There’s a video circulating on Facebook.

I can’t watch it – it’s about my partner’s accident. Here’s the description:

Danny D is featured in Discovery Channel’s TV show “Situation Critical.” Danny survived a fall while he was working on a street light post inside an aerial truck approximately 25 – 30 feet in the air. The aerial truck malfunctioned, sending Danny to the ground headfirst. The aerial bucket where Danny was standing then collapsed on top of him, crushing half of his body. In this video you can see this event as it unfolds.

The funny thing is that I watched this video several times as soon as it aired four years ago. I remember the film crew coming in. I remember when they asked Danny’s consent to air the footage. I remember when they interviewed him. There’s even a picture of me in there somewhere. But when I tried to watch it again, I couldn’t do it. My heart was in my mouth and I felt a rush of panic. I started shaking as though it were happening all over again, and I’ve never reacted like that before.

The Discovery Channel film crew that recorded this spent a lot of time with us at Sunnybrook. Because of my journalism background, I think they felt comfortable talking openly when I was around. They were filming other patients at the same time, but among the film crew they referred to Danny’s accident as “the miracle story.” And that’s what people are circulating the link as now – a miracle.

These are interesting details because when this was being filmed, the crew and the hospital staff were very careful and insistent on avoiding the use of the word “miracle.” Their interest at the time was to promote the hospital and they wanted as much credit as possible to go to the doctors and surgeons. They edited Danny’s interview significantly to remove all references to God or miracles, and although we are forever indebted to those professionals at Sunnybrook, it is fascinating to note how not one single person watches this video and thinks, “Wow. What a great hospital.”

We still think of God.

Danny said that he might not keep this video posted for long, but for those who want to watch it, it’s here: http://vimeo.com/13707544

***

I wanted to write about this accident because it was such a major turning point in our lives. But unfortunately I’m not at a point where I can write about it in great detail. It still feels too recent.

On a personal note, it was the beginning of my interest in health. It was mostly the reason I started running. And a lot of other things about me were shaped by this one incident. But all of that is miniscule to what it meant to Danny himself and to his family.

While Danny was in the hospital, I kept of blog of his progress. Further along into his recovery there was a lawsuit and I was asked to delete this blog and all record of its contents, which I did in Danny’s interest. But first I printed out every single entry one by one. I created a book from it, about two inches thick. I only have one hard copy.

What I wrote in these blog entries were merely intended to keep family updated, but I think that now they carry some deeper significance. I’m not entirely sure what my purpose is in bringing some of these entries back to the web, but I think it has something to do with hope. And the value of life. And the power of prayer.

ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 20, 2006

If you know Danny, you know that most of the time he does exactly what he wants. In the hospital he is the same way.

Today the nurses were waiting for a therapist to come to assess Danny’s ability to swallow in order to determine whether or not they could remove his feeding tube. In the afternoon when the therapist still had not come, Danny decided that he was tired of drinking water and proceeded to pull the tube out of his mouth. When the nurse came in to scold him, he calmly informed her that he no longer needed a feeding tube and that it was nasty. He then asked for a menu.

When he was told there was no menu available, he proceed to order a “very cold chocolate milk and chocolate chip cookies.” He wasn’t allowed to have cookies but the doctor said chocolate milk was fine as long as he drank it slowly. But Danny wasn’t finished. While he was drinking his milk, he wanted a massage on his left leg. When he got it, he said, “This should be part of the regular service.” Then he went to sleep.

Tomorrow Danny is having surgery on his right knee, which was shattered, as well as the fractures on his right arm. A plastic surgeon will also look at his face and possibly operate. If there are no complications, Danny will be moved out of Intensive Care permanently and into a regular room.

ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 26, 2006

Danny is no longer in Intensive Care at the hospital, which means he can receive visits. He is in C5, Room 61 at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Today Danny had many visits from family and members of the church Rios de Agua Viva. The pastor from Iglesia Tabernaculo de Reunion also came to see Danny. This was his first time meeting Danny, but his church heard about the accident and has been praying for him.

Today the stitches in Danny’s face were taken out. He doesn’t look as gruesome anymore. However, he only has half a head of hair. They had to shave one half of his head to operate. He looks like the Batman villain Two-Face.

We have asked him numerous times to shave the other half of his head before he starts receiving visits, but he absolutely refuses. He likes the style.

ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28, 2006

Danny went into surgery early this morning and didn’t get back to his room until 10:30 p.m. He has been moved back into Intensive Care until his vital signs become stabilized. Right now he is breathing through a tube in his throat. His mouth is sealed and his nose is bandaged. His face and head are swollen and he cannot open his eyes.

Danny is conscious but he cannot speak. In many ways it feels like a step backwards in his recovery, but this was a necessary operation and no he has to recuperate all over again. The doctor says he expects that Danny’s tube will stay in for about two weeks, but so far every part of Danny’s recovery has been faster than the doctors predicted. So we have hope that it might be sooner.

It looks like a long road of recovery lies ahead of us.

ON MARCH 4, 2006

Today Danny played tic-tac-toe. He thinks that just because he is sick he is allowed to cheat.

ON MARCH 7, 2006

Today Danny had his tube replaced with a smaller one, which allows him to speak. He still doesn’t talk a lot because it’s uncomfortable, but he can do it without pain. In the next few days the doctors will put a cap on the end of his tube and this will allow him to speak more clearly. Right now he sound like Darth Vader with a cold.

ON MARCH 14, 2006

Danny’s tube was taken out today. Every day the nurses help him stand and sit in the wheelchair. There is nothing else that the doctors at Sunnybrook can do for him now. Danny is about to start another stage in his recovery: the rehabilitation.

He will be moved to another hospital as soon as a spot opens up for him, and this will be the last post that we make on this blog. In a few days, this page will be taken off the Internet on the advice of legal counsel for Danny’s protection.

When Danny was asked today what he wanted to say to all the people who have been reading this blog and praying for him, he said:

I just want to say thanks to all the brothers and sisters, family and friends, who have been interested in my story. Thanks to every especially for your prayers and good wishes. I know the progress I have made is because of your prayers. Ultimately, if it wasn’t God’s will, I wouldn’t be here.

FURTHER NOTES

This blog records a long list of churches that were praying for Danny. It also lists the parts of the world where news of Danny’s accident reached, and where people were also praying. They included various cities within the Americas (North, Central, South), as well as Europe and Australia.

On the Discovery Channel video, I was portrayed as the only person by Danny’s side. This was a strange editorial decision because according to the blog, Danny often had up to 20 visits each day. Almost every picture includes various family members and friends. His parents and sisters were constantly at his side.

Danny still cannot run or bike with me the way that he used to. He may never be able to. He is still in the process of losing the weight he put on from many months of heavy pain medications and he bares permanent, visible scars on his arms, legs, and face. It would be odd for someone on the street to confuse Danny for an athlete. And yet he is one of the strongest people we know.

For me, he is a visible and constant reminder that good health is far more than the ability to run fast or lift heavy objects. It is not just muscles and abs. It is mental and emotional. It is the ability to see life as something worth fighting for with all the strength we can gather. So precious that even through pain, we can still smile.

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