Sunday, September 28, 2008

Summer Updates

Just wanted to catch up on some of the activities of the summer. It seems that time flies by so fast and I don't always get the blog updated. We are doing well... Dan is actively pursuing his therapy and travels to SLC 2-3 times a week. He has been going to a therapy center that specializes in spinal cord injuries (Neuroworx He has now started going to LDS Hospital for occupational therapy... he also got a gym pass at a local gym that he works out at on the days that he is not going to Salt Lake City. He is truly "giving it his all..."

We have had some fun this summer -- here is Dan on his bike up Provo canyon. Dan rode up the canyon and met Angie and I (we threw our bikes in a trailer and rode up the canyon - we only wanted to ride DOWN the canyon and we weren't as energetic as Dan. We did bring some food and had a nice picnic in the canyon park before we made the trek down the mountain...

This canyon is very close to our home... in just a matter of minutes we can enjoy beautiful scenery like this! There is a bike trail that is very close to our house that you can bike up the canyon, next to the Provo river... very nice to get a quick get-away!

Here is Dan with his brother, Bill at Lagoon (a local amusement park). We went there for a family get together in August... (do they look like twins or what?!)

Jeff and Riley enjoying an exciting ride...

Jeff and Cody (cousin) on the Sky Coaster ride... this was quite the thrill!

This is a very high ride where they harness you up and lift you up between two tall metal towers. They then drop you and you swing down and back up -- a little too much adrenalin rush for me!

Angie, Mckayla (friend) and Keyanee (cousin) get suited up to ride on the sky coaster!

Back to earth safe and sound after the BIG ride...!

Dan gets LOST....
(ok - so maybe we left him... oops!)

This is my excuse... when my kids are with me, I get the opportunity to relax a little as they help push Dan about on the wheelchair. Well, we decided to go ride the "Rattlesnake Rapids" ride, a very fun river rafting simulation.. and I (being the wise woman that I am...) brought rain ponchos for everyone to wear on this ride. But no, everyone was too macho to have a rain poncho, so I was the only chicken of the bunch. I got to carry all of the cell phones under my poncho (apparently the group was all smart enough to let me protect their phones..!).

Well, this is what Dan looked like after a couple of times through on the ride...
This is what you call "See Dan Drenched!"

We all had a good laugh and then decided to walk around to the other side of the park for some more adventures. After we had almost reached our destination... I said "where is Dan?!" I thought that one of the boys was pushing his wheelchair, but he was not with the crowd. We had all walked off and left him! (our bad...) The worst part was that I still had his cell phone from the river rafting trip, and so he couldn't even call us and tell us how stupid we were! I hurried back to see if I could find him.. and at the same time, called Jeff and he came from another direction. Jeff found him about where we had left him... just smiling like "I wondered how long it would take you guys to wake up... duh!" We are grateful that Dan gets some "watching over and protection from Above" when we are such idiots!

Next story.... Bear Lake!
Bear Lake is a beautiful lake that is about 2 1/2 hours from our home. We were fortunate enough to get to go up there this summer and spend a couple of days relaxing... one day we went out on the lake and rented a wave runner to have some fun on. Here is Dan and Angie on the wave runner...

The funny part of the story was getting Dan out to the wave runner and up on it... it was just Angie and I, so I walked with him out to the water. We then proceeded to push and pull to get him up on the wave runner. I decided to run back to the shore to get the camera (can't miss this photo opportunity!) and so I jumped off the one side. Apparently.... Dan was not holding on and the rock of the wave runner caused by my sudden departure sent him flying into the water. It was kind of like a catapult effect... off goes LaNae on one side and there goes Dan off the other side! Luckily, Angie was still there on that side and caught her father in her arms! So... back to square one... tug and pull and get him back up on the water craft! (The things we do for a fun time... !)

It was worth it though... we got to "See Dan DRIVE" as he drove me all around the lake for a ride. It was fun, and when we got back, Dan said "I'm going to get me one of these..."

Here is Angie and her friend Kika enjoying the wave runner!

Dan "chillin" in the lake...

The water is really not very deep here....

Walking back to shore after our fun day of adventure!

Now we are back in the grind of daily living... job, therapy, etc. It was nice to have a few bright spots this summer to "recharge our batteries" and help us keep on keepin' on!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Summer Races

I am not sure that anyone follows this blog anymore - but if they do... I am going to start giving more updates on Dan, our family and what has been going on in our lives. It has been a busy year with many things going on since our trip to China. Dan has re-engaged in active therapy and spends the majority of his time trying to make improvements. I think there is some improvement, but it is slow in coming. He keeps working at it, and hopefully someday we will chip a piece off this block that seems to be standing in our way.

He is now going to therapy at LDS hospital (for occupational therapy) and also at Neuroworx (physical therapy). Our insurance decided to quit paying for physical therapy due to a "lack of medical necessity". This really bothers me that I have a rehab physican and therapists that work with Dan closely, and are supportive of his desire to improve, but then some committee from the insurance company decides that the progress is not fast enough, and so they stop paying. I am working to ask for a review and reconsideration, but we will see how it goes. In the meantime, Dan continues to work out on his own and does the best that he can.

This weekend we bought him a "Jazzy" wheelchair. This is an electric wheelchair that will help him get around a bit better as he travels to and from his therapy in SLC (Salt Lake City). He is quite independent... and so this chair will help him get around a little better as he navigates the downtown traffic of SLC when he has to transfer from the bus to the TRAX train system. We only have a manual wheelchair, and to make it go, Dan pushes it backwards with his one good foot. This is ok for closer to home, but when he is trying to navigate through city traffic, he needs a bit more control... thus the "Jazzy".

This weekend we ALSO went to another 5K race! These races have been inspired by our good friends at Neuroworx. Remember our good friend Casey? What a cool dude...

He got this "5K race" thing going by running in a race this spring wearing his "see Dan" shirt.

My sister, Ruth Ann, also ran a race in the hot Texas sun this summer -- she was a trooper and wore her "See Dan Talk" shirt in support of Dan...

Here is Ruth Ann with the winning medalists - I think she took second place! You go, girl!

Then Dan decided to join in the fun and rode his bike with the Neuroworx team in July. As I recall, he came in second in his age class... good job, Dan!

Then -- he convinced me to sign up for the last race of the season... a 5K for the Independent Living Center. We went to support Mark Christiansen, a fellow Neuroworx friend that has been a quadraplegic for 47 years... it is amazing that we meet so many stellar individuals as we cross paths in life, and Mark is certainly one of them! He always is cheerful and has a smile on his face... I wonder why we even complain sometimes and I am grateful to know people that are such an inspiration to us.

Here is a picture of the team getting lined up and ready to race! Those guys on the hand cycles are FAST! The first place guy came in at just over 11 minutes! Dan and I came in at 18:07 and 18:10 respectively...

Here is a little proof that I was there and did ride my recumbant bike in the race along side Dan... ;-)

Here is Dan's therapist director (Jan) and her son, Casey (the cool dude) coming through the finish line... way to go team!

Casey took first place in the hand powered wheelchair division -- I am sure his arms are WAY tired today, but the first place status should make it feel all worth while!

Here is Dan, Jan and Casey just chillin' after the big race! It was a fun time, and I am glad that we got to be a part of it.

I will post more of our summer adventures later... but know for now that we are "keeping on" and continuing to work towards "a better life for Dan".