Thursday, July 30, 2009

Special Friends at Special Care

I have mentioned before how much Cole loves being at Special Care School and we love the services they provide.

While Cole is at school they work with him and he is seen by his team of therapists. They are truly amazing!

His therapists are Suzanne, Joan (at the school-physical & occupational therapy) and Lindy (from our state’s early intervention program-speech & swallow therapy) & I take him outside of the school to see Lisa (for swim therapy).

Joe found this article in the paper that covers Cole’s school and I wanted to share. As you will see, they have a great facility and they do great things with what they have! Below is the article from The Oklahoman:

Oklahoma City special care center’s best worker isn’t human


Special Care Inc. recently hired a new employee, and he instantly became the most popular worker.

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He’s also one of the busiest at the northwest Oklahoma City center, which primarily serves disabled children.

He works a 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift Monday through Friday, and he only takes one break, for lunch at 4 p.m. He helps kids during physical therapy. He takes them out for walks. He even tucks kids in at nap time.

But you won’t ever hear him brag about his work.

Costa, a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever, has been on staff at Special Care for a little more than four weeks, and Pam Newby, the center’s executive director, said he’s been an invaluable addition.

"We really strive to provide the very best in cutting-edge treatment for our kids, and he’s really helping us do that,” Newby said. "The kids just love him. Even the babies love him.”

Special Care serves about 135 children between the ages of 6 weeks and 19 years, and helping so many can be taxing on a staff of 35. But Costa has made all jobs at the center more enjoyable.

Long process

Newby went through a 10-month process to get Costa from Canine Companions for Independence in Oceanside, Calif.

She sent in an application and then had a phone interview. Next, she had a face-to-face interview via the Internet so officials could make sure Costa would have a good home after his workday.

Following that, Newby went to Oceanside for a two-week training program in June to get acquainted with how to work with an assistance dog.

Katie Malatino, a public relations coordinator for Canine Companions for Independence, said the group spends roughly $45,000 training and preparing each assistance dog. The dogs are then given free of charge to agencies that pass the application and interview process.

All Newby was responsible for was her transportation to Oceanside and providing for Costa’s living costs and routine visits to the vet.

Since arriving at Special Care, Costa has been instrumental in helping the kids, said Suzanne McQuade, a physical therapist at the center for 14 years. The main thing Costa does is provide motivation for kids to do better in their therapy.

But the most impressive thing about him is how he stays calm around so many people.

"The kids will sometimes pat him a little too rough or they might accidentally kick him with their foot when they’re walking because they don’t have good motor control,” McQuade said.

"He stays on task and focused and disciplined no matter how unpredictable the children are in their movements.”

Getting a co-worker?

Newby and McQuade said one of the first things each kid asks when they get to the center is, "Where’s Costa? Can we pet Costa?”

But Newby said she notices Costa is tuckered out when she takes him home at the end of the day.

Having more than 135 pairs of hands eager for attention every day can take a toll on even the most diligent of workers.

Because of Costa’s impact on everyone involved with Special Care, Newby said another canine companion could be on the way. She didn’t have an estimate as to when that could happen.

"I think there’s room for one more,” Newby said.

"Costa helps us serve our kids better, and that was the whole goal when we decided to get him.”

Related Topics: Health and Fitness, Medicine, Medical Treatments and Procedures, Physical Therapy

Monday, July 27, 2009

Many, many “Thank You”’s!

I know to some the subject of donations can be a touchy one.
I have been wanting to post about my gratitude for all the generous donations we have received big and small but wasn’t sure how others felt about their names being posted.
There are some that I know, some that are total strangers & some from groups so I may not even have all of the names. Some donations are not necessarily monetary but have helped just the same.
If I forget to mention you & you have donated, please forgive me. I have tried to make note since the beginning but my memory is not always the best.
Many, many “Thank You”’s go to:

Family (of course)
Grandma & Papa (Mom-thanks for the week you made sure Brett & Shane were taken care of while I stayed with my fragile baby in the NICU), Bobby & Stephanie, Johnny & Shawna for not only the money you threw in but for the support you offered. Travis for your trips to the NICU to check on your newest little nephew and Erica for the phone calls to Papa checkin in on the babe. And Grandapa Bob for always calling with concern & keeping his side of the family informed.

Aunt Sonia…for the daily visits and pics in the NICU (and for tickling Cole’s feet just to piss him off ;P) and bringing Kelsey with you when you could. David & Sally for the many phone calls making sure we were ok.

We have so many, it will be difficult to mention all by name (it’s a wonderful thing) but I will start with the parents from Shane’s baseball team that made a personal visit up to the hospital while I was still delirious and upset because my baby had to be bussed to a separate hospital. And the parents that made food and brought to our home knowing how difficult it was to spend all day at the hospital & still have to come home to feed our other boys. Jeff & Jennifer for being brave enough to keep Brett & Shane at your place (was it for the whole weekend?). And Wes & Keri Hill, Wes thanks for offering to organize a baseball fundraiser and for helping with the 'follow through'.

Rockie & Julie,Cindy W., Kim, Cathy, Sheila, Cindy B, and Sydney, Kim & Terry.
Co-workers Twylah, Kelly, Marilyn, Shara, Chris, Dorothy, Stacie, Tammy, Cara & Thomas,Vicki, Jackie, Mitchell, Kim and Pam.
Joe’s builder/employer David & Sherrie and partner Carl & Emily, friend Craig and the guys from the church men’s basketball group.
All of our friends we have made through the Early Intervention team for all the wonderful services you have provided from services to apply for to therapy you have provided. Special thanks to Lindy & Kim for hooking us up with the fund raiser and bringing your friends and most of all for loving my baby as your own…he loves you guys. Nova for getting the fund raiser together for us.
For his other therapists at Jim Thorpe. You guys were awesome with Cole & we miss you. I’m sure we will see you again soon.
Thanks to Azhar Therapy’s owner Lisa that provides Cole with aqua therapy, which he LOVES!
I don’t want to leave out the wonderful nurses from the NICU that took such gentle care of my baby and comforted us when we would freak out every time the monitors attached to Cole would go off (again). Special thanks to LaTonya who added extra comfort as she is the wife of a co-worker & we had met previously.
Cole’s pediatrician, Dr. Simmons, neuro, Dr. Hille and Dr. Wright that is working with Cole’s botox injections (and all the wonderful staff).
Cole’s teachers at Special Care School (which he loves) Loretta, Julie, Angela, Rachel, Rachel, Ryan, Phyllis and others I am sure I have left off. And special thanks to the owner Pam that made it possible for Cole to get what he needs. Pam D for all the bookkeeping. And for his wonderful therapists that do so many wonderful things with Cole…Suzanne & Joan.
We appreciate the calls, concerns, food, hugs, and prayers!! and what money you may have contributed.
Special “Thanks” to Crocks shoes for supplying Cole with shoes that are AWESOME and fit great over his orthotics.
Much love to other mommy bloggers that have helped provide me with my therapy. Blogging has been as awesome outlet for me.
Thanks to Mel (daughter with CP) for the friendship, laughs, and the generous offer to donate $4 for every “Cole'” tile necklace sold from your shop.
Thanks Keri (son with CP) for so much wonderful CP info and the friendship.
Thanks Heather (son with CP) for friendship and prayers and support.
Thanks to all of the Signing Time group for opening a door of communication. And the friendships I have made in the group.
…and to the monetary donations…we appreciate your generosity so much!! Without your help we would not have been able to keep Cole in Special Care School.
Ed Daniel, Keith Gibbes, Dean & Susan Vassilakos, Kurt & Karen Billen, Ashley Turvey (Jones?), Will Massad, Joshua Guess, Charles Schiavo, and in loving memory of our friend Ed - Brent & Connie Weis and the Revenue Accounting Dept at Mustang Fuel Corporation, Janie Colliver, Tanya Brown, Karen Johns, Barbara Knight, Linda Kolar. Jeffrey Kunkel, Amy Hopmann.
And if you remember John Connor from the Del City baseball fields…he had made a very generous offer and I posted about his generous offer here…that offer did not occur at that time. Now, I want to tell him an official ‘thank you’ as last week while we were out of town he was kind enough to follow through with part of his offer and made a donation into Cole’s account at his school which will allow us to use recent donations in his trust towards his medical equipment and bills.
THANK YOU! to you all!
Now we will have to concentrate on other fund raisers & donations to finish paying for treatments/therapies (as at times insurance feels these are not medically necessary so we will be paying out of pocket) and medical equipment he requires just to assist him as he still can not sit, crawl, stand, walk, or talk on his own. We will also have future schooling to pay for.
Any ideas or any garage sales or fund raisers in Cole’s name are appreciated as well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

In Loving Memory of …


Ed Daniel

We will miss our good friend Ed!

Ed was Joe’s golfing partner (the only one that was sure to make it to the course almost every weekend ‘no matter what’, over many years) and a very caring & generous friend. He loved the game of golf and Joe loved playing with him. They had many great conversations about everything.

One of the most common conversations between Joe and Ed was in regards to Cole. He was genuinely concerned about Cole’s progress and future. With Ed having such a huge heart he was also the biggest contributor to Cole’s trust, assuring that he was able to remain in Special Care School. For this we will be forever grateful!

On Wednesday, July 1st, Ed called Joe wanting to go play a round of golf. The local course had a special “$6 after 6:00pm”. Of course, Joe was all in. He asked if I would like to walk the course with them for exercise.

We met Ed at the first hole. He was sitting on a bench waiting for us and our turn and mentioned he was pretty tired from playing golf the day before but still wanted to play. Joe was teasing him about hitting into “Ed land” (into the trees). haha

By the time we had made it to the third hole we could see he was struggling and when the beverage girl came by he decided to get a ride back in to the club house.

Joe and I continued on until the eleventh hole and headed back to the parking lot where Ed was trying to cool off. We ended up having to call 911 after talking to his brother and they took him to the hospital where he passed away on Thursday, July 2, 2009.

~today we played for you Ed~ I know Ed would not have wanted Joe to miss his tee time, so, for the first time ever I played a full round of golf with Joe. I know I was nothing close to the partner he is used to playing with but hopefully I made Ed proud!

May every hole in heaven be a hole in one for Ed!

…below is the obituary from The Oklahoman, our local newspaper

Edwin Daniel Jr.

Edwin Curtis Daniel JR passed away on July 2, 2009. He was born on October 29, 1947 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He graduated in 1965 from U.S. Grant High School. He then went on to college at Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1971 with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. He was preceded in death by his parents, Edwin Curtis Daniel SR and Lois Hunter Daniel. He left to cherish his many loving memories and gifts to this earth his 2 children: Carrie Christine Rodgers of San Antonio, Texas and Kevin Curtis Daniel of Maumelle, Arkansas; his 2 grandchildren, who were the apple of his eye -- Emily Nicole Daniel and Jace Aransas Rodgers; a son-in-law, Michael Rodgers, a daughter-in-law, Nancy Daniel, a sister, Sharon Shaw of Tuttle; a brother, Don Daniel of Oklahoma City; a brother-in-law, Dell Shaw; and a sister-in-law, Carolyn Daniel; and a host of family and friends who meant the world to him. Ed was employed with Mustang Fuel for over 23 years. Previously he worked for The Economy Company and American Educational Computer. Everyone who loved Ed knew he had a passion for golf, horse racing, basketball and was an OSU Cowboy at heart. He was a loving, caring, generous man. Everywhere he went, from Remington Park to OKC Thunder games and to even the dry cleaners, he always saw a friend. A visitation will be held on Monday, July 6, 2009, 8am-9pm at Chapel Hill Funeral Home. The funeral will be held on Tuesday, July 7, at 10:00 am in the funeral home chapel, with interment at 2:00 pm at the Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Oklahoma. Memorial donations may be made to a charity close to Ed's heart, The Cole Keathley Trust Fund at Flowers will be provided by Jewel Box Florist, 4205 South Penn, (405) 681-6671. Pallbearers are Stan Weed, Joe Keathley, Brandon Newport, Eric Shaw, Greg Shaw and Jeremy Daniel. Honorary pallbearers are Don Daniel, Dell Shaw, and Michael Rodgers. http//

We would like to give special “thanks” to Ed’s children, Carrie and Kevin, for being so caring and kind, like their father, and mentioning Cole’s site and trust. I pray that you can find comfort in knowing your father’s last moments here with us were doing the thing he loved so much…playing golf.