Sunday, December 13, 2009

My December Visit

I'm at the Detroit airport waiting for my flight back to Denver.  It was another whirlwind tour to Michigan.  I got to visit with my Dad the last four days as well as see lots of friends and family.  I even got some Christmas shopping in.  I'm exhausted.  I think the next visit will be more low key so I can take Dad out on the town.  He's already been out to dinner with Katie at Brio, and to her sister Anne's for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  I'm told he tried to instruct Katie on how to drive, typical of "the boss."  A little bit about my visit...

Just some interesting observations, Dad can't really tell you what time it is but knows when meal time is, or when you have to leave if you tell him ahead of time, etc.  It seems like his short term memory is improving and he remembered a few things that I told him from the previous day.  He also knows Tiger Woods is in some serious hot water.  "Whoa."  And that at 40, Brett Farve really isn't that old.  Dad doesn't like to leave the room when mealtime is near but right afterwards each day he was ready to hit the road.  Since my visit in October he's now able to get up and in his wheelchair 100% on his own.  He stands up strong and stable - such a positive change.  When doctors tell you physical progress stops after 3-6 months, I guess they never met Dave Batchelder.

Each day we went for a stroll - the typical route over to the elevator with a quick stop at the second floor lounge to check out the action.  Then downstairs to the first floor lounge.  Usually we go outside into the courtyard but it was much too cold this week.  Dave has all the ladies charmed and they all say high to him as he wheels on by.  We played a game of checkers and I love how he leaves his finger on the piece until he is sure of his move.  He used to beat the pants off me in checkers as a kid and I knew if I threw the game he would know it.  Once we realized we got to the point where no one could win, he took a hit for the team and let me jump his kings.

Today I needed to leave soon after he was finishing lunch but he wanted to get up into his chair, which he did all on his own.  I said it would have to be a quick walk and he told me (in few words) to grab my stuff, that he would walk me out.  It was so sweet and such an independent move that left me a little heart broken.

I know everyone is busy this time of year, please take a few minutes and stop by for a visit.  You'll both be better for it.  Until next time...keri

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick Dad has his first outing when he went with Katie and Maura to her sister Anne's house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I would have loved to have been there to see him out and about for the first time.  I'm told he had a very nice time.

I will be in town next week Thursday - Sunday to visit with Dad so more to come on how he is doing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Birthday Party Was Quite a Success!!!

I talked to Katie tonight and she said my Dad had a fabulous time at his 70th birthday party! Thank you to the 50+ people that came!!! I don't think if I had a birthday party 50 people would show up so that says a lot about my dad and his friends. Wish I could have been there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

70th Birthday Party!!!

Katie and Maura are throwing David a birthday party on Sunday October 25th from 4-6pm at Martha T. Berry. They will be in the big room behind the reception desk on the first floor.

Come one and all!!! Or if you want to send a card please mail to:

David Batchelder
8781 Marine City Highway
Fair Haven, Michigan 48023

Can you believe my dad is 70 already? He doesn't look it at all in my opinion.

October Visit

I flew to Michigan last weekend to visit my Dad. Saw him Saturday and Sunday and he has made many physical improvements since my last visit at the end of July. He can now stand up with just a little help. Katie also told me he is up and walking every day even with limited use of his right leg - I didn't get to see him walk while I was there but we did go cruising around in his chair. He looks good.

There are definitely some other changes - he couldn't tell me my name but I could tell he knew it. When I said "K" he quickly spelled out K.e.r.i.L.e.e. I also wrote out some words that he was able to read right away - David, Keri, Boat. He was able to name most of the months of the year, all of the days of the week. We struggled this time to have a conversation as he gets the same words stuck in his head that makes it hard to understand what he is trying to tell you - Next door, partying, boat, marina. It's obvious everything is in his head, hopefully he can start getting it out. He doesn't seem to get too frustrated when we can't understand each other which is good.

One other thing I found amazing is that while watching tv he understands everything he is watching and has all the right reactions. When we walked by a baseball game he read off the score "3-nothing." When we were watching Cops he knew that having a beer and crack pipe in your car was not a good thing. He laughs at things that are funny. We watched a little Nascar.

Katie said her and my Dad play cards - blackjack and war - he can't tell you what cards he has but he knows when he has one and knows when to hit or stay. That's pretty cool.

Thanks to the guest book in his room I was able to see most of the visitors that have been to see my dad in the last two months (not everyone signs in): Kathy Benoit, Joe Baker, BJ Franzen, Judy and Sandy, Chris Schroeder and Glen Champagne, Lori, Danny, and Jennifer, Milan & Marilyn and their families, Richard and Dicky, Patsy and Annie, Paul Selvidge, Leslie Downing, Scott, Katie and Maura, me! Thanks to everyone for visiting - it is so helpful and so much appreciated. Keep on coming!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He never ceases to amaze me!

I talked to Katie today and she said my dad is now able to get in and out of his wheel chair all by himself - it's been just over a month since my last visit and he wasn't even close to being able to do this at the end of July. Wow. She also said he looks forward to going for walks every day now - sometimes on his own, sometimes with the walker, and sometimes he likes to take an easy ride in the chair.

I'm just awed by the progress he has made - man, those doctors really never know do they? If you only knew the prognosis they gave us after the stroke - it was grim. My dad has always been a very determined person and a hard worker and I guess those are good traits for recovery.

I will be visiting again soon - October 2nd and 3rd. Can't wait. It's hard to be away. Dad's getting new visitors as well as old - I heard Jimmy Alberts was there, haven't seen him in years!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some information on identifying a stroke

It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly.

Common stroke symptoms seen in both men and women:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg -- especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Women may report unique stroke symptoms:

  • sudden face and limb pain
  • sudden hiccups
  • sudden nausea
  • sudden general weakness
  • sudden chest pain
  • sudden shortness of breath
  • audden palpitations

Stroke is an Emergency: F.A.S.T. Action Saves Lives

A new National Stroke Association study shows most Americans do not treat stroke as an emergency. When a stroke -- or brain attack -- first hits, many people don't even recognize the symptoms and do not immediately call 9-1-1. In fact, a recent National Stroke Association survey reports 1 in 3 Americans cannot name a single symptom a person might experience while having a stroke.

Every minute counts for stroke patients and acting F.A.S.T. can lead patients to the stroke treatments they desperately need. The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within the first three hours of the first symptoms. Actually, many Americans are not aware that stroke patients may not be eligible for stroke treatments if they arrive at the hospital after the three-hour window.

Use the following tool to help you recognize stroke symptoms and act F.A.S.T.:


  • Ask the person to smile.Does one side of the face droop?


  • Ask the person to raise both arms.Does one arm drift downward?


  • Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence.Are the words slurred? Can he/she repeat the sentence correctly?


  • If the person shows any of these symptoms, time is important. Call 911 or get to the hospital fast. Brain cells are dying.

“Understanding the warning signs is important because there are treatments we can give for stroke. If you understand the warning signs and get to the hospital quickly we can even possibly reverse the stroke itself,” says Dr. Dawn Kleindorfer, assistant professor of neurology at University of Cincinnati School of Medicine.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Very Encouraging...

As if the news from my Aunt Marilyn weren't encouraging enough, I talked to Katie last night and she told me a couple of things.

First, when Katie and Maura visited yesterday Dad was just coming back from physical therapy and the therapist said, Dave, let's show them what you were working on today. My Dad was able to walk a short while WITHOUT the walker! When I talked to the physical therapist in early July he said he originally never expected my Dad to walk at all and at that point he was using a walker. Now he's starting to be able to walk without it. Wow.

Secondly, my Dad typically doesn't remember who visited him when we ask but yesterday he gave Katie a name. When she checked the guest book, sure enough, that person had visited earlier in the day!

We all know Dave can do anything he puts his mind to, so happy to see him working so hard and proving all those doctors wrong.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Aunt Marilyn & Uncle Milan Visit

I got an email from my Aunt Marilyn this week that I wanted to share about her and my Uncle Milan's visit (Dad's sister and brother):

Milan has visited David several times now and I have seen him twice. I was there with Jack and grandkids Justin & Mackenzie today and Milan came in while we were there. Mackenzie (she's 6) made a get well card for Uncle David on the computer yesterday and gave it to him today.

Milan saw David walk all the way from the exercise room to his room. He could slide his right foot on the floor. The therapist said he could grip the parallel bars with his right hand and hadn't been able to before.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bernie & I Visit from Colorado

Hi everyone! Well, we made it back to Colorado safe and sound – never fun to return to work after a vacation especially after such a long day of travel. Bernie (my husband) and I got to visit with my dad daily Wednesday thru Friday and then again on our way to the airport on Monday afternoon. In between visits we went to Bernie’s brother’s wedding up in Alden which is near the famous Batchelder Rd. in Bellaire, MI so we chatted with Dad a bit about that (although we didn’t make the pilgrimage to the sign this time).

I was happy to see that the guest book that I left earlier in July was a big success and in addition to daily visits from Katie (wife) and frequent visits from Maura (daughter), Scott (son) and Lori (daughter) my dad has also received multiple visits from lots of friends and family:

Bill Delange; Danny Akers; Richard & Dick Batchelder; Patsy, Mike & Annie; BJ Franzen; Gwen & George Neumann; Dennis Wiese; Nick & Ed; Lem Harsen; Barb & Tom Korneffel; all of Katie’s family (which is a lot!); and a few others I’m sure who didn’t sign in or visited before the guest book was there.

It was great to see what everyone had to say and heart warming to see that he has been getting visits from friends at least every other day. Please keep up the visits as it breaks my heart to think of my dad in that room all day by himself – although I must say – he seems more content than I could have imagined. He is happy to have visitors and lights up when people he knows come in. During my visit we looked through some magazines and tried to name the items in the pictures; watched a little TV; went for a stroll in the beautiful court yard downstairs (he’ll instruct you exactly how to get there); named some colors and tried to tell time – little things to help the language center come back. It is a slow process for sure but I do see some progress. Some things he has trouble communicating, but then others it is surprising – we told him we bought a new house and he asked who our mortgage lender was – clear as day.

I also brought him a smoothie (a healthy one) and he really enjoyed it. If you are going to visit around lunch or dinner please bring a meal for yourself as it is nice when he doesn’t have to eat alone. Or you can bring him a healthy meal too as some of the food could be better, typical hospital fare.

Dave’s aware that his right side isn’t working but every day he gets better at over coming that challenge. I only wish it hadn’t been raining so much so we could go outside more – nice to get out of that room and get some fresh air. While we were there we also saw Katie, Maura, and Scott. I heard from Dad’s sister Marilyn that she will be visiting in August along with her husband and Dad’s brother Milan.

Hope to visit soon....keri

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Upcomming Visit

Hi everyone, my husband and I will be in Michigan next week and we'll be visiting with my Dad on Wed 7/22-Fri 7/24 and then Monday 7/27 on our way to the airport. Inbetween we'll be up north for for my brother-in-law's wedding!

Dennis Wiese told me he'll be visiting this Sunday so we'll be keeping Dave pretty busy.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Recent Visit

Hi everyone. I just got back from Michigan - a very quick visit to see my dad. His face lit up when I came into the room and he was smiling a lot. His spirits were so much better than when I last saw him in the hospital, he's no longer sleepy all the time. He's now eating full time and hopefully they will remove his feeding tube soon since he doesn't seem to need it anymore. We had a really nice visit the first night, had a lot of conversation although we couldn't always understand each other. Katie and Maura also came to visit while I was there. Katie's mom was there earlier in the day and brought my dad a nice plant for his room.

I came for another visit on Friday and was lucky enough to get there at the end of his physical therapy session. I was amazed to see that they have had my dad up and using a walker for three days in a row. He actually has some movement in his right leg, however the therapist had to help move his leg all the way forward so he could take another step. Dad was able to "walk" across the PT room. I never thought I would see that happen. Hopefully he continues to gain strength and mobility. I also saw him move his right arm many times, but all involuntary. It's a bittersweet experience - happy to see him make improvements, sad that he has to go through this and relearn so many basic functions. He's trying hard to communicate but just can't find a lot of the words.

After PT we went back to his room and he was very upset that he couldn't get back in bed right away. It was frustrating for both of us but once we got him back in bed all was well. We ate lunch together and he made some room on his tv table for me to eat my sandwich. Even though I told him earlier in the day that I brought my I was pleased he still remembered an hour later and cleared me a spot before I even got my sandwich out. After lunch I got dad back in his wheel chair and took him outside into the courtyard for a little sunshine. When we came back to the room we were both hot and he directed me how to turn the a/c on, although he called it "rain" he new exactly where and how to turn it on.

I'll be back again at the end of July with my husband Bernie for a slightly longer visit. I am excited to see what progress Dad will make in the next few weeks. I know it is hard for those who see him every day to notice the differences, but because I haven't seen my dad for a month I can definitely see the changes. He's already doing much more than the doctors at the hospital led us to believe was ever possible.

p.s. I left a black leather guest book in dad's room so people can let us know they were there, and how their visit went. Please use it, I look forward to reading it during my next visit!


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Visit From an Old Friend...

If anyone wants me to post how your visit went just email me at
I love hearing how he's doing! Thanks Lem.

From Lem Harsen:

Went to visit Dave Yesterday (June 24), he was doing as well as could be expected under the circumstances. I learned very quickly not to ask to many questions but instead just talk to him and tell him things or ask questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. David understands any questions you ask him very well and he knows how to respond; the problem is he is having trouble getting the answer out and that makes him frustrated. Katie came and brought him new shoes.

Good luck Dave, I will be back many times.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Well, I talked to my dad briefly yesterday for Father's Day - he's not one for phone conversations these days but it is nice to hear his voice. He was eating pizza when I called so I don't blame him for wanting to get back to it.

Katie and Maura went to visit him in the afternoon and brought a cake that Maura baked and our cards. I'll be visiting again July 2 and 3 and look forward to spending some time with Dad and seeing how things are progressing. I've heard he has had some visitors from old friends which is great! Keep coming as he really enjoys it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Out of the Hospital - Finally!!!

David has finally left Detroit Receiving Hospital and is continuing his recovery and physical therapy at the Martha T. Berry Medical Center in Mt. Clemens, MI. Dave is continuing to work at improving his speech and is eating real food throughout the day - great progress from last week. I talked to my Dad on the phone tonight which broke my heart just a little bit because I wasn't there. But he very clearly said, "Hi Keri." I asked how he was doing and he told me, "about the same." We didn't stay on the phone for long but Katie told me he had a huge smile on his face while we talked. Hopefully I can come visit in another couple of weeks.

Please visit Dave anytime between the hours of 11am and 8pm. Because of room availability he is currently in a restricted access area but we hope he gets moved soon. He is on the 3rd floor in room 3267. The hospital staff can help direct you. See attached link to MTB's website and note that you can only enter off of Elizabeth, not Grosbeck. He would love visitors from friends and family - he really lights up when old friends come in.

The usual suspects visited throughout the day today: Dave's son Scott, daughter Lori, and wife Katie.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dave's getting hungry!

We had a fairly shocking occurrence today (the good kind)! They were going to test my dad today to see if he could swallow so that he can begin to eat real food again - he drank some water and ate some crackers! This is his first food and drink in 3.5 weeks! We are hopefully that he will eat some breakfast tomorrow and will eventually be off the feeding tube. Great progress!

Dave is going to move to a nursing home/rehab center on Friday June 5th. I will post visiting hours and room number when we have that information. He will be in Mt. Clemens at the Martha T. Berry Medical Center.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Last Three Weeks...

As most of you know, David had a massive left-hemisphere stroke on Saturday May 9th. He was taken to Mt. Clemens General and then later transferred to Detroit Receiving Hospital because of its excellent neurology department.

Dad is stable but as a result of the stroke he is paralyzed on his right side and his language center is effected. On top of the initial stroke Dave has had some setbacks. First was pulmonary embolisms - clots that form in the legs and travel to the lungs. Then he had a small brain bleed due to the blood thinners that were fighting the clots. The most recent development is more clots in his right leg. The doctors put a filter in his leg vein to prevent those clots from traveling to the lungs. He is back on the blood thinners which is risky, but better than the clots.

David is talking more and more each day and lights up when friends and family come to visit. I was able to spend the last three weeks in Michigan so I could visit him every day and I am grateful that my work was so flexible. Katie, Maura, Scott, and Lori have been right by his side as well. And because Dave has charmed all the nurses, he even received a special visit from his beloved Velvet on Sunday!

If you would like to go and visit with David you can find him at Detroit Receiving between 12pm and 8pm. Just park in the garage, check in at the reception desk and they will direct you. He will most likely leave the hospital this week and I will post an update as soon as that happens. He would very much love to see friends and family.