

glad that they didn't have to do a second surgery, which had been a possibility. Another new thing Michael is doing,

with Bruce initiating it, he is again slowly propelling his chair! He uses his right foot on the floor to pull the chair and

steer and his right hand using the big wheel on the side to help move forward. Even a few inches is huge compared to

what Michael did just last week!! This is all so encouraging and I know that Michael feels like and IS our Lance

Armstrong; I have seen the look of accomplishment on his face and it is awesome! HE IS AWESOME!

 

I had called to talk to Michael to say goodnight and to tell him I love him, and that's when Eric got on the phone with

the great news. When Eric gave Michael the phone, (Michael probably put it there and held it there himself), I said

"Hi, Michael, it's MOM", he said, in a whisper, "Hi, Mom" and Eric said it was as plain as day. Two days ago he actually

responded verbally 5 times to different things, answering appropriately with a "good" to how are you today, "yeah" that

he is working hard with his personal trainers and "OK" that I will be back on Friday and even said "I love you, too" after

I said "I love you, Michael" and "Bye" at the end of the call!!  Earlier today he said "Hello" as soon as the phone got to

his ear and even bore I said anything!! He is racing back, you guys!

 

I'm pretty sure there will be some new pictures of him on here after his sister’s visit this weekend as it seems she always

brings the camera. We will have him outside a lot as it's still not real hot down there yet. Michael will be glad to see them,

I'm sure and so will I. They are awesome support to him and me, too. Also, my sister, Michael's Aunt Rebecca will be down

for a few days and he and I both miss her too. Thank you again to all the support group! Hopefully Michael's cousin will be

by... It's going to be a great weekend and week!!

 

So please keep all the positive thoughts coming Michael's way, and again, will each of you please visualize Michael in a place

doing something you have never seen him do before, projecting him into the future as the winner that he is.

 

Thank you all, you are all part of "Team Stanton".   

 

Michael's MOM, Theresa  

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Subject: Making Some Progress

Date: 6/9/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

 

Just wanted to post real quick that Michael will be down at the Silverado Care Meridan until at least the

middle of July, he needs another 30 days in the pilot program to get him ready for Acute Rehab. I’ll have

more details on how he’s doing after this weekend, I don’t have much info right now. But I do know that his

trache hole in his windpipe is healed or nearly healed and he’s speaking a little more. There haven’t been any

complications since they removed the trache, so it looks like that hurtle is finally done and over with. He’s

also been working on swallowing real food, doing lots of weight baring and strengthening therapy on his legs

since the casts are off and has been working on standing for 30, 60, 90 seconds at a time. The best part about

the standing work, besides it being the beginning stage of walking again is that he’s able to use his leg muscle

strength to help the staff transfer him from the bed to his wheelchair and back etc (that is called assisted

transfers). And soon he will be even able to help us get him in and out of a car!

 

More after the weekend

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Firsts!

Date: 5/29/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

 HI, ALL:

Just a quick update for today and some firsts for Michael! Today Michael got the ankle and foot orthotics that he

has to have on whenever standing and he stood on his feet (assisted) for the very 1st time since surgery---a day short

of 2 months after his surgery! He stood for at first one minute, then rested and then went back up into standing for

another 30 seconds. He never even worked up a sweat and didn't look uncomfortable or in pain and never even looked

like he was working! Monday he will begin standing again in the standing frame as tolerated & that's going to be great

to see him back in the frame. 

 

Another first while Chrissy and I were on the phone, I was trying to get Michael to say something to her, (make an

AAHHHH sound) and he instead said "I don't want to" in a hoarse whisper that was clearly audible to us! It made us

laugh, & of course I quit pestering him! Any time that Michael communicates his desires, he gets his way (most of

the time). It's so great to see him communicating with us and it is becoming a regular daily thing---in spurts for now.

 

Michael's roommate's wife brought their adorable puppy today and I asked Michael if he wanted to hold it and he

answered yeah. The puppy, Cali, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, looks a lot like our Cocker Spaniel puppies and dogs

we use to have and Michael loves her! Since his trache is gone, and what's left of the hole is covered, he is able to

hold and pet her and he really ruffles her fur and let's her climb on him, she sleeps on him, and nuzzles his ear and

even slept on a pillow around his neck! Margaret, the owner, took pictures and I hope to be able to get some for the

website! He is really relating to Cali and she will be here often so I know she will be helping Michael progress.

 

Then also, while doing some speech and language therapy with Michael, making him do sounds and whatever I can to

work his muscles, I asked him to "give me the raspberries", blow air out between his closed lips and he did it!  He kept

trying to even when I wasn't saying do it again! That is a real good exercise for him and I am glad to see that he can

do it(when he wants to, at least!)

 

Another part of S/L therapy was letting him have a tootsie pop and after I had him lick it, he wanted more, so I put it

in his hand and he had to maneuver it to his mouth. He put it in his mouth and closed his lips all around it and pulled it

out, making that smacking sound and even tho it made him cough sometimes, he'd go back for more. He is still having

trouble with always swallowing without coughing, but practice will make perfect and the fact that he is coughing shows

that he has a good protective cough. So this was a first for him with the tootsie pop without his trache.

 

That's all for now, I will try to write again after Michael has a few different therapy sessions on Monday and Tuesday and

I will let everybody know what's new and different about therapies now that standing is happening and now that the trache

is out! I know that these two things will allow Michael to move forward at a faster pace now, as both were holding him back

in many ways. 

 

'Til then,

Bye from "Team Stanton"

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Progress Report

Date: 5/27/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hey Guys~

 

Just a quickie progress report how Michael’s doing after the trache removal…

Everything’s going fine and the hole in his trachea is healing quickly. The opening is about half the size of a

pencil already at this point. He’s been managing his swallowing well and not coughing much. Mom got back from

Mexico this afternoon and she said Michael was really glad to see her. He gave her a hug and was answering all

of the questions she asked him.  Not real loud, but he was responding  with answers she could understand. I will

talk to her again tomorrow after she gets settled back into the daily routine and let you know what the changes

in his therapies  and activities are now that the trache is out. I’m anxious to hear what the next steps will be.!

 

That’s all for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: The 1st Day After The Trache Removal… and a few Pictures of Michael

Date: 5/25/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Guys!

I just called to check on Michael, to see how he’s doing with the trache out. Debra from Care Meridian told

me he’s doing great and there have been no problems. She said he’s handling it well and he slept good thru

the night. So obviously he was ready for it to come out. WHEWWWW!! It’s such a BIG relief for all of us

involved in Michael’s recovery that he finally has that damn thing out of there! I’m not sure how much his

speech therapy will change now that he can actually get to work on using his voice, he may need some time

to heal a little bit before they really start coaching him to use his voice more loudly, but I will keep you up

to date and let you know how he’s progressing. I can’t wait until I can call and visit Michael and HEAR him

say hello and answer my questions! And soon he’ll be asking his own questions and then on down the road a

ways he will finally be able to TELL me what to write in the updates and even start emailing you guys back!

Yayyy J  I’m sure they will start letting him eat REAL food soon too and then he will be getting the stomach

feeding tube out as soon as he’s handling that real well! This is such great and encouraging progress!

 

Below are a few pictures that my Aunt Rebecca took while she and Kim were down last weekend for their

visit. The picture on top is Michael with my Aunt Kim taken last Sunday, the middle is Michael with our

cousin Evan (Rebecca’s oldest son) and Evan’s girlfriend Nikki, taken on Saturday, and the bottom one is

Michael with Rebecca taken on Sunday, which was the LAST day he had his trache! The next pictures you

will see of Michael will be WITHOUT the trache!!

 

So that’s all for now… I will of course post more news as I get it.

 

I also wanted to tell you guys Thanks for the emails you’ve sent to Michael, his scrapbook is getting thicker

and please keep them coming!

 

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________


__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Really Great News !!!!!

Date: 5/24/2004

From: Kim Perry

 

Hey Everybody-

I have some fabulous news...

Michael's trache was removed this morning!!!!!!  Yessiree!!  He no longer has that irritating peice of cr@%,

er... plastic, in his throat!  This is something that we've been waiting for for almost a year now.   We are all

totally jazzed.

I talked called the nurse in charge at Care Meridian today and she said that when she told Michael that she

was about to remove his trache he got a grin on his face.  She said he didn't even flinch when she took it out.  

His throat must feel 100% better.  

We are optimistic that he will start talking a lot more now.

My sister Rebecca, and I flew down to see him over this past weekend.  He was doing well.  He's not back to

pre-foot-surgery status yet, but he's working on it.  

On Saturday, Rebecca told him a funny story and he laughed out loud!  Really laughed!!  It was kind of a slow,

deep HAAAA...HAAAAA...HAAAA, that had her and I laughing uncontrollably.  The more he laughed, the more

we laughed, and so on.  It was immensely heartwarming to see and hear his laughter.  We actually had him

cracking up 3 or 4 times.   Rebecca told him a joke about a guy walking into a bar, and Michael got the joke and

started laughing.    I told him a few "knock knock" jokes and he would go along with me and say "Who's there"

and everything.  He tired of those pretty quickly, though, because they were kind of stupid!!   

 

Most of the time when he talks it's only lip movement or whispers, but now with that trache gone he will probably

be able to make his voice louder.

So send him some good jokes, you guys.  Short jokes or one liners are best right now.

It was so great to see Michael this weekend.  My sister and I have missed him so much since he went down South.  

She'll be going back down in a couple of weeks and I hope to make it again before too long.

Take care-
Aunt Kim

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Quick Update On The Trache Removal

Date: 5/22/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone

Just wanted to let everyone know Michael’s bronchoscopy procedure went fine but they are not going to remove

the trache until Monday. We were hoping he’d have it out at least by this weekend, while Kim and Rebecca were

down there visiting. Mom’s on vacation this week taking a break, and we’d all feel better if someone in the family

was there to make sure Michael’s doing ok and understands what’s going on with the trache removal and that he

deals with it all fine. That’s one of the HUGE drawbacks of him being down in Southern Cali, unfortunately

there’s not much of a friends and family support group happening. I’m sure the staff will make sure everything’s

going ok with the whole deal, but it’d just make us all feel better if one of us was there, hands-on with the whole

situation. They are going to try to push the removal ahead and get it out of there today, but we’ll see what

happens. I just talked to Kim a little while ago, she said Michael is doing great today tho. My cousin Evan is also

there visiting and Michael’s been grinning a bunch and having a good time. They were getting him ready to go

outside for a while and get some sun.

 

I’ll post more news when I get some

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Casts OFF!!!

Date: 5/18/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

Hello, everybody!  Michael's casts were removed today, Hurray!!!!!!!!!  Tomorrow will be 7 weeks since his surgery

and now he has on foam boots with braces....they look like open-toed snowboard boots!  (Kinda)  He will be fitted 

for ankle and foot orthotics on Wednesday, which will allow him to start weight bearing, standing in the standing

frame and assisting with transfers again......the first step towards WALKING!!  Michael had all the stitches

removed, too, and I would estimate about 50 in each foot, maybe more and he was very cooperative with the

procedure.  He is a trooper and puts up with a lot of discomfort and aggravation from the doctors and nurses

(and ME!)

 

Today we also started working on the spasticity in his left arm with neuro stretching, which I have also been

taught to do.  He has a lot of tightness in his left arm, with his elbow in the bent position as well as his wrist, and

he has tightness in his left scapula that needs the work of the O.T. (occupational therapist) to do on him.  Even

one session made a difference already.  He is just so limited on what he can do on that side with all the spacticity,

and we have also talked about another nerve block to release the tightness.

 

Michael really enjoyed getting out of the facility for an outting today....his first in a month that we have been here. 

It was in a 15 passenger van like we used to have for the Kawasaki shop, and I recalled the time when we were in

Marysville racing, and the Rossi's came, too, and brought their van along and ended up with the side window busted

out when Anthony's bike fell against it.  He seemed amused by the memory and then I went on to tell about the time

at Frank's when he and Steve Bicknell and who knows who else were out there riding and Michael and his KX 80 ended

up in the pond, totally immersed!!  They had to wade back in and haul it out, then took it up to Steve's and kicked it

over a couple times, water SHOOTING WAY OUT the pipe and it started right up!!  He really grinned at that memory. 

He really loves hearing all those fun stories from the past and definitely remembers them.

 

Another that he really likes is hearing about the food fight on the road that he and Beau and Shawn and Travis had

on the way back from Texas on Hiway 10!!  Travis, you know the story and so maybe you could write in and tell it.  It

brings a huge smile to his face every time I recant it and even a little chuckle!  Speaking of Travis----I am so sorry to

have missed your visit with Michael.  I didn't know it was you that visited and I thought it was my nephew, Evan, that

came by a week ago, but it turns out it was YOU!!  As I said before, the therapist said that Michael really connected

with him, and that's not surprising, as it was Travis who met Michael at the Trauma Center and was by his side with all

the others at the track and often that voice will be the most recognizable.  Travis, Thank You so much for coming to see

Michael, as I know this is a very busy time of your life.  I greatly appreciate it and hope to see you again!!

 

My sisters,  Rebecca and Kim, will be down for a visit with Michael in less than a week and I know he will be glad to see

them............He was used to seeing one or both of them every day or so when we were in Fairfax and I know he misses them

(and so do I... :-(  .....A LOT!)  We miss a lot of people that are now our family from there....but we will see all of you again

soon!!

 

I will close for now and let you know that things are progressing at a faster pace now, Thankfully, and oh, gosh, I almost

forgot, Michael will probably get his trache removed hopefully Thursday or Friday, barring no complications, and that will

be a HUGE step towards normalization for him and will alleviate a huge distraction and discomfort (f not downright pain)

for him.  This is a goal Michael has been working toward for a long time  that is coming to fruition, because of his hard

work and determination!!  Let's all send positive thoughts that it happens on schedule! 

 

Once again, many thanks to all of you!

Love, (and THUMBS UP!)

Theresa and Michael

 

PS:

Tuesday morning news!!!!

Michael's bronchoscopy is scheduled for Thursday, 2:00 p.m. and it is expected to go as planned with removal of trache

immediately after!!  Yeah!!!!  Michael is already looking forward to garlic mashed potatoes, rootbeer floats and Mom's

spaghetti (even tho it will have to be pureed, at first.)  Then on to animal In and Out Burgers and Sushi!!  We will try to

keep you updated!

 

Again, Thanks to all who keep Michael in their thoughts!

Theresa and Michael

and the rest of "Team Stanton"

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: A Good Day!

Date: 5/12/2004

From: Michael’s Mom

 

Hey, everybody, don't be too shocked to hear from me, but I decided to give a quick update, because today

has been a good day for Michael!  Right now he is watching the Malibu Waterskiing Championships on the Fox

Sports Network.  But what he is doing is why I am writing.  I ordered some essentials oils which came through

the mail and were packed in that bubble wrap.  I popped a couple then put it in his right hand and he just

started popping away!  He had to manipulate the piece around to get to unpopped areas and probably popped

10 or so!  That is something new that I have never offered to him to do, but in addition today he did some

things he did prior to surgery:  He threw the balloon and batted at it, successfully capturing it against his

stomach a couple of times.  And when I gave him his yellow Scott grip and asked him to "PIN IT", he did and

responded properly by grabbing with his forefinger for the front brake when I asked, and even with the left

hand forefinger for the clutch!  He also laughed out loud for a millisecond when I was showing him how his lips

looked when I was doing his facial exercise therapy.  It surprised him!  Also, one thing we are supposed to do is

try to get him to sing along and so we sang  Happy Birthday (he mouthed it and I mutilated it!!) to his cousin

Jackie who had her birthday the 26th of April and to his Aunt Nancy (Stanton) who is having a birthday

somewhere about now this month, it seems I remember.  One other song he mouths along on the chorus word

for word with me is by Tom Petty and I don't know the name, but it's got "I got a room at the top of the world

tonight, and I ain't comin' down, no"..... and he even shakes his head NO at the word no!

 

I need to go, and I know I need to write more, but it's just not something I sit down and do and I apologize.  Oh,

Michael had a 3rd visitor on Monday morning, (Chrissy and Dan made the road trip down and we were still at the

hotel) and it was Evan, my nephew and I was told by the therapist, Bruce, that Michael really related to him---

totally!  I SO appreciate him for visiting, as it's quite a drive for him, and he is a full-time student at UC San Diego

and works 2 jobs and I know his freetime is precious little.  Evan is 5 years younger than Michael and I am hearing

he was pretty rough on his little cousin when they were younger, but I also recall an ugly black rubber hairy Halloween

mask that Michael used to taunt Evan with...and everytime I retell the story to Michael, he gives me his devilish grin!!!! 

He kept it in his closet in his room and would offer to let Evan play with his Legos if he went and got them out of there 

and Evan would go in and Michael would either have the mask fall on him or be there staring him in the face.  Then he

would just cackle when Evan would shriek!  Anyway, it was great to have Evan and Chrissy and Dan all in the same day! 

Chrissy and Dan, Thank you for your devotion to Michael and making the huge effort to drive all the way down and

back.......Michael and I love you for it!!!

 

Thanks to all who call, write and visit, it is so important to Michael's recovery.  Keep those positive thoughts coming!

 

Love,

Theresa and Michael

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: A Recent Update

Date: 5/11/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everyone…

 

Got home late last night from Silverado, drove down to spend Mother’s Day weekend with my Mom and visit with

Michael. He was up in his chair when I got there and lookin’ good. He had a button on his trache, meaning it was

plugged off so he had to breath thru his nose and mouth and swallow correctly. He was handling it well. As I

mentioned in my previous update, they had been leaving his cuff down, days at a time and were going to change

it to one without a cuff. They had already changed it out to a cuffless one several days before my visit and he’d

been doing pretty well with it. I’m not sure how many more days he has to handle the cuffless trache, but I’ll let

you know when I get any news. He’s also been getting little bites of different easy to swallow foods and has been

doing well with those during therapy. All this means he will be getting the trache out COMPLETELY pretty soon!

 

I apologize for the lack of updates these last couple of weeks. But I am the only one doing them these days since

Michael’s moved to S Cali, Mom’s been too busy. So it all depends on when I get news and when I get down there

to see him. Mom went home for a week so other than hearing that he was doing fine, I didn’t have much new info

to post. Michael has still not made a full functional recovery from the surgery, and unfortunately to us it feels like

a pretty big set back. He’s pretty close to being where he was 6 months ago. We don’t know if it’s from the anesthesia

or if he just chose to shut down a little. Either way, he’s being less responsive and willing to do things, and he’s not

communicating as much as he was before the surgery. He seems to understand everything we say to him, but he’s just

not initiating communication or trying as hard to do the things we ask of him like he was. It’s a little discouraging, but

we are hanging in there. Maybe all of a sudden something will click and he will be back to where he was. If not, we go

thru all the motions again and work with him to get him back where he was, and then keep on going.

 

Don’t get me wrong, he’s still doing some great things and making steps of progress, just not as much as he was doing

before the surgery, or with the intensity that was there.  Getting his trache changed out to the cuffless one and working

on getting it out completely is really great progress to us tho, so that is really inspiring to us. I whispered to him to tell

Mom Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday and he turned his head towards her and he mouthed the words. He’s not using his

voice very loud yet, but he was definitely telling her Happy Mother’s Day. And of course he gave her kisses on the cheek

when she hugged him. He was also smiling a lot at some funny stories we were telling him. We were smiling while we were

telling him the stories, but he was laughing a little bit at the really funny parts and we knew he was following what we were

saying. So a lot of things that he was doing before the surgery are still happening, just at a slower pace and only on a hit and

miss basis sometimes. Hopefully that improves soon. I can still very vividly picture that really good visit I had with him when

I was doing the flash cards with him and he kept telling me he wanted to do more… and I’d really like to see him get back to

that point soon.

 

He has a Dr’s appointment middle of this month to get his casts off, get fitted for some braces for his feet and ankles,

then new casts put on. He’ll wear the new casts a couple more weeks, but in the mean time he can start baring weight on

his legs, which means they will start standing him up, working on balance and eventually taking steps, and you all know what

that means… he’ll get to start working on WALKING!

 

Oh and the day before I got there they moved him to different room, he has more room and more sunlight and a lot more

privacy. He also has a new phone number now, so those of you who’d like to give him or my Mom a call, email me…

CHLNGHER@msn.com

 

I just wanted to tell everyone that has sent Michael emails Thanks! We have started a scrap book for him.

 

That’s all for this update, I’ll post another one as soon as I have more info

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: News on Michael

Date: 4/24/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi guys


Sorry for the lack of updates, I haven’t had any news to report until now tho. Mom has been too busy getting

everything on track for Michael to call and fill me in with any details. But I talked to my Mom finally a

little while ago. She told me that Michael’s adjusted well to the new place, new staff and new routine. They

have deflated his trache cuff and left it down for quite a few days now, even over night and he has not

aspirated any.  Which is really good. They even gave him some vanilla custard and some root beer and so

far so good, he coughed a little bit, but he did not get any in his lungs. They are going to do some electro

stimulation therapy on his face that will help his swallowing, I guess one side of his throat is a little bit

lazy and that’s why he coughs a little when he swallows liquids, some ends up “going down the wrong pipe”.

The electro stim should help wake the lazy muscles in his throat up and get them working correctly so all

of his swallows are good and nothing gets in his lungs anymore. They plan on changing out the trache pretty

soon to one that does not have a cuff at all, and the next step from there is to remove the trache completely.

So we are looking at maybe just a couple of weeks longer until he’s finally done with that horrible trache. It

may take a couple of weeks after the removal for him to be able to be eating by mouth, but he will be able to

work on talking more with his speech therapists. And I am sure that guy has PLENTY to say after all this time,

so they better be ready! They also changed his medications, so he’s more alert during the day and sleeping

better at night and Mom makes sure he gets out for plenty of sunshine so his internal clock  gets back on track.

I hear he got a little bit of a sunburn on his face and cheeks, but I’m sure he will tan in a day or so. He needed

a little color anyway. He’s only been there a week and there’s good stuff happening already!

 

Anyway, that’s all for now

‘Til next time…

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Care Meridian Number

Date: 4/20/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Just wanted to let everyone know the number to Care Meridian714-649-0533

Michael’s phone is connected now too, email me for his phone number if you’d like to give him and/or my

Mom a call… CHLNGHER@msn.com . I strongly advise that you call ahead if you plan on going for a visit.

This Care Meridian is tucked away and really hard to find unless you get very detailed directions.

 

Michael had some physical therapy yesterday and Mom said it went really well. They are going to break up

his sessions into several parts throughout his day for him so he gets the most out of the therapy. He was in

his wheelchair when I got there and was working on moving it forward. He was able to reach down, release

the brake and then get his hand on the wheel and knew how to use his hand correctly to get himself moving.

He was also smiling and grinning while my Mom held the phone to his ear and he listened to his buddy Travis

talking. He’s been doing some right leg lifts with his heavy casts on, and some reps with the hand weight so

he’s building up muscle strength as well. So just like I mentioned in the last update, he’s getting back to where

he was before the surgery. I’ll keep you posted on his progress. I’ll be going back down there as soon as I can,

I can’t wait to see the improvements he makes in that much time.

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: The Move to Silverado’s Care Meridian

Date: 4/18/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hello Everybody…

 

Just wanted to let everyone know that Michael is all settled in at the Care Meridian in Silverado. The trip

went great, Michael kicked back on one of the beds in the motorhome, propped up with some comfy pillows

sleeping and listening to his walkman almost the whole trip. He did great, stayed relaxed and comfortable

the entire trip. Mom took care of his food and meds just like a nurse would have. Plus she did range of

motion and changed his position for him whenever we stopped so he stayed comfortable. He seemed to

enjoy being out and about and the trip down was actually kind of fun. It took a lot longer than we’d hoped,

and we had a difficult time finding the Care Meridian, but for all the things that could have gone wrong, it

all turned out fine. It will be a few days until Michael gets a phone in his room, but I’ll keep you guys up to

date on that.  We got his room all decorated for him today and he was sleeping when we checked on him

after we went out to eat tonight. He’s going to get his first session of physical therapy in the morning, and

from then on he will be getting busy on what he’s there for… furthering his recovery.

 

Oh by the way… I also wanted to let everyone know Michael’s doing pretty good as far as getting over the

after effects of his anesthesia. Not 100% over it yet, but he’s definitely getting there.

 

If any of you would like to send Michael anything, the new address is:

 

Care Meridian

Attn: Michael Stanton

17722 Santiago Canyon Road   <~~~~~ As Of 4/17/04

Silverado, Ca. 92676-9764

 

I’ll get the phone number for Care Meridian posted soon, I forgot to get it from my Mom…

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Update on Michael… and the Move

Date: 4/13/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hi Everybody…

 

It’s been a few days since there’s been any news on Michael’s progress… So I figured I’d better at least post

a quickie and let ya know how he’s doing…

 

He’s still ”burning off” the after effects of the anesthesia. Talk about a hangover from hell huh? His Dr told

my Mom that battling the pneumonia probably slowed him down some, just like I’d figured. But every day he’s

getting a little better, a little more energetic and responsive. Sometimes it seems like he’s choosing what he

wants to respond to or doesn’t want to respond to tho. He went thru a stubborn phase once or twice before in

his recovery, so he might be going thru that phase again, possibly because he doesn’t feel that great right now,

we aren’t sure. Those of you who know Michael pretty well probably already know he has a stubborn streak in

him, haha. He does great with some of his therapists, and not so great with others. So we aren’t sure if he’s

running out of energy, or just does not want to do his therapies. Anyway, like I said, he’s improving, he’s just

taking his time getting back to where he was. He needs to get his butt in gear soon tho.

 

Sometime this weekend we will be moving Michael down to another Care Meridian facility, in Southern California.

It’s in a city called Silverado, inland a ways from Laguna Beach. I mentioned in one of my updates before his

surgery that they have a really great Rehab program geared towards getting slow recovering TBI patients ready

for the next level of Rehab, which in Michael’s case is Acute Rehab. And right now Michael needs this program…

as he has not met the criteria set by his insurance company to move to the next level of care… and they will no

longer pay for his Sub-Acute Rehab care this year, meaning we have to once again pay out of pocket for his care

until he IS ready for the Acute Rehab, and that is the only care that his insurance WILL pay for at this point.  

And since Michael is not ready, our only options are to take him down to Southern California for this program or

move him to a convalescent hospital or a nursing home where he’d get less care and wayyyyy less rehab therapy.

And we do not want Michael in that kind of care situation, who would?? We want him somewhere he will make

progress in his recovery.

 

The other Care Meridian is giving us a pretty good deal for the level of care he will be getting and all the Rehab

therapies that are included in the program, and like I said, Michael NEEDS this program to get him further along

in his recovery. He will not make any progress in a convalescent hospital or nursing home, and the risk of him

backsliding is not worth it to us. The move down there will not be fun for any of us, but it is what Michael needs,

so the move has to be made. He may not need to stay down there long,  possible just a few weeks, we aren’t sure,

but worst case scenario it is possible he could be there for 60–90 days. We will have to see how he does once he

gets to work in the program. I will post the address and the phone number to the new facility once he’s down there

and settled in. It may be a week or so before he gets his own phone in his room, but I’ll let you know as soon as he

does so that those of you in the past who have called, can call and leave messages for him again.

 

If anyone has some good ideas for some large scale fund raising, get in touch with me about it. We will have to get

something going soon, because the funds in Michael’s donation account are unfortunately drained. We had no idea a

year ago that we’d be facing such enormous expenses, or that his insurance could pick and choose what they will and

won’t pay for in his recovery care. Nor were we aware that there were time limits on how long he can take to recover

and that he’d have to meet THEIR recovery criteria or they would stop paying for his care. So hopefully we can do

some serious fundraising for Michael somehow, soon…

 

I know since he will be farther away now it will be harder for those of you who have visited Michael to come see him

now. But hopefully some of you can make it down to see him while he’s there. He does have a couple friends that are

down there in that area, so hopefully they can go rattle his cage every now and then. I’ll be making the trip down quite

a bit. It may be a few days before I post any news, but I will let you guys know how the move goes and that he’s down

there and settled in.

 

Please keep Michael in your thoughts, and keep hoping for quick progress.

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Saturday’s Visit

Date: 4/10/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Hello Everybody… Happy Easter!

 

My day down in Fairfax turned out to be a pretty good one, Michael is doing so much better than he was

last Saturday when I saw him at UCSF! Mom said he had a good therapy day on Friday too, did lots of

what the therapists needed to see from him, so he’s slowly but surely getting back to where he was in

his progress before the surgery. It’s such a bummer it’s taking so long, but we can’t complain too much,

he IS making progress. The recovery lag is not a permanent set back, even tho after seeing him doing

so well the weekend before the surgery it sure feels like one these past few days. We were sooooo much

enjoying the progress he’s made lately, and to me it just did not feel like we got to spend enough time

with him at that level of recovery. Interacting with Michael like we had been was fun and encouraging,

for both Michael and for us and it seemed the better he did the harder he tried. Now we just have to

work back up to it. We all know Michael can do it, but it kind of took the wind out of all our sails, we

weren’t really expecting this to drag out so long and take so much out of him. He’s hanging in there tho.

 

I know I sound like a broken record over the last week continuously saying we should have Michael back

to baseline in a few more days, and I do apologize for that, but honestly, we just don’t know how long it

could take. The Drs, nurses and neurologists just do not have a pinpointed answer as far as how soon or

how long it could be. That anesthesia is nasty stuff even for a completely healthy person, and it’s even

worse for brain injury patients. It fuzzies up everything that’s been healing and it takes a while for it

all to work it’s way out of his system. You also have to remember the poor guy is battling a little bit of

Pneumonia at the same time and I imagine he’s feeling pretty blah. I am staying positive and hopeful

that it still could just take a few more days to get him back on track tho.

 

I have to say that I saw him doing some really encouraging stuff today tho! Here’s a list: He gave Mom

several kisses on the cheek, he caught and tossed the ball a few times, smiled at the silly story about his

Tomato Soup couch he had back in college, mouthed a few words when Mom asked him a few questions, he

sang some of the lyrics to his favorite Tom Petty song, read some words from the flashcards, did some

thumb wrestling with me, he looked at his MichaelStanton.Org website, gave me his approval of course and

recognized his motocross picture at the beginning of the updates, I also showed him a few more of his

motocross pictures and he pointed at the laptop screen when he saw them, letting us know he knew that they

were HIS pictures and he focused on them really well. I was relieved to see him doing so much, even if it is

stuff he’s already been thru… he’s finally starting to do it all again… whew!!

 

Due to the slow recovery time, we are not sure at this point where he will continue his Rehab therapy. He

gets evaluated on Monday some time, then we will take it from there. I will keep everyone posted tho. In the

meantime, if anyone plans to visit, be sure to get in touch with my Mom, just in case for some reason I don’t

get any recent changes posted soon enough.

 

So please keep Michael in your thoughts as much as possible. We definitely need some extra healing and positive

thoughts headed his way right now you guys!

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

 

Also... I am starting a scrap book of all the emails I print out to read to him that everyone sends to him… so come on

you guys, keep his inbox FULL!! His email address is listed on each page of this site!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Getting closer to baseline

Date: 4/9/2004

From: Chrissy

 

Not a whole lot of improvement on Michael’s anesthesia recovery still. But he is still improving,

just way slower than we ever expected. I really wish we would have been warned about the slow

recovery time for TBI patients, it’s hard adjusting basically back to where Michael was in his

recovery several months ago. Hopefully soon the rest of the anesthesia will get out of his body

and he will be back smiling, laughing, talking and showing us big steps of progress again. I talked

to my Aunt Kim yesterday on the phone and she told me Michael was responding to conversation

a little better… raising his eyebrows and changing facial expressions more like he used to when

we talked to him and told him stories, so she knew he was hearing and understanding what she

was saying as well as remembering and connecting with the things  she was talking to him about.

She also said that he gave her a (weak) high-five finally. He’d been giving those quite a bit before

the surgery, especially with as much progress as he was having. He’s also been moving his right side

around a lot like before too, so these are all good signs that his poor foggy brain is slowing coming

out of the affects of all that anesthesia and he’s closer to getting “back to baseline”.

 

I’ll write more about how he’s doing after my visit with him this weekend.

 

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter

Bye for now,

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Subject: Doing better

Date: 4/6/2004

From: Chrissy

 

I just talked to my Mom over instant messenger a while ago. Michael is off pain meds except for Tylenol today.

He can have something stronger if he needs it, but his heart rate is staying normal and he’s not indicating that

he has any pain. He coughed quite a bit last night so they gave him a breathing treatment and it’s loosening up

the junk in his chest. He’s on some antibiotics still, but not the IV antibiotics any more. Mom says he’s moving

his right side more today and starting to do things on command a little better, but he’s still really zoned out

from the after effects of the anesthesia. It is taking longer than we expected to get completely out of his

system. They had him up in his chair for a while today, it’s good for his lungs to have some pressure on them.

Since his surgery recovery progress has been so slow we’ll give it a couple days and I’ll post another update and

let you know how he’s doing. Hopefully now with the Care Meridian staff “fussing over him” they will have him

back to where he was before the surgery soon.

 

Bye for now

~Chrissy~

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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