Aug 02 2010

3 YEARS!!

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. I’ve been reviewing the initial injury period, videos of Dann learning to walk, his first anniversary, then the second, and now…. here we are, 3 years out. Dann, at this moment is out for his daily bike ride. He has been riding his bike every day for the past 4 weeks and only twice has he called home to find out how to get back home. We just got back from a weekend of camping with some friends and Dann spent sooo much time on the lake on his stand up paddle board, he had a blast. The thing he liked more than paddling was that he got all of our friends (kids and adults) hooked on it too! He spends a lot of time taking care of the 1+ acre of lawn and garden that we now own - a blessing in disguise, it makes him feel very productive. He will be leaving this Thursday to spend 3 weeks with family in Malibu, and he’s looking forward to surfing!!

We’ve been on such an amazing journey! Dann still doesn’t like to hear about what happened to him or the first year of recovery, but someday I know he’s going to be able to look back and see God’s amazing grace in his life. I have printed off every entry from this website (and all comments!) and I hope that someday Dann will sit and read through this and feel everyone’s love for him. For myself, I just want to say thanks, again, for all the support over the past 3 years, the encouragement, the compassion, the prayers, etc. I know I will always cherish this book, and know that it will always bring me comfort that God gave me so many friends and loved ones to help us through this trial with such love. This will be my last post, and it is very bittersweet for me. On the one hand, Dann has come soooo far in his recovery there’s just not much to update about -WOOHOO!!!!. On the other hand, I feel like I’m cutting part of me off and losing a dear friend - BOOHOO!!!. Thank you, once again, feels so inadequate, but I can’t think of anything more. Thank you dear friends and family for your love and support. Please feel free to post any well wishes to Dann. I will leave this website up for several more months and I will include all final posts in my ‘book’ that I am keeping for Dann.

Grace and peace from our Father in heaven to you all.

Colleen

18 responses so far

Jun 01 2010

And then he said…

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

Life continues to progress, Dann continues to inch forward in his recovery, and I’m feeling more and more ‘normal’ every day. I see Dann doing things that he hasn’t done since before the accident ( taking notes in church, naming planes as they fly overhead, changing the oil in our RV, etc) and I find myself comparing life now to what life was like 2 years ago, night and day difference! Dann’s speech has come so far, able to say multiple sentences without error and ‘finding’ the right words more and more. The rage that we were dealing with at the beginning of the year has lessened to a more manageable ‘anger’ issue, and we are all learning how best to respond to him to help him have better control. His left knee continues to bother him (still walks with a noticeable limp) but he refuses to see anymore doctors for it, and I have decided there are more important things to battle over. I think that Dann possibly had another small seizure a few days ago. For the last 3 or 4 days he has been complaining of being really tired and sleeping a lot, having some real challenges with speech again, confused, a little more agitated than normal, complaining that his head feels funny. Today he seemed to be much better, so I’m just going to be watching him closely for another 48 hours to make sure he’s coming out of it. Dr. Powell did say that Dann could have break through seizures even while he’s on the medicine. I will be notifying his office tomorrow to let him know of my suspicions, but I don’t think he’ll even ask Dann to come in, only if he gets worse. Makes the reality of never quite being ’safe’ hit home a little harder. We’re trying to encourage Dann to attend a Brain Injury survivors support group, but Dann is not wanting anything to do with it. I really think it would be encouraging to him and that he would be encouraging to others, so if you think of him in your prayers, if you could pray that God would change Dann’s heart on this I think it would really bless him. We are closing escrow on our new home and have a very busy month ahead with school ending and making a big move. It will all be ‘a lot’ for Dann to handle, but he is excited about the new house (although he seems not so excited about all the yard work :p ) Please pray for us all to make it through this next month with grace towards one another.

Blessings
Colleen

4 responses so far

Mar 31 2010

Amazing couple!

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

Well, we were able to have dinner last night with the couple that I mentioned in the previous post. They came over to our house and it was so great for all of us (including Ian and Jessie)to sit around the table listening, asking questions, marveling at God’s goodness. It was jaw dropping how similar Dann and Art were in their personalities and lives! Art’s brain injury was different than Dann’s and his recovery has been a different journey than Dann’s, but wow!!! was he encouraging, compassionate, helpful, etc. to Dann!! Dann was at first very concerned that Art was there to make him take meds, but once Art assured him that he was not and we got to talking, Dann settled in and was having such a great time with both of them. Art called me this morning with some thoughts, ideas, and websites that he came up with after thinking about our conversations last night, truly a wonderful, caring man. Dann and I had a good giggle after they left last night about how much anxiety he had wasted about meeting Art and his wife. I was glad to see that Dann could be humble and laugh at himself, a good sign. How good God is!!!

Blessings
Colleen

4 responses so far

Mar 27 2010

Dann revisited

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

One of the distinctives of Dann’s personality was his enthusiasm and compassion to help others no matter where, when, or how. The other day I saw this part of his personality come shining through. We were standing in line at the grocery store behind an elderly woman who was in one of those motorized shopping chairs. She had a few items still in her basket and Dann leaned over her and offered to put the items up on the counter. The lady, Miss Ellie, was so grateful and she and Dann just started up the most wonderful conversation, all the while, Dann offering to do everything for her. He was blessing her, she was blessing him, it was a holy moment :). We saw Miss Ellie in the parking lot again and she asked us if we could give her a ride to her house a couple of blocks away (it was raining) and Dann was out the car like a shot helping her into the car, taking care of her bags, and making sure she was buckled in. It was all so precious!

Another blessing in our lives - a chance encounter with a friend (at the same grocery store - hmmm, think I need to shop there more often) and as I talked with her, she started telling me of another family at Grace’s school who have survived brain injury. The husband had a snow mobile accident 6 years ago and has had remarkable progress since then, to the point of going back to work AND getting his private pilot’s license! I just called them up today and spoke with him for about 45 minutes. It was so amazing talking with someone who has been through all that Dann is/has been going through. They are going to call me back so we can set up some time to get together and talk some more. I really think this would be so helpful for Dann. Please pray for this meeting, Dann is already obsessing about how this guy is going to make him take medicine and he’s really having a hard time staying calm. I know that once he meets this man, he will be able to get past the medicine obsession and enjoy hearing his story and asking questions. I just have to convince him this has nothing to do with meds - not easy. I feel so hungry to talk with this guys wife, to find out how she has coped and to hear her story too.

I just have to praise God for Ian and Jessie living with us. Ian has an amazing ability to talk to Dann when he’s out of control with emotions and has come to my rescue many times in the past few weeks. Jessie is always so willing to help me out with the kids, and even Dann sometimes. I just don’t know how I would have survived the last 5 months without them!!!

To God be the glory
Colleen

2 responses so far

Mar 16 2010

Doctors supreme

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

So we all have spring fever pretty bad. Today Grace decided she wanted to break out her bike and take a spin around the property. Dann followed her out and after inspecting Grace’s bike proclaimed that she needed her chain greased and her seat raised up a little. It was amazing to watch Dann go into automatic pilot looking for a rag to clean the chain, getting excited about the excellent lubricant that I bought for him, and setting to work. When he got to the seat part, he realized that he needed an allen wrench, but he grabbed a regular wrench. I said I’d get it for him and just grabbed one of the MANY allen sets that he has and handed it to him. He took one look at it and said, ‘No, this one is for electrical, see it says 1/4, 1/2, 3/4,etc. It needs to say 1,2,3,4′ …..Just like that, that clear and perfectly communicated. Let’s hear it — WOOHOO!!!!!!! Some things are just so hardwired in his brain, it will all just come back when he needs it.

Another thing to praise God for, Dann saw Dr. Schmauch today (psychiatrist) and had a really great talk with him, so relaxed and obviously enjoyed talking to him about all his progress. He only had a couple of anxious moments when he talked about meds, but Dr. S just smoothed the way so effortlessly! Dr. S. did get Dann to agree to take some St. Johns Wort to help stabilize his moods, Dann was suspicious but we were able to convince him that it’s just an herbal supplement. Dr. S. was practically doing a jig because of how much better Dann was today compared to the last visit. I just couldn’t stop praising God for all the encouragement with Dann’s progress!

Dancing
Colleen

7 responses so far

Mar 14 2010

WEEEEEEEE

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster this week, most of it good, praise God. When Dann came home from So. Cal. he was really obsessing about the meds and having a hard time to be at peace with it all. Then Thurs, I’m not sure what happened, but Dann just sort of settled in and we had a great day! Friday, we had a great workout at the gym then we headed over to Dr. Powell’s for Dann’s visit. I didn’t tell him about the appointment until we were en route, saved a lot of anxiety! He did really well about it all though. He became anxious about being at the doctor’s but didn’t get angry at all. Our dear friend, Ken, met us at the waiting room and just chatted with Dann about his vacation and really helped Dann to stay calm. In with Dr. P, Dann was pretty anxious and tearful, but Dr. P. assured him he was fine and aside from having to reaffirm his feelings that Dann was doing great, was really encouraging to Dann. Dann left the appointment singing Dr. P’s praises and he was really calm throughout the rest of the day. Saturday, not so great. Dann had a caffeinated energy bar and a coke for lunch. Then he had a beer at dinner that night at a friends house, and I think it was all way too much, because he really fell apart and it was really difficult to get him to calm down. We got him home and he went straight to bed. He woke up this am in a much better frame of mind and has had a relatively peaceful day. So all in all, I think I’m starting to figure out definite triggers for unstable behavior and it’s making it a little easier to be ahead of Dann and help to get Dann focused in ‘better’ directions. At times it all feels utterly exhausting and other times, exhilerating! So much to learn for all of us. Thanks for all the prayers, I know I have been carried by them a great deal lately!!! Thank you Lord!

Blessings
Colleen

3 responses so far

Mar 07 2010

In God we trust

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

This has been probably the most challenging phase of Dann’s recovery yet. Dann continues to obsess over the medication and doctors, even paranoia according to Dr. Schmauch. On the other hand, he is making incredible progress with speech and memory! He has been down in So. Cal. with family and friends for the past 9 days, and I have had amazing conversations with him on the phone and glowing reports from his mom and sister and brothers. At the same time, it is difficult to get through a single conversation with him without having to help him calm down and keep his mind off the meds and focused on other conversation. He is still extremely emotional, but praise God! he hasn’t had anymore rage. I pick him up at the airport tomorrow, and it will be good to have him home. His mom says his knee has recovered almost completely, so I am hoping to go for some easy bike rides this week with him, the weather has been spectacular!! I would like to ask for prayer for this Friday. Dann has an appointment with Dr. Powell (neurologist) and I know he is going to resist going. I plan to have a couple of friends along to help him stay calm. Dann needs prayer for peace, understanding, acceptance, trust in God, doctors, and me. I need prayer for patience, compassion, affection, trust in all the ways that God IS working. It’s so strange to see/hear so much of the old Dann and then to see him struggle so much with his obsession and to know that I can’t break into ‘that’ place to help him. It’s clearly another part of the recovery that we can only look to God and cry out for mercy and trust in His grace, not just for Dann but for myself as well. Please pray.

On my knees
Colleen

6 responses so far

Feb 09 2010

Mail call!!!!

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

Hi everyone! Well Dann is officially back up to therapeutic level on the Lamictyl - WOOHOO!!! He’s doing pretty good, too. I just increased the dose yesterday and am already seeing him rubbing his chest, so please pray that he will adjust to the new level quickly without too much discomfort. I have noticed that his speech has seemed to clarify again since he’s been up on the Lamictyl. Want to try to get back with his speech therapist back east and make some headway there. He has started a new compulsive behavior, walking at night. He will walk the length of our house, back and forth and back and forth, until about 10pm. I have had to explain to him several times that he can’t walk that late at night because it creates a lot of noise for Ian/Jessie/Ethan downstairs. Soooooo, last night he decided he wanted to go for a walk - OUTSIDE - at 9pm. Understand, we now live out in the country….with lots of coyotes all around…scary. I told Dann that it would make me feel more comfortable if he DIDN’T go walking at night, he agreed but wasn’t real happy about it. Anyway, I hope this new little ‘thing’ doesn’t last too long.

I did set Dann up with a new email: dannpshubin@gmail.com. Anyone is welcome to send Dann an email. Please try to keep your message to 2-3 sentences, just so that it’s easier for Dann to respond. He is a GREAT reader these days, but still ‘learning’ to use the computer, and it’s kind of frustrating for him. So, short and sweet will make it easier for Dann. You could also note in your message if you’re just saying ‘hi’ and he doesn’t need to respond or if you’d like for him to write you back. And please be patient with his responses, they may take a while to get back to you.

Blessings
Colleen

5 responses so far

Feb 03 2010

Round 2

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

Well, the last visit with Dr. Schmauch was pretty good. Dr. S. just talked some with Dann. He did try to see how Dann would respond to the suggestion of meds and he got a very emotional response from Dann. He and I talked afterwards and he decided that we would wait til Dann was at a full theraputic dose of the Lamictyl before we attempt any other therapies. Dann is currently at 250mg and will increase to the 300 mg dose next Thursday. He really struggles with each increase. He complains that his chest hurts and he seems so uncomfortable for about 4-5 days after the increased dose. Then it just starts to fade away and he’s better. I’ll be glad when we don’t have to increase anymore and can just stabilize. He’s still struggling with his injured knee - doing physical therapy and lots of stretching, exercising, and rubbing. Gotta get this man something to occupy his thoughts!

Blessings
Colleen

One response so far

Jan 25 2010

snow swimming

Published by colleenshubin under -Colleen's Update-

Two things happened today that were really wonderful to witness. First, we had a beautiful snowfall that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life. The snowflakes were the size of silver dollars - REALLY beautiful - and there was no wind so they were just drifting down like daisies falling from the sky. I wanted to stay in that moment for the rest of my life - truly magical! The other thing was that we got ready to go to the gym this morning to work out and I told Dann that I was going to do a swim workout and asked him if he wanted to swim with me —- he said yes!!!! He got into that pool and took off swimming as if he’s been swimming for the last 2 1/2 years. Really strong strokes and he kept doing lap after lap. I don’t know if you remember, he has had quite an aversion to being IN the water for the last year and a half almost. I haven’t been able to get him to go in and swim for so long, it was amazing how comfortable and confident he was today. Obviously he is not having issues with water anymore. It was great to see him gliding through the water. He also walked a bunch of laps which was good for his knee. All in all, a sweet day.

Blessings
Colleen

p.s. we are going to see Dr. Schmauch again on Wed. and would love some extra prayer for peace and no anxiety before we go. I don’t plan on telling him until Wed. morning just so he doesn’t anguish over it for days. Funny that he will remember everyday that he has a doctor’s appt coming up, but then can’t remember where we keep the water glasses……

2 responses so far

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