Friday, February 11, 2011

Home at Last!

Michele has had a busy week. Her first night home was Wednesday, February 9th. That is 2 months and 1 day after the accident. She had about a month in Denver and a month at the Doak Walker Care Center. She is so excited to be home. Although she had great care at both facilities, there is just nothing like your own environment to speed up the healing process. My Steve brought a nice bottle of Silver Oak up to the Dunklin's house and we all celebrated her homecoming Wednesday. It was painful and exhausting for her the first night with the transport but she stuck to her pain medication timing. I would have given her drugs long before she was due, but she stuck it out till the allotted time - very strong and brave!  Sam was already busily replacing the kitchen sink as all of us talked about where she had been and how far she has come. Thursday was another travel day with a doctor and physical therapy appointment. Right now she is on her way to the High School to watch Zach's B-ball game (the first she has seen in a very long time). Her movements are slow and deliberate so there will be no walking without her walker, carrying anything, laundry, cooking, cleaning, or driving for some time. Her reaction time, pain medication, and healing of her wound and ribs will all play a factor in how fast she gets back to functioning on her own again. Right now she is just concentrating on healing.
Many people and  churches have been very generous with their food donations - thanks so much! I don't want to single anyone out in fear we will forget someone or don't make you feel as needed and necessary as all your donations of time, food, prayers, thoughts, visits, monetary donations, etc... have been, but I just have to say that Stevie D seemed really excited with the Spencer's thoughtfulness!  He is so thankful to all.
Michele is hoping to go to church on Sunday but the mornings are when she is in the most pain, we shall see what Sunday brings....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Walking all over the place...

Michele's sprits were very high today and she was walking all over the place while her room was getting spit shined clean. We went to the North wing and sat and chat for a bit then to her room (still getting cleaned) then to the physical therapy room where she rode the bike for 20 minutes then we walked back to her room (still getting cleaned) then down to the south wing where the pretty birds and the kitty all live then back to her room (still getting cleaned), but was almost beautiful, then back inside. She did all of this without the help of oxygen or any assistance. She has a brilliant red walker with wheels, brakes and a seat. Its really a lot more than an old fashion walker with no wheels and old tennis balls - its more like a powerful foreign sports car. We asked if she could borrow that one when she goes home. It may be a donated one and she can keep it till she needs only a cane. She had another right of passage moment today when the therapist took off her portable oxygen. She has been three days now with no oxygen.
The doctors still have not said 100% when the official going home date is but we are all under the impression it should be early this week. She sure is ready to be home and Steve even more so. I know he just wants his family under one roof. He had a joke in the ICU waiting room that he was sick of waiting since the very large acronym sign leading from the hallway of the ICU rooms to the ICU waiting room that read ICUwaiting. He was tired of Michele being in ICU now tired of her being at Doak. Everyone is thrilled she is going home soon. Hang in there Michele it won't be long!!!!
Tomorrow night is Diva at the Doak. She is so excited and has already requested a shower  so she can be pretty:) Speaking of pretty, she is ravishing. She looks like the old Michele minus a bunch of weight. She is a skinny-minnie now and although she has a lot of scarring on her mid section, her face is without a trace of the accident. Have fun on date night tomorrow night Michele & Steve! Thanks Diva in advance for tomorrow night - PS Michele likes her steaks medium while Stevie D is more on the rare side.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Just say "NO" to oxygen

I have great news again! know Matt's news article said Michele hopes to be out of the Doak by Valentine's day, but she is doing so great it may even be early next week, the doctors told her. In the last 24 hours she has been completely free of her oxygen and is doing quite well without it.  Soon you will see her out and about (well soon she will be transported home and will need weekly visits to her doctor to keep an eye on her progress and the leg wound.). Yesterday she had x-rays on her hip, lungs and ribs, but no report yet from the doctor on his findings. God is so good not just to save Michele but now a release is just around the corner.
In anticipation of Michele's release please remember to check in on the care calendar:
Euzoa Bible Church now has the Care Calendar up and running. Please check it out at:
     CALENDAR ID      :   64101
     SECURITY CODE :   4021

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No school today...

The biggest news in Steamboat today is the school was closed for the first time in over 20 years due to the temperatures dropping to -40 below. It was a stay at home day for most of us.
It is definitely looking like Michele should be released sometime the week of February 14th. The last hurdle is healing up the leg wound. The dressings still need to be professionally changed daily. Her physical therapy is taking her for long walks and even maneuvering around the kitchen at the Doak, so she can be more prepared for home.
Sam and Linda are preparing to make the journey out to help care for Michele and Sam's task is to install a new kitchen sink after he arrives.
Monday night is date night at the Doak. Cafe Diva is planning a wonderful 5 star meal for Michele, Steve and Zach. I can't wait to hear how that goes - Diva at the Doak, who would have imagined - this town is so awesome!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Care Calendar & More of the Interview....

Matt's article yesterday was great - he is a good reporter - thanks Matt!
There were several things that I learned from the interview I would like to mention as well.  Bryan Rickman who was the first official responder to Michele said when he arrived a couple was with Michele who were comforting her. They were doctors and married, I believe he said they were anesthesiologists, but not sure. If you are out there and have followed Michele's blog please know that the Dunklin family and all of her friends and relatives are so grateful you were there to keep her calm and comfort her.
Bryan also said one of  his off-duty guys was in the area when this took place and he came and helped on his day-off, by driving the ambulance, so Bryan could be in the back with Michele - thanks also to that fireman! Bryan said Michele was answering all her questions  - she said her back hurt and it was hard to breath - she told him her who husband was and where he worked - she was responsive and  talking the whole time to Bryan until they intibated (sp?) her at the hospital. We then all deduced God didn't want her in Heaven yet because he had not sound proofed her room. You all know one of the things we love most about Michele is that she is loud:)
Matt reported that Michele only remembers that she was coming home from Craig then the next memory is Stevie D. in her face. This part was pretty funny. Steve's concern is that  one day she will have these nightmares of his head in her face. Time will tell on that one.
She also has not wanted to know a lot about what happened to her body since she is concerned about nightmares and afraid if her memory comes back it will be too scary to relive. She heard more during the interview then she had previously known - especially the details of the impaled object. She knows in time she will want to know more, but for now she likes being in the dark of the gruesome details. Steve did say once she could speak when she was in the ICU,  her first concern and words were if anyone else was hurt. The answer is only one driver had a small cut to his thumb and was not taken to the hospital - God was truly with all involved. She has not read the blog yet, since she knows we tried to document everything for her. When she is ready it will be here for her. Jody Spradlin was at the interview with her husband Chris (pastor at Euzoa) and understands. She also said she would have liked to have known about what she missed when she lost her leg in an accident. For those of you who don't know Jody, she was hit by a drunk driver when she was a teenager. She is now armed or should I say legged with a mighty stick should Chris get out of line. I can only say this because I know Chris and Jody and they will be laughing - she has probably already threatened him with it.
God is my final thought for the interview. Although Michele gave credit to the men who saved her she emphatically gave the ultimate credit to God. Yes their faith is drastically increased due to living out these miracles, but she knew without God, Bryan or the doctors could not have done what they did.  As Michele gets better I tend not to be as reaching for your prayers and kind wishes nor do I talk about God and his role in all of this as much, but please keep her in your prayers and thoughts. It's like when you have a baby everyone comes and offers help in the beginning then a month later the new mom is faced with a crying eating pooping peeing machine. Where is the help then? Michele will certainly need our support for a very long time.  God is with her every step of every day and she needs Him - as we all do.
God, I don't mean to leave you out of the blog - we know you are just as much with Michele during her recovery phase as you were in saving her. If I forget to give you as much credit as you deserve its only because I am human and I know you have already forgiven me for my oversight, but just wanted you to know that. You know I tend to forget about you when things are going good - my bad. I am going to try harder to remember you in this blog and at all times:) Please stay with Michele to keep her spirits up, her attitude positive, and her will to strengthen her body  as strong as ever.... Thanks God!

 Also remember, the account at Vectra is still active - Steve would prefer I am sure not to mention this, since everyone is hurting financailly in this down economy, but I know the bills they are incurring are astronomical. Thanks!

Euzoa Bible Church now has the Care Calendar up and running. Please check it out at:
     CALENDAR ID      :   64101
     SECURITY CODE :   4021

The HELPER logon is used by family and friends
that would like to sign-up to help a loved one.

To access Steve & Michele Dunklin's personal CareCalendar site,
the following information in the appropriate spaces:

     CALENDAR ID      :   64101
     SECURITY CODE :   4021

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Steamboat Pilot & Today Article on Michele by Matt Stensland

I am sure all of Michele's Steamboat friends read Matt's article today in the Pilot - it was front page:) For all of Michele's family, friends and relatives outside of Steamboat,  here is Matt's article cut and pasted directly from the Pilot:  
Steamboat's Dunklins grateful for community support, ‘Michele’s miracle’
By Matt Stensland Saturday, January 29, 2011
Get updates on Michele Dunklin’s condition at
Steamboat Springs — Michele Dunklin walked outside the Doak Walker Care Center on Friday, closed her eyes, looked at the sun overhead and took in a deep breath.
“It feels very nice,” she said.
Before Friday, the last time the 47-year-old Steamboat Springs woman got to take in the mountain air was briefly on Jan. 10 when she was being transferred from an ambulance to the Doak, where she would continue her recovery from a near-fatal Dec. 8 head-on car crash.
Those who have cared for her have been astonished by her recovery. They call it “Michele’s miracle.” Dunklin has trouble grasping the generosity shown by her friends, family and the community as she recovers from the horrific wreck that has brought her family closer and affirmed her strong Christian beliefs. Rehab has been a daily battle. On Thursday, she climbed a flight of stairs for the first time since the crash. She hopes to return home in two weeks, where there are 22 steps, one for each of the ribs she broke.
Heroes at work
Dunklin credits two people for saving her life. The first is West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman, the first emergency responder on scene after Dunklin tried to pass a semitrailer on U.S. Highway 40 outside Hayden and hit a pickup head-on. Rickman on Friday described it as the worst wreck he had seen where everyone survived.
Dunklin was the only one injured in the crash, the force of which broke all but two of her ribs. A piece of her vehicle also had stabbed Dunklin in the side and hit several organs.
Dunklin’s condition was critical, and she needed a trauma surgeon. Instead of tediously extricating her from the car, Rickman lifted her off the piece of metal stabbing her and pulled her out the passenger door.
“She was talking like there was nothing wrong with her,” Rickman said.
Dunklin was answering questions and said her back hurt and she couldn’t breathe.
“We made one very quick trip to Steamboat, to say the least,” Rickman said.
After traveling the 30 miles to Yampa Valley Medical Center, Dunklin was rushed to the operating room, where she met her other hero, Dr. Alan Belshaw.
Assisted by Dr. Mark Hermacinski, Belshaw removed Dunklin’s spleen to stop the bleeding, closed a hole in her stomach, and repaired the lung and diaphragm.
“At one point in the operation, she bled so much that her heart was almost empty,” Belshaw said. “In just a few
minutes, we replaced her blood volume.”
The metal object had missed Dunklin’s heart by an inch.
“Everyone stepped up,” Belshaw said. “There wasn’t a lot of panic. It went very smoothly.”
The surgeons had repaired her life-threatening injuries, and Dunklin was flown to Denver Health medical center. Doctors there had planned to take her straight to the operating room, but no surgery was necessary, and Dunklin instead was taken to the intensive care unit.
Dunklin’s husband, Steve, manager at Cook Chevrolet and Subaru, arrived in Denver along with close friends and family. Michele occasionally would wake for a few seconds, and Steve would rattle off the names of the people who were there.
She remained in the ICU for most of three weeks and underwent numerous procedures.
Michelle Diehl, a close friend of the Dunklins’, set up a blog and updated it regularly to let friends and family know how Michele was doing. It included benchmarks such as when Michele took her first post-crash steps Dec. 23 and when Michele got to eat a burger and fries Jan. 2.
“The best part is that Michele is completely off the ventilator, trach and no more worry zone,” Diehl wrote. “We are going to be headed home soon!”
The blog provided some relief for Steve, who had been getting more than 100 text messages a day.
“It’s been really good because we have friends everywhere and family everywhere, so they were able to stay in touch,” Steve said.
Home in sight
Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, has special meaning for the Dunklins, who have been married 16 years. It is the day the two met and the day Michele might get to return home to Steve and their 14-year-old son, Zach. The family has only grown closer since the wreck.
“Ever since the accident, I realize how much I really enjoy hanging with you and dad,” Zach recently told his mother.
The couple’s love for each other was apparent as they exchanged words with tears and laughs Friday in a sunroom at the Doak.
“You have been a rock,” Michele said to Steve. “You’re my right hand. You’re my strength. You’re my other half. Without me I don’t know what you would do without me.”
The Dunklins are hoping for a full recovery. Michele said she looks forward to returning home and being around people, because she loves people. She wants to be home with her family and live a normal life again, which includes doing the laundry, a chore she loves and her husband appreciates.
“I was the one who suffered … but it was more of a test for you to see if you could do all the jobs I did,” Michele said to Steve.
Michele also said she looks forward to rejoining her congregation at Euzoa Bible Church.
“Once I get out of here, that’s the first place I’m going,” Michele said. “I’ll be wheeling in there. No, I’ll be walking.”
The Dunklins’ faith remains strong.
“We call it Michele’s miracle, but we know whose miracle it really was,” Steve said.
The support from the close-knit Steamboat community also has played a major role in helping the Dunklins through the tragedy.
“Anytime there was something missing in the puzzle, someone was just like, here it is,” Steve said.
The support has been overwhelming at times. It is something Michele greatly appreciates and is thankful for but does not quite understand.
“What’s so special about me that people reach out to me?” Michele said. “I’m not a pastor. I’m not like Bryan (Rickman), who saves people’s lives. I just hope one day I can give back.”
Steve tries to help Michele understand.
“I think your strength has been an inspiration for us,” he said. “You’re an inspiration to a lot of people.”
— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247           970-871-4247      
 or e-mail

Friday, January 28, 2011

Big Strides (literally) in Therapy!

Michele has had some good days and bad. The other day Steveie D.  was there and gave her an awesome foot rub and lotioned her all up to make her heal - that was good. Too much therapy for two days in a row made her have a bad day the other day (just really tired not necessarily a bad day), but she is learning her balance of working hard but not too hard. One of her therapists really has figured out where her balance is. In addition to two therapy sessions a day she is also showering where that used to be a therapy session, so in reality she is doing three therapy sessions. Go Girl!
Yesterday's therapy was the most encouraging. She walked up and down a full set of stairs. WOW! This is huge to look back and realize that since December 8th and for several weeks after we didn't see her eyes except for brief moments and certainly we did know her life outcome or if she would walk and to what degree. Its just amazing to everyone who sees her that she has come so far. Prior to yesterday she had done a few stairs but certainly not a flight - up and down!
Today there was a big interview at the Doak by Matt from the Steamboat Pilot. I don't want to burst his thunder, so look for the article in the upcoming Pilot. I will also wait to read it and anything that I feel friends and relatives want to know that was not included in his article, I will blog tomorrow or Sunday.
Stay tuned .... By the way, today although her first respondent  Bryan Rickman was there and she calls him her hero and she knows he was the first part of her miracle life saving adventure, she gave all the credit and glory to God...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Therapy & Healing Continue....

I only have positive comments to say. Michele looks and feels great. She is doing physical therapy twice daily and is elevating what she can do. She now can do some leg exercises like kicking a ball, stair simulation, throwing and catching and a lot more core strengthening exercises.   Before long she will be kicking Steveie D:).  With all of her therapy she is just withering away to nothing - almost like a Sports Illustrated model. Sam - she needs your good cooking!
 Many of you who read this blog have been in and have seen her - tell us your stories.... I have not been able to visit as much as I would like since I am getting over a cold. Her room looks lovely with all the Fishman balloons, the many cards, bears and flowers. It really is a nice environment  and she has her room to herself which is good for her steady flow of much welcomed visitors:).  
The wound vac. has been removed permanently , now its just a matter of time for the wound on her leg to heal. Everything is very positive but know your visits keep her spirits up! The new washer and dryer were ordered and should be installed today sometime so Stevie D. now has the proper tools. Euzoa Bible Church is preparing a helper's calendar that I will give you the website to as soon as it is up and running. If there is a big snow this week I am sure Steve could use someone to plow his deck. He was supposed to have shoulder surgery on the 23rd of December, but he had a pressing engagement.
If you have a story you would like to tell and are following the blog but not logged in to leave comments, just e-mail me at and I will post  your story. Even if it doesn't have anything to do with the recovery, but  you want to be a part of the fun - e-mail me.... Thanks again all! Love you Michele!!!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Meal Day

"Bring me a Happy Meal," Michele said to Steve. Sounds like dinner tonight is taken care of. It's a great sign when our wonderful health conscious great cook, Michele, wants to put McDonalds in her body. Michele was in such great spirits today. I got a cold this weekend and haven't been able to visit her since Sunday. I was only receiving  second hand information; what a difference just a few days make. Since I last saw her she is now able to place weight on her left leg which is the broken one and able to walk by herself around her room safely. She is still assisted when running laps around Doak  (her version of running laps anyway), but such a great improvement in only four days.  She also sits on a big ball and exercises and uses a form of a sit down elliptical working both arms and legs. She now has two sessions of physical therapy daily. Before you know she will be able to take Steveie D on. She is getting better because she is ready to let Steve have it. He is telling her to do her breathing exercises or risk pneumonia. She is not really going to let him have it and he is doing all the right things, but she is now very focused on doing her breathing exercises. He is also a food pusher, if we are going to air all the dirty laundry. Steveie D. she loves you so much, but you are a food pusher!
I just talked to Steve and he wanted to express his desire for everyone to come visit. It really lifts her spirits. She can only take the women on the "View " for so long before real people are needed.  I found today that she is feeling so good she wants to go on and on, but don't let her or if she insists, just stay a half hour or less. Even a short five minute visit is very welcomed. There is a sign on her door that says she is resting - she is not. Just check in with the nurses and they will call her to be sure she is not with a doctor, doing physical therapy,  showering , etc... More than likely you can say hi; just check in with the nurses first.
Tomorrow we are shopping for a new washer and dryer. She doesn't know this yet , but  Steveie D. cannot possibly be the house husband he wants to be with faulty gear. Butch Loveland tried to fix the old girl and although she is spinning better she is on her way out.  Steve loved being back at work and his passion for selling cars. Our family has bought at least three from him, so I know how he loves what he does. Even if you don't need a car stop by Cook Chevrolet  and give him a big hug - he is under a lot right now. Last night Z was running late at B-Ball practice then he took him shopping for some much needed new clothes - the boy is growing like a weed. After clothes shopping they went to visit Michele then home for more laundry. Michele still has a few  weeks to go at the Doak, but Steveie D will be so happy to have Linda and Michele home:)
 A couple of major improvements are that she is off the two oral pain meds. and now on  one patch that does it all. She is also off the sleep aids. Her wound vac. was removed today. We will see if it stays away. This was in process when I left. Really great news!!!! Thanks for staying tuned in to her progress and be sure to go say hi - she is our Christmas miracle and will surely brighten your day when you go to see her. Love hugs and kisses from her happy happy family and friends.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting Better Every Day

Michele's recovery is coming right along thanks to all of you! Its a long day just laying around doing therapy and watching TV, so short visits by loved ones really boosts her spirits.  Steveie D continues to be there as much as possible in the evenings, until Michele kicks him out and makes him go home and eat. During the day, he is back to work at Cook Chevrolet. He has been away a long time and is really looking forward to being back at Cook selling cars. I know he has told Scott at Cook Chevrolet how much he appreciates the family leave time, but all of you should know what a great company Cook is for allowing Steve the time he needed to be with Michele and Zach. Thanks Scott!
Zach is also doing well and was released to go back to school today. He will soon have the full release to play contact sports again, but for now its just light practices.  
Euzoa Bible church is going to be arranging a helpers calendar which will allow all of you that have wanted to cook meals, clean house, run to the  grocery store, etc... a chance to help out. Once they have it posted I will let you know how to access it. In the mean time keep your prayers and well wishes coming and stop by for  a quick hello to brighten Michele's day. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Doak - Day 5

Michele is making a huge recovery! Her physical therapy is going quite well and her stamina is improving. She has had many visitors and her room smells like an aromatic bouquet with all the  beautiful flowers she is receiving. Each day she does more and more. The visiting hours are working with everyone being respectful of short visits; she doesn't get as worn out that way. Talking seems to be the most exhausting on her now.  Steveie D. is able to spend a lot of time with her since he knows her limitations better than anyone. Zach is improving as well and they have hopes he will return to school on Tuesday (Monday is a Martin Luther King Day - no school,  so we can celebrate a 21st century hero).
All is well in Dunklinville....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Doak - Day 2

I can't believe it is already Wednesday and Michele has been home for two days. In that short time a lot has happened, but not so much to MIchele.
In double overtime against Kremmling Monday night  Zach suffered a concussion. He was tested last night and is out of school for finals week and who knows for how long from Basket Ball - sorry dude - hope your head gets better. Its probably not as serious as what Michele has gone through but another little responsibility and concern  for Steve. Luckily he has great spirits and is taking God's direction as it comes in prayers and not in worry. He knows he needs to be with his family and help them both to get well. Hopefully very soon he will be back at Cook Chevrolet making us all great deals on Chevy's and Subaru's. I wouldn't have mentioned Zach, but we had to laugh at all the "Walt" that has come their way. In addition to coming home to Z's misfortune, Stevie found out that when your household tools don't work its a pain to be a stay at home mom. The washer has a little mystery to it that only Michele can figure out, so he has been drying his clothes and sheets without a spin cycle. Zoe the kitty spent most of the month on Steveie D's side of the bed so when it was time to sleep in his bed for the first time in a month he found Zoe hair everywhere. So much for the cat nap.  Hang in there Stevie D! Steve is an inspiration that he is staying so positive. He is really happy to have Michele home and realizes Zach will heal, but he has a lot of "Walt"...
Linda, how are you? I know you are going crazy not to be here tending to your little sister, but she will be home soon and then you can come out and take over. We all are looking forward to having you guys here.
Michele is still recovering so we all have to call before going to the Doak to visit. Please keep stays to 30 minutes or less. Michele is such an entertainer she will want to talk and talk but try to keep her interaction to a minimum while she is gaining strength. I made the mistake of staying too long and she was really wiped out, so don't be like me - thanks from Steve.
The doctor came in today and said x-rays looked great and she is healing marvelously. He also said he only had to remove 20% of her lung the night of the accident, so he is encouraged by how well her lungs are healing.  keep up the love Yampa Valley - you mean so much to the Dunklin family!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Michele's Home!

Our prayers are answered. Michele came home to the Yampa Valley today around 1:30. She was transported via ambulance van. The doctors involved decided that the best place for her recovery is home. She will reside at the Doak Walker Care Center until she gains enough strength to go to her home – home; she is in room 41. I am so sorry we could not release this information earlier, but the doctors have been adamant that the transport would be traumatic physically and therefore no visitors for at least 48 hours. It was only determined this weekend she would be able to come home.
Michele and Stevie D. are so appreciative of everyone’s prayers and concerns! If you would like to visit Michele, call the Doak at (970) 879.1322 or 870.1208 to talk with her nurses to see if visiting is permitted on your day and time requested. Michele would love to see everyone, but she has to take it easy – especially this week, so please call first.
Your kind donations to the Michele’s Miracle fund set up at Vectra Bank helped Stevie D. to pay for today’s transport from Denver Health to Doak Walker Care Center. It was in doubt early on if the insurance would allow Michele to transfer at all, but it looks like that worked out. If you so desire to help financially the account will remain open at Vectra Bank to help offset the costs the family is occurring.
Michele has her trach area stitched up and it is healing. Her leg continues to heal with her wound vac. The tummy stitches have been removed and is healing nicely. The broken ribs still make her every move very uncomfortable but she is every bit herself and so appreciative that Steve has been by her side the entire time. She loves that Steve is so on top of where she has been and what is yet to come. Michele really loves you Stevie D!  Much of the experience has been her just doing what others have directed her to do. Finally now she is able to make her own decisions, wheel her chair, and decide when and what she eats. There is so much to be said for having some control over your life. You go girl!
Tonight Steve will sleep in his own bed in his own home with his son for the first time in over a month. God has been so good and faithful to answer all our prayers. Thanks everyone for all you have done to support and encourage Michele, Stevie D. and Zach through this entire process. She still has a way to go, so please keep up the prayers and good energy coming her way, so she stays positive and encouraged by God and your love and support.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Long Blog...

Michele has made amazing progress and her diagnosis is even better. We all believe in our hearts God will bring her back to the Yampa Valley very soon.
That’s the good news the other news is Sam and Linda went back to California for a while. Its bitter sweet in that Linda (Michele’s sister) has been with Michele since the accident and has been a huge support to her, the family, and all her friends who have visited. Sam as well has been the cook and stable force through Michele’s recovery since day one. Linda plans to return to her teaching position until Michele gets back to her home, then they will return to Steamboat again to help care for Michele during her rehabilitation stage. Linda and Sam, Steve asked me to let you know how great it was having you both here. There are really no words for what he feels and how much he appreciates you both! River and I too loved feeling a part for your family and being taken in as such. I believe Michele's recovery has a lot to do God's will;  the great care and talent of the emergency team, doctors and nurses involved; but equally so, to the love her family has covered her in. We will have to wait and see the lessons learned from this tragedy, but what stands out for me is the importance of family. We all look forward to Michele being well enough to bring her back to Steamboat and have Linda and Sam return to kick some booty in her strengthening phase, like only an older sister canJ
Michele has had some visitors. River of course is back and taking care of Stevie D. & Tommy Reuter has been down with his support and well wishes. It was really great to see her favorite nurse from ICU, (the only one who gave us assurance early on that she would live) who came to her fourth floor room to see and encourage Michele. The staff at the hospital is truly amazing and the Dunklins will forever be in their gratitude for all everyone did at Denver Health.
Meanwhile, Zach has been well cared for, back in school and playing basketball, while staying with the Kounoskys and Lubers. Nancy and Teresa – you both know how much Stevie D. appreciates you both for taking such good care of Zach and relieving one worry from his mind. I am sure Zach has also enjoyed it very much!
Stevie D. has been helping Michele with lotion rubs to try and decrease the Howlie Rot (Howlie Rot is what my husband’s Hawaiian roommate in college called it when a non Hawaiian would peel from a sunburn). Her rash caused her entire body to burn and peel, but she is just about through that phase and looking almost as good as new. She has been in a stand up shower and even wheeled outside, but it is very cold in Denver, so she didn’t get to stay too long outside.  Her appetite is back and she is drinking three cans of assure everyday for the nutritional value then eating good stuff like Butterscotch pudding River found for her.
Steveie D. went up to our old nesting place in the ICU waiting room and visited with the Roberts family who were there.  He expressed prayers for Jon’s full and speedy recovery. We all hope that Denver Health will be Steamboat free very soon…

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Moved Again!

Michele has moved to a regular hospital room - # 402. Next stop Steamboat Springs!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Monday/Tuesday Trivia

Steveie D. let me know that yesterday was another good day and no procedures were performed on Michele. A wound vac. was  placed on her leg where her stitches came out to keep the wound drained, but other than that all is well.
Jeff and Natalie left yesterday but their flight was delayed till midnight - long day for them to get back to CA. Michele will certainly miss their company since they are both very  entertaining. We all loved the story of how they met and really how much they could make fun of Steven because of it.
The highlight of yesterday was when Larry and Anita Handing stopped by and Larry was wearing his Nacho Libre mask. I guess this was hilarious and Michele loved it!  Next the boys all walked downtown and had Gyros (a story within itself Steveie D can share with you later), while the girls pampered Michele. She got her nails done (sort of ), her hair washed, her body scrubbed (she has what looks like a sunburn peel going on from a rash), and eyebrows plucked. It sounds like it was almost a spa day, but not really.  Last night Michele and Steve watched Monday night sitcoms and ignored the visiting hour curfew.
Today was an equally wonderful day. She walked 10 steps, used the "restroom facilities", and even got in a wheel chair and wheeled to the lobby of Pavilion B where she was forced to don Steve's hideous sunglasses.  They remind me of flight training - perhaps they are actually back in style. The best news is the orders have been given to release her from the Step Down Unit and go to a regular care hospital room.  There will be a conference call Thursday to figure out insurance and transferring to our hospital.
A prayer request now is to keep the fluid build-up, infections, and fever at bay & financially speaking,  for the insurance company to allow her to transfer to the Yampa Valley Medical Center so she can be close to all of us and especially Zach.  Keep up the good work Michele we know therapy is tough but you keep being strong and keep your faith in the Lord! Here is a promise you can count on:  Trust in the  Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Love you!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I can't begin to explain how wonderful it was to hear Michele talk and see her so lively. last night we had a blast in her room. We no longer need the" E" ticket to get into her room two by two. Anyone can go in and we can all be there together. Last night  seven of us were in there until 10:30 when she finally had to take her pain medication. We were loud and obnoxious and it was so fun. The nurse finally closed our door.  We gave Jeff grief for not marrying his girlfriend of two years, adorable Natalie. We proposed that the way Linda was flirting with Sam we couldn't guarantee a PG rated room ( Natalie and Jeff who were sleeping on the pull out couch certainly hoped that was not the case), then Michele's call to River topped off our good spirits. We all left and went back to pack up the Christmas goodies, numerous cards and gifts to Michele, and Zach's clothes. We were in a celebration mode and it felt good to see Michele so alive again!
Today she was exhausted. Whether  we wore her out if it's just the same things we knew all along two steps forward and one step back- who knows. We all hope to have her back in SS in a week. I don't know what makes us think that other than its time to get her home. There are still issues the docs are dealing with like her leg wound that popped it stitches, white blood cell count, broken ribs, pain, etc...
Zach came home with me today and will stay with the Kounousky family . Ali and I went to drop off everything and see Zoe who is doing fine, but wants her people back. Teresa, how is Sasha? I am sure she is great with you and her new best friend.
There have been other visitors and gifts that I am sure I forgot to mention or Stevie D in his concern for Michele forgot to relay but a few I do remember are how beautiful Dave Ferguson's flower arrangement was, the lovely prayer shawl  from the  Flavelle family and the Reagan and Spradlin's  nice visits.  
Me and Zach held Michele's hands and prayed together today before leaving. Her desire is to be closer to God for herself and for Zach. My desire is for Michele to know no matter how often  we leave God He never leaves us. While at her house today here are three picture quote that stood out to me and are important to Michele otherwise they would not be hanging on her walls:
·        Faith makes things possible... Not easy
·        There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart - pursue those!
·        Don't  get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessings at the appropriate time.
I wonder what Michele would like for us to take from  those????

Burgers & Fries

"I want  Burger King, burger and fries," said Michele to the doctor. The doctor answered "Yes."  In the mean time so much else was happening that  Michele did not get her request as soon as expected.  
Little did Stevie D. know his nephew Jeff and his girlfriend Natalie had showed up at 2:00 am with rings on their fingers and bells on their toes on New Year's Eve, the night before, and surprised their parents at 2:00 am on New Years Eve (not really with rings, but very loud noise makers and funny hats). It was a hilarious adventure of Linda telling the hoodlums to stop banging on their door, and Sam going to give them a piece of his mind and realizing it was their son surprising them - this started the delay in the burger and fries.
Back to Michele... So Michele is so excited that the doctor says burgers and fries are OK but everyone is thrilled to see Jeff and Natalie, so Burger and fries have to wait, now that everyone is aware Jeff and Natalie are in town everyone is excited to eat lunch together. No one realized how long it would take for Burger King to arrive.
After a great meal Stevie D. orders the freshest burger and fries, double bags, and runs to Michele qt the hospital. A few hours later she enjoys a few bites of both.  This is just about the food.
The best part is that Michele is completely off the ventilator, trach, and no more worry zone. We are going to be headed home soon! She is talking and laughing and enjoying her family and friends, just ask River. We called him in the middle of a poker game so Michele could say good night and all-in! He was so happy and said this is amazing - you had to hear him to understand his happiness. I even broke down and cried when I saw her today - she has made an amazing recovery in the last  week since I saw her.  I have a lot more to say in the morning but too tired and elated tonight. Thank you God - she is your miracle....