Hebrews 12:2

Looking unto Jesus,
the Author and
Finisher of our faith...

Chippewa Falls, WI
Update Page for David Hanson - January 2013

January 2013
To contact David Hanson's family, please use the e-mail familyofdavidhanson@gmail.com

1/10/13 (Nathan Hanson) Anna and I have had a wonderful time with David and it has been great to replace the image we had stuck in our heads from August when he was still on life support and in a coma. However, it has been mixed with some emotional and difficult times too, as we struggle with so many memories of how things were and have to wade through a lot of obstacles especially in communication. It takes a lot of patience, but the same David is there underneath it all. The first day he said "Hi Nathan" quite clearly without even plugging his nose, and he also said "hi" to Anna. Watching Anna and how kind and gentle she is with David is very reassuring that the most important things haven't been lost. I know David appreciates it "much more than words can say." It's nice to have other ways to communicate besides just with words. It took a few days for me to see the depth of David's understanding and his "old self" but it is definitely there. It just seems like it comes out at specific times. We even got David to laugh a couple times when telling stories and talking with Rachel. It is so fun to see him smile. He loves pushing the pedal down on the piano when we play and sing together. It's nice for him to be able to participate and he insists on it each time, trying to push his wheelchair right up by the piano with his foot. Also really enjoyed watching the packers pound on the vikings just like old times. David really enjoyed it too and was determined to stay up for the whole game. He gave a thumbs up and fist pound whenever Green Bay scored and a big fist pound when the game was finally over and the packers won. He also smiled when we told him some of our relatives from MN were happy to hear about his excitement at the expense of their favorite team! Although there are clouds, we still are thankful to see windows of the David we remember and when we are patient we can see that the best things he has are still there. We know God is far from done writing his story.

There are many factors (such as medications, sleepyness, pain, and sometimes discouragement) that affect his energy level. However, Anna and I have both been amazed and greatly encouraged at his desire to work hard. It takes so much out of him to communicate anything, but every chance he gets, he gives it his all. In PT we have seen him do more walking and weight bearing. He especially does well with his right leg and arm. They often ask him if he is doing ok or if they can keep going (with things that look very painful) and he always gives a thumbs up. Last night, he gave us a message on the message board that indicated he wants to work hard. We encouraged him that he does work hard and said he should continue to work hard even after we were gone. After a little hesitation, he gave a thumbs up. Anna quoted "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not unto men" from Col. 3:23 and then he wanted to write another message. After another 30 minutes or so of 'hard work,' he was relieved to successfully write: "Going with hard work." :-) Yesterday we expressed that his hard work is convicting to us that we should be better workers in serving the Lord and others at home with too. David's softness in his heart for Rachel is still one of the clearest things we've seen. Satan can't take away the love that God has given them and it is a beautiful thing.

Here are a few specific prayer requests:

  • David indicated he is feeling sick today and it might be a cold.
  • He has had a little more pain lately with less medications so pray for wisdom on how many meds he gets.
  • Pray that the Lord will guide David and Rachel with upcoming facility changes.
  • Pray that he will stay encouraged by the Lord's presence, especially for the times at night when Rachel and family are not with him.
  • Keep praying for his toning as there is lots of tightness. He gets stretched a lot every day but the progress is slow and painful.
  • Pray for his voice. They do great here with OT and PT but we are hoping the staff works more aggressively on speech with him.
Thanks so much to everyone for your continued availing prayers. (Eph. 3:20)

1/12/13 (Rachel Hanson) First of all, I want to thank everyone for continuing to be so faithful in praying for us. The road is a long one. Continue to pray for communication for David. I'm getting increasingly frustrated with the speech therapy department and I feel like David is losing ground rather than progressing in this area. He seems to not be able to control his mouth as well as before and swallowing is challenging. Yesterday was very busy. David wasn't feeling well at all but tried to push through therapy as best he could. An evaluator for a post-acute facility was there almost all day observing David. She seemed like an answer to prayer. David and I liked her a lot. David is authorized for 4 more weeks at the hospital so it looks like he will be transitioning to a post-acute facility in about a month. Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel!! David's appetite was down starting Thursday night. He said he wasn't hungry last night but I gave him a couple bites and he seemed to get more interested in food so I kept shoveling it in. :P he was in bed a lot of the day, even for meals. He had a second round of Botox injections to his pecs, hamstrings, right biceps, and lats. Hopefully in the next week he'll be more free to move and not so tight everywhere. He also had another casting to his left hand and wrist to straighten his wrist and fingers out. David had an EEG on Monday which was normal. Thank the Lord! He has been weaned off the neurostimulant he was on since almost the beginning so maybe that was causing the "shivers" because they seemed to have decreased lately. David seems like he is more awake the last week but even if his eyes are open, sometimes it seems like "lights are on but nobody's home" and he's kind of zoned out. He just wasn't his normal self yesterday, but seemed to perk up when he touched my tummy and felt our baby kick. :) His eyes sparkled and he smiled. She is our little joy in the middle of all this. :) My last day of work is next Thursday so I'll be here more and am going to make myself take a day each week to do things at home and prepare for baby. Hopefully David will be feeling better today. Poor guy...he's got so many challenges already and then a little cold on top of it seems to put him over the edge.

1/13/13 (Rachel Hanson) David had a grand mal seizure when I walked into his room this morning. We would appreciate your prayers. Labs are being run and he is getting a CT scan right now. Pray that this won't be a big setback.

Update at 6PM CT: The CT scan was fine. His white cell count is slightly elevated so they think maybe he has some sort of infection going on and may have tipped off the seizure. He is not doing well. He almost seems like back to what he was 3 months ago. He is very agitated so heart rate and blood pressure are high and he's sweating and moving a lot non-purposefully. If he can't take medications by mouth, they will move him back to ICU. Hopefully, this is temporary. They will do another EEG tomorrow because I guess that staff is on strike and won't work weekends. Lovely...

1/14/13 (Rachel Hanson)David was restless all night but finally is sleeping with a heart rate in the 60's. His body seems more relaxed too. He was able to swallow the meds in applesauce yesterday so they didn't move him to ICU. I don't know how he is responding this morning but last night, he was able to answer yes with his thumb but not able to smile (although I'm not sure I'd be smiling after a day like that either!!) "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." Psalms 30:5

1/16/13 (Rachel Hanson) David has had a rough week but seems to be slowly coming around. Seizures are almost an inevitable occurrence in brain injuries so I guess this was David's moment to experience the inevitable. Thankfully, it seems all the serious things have been ruled out: no new bleeds, no stroke, no hydrocephalus, no infections... I don't know how long it will take for David to return to his previous status but the doctors seem pretty confident there was no permanent damage done and there isn't any reason why he shouldn't come back. Today, David seemed pretty alert but still not communicating at all or doing anything on command. Although, he seems like he is aware of his environment and understands what we say...just not able to respond. When I was reading to him tonight, he turned his head and was reading along. His swallowing and secretion management is poor so they had to put a NG tube in his nose/down his esophagus so they wouldn't have to put in the PEG (stomach tube) again. Because he was off his regular meds for a couple days, his spasticity is pretty bad. We've been encouraged by Mark 4 when Jesus is in the boat on a stormy night with His disciples. It seemed like Jesus was sleeping on our ship Sunday but it seems He has said, Peace be still. Our storm is far from over but we know Who "holds the helm and guides the ship."
Why those fears? Behold, 'tis Jesus
Holds the helm and guides the ship;
Spreads the sails, and catch the breezes
Sent to waft us through the deep
To the regions
Where the mourners cease to weep
Though the shore we hope to land on
Only by report is known,
Yet we freely all abandon,
Led by that report alone,
And with Jesus
Through the trackless deep move on.
Led by faith, we brave the ocean;
Led by faith, the storm defy;
Calm amidst tumultuous motion,
Knowing that the Lord is nigh;
Waves obey Him
And the storms before Him fly.
Rendered safe by His protection,
We shall pass the watery waste,
Trusting to His wise direction,
We shall gain the port at last;
And with wonder
Think on toils and dangers past.
--T. Kelly

1/18/13 (Rachel Hanson) I have bad news and good news. A 72-hour EEG was ordered for David to see what's going on. The neurologist came in this afternoon to look at the results from the last few hours and found that David is having little seizures (imperceptible to us) about every hour. They'll increase his anti-seizure meds. Hopefully this helps. He seems to be able to do a thumbs up fairly consistently this afternoon. Let's just surrender David to the Lord tonight and let Him do as He wishes. We know He is the Great Physician, the Healer, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God, the Saviour of the world so let's have confidence that this same God can do great things in His time.

1/20/13 (Annette Hanson) Joel and I have made an un-planned visit to David and Rachel due to his recent seizure. For the last few days, David has had almost no voluntary response to the things he is asked to do. We have all been very sad to see how this seizure has affected him. We are grateful that this afternoon he seemed to be able to close his mouth and make some slight movements when we asked him if he could smile. He also seems to be just starting to be able to look into our eyes sometimes when we ask. These seem like tiny things, and they are, but they show that he is a little better than he was the day before, and that is "forward" progress. We thank the Lord and realize how we are all totally dependent upon Him. It is good to be held in His hands. "The LORD will give strength to His people, the LORD will bless His people with peace." Psalm 29

1/22/13 (Rachel Hanson) Maybe I shouldn't write when I'm this frustrated with the sluggishness of some of the staff that is over David's care...but anyways. The Lord knows how long to wait to take care of David's needs and won't let it go farther than He deems best but boy, this pregnant lady is pretty done in. Maybe we're just learning a heavy dose of patience and/or trust...which I'm failing at miserably. This week has been rough, to say the least. David has been really miserable the last few days and it's horrible to watch helplessly when nothing seems to be helping. The doctors should have recognized his symptoms as autonomic dysfunction and treated it as such but in the mean time were taking their sweet time to rule out everything else. He has another EEG tomorrow morning to check on seizure activity. Even though David is completely miserable lately, it does seem like he is swallowing better and controlling his secretions better than a week ago. His thumbs up is fairly inconsistent. I'm hopeful that since they started the Propanolol (what should take care of his neurological fever, sweats, increased tone, etc...) this evening, his comfort level will be increased significantly and he'll be able to concentrate on returning to his prior level of function. My mom was with him this evening and reported that he wasn't kicking his leg, his fever was gone, and seemed cooler after starting the medication...wonder of wonders! Please pray for me that I would have a sense of gratefulness rather than bitterness, strength in pure dependence on the Lord instead of exhaustion in my own strength. "Let me not be ashamed, O LORD; for I have called upon thee..." Psalms 31:17

1/24/13 (Rachel Hanson)David seems to be getting worse in some respects and the doctors still don't know what's going on. He was running a fever again today with an elevated white blood cell count and "coffee grounds" blood in his residuals from his stomach. The blood is something new as of last night. They had to reinsert his NG tube Monday night but I can't think of why there would still be blood in his upper GI from that. They did another 2-hour EEG this afternoon. I don't have any results yet because they were a little occupied with the man in the next room that had a stroke this evening. It was kind of weird because earlier, when the aide came in to take David's vitals, I mentioned in passing that the vitals on the monitor from the person before David looked like a "stroke waiting to happen" and then what do you know, that guy had a stroke this evening. I told the doctor about some new puffiness I noted above his cheekbones...don't know what that is either. There is another doctor now following David that was on his case several months ago to provide another set of eyes to be looking into things. The doctors need God's wisdom because I think He alone really knows how to make David well.

1/25/13 (Rachel Hanson)David looked better this morning. No fever, all normal labs and has been sleeping for about 4 hours straight without very much involuntary movement. But no change in cognition or function. The 2- hour EEG yesterday showed no seizure activity but the doctors aren't quite convinced that he's not having seizures still so they're doing a 8-hour or more EEG today. We have some things to be thankful for...and maybe I should just leave it at that...being thankful for the good things today without seeing the big picture.

1/25/13 (Rachel Hanson)Good news is there wasn't any seizure activity over a period of 20 hours. Bad news is David is still the same...maybe a tiny bit better. He seemed to close his eyes on command for the neurologist just now. They are going to do an MRI of his brain to make sure there isn't any new bleeds or anything. Labs are normal again today. Maybe it just takes time to recover from the seizures before?? David is getting moved to a new room for insurance purposes but same unit. I guess the new room is licensed differently even though it is exactly the same. Weird. It's weird to not be running around like crazy and having a lot of down time instead. Taking advantage of it and napping a lot! :) Pray for David's spirit that he would rest in the Lord and not be too discouraged. He still tries when I ask him to do something but somehow all his brain is telling his body to do is kick his leg and tense up his arms. Must be so frustrating for him!

1/26/13 (Rachel Hanson) I think David is starting to come back finally! Thank you all who have prayed unceasingly and joined in the roller coaster ride! The preliminary report from the MRI was good. Last night, David was really alert and was tracking well. This morning he cracked a tiny half smile to his favorite aide and has been giving thumbs up for yes. He was able to lift his right arm up for me too. Thanking the Lord for these "small" things. He was up in his chair for a couple hours this morning and is tuckered out...sleeping soundly! :)

1/31/13 (Rachel Hanson) Every inch of recovery in brain healing is slow...very slow. But the good news is David is improving again! He's been really tired lately but he still puts 100% into everything he does. He still isn't swallowing well but it could be due to his spasticity medication so the docs are decreasing it since his spasticity is much better than last week. He's pointing his index finger for no again and moving his right arm up towards his face again. They are planning to take his NG tube out next week and replace it with a stomach tube unless he miraculously starts eating by mouth really well before then. He gets to go back to his old room tomorrow because they think he's ready for full-time rehab again and less medical emphasis...which is good. The Lord is good to those who wait. I struggle with patience in waiting in faith for what God is doing in my husband or in others through this. I was telling the Lord the other day that some days I just don't have even a mustard seed of faith but He responded with "...Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." Hebrews 12:2 All I have to do is look up and He'll do the rest. It's a peaceful restful place to be...the everlasting arms. David's family is here again so I get to relax in knowing he is not lonely if I need to get things done outside the hospital. :)

To contact David Hanson's family, please use the e-mail familyofdavidhanson@gmail.com