Archive for September, 2006


i wish i had more definite details to share but mike had a great day therapywise.  he has been increasing his tolerance having the valve put on his trach hole to allow him to vocalize (talk out loud).  i believe he had it on a couple of hours this morning without a problem.  he also is continuing to impress his phyical and occupational therapists with his progress (especially despite his field trip to edward last week).  praise God he has not stagnated but continued to improve even while sick this past week.

 mike did get upset this morning and apparently was “yelling” with the nurse and therapists (before i arrived).  he was very clear in his speaking and shared a variety of sentences with them…  “i want cereal.  i’m stressed.  my leg hurts (muscle cramps and tone issues).  too many visitors…”  yes, i am proud to say that mike has been so lovingly cared for he finally felt a bit overflowing with friends.  now we did have a great visit with Young Life area directors later in the day and mike had no problem getting into the wheelchair and welcoming their time with him so it is possible his visitors complaint was a mood thing coupled with some amount of pain.  so i say, please do not be discouraged but encouraged by that comment.  i only share it in the interest of full disclosure.  if it tells you anything, may it be that mike is more than capable of conveying his annoyance in a loud and clear voice when something actually bugs him so you never have to guess at his feelings.  he will tell you if he needs space.  and, great job with visits… don’t feel like visits have to be long or weekly or anything specific.  just stop in when you have a good chance.

and finally, his therapists indicated that they thought he was doing so well today there is a good chance he may get transferred to marianjoy in less than 2 weeks.  we will have to wait and see what marianjoy says.  the step up will be great for aiming for weening him off the trach again as well as intensifying his progress overall hopefully. 

it is funny but even mike’s anger turns me to praise.  join me,   michelle

September 28, 2006 at 11:37 pm 10 comments

9/25 7 pm

mike has been transferred back to ManorCare today.  he is still on antibiotics and seems a bit groggy at times (maybe still an adjustment to medications).  therapy is going well…more updates when something is new.  all is good.  with good reason to praise, michelle

September 25, 2006 at 6:59 pm 5 comments


mike is doing well at edward hospital still.  his fever has been down for days as the antibiotics again do their work.  we also took advantage of the hospital visit to get him seen by his neurologist to adjust his antiseizure medication.  Mike had had 2 seizures this month within 2 weeks of each other.  He is now at the maximum dose of his drug which will hopefully stave off further seizures which his particular brain injury makes him highly susceptible to.  He is alert and coherent but slow to respond.  he is participating in therapy at edward but he is not up to his normal frequency of interacting whether through nodding, mumbling or speaking.  i believe this slowness may be the drug switch adjustment.  I have been so utterly touched and reassured by the faithful variety of visitors he is receiving, even since being switched to edward.  he is awake enough to be blessed by the visits even if it is difficult to tell.  and the football team souvenrs in the room add an extra “elegance”!  Thanks so much for the way you all care for mike and me.

today is the first day of autumn according to my calendar which i had to check to write the date.  time sneaks by me like eli trying to climb the stairs for the millionth time after being removed to safety…(and i have missed important birthdays-sorry sister and sister-in-law).  but there is a magic surprise about fall when you don’t know what color the tree in your front yard will be when you wake up the next day, when you don’t know what slimy bug might be discovered under a pile of soggy leaves overturned by a 3 year old.  i am looking forward to being surprised by mike’s own transformation in the coming weeks.  i pray that we would see a newness in him as our artistic father continues to recreate and redesign him.  peace and love,    michelle

September 23, 2006 at 5:16 pm 4 comments


a quick update–mike has been running a fever fairly consistently the last few days and missed therapy yesterday.  they decided to send him in to the ER at Edward to get tests again to check for an new infection.  no telling yet whether they will keep him or release him (like a fish).  i will write if he heads back to manorcare.  otherwise, assume he is at edward for visiting…  praying for progress, michelle

September 19, 2006 at 2:15 pm 10 comments


You may have noticed that there is now a “Golf” button on the top menu bar.  Click there to access online registration for the upcoming golf outing at Walden Ponds on October 14th.

(Each individual golfer should register, even though you can list the people in your foursome.  If you don’t have a complete foursome, don’t worry about it.  Please register as soon as possible, so that we can begin to pull things together.)

Please spread the word, and invite everyone you know who might like to participate.  Everyone is welcome, of course!  If anyone would like to help with the event, or if anyone can donate any items for the raffle, please contact Mike Lehner at (937)901-9012.

Finally, please pray for good weather on October 14th, and for an enjoyable and successful event.  Thanks!

September 19, 2006 at 11:50 am Leave a comment


some weeks are easier to sit than others.  i think i even hear eli waking up right now so i will be brief… WOW what fun visitors have been.  Wow, how you have stepped up to the plate.  please continue to stop in.  i say feel free to read anything, talk, pray, play, watch tv anything.  even when i am not in the mood, any kind of diversion is a blessing for at least a little while.  if you are unsure whether he is enjoying himself, then just keep it brief (like 10 minutes) and at the very least it will be a change!  Rest assured, he is more than capable of being clear if he is uncomfortable or in pain or irritated.  That is when he practically shouts.  if it is hard to understand him then the truth is he is probably being a bit noncommital.  so i say unless he shouts NO at you loud and clear, feel free to interact any way you want to try.

mike has been extra sleepy this week and did have a slight fever one night.  he is doing ok and has been capable of participating in all of his therapies but we are hoping he perks back up soon.  Monday night he had a short seizure which is not uncommon or unexpected with any head injury.  he has been on anti-seizure medicine all along but this is the second seizure in the last 2 weeks so they did adjust the preventative medication which is a possible explanation for the sleepiness. 

they are tentatively planning for him to be reevaluated and sent back to Marianjoy in Wheaton in 2 weeks or so.  he will partake in some more agressive therapy there and we are excited for his return.  Manorcare has been an incredible blessing full of excellent and compassionate caregivers.  please praise God yet again for surrounding us with skilled and sensitive people who go above and beyond.

while listening to a favorite mix cd on wednesday i noticed mike saying something.  a lot of what he says is too mumbled to understand so at first i couldn’t follow.  then i realized it was in synch with the song playing.  he was singing along to the random verses in “american music” by violent femmes.  it made me laugh, brightened my day.

thanks and praise,    michelle

September 16, 2006 at 3:01 pm 5 comments

9/11/06 3:30 pm

if you have not read my plea for visits in the last post please backtrack, but to answer a question…

mike has therapy usually in the afternoon since so many others get wiped out and can’t handle that timeframe and he seems to thrive with that just fine.  however there is no technical therapy time and they are very welcoming and open to visitors even during therapy.  it can last an hour or less depending on the amount of strain they are putting him through in that session.  i would say go whenever it works for you and see what is happening when you get there.  since there is no set schedule it is practically impossible to aim for or avoid something with mike.  sometimes he is in therapy, sometimes sleepy, sometimes awake and attentive.  but i would rather more visitors at inopportune times than less visitors during his awake and responsive stretches!

thanks and love!   michelle z  (ps, i love all the encouragement you send in posts here.  it feeds our souls!)

September 11, 2006 at 3:29 pm 9 comments

9/10/06 9:15 pm

i haven’t provided many updates on mike’s recent progress and he is doing great lately.  some of his newest exploits, (if you will), are that he is scratching his eyebrows with one finger… (I don’t know why his eyebrows have become so darn itchy or maybe he is just showing off his new flexibility!); he is also repeatedly leaning his head and shoulders forward and sometimes even holding his hand out for help to sit up in bed.  he is pretty intent on this goal and so i have been told they will be working on that this week.  i also got to take mike on a short and sleepy walk outside on thursday with the kids and a sweet and lovely friend.  some days this week he has seemed annoyed or agitated (maybe it’s the football games getting him all worked up).  i also have enjoyed a few days of easygoing carefree visits where i talked a lot and he would sometimes appease my request for a response with a fake cartoonishly overdone look of surprise.  he is teasing me.  some days he is moving his lips a lot to speak and sometimes you can make out what he is saying.  sometimes not.  and sometimes he doesn’t try to talk at all and sticks to nodding.  so you never know what you’ll get on any given visit.  for best experiences visit often!

that piece of advice leads me to an awkward subject.  i am so blessed by so many as always to be able to visit mike every day because gracious friends and family babysit our kids for free.  yet i noticed when i scanned the signin sheet at Manorcare a few days last week that some days went by where i was his only visitor.  now some people indeed skip signing in so i could easily be ignorant of his day’s visitors.  but i am finding myself concerned by the number of people apologizing for not getting the chance to visit mike yet.  i know what the busy life can be like where literally one more thing simply does NOT fit.  and though it breaks your heart there is no way possible one more thing can be juggled in.  i understand that.  but i suspect that it is likely that some of us are just struggling to remember, prioritize or muster up even the courage to stop by to visit.  if that is you, i want to say, just do it.  stop wishing or wanting and do it.  we have been so blessed with visits from people who haven’t even spoken to mike in years and others who never met mike before this hospitalization but have heard, prayed and invested themselves.  please wonder whether he would ALSO enjoy a visit from those he would normally rub shoulders with regularly.  on my best day i usually spend maybe 3 hours with mike.  and other days i spend much much less time.  consider that he may be awake and alone for another 10 hours a day or more.  if you can find 10 minutes to drop by, just do it.  it will break the monotony and give him a highlight to think about and remind him that he is loved.  every visit doesn’t have to be magical or long or anything.  start with short.  watch and comment on some tv with him.  bring an article to read to him or anything you could use as a diversion while you are there.  but go.  be there.  please.  i pray that God will minister to you as you minister to him in this way.

one more fun highlight.  my very busy friday included a wonderful wedding in Chicago of a favorite old club kid/leader, a train ride home with both kids and a homegame at the high school.  we got home that night at 10:30 and missed visiting mike that day.  so i felt guilty and was telling mike about all we were busy with and about the game and who we got to see and hang out with and his final proclamation for me was, “awesome”.  that’s him.  he loves to love kids for Christ, no less today than yesterday.  what a sweet reminder.

thanks and amen-    michelle

September 10, 2006 at 9:46 pm 8 comments


i rented The End of the Spear to watch with mike but he was only nominally interested in a movie today so i finished watching it myself. i was reminded of how excited i get when i read elizabeth elliot’s Through Gates of Splendor. I read through some if it a few years ago with a favorite Young Life alumni home for the summer and that time decided to highlight favorite passages from the diaries of these 5 men who risked and died in their adventure to share the story of Christ with an indigenous people in the Amazon. Every time i remember this witness i wonder about our own tame faith here in comfort. we so rarely risk anything for the Lord’s use. i paged through my old book and found this quote from Ed McCully writing to his fiancee, “When you pray, ask the Lord definitely to show us where he wants us to spend our lives, and that we’ll be willing to spend them there, even anxious to.”
What a difficult prayer when i consider it. am i willing to say that this sickness of mike’s, this hospitalization, this very long recovery is a place where God could be using us as we spend our lives here in this moment? Would i have prayed that God would show us a hard place to spend our lives and been trusting enough to look forward to this hard place as God’s calling to use us? i do not presume to know whether this was all God’s perfect intention for us to experience this but i have no doubt that he is at work within this place in our lives right now. and if God is at work here, shall our attitudes be discouraged or anxious or self-centered? or can we be eager to spend our lives, to use them up, to give them away, today, in waiting for healing and strength, in coping with endless visits and logistics and plans, in allowing God all the time and opportunity he wants to work in and through our lives?
that is a lot of mumbo jumbo to say… it is hard, i am sure to be mike. it is hard to see mike and experience the slowness of this road with him. it is hard to slow down and simply allow the frustration to sink in instead of leaping ahead with our human plans and expectations and encouragements. Some would say those missionaries were idiots to give up their lives on a nonsense whim of God’s calling. i often presume that we just need to get through this. recovery time with mike. but my heart tonight says, slow down. live in the hardship of today and see what God has for today. he is not always at work for a result. God seems to like to work in the hard struggles as much as the redeeming ends. i pray that God is at work in the slowness of today. that this slow pace is not wasted but is still evidence of God’s perfect timing. God is good. all the time. i pray that mike and i, our families and friends, are eager as we spend our lives here today, in prayer, in patience, in waiting, in trusting.
mike is doing well. he is at manorcare still, getting therapy, receiving visitors. his fevers have been controlled by the antibiotics he is getting. he is moving limbs, sometimes mumbling or mouthing words through the trach. he is responsive and alert most of the time. thanks always for your care, for your persistent prayer –       michelle

September 5, 2006 at 6:49 pm 12 comments

Golf Outing 10/14/06 at 10 am – SAVE THE DATE!

Attention Golfers! And everyone else! We are having a golf outing to benefit Mike and Michelle on Saturday, October 14th, at 10 a.m., at Walden Ponds Golf Club in Hamilton, Ohio. We will post more information soon, including registration info and sponsorship opportunities. So save the date, and GET YOUR FOURSOMES TOGETHER for a great day of golf, followed by dinner, fellowship, and reunion with old friends. We hope to see you there.

Contact Mike Lehner at (937)901-9012 for more information, or to lend a hand with the event.

September 1, 2006 at 5:49 pm 6 comments


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