Past Updates On Michael 1...

Past Updates On Michael 1...


Subject: Christmas Party with Michael

Date: 12/24/2003

From: The Van Notes


Hello and Happy Holidays,

Hope all have a safe and prosperous New Year! On Friday Dec.19th my family and I made a trip down to Fairfax

for a long overdue visit with Michael. When we arrived Michael was taking an afternoon nap listening to Blues Traveler.

He had such a relaxed peaceful smile going. We tried to let him rest but, Ardyn(4) wouldn't have any of that as she

started to play with his toy R.C. replica and make moto sounds. Michael woke up and we noticed he looked from side

to side to see who was there! He was very alert and enjoyed hearing and watching Ardyn dance and play. We visited

until Hans his fitness guru came in and started therapy. Michael was really working out hard! Hans said earlier that week

he asked Michael if he wanted Hans to stop during a really tough stretch and he said NO. That is Michael he is tough

and wants to do what it takes to get back in top form. After his workout it was time to get ready for the Christmas party.

They had carolers and even Santa made a visit. It was really nice and everybody at the home was in the spirit. Michael is

in a great place and Theresa is really making a huge difference in Michaels care. She works with him and has a schedule

for rest, music, massage,etc. Keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming!


The Van Note's


Subject: Michael and being Thankful

Date: 11/29/2003

From: Theresa (Michael's Mom)


Just want everybody to know that Michael spent an awesome day at my

sister Rebecca's house on Thanksgiving day, (from about 11 am til 6:30 ish

pm) and Michael really responded well, able to tolerate the whole day with

the family and about 20 of us (at one point we put shooting earmuffs on him

so he wouldn't get overstimualted and he immediately fell asleep!!! He

smiled at his cousin Evan repeatedly and squeezed his hand in response

(Michael used to thrash on Evan all in "fun" and Evan appreciates the early

training.....he became an Army Ranger!) The visit was perfect, Michael

loved every second of it !! Rebecca's house worked well in every way and we

will do it again soon. I have so much to be thankful for and so many people

in Michael's life to be thankful for......Thank you to all of you.

Especially my daughter Chrissy, my husband, Paul and my sisters and their

families and Michael's family of friends....(you know who you

are!!!).....you mean so much to me and I am grateful. I am so thankful to

everyone who made this Thanksgiving with Michael possible! I am so thankful

that Michael is so motivated and phenomenal in everything he attempts!! I

am so thankful for the visits to Michael that mean so much in his continued

and complete recovery. I love you all and look forward to the big party we

will be having soon to celebrate Michael!!


Always and forever grateful,

Michael's MOM


Subject: Michael's Thanksgiving

Date: 11/28/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everyone, Having Michael with us for Thanksgiving was really wonderful.

My husband, Tim, and my son, Dylan, drove down and picked Michael up at

about 10:00am. When Michael got to the house we all surrounded his

wheelchair and said our hellos. You could definitely tell he knew where he

was. When Michael saw his cousin Evan,(Rebecca's son) he got a huge smile

on his face. We teased him that he was remembering all the bratty things he

used to do to his younger cousin :) He just smiled and smiled and had great

eye contact.


We could tell that Michael was feeling good because in the midst of 20 noisy

family members he was able to fall asleep in the middle of it all. Later

Theresa gave Michael a tiny weeny taste of cherry pie filling. He made

quite a face. We hope that someday very soon he will be eating real foods

again. I can't imagine having no food, by mouth, for 8 months.


Theresa and Paul left to bring Michael back to CareMeridian at about 5:00pm.

We were all so pleased that he did so well being away from CareMeridian for

the whole day. You can bet that we'll be bringing him home more often.


Bye 4 now-

Aunt Kim


Subject: Michael

Date: 11/23/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everyone. Just a very quick update. Yesterday we were able to bring

Michael to my sister Rebecca's house for a day visit! We borrowed a

specially equipped van from a friend and drove him to Petaluma for the day.

It went really well. I can't tell you how great it was to have him there.

We have planned on having him there for Thanksgiving next week and thought

it would be a good idea to do a trial run.


We had Michael out on the back patio getting some fresh air and sunshine

when his Uncle Eric started up a little Honda mini trail and brought it out

back for him to see. Eric was goofing around popping wheelies on it and

Michael got the biggest smile on his face. It was great.


Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers. We have a lot to be

thankful for this Thanksgiving. Our family is very thankful that Michael is

still with us and is making progress in his recovery.


Happy Thanksgiving,

Aunt Kim


Subject: How Michael is doing

Date: 11/17/2003

From: Chrissy


Hi Everyone I figured an update on Michael was way overdue... so this one may get a little long winded... it's ok though,

I am allowed cuz it's about MICHAEL!! :)


Michael is of course still improving daily, some days are better than others but he's definitely still making progress. (OF

course he IS, I mean come on, we are talking about MICHAEL here, and he is no quitter or a slacker!!) He's had a bit

of a cold this week, but it hasn't slowed him down too much, and he seemed to be feeling pretty good while I was there

today. Every visit I have with him it seems he's doing something new that I haven't seen him do before and doing the things

I have seen him already do he's doing them even better, with more strength and determination. He has gained noticeably

more muscle strength and coordination in his legs, arms and hands since my last visit, especially his right side, but I see

improvement in his left too. He's right handed so naturally that will be his more developed side.


On one of my last visits we got to spend some time with him while his trachea tube cuff was deflated so he could try

speaking to us. We asked him simple yes no questions that he answered all correctly and we also held up colored sheets

of paper and he told us all the colors one at a time and his responses were very quick! He was also able to tell us all of

our names :) He wasn't talking really loud, but we could understand him and could see his lips forming the words. It's so

great to see him able to communicate!! I had been getting updates from my Mom about things Michael was saying, but

mannnnn the impact it had on me when I finally was able to witness him speaking more than just one or two words during

one of his "peak windows", I had to fight back the tears let me tell ya! My Mom also told me that during one of his

therapy sessions his speech therapist held up a piece of paper that he had written "THUMBS UP" on and without anyone

telling him what it said Michael gave him a thumbs up, so obviously he can read! Mom also said that Michael has been

practicing in the "loaner" electric wheelchair and has been following instructions to move it left and right when asked to.

He will be tearing the place up real soon I bet!


It really amazes me that Michael's able to do so much already at this point in his recovery and it's such a relief and very

encouraging seeing that so many things and activities are familiar and even automatic to him after such an extensive brain

injury. We had no idea what to expect once he was out from under the coma, and very sadly we could have been facing

the possibility of basically "starting from scratch" and having to teach him everything all over again. It really blows me

away that SO MUCH of Michael is right there, and that there's so much more of him just under the surface and getting

closer every day. It would be very easy for anyone in this situation to just to say "to hell with it all, this is too hard" and

give up, and some days he does give up easily because of fatigue or frustration, but he will tackle it again the next day!

And every time I visit I see him trying and working so hard to do the things he needs to do to further his recovery. He's

is and always has been a competitive being, he pushed himself to extremes both academically and physically before the

injury and he knows he has to push himself again for a while to get back to where he was. All of his effort and

determination shows us Michael is not about to stop pushing himself until he makes a full recovery and we are

encouraging him every bit of the way!!


Today his buddies Jason and Daniel came for a visit too (Thanks you guys!!) and we all had Michael kicking one of the

big therapy balls back to us when we rolled it to him and asked him to kick it with his right or left foot. He was giving it

some pretty good kicks, with more muscle control and strength than I have seen so far. It's great to see that not only has

he regained all of the weight he lost but the muscle mass, strength and coordination is returning too, slowly, but it IS

returning. Michael was kind of grinning as we all cheered him on and encouraged him to give that ball a good kick. It's

always great to watch Michael's expressions when he has guests, especially his really close and familiar friends. I know

it always makes Michael feel good to see his friends, I am sure he gets bored of just family and staff on a daily basis!

Jason and Daniel were great with Michael, joking, talking and hanging out with him, and even watching one of the video

tapes of 2002 races Don and Jenn sent him. (THANKS A TON DON & JEN!! His eyes were glued to the screen and

his expression made it obvious he loved the sights and sounds!!) I read the card Jenn and Don sent Michael...

Jenn wrote in it for Michael to give my Mom a hug… so I thought I’d let everyone know that Michael already

puts his arm around Mom, hugs her,  pats her on the back and also gives her good morning kiss on the cheek

without being asked to!


Here's one more HUGE FANTASTIC bit of info... We finally get to take Michael out for the day from CareMeridian!!

(I mean for something a little more fun and exciting than an eye doctor or dental appointment)... Michael will be spending

Thanksgiving Day with a ton of his family at our Aunt & Uncle's house in Petaluma, which is about 30 minutes from

Fairfax!!! My Aunt Rebecca has managed to make special arrangements for us to use her neighbor's van that is equipped

with a wheelchair lift, so transporting him will be a breeze. And my Mom and Aunts are all well trained in his routine of

daily care. Don't get me wrong, CareMeridian is a GREAT place for him to be recovering and has a wonderful

atmosphere, but it will be so good for Michael to be somewhere else for a few hours, especially on a family holiday.

Who knows, being in a familiar place could be just the trigger he needs for some more huge steps of improvement...

and shhh... but I told him I'd sneak some of my Aunt Rebecca's killer homemade gravy into his stomach tube feeding

formula when no one was watching :) It will be a very special Thanksgiving for us, as we have PLENTY to be soooo

Thankful for this year!


Ok that's about all for this update. Thanks again to EVERYONE for all the healing thoughts & prayers, love, hope, gifts,

cards, letters, calls, tapes, visits and donations over these 239 days of Michael's recovery so far!! Keep it all coming!

My Mom tells Michael about everything you guys have done... she reads his cards to him, lets him see touch and feel his

gifts as she explains who sent them, tells him who's called and lets him hear the messages everyone leaves and also relays

messages to him from everyone she talks to! I also want to say Thank You to everyone that has been so helpful and

supportive to my Mom. She's incredibly strong and has always been hanging in there since day 1, but I know so many

of guys have given her just that little extra bit of strength and hope that SHE needs to help Michael get through another

day! It means a lot to me and I know it will mean a lot to Michael when he's able to fully understand how much everyone



Until my next update...

Take care everyone and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!



Subject: Michael

Date: 11/13/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everybody. Sorry it's been a while since I've updated. Michael is

continuing to make progress. Today while he was working with Mohammed, his

occupational therapist, he was able to follow commands to bang on a drum.

When he was asked to bang it once, he would, he'd bang it twice, three

times, etc. He answered a couple of questions by moving his mouth so we

could read his lips, and he was able to turn his head really well in both



Mohammed also did a lot of range of motion with Michael. Poor Mohammed

feels very badly that he has to cause Michael pain by doing it, but it is

extremely necessary to keep Michael's limbs limber. The last time Mohammed

measured the range in Michael's right arm we were pleasantly surprised that

he has actually gained range. His range of motion in his right arm is now

nearly in the normal range.


Remember, it has been almost 8 months since his accident, and with him not

being able to move on his own he had began to lose a lot of range of motion

in his arms and legs. It's a normal occurrence in coma and brain injury

patients. We're just glad that Michael is able to gain his range back now

that he's having more demands put on him, and since he's starting to control

his own movements.


He looks great and is back up to his pre-accident weight of 172 lbs. He

still has a trache and will probably continue to need one for awhile. He is

still being fed by a feeding tube, too. He seemed to have a little cold

virus last week but is fine now. Michael is, and has been, very healthy

through all of this, thank God.


He is making great cognitive progress and that is so encouraging to all of

us. When Michael is having a period where he is responding really well, (we

call it a "Window"), he is amazing. He responds without hesitation with

hand signals and/or verbal answers. But there are times when he just seems

to be tired and just doesn't feel like responding. I guess you can't blame

him, there are times when all of us just want to be left alone, too. We do

NOT let it discourage us. If he doesn't respond to a command after we ask

him a couple of times, we back off. We know that eventually Michael will be

responding 100% of the time. It's just going to take time.


Please keep Michael in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for him to continue

to find the strength to keep up this hard work.


Bye 4 now,

Aunt Kim


Subject: Michael update

Date: 10/27/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everyone. It's been a while since I've written in and I apologize.

Things are a bit crazy busy these days. Michael is doing really great. I

visited him today for a few hours. He was in this cool electric wheelchair

that moves every which way. The coolest part about it is that he is able to

be in control and drive himself. He is getting the hang of it, too. He has

a little toggle handle that he uses to steer. With a little help, he can

get himself going forward and was able to stop when he was told. He's not

doing it all by himself, yet, but I have no doubt that soon he will be able

to. He'll be four wheelin' that chair before too long!!


Theresa and I put Michael on the padded table and did some cross crawling

with him. Cross crawling is when I move his right arm and Theresa moves his

left leg at the same time to mimic a crawling motion. Then we switch and do

the right leg/left arm combination. This exercise is to help retrain

Michael's brain to use two different areas at the same time. Plus, it helps

keep him limber. We do this exercise when he is laying on his back sitting

in his chair.


Michael mouthed several words to me today. I was able to understand what he

was saying for most of it. When I asked him, he told me my name, my

husband's name and my son's name. He also answered "Yep", to a couple of

questions I asked him. Sometimes he tries to say a whole sentence and

it's very frustrating when I can't read his lips to understand him. I know

he has a lot to say and it's just a matter of time before he will be able to

fully communicate. It's just so exciting to be able to communicate with him

even as limited as it is right now.


For those of you who have not seen Michael in a while, you owe it to

yourselves to come for a visit. Michael is making sure and steady progress

and it is really great to see.


Bye 4 now,

Aunt Kim


Subject: What Happened!?!?!

Date: 10/8/2003

From: Chrissy


Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been a few weeks since the last update, I should have sent one in after my last visit... I kind of got used to

everyone else sending in updates but I guess they have slowed down...


When I walked in this last visit Michael was wide awake laying in his bed and I made eye contact, said hi to him and

started asking his nurse Laura how he was doing. She told Michael to show us the peace sign and he right away held

up the 2 fingered sign :) During the conversation I jokingly asked her if one of the head nurses, Fred, (who is a really

cool and fun guy and always gets GREAT responses out of Michael) had been teaching Michael to flip people off better

and a few seconds later Michael was flippin' the bird and we didn't even ask him too, hehe :)) He also had lightning fast

responses to my Mom asking him to show us 1, 2 and 3 fingers and he even snapped his fingers for us! There was no

confusion or delay at all. We handed him several things and had him toss them to us and of course when we handed him

an inkpen he quickly clicked the end and then moved it around as if he was ready to write with it. My Mom has taught

him how to push the nurse buzzer button too... so he will be driving them nuts with pushing that red button soon haha.


Later on we had him in the gym again and sitting on the big padded table. We helped him sit up and he balanced himself

using his upper body muscles and he even held onto the edge of the table to keep himself from falling over. He was also

correcting himself when he'd start leaning to one side by instinctively putting his hand on the table next to him. That is

called a protective reflex and it is a great step in his recovery, it shows us how well the brain is working. His balance is

improving every time I see him. He is also getting better and better about turning his head to the right when you ask him

to. After that we used one of the huge rubber therapy balls and we had him kicking it to us. His kicks were small

movements, but he was getting the right body parts to move and got the ball to move. He used both feet, one at a time,

which is excellent because it shows us that his left side is starting to catch up to his right side. We had him repeat the

kicking several times. I told him he was in training again and he had to build his muscles back up, so he needs to do

several sets of reps. He seemed more determined and tried a little harder after I said that. It was a good visit and it was

great to see him still progressing as fast as he was last time... but here is some incredible news...


The other night, late on Sunday I think, my Mom was going to bed and her cell phone rang... it was Fred and he told my

Mom she needed to come back in Michael's room. She immediately got worried but he assured her Michael was fine,

but that she needed to get in there right away. He didn't tell her anything else. Mom hurried in there in her PJ's and Fred

told her to watch this... he deflated the trake cuff (it's a balloon that seals around the breathing tube so saliva does not go

down his windpipe) and touched Michael's cheek and asked him if he felt that. Michael SAID "yeah"!!! It was difficult

for him because he had to really try hard to force air through his vocal cords after not using them for so long but he did it,

it was a harsh whisper but it was his voice! After that he was coughing a lot because the saliva was getting past the cuff

down into his wind pipe so the inflated the cuff again, let him settle down some but he kept mouthing some words. They

could not read his lips so they deflated the cuff again and he tried to say something but they could not hear him. So they

told him to try really hard to use his vocal cords and in between coughs he forced out the words "WHAT HAPPENED?"

Mom said he forced it out 3 times and it was again a harsh whisper but very audible. I think she just about fell over. He

not only spoke, he asked a question! She slowly explained it all to him, how the accident happened, that he had a head

injury, that he was going to be ok, that he was doing great and getting better every day, she told him that he wasn't

paralyzed, told him where he was and how long it had been, told him not to worry about his landscaping business

because Jason was taking care of his clients for him. She told him he had nothing to worry about and to just concentrate

on getting better. She said he was wide eyed and listening to her very intently. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???!!!???

Mom said that from now on he gets some time every day with his cuff deflated so that he has a chance to work on using

his voice, he may cough a lot and need to be suctioned but she wants him to have that included in his therapy sessions

from now on. Woo hoo it's only a matter of time, he's coming back more and more every day!!!


I have been meaning to tell everyone that hasn't had a chance to come visit Michael that if you want to make a VHS tape

and send a video of you talking to Michael, saying hello, showing him your bike or jersey, kids, pets, car or whatever just

so he can hear your voices and see you and some familiar stuff, you could send it to CareMeridian and that would be a

really great thing right now. He responds really well to anything motocross related, he likes the jersey and the checkered

flag that a couple of his buddies have given him. He watches motocross videos and TV regularly so I think if he could see

some of his friends being silly, smiling and talking to him he would really enjoy it. I mentioned we'd like some race videos

for him a while back, but I do not know why I didn't think of this "hello video" suggestion sooner. I really hope a bunch of

you guys can send him something! Have a get together and tape it! He's very alert and aware when he's wide awake, so

familiar things really get his attention now. Remember it needs to be on VHS tho...


Oh yah, one more thing... Michael has gained back every bit of weight he lost, he's now back at 170lbs and they even

reduced his colories. He's got some pudge in the middle happening, hehe.


OK that's about it for now, I am going down to visit again this weekend so I will post another update as soon as possible.


'Til next time...




Subject: Update on Michael

Date: 9/16/2003

From: T. Casterson (Michael’s Mom)


You guys, Michael is awesome!! His progress is just phenomenal!!!!!! He actually gave me a kiss on the cheek on

Saturday, (Mom was elated!!) and has done it a few more times, he is responding in so many ways ---too many to

list, but here's a few:

He uses a fist wiggle (kinda sign language) for YES responses to questions, and he taps his fingers and thumb together

for no responses! He is pushing himself up from leaning on his side to balance in a sitting position for longer and longer

periods, even tho it is incredibly difficult . He puts out 110% effort every time. He and Chrissy and I spent a good

15-20 minutes with him using his right hand to bat a balloon around, and to hold it in his hand and toss it to us

repeatedly!! He is reaching for things when you ask him to, he points to stuff, like if his shoulder needs repositioning

or if his nose is itching, he does just SO many things now. He is getting better control of his movements and works so

determinedly!! He takes a cup in his hand and with a little help moves it towards his mouth and he opens his mouth in

anticipation for the cup and for a spoon and toothbrush too!! When asked if he wants to hold an inkpen, he opens his

hand for it, when it's placed in his hand, immediately turns it around to writing position, then after showing him how to          

click the pen only once, he did it and he flips the pen from writing position to clicking position, clicking over and over!!!!

If he drops it on his lap, he feels around searching for it til he finds it and picks it up!!! He turns his motorcycle handgrip

like it's a throttle when you ask him to!!! The list goes on!!! He still needs his periods of rest as he is doing tremendously

hard work. But after a nap he is raring to go again! He has gained back 35 lbs and looks great!! He is such a trooper

and we can see he's got his goals set and is heading straight for them!! But then again, I am not surprised------



Everyone, thank you for all your faith in Michael and for sending him all the positive energy-------it all counts and it's

all good! Like Michael would say, "Right on" and "No worries".


And the grateful feeling lingers on and on.......

Michael's Mom


There is so much good stuff happening now that I could write 3 times a day!!!! I'm anxious for everyone to hear all the

wonderful awesome progress Michael is making


Subject: My latest trip to see Michael

Date: 9/14/2003 

From: Chrissy


Hi! Just wanted to let everyone know Michael has really really really been improving lately and I finally got to witness

some of the great stuff he is doing and how well he does it :))) His Dr says that technically he is not in a coma any more,

or a vegetative state!! YAY!!! :)))


So far he seems to only have a few peak "windows" throughout the day, or peak times when he's really responsive and

aware of what's going on and has the most energy. As you have read in my all of Aunt's updates these are the time he's

really able to interact and respond to commands and shows us he understands things we ask him to do. They are still

working on getting him to answer simple yes and no question with hand signals and sometimes he answers quickly and

sometimes he just doesn't answer, but he's getting better at it, it depends on the question and whether or not he's in one

of his "windows" and has the energy to answer. He doesn't have hardly any muscle strength at all after almost 6 months

of not using them everyday, so can't lift his arms very high on his own yet but he tries really hard. He has more strength

and coordination in his right hand and arm than his left so far but most likely that is because he is right handed. He is

starting to try to do things with the left side too though. We help him lift his arms like when he lifts his hand towards his

face and lets us know he wants to itch his nose or goatee, and when we put a cup in his hand and tell him to take a drink

he will move the cup towards his mouth and he even opens his mouth like he's gonna take a drink!


He can't have fluids or food by mouth yet cuz he has a trachea tube to breath through to moisturize his breathing still and

of course he still a stomached feeding tube too, but at least he is showing us that he knows what to do with things like a

cup, a toothbrush and a hair brush etc. He also opens his mouth when he's asked to so he can have his teeth brushed and

sticks his tongue out on command usually too. He will also taste flavored things his therapists put in his mouth when they

work with him. Some of them he likes, some he doesn't and he lets them know if he wants more. We are not allowed to

let him taste things though, he salivates and because he still has the trachea tube in he has to be suctioned if it is more

than he can swallow, they do not want him to get the fluid in his lungs, which at this point could give him pneumonia or make

him choke still. Unfortunately getting him weaned off the trachea tube is going a little slow, but he did recently have a

smaller trachea tube put in, so that is definitely a huge step in moving towards getting him weaned off of it and he is doing

better and better with managing his saliva.


My Mom and I were in the gym room with him there at CareMeridian yesterday and we were playing with a purple

balloon... Michael was punching it and tossing it at us and when it would come at him he would sometimes try to block

it from getting to his face and then he'd sort of follow it with his arm when it bounced away like he was going after it!!

His vision is a little messed up right now, something neurological is causing him to see double sometimes, so his brain is

shutting one eye off at a time, but his eye Dr is confident his brain will fix that and he will get special glasses soon that

will help it along, so I am sure as his vision gets better his coordination and reflexes to activities like that will also improve.

He would also palm the balloon like a basketball and squeak it with his fingers and was even smiling a little. Mom says he

has started to laugh and smile with her and Paul and the nurses quite a bit. We could definitely tell he was having fun and

knew what the balloon was, his reflexes were precise, like someone who had played with a balloon their whole life, not

someone who was just taught what to do with it :) He also squeaked a rubber bicycle horn several times for us and when

we put an ink pen in his hand this time he moved it around like he was going to write with it and then clicked the end a

bunch right away, quick, precise and determined movements. He can't write anything yet but I am sure he will as soon

his hand and arm strength and coordination improve more. It's all starting to come back to him little by little. I can't even

begin to tell you how encouraging to it was to see all of that after seeing him so often only making involuntary muscle

movements for over 5 months :)


I really want to get the message out there to his all of friends, especially the ones that were around him a lot that this is a

good time to go see him, the familiar voices and faces will be very good for him. He will have a phone in his room soon,      

so you will be able to call soon and say hello to Michael too! He smiles when my Mom holds her cell phone up to his ear

so I can say hello to him :) It would also help him to see familiar pictures and videos and I am sure he'd love to hear about

how the racing season went too! Try calling ahead to CareMeridian or to my Mom if possible and let them you are coming

so you guys can try to work it out to be there at the best time for a visit, not while he is sleepy or when his therapists are

busy with him.


His therapists are just as excited as we are about how well he is responding and at the rate he is improving. They have

been trying all kinds of activities with him to see how much he responds to and what he remembers and understands.

They even tell him to pretend to work the brake, throttle and clutch! Anyone have any lightweight handlebars they can

send him??? He still can't sit up on his own for very long, but they help him and tell him which upper body muscles they

need him to work and to use on his own for working on his balance and they usually get sitting up in the gym on the

physical therapy table every day for short periods... all on his own, not propped up with pillows or in a chair! Mom

told me he's been sitting up balancing himself for about 30 seconds at a time lately. He is doing a lot more things than

I have mentioned here, I could go on and on, but these were the things I got to finally see and KNOW that he was

really doing them on purpose, and that they weren't just involuntary or infrequent movements. He showing us all that

he's so close to getting his feet on the ground, and once he does, look out world!! He has in him every bit of what it'll

take to come back 110% and I know it's only a matter of time and hard work!!


Thought I'd share all the good news with you, it's making me cry thinking about it all, but it's a happy cry :)

Bye for now



Subject: Michael

Date: 8/24/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi everyone. I just got back from and overnight stay in Fairfax. Michael

is doing just great. He is responding more and more every day. Today he

continually lifted his eyebrows on command. He did it every time he was

asked, probably 8 or 9 times! He also responded correctly when asked to

show us 1 finger, then 2 fingers, on his right hand. He did really well.

My sister Rebecca, and my best friend Julie, were there and we were SO

excited! He also is beginning to be able to stick out his tongue when we

ask him too. This is all such great progress. It feels so wonderful to be

able to SEE the progress that he is making.


When I left CareMeridian, Rebecca and Michael were sitting outside enjoying

some fresh air. He was nice and awake and he looked really good. I can't

wait to go down there again. It may not be until the middle of next week,

but as soon as I do I will post any new progress he's made. I'm quite sure

I'll be posting great progress regularly from now on. :)


Bye 4 now,

Aunt Kim


Subject: Saturday night visit

Date: 8/17/2003 Time

From: Jason Van Note


Hello all friends and family,

Wow what a visit! Last night a buddy of Michael's Daniel and my family went down to Fairfax to watch

motos and visit. When we arrived Michael was resting but, not for long, as we all entered the room. I walked

over to his side and he opened his eyes as I spoke. He looked and smiled a huge big smile as I caught him up to

date on all the hometown 411. We sang some old tunes and talked some smack. Michael continued to add his

smiles and big facial expressions to the conversation. We practiced some starts with his grips and high fives too.

Ardyn was more involved with talking to Michael and he really enjoyed her company. When she was on the other

side of the room playing Michael totally was focused on watching her play and seemed very happy to hear and see

her. Hands down this was the best visit we have had with Michael to date. When I was saying goodbye he raised

up his arm to give me one of those high fives we have been practicing. This dude is awesome. He is so strong and

fighting to get back in the game. My wife Betty has said since day one Michael will be totally fine, it will just take

some time. She is my strength and is very positive when we visit. We are all thinking of you buddy!


Positive prayer and thoughts always



Subject: Michael

Date: 8/16/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi everyone.


I just got back from and overnight stay in Fairfax. Michael

is doing just great. He is responding more and more every day. Today he

continually lifted his eyebrows on command. He did it every time he was

asked, probably 8 or 9 times! He also responded correctly when asked to

show us 1 finger, then 2 fingers, on his right hand. He did really well.

My sister Rebecca, and my best friend Julie, were there and we were SO

excited! He also is beginning to be able to stick out his tongue when we

ask him too. This is all such great progress. It feels so wonderful to be

able to SEE the progress that he is making.


When I left CareMeridian, Rebecca and Michael were sitting outside enjoying

some fresh air. He was nice and awake and he looked really good. I can't

wait to go down there again. It may not be until the middle of next week,

but as soon as I do I will post any new progress he's made. I'm quite sure

I'll be posting great progress regularly from now on. :)


Bye 4 now,

Aunt Kim


Subject: Michael

Date: 8/11/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everyone. It's really late and I am exhausted but I just had to write before I go to bed. Pardon any mistakes,

please. I had a GREAT visit with Michael today! I hadn't seen him in a few days and boy did he have some good

stuff to show me. Hans, his physical therapist, and I brought Michael into the gym room and put him in a sitting

position on this big table/padded platform thing. I was sitting behind Michael on the table and Hans was sitting in

a chair in front of him. We both held Michael up in the sitting position for a minute or two, then we told Michael to

stay up by himself and when we let go of him he stayed sitting up all by himself for several seconds. We did that a

few times. We both agreed it was definitely Michael's control and not just really good positioning/balancing. Later,

Hans asked Michael to hand him the yellow bike grip that he has, and slowly, with great effort, he was able to do it!!!

It took every last bit of energy Michael had, but he really did it! It was awesome!! I am SO proud of him.

He has been making much better progress since he's been at CareMeridian. I don't know if it's just the timing, or the

beautiful peacefullness of his surroundings now, but we've seen a lot of improvement lately.


A little later Hans and I put Michael on the tilt table. We had him standing up for about 15 minutes. It was so cute -

3 of the staff members and a patient were sitting across the room at the dining table and when we got Michael standing

up he looked over at all of them and they all waved and said "Hi Michael", "Wow, look at you". All of them,

(myself included) were waving really big and smiling. So Hans told Michael to wave back at us and he definitely picked

his hand up and slightly waved. He did that twice, too! Of course, everybody was hootin' and hollerin', all excited that

he waved, and I think Hans said something like, " Hey Michael, look at all those goofy people waving at you, they're

all looking pretty silly!". And we were, too. :)


After that, Theresa returned from her appointment that she had been at, and her and I put Michael on the bed and gave

him a Chi massage treatment. The Chi machine a really cool machine that goes under your heels/calves and moves and

jiggles around. It's suppose to be very beneficial for circulation and all sorts of other things. I just know that Michaelıs

heart rate went a little lower, which told us that he was relaxed and enjoying it.


I will be going down again on Wednesday. I canıt wait to see if Michael has more progress to show me. He is really

starting to show his true self, now, his strenghth and determination. To me, it seems as if his brain has healed enough for

him to start pulling himself out of this coma. Remember, brain injuries take a VERY long time to heal. Weıve been told

that since day one. It has only been a bit over 4 months since his accident. Thatıs really not a very long time when you

think about how serious his injury was. I canıt wait to see where he is at in 2 more months. We are all very optimistic.

Well of course we are... itıs Michael!


Bye 4 now

Aunt Kim


Subject: Michael

Date: 8/5/2003

From: Kim Perry


Hi Everyone. I went to visit Michael last night. My family and I had been camping so I hadn't seen him in a week.

When I got there around 4:45 pm, his buddy Jason was there. Michael seemed pretty sleepy and it was because

he had had a busy day. He had physical therapy and had been in his wheel chair for a few hours. Plus he had been

standing up on the tilt table, too. Also, he had acupuncture earlier in the day. Man, that WAS a busy day!


Jason left around 6:00, and I let Michael snooze for about an hour. Theresa had left to go do some errands, so I

took that quiet opportunity to sit by Michael and read. After about 30 minutes he woke up and was very bright

eyed. I put on a good CD and went to work doing range of motion exercises on his legs to the music. Michael's

heart rate was low, he seemed very relaxed and I took that to mean he was enjoying our workout/ dance session.

We were able to continue for the whole CD.


A little later they gave Michael a bath. We're so happy that they have a nice bathtub there for their patients.

Michael is always so relaxed while he's getting his bath.


Michael has gained back about 21 lbs. so far. He looks really good.


One of the nurses at CareMeridian told Theresa that a couple of days ago Michael lost the motorcycle hand grip

that we have him hold onto. She said she saw it slip out of his hand and then Michael began feeling around on the

sheet until he found it again. He is making very slow but steady progress. This is what the doctors had told us to

expect. Brain injuries take a very long time to heal. We all have to be very patient.


I'll write again after my next visit, which will probably be on Wednesday. Please keep Michael in your thoughts

and prayers.


Aunt Kim


Subject: Short Update on Michael

Date: 8/4/2003

From: Chrissy


Hi, I just wanted to let everyone know Michael is doing fine but he had to have a quick procedure done to replace

his stomach feeding tube the end of last week. He somehow pulled it out a little bit, enough to pull it through his

stomach wall. It was possibly from him posturing (a common involuntary contraction or retraction of muscles that

brain injury patients often do) and moving his arm over the tube. Luckily my Mom noticed it before it became a

problem. His food was shut off and his Dr was called immediately. He had to go for part of the day without food,

but his Dr came to CareMeridian to replace it with a new and better one that same day. The procedure went fine

and Michael was back on his food shortly after that. And he's still able to have his hydro baths... in the special

Jacuzzi tub they have for the patients there at CareMeridian. Mom says he loves them!


My Mom told me that Michael's been responding to some simple commands from his therapists more frequently

and that he's also gained back another 5 lbs, which is all GREAT!


I'll be going back down for a visit this weekend and I will send another update after that.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and send him all your positive healing energy! He's making small

steps of progress in his recovery every day :)


Bye for now



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