Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spontaneous breathing trial, June 30

Dad was very restless today. He tried to ask all sorts of questions, but due to the ventilator tube and the drugs, we had a very difficult time understanding him. It must be incredibly frustrating for him. When he is able to get his point across, though, he lets everyone know how happy he is. At one point he kept lifting his arms, which were fastened to the bed to prevent him from tugging at the ventilator tube. After a few minutes of trying to decipher his hand gestures, we finally guessed that he just wanted us to unfasten the ties on his arms. As soon as we did, he lifted both arms as high as he could and stretched them out. He smiled, gave his signature thumbs-up sign, and then he even did a little dance with his hands!

The respiratory specialist did a spontaneous breathing trial with him today. Essentially, they remove all ventilator support for thirty minutes and they observe how well he breathes on his own. He performed wonderfully. It won't be long before they can permanently remove the breathing tube.

During the breathing trial, Dad's mom (we call her 'Gabby') started singing old-timey love songs to him. In that moment, I saw my father as a son. I doubt I'll ever forget the sacred feeling of perceiving the connection between them as she sang her encouragement to her son, and I knew from his eyes that it was working. It reminded me of many times with my own mother, and the thought that I'll never have that experience again was replaced with the thought that, yes, I will have that experience again, but in a very different way.

I apologize if I'm getting too sentimental. I try to stick to the facts, but sometimes the facts are pretty beautiful.


  1. What a beautiful post this evening. I love hearing how your Dad is doing, but the personal message touched my heart. Thank you for keeping this blog updated. I check it several times during the day. God Bless you all!!

  2. Thank you so much for your inspirational post. You are doing such a wonderful job as a spokesman. I grew up with your mother in Modesto and took voice lessons from your grandmother Pat for many years. I was at BYU in choir with your mom and a bridesmaid for your parent's wedding. Your father called me to be the cornerstone choir director for the Sacramento Temple and I had many meetings with your mom and dad. They are both Celestial people and your mother will be greatly missed. She was a beautiful person in so many ways. She taught my daughter Sarah voice lessons and I enjoyed the time in your home with your mom. Your family is in our thoughts and prayers.

    Thank you so much for all that you are doing keeping up this blog. I check it everyday and think of your lovely family. We appreciate you and God Bless!
    Marlene Stephens Astle

  3. Oh what a blessed moment for you. Please never apologize for the beauty that you feel or the sentiment that just comes in waves. We are truly blessed to hear from you.

    Your Gabby (my aunt Gail) is such a beautiful person and I'm so glad that she and Kent were able to have that moment together. I promise there will be other moments as sacred and special in the future. My own mom, your Gabby's sister, Donna Hilton Gardner, died at age 53 when I was 19 so the tales of the ventilator and breathing treatments are all too familiar. But what I know is that Heavenly Father makes up the difference and visits you with peace, love and understanding that you never could have imagined as the plan of salvation takes on a whole new meaning.

    Your mother is SO proud of how you are all handling this and loves you more than she can say.
    With love, Jennie (Gardner) Savage

  4. Thanks for sharing the tender moments. For those of us so far away it brings the space closer. The Lord's tender mercies make it easier to be separated, for time. I can only imagine what the reunion will be like. Please know how much you are all loved and in our prayers.
    With love,
    Mike & Marie Godfrey

  5. Thank you for keeping this blog and letting us know (many of us strangers to you), how you and your Dad are doing. It has been sad, and good to know what is going on. The gospel and faith does give us strength.

    Your post last night was especially so touching. I can remember your grandma's beautiful voice from the old YV ward. This is where I met your family as a youth convert.

    Amazing how through the time, we can all stay in contact. So many people love your family and care very deeply.

    Lynn Hampton
    Linden, CA

  6. Dan,

    NEVER apologize for thoughts of your mom or getting sentimental. I can't imagine what you have been going through and it's extremely emotional. I appreciate your loving thoughts as well as the facts. You guys are constantly in our prayers.

    Thank you

  7. Daniel:

    What a lovely, inspiring message about your grandmother singing to your Dad! I love how you perceived it and related it to you and your mom!
    It is amazing to me how at difficult times like this the light from Heaven can come streaming down and touch our hearts with joy.

    Thank you for sharing that. Your family is in our prayers daily. Give your love to your dad for us! We are pleased to hear of his progress.

    I keep hearing that pioneer tune in my head "all is well, all is well" And with the Lord, we know that is true even in difficult circumstances. Your family is an example of faith and fortitude!!

    Love and prayers, Jeri and Richard Mork

  8. Yes, sometimes the facts are very beautiful! We cared for my dad in his last days while he was on a ventilator....very frustrating at times and glorious when we all understood. That time with him was precious and I'll be ever grateful for the opportunity to serve and observe him and see the Lord's work.

    You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for sharing

    With love and our constant prayers,
    Dan and Carolyn Andrew

  9. We are all hanging on to your every word on this blog, as we pray and stand vigil in our own hearts and homes for your wonderful family. I agree that your sentiments and moments of emotion are what stand out the most (the postive medical facts are highlights as well and certainly uplifting and inspiring)- but it's the personal moments of reflection, feeling the Spirit and feeling your parents souls and Spirits even through such trying times. These experiences help get me through MY days. Thank you for keeping up this blog. We continue to pray for our dear Stake President and his family.

    Stacy Rogers
    El Dorado Hills

  10. Dan

    I know this must be very difficult for you as many of us are strangers to you. You should always remember that many of us love your family and want to be there for you all now. I enjoy your comments keep them coming.

    I am sure there are many of us that check this blog daily because we want to read what you have to share with us. Thanks again for keeping us informed.

    Ron, Laurie, Rosser and RJ Henry
    Folsom 4th Ward

  11. Daniel:

    Thank you for this beautiful post. All of us who read, are encouraged and heartened by your Dad's improvement. I appreciate your willingness to be "sentimental." Any of us could experience such a life-altering accident and I, for one, have really stopped to think about how important it is to express our love for one another. Tell your "Gabby" hello. She is my Aunt Gail.

    Love, Kathi (Wood) Athey

  12. Quite beautiful. Thank you for sharing them. Love and prayers to all of you.

  13. Many thanks, Daniel, for sharing your heart along with your Dad's progress. We are grateful for the updates....and the encouraging news. We live just 3 doors east of your parents and have the highest regard for them and are so saddened by the loss of your beautiful mom. We're here when you need us....just give us a call. A special "hi" to your dad, and we've joined in the prayers for his speedy recovery and support for your family.

    Hugs and Blessings.....
    Al and Bev Stehli

  14. Dear Daniel,

    I can't begin to thank you enough for sharing with all of us how things are going. There has been a network of "old friends" calling and contacting each other to make sure everyone knows what is going on. Many prayers are being offered at this time and will continue for each of you. Your family is well loved.

    All of you are showing such great courage.
    I'm thrilled that you know you will hear your own mother's beautiful voice once again.

    What a marvelous visual image you shared of your grandmother. That's the way so many of us have always known her - a loving and faithful daughter of Heavenly Father, offering her best. Having walked down the road of losing her eternal companion to death at a "young age" (younger than we would have ever thought your grandpa would have been taken home,) she has been patiently enduring all these many years. Your grandmother's example has been far reaching.


    Rebecca Carter

  15. Your blog and comments, especially the sentimental ones, give us a picture of the divine love shared by your family. There are so many people, like myself, who do not know you personally, but are following this blog and praying for your family. Thank you for your efforts to keep us up to date on your father's condition and for sharing your special family with us. We all care very much about you and yours.

  16. Dan - there is no such thing as too sentimental. ;-) My mom passed away when I was a teenager, and envisioning the day when I will enjoy those sweet experiences again with her is what allows for joy even during this time of separation. Thanks so much for keeping us so well updated on your dad's progress. I really appreciate your efforts. Wishing you peace and many blessings!
    Kim Johnson
    Folsom Stake

  17. Dan, thank you for sharing this wonderful moment with us. I check your blog daily and imagine what goes on at the hospital, and the image I had in my mind today was a wonderful one. We all love your family and keep you in our prayers daily.
    Love, Carmen Held-Tauchar