Wednesday, October 31, 2007

China Day 40: Happy Halloween!

I am very sad to be here in China on Halloween! I can't see my cute grandkids in their costumes! Riley was going to be Pocahontas – she had an authentic costume straight from Disney World! I am sure Riley and Gentry both will look adorable... I hope Nate and Heather send me a picture!

We have already had our Halloween festivities! Renee and Diana got some pumpkins and carved them – and we got together and had some snacks and lit them up – they were cute. I have included some snaps from our party... the hospital staff is so good to help everyone get to know everyone else. It really helps when you are so far away from home...

Dan was active in therapy today – not much new going on. I ran to Wal-mart this afternoon and picked up a cushion for my bed.... I couldn't take it anymore (the hard bed)... so I am excited to try it out tonight. The kids will be mad I didn't get it BEFORE they were here. Dan says he is tough and doesn't need extra padding on his bed... the cushion is basically an egg-carton foam pad with a silk cover on it. One of the other families here clued me in on them, and so off to Wally's I went. (by myself) The alley has been under construction, and so Dan can't really go out until it is finished and the taxi's are once again able to come up to the hospital. It is a major pain to try and get them to come through the back way as there are several guards that they have to pass by, and someone who knows the route has to go out to the street, get a taxi and then guide it through the maze. They also have to have a special card so that they can get through all the checkpoints. So – that is why I went by myself today... it is easier to walk out to the street and get a taxi yourself than to go through all that trouble!

Dan's next stem cell treatment is scheduled for early next week – most likely on Tuesday. We are looking forward to it!

Best Wishes to Jason Harrison who will be leaving on his LDS Mission today! I hear Grandma was his companion for the first couple of days -- you can't get better than that, Jason! Good Luck to you and we will be praying for you!

Happy Halloween from the Chinese pumpkins!

Dr. Guan giving the pumpkin some acupuncture?! Elsa is trying to scare you with Seline in the background.

Dan and Dr. Guan - toasting on a Sprite!

Wendy, Diana, Renee and Kotan with the pumpkins!

Heather in front of the main palace at Tiananmen Square...

Heather at Tiananmen Square...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

China Day 39: Planning next steps....

Here is the report from China – Dan is doing well, as feisty as ever. LaNae is stubborn and tenacious. It is amazing these two get along so well! ;-) But they do – and are trying hard to work together to beat this thing!

They will be increasing Dan's physical therapy to two sessions a day – double the fun (too bad we don't have some Doublemint gum!) Today he worked hard on his hamstrings – the back muscles in the upper leg – as well as the side to side movement. He also worked on the treadmill and practiced gait training – balance, weight transfer, etc. The goal would be to ultimately get rid of his AFO (leg brace) and be able to walk with out it, but that will take a lot more improvement in the hamstrings as he has a hypertension problem in his right leg (thus the need for a brace). Problem is – the brace is heavy and he tends to drag his leg around rather than doing a proper heel-toe foot placement. I know... I know.. the details are boring – but as my boss says at work – the devil is in the details... so that is where we must fine tune our efforts!

I am spending time researching the next steps for therapy when we get back from China. We all hope that Dan would just get some new cells and then he would be 'all better'... but the reality is that it will take several months of intense therapy and effort, good nutrition and adequate rest to realize the improvements from the new neural cells. We have to 'tell the body' where to send them and put them to use. So I am looking into all the options and have found some very promising leads. (expensive .. but promising!) I will keep you posted as I learn more....

Check out the VIDEOS – Dan has organized all the videos into a single area. Watch one or all of them... your preference – and you can watch online – you don't have to download the video using the cool Maxcast technology!

Stem Cell China Videos


Here are some pictures Dr. Guan took of Dan during a TCM session (Traditional Chinese Medicine). How would you like acupuncture in your head and your lips! Ouch!
Dan seems to enjoy it – he is still smiling!

Dan and Dr. Guan - note the acupuncture needle in the head!

Check out the needles in the lips!

Dan is still smiling - even with needles in his lips!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

China Days 33-38: Keep on, keepin' on... ... and LaNae is back in China!

I can't believe I haven't updated this in a few days! Sorry about that... I have been focused on getting everything wrapped up at work as well as the other aspects of my life – so that I would be ready to come back to China! I am here now safe and sound and Heather is still here. She left today ... and at the time of this post - she is 'in flight' United Airlines Flight 888.

Here is an update that I started to write, but then Dan's photo site was down and I couldn't get the video urls. (I wrote this on Thursday.... notice the blog post date!)

Hi all! We are excited to know that Dan had his first treatment this week! He said that he is feeling well, and Heather said that his therapists said he was faster and had better ROM (range of motion). I am thinking I need to get over there and check this situation out! I am leaving on Saturday morning early ( 7 am flight – have to be there at 5 am – who booked these flights anyway?! --oh yeah, that was me!--) I am excited to get back and can report on some progress and take some pictures to send your way. I do have a couple of videos to share if you have time to watch...

Stem Cell China Videos
(copy and paste url into new browser window to view)

Here are some other pictures of his recent therapy and some shots of Heather taking a little break.

Here Dan goes - off to his first stem cell treatment!

Dan is back from the stem cell treatment, and is tucked happily back in bed! He had to lie flat on his back for 6 hours!

Dan is trying to eat pizza while laying flat on his back!

Dan working on a new therapy exercies with Lily -- the hoops!

Dan praying for his recovery -- even during therapy!

That famous Dan smile that we all know and love...

Lily working Dan over... come on... come on...

Heather having a little fun going out to eat with some new-found friends.

An interesting pot outside the Buddhist Temple that Heather visited.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

China Day 32: Stem Cell Treatment #1

Dan and Heather called tonight about 6:30 pm – they were just getting Dan ready to go into surgery for the first stem cell treatment! How exciting is that?!! It took less than an hour and he was back in the room, ready for his six hour nap – haha. He has to lay flat on his back – he can't get up to go to the bathroom, or eat or anything... I wish I was there to help – but I will be there for the next one! Heather is doing a great job – she is a good helper. They had Chinese pizza for lunch – and it had hot dogs in the crust. Heather didn't like it – to say the least.

Heather took some pictures of Dan laying on the stretcher before going into surgery, as well as him laying on the bed after his FIRST stem cell treatment. I will get them to upload them to me so I can share them with you tomorrow..

The hospital is now making plans for our final departure from China – they may need to change our plans as they need 4-5 days after the last stem cell treatment before they will let Dan leave. So – I may be giving you a new date for our return flight... they said they will type it up and send it to me, so I will keep you posted.

I love this quote that Christi included in her comment yesterday --
NOTHING is impossible!
'Impossible' is just a big WORD thrown around by small men and women who find it easier to live in the world they've been given rather than exploring the power they have to change it.
Impossible is not a fact, it is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration, IT'S A DARE. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.
Impossible is NOTHING.
I am going to print it out and hang it up on the wall in Dan's room when I go back! Thanks Christi! ...and Koo... the voice of experience... Dan is now living his 'longest six hours in China'! Thanks all for your support - it makes a huge difference to know you are all pulling for us!

Monday, October 22, 2007

China Day 31: First stem cell treatment on Wednesday !! (tomorrow)

I just got off the phone with Heather and Dan and they said that Dan will receive his first stem cell treatment tomorrow! This is exciting news!! So since they are ahead of our time about 14 hours, that means that sometime Tuesday evening US time that Dan will have his first treatment. I would imagine they would start about 9:00 am Beijing time which is 7:00 pm the night before MDT. When I talked to them on the telephone, they said that he would be getting the treatment tomorrow, but then when I got off the phone I realized that they are already living our tomorrow (it is Tuesday am now for them) and so their tomorrow is really Wednesday! What a brain cramp!

Heather is doing great. They met some really nice people at church and Heather made some friends her age (Young Single Adults). They went out to lunch yesterday and then visited a Buddhist temple. It had a statue that was about three stories tall – I guess it is the tallest in the world. Tonight (their Tuesday) she is going to go to institute and then the group might go out to dinner or dancing. So, it sounds like she has some friends to be with while she is there. Also, some of Dan's Nu Skin friends came over and took her shopping and have invited them to their home for dinner. It looks like everyone is being well taken care of in China! :-)

I am at home working hard to get everything taken care of with my job as well as getting organized to go back to China for several weeks. I am sure it will be a busy week – but I am excited to have Dan's treatments officially beginning! Say an extra prayer for Dan the next few days! Thanks all! We so appreciate your support!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

China Days 29-30: The changing of the guard (2) (Oct 20 - 21st)

Wow! Can you believe it has been 30 days in China already?!

Heather has arrived safely, and as I understand has already spent most of her money on shoes at the Pearl Market (the first day in China!). I knew that would be a dangerous place to take her... ;-). Jeff and Kallie met her at the airport, and took her back to the hospital. Then they went out to the Pearl Market and out to dinner with the hospital group to a French restaurant. The hospital is really great because they do plan activities and get-togethers with the patients there. Another way to meet people and help each other out when you are so far away from home. It is great...

Today, Heather went to church with Dan and Jeff and Kallie headed back home on the airplane. I picked them up at about 6:30 pm Utah time and brought them home for a nice American meal. Nathan came over and brought the grandkids (Riley and Gentry). We had a good time, and it is nice to have them back safe and sound. I head out on Saturday and then will stay for the remaining duration of Dan's treatments (November 20th). Watch out when I get back there, Dan (... and you thought Lily was a slave driver!).

I went up to Idaho over the weekend to my home town of Soda Springs. I visited with my Mother, stayed over night, got up this morning, attended church, and then went to see Dan's Grandma Schenk, who is in the rest home there in Soda. She is a wonderful, kind woman – and I wanted to see her one more time before I left for China. I took her up a picture that is one of our favorites – of her giving Dan a hug the first year after his accident. On his shirt is says 'Another Miracle' – we think it is a pretty special picture, and we wanted her to have a copy of it to look at while Dan is in China, so we blew it up and framed it for her. Dan was born on Grandma Schenk's birthday and she is an extra special Grandma to him. Dan is working extra hard to improve – especially for Grandma Schenk! We hope to see her on Thanksgiving when we return from China.

I have uploaded a copy of this picture for you to see---

Friday, October 19, 2007

China Day 28: Great Wall Day

Today Jeff and Kallie went to the Great Wall - they had a fun time. Dan is doing great and is working hard. Tomorrow Heather comes and Sunday Jeff and Kallie come home. I am sure grateful the our children could spend this time with their Dad...


Jeff and I took a trip to the Great Wall today. We knew it would be huge…and it was. What we didn’t know is that there are so many STEEP stairs there. It was hard to climb all the way to the top, but we did it. We had about 2 ½ hours to walk around and spent every one of them going up and down the stairs all over the Great Wall at Juyong Pass. I wish there were a way to tell you exactly how it was…pictures don’t quite do it justice.
It took us about 2 hours to get to the Great Wall, even with a stop at the Jade Gallery on the way. The ride home was long and maybe even miserable. It took us at least 3 hours to get back, since the traffic was so bad. There are 12 million people in Beijing, and I’m pretty sure every one of them was out today between 2:30 and 6. J We felt bad about being gone so long and walked as fast as we could once we got out of the taxi, but when we got here, Dan was just fine in the hospital room. He didn’t seem to be bothered at all that we’d been gone.
That’s about it for now…we have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow. We want to go to the Pearl Market in the morning, then we pick Heather up at the airport in the afternoon. After that we’ll go to Tienanmen Square and the Forbidden City with everyone and maybe hit the Roast Peking Duck for dinner. Hope everyone is well!
Jeff & Kallie

Jeff and Kallie at the Great Wall. This was after we’d already climbed everything behind us in the picture and more.

Funny Chinese to English Translation

Funny Chinese to English Translation

Steep Stairs…but not as steep as some of the others

Funny Chinese to English Translation

The Wall

We really don’t know what they’re trying to say with this.

Jeff on the stairs. Dan’s Physical Therapist keeps trying to get him to lift his knees high and walk. We think the Great Wall would be an excellent place for therapy.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

China Day 27: Dan and his 'caretakers'

Update from Dan the Man...
I feel stronger than when you were here. I think I'm getting stronger with my left arm. I got my right arm to go behind my back while sitting on the bed in front of Dr Leo yesterday but didn't today when the Director came.

Update from the 'wonderful caretakers'!
Today was a pretty uneventful day. We stayed with Dan and went to some of his therapy appointments. We took a little trip to the bank to exchange some of Dan’s money and to get some out of the ATM for ourselves. What we thought would be a quick trip ended up taking an hour. We’re not sure why, since we couldn’t understand what in the world they were talking about, but we were in good company, so we didn’t mind.
There was a going-away party for some people Jeff and I hadn’t met today. They’ll leave on Sunday. We all got together in the little cafĂ© at the front of the hospital for cake and to talk. It’s super fun to get to know the other patients and their families. I wish everyone could meet Marlene and Norman, Renae, Susan and her family and everyone else. While we were there, someone mentioned all the love that’s here. She talked about how it’s hard to be far away from home and familiar things, but how easy it can be when strangers are kind and offer encouragement and love. Everyone helps everyone around here, and even though we’ve only been here for a short time, these people have become an important part of our lives. I hope to be able to keep in touch with them.
Anyway, while Dan was working hard in his acupuncture/massage appointment :-), Jeff and I finally put up the pictures in the room. I didn’t realize how boring the room was until we put them up. It’s good to have everyone here with us now. :-) The nurses love the pictures and take a minute each time they come in to look at them.
Hope everything is well there! Hopefully we’ll have more exciting things to report tomorrow. Good night! ;-)

Dan eating dessert before dinner. We’re awesome caretakers.

All of Dan’s IVs .. yikes

Speech therapy. Haha

Hanging the pictures on the wall (Jeff as Vanna)

More pictures - doesn't it look nice!

The Alley – Kallie and Marlene
(This is the alley that you have to travel down to get to the hospital property. The first time you come, it really makes you wonder where you are going to end up. At the end of the alley is a guard with a locked gate that lets you into the hospital area.)

This is a sign on one of the buildings in the alley-way going toward the hospital. I saw it on the way in and wasn’t sure what we were in for.

Kallie by the sign she saw on the way in.

Monks? We saw these guys at Tiananmen Square

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

China Day 26: The adventure continues...!

Every day in China is an adventure. Yesterday we went out to see Tienenman Square, which was exciting. We met a Chinese couple who spoke English and walked around with them for a while. They took us to the old Beijing, where there are no cars or bikes allowed...only pedestrians. It was pretty cool. They told us about the old buildings and that most of them were built during the Ming Dynasty. I'm not sure when that is, but it sounded super cool, so I was excited to be there. :) They took us to something called a Tea Ceremony, which looking back, we're sure was a hoax, since the people charged us an outrageous amount once they were done. We went into one of the buildings and they showed us several different kinds of herbal teas that the chinese use for different things....weight-loss, blood pressure, circulation, etc. Most of them tasted like grass, and I'm not a huge fan of tea, but one of them tasted good. It was fun anyway to learn about them and to taste them. I mean, you can't go to China and not have tea, right? Aside from the time it cost us, it was cool. Once we were finished, the chinese couple wanted to go with us to the Forbidden City (which is right next to Tienenman Square), but we wanted to get back to the hospital to be with Dan, wince we'd already been gone for a couple of hours. We hope to be able to take Dan and Heather to the Forbidden City and Tienenman Square when Heather gets here. I've heard there are a lot of stairs at the Forbidden City, but if anyone can handle it, Jeff can. Plus we'd like to see some places with Heather.

When we got back, Dan was in PT, and I stayed with him there while Jeff went back to the room to do some work via GoToMyPC. It's fun to watch the therapists work with Dan and the other patients. Dennis (another patient) has therapy at the same time as Dan. He's an old man who had a stroke and has trouble moving at all. He's here with his wife and daughter, and will be going home on Sunday. His daughter, Suzie, says his movement has improved very much...he can move his eyes and head faster and his leg that used to tremble all the time has gotten much better too. They have a care-taker...a chinese man who stays with them all the time, I think mostly to help lift him and get him around. Yesterday the caretaker brought Dennis in for therapy and I said hi. The caretaker seemed to be as pleased as a family member would be that I talked to him, and carefully combed Dennis' hair with his fingers. It was so sweet and made my heart happy to see his care-taker treat him so well. The people here at the hospital are all sweet and loving to the patients, who are mostly in much worse shape than Dan.

Nancy, the physical therapist makes Dan walk the length of the PT room without his leg brace, which REALLY freaks me out, even though he does well with it. Yesterday, she told him to raise his knees high and put the heel of his foot down before his toes, instead of putting the whole thing down at once. Since he has to bend over so he can bend his knees and prevent his leg from hyperextending, she told him he walks like an old lady. Haha.

Last night we went to a German restaurant for dinner with Renae and Susan. It was a truly multi-cultural experience. Jeff and Dan had Weinerschnitzl, and I had a bacon and potato omelet. We also tried Spatzl, which was very good. They had a chinese guy with a guitar and a microphone singing classics in English - the San Francisco Bay song by Eric Clapton, lots of the Beatles, even Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was a good time.
I am more amazed every day by Dan's great attitude. This morning, while I was lying awake I thought about what it would be like to live the life he and LaNae live. I think it would be easy to wonder about the past and wish that the accident never would have happened, and to dream about what life would be like without the challenges and trials they've been handed. I suppose when something like that happens, you can go one of two ways....looking back or looking forward. Dan and LaNae have chosen to look forward. I've never heard an unkind word spoken about the person who hit Dan almost 22 years ago. I've never even heard a word of resentment about Dan's disabilities (unless you count telling him to hurry up or try to go to the bathroom before everyone else is headed out the door...haha). They live with it and look for solutions. They walk a high road that I don't think a lot of people ever find. It's a challenge for Dan to touch his right ear with his left hand. He grunts and struggles and breathes hard to do it as part of his therapy...but he does it and he does it smiling. It sure puts things in perspective for me.

Anyway, I think I'd better start trying to get these boys out of bed. It's almost 7:30, which means we should be up, dressed and eating by now...I hope we don't get fired...We love and miss you all! Can't wait to see Heather on Saturday!

Thanks for all the nice kudos, Kallie – it sure is great to have you part of our family! (--with all those nice compliments – you are a keeper!) I will only say one thing about attitude – I will not kid you, there have been times over the years that we have been down – probably me more than Dan – but I have learned that struggling over the question '”Why” did this happen to us, and wishing for our previous life only makes one bitter.... and being bitter doesn't seem like a whole lot of fun. So you have a choice to make when life hands you the unexpected curve... you can't change what has happened – so you just have to move ahead. Asking the questions “How” and “What” seem like more answerable questions. How will I get through this and what would you like me to do? I have read the scriptures and that seems to be what the great examples there seem to ask – so that seems like the best questions for me as well.
I look around and we are certainly not the only ones with struggles in life – it seems like life was designed with struggles, if only to make us grow and reach our true capacity. I have seen others face enormous challenges – like a young child that gets leukemia or is autistic, losing one's job or getting laid off from Corporate America, or losing a loved one... the list goes on. Pain and suffering are not new, but I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have that this life is not the end all, be all. There is a bigger picture and we can be together forever in a Heaven where pain and suffering no longer exist. This is our anchor – this is what helps us move forward. We are so grateful for our religious faith that provides such comfort and strength during tough times. I don't know what we would do or how we would cope without it, for this is where we derive our strength.

Jeff and Kallie have some great pictures – I hope you enjoy them! They are doing a GREAT job of taking care of everything in China – and it looks like they have a little time for some fun too! I was looking at the pictures and I thought – I know that place – I saw that last week in Nathan's pictures... or the week before in some of mine!

Here is Dan getting a new IV. I don't know how many times they have 'poked' him, it is too high to count now...

This one is Dad walking across the room like an old lady for therapy, with Dennis and his caretaker in the background.

From Jeff:
These are the pictures of the frozen eggs that were in our refrigerator. They were really fun to play with. We peeled them and then thawed and cooked them in the microwave for breakfast. I had never seen frozen eggs before.

The next two are our little Chinese friends that we met at Tienenmen Square who took us to the ghetto… old Beijing. Their names were Tim and Betty…

This picture is of dinner with Renae and Susan at Schindler’s… the german restaurant.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

China Day 25: Update from Jeff & Kallie

Looks like my comment in yesterday's blog got some results – here is the latest update from Jeff & Kallie! :-)
Hey, Dan was reading the blog today for speech therapy, so we heard about how we're in trouble for not being better at writing. :) The truth is I planned to write last night, but I took a hot shower and was so warm and cozy and tired that I went right to sleep.
Yesterday, we spent the day going around with Dan. We went to all his therapy appointments and were with him for everything. You're right about the therapists, they're slave drivers. :-) But we like them. Yesterday the physical therapist was trying to make him do a leg exercise and kept spanking him on the butt to make him do it. He kept trying to tell her that it hurt, because he'd gotten shots there. No matter what we said, she didn't get it. She just kept laughing and doing the same thing.
The therapists, doctors and nurses are all really great. It was interesting to watch each one of them work with Dan. The acupuncture/massage was especially interesting. I didn’t realize that the acupuncture needles are so long and that they go in so far. During Dan’s appointment with Dr. Guam, we asked him about the acupuncture and how it works and why. It was hard for him to explain everything in English…something about meridians and energy flow. Dr. Guam explained that the body knows what it needs and will fix itself by itself if it’s given the right tools. Several of the doctors have asked about Dan’s sleep habits. Dr. Guam especially…he said Dan needs to sleep more in order to get better. A brain injury requires more sleep than other injuries to heal. Dan told the doctor that he has trouble sleeping and asked what he could do to make it easier for him to sleep. Dr. Guam told him he should do breathing exercises, which I thought was interesting. I’d like to learn more about traditional Chinese medicine. They seem to have such a great understanding of the body and how to help it help itself.
Everyone in the hospital is really nice and eager to help us out with anything. Today we went out with Marlene, who we really like. She and her husband are super nice. Marlene took us to the Silk Street Market, which was quite an adventure. The market is like 7 stories high – each story is full of a different kind of market. One floor was jewelry and accessories…that’s where we started. We went through the shop to a back room where they sell the knock offs…Gucci, Prada, Coach etc. It was crazy in there! I looked at some bags for my mom, but couldn’t see her in any of them. Jeff got a nice wallet though. Next we went to a floor where they sell silks...ties, scarves, kimonos, etc. It makes me laugh right out loud to think about everything that happened there. Walking through was a bit of a nightmare with the people all grabbing at you and asking you to come look at their things. “Lady, you need scarf? Come here.” I ended up buying 2 silk handbags, which are beautiful. Jeff started looking at some ties in one of the little booths and had 3 picked out to buy. When it came to price though, the lady was asking more than he wanted to pay and since he wanted to pay with a credit card, she was going to charge 4% more. He finally ended up changing his mind and decided he had enough ties at home anyway (she was asking about $45 for 3 ties once she’d come down as far as she would). When he said never mind and we started walking away, the little asian lady grabbed his sleeve and wouldn’t let go! She literally pulled him back into the store, and kept trying to get him to buy them. We kept trying to tell her nicely that we were leaving, but she was persistent. Then she got mad and said “What’s wrong with you?!” Jeff finally ripped his arm away from her, and she hit him on the back as we were walking away. She yelled “you crazy!” as we walked out of the shop. It was very funny and makes me laugh every time I think about it. The shopping experience is much different in China than in America. :-)
On the way home, we went to Wal-Mart. It was pretty much the same as Wal-Mart anywhere else, except for some of the items, like the meat everywhere…things were set up differently, and we couldn’t tell what a lot of things were. It was nice not to have to dicker with a salesperson though. :-) Jeff was REALLY excited about the carts at Wal-Mart. They wheels on both the front and the back of the carts swivel around, so they’re really good for tight corners and 360s and stuff. They moved sideways and stuff.
(Jeff just went to get Dan…I think he left him in the stand up stretcher thing too long. Woops.)
Anyway, we got back from our big adventure at Silk Street and Wal-Mart around 2, and Dan was in speech therapy with Lily, so we only stayed for a minute, then left again to see the Temple of Heaven, which was much bigger than I expected it to be. We decided that when in Asia, do as the Asians….so we took tons of pictures. We’ll send some of those later.
Some observations about China: personal space is different for us than it is for them. If you’re in line (like at Wal-Mart and the Temple of Heaven) they stand RIGHT behind you…sometimes touching your rear. It’s weird. Also, when we were at the Silk Street Market, the people didn’t just call out to us, they pulled at our arms and tried to physically get us into their stores. The Temple of Heaven taught us what it’s like to be in line here…if there’s a space in front of you, you’d better fill it quickly, or someone else will. Something I think is weird is that the nurses wear masks when they do Dan’s IVs, but they don’t wear gloves. Different culture I guess.
Beijing is a giant city…I’m not sure how many people live here, but is seems to go on forever. Everything is written in Chinese characters, so we don’t even have a chance of understanding what anything (or anyone) says. The people are patient with us though, and try to help us. The taxi drivers all waited patiently for us to try to show them on a map where we were going.
We were thinking we’d go out for dinner tonight, but nobody else here can go, so we think we’ll stay in and go out tomorrow night. It will be a nice chance to relax anyway after a busy day. Maybe we’ll turn on a movie and actually stay awake for it tonight. (Last night we put Cinderella Man on and I don’t even think I was awake long enough to watch a preview…Jeff either).
We’ll be better about writing you every day. We miss you all, but are excited to be here and glad for the chance to be with Dan this week. He sure is a fighter…I don’t know how he can stand all those people bossing him around all day, but he seems to handle it fine and always manages to have a smile on his face. He works hard and is a great example to me. It’s a privilege to be a Balls-Maughan…what faithful, good, happy and helpful people you are.

We love you and hope you’re doing well at home! Until tomorrow….
Jeff & Kallie Maughan
That was an AWESOME update! Thanks for sharing!! :-) :-) [Happy Mom!]

Monday, October 15, 2007

China Day 24: The Chinese People

Today I haven't heard much from the team in China – they seem to be doing just fine – I am going to have to educate them on the importance of daily updates to Mom! It is just not right that I can't be here and there at the same time... ;-)

Jeff and Kallie did arrive just fine, but Kallie left her purse in the car that picked them up from the airport. They didn't realize it until they were in the room unpacking and by then the car was looonnng gone. I was talking to Jeff on the phone and he said he needed to go so that he could go track down the purse. Luckily Jeff had Kallie's passport and all the cash with him – but they did have a lot of credit cards, ID and their camera in the purse.

Well – Jeff quickly found out that there is a language barrier – he had a hard time acting out what 'purse' meant to the nurse... I guess the doctor that was working (this was on Sunday) told them that they would contact the company the next day. I am going – what?! The next day?! Why not call immediately and get the guy to bring it back now...? I got online later that night to see what they had found out Monday morning – but the hospital still seemed to not be to worried about it. Jeff wanted to know where the administration building was so that he could track down someone who spoke English to talk to about it.

He finally was able to contact Wendy (the really good translator) and they tracked down the driver and were told that “you handbag will be delivered this afternoon”. Well – it was and EVERYTHING was ok! They had all of their credit cards and camera returned! I think that it is quite a credit to the Chinese people – I am not sure that this would have happened in one of our large American cities! Anyway, I was impressed by their honesty. I have found the Chinese people to be very warm with a desire to be helpful. I say this about all that I have met with the exception of the street vendors... ;-)

I also wanted to tell you about the culture of bicycling in China. My good friend (and old roomie) Wendy reminded me of this Chinese anomaly, and mentioned how that was such an eye opener for her when she was in China – then Nathan sent me some pictures of this phenomena so that I could share with you! (Thanks Nate for the pictures!)

Biking in Beijing -

This is a picture of a typical biking scene as you drive down the road. There are bikers everywhere! They weave in and out of the traffic – it is amazing the way they drive there! The cars come within inches of other cars and bikers, but I haven't ever seen an accident (nor any dented up cars). They must have a REALLY good driving school!

Now there's a bike with a cart!

This guy looks like he is out to earn his day's living... I am just not sure how much he is going to get for those boxes! Perhaps some one can educate me – he might be using these boxes for a personal use, perhaps flooring for his home... I am not sure. Some of the conditions over there are pretty poverty stricken.... but look at his face... hard working and determined... amazing people!

This shot looks a little scary – I hope one lane of traffic stops for the other!

More to come on Dan tomorrow --

Sunday, October 14, 2007

China Days 21-23: October 12-14th, 2007

Hello all – I have a lot to catch up on! Nathan and Heather's fun outings to the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, the second 'changing of the guard' from Nate and Heather to Jeff and Kallie, and the adventures at home.

Nate made a few videos of Dan's therapy and we have posted them on

    Dan has our entire life published out there, so to see the therapy videos, just scroll to the bottom of the list. Now you can meet our great therapists!

Friday Nate and Heather were able to go up and see the Great Wall of China – you can't go all that way and not go there! Dan and I hope to make it up there on a Saturday before we come home in November, but from looking at the pictures, it doesn't look too wheelchair accessible. However, it does look like there is a visitors center at the base that would be interesting to go through. We may just have to see if from the base, or perhaps we can talk someone into going with us so that we can split up on hiking up the wall for a bit. I don't feel comfortable with leaving Dan at the base while I go wandering off... in the USA we both have cell phones and we keep in touch pretty well, but I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving him without someone else there with him. Perhaps our home teacher will go with us – the branch in China has assigned Dan a 'home teacher' which is someone to visit us and watch over us from our religious congregation. Anyway – he called (Mac Coleman) and he was going to go to the hospital and check on Dan today during the time between when Nathan left and Jeff arrived (no – we didn't plan these flights too well for timing purposes -good news is this is the last time I have to worry about this as the rest of the caregiver hand-offs have an overlap.) It is sure nice to know that wherever we go in the world, that we can find a congregation of our faith (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and just plug into it! It makes being so far away from home and family a little more bearable.

On Saturday, it was raining in Beijing and so they didn't do too much – except they did go out and have a steak at some restaurant – I think they enjoyed that!

Today – Sunday was the hand off day. It has been a long day for many people (including myself). I - being the ever worrying mother – had to stay up until Nate had taken off (about 10 pm Utah time) and Jeff had landed (about12:30 am) and then when they made it to the hospital and were united with Dan (2:00 am). I also had been tag teaming with Grandma Jensen on the babysitting. We had a good time – I took the children for a soak in the hot tub, then we watched a movie, then Riley helped me clean the house (vacuum) and then we read stories and put everyone to bed. It was a good day.

Nathan landed in San Francisco about 9:00 am (Utah time) – their flight was delayed getting back to Utah, but they made it here safe and sound and we are glad for their return. We are excited to have them back!

Here are some pictures of Nate and Heather and their adventures. Dan said they all had a really good week together and it was nice to have them there. They did a good job of taking care of Dan, and got a little fun in on the side... :-) Thanks Nate and Heather for all your good care taking!!

Forbidden City - it looks like a cool place to visit! I told Dan to get working so he can do the stairs...!

Forbidden City - Nate

Forbidden City - Heather

Great Wall - Nate

Great Wall - Nate & Heather

Great Wall - Now we are talking some stairs here!!

Nate says the Great Wall was the best....!