Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dennis turns 52!

Dennis’s big 52nd birthday came and I had planned a surprise birthday party at our house.  I’m not sure it was a big surprise when I started shampooing carpets and cooking but we still had a great time.  Karaoke and good food with our great friends of course!

Friday, July 29, 2011


Spring rolled around and in April my little brother and our best friend’s son were getting married…..on the same day… different towns.  Now, taking Dennis anywhere is a big deal, but taking Dennis to two weddings in two towns is a bigger deal.  I cried when I found out because I was not going to miss either one but I knew we wouldn’t get to really enjoy either.  Once again, you suck it up and do the best you can.  So, we went to my little brother’s in the afternoon

and went to Grant and Dianna’s in the evening.  Although we didn’t get to party until the wee hours, we did get to see the two weddings and I was happy. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011


In February of 2010 we went to the Indian Creek Winery for the Valentine’s Day Dinner with our core group of friends.  Haley Carlisle and Jeff Eischen chaperoned us and we had the best time.  Our group loves karaoke and guess what?  They had a machine there right by our table.  We saw some friends we had not seen in awhile and it was good to get out and about. Winter gets long and the cold really messes with Dennis’s neck muscles. That month Dennis also went to a meeting at the the Sandra Beasley Independent Living Assoc. and it was very informative.  Out of that meeting he met with a social worker in Alva.On March 14 Dennis talked at Fresh Start Fellowship church again and this time he brought Haley to sing also. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fall and Winter 2009

Fall came and then the holidays and everything was really going very well.   We had a quiet Thanksgiving as our daughter went to Illinois with her boyfriend.  I found out I don’t like sharing!  After that we talked at our daughter’s  Respiratory Therapy class and showed them his pacemaker.  It was very different talking outside a Christian atmosphere.  Our small town has a Christmas parade and Dennis and I went to it this year.  It is always very festive and a neat thing to do during the holidays.   We had a great Christmas and a great New Years Eve with friends. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Honey Creek :)

I can’t begin to tell you the flood of emotions that come over Dennis and I when we topped the hill and saw sailboat bridge.  I almost started crying but I knew I had to hold it together for Dennis.  This was going to be tough on one hand and awesome on another.  Yes, we were back at the place we love most, but he wouldn’t be jumping on the jet ski and going up Honey Creek.  He wouldn’t be going out at 6:00 in the morning to barefoot or just go out and drink his coffee with the ducks. It was going to be an emotional homecoming and once again I knew I had to hold it together.  I think that is the hardest thing in being a caregiver, because you have these same emotions but you have to be strong for your loved one.  My heart was breaking because I wanted him to go jump on the jet ski.  But, we were taking baby steps and we had to put one foot in front of the other. 
We couldn’t have asked for a better weather, Thank you God!  One day we got Dennis on a pontoon boat so he could get on the water.  We have some amazing, patient friends.  The next day we pulled the swimming dock over and got Dennis on the big dock.  It was a great vacation and we couldn’t have done it without the help and love from our friends.  Our daughter Whitney and her friend Nick got to come for a couple of days.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

All systems Go!

We started the pacing after a day of rest.  Dennis would go 10 minutes on the pacer and one hour on the vent.  We would add 5 minutes at a time and he got up to 45 minutes very fast.  For someone whose diaphragm has been sitting there for 3 years he did amazingly well.  It wasn’t long until he was going all day and on the vent at night.  This was in May and June of 2009.  July was suddenly approaching and we were going back to Grand Lake, the place we love so much.  Just the thought almost made we cry.  I started packing early because there was a lot of packing to do for this trip.  We couldn’t wait to get going

Friday, July 22, 2011

Brief delay

My husband is in the hospital this week so I will not be posting.  The good part is I will be posting about this experience in the future!  Cheri

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dr Onders

Photo of Dr. Raymond P. Onders

Mention Dr. Raymond Onders, and you’ll likely get a quizzical flash of recognition, “Isn’t he the guy who operated on Superman?”

Yeah, Onders is that guy, the University Hospitals doctor who implanted a diaphragm pacing device in paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve in February 2003.

News of the operation captured the attention of broadcast and print media around the globe. Reeve and his wife, Dana, were vocal advocates for spinal cord research and became the unofficial faces of the pacing device — and Onders’ work with it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Diaphragmatic Pacemaker

We stayed the first night in the ICU and the next day Mary Jo trained Max and I about the pacemaker.  I am putting a picture and telling a little bit about the pacemaker so you can get the idea of how it works.

A diaphragmatic pacemaker, in medicine, is a surgically-implanted device used to help patients breathe following complications from spinal cord injuries. The device works through pacing of the diaphragm.
In patients with a diaphragmatic pacemaker, their breathing is helped by setting the respiratory rate by electrical stimulation (pacing) of the phrenic nerve. The pacing is accomplished via electrodes surgically implanted into the diaphragm, which is controlled by the phrenic nerve.
Diaphragm pacing stimulates a normal breath response as follows: when an electrical current is passed through the electrodes, the diaphragm contracts, expanding the chest cavity, causing air to be sucked into the lungs (inspiration). When the nerve is not stimulated, the diaphragm relaxes and air moves out of the lungs (expiration

That little box in the middle cost $30,000.00, and you have to have two of them!

Monday, July 18, 2011


We got to the airport and everyone helped us load up.  Max had designed something to help get Dennis up to the plane but it still was a job.  The flight was good (as good as in a small plane gets).  I had a book on my IPOD so I was good to go.  We landed and there we a handful of men there to help us unload.  We drove to our hotel and got to see Cleveland which I thought was going to be awful, but I was very surprised.  The part of the city we went through was very nice.  We drove through little Italy and then to downtown where our hotel was.  It was right across from where the Cavaliers play.  We went to the hospital to run our test and we had a little setback.  The right side was good but there was very little movement in the left side.  They went ahead and scheduled our surgery but they made it clear it would not go through if they got in there and there wasn’t any movement.  I was so scared for a moment and I could feel the fear coming up inside of me. I looked at Max and he put his arm around me and said the Lord had brought us this far we have to trust Him We HAD come so far and I wanted this so bad for Dennis.  We called home and had our prayer warriors start praying and we started praying.  Mary Jo was our nurse and she helps Dr. Onders with all the pacemaker patients.  She saw a little bit of movement on the left side and she jumped on it.  So they went ahead and did the procedure.  Mary Jo came out after they had the left side done and told us that it was successful and now they could do the good side.  Thank You Jesus was all I could say!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Got a date with Cleveland

The third anniversary of Dennis’s accident came and we really didn’t have much time to dwell on it because of all the Cleveland preparation.  We had to make sure the plane had gas, we had to have a van when we got to Cleveland, we had to have a room in Cleveland etc.  When you are on a vent, you have to take the vent and a battery and a charger for that battery.  Then we had to take the lift and the wheelchair and so on and so on.  The man we were borrowing the plane from had just had all the woodwork redone and so we had to bubble wrap everything so we would not scratch anything.  The time was here and we were ready! (sort of).  Have I mentioned I don't like small aircraft??

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting ready for Cleveland

My mom had a much needed back surgery and my aunt Rubena had come up to help out.  She gave my mom some rest and the day she was leaving we were getting ready to grill steaks and my daddy fell and broke his hip.  It was never a dull moment around my house.  Daddy wasn’t doing so well and we had to put him in the Fairview nursing home which really made it hard on my mom.  She felt like she had to go back and forth.  It is very hard to watch your big strong daddy getting frail and weak.  He was at a point where he didn’t really know if it was a nursing home or a hospital and he slept most of the time. Meanwhile we were still getting ready for Cleveland and we had one of Dennis’s brother’s acquaintances let us use his plane and pilot.  We had financial support coming in all over from the greatest people.  At last we had a date and started getting prepared.


We started the new year getting everything ready for the pacemaker.  By February we had contacted Cleveland and Dr Onders.  He is the doctor who pretty much pioneered the way for this particular pacemaker.  Christopher Reeves went to that hospital and also had Dr. Onders.   We were getting excited but we had to line up transportation to and from Houston.  Dennis and I had never stayed away from home and we would be staying one night in a motel and one night in the hospital.  But we kept going knowing that God was in control of this situation and we put our trust in Him.  We had a few setbacks in the health area and ended up spending the night in St Anthony’s in OKC.  It’s all part of living with a spinal cord injury and most people feel it’s better to send a patient on to a larger hospital.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Christmas 2008 and New Years 2009

Fall arrived and I did some Christmas shopping in OKC with my daughter.  I didn’t have light on my house for the first time in 28 years and you know what?  It was fine.  Since we had our patio room I needed to decorate a little more anyway.  Dennis’s mom started looking online for a breathing pacemaker that would take the place of his vent.  We had been to websites that people had them and they looked awesome.  There were two different kinds and we didn’t really know which one was best.  We were going to do more research.  But, it was Christmas and we had to get ready for the holidays.  Our Sunday School class went to Stillwater to Larry and Beth Beeby’s house for Christmas dinner and we all had a great time. Christmas and New Year’s came and went and we were getting excited about getting a new pacemaker.  We found out that Medicare would cover the pacemaker so now we really had to get the ball rolling.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The July Blues

Summer came and once again July L,  The Grand Lake Blues.  We just had to keep a stiff upper lip and we had to keep remembering all the things we are thankful for.  Even with all that said it still does not soften the hurt of not getting to go to the place we love.  A pity party of sorts always comes.  You think of how unfair it is that everyone you know gets to go do something fun but you don’t.  I know Dennis feels bad I can’t go and I feel bad that he can’t jump on the jet ski and go down the creek like he loves.  But, as we have well learned by now God gets you through one day at a time.  He gives you grace for the day and then the next and then the next.  August came and Max took Dennis to the car show downtown and he got to visit with a lot of people he hadn’t seen in awhile.  It reminded me of sitting in Houston reading about the car show in the paper and being so homesick. We went to the car cruise that evening and had a great time.  Nothing beats being downtown in Fairview with friends on a hot summer night

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We are here!

I am going on vacation for a week to enjoy the scorching heat with some friends I love dearly!  See ya soon.....

Friday, July 8, 2011

2nd year anniversary and Dennis turns 50

The 2nd anniversary of the accident and Dennis turns 50!  Once again we had a party at Debbie and Max’s.  We felt it was a celebration because there were some days we didn’t think he would see this birthday.  We had a group of friends celebrate with us and we all had a great time.  We thanked everyone that had helped us over the 2 years we had been home.  Our family had made amazing sacrifices and our friends were beyond awesome.  Our faith was stronger than ever and we had two years together under our belt.  I always looked at Dennis and knew that not every man could have gone through what he had and be as faith filled and loving as he was.  He is a truly inspiring man of God.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

New Addition

In April Dennis’s lungs were healthy enough that he got to quit taking his breathing treatments.  It’s always nice when you get to go off of something.  The breathing treatments were three times a day and you have to sit there and breathe in albuteral for about 15 minutes.  That was one less thing he had to do now and it was one less medical expense.  We started building on an addition to our house around February.  By we I mean Larry, Dennis’s dad.  We were adding a sun room where our porch was.  It would be a nice place for Dennis to go and watch the birds and squirrels.  By the first of May we were almost finished and Larry had some helpers come over and lay the flooring.  Now the cellar would be on the inside of the house.  Although it didn’t do us a lot of good since Dennis can’t get down there.  But we had it just in case.  It was a nice addition and Dennis enjoyed it.  Things were starting to get set in place and our life was kind of getting back on a normal (as normal as it can get) track.  It is true that time heals a lot of wounds and although there were moments that a memory would come back or something would trigger a memory, the sadness and grief were finally being lifted and it felt like I could breathe again.