Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has been checking this blog. There has been an average of 530 individuals per day checking the blog; with peaks as high 950! While not everyone chooses to leave a comment the fact that you care enough to check everyday (and for some of you more than once) means a great deal to us. We feel your prayers and feel completely loved. You all are important to us...even those who we have not yet met. Thank you for walking with us through this. You are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mellow and Jello

Mike has had his share of ups and downs in the last couple days, and today felt like more of the same. He is in a different bed, one with a window that looks into the side of another building, and still in the same ward. While Mike is scheduled to move out of the ICU as soon as there is a bed available, he is receiving good care right now and is in no rush to leave the ICU. We also heard from another family going through a similar situation that the care in the other ward is not very good because the nurses are overworked. Mike is also on a waiting list for the Glenrose, but there is some concern that his burns have not healed enough for him to leave the UofA hospital. This may not be a factor as there is no room in the Glenrose right now, but pray that his burns would heal fast and that they would not keep him from moving to the Glenrose.

Mike was doing some physiotherapy today. They helped him exercise his legs and arms and were helped him as he began learning how to support himself as he does not have control of the muscles in his torso. They are pleased with what he can do now and are optomistic about the strength that Mike will be able to regain. It's still hard for MIke though as he tries to grasp his limitations. In the midst of these struggles, Mike's humour still shines through. Mom and him were laughing, to the point of tears, over JELLO. I wasn't there, and I really don't understand it either, but it is good to hear about moments of hysterical laughter. We all need those.


Mike has been on a rollercoaster for the last couple of days. He is healing well which is an answer to prayer. He has also started to do some physical therapy. This has been really hard psychologically. He is beginning to deal with the reality of his lack of function. This has made for some tearful days. Up until now he has not really had to think about his trunk and legs not working but as he is recovering he can now see and touch them. I can't imagine what is going on in his head.

Please continue to pray for Mike:
  1. Hard moments he will face as he thinks about his reality and his future.
  2. He gets into rehab as fast as he can, as the care in the next ward he will be in is overworked. (4-6 patients per nurse)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

(Painful) Progress

Just a quick update of Mike's day:

Mike's fever seems to be under control and the doctor's don't think his burns are showing any signs of infection. They will still watch closely, but have reassured us that Mike's temp now is normal for him.

He was sitting up in the afternoon today and got to go out and see some of the people that aren't allowed in the ICU. It was good for him, but at times it can also be draining. The doctors really want him to start sitting up more and getting used to that again. He does not need to wear the neck brace at all times now because there is no fear of him re-injuring his spinal cord. His neck is very sore and most neck movement results in pain, but he does need to exercise and stretch those muscles. Pray that he can do this with less pain than he was feeling today.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

From Mom

I always knew I had much to be proud of in my three boys but the past week has proven that they are beyond what even I could have imagined. To see their strength of character, their solid faith and their unwavering love for each other humbles me and I feel privileged to be their mom.

The difficult things about today:
->Mike had a fever and was not feeling well. They were able to bring his temperature down but doctors looked at possible sources of infection.
->Doctors are still concerned about his burns. They are changing the dressings twice a day and watching them carefully.
->I ache inside when Mike seems discouraged. With all he has gone through, having a set back, even a minor one, it can be heart wrenching.

The good things about today:
->Mike had a tremendous, deep sleep this afternoon. (Things always seem better after a good sleep!)
->He ate well today and swallowing is getting easier.
->They had Mike sitting in a chair for a couple of hours this evening.
->He still has the most gorgeous, melt-your-heart smile.

Thank you so much for your comments on this site. The words of encouragement and love surround us daily. Michael is overwhelmed by your support! Thank you also for all the cards, gifts and food. They are like little treasures when the day seems dark and your love cushions us when we feel like falling. It is wonderful to have such great family and friends. Thank you.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Burns.... and a Friday Update

We haven't talked much about Mike's burns as they have kind of flown under the radar. While he was trapped in the truck he had anti-freeze dripping on his leg and pooling in his shoe. That has left him with burns on his leg and foot; the worst being on his heel (3rd degree). They have not been concerned up to this point but decided to open the blisters this week. Most of the burns seem to be healing well except for the heel. Please keep this in your prayers as we would rather not have to go down the skin-graft road.

***Update*** (from Matt)

I know how much people seem to check this blog looking for updates, so I will do my best to appease the masses. I had to chuckle at the pun on "heel" in your post Steve. Sorry if I seem too happy, but I had a great night with Mike. We got to watch Lost and I had a great time listening to him talk while he slept. The Codeine gives him really vivid dreams that he usually acts out. Luckily for him, they seem to be quite harmless endeavors. For instance, while he was sleeping, he lifted up his right arm and reached across the bed. While he did this, he talked about how he needed to "pass" something. He then moved his arm back and promptly woke up with a smile. When we asked him what he was doing he replied that he was taking a cigar from Dad and passing it to a girl who was complaining about him getting ashes on her bed. I realize that makes no sense at all, and so does Mike, but you can't help but laugh at the absurdity of his dreams. I've listened to Mike get shutdown by a girl he was trying to pick up, try to sell the game MindBender door to door, and explain that "Stook was not a video game, it's a card game." He sure gets around in his dreams. I figure that it is important to share the fun times along with the not-so-good ones.

So that brings me to the not-so-good. Mike didn't feel great today. He did eat lots, but he was really tired out and in pain today. It didn't help that he started to run a temperature later in the day. By the time I left tonight his temperature was back to normal levels though. Recovering from surgery isn't going to be a piece of cake for Mike. These last couple days have been really tiring for him so pray that he gets a great sleep tonight and during the nights following.

And to update on the burns:

After talking to the plastic surgeons, it seems like Mike probably won't need skin grafts. They don't want to create another area that needs to heal by doing the skin graft. A skin graft does not look any better than a normal scar, it just provides the skin cells to an area where there were none to grow. Mike does have enough healthy skin around the burns to fully heal without skin grafts. Mike's burns (mostly his heel) won't fully heal for 4-6 weeks. Until they heal, this requires the nurses to change his dressings every day. Normally, this would be painful and not being able to walk on your foot for that long would be hard. But Mike's condition makes that news somewhat bittersweet. I would rather Mike be walking, but the lack of more pain is still a positive.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Rant

I understand that God has purpose, but could it have been fullfilled any other way? Why does it have to happen to Mike? Why does such a loving God heal so many people in scripture, as well as today, and still not improve Mike's situation in any way? In fact he lets it get worse. Don't get me wrong, I still trust that God is above all and that he knows better, but I still don't agree.


God, if you wanted the glory couldn't we think of another way? If you wanted him to learn something or for me to trust you more, couldn't we have come up with something that didn't involve so much being taken away from Mike? I know that to you the heart is more important than any physical body but that is so hard to understand when it is Mike we are talking about.


Is there a chance though, that God didn't choose for this to happen? Maybe this is nothing more than a fallen world where bad stuff happens. There doesn't seem like there could be anything that could happen in Mike's future that would make any of the pain "worth it". So maybe it didn't happen on purpose. Maybe it just happen because bad stuff happens. God doesn't stop every bad thing from happening but in the midst of it all he still loves us and stands next to us.

I trust God with all my heart. I know he hasn't left Mike or me or my family but I can't agree with how everything currently stands. It isn't fair; Mike doesn't deserve it. But when it comes down to it, that is an issue between God and I. The only real way to get over that is to take it up with Him. No one else can really answer my questions or my frustration.

Post Op

Mike just got out of surgery although we haven't talked to him yet. Everything seems OK and hopefully we will be able to talk to the doctors and Mike soon (it sounded like it would be about 30-40 mins). There is not much to update with at this point, but everything looks like it went as planned.


OK. We've seen MIke and he is doing very good considering he just had surgery on his neck. They did not have to keep Mike intabated (assisted breathing with a tube) so that is an answer to prayer. Mike is talking and can have ice chips at this point, but no food or water until the anasthetic wears off. He has no pain in his neck right now because he is no longer in traction. That may change as some of the drugs wear off from surgery, but right now Mike is doind great pain wise. He is in a collar that does keep his jaw fairly shut, but he can still talk. He is on a 30 degree incline right now and they will be taking an x-ray to make sure nothing has shifted. They will continue to angle him up and take x-rays for the next couple days. Then hopefully Mike will be able to sit up and see everyone. Everything went very well, thank you all for your prayers.

I will try to update this again tonight if we get a chance to talk to the doctors and get any more information.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Surgery Tomorrow

Tomorrow's the day. Mike is going in for neck surgery at 7:20 (9:20 Eastern) tomorrow (Thursday) morning. The doctor's have reassured us that this surgery is not incredibly invasive, but they are reconstructing the bones in his neck. He should be out of surgery some time around Noon and hopefully we will be able to update people soon after this. This should be great for Mike as it will remove him from traction and allow him to sit up. Even allowing him to sit up will help his ability to eat, drink, and it should really help his morale. The stability in his neck that this surgery will provide should allow Mike to more freely move his arms and neck without fear of re-injury. To clarify: This surgery should not affect his nerves or provide any more feeling to his body, it is being done to stabilize his neck. As well, the doctors have told us that there is nothing they can do, by surgery or other means, to repair the damage done to his spinal cord. That ball is in God's court now.

Please pray that the doctor's will have wisdom and do an amazing job tomorrow with the surgery. Also, pray that Mike has a speedy recovery and that he does not have to be on a respirator for very long after the surgery. This is going to be a big day for Mike and a big step on the road to recovery.

Mike: The Early Years

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Please pray! Mike had a bad night last night and lost feeling in his hands. They are unsure if this is due to swelling or if it is permanent damage. Please pray that this is not permanent as Mike already has so little and doesn't need to loose more. The doctors are doing xrays to find out more.

Please Lord, let him keep his hands.


We talked to the doctor today about Mike's new loss of feeling. Mike has reduced function in his hands and some loss of sensation in his upper chest. His hand movement is slow compared to what it used to be and he has lost much of his strength in his hands. After the x-rays, the doctor's told us that there is no new damage to the spinal cord and the reduced function is probably due to swelling. This makes them hopefull that what Mike lost today he will regain some time in the future. However, the doctor's did not seem to have a great idea of what actually happened to make Mike loose this sensation. Because there was no movement of the bones and no new damage, the surgury will almost certainly happen on Thursday.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sodium? Who needs it!

Mike was doing well today. There was a little scare with some of the nurses last night. Apparently they were worried about Mike's Sodium levels (and the complications of low sodium). They wouldn't let Mike have much for water or ice after that which was hard for him, but the doctor this morning said that everything is fine with his levels and he can have as much water or fluids or any other food as he wants. It's too bad his doctor isn't there 24/7! His skin has dried out some, and this has made him rather itchy, but I think the Vasiline that my Mom covered him in should help. Aparently it does the best job of holding the moisture in, and that's exactly what we need.

They are still trying to manage his pain; his mood cycles along with his pain medication. Hopefully tomorrow will be much better for pain. Mike was eating more food today. It is good to see him improving each day. I don't think it was mentioned previously in this blog, but Mike did sustain some burns to his leg from anti-freeze. While they look serious, the doctor's say that most, if not all of them, will heal and not require skin grafts. Mike can't feel any of them, and right now, it is a blessing.

It is amazing to hear and read the stories connecting Mike to others (keep 'em coming!). Thank you all for being a part of Mike's life.

I like posting pictures of Mike for those who don't know him personally. But, they can't all be smiles for you to get the whole picture of who Mike is...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fruit and Donuts, A Winning Combination

Today was a good day for Mike, he got to eat some solid food. It mostly consisted of small pieces of fruit and some pieces of donut. Not bad for his first day on food. Mike was excited when I brought a DVD with TV shows on it for him today, so we spent some time getting caught up on Lost and Prison Break. It was weird when Mike tried to make sure that I was comfortable with my head over on his bed as I tried to watch Lost with him. He was trying to do all he could to accommodate me even while he was in pain and uncomfortable. I guess it just shows you what kind of a man Mike is.

Mike didn't have a great night yesterday, so somebody will be with him all night tonight. He was having some weird dreams and nightmares and likes having somebody there when he wakes up. His pain was decreased today... I think it was because of the morphine. The nurse explained to Mike that they want him to be free from pain and not just at a tolerable level. He asked for more pain meds and he was feeling a lot better today because of that I think. Hopefully we can get Mike on a cycle of medication that will free him from most of the pain that he is experiencing now.

Pray for increased strength for Mike as he continues his new diet as he will need strength for the surgery that will most likely take place on Thursday. They are going to be either fusing the bones in his neck or using a rod to secure all the bone fragments. This will prevent any re-injury and allow Mike to be taken off traction. We don't have many answers yet as to what exactly is going to happen on Thursday, or what the road to recovery looks like, but we do know that God is still in control and with our faith in him we don't have to worry.

Support From a Friend

An old friend of mine has set up a paypal account to help with cost Mike may incure. If you are interested please visit (top right side of the page). Thanks Doug.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Don’t Stop

I heard from my sister-in-law today the importance of the consistent support. So many people have not known what to do or say and that’s okay, but don’t let it keep you from sending Mike a note. We have had about 400 original visitors to this blog and even just that has been a big deal for him. We have been reading the comments to him every morning and he has really appreciated it. Don’t stop sending them, even if it’s the same message. He needs to know you are still there. Still thinking and praying. We all love him. Let’s make sure he doesn’t doubt it for a second.

I know that many of you don't know him personally, but don't let that discourage you from sending a note. He has been moved by people he doesn't even know, just because they took the time to comment. Thank you for all your love and support.

Hospital Food Never Sounded So Good, But Maybe We Will Drink First!

Today was a good day. Mike was starting to drink more today. They have been worried about his lungs but his breathing has been good. He has been doing his breathing exercises and has stayed out of trouble. They told him this morning that he could drink anything he wanted and if someone would go get it he could even have a Booster Juice (a fruit smoothie). One of his buddies went down the street to get it for him. He was pretty excited to get something in his stomach. Almost too excited. He had about an inch of it and was full. He hasn’t ate for a couple days. He said he enjoyed it but should have probably taken it a little slower.

A couple of people got him an early Birthday present (June 12th). We figured he would love to watch some of his movies so we got him a portable DVD player. He LOVED it. He said he is excited to catch up on some of the shows he is missing, but Matt is going to have to record and burn them for him. As I’m typing this he has got the player propped up on a table and is watching “A Beautiful Mind”. It kind of washes out the mundane of the ICU.

The nurses have said that tomorrow they are going to be starting him on solid foods. His cousin actually works here at the hospital and got to prepare his meal personally. Sounds like oatmeal is on the menu! Praise God for this good news, and keep praying for him.

The Mike We Know

Sleep, sleep, sleep

Mike made up on a lot of sleep today. After dinner he was out. He woke up a couple of times. I was talking to him around 8 when I looked up for 30 seconds he passed out (not in a bad way). And I couldn't wake him again. He slept almost straight through till 11:30. Sleep is so good for him! He says it "hurts less".

It sounds like his break is in the C7 area as he has good hand movement with a little trouble touching his pinky. He is feeling a little nerve pain in his arms.

He is still holding up well. We took a couple pictures. But don't worry, he still has his smile.

He's awake but his eyes are closed
Eyes open

Please note that these pictures can be hard to see. View at your own discretion. Know that it is still the same Mike on the inside.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mike's Words

It took a while to find him today as they had moved him over night. He moved from his private room to one with three other people. He said that last night one of the other patients was having some kind of seizure and he was so curious! He was said he was annoyed that he couldn't look. Curious Michael!

He said that today he is pretty sore and that it was only today that he realized that his whole body had been beaten up. He said he was kind of glad he couldn't feel anything other than his arms or he could feel a lot worse.

We printed off some pictures of him with family & friends. He liked them. We also read some of the comments to him. He said that they meant a don't stop sending them!

He is doing pretty well. Keep him and his pain in your prayers.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Brother Like No Other

Mike is one of the coolest guys I’ve ever known. And this is the hardest thing to see him go through. What we understand now is that he has broken his neck and has a base skull fracture. He has no feeling below his nipples but has movement of his arms and hands. He is still pretty beat up from the accident so it is tough to tell what pain is from being thrown around in the truck and what is from the back/neck injury. He’s a trooper though. He is making jokes and even leading the conversation at times.

For those of you who do not yet heard about the accident this is what we know. They were traveling on the major highway between home a work when the driver of the truck, Cody, fell asleep and drifted across the center line narrowly avoiding a head on collision with a semi-trailer coming in the opposite direction. Once completely through the lane the driver woke up and tried to steer the truck away from the ditch. The truck then began to roll. Mike had been sleeping up to this point, reclining in his chair (buckled up). The truck rolled multiple times and came to a rest on its hood. Mike was trapped in the truck for a couple of hours. He told me today that that time upside down in the truck was the hardest experience he has ever had. He was trapped and was having major difficulty breathing. The jaws of life arrived, he was rescued and they then flew him to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.

He is currently sleeping next to me with a tracker going from just above the ear, over the head, to just above the other ear. It is attacked to his skull and has a twenty pound weight pulling his neck straight. He will probably have to stay like this for the next several days as the swelling goes down and as they wait for the scheduled surgery.

The biggest prayer requests right now are the following:

1. His lungs stay as stable as they are and that he doesn’t have to be on a respirator.
2. That he gains more strength in his hands and arms.

We know that God is still with us. And that he is writing his story as we speak.