Update Page for David Hanson - February 2013
To contact David Hanson's family, please use the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
2/6/13 (Rachel Hanson) There isn't much new with David but please pray for his surgery tomorrow. He is having a stomach feeding tube put in again. It should be a simple surgery but he does have to go under anesthesia and with his history of seizures and brain injury, it is more risky. The good news is his nose feeding tube will be coming out and hopefully this means more comfortable/better swallowing.
2/8/13 (Annette Hanson) Today David is looking much better! No nose tube. :) He has been giving a definite thumbs up to being in pain, but it is encouraging just to have him able to do his "thumbs up!" He was able to lift his leg purposefully and wink and give a few tiny smiles. Some of the little things we do each day without even thinking about them are huge things for David and great reasons for us to be thankful to our merciful God! And again, thank you all who keep praying for David, Rachel, and our family. Your love is very special to us!!!
2/7/13 (Annette Hanson) Thank you all for your prayers! David just came back from surgery and everything went well. He is just groggy and resting. We thank the Lord!
2/12/13 (Rachel Hanson)
David was really sleepy yesterday but cooperated pretty well for therapy anyway. We're just trying to find the right cocktail of medications that prevent seizures, decrease pain and spasticity but promote alertness. David was finally able to swallow a couple drips of nectar-thick juice placed on his tongue yesterday. The day before I was able to get him to close and open his mouth on command. I anticipate that he will be eating at least pureed foods again fairly soon. His spasticity has been bad the last few days, I think because he's been in so much pain from the G-tube being placed in his stomach, although it seems to be healing well.
We are praying that the insurance will be approved for 8 more weeks and that David makes good enough progress to be able to be transferred to a post-acute facility close to our apartment. This puts us at 2 weeks before my due date and I really hope he is close to us when the baby is born so I can see him more. Pray for no new setbacks in the next couple months. Pray for David's muscle control so he would be able to move his arms, legs and mouth again. We really feel we are fighting a spiritual battle. Because we have a roommate now and David is so sleepy, it is hard to find times to pray together, read our Bibles, listen to ministry, or have visitors. We find comfort in knowing that the war has already been won. "...Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:54,55,57
2/14/13 (Annette Hanson) "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort..." 2 Cor. 1:3
I love this verse! In looking back over our last visit with David and Rachel, it was marked by a lot of suffering on David's part; restless nights, pain, surgery, severe limitations, etc. But on Sunday afternoon we enjoyed such a peaceful time together with David, Rachel, and some family members in the hospital "Day Room." Jonathan softly played guitar, Grandpa Red and Joel shared Scriptures, and it was just an encouraging time....from the Father of mercies and God of comfort. :) something to be thankful for.
Note: Annette (my mom) of course did not mention that she is experiencing her own share of physical suffering and could use your prayers as she battles a nasty case of the shingles. -Nathan Hanson
2/16/13 (Rachel Hanson) I think the pain is finally subsiding from surgery and David is beginning to be a little more comfortable. David got a tiny bit of chocolate pudding today...first real food in almost 5 weeks. He was READY for it! :) His head control seems to be getting a little better although didn't hold his head up at all in PT today. It's still very weak...his max is about 30 seconds holding his head up but still can't lift his head up if it drops down to his chest. Everything is really weak. We still have a roommate (one moved out and another moved in) but it isn't too bad. They just have to deal with us and all of our paraphernalia (David has a splint for almost every joint on his body!). I got a hug tonight which is a first in 5 weeks too...we're working on a pucker but since I have a cold I just got a peck on the cheek today. ;) I showed David pictures from our wedding and read some letters from a neighbor of his back in WI and he really enjoyed it. :) I take David to the day room for his "meals" and he seems to really like watching what other people are doing...especially the art group a couple nights ago.
2/19/13 (Rachel Hanson) David got his left wrist casted again today. His left wrist and right elbow are the problem areas but his spasticity is better. He is responding consistently yes and no with his thumb and finger and is able to smile on the right side of his face. He is moving his right arm and leg more purposefully although is still very slow and weak. He was able to push and pull against resistance with his right arm and leg but has more trouble when he's not given resistance as a direction of movement. He still struggles with holding his head up and being able to control his saliva when his head is down. He's really enjoying me reading Pilgrim's Progress to him lately. Although he was really tired tonight and had his eyes closed most of the time, he wanted to participate in the art group and was able to draw a heart and spell half his name with me just supporting the weight of his casted arm. I'm going to be gone for a week so it was tough to leave him tonight. I'm his voice but I know he'll be in good hands with his sister and brother-in-law. He admitted that he would miss me AND my torturous devices. ;)
2/26/13 (Benjamin Ramey)Grace and I will be heading back to Kansas City tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting!) after what will be a total of six and a half days with David. As many of you know, Rachel, her parents and her brother and sister-in-law made a visit over the same days to Wisconsin to visit the Hanson side of the family. Plane tickets and schedules worked out really well for us to visit David while Rachel had to be away.
We have been tremendously encouraged with our time with David and have only regretted not being able to see Rachel again. Before we leave tomorrow, we wanted to give everyone an update on how David is doing and some things going on here.
One of the things I personally mull over in my mind (as I am sure many of you do as well) is what keeps the Lord from just outright healing David. It seems like the path is so long and painful. Why does he have to endure it? But, no matter what the answer may be to that question, the truth is that we serve a wonderful, kind, compassionate and good Lord and this has been the overwhelming conclusion Grace and I both have come to while visiting David. I see this in many different ways:
* The Lord saved David's life when he fell. There is no doubt David's fall could have been fatal--but in marvelous ways, the Lord has preserved him.
* The Lord has given David a wonderful wife. I hope she doesn't mind me saying this, but Rachel is an amazing gift from the Lord to David. Trying to be her replacement (which is, of course, impossible) the last couple of days has shown me and Grace what a treasure she is to David--and he knows it too. One day, Grace and I came back into the room right as the speech therapist was wrapping up. She pointed to her sheet (looking a little confused) and said, "Does 'little deer' mean anything do you guys?" It sure did! "Little deer" is David's special name for Rachel. Sometimes, David would look particularly pensive to Grace. When Grace asked if he was thinking about and missing Rachel, he would always sign a definite "yes". It seems David is always thinking about her. While we were here, David got to Skype with Rachel (and
the rest of his family) in Wisconsin. He seemed sleepy, but perked right up when Rachel got on the screen. :-)
* The Lord has given David faithful friends. Clem is David's former boss who was with him when he had his accident. Clem has not stopped visiting David every Saturday in the seven months since then. You might think, "Oh, how nice". But when you consider that it takes Clem an hour and a half each way to drive to David and that
he usually stays with David about four hours, it becomes clear how dedicated Clem is to him. He's given almost every Saturday in the past seven months to David and wouldn't have it any other way. While we were spending time together outside on the patio, David spelled out "happy working boss" for Clem. I'm not sure if David meant he had been happy to work with him or if he was wishing Clem well in a possible new job Clem was telling us about. Either way, I think Clem appreciated it.
* The Lord has surrounded David with an amazing medical staff. Every day Grace and I got to know new (to us, not David) nurses, HSAs, doctors and therapists who spoke kindly and maturely to David, who showed great skill in their fields, who treated him with respect and dignity and who showed genuine care for David's well-being. I don't think we moved David a single time from his room to the day-room without someone greeting him enthusiastically and sometimes even stopping us to ask David how he was doing. David seems to be loved by everyone there. Keep praying that the Lord would continue to surround him with such wonderful care-givers! At one point, using his letter board, David spelled out "ebony is black and wonderful" for us. At first this mystified us quite a bit! Was he talking about the black keys on the piano? No. Was he talking about the light-level in the room? No. Was "ebony" a person? Yes! Was it someone on staff? Yes. After some more questioning, "ebony" turned out to be a male nurse (a black man, as you may have guessed!) named Chigo--a man with a particularly bright and take-charge personality who takes wonderful care of David. If you know David and if you knew Chigo--you'd know right away why they get along!
* The Lord has kept David's mind sharp. While there are times when David seems to be unresponsive to questioning or foggy in memory (it seems to be most often when he is exhausted, in pain or has a new cast), many times David's clarity of thought is unmistakable and his memory is sharp. For example, sometimes (because of the pace you have to go at and the many interruptions) it takes several hours or even a day or two to get a full sentence out of David using his letter board. But he never forgets where he left off or what he was originally wanting to say. True, some of his sentences seem rather poetically condensed. But, if you had to speak one letter at a time (with someone else picking the letters!), you'd keep it short and sweet too. We also had a good time with David reading Scripture, praying and even singing (that is, Grace sang softly for us). This Sunday morning, after we had read from John and
I shared a few thoughts, we asked David if he wanted to share something. He pointed us to John 10:9 and we read to the end of the chapter. Verse 9 speaks of Christ as the door of the sheep through which all who enter through will be saved and find pasture. Afterwards, David spelled out "verse 9 is amazing" for us.
* David is making progress. Progress seems slow at times (and, of course, hard to measure over the short six days we've been with him) and his recent seizure, which set him back quite a bit, was discouraging. However, taken in small increments, I was really encouraged with David's progress. For example, in speech
therapy (ST) today, he was able to stick out his tongue, touch his upper and lower lip with it and move it from side-to-side. He could also pucker (good practice for seeing Rachel again!), wink, smile to one side, lift his eye brows and scrunch his nose. He also did fairly well at following the therapist's finger with his eyes. Some of these
are things (particularly the tongue movements) he couldn't do the previous days. In physical therapy (PT) the last few days, his therapist has been pleased with the looseness in his limbs and he's been able to stand (with lots of assistance) for 30 minutes at a time.
* David himself is encouraged. One of the things on our minds as Grace and I have been praying for David is his spiritual and emotional state. So, one of the first things we wanted to ask him when we got to the hospital was whether David was generally encouraged or discouraged. David answered with a clear "yes": he is generally encouraged. David is a remarkable man who has and is putting his trust in the Lord. We are tremendously grateful for that.
So, with all of this in view, Grace and I can't help but be encouraged with how things are with David. We pray every day for fast and long-lasting healing for David. But, even when things seem frustrating or slow, we have been encouraged the last few days with all that the Lord is doing for David.
I just wanted to share a couple more things. First of all, many of you may be curious about David's daily schedule--I was at least. So, here it is: most days the nurses wake him up and give him breakfast around 8am. He then has occupational therapy for an hour at 10am. Then he has speech therapy for half-an-hour at 10:30. After, this he has some rest time before lunch at 12pm followed by rest-in-bed from 1pm to 1:30. At 1:30 he has another round of speech therapy followed by an hour of vigorous physical therapy. After this, he is usually pretty wiped out so we go rest in the day-room or patio and read to him, play piano for him or just let him sleep in his chair. At 4pm he is supposed to rest in bed before dinner at 5pm. After dinner, he is free again, but usually seems to want to rest and sleep. Sundays, he has a day of rest from all therapy. He gets medication at regular intervals during the day and also has a regular schedule during the day to have his splints for his wrists, elbows and ankles on or off.
Lastly, I wanted to tell you all some things you can be specifically praying for:
* Until David strengthens his vocal chords enough to speak again, he needs good means of communication. His letter board works, but today the speech therapist mentioned possibly using a computer (attached to his scrunching nose or lifting eyebrows or following his eye movements) to allow him to communicate faster.
* David is often uncomfortable from casting the OTs do to stretch his arms (elbows and wrists). The pain and discomfort can just wipe him out (energy-wise) for a whole day.
* David exercises amazing amounts of endurance. Remember that David can barely move himself. So, while we often shift our position when sitting or laying down without even thinking about it, David cannot do this without help. This gets very uncomfortable. Pray for endurance and patience for David.
* Pray for Rachel's safe return trip tomorrow (Tuesday). David is really looking forward to her coming back!
2/28/13 (Rachel Hanson) David had a pretty good day today. He got his right elbow cast off so he's more comfortable. Yesterday, I got to see him for the first time in a week. We were both soo happy to see each other. The separation is especially tough because we can't call each other and talk. David and I couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces all morning. :) Then it got harder to keep the smile on my face when I heard that we might have to put David in a sub-acute facility instead of the post-acute facility we've been working with that's close to our apartment. The move might happen in the next couple weeks instead of 6 weeks. I guess David's progress isn't as fast as they would like. I am really discouraged but nothing is set in stone yet but it means more stress and leg-work/decisions for me regardless of the outcome. Please pray that David will make significant progress in the next couple weeks and won't have to be moved around several times.
David was more alert today than he was ysterday. In speech therapy, he looked at me and said, "I love you" kind of unclearly but I love you nonetheless , unprompted!! I've been sneaking him yogurt and pudding to try to stimulate and strengthen his swallowing. He does well with me but we are very careful with small bites and suction ready.
I asked him if he had anything to write on his board this afternoon. He wrote, I am mad. He faded before I could get out of him why he was mad but it wasn't because of a person...something else. Please pray that David would be encouraged and his heart would be renewed.
I've been thinking a lot about healing lately and when it occurrs in the Bible. Most of the time it's connected with faith but one line has been running through my head a lot lately: "...pray for one another that you may be healed." I think we get so focused on our own problems and diseases that we forget to pray for another. I am not saying that you all have been negligent in praying for us (quite the contrary!) But that we are negligent in praying for you.
To contact David Hanson's family, please use the e-mail email@example.com