How many people do you know who are willing to continuously work in the background for someone else’s well-being and happiness? A person of this caliber is one-in-a-million.
This is the heart Dan has for Hannah. He gives his all for her.
When Hannah was two years old, she was in the hospital several times for what we thought was episodes where she would stop breathing. The last time she was hospitalized for this, it was determined that she was still breathing, but was having seizures.
The doctor said, “Since we know that she is, in fact, breathing even when having a seizure, and since I’ll be discharging her from the hospital in the morning, it isn’t medically necessary for the nurse to come in and take her vital signs throughout the night tonight. I know it causes Hannah a lot of distress and she is exhausted from being here for five days. It would really be in her best interest, at this point, to let her get a good night’s sleep.”
Dan and I looked at each other and at the same time said, “Thank God!” We were exhausted too.
He wrote orders in her chart to that effect.
At midnight, the nurse came in.
“The doctor said to let her just sleep tonight. He even wrote it in her chart,” I told her.
“I will be taking her vitals throughout the night anyway.”
She took her vitals and left the room with Hannah screaming and crying in the crib.
I spent the next hour and a half bent over the crib, comforting Hannah, singing to her, and patting her back to get her back to sleep.
Dan seriously hates confrontation, but he moved his cot directly in front of the door. When the nurse came back in at 2:00 a.m., she was quite surprised.
Dan said, “Since the doctor left written orders to let Hannah sleep, I can’t allow you to wake her again.”
Her eyes popped wide open and her face turned red.
“I will note in the chart that you have denied me access to the patient.”
“Okay,” Dan said as he stared her down.
She left the room in a huff.
Hannah slept through the rest of the night, which she desperately needed.
When Hannah was older, she asked to keep a stray dog.
We already had one, but when Dan saw how happy Hannah was around this stray (Zoey), he couldn’t help but say, “Yes.”
When Zoey started having seizures (believe it or not), who took her to the vet? Dan did.
Who gets Zoey’s medicine every month and gives it to her every day?
On September 12, 2012, Hannah came to us and said, “I’m 15 years and 7 months old today. I can learn to drive now.”
Dan took her to get her permit. He set up a driving course in our back field and started teaching her in an old pick-up truck. She was thrilled when she graduated to actually driving on the back roads.
When he believed Hannah was ready, he let her drive to her various church and school activities.
“I’ll be glad when I have my license and can go by myself.”
“I know, but that won’t be for a while yet.”
Dan had driven Hannah and her friends everywhere they needed to go for years. He continued teaching her for months.
“She really is a great driver,” he told me. “She’s very careful to follow all the rules of the road.”
“That doesn’t surprise me,” I said. “It’s one of the assets of autism to want to strictly follow the rules.”
The day Hannah got her license was one exciting day! She was thrilled, of course, and just had to borrow our car to go to the store. When she left, Dan and I just looked at each other.
“Did you ever think this day would come when she would be a licensed driver?” Dan’s eyes pooled with tears.
“It’s absolutely amazing how far she has come. I can’t help but remember the days when we didn’t know if she would ever talk again, or be able to be in regular classes, let alone have her driver’s license. God has really blessed her and blessed us. We have so much to be thankful for and I want to thank you for taking so much time and care to teach her to drive.”
“Like I said, she’s a great driver – better than any teenager I’ve ever seen. In fact, she’s a better driver than a lot of adults I’ve seen.”
“That’s due to God’s blessings and your teaching. You’ve really been there for her. A lot of what you do for her is in the background; like teaching her to play soccer before she joined a soccer team, being there for all the meetings at school, teaching her to ride a bike, helping her to have friends by taking them places, and taking her to camp where she was able to make more friends, and now teaching her to drive. We never would have made it this far without you. Thanks for all you do!”
Dan genuinely is one-in-a-million!