Friday, August 28, 2009

Successful Launch at 8:59 pm Friday night!
The space shuttle Discovery STS 128, with a
crew of 7 astronauts are in orbit on a
rendezvous with the International Space Station.
On board are two members dear to Daniel
and all of us: Jose Hernandez & Danny Olivas.
You can follow their mission on: Check out
* * * * * *Bloggin' from Baja * * * * * * *
'Heard it thru the grapevine', as
Marvin Gaye used to sing....... but Marvin
sang about love lost. What I've heard is 'one
word' that strengthens our hopes! Michelle,
was doing PT on Daniel's foot and ankle when
he vocalized or made a sound for the first time!
Much to her surprize she moved to face him and
tell him she heard him say something. At that
point Daniel uttered another sound which
sounded like 'Hi' or 'Ay'!! This was an actual
response or an attempt to respond to someone's
Michelle called Cathy and Margarita with the
startling news. The phone was placed near his
ear and each time Daniel made an effort to
respond to either Cathy or Margarita's voice.
The speech therapist reports that the therapy
is making progress, he will open his mouth when
she asks him. Besides the daily oral hygiene,
Daniel is asked to move his tongue, lips, and to
swallow. He is slowly re-learning these basic
actions. Steady interaction by the therapist is
showing progess, the therapy includes flavored
swabs, minute quantities of flavored liquid to
stimulate the swallowing reflex, all of this with
simple but clear verbal requests.
Almost daily now, the nurses-Cathy-Michelle
Margarita have been taking Daniel outside to
the patio for fresh air and sunshine! A much
needed change of scenery and the benefit of
physically sitting up and the use of muscle
groups that have been idle too long, another
form of therapy. Margarita reports that he
actually turned and appeared to listen to the
sounds of the San Marcos High School
Marching band rehearsing across the street!
The drum and brass sections were generating
plenty of vibrations!
Daniel has been re-gaining weight! The gains
are small, but it will strengthen him for more
physical therapy.
It has been 122 days since the trauma,
the patience and love displayed by family,
friends, co-workers, nurses, and therapists,
has been admirable and commendable.
SPORTS: Chula Vista advances to the semi-
final this Saturday against San Antonio TX.
Mexico has advanced in the international
bracket to play Taiwan in that semi-final.
Who knows, it may be Mexico vs. Chula
Vista in the final.
SPACE SHUTTLE: Looks like the launch will
be tonight at 8:59 pm, PST, which is 11:00 pm,
EST. Valve issues have been corrected and
fueling is in progress at 2:45 pm pst. If you
receive the NASA channel you can view the
crew actually suiting up and entering the
shuttle LIVE!! Get your kids to watch this!
Is this exciting or what??
Take care of one another and eat healthy.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Sky is the Limit

Thanks to Sal for keeping the blog alive! And thanks also for keeping us abreast of momentous events that affect the lives of Latinos. To wit, Jose Hernandez and Danny Olivas and the space shuttle Discovery will launch Thursday as the flight has been delayed. It is the first time that two Latino astronauts will fly on the same mission. Sal reminds us that this has special significance on many levels. First, Jose Hernandez had applied to NASA for 12 years before finally being picked to be an astro-man. He grew up a migrant farmworker and hails from Stockton. To the Velazquez family up in Lodi, especially Warren, I hope to hear some special comments from you as I know you keep up with Jose's Twitter. Anyway, here is what Sal has to say:

"I want to comment that Jose applied to the NASA astronaut program for 12 years before being accepted in 2004, then he has trained and prepared for this week for 5 years. Also, Danny Olivas from El Paso Tejas (most of my living relatives are from Juarez and EPT), Like Danny, they also went to UTEP ( back then it was Texas Western). Another connection: Danny did his graduate work at Rice! John Escobedo is another alumni."

Moral: don't give up. Encouragement and inspiration to family and friends on this journey with Daniel.

The Sky is the Limit!
The launch of the space shuttle Discovery,
STS 128, has been rescheduled for Thursday
evening due to a valve problem. Uncertainty
about completing repairs by new launch date.
Biographical information on crew members
Jose Hernandez and Danny Olivas is on the
NASA website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daniel continues to gain weight ever so slowly.
With his eyes open he appears to be searching
or seeking to comprehend his surroundings and
sounds. We speak to him or read and hope that
his brain is slowly finding the pathways to process
the stimuli. It is very noticeable when the speech
therapist, Cathy, or Michelle are working with him
on swallowing or moving his tongue or lips. These
are encouraging signs and it more convincing that
the road to recovery will be long and demanding.
Cathy, Michelle, Margarita and others are trying
re-establish contact with Daniel's neuro-surgeon or
bring in another neurologist to make another
assessment about Daniel's progress and also the
state of the shunt.
Cathy and most families are in the throes of the
annual ritual of enrolling children in school for the
fall semester. As you know, school supplies, clothes,
schedules, new teachers, maybe even a new school,
bus schedules, etc. etc. No small task to be sure,
Cathy is doing all of the above after having four
wisdom teeth extracted! Wonder Woman!

I include the following two items as I am certain
Daniel would be following these events intensely!

SCIENCE FANS: The latest space shuttle launch
(STS 128) will be tonight about 11:30 pm and will
carry 6 astronauts 200 miles into space to hook
up with the International Space Station, taking
supplies and material for more science experiments.
This launch mission has special significance for
our kids: Two astronauts are of Mexican descent-
José M. Hernández (Stockton, CA.) and
John D. "Danny” Olivas (El Paso, TX) !!!!
Arriba Raza! now has a new meaning!
Log onto for biographies
and photos. There is a lot of excellent stuff on this
website for kids and adults. José Hernández has
created a foundation to reach more elementary
school children of Mexican descent to promote
their interest in science and mathematics. If we
ever wanted good role models or 'hero' figures for
our younger generation, here are two excellent
real heroes.

The launch will be televised on the NASA channel
on DishNet and DirecTV. Worth staying up to
watch or TiVo it for the kids.

SPORTS NEWS: This is for Danielito, Alfredito,
FernDawg, Nayeli, Adan, Gordo, Oscar II, Ariana,
Anahi, Kai (Chuy's son), Dieguito, Yvonne, hmm,
did I leave any chamaco out of this list?

The Chula Vista Little League team is in the World
Series! They are blasting homeruns and crushing
opponents by 10 run margins! Good luck to
these little guys. Also, on the international side
of the tournament is the team from Reynosa,
Mexico! Today they crushed a team from Germany,
13 - 0! Better to play Germany in beisbol, not futbol.
Take care of one another, eat smart and stay healthy.
Tio Tzal and Tia Maria

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cathy reports that Daniel continues to experience
high fevers, last night was no exception. Nurses are
using a 'cooling blanket' to break the fevers. The
blanket looks like bubble wrap, but more durable and
is connected to a refrigeration unit that pumps
cold liquid through chambers.
The speech therapist is now using flavored lollipops
to stimulate the swallowing reflex and movement of
his tongue and lips. Alfredo reports that Daniel is
showing small improvements in swallowing and
In an earlier post I mentioned research in New
Zealand applying stimuli to the 5 senses to patients
in coma. It is a scientific study adhering to strict
research standards.
The results of stimulating the five senses,
tactil, auditory, visual, taste, and smell have been
inconclusive using a variety of techniques with
patients. They achieved positive results with some
patients in varying degrees of coma, but nothing that
could be successfully replicated on all patients.

Still no word on when Daniel will have the small micro
pump device implanted to introduce small dosages of
muscle relaxants.
Cathy also reports that Daniel has had a small gain in
weight, less than one pound, but a gain rather than
a loss. His doctor at Village Square is Dr. Santos.
S/he has ordered a full blood panel workup. This is a
preventive measure to make sure there is nothing of
a viral or bacterial nature trying to get a foothold
or causing the high fevers. The panel will test for
white cell levels, cholesterol levels, and sediment rates.

Breaking News!! Nando has been hired to teach
Drama at the brand new high tech charter school
just 100 yards from Daniel's room. In fact, the new
structure is visible from Daniel's bed!
Congratulations Nando!!!
Victor and family have returned from their vacation
in NorCal. Welcome home Victor. It's back to the
grind in a few weeks. Alfredo took his son
backpacking in the high Sierra's. No bear or
mountain lion encounters, whew!

Thanks to all who continue to find the time to
visit Daniel during this long recovery journey.
Take care of one another and stay healthy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday August 16, 2009 Day 110

Village Square allows relatives to spend the
night with patients. Michelle kept watch last
night on our man. This morning Cathy, Michelle,
and Tia Chita, assisted the PT Mark Martinez as
he put Daniel through a serious of moves and
positons to stimulate the muscular and skeletal
systems. Physical therapy improves the circulatory
system and flexibility, in addition it aids in the
prevention of pressure points and bed sores.
Daniel is also receiving speech therapy. Although
he is unable to speak or make vocal sounds at this
time, the very rudimentary actions of moving his
tongue or swallowing are precursors to eventually
regaining speech. With the intensive speech therapy
sessions Daniel is making very small gains. He has
moved his tongue when requested to on several
occasions, it is not consistent but it is a start.
The speech therapist is teaching Daniel to swallow
by placing a small amount of 'lemonaid' on the interior
part of his tongue, at which point she clearly and
firmly asks Daniel to swallow. Those of us here at the
time were surprised to see him actually respond to
the command to swallow. Again, the reaction has not
been consistent, but it is a new and small step forward.
These actions and initial responses to verbal commands
indicate a long and intensive process ahead.
We all feel Daniel is doing his part, he has not regressed
in his state of health. He has lost weight as can be expected.
Where he was 168 lbs. prior to the aneurysm, he now
weighs 121. A significant amount for anyone, however
under the circumstances he has not been able to keep
muscle mass due to lack of exercise. He is receiving
nutritional fluids through a tube/catheter.
The goal is to get Daniel to learn to swallow again and
perhaps take liquified food orally. Arriving at that goal
would surely stabilize his weight and increase his
energy levels and strength, preparing him for extended
and more rigorous physical therapy sessions.
The staff here at Village Square are caring and
very attentive. Hardly an hour goes by without someone
coming in and intervening with their specialty.
RN's, LVN's, CNA's, technicians, therapists, administrators,
and even the maintenace staff keeping the room and
hallways clean and sanitary.
So, Daniel's team has new and committed members, with
his family and friends we are moving forward ever so slowly,
but forward nonetheless. This journey has been a challenge
for everyone, but we are up to the task.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Update from Village Square Rehabilitation:
Daniel was moved here to San Marcos last
Thursday. He is still experiencing 'storming' and
recurring fevers, other than that his physical
condition remains stable. A normal day, if 'normal'
can be used, has been for him to receive physical
therapy, sitting him up, changing his position in bed,
and close monitoring of his vital signs.
A highlight of his day is the arrival of his nurse,
Betty Kent. She is an outgoing joy filled Panameña
who speaks to Daniel in Spanish and English. She even
sang an old Panamanian salsa number for Daniel
Cathy, Donna, Maria and I, the song was
'El Tambor de la Alegria'.
"Panameña, panameña, panameña vida mia
yo quiero que tú me lleves al tambor de la alegría"
Between that and 'Jammin' with Marley, we should
get Daniel movin'......
Daniel will open his eyes for long periods only to close
them for shorter durations, presumably to avoid
light stimulus. Family and friends have reported that
Daniel has made small attempts to make sounds.
There was some discussion of surgically installing
a micro-pump to feed a muscle relaxant in the area
of the spinal vertebrae to reduce or eliminate the
tension in Daniels upper body. The procedure has
been approved and will be scheduled soon.
There are no restrictions on visitation. To gain access
after 7:00 PM you just need to ring for someone to
open the door.
Daniel has a private room with a view of trees and the
athletic field of a new charter high tech school.
Conveniently, Nando will start teaching Drama
at this school this month.
Nayeli's futbol team the Temecula U-8 Hawks won
their first tournament in Poway. First place trophy,
defeating teams from all over San Diego county.
Danielito's futbol team went to the final's of another
tournament on a game winning goal by our little guy!!!!
In the final, the teams went into overtime where his
team lost a heartbreaker. Second place for Danielito
in this tournament.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Daniel has moved!

Daniel has been relocated to: Room 331 on the third floor at Village Square Nursing and Rehabilitation Center 1586 West San Marcos Boulevard San Marcos, CA 92078 Phone: (760) 471-2986