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7/6/00 9:00 AM CST - He's still alive. His blood pressure and pressure
on the brain have gone down, and he's slowly coming off the sedation. He
continues to move all limbs of his body and is showing a lot of rapid eye
movement. Tomorrow the Doctors are going to remove the sensor from his skull
that reads the pressure on his brain. The cat scans will tell them what
they need to know at this point. The tubes from his mouth and nose will
be removed. They're going to do a tracheotomy to assist his body in taking
over the job of breathing.
7:40 AM CST - All his vital signs are
real good. He does have a slight fever, 100.5. He's scheduled for the minor
surgery today at noon CST. His nurse, Michael (his nurse), says he's moving
around a lot more than he did yesterday. That's good news. He's still unconcious
though. They're going to do another cat scan while they have him out of
ICU. Please keep the prayers coming.
7:00 AM CST- Yesterday's cat scan showed
that the swelling of his head was still about the same. Which was enough
for the doctors to go ahead with the minor surgery, which was done successfully.
His fever had gotten to 101.5, but the infection that has caused that is
being treated and his temperature is back at 100.4. Kathy, who is still
at his bedside, reports that yesterday he openned his eyes for a few seconds,
but we think it was just reflex, he really didn't see anything. She also
thinks that he is hearing as he will react when certain things are said
to him. If all remains stable, the doctors feel he can be moved to a recovery
center next week sometime, even if he isn't conscious yet. There are several
choices available. With that in mind, I will be heading back to St.Louis
tonight to help in that decision. That means that I can't update his condition
here until thursday. But, I'll try to get one update posted before I leave
7/13/00 6:00 PM CST - Lots to tell you. First and foremost, Jonah has
been removed from the ICU unit that deals with the life threatened patients.
He IS going to live.
When I arrived back at the hospital,
Jonah was pretty much in the same condition as when I left. His vital signs
had been steadily improving and that was the situation through Sunday too.
On Monday, we had a real scare. He began to shake really badly in the afternoon.
His fever had gone up over 102. We later found out that he was having seizors
from the withdrawal of the morphine that he had been given. The staff told
us that this was common considering the treatment for these types of injuries.
That was pretty much over by the next day. On Tuesday he began opening his
eyes. Not much, but one eye about half way. He was starring at me and I
said, "Jo are you in there, can you see me, it's Dad, can you take
my hand" As I held my hand in front of him, he reached up with
his left hand and took mine. He knew me, he heard me, and he responded.
Blew me away! His mother and a couple of his closest friends experienced
the same thing with him. On Wednesday, he was able to keep both of his eyes
open quite a bit. We could tell that some of the time, there was nobody
home behind those baby blues, but some of the time he was definitely conscious.
Just for a couple of minutes, then gone again. Since the weekend, he's been
trying to get out of bed, still unconscious at that point. That has accelerated
greatly now. He wants out of the hospital. I can tell you that with absolute
certainty. Last night before I left, he would squirm around in the bed,
trying to find a way to leverage himself to get up. Trying over and over
to sit up. He could hold a sitting position for a few seconds, but would
fall back on the bed.
I just got off the phone with his
mom. Today, he is very conscious of her presence and is reacting very strongly.
He's been putting his arm around her and holding her. As I think about it,
I wonder if he's trying to comfort her.
He's had hospital therapists working
with him since Monday. They've been trying to get him to sit up, which has
a lot to do with his actions over the last couple of days. Today, believe
it or not, he was able to stand! Tried to take a step. All under his own
power. Didn't last long, but what an effort! Right now his brain is having
to relearn most everything. The circuits in his brain have been damaged.
So the brain has begun the process of re-routing the information. No one
knows how long that will take and how successful it will be, but there is
no doubt, he's gaining a lot of strength to get it all done. Our hopes are
very high. There is also no doubt that the prayers he's getting from all
over the world are giving him that strength. God bless all of you who have
helped. Please keep it up, there's still along way to go.
He can now, have visitors for a
limited amount of time. This is restricted to the people that actually know
him. We ask any of you who do visit to bring pictures that he can relate
to. Talk about things that you've done with him. All that will really help
connect everything up in his head. Encourage him to fight on, that you're
with him. Remind him, he's got a lot to do here in this world yet. I'm trying
to keep this area of web site about his condition, there is some more to
tell you. I've posted that on my
page. There are also some more
pictures of Jonah and his Work.
11:00 PM CST - Not a lot to report
tonight. They got him on his feet again today. Worked him out pretty good
I hear. He slept a lot. He still has a fever. He's off all life support,
still has the tracheotomy, and tube in his stomach for food. We think all
that will be cleared up soon. Then he'll be moved from the hospital to a
rehab center. I think everybody's a bit surprised at how fast the recovery
seems to be going. Your thoughts and prayers are his energy, keep it coming.
And our prayers and thoughts right back at ya. Thanks.
7/15/00 7:00 PM CST - His
fever is normal. The doctors told us today, if it wasn't the weekend, they'd
release him right now to the rehab center. That will probably happen on
Monday. His main activity over the last 24 hours has been sleeping. Deep
restful, quite sleep. I can tell you that for several days before I left
he was exerting a lot of energy to try and get out of that bed, even when
he was completely unconscious. It's no wonder he needs a break and the sleep.
Today, when some visitors were leaving, they waved at him as they said goodbye.
To everyone's surprise, he raised his hand and waved back to them. Can you
believe that! So Cool!
10:00 PM CST - Same as yesterday. Sleeping
like a baby a lot. Tomorrow he'll be moved to the rehab center.
7/18/00 9:25 PM CST - His mom, Kathy, stayed with him all last night. Jo was trashing
about constantly until about 4 am when he finally went to sleep. Then he
slept till noon, which meant he missed his morning rehab session. The doctors
are talking about closing up the tracheotomy soon. The x-rays of his lungs
look real good, no fluid, so they think he can resume breathing normally
through his nose. That will also open up the opportunity for him to talk,
if he can. I think that's a lot to hope for at this point. Remember, he
will probably have to learn how to do that, as well as many other things
from scratch. The doctors have warned us from the beginning that speech,
is a likely area where permanent damage may occur. So that's still pretty
scary for us to deal with. Until we can communicate with him by talking
or maybe witting, we have no way of really assessing the damage. So even
though many wonderful signs of recovery have appeared, there's still a long
road ahead. Please keep those thoughts and prayers coming. I really believe
it's what is energizing him through this struggle, and there's a lot of
When I get back to St.Louis this
weekend, to the extent I can, I'm going to try some goal setting with him.
Using a calender, we're going to target getting him down to the flood wall
for "Paint Louis", Sept. 1-4. That's about a month and a half
away, we're gonna give it everything we got.
Today I was finally able to set up a way to do
online donations, check it out.
7/20/00 7:30 AM CST - Yesterday, Nina and some of the Graf people visited. Nina said
that Jonah wrapped both arms around her and gave her a big bear hug. They
were showing him some pictures and he was able to track with his eyes as
they moved the pictures in front of him. He still wants to stay up all night,
and sleep all day.
PM CST - The doctors removed the tracheotomy
today. Jonah has a young man by the name of Corey who is his therapist.
He and Jonah get a long really well. Today, Corey gave Jo a pad of paper
and a pen. Jonah drew! Pretty primitive, just a circle with some connecting
lines. Being a musician myself, I can tell you, if I lost my arms, I'd find
a way to make music with my feet. To know that Jonah can use his hands to
draw is an enormous step forward for him. Not only because he can do it,
but also because his art will drive him to recovery in ways that none of
Tomorrow is a work and travel day
for me. I'll be taking Jo some art materials and music. My goal is to find
a way to communicate with him so we can find out what's going on in that
head of his. Wish me luck. I'll be posting an update when I return on Wed.
7/26/00 10:00 PM CST - Going down to St.Louis on 7/22, I took with me
some goals that I was hoping could be met. When I actually arrived at Jonah's
bed side in the late evening, I realized I was maybe over estimating the
situation. I had been feeding my hope from the daily updates, the small
triumphs of each day. I really hadn't focused on the fact that those triumphs
were just a few minutes out of a long day when very little else happened.
Although, he has learned to stand up quite well, as I found out in a very
nervous moment the next day when I looked away for just a second.
When I arrived, I found Jonah in
a bed that had a nylon mesh and heavy vinyl cage built around it. He was
inside trashing around, obviously disoriented, confused, and frustrated.
But at least he was free from having to be tied down, which was the case
at the hospital. This was all necessary because of all the tubes that were
in him. He would have, and eventually did, pull all those out. The only
tube left was his feeding tube. After I left him Saturday night, he pulled
that out, which really created a problem. When the staff at rehab tried
to put it back in, they couldn't get it in right. The next day he went down
to surgery to have it re-done, and they couldn't get it back in either.
Meanwhile, Jonah was not receiving any nourishment or most importantantly,
liquid. On Monday, he had to have an IV installed, which meant he also had
to be tied down again to prevent him from removing it, which he accomplished
anyway in about an hour. I was told, that on Tuesday morning they'd see
if he could swallow. If not, he would have to have surgery yet, again. That's
the way Sunday and Monday went, all of us frustrated, as well as Jonah with
very little progress being made.
Since the very beginning of all
this, the expression on Jonah's face has never changed. The expression is
profound sadness and hurt. To look at his face, especially his eyes, you
can immediately see the depth of his fight for life, his confusion of not
knowing what to do, or how to do, or why to do. Totally lost. This is a
face Jonah has never worn in his life. For all of us who know his real face
(the photo of him in the red shirt and cap is it.), it's heart breaking
to see his expression now. One facet of that, however, has been entering
the present face, determination. The "want to do" has been coming
on stronger all the time. On Monday, I said to him "I've been looking
at that sour puss of your's for weeks, don't you have a smile for me? Can
you smile?" He did. Once.
We've been sleeping in the bed
next to him in his room. Monday night, he woke me by thumping his feet on
the wall. He had done something that I'm not going to share with you, but
the outcome was, I realized he could do more than we were allowing him to
do. I became aware that much of his frustration was due to us, perhaps,
not letting him really do anything for himself.
Wednesday, was the day I will always remember as the day of multiple miracles.
In the morning, the speech therapist came in to check if he could swallow.
He could, and he could hold the spoon of liquid himself, and the cup of
water which he craved all day. He was very dehydrated. I asked the nurse
to let him, dress himself. Once put in his hands, he put on his socks, t-shirt,
and shorts (which was a trick because he was on his back in the bed). He'd
been desperately trying to escape the bed. We got him in his
wheelchair, and let him drive. He did, under his own power, negotiate all
the turns to the physical therapy room with our directions. After that,
he pushed himself in to recreational therapy. His friend in that department
is Corey. He's been encouraging Jo to draw (which he did just a bit last
Friday). On this day "Stun" drew and colored the picture you see
on the right. He also signed it. Pretty much what you would have seen him
sketch before the attack. Both Corey and I were very surprised. We also
checked him to see if he was identifying the colors correctly, which he
Given some options, he decided to go to the centers
6th floor patio, where he got the first good dose of fresh air in weeks.
We had to go back to the room so I could make some calls. I made him a deal,
if he'd sit patiently and draw while I did that, when I was done, I'd let
him go anywhere he wanted in the wheelchair. What he drew is on your right.
When I hung up the phone, he put down his pens and unlocked the wheels of
his chair. Again, choosing from options, we went down the elevator to the
ground floor to see where I ate when I wasn't with him. Now that I think
about it, the smells down there in the cafeteria, probably really assaulted
his senses. From there out the door to the little park adjacent to the center,
across the street to see flowers (one of which turned out to be good enough
to eat, almost.) and back home to his room. He was out like a light when
he got into bed again. Didn't move a muscle except to breath. His face was
gaining some peacefulness.
After his nap, I got him up to visit with Nina
and then Erica. He drew her a birthday card. More time on the patio. It
was sometime, just about when Nina was leaving that he started to make some
small sounds with his throat. About an hour later, he began to talk. By
the end of the day, he had talked to several of his visitors as well as
twice on the telephone, which he will take from your hand and give it back
when he's done talking. I need to define what I mean by talking. He can
form some words, his speech is very slurred, you can't make out whole sentences
when he speaks yet. However, he can get a message across by writing, he
can do that and read at least to some extent. When I left him this morning,
he was talking louder, which makes it easier to understand him. Still a
long way to go.
So, you can see why I say, Wednesday was a day
of multiple miracles. I took some pictures when
I was there so you can see some of the people who I refer to in the updates.
7/27/00 8:30 AM CST - I forgot to mention that his Aunt Jeanne is now on bedside duty.
Kathy is back in Minnesota getting things together. I wasn't able to get
through to him last night, phone was accidently off the hook. I was very
anxious to know what happened after I left yesterday. So I called this morning.
I spoke with Jonah. I could understand everything he said. His speech is
coming back quickly it seems. He says he's "fine". He's really
enjoying his new found freedom and making the most out of it. The art community
in St.Louis has gotten together and organized a fund raiser for him, here's the details.
7/30/00 7:30 AM CST - Over the last couple of days, Jonah has continued
to draw a lot. His physical therapy continues to go well. With assistance,
he's spending more time on his feet and less in the chair. His strength
is good, eating and drinking continue to improve. The only downer is that
his speech has actually taken a step backward. He needs to raise his volume,
open his mouth wider, and use his lips more to pronounce better. Still,
in general, he's moving forward. He still has to sleep and spend unattended
time in the net bed. He really doesn't like that. It really frustrates him
a lot, but it's absolutely necessary for his safety.
Kathy came back on bedside duty
Saturday night. I'll be leaving Grand Rapids on the 5th and spending a week
in St.Louis this trip, leaving on the 13th. We're getting down to crunch
time. He will be released from the rehab on the 19th of August, no matter
what condition he's in. We really haven't figured out what will happen next.
There are a number of options though, and time to make decisions.
7/30/00 9:30 PM CST - Big day for Stun. There was a significant improvement with this
speech. In fact, he was able to carry on a simple conversation with Kathy
and Bob Hansen, where he smiled and laughed. He was told about the fund
raiser at the Galaxy today. Kathy explained that the bands are going to
play for free, but everyone who goes, pays to get in, and that money will
go to him to help in his recovery. That had an impact. He understood that
everyone was doing that, for him. He got it. He said he wants to be there.
That would be a tall order, we'll see. Those of us who know him can tell
you, he has no idea that he has influenced so many people. That so many
care about him. He just does his thing. I wonder how he'll react when he
really understands how many of you there are out there caring for him. He's
just beginning to find all this out.
Kathy is giving him as much control
over his life as possible, letting him make decisions. If you've followed
the updates you know how much he hates the net bed he has to stay in. He
likes to curl up on the mat in the physical therapy room. The staff removed
the regular bed from Jonah's two bed room, and replaced it with the mat.
He was given the choice of where he wanted to sleep. Kathy explained to
him that if he slept on the mat, and he tried to get up, he would probably
lose is balance and fall, and probably hurt himself. He chose to sleep in
the net bed, got in, pulled up the blanket and went to sleep.
8/1/00 8:30 AM CST - I talked with Jonah this morning for just a few minutes. He seems
to be in really good spirits. His speech is improving, but also his ability
to comprehend is getting better all the time. That's important because we're
at the point where decisions about the immediate future have to be made,
and we need his input on that. Truly, the best news over the last few days
is that he's beginning to take control of his own life again. That's a very
powerful step forward.
AM CST - Since I reported last, Jo
has continued steadily with his rehab. He's able to speak better. He's walking
on his own to some extent now, keeping his balance better. He's been drawing
more. The baroque music I brought him for medicinal purposes has given way
to hip hop. He still has to take his activity in small chunks, gets tired
fast. The hospital has doubled his food in take. Food producers of America
take note, Jonah is regaining his normal appetite, be prepared. We didn't
think he was ready to go to the fund raiser last night, but he will be at
Paint Louis. Thanks to all of you who showed up at the Galaxy, hope you
had a good time.
8/8/00 9:45 PM
CST - Sorry for the delay in getting an update posted,
but here it is. When I arrived late Saturday night, I was not allowed to
see Jonah. Apparently he had had an incident during the day where had become
very upset. After talking to Kathy for a couple of hours, I decided to try
again. The nurse that refused to let me go up to his room was now off duty.
Jonah was awake at 1:30am, walking on his own, he was roaming around the
locked ward, looking for a way to escape. This had been his patern for several
days and the very reason he had his freedom reduced greatly. Everyone had
become afraid that if he got out of the ward, they might have a big problem
getting him back. Mary, the nurse that was now on duty did let me go up.
When I entered the ward, Jonah was at the nurses
station with his back to me. I said, "Aren't you supposed to be sleeping?"
He turned, came over, and gave me a big hug. He then turned back to the
nurse and said, "This is my dad, were going now", turned back
to me and said, "Come on dad," and started dragging me to the
door. I had gotten to see him based on the fact that I would try to get
him to go to sleep. Complete failure on my part. He had nothing on his mind
except, ESCAPE! In his mind, he was in prison. He wanted out. I had to sneak
back out through the door. I looked back and saw him looking at me from
the other side of that locked door. I felt I had betrayed him. I felt horrible,
broke my heart.
The next day being Sunday, Kathy and I talked about
all this a lot. We agreed, as before, when he was locked up in his bed,
that his frustration of being a prisoner was slowing his progress to a crawl.
Physically, he has continued to progress very well, but mentally he was
at another impasse. Again, as before, I felt the key to his progress was
to remove the frustration. There was risk, but the old saying is, "no
risk, no gain." We needed some gain. I got permission from his nurse
Peter to take him outside the hospital like before. We took a walk of about
four blocks. When Jo got tired, he said he wanted to go back and take a
nap. Later, we did the same thing after his evening meal, for about five
blocks. Once again, he volunteered to go back to the hospital and rest.
Both Kathy and I were convinced that we were back on the right path again.
We talked with his doctors first thing on Monday.
After explaining the excursions of Sunday, we laid out a plan where we would
take responsibility for taking him completely off the hospital grounds and
get him back. We got an OK. The plan was to take a field trip that night.
What was supposed to be the big event of the day
was spray painting. His friend Bob Hansman had arranged to bring all the
stuff to the hospital so Jo could spray on the patio. We got everything
set up, Jonah started working, but he couldn't quite get his hands to do
what his mind wanted. That was a very sad moment for him. He was noticeably
Because of the painting incident earlier, we weren't
sure about taking the field trip that night. But, Bob, Kathy and I, and
Jonah drove downtown to the flood wall. That flood wall project is just
about the biggest thing in Jo's life. The trip was a huge success. He handled
it all just great. When we got back to the hospital, he went right to bed
and slept like a baby all night.
Kathy and Bob had been talking about having a meeting
of the "Paint Louis" committee at the hospital so Jonah could
participate. He's been feeling very left out. He's been questioning his
self worth a great deal lately. That meeting took place tonight. Frankly,
we really were wondering how he would handle it. Normally, he doesn't go
more than twenty minutes without laying his head down to rest. And normally,
he zonks out at that point. He was fully awake for about twenty minutes
before the meeting, went the whole hour of the meeting, and a good half
hour after the meeting never dropping an eye lid. I was amazed. His consciousness
never wavered, he participated in everything, joked, laughed, and was mentally,
right there, for the whole time.
Now, as I've said before, these updates can be
very misleading because we're sharing with you moments from some very long
days. There are still huge hurdles to be overcome. There are times when
he gets very angry, abusive, verbally and physically with those around him.
His language is much more foul than we're used to and frankly, often an
embarrassment. We're told that is normal with head trauma cases. It usually
will pass in time. His attention span is very short, usually just a few
minutes. That's why the meeting was such an amazement. He's walking, but
his balance leaves a lot to be desired still. He's never fallen down yet,
but there's been some close calls. So, there's a ton more to be accomplished.
A long, long road still ahead. At this point, the game plan is, give him
as much freedom as he can handle safely and as much of his life back as
possible. Wish us luck, he's going to be released in 10 days, and there's
a lot to get done in a very short time.
8/9/00 10:15 PM CST - Jonah had a pretty good
day. He got tested to see how his memory and flow of consciousness is doing.
He didn't do as well as I had hoped. This is an area that all of us around
him can help with though, and we really haven't been working with him much
on this. So, I started today and I'm hoping we'll see some progress. We
did take a field trip tonight. Kathy headed back to the twin cities this
evening and Jonah and I went to the airport with her. Much thanks to Rev.
Randy's daughter Christina, who drove us (and for the lap top that I'm using
here). He really is looking forward to his daily escapes now. The tortured
nights of trying to escape the hospital are over for now. He's sleeping
at night, waking up for a little snack and then back to sleep. I'm trying
to plan some outing every day. Don't know about tomorrow yet, but Friday
we're hoping to go down to the flood wall and try painting again. They'll
be some of his friends there, if you're in town, feel free to come and visit.
8/10/00 10:30 PM CST - Last night I got some news, not related to the recovery, that
bummed me out that I can't share with you. That unfortunately, colored my
mood this morning and I wasn't as up as I should have been. Jo did not sleep
well last night, and had not eaten very much the night before. This morning
he didn't want to get up or eat his breakfast. He became very irritated
with me when I attempted to prod him. That progressed greatly through the
morning. There were numerous sessions where he started hitting out at me.
No damage, except for my feelings, but I did take some bad shots there.
Probably my own fault for over parenting. He was also abusive to others.
I decided he needed a break from my attention, so I took time off in the
afternoon and left him to the therapists. Whether that was responsible for
him having a better afternoon, I can't say for sure, but I'm going to give
him more space. Frankly, that's not easy to do, but perhaps necessary. I
talked with his Phycologist at length and asked him to give me an evaluation
this afternoon. I guess we're all agreed, it's time to tell him what happened.
He hasn't brought up the direct question yet, but it's obvious that not
knowing why he's been in the hospital is a problem. Tomorrow afternoon his
doctor, Bob Hansman (who has just been a terrific friend to all of us) and
I, are going to sit down with Jo and get it all on the table. Wish us luck.
Jo's afternoon got progressively better, although the eating thing is still
a problem. We did take a field trip this evening. We went to Americorp,
(think that's how it's spelled), a place where Jonah had done a whole bunch
of art work with his friend, Femme. That was a really good end to the day.
He enjoyed himself a lot and got to talk to a bunch of his friends. There's
pictures that will be posted in the future.
Sunday 8/13/00 9:00 AM CST - We did sit Jonah
down and attempted to tell him about what happened. He really wasn't very
interested. There are defense mechanisms that the brain builds in when these
things happen so while some of it got across to him, much didn't. I do think
he understands that he got hit in the head, he almost died, and that he
is recovering. And if that's so, it's plenty for now.
The field trips have continued. He saw his mom
off at the airport, has been back to the flood wall and yesterday, he got
to visit the computer that he got just before the attack (which he hasn't
ever used) and went to the zoo for a little while. On Friday night, we watched
some football on TV. That was really fun. I hadn't done that with him for
almost ten years. It was everything you would expect of two guys watching
a game, booing the refs, commenting on the plays and all.
The violent outbursts still come periodically,
everyday to some extent, but mostly during the day now, and then in the
mornings. Afternoons and evenings are pretty good. Last night though, we
did have one of those episodes. I decided to react stronger to it this time.
We actually had a heated argument. We were yelling at one another, thought
we'd wake up the whole ward. We resolved it and watched TV for awhile more
before I left. About a half an hour after I got back to my room, he called
me to apologize and tell me he loved me and missed me. I think that was
an important step for him. First, he remembered the incident which normally
hasn't happened, and he felt bad enough about it to react positively. We
talked about it again this morning. I think he's understanding better. I
also drew on some paper an explanation of how his head was in the process
of rewiring itself, so to speak. How thoughts that used to travel a certain
path, are now finding different routes to make connections. I think he got
it, we'll see.
9:00 AM CST - There's plenty to tell you about. I'm
sorta blitzed, so I probably will get the time frames a bit screwed up and
I'm sure I won't remember everything. There are lots of pictures, but it
will take awhile to get them up. I'm going to reorganize the updates and
the pictures so the site is easier to navigate. I'll be doing that over
the next few days. When you see the pictures, remember, you're seeing the
good moments of his day. It will look like we're having a great time and
that he's normal. We did have a good time on these outings, but that wasn't
the majority of his day. He looks really good, but you can't tell that he's
still not functioning as before the attack. He's still involved in an enormous
Sunday afternoon 8/13, Jonah got it into his head
that he wanted beer, which of course, was not on the doctor's "do"
list. This all started about 3:00pm and never let up, never, not for five
minutes! He tried everything that he could think of to get me to go and
get a six pack for him. Then he was at the staff, other patients, their
visitors. He was absolutely determined. After four hours of this, one of
the nurses came in and suggested "O'Doul's", non-alcoholic beer.
YES, a solution to everyone's sanity. Bob Hansman showed up just as I got
back from the store. The three of us, went out to the hospital park and
drank the O'Doul's. It took one beer for Jo to figure out that it didn't
have alcohol, but it passed.
I think it was Monday 8/14 that the doctors told
me they wanted to dump the post release plan of Jonah staying with his mom
in St.Louis and him going to an out patient clinic during the day. We'd
also begun to re-think that. His violent out bursts and mood swings would
have been too much for Kathy to handle by herself. The staff wanted him
to go to another hospital in Mt.Vernon, MO that specializes in head trauma
injuries and the particular level of recovery that Jo's at. We were very
reluctant to remove him from his friends and connections we'd been establishing
with his life through the field trips, but we were at a loss for a better
solution to the problem. He'd begun to focus on the time he had left in
the hospital and was looking forward to being released, which made our descion
even tougher. We really feared that he would react badly to the change.
After much consideration and discussion, including several chats with my
sister Donna who is a pyscologist, we opted for Mr.Vernon. I decided to
wait till Tuesday to tell Jonah.
Once again, we had a group meeting. Me, Bob, Jonah
and Dr. Ecker. Once again, we worried all night that he would be angry and
disappointed about the change. I explained to him that we all thought that
by going to this other hospital he would recover in a much shorter time.
He was okay with it, but he didn't want to go by himself. I explained that
Kathy would be going with him. He was okay with that. Whew! That was really
the first time that he took in information, analyzed it, and made a considered
decision. A big step. It was an impressive moment.
Our field trip for the day was to go down to the
flood wall and paint. On the way out he was using a lot of bad language
(a symptom of this stage of his recovery). One of the female doctors was
sitting at the nurse's station and let him know that she didn't appreciate
that in her ward. Jonah actually went back in and apologized. That was also
a big step.
When we got to the wall, there were a couple of
writers from Kansas City and St.Louis, and one from N.Y. All of a sudden
it was just the way it used to be. Talking with his friends, joking, and
painting. He was totally within his element. Up until this point, every
time he got to paint, it was "Jonah show us if you can still paint."
This time it was totally natural. He worked with his buddies for over two
hours. Tuesday was his best day yet.
Wednesday, we got him back to the wall so he could
finish his piece. Earlier his friends started showing up at the hospital
and he had spent the afternoon with them instead of taking his nap. He's
been eating solid food for days now, and this time his friends brought all
sorts of food that wasn't on the hospital menu, he ate it all, as well as
his regular dinner. By the time he started painting, he was already tired.
He couldn't make his hands do what his mind wanted. With a little help from
his friends though, he directed what needed to be done. Periodically, he'd
stagger up to the wall and paint himself. The piece isn't anything as good
as he would normally do, but Stun got it done. It's been very interesting
to watch his thinking process. In his graf world, he's right there. He completely
understands everything and everybody, but the rest of his world is still
That night I thought I better go over the move
to Mt.Vernon one more time to be sure he understood. As he was actually
going to leave on Thursday instead of Friday, I thought it was better to
make sure everything was straight with him, rather that him throw a fit
the next day when he was about to leave. He did understand it all and was
ready and willing. That was a big load off my mind.
Everything went well on Thursday. Kathy showed
up in the morning, driving her car down from Minnesota. Friends started
showing up to see him off. He slept all morning with everybody standing
round. He finally woke up to eat lunch. Shortly thereafter, the Mr.Vernon
folks showed up with their van and away he went. For some reason, seeing
him go was a really tough moment for Bob and I in particular. I talked to
Jonah later that night, after he had arrived. The trip had gone well and
he was okay with everything.
Throughout this past week, his violent tantrums
started to lessen. Not end, but lessen considerably. Much of his speech
is still hard to understand because he makes up a lot of words, but his
ability to speak has improved greatly. I really believe that he's finally
starting to think, able to make some decisions. It's my greatest hope that
we're getting him to the right place at the right time.
Over the last couple of weeks I've spent a lot
of time with Jonah's friends. I wanted to just take this opportunity to
tell you all how much you've contributed to the recovery. You've been his
life line. He wouldn't have gotten this far without you. I wanted to also
let you know how wonderful it has been for me to get to know you too (and
I'm sure that also goes for Kathy) and allow me to be in your very special
world. Also, we've had a lot of contact with the parents of Jo's friends.
I know every one of you have thought, it could have been your son or daughter.
I appreciate that this has had a big impact on you. And in particular, I
want to mention Bob Hansman. Bob is an aging hippie like myself, although
I have a couple of years on him. He doesn't have kids of his own, but he
teaches art at the college level. All his young friends and students are
his children. He was a good friend to Jonah before all this happened and
has continued to be there for him, and Kathy and I, every moment. Bob, I
think we will be friends for along time. A very special acknowledgement
to all of you at St.Louis University Hospital, you saved my son's life,
and the staff at Sisters of St. Mary Hospital, you started bringing him
back to us. I need to make mention of the folks that Kathy and I work for
and with. Your understanding and help have made it possible for us to be
where we had to be. Thanks to you ALL so much. There are no words to express
how much you have done and how greatful we are. Bless you all, over and
Monday 8/21/00 9:00
AM CST - I spoke with Jonah and Kathy several times
over the weekend. It appears that MRC (Missouri Rehabilitation Center) is
going to be a lot more rigid than the previous hospitals. His free hours
have been severely cut back. It's sorta like boot camp for brains. They'll
be evaluating him throughout the week. Jonah has still got a lot of progress
to make in a number of areas, but that's what he's there for. So far, he's
in good spirits. This hospital has a really good reputation, so we're giving
them a free hand. This is a critical time in the recovery. Perhaps, the
hardest. Everything depends on how cooperative Jonah can be. Please keep
those thoughts and prayers coming. We need them as much as ever now. I've
posted a new address to write to in the Contact
Information area. Also, almost all of the pictures are up from the trip
in the Picture Gallery.
Tuesday 8/22/00 12:30 PM CST
- Kathy says that Jonah's doing good. The staff is working with him on recognizing
the right words to put with the right things. If he doesn't know what word
he wants to use, he just makes one up. His violent out bursts are pretty
much gone, and his swearing is beginning to get under control. He's been
moved from the locked ward to a room of his own. We want to keep connections
to his world stimulated. Kathy thinks it's okay for friends to call him. That number has been
posted at Contact Information.
If you should call, please remember
to keep it positeve and it's best not to bring up the attack unless he should. We know it's a long drive, but we want to encourage his friends
to try and find a way to visit. He misses you. The last bunch of photos
are posted at Friends.
Wednesday 8/23/00 9:00 AM CST - Talked with
Jonah last night. His speech is improving. Not making up many words anymore,
pronouncing things pretty well too. When the staff tried to wake him in
the morning he got upset, but then, he's never liked getting up early. He's
allowed to go down to the cafeteria to eat now and he has a TV in his room.
The therapists are working with him on his ability to reason. I'm glad to
say that after only a few days at Mt.Vernon, he's made some real improvement.
His hearing was tested and he has a 3 db loss, but that could be due to
listening to loud music (take heed youngsters). He does have a problem with
his eyes. He was supposed to have his eyes checked at SSM, but there was
a foul up and it didn't happen. He will have to wait another couple of weeks
now for that to be done. The Mt.V staff think that a lot of things will
improve when he can see better.
8/24/00 11:30 AM CST - From Kathy (Wed. afternoon):
This morning went as usual....I got to his room at 9:00 to find him sound
asleep. He is so very hard to wake in the morning. His first therapy was
at 9:30. He had already been up for breakfast (7 a.m.) but then he goes
back to bed. I finally got him up at 9:15 so he was ready for his first
therapy. In OT he set a more complicated puzzle than yesterday and played
Connect Four. He was really good with the game and after his session we
had an extra half an hour so he and I played. I was challenged by him. PT
went well with working on balance, etc. Speech was frustrating for him because
he tried so hard and knew he wasn't finding the right words. He did well,
but he tries to be a perfectionist - his therapist even asked him if he
was a perfectionist. Jonah replyed "yes".
Monday 8/28/00 11:30 AM CST - Jonah doesn't
have any therapy on the weekends so there isn't a lot to keep him busy.
He got a couple of calls from friends and a visit by Bob Hansman on Sunday.
Kathy was also able to get permission for him to take some walks on the
hospital grounds. Frankly, my heart goes out to him. He was able to get
out a lot more at SSM, and actually go some places. Just before he left
St.Louis, he was beginning to paint and he doesn't have anywhere to do that
in Mt.V. This has got to be really tough on him to be so restricted. However,
every time that I've talked to him, he seems to be in really good spirits.
His speech continues to improve and he makes jokes about being in the hospital.
"Paint Louis" is coming up this weekend. We've all been hoping
he would be able to go, but it doesn't look good. The doctors feel they
don't want him in a situation like that because he gets disoriented. I know
they know what they're doing, but I'm not sure they understand it's not
a rock festival. We're hoping desperately, that we can change
their minds. He REALLY wants to go. Right now, Jonah is living in two worlds.
"Our World", where he's much less capable, and "Graf World",
where he relates very well and functions better in general. It's our concern,
that if he doesn't get to go, it will stir a lot of negative stuff that's
just going to get in the way of his willingness to work with the recovery
program. He will be depressed and angry. I can't see where that's a plus.
It's a tough call. So if you've got a small prayer tonight, pray for the
right thing to happen, whatever it is to be. Thanks.
Wednesday 8/30/00 7:45 AM CST - I spent most
of yesterday putting together a letter to the doctors at MRC. I did my best
to explain what "Paint Louis" is and how important it is to Jonah.
I faxed it off to Kathy who made copies and delivered it to all the appropriate
staff. Bob Hansman sent one too. Today at 1:00pm cst, Kathy will be meeting
with the staff. Whatever their decision is, it will be posted here as soon
as I get the call from Kathy. As I've said before, we know that they're
the experts in brain trauma, but we know our son. All the doctors so far,
have underestimated his capabilities. I pray that won't happen today. Everyone
who knows him, knows he can handle it. He's so very lonely at MRC, nothing
would do more for his spirits than to be with the people who care about
him. I really feel that the love and nurturing of his extended family at
"Paint Louis" will be the single most important factor in getting
him all the way back to us. If you've got any prayers left unused, today's
the day. Check back later today for the outcome.
Wednesday 8/30/00 7:45 PM CST - The doctors
have said, "no." I was included in the tail end of the conference
by phone so I was able to participate. There are two reasons. First, the
hospital rules don't allow for field trips. If he leaves, he's discharged.
Right now MedicAid is picking up the tap for the hospital expenses. In the
eyes of MedicAid, if he leaves the hospital, he's discharged. If he's discharged,
then he's fit for the real world, the financial assistance stops. Second,
the doctors believe that being in any setting at all, other than the hospital,
will be difficult for him. I hate to use the word, but you can't see in
the pictures that he's as a "retarded" person. Now that has steadily
been improving, and of course that's why he's still in the hospital. Physically,
he's good enough to handle things, but not in his head. When I asked if
it would be "dangerous for him to attend", they collectively said
"yes." We do respect what they had to say, and they did make sense.
Still, we have a concern about his moral.
However, there may be a small window of opportunity.
Kathy and the MRC social worker had already started the process of getting
Jonah to Minnesota, the Sister Kenney Institute. They may be able to accept
him as early as Tuesday, next week. In other words, he wouldn't be discharged
from MRC, he'd be transferred to SKI. That transfer could be executed on
Friday. Kathy would be driving Jonah to Minneapolis. The road signs in Missouri
can be difficult to read at times. It's hard to be sure when leaving Mt.Vernon,
if you're headed to Kansas City/Minneapolis or St.Louis. Anyone could make
a mistake. If she did and ended up in St.Louis, I'm guessing it would take
a few hours to figure out how to get back on the right road. I think she
could get directions somewhere down by the river. That would all hinge on
SKI coming through for us on time.
8/31/00 6:30 AM CST - Last week I got word from my
company that I may be transfered to Minneapolis, the Minnesota Orchestra.
Last night I got the go ahead. I'll be leaving Saturday, arriving Sunday
night. Just another "coincidence" in a long line of them surrounding
this whole thing with Jonah. I didn't expect this to happen until October
and I also expected to be out of work when it did happen. Isn't it amazing
how Spirit has scripted this whole thing. So, I won't be able to be at "Paint
Louis". That is a great disappointment to me. I was really looking
forward to being with all my new friends. I know this is going to be a special
year for the event. Terribly sorry I can't be there, but delighted I will
arrive in MN at about the same time as Kathy and Jonah.
Still no word from SKI yet. I'll let you know.
Jo got a visit yesterday from the K.C. writers. He really enjoyed that.
As of yet, he doesn't know anything about what may be happening this coming
weekend. If any of you should talk to him, please talk as little as possible
about "Paint Louis". We don't know if we can get him there, even
for a few hours, and we want to keep it as low key as possible.
Friday 9/1/00 10:30 AM CST
- I talked with Jonah last night. He was very agitated. He's upset that
he didn't leave for "Paint Louis" yesterday as he had planned.
We've tried to explain that we're waiting for the paper work to come through
for his transfer. He doesn't really understand that he's going to be transferred
to yet another hospital. Kathy got him to focus on how well off he is by
talking to him about the other patients and how far they still have to go.
That actually worked to some extent. He was calm by the time he went to
bed. We still haven't heard from SKI yet. I sure hope the person on that
end isn't leaving early for the holiday weekend. We're praying we get the
green light today from them so Jonah can leave for Minneapolis tomorrow.
I'll update again today before I have to shut down my computer.
Friday 9/1/00 2:30 PM CST
- YES! SKI accepted Jonah. He's leaving tomorrow for Minneapolis by way
of St.Louis. Thank you Spirit! And thank you, to all of you who have been
hoping and praying along with us. Looked pretty grim there for awhile. I'll
update with more details this evening.
9/1/00 8:30 PM CST - I talked with Jonah about 7:00pm.
I expected him to be really excited like we were about him finally getting
to visit "Paint Louis". He was not in a good mood. He was angry
that he hadn't left yet. Then he was angry because he might have to wait
until noon before leaving tomorrow. I guess he's completely packed and ready
to go right now. So I tried to get the message across that he was going
to get to go, and he needed to appreciate that. I warned him that he might
not be able to stay as long as he would like. I explained that he needed
to handle it if that happened. After all, handling things is what this is
all about for him. He needed to understand that. How he handles things,
is the yard stick that we're measuring his recovery by. I told him if there
are any delays in leaving, he had to handle it. I hope that all will go
well. Hey, all you guys in St.Louis, help take good care of my boy.
Okay. That's it for now. I should be back on line
by Tuesday. We should all be in the twin cities by then.
Tuesday 9/5/00 4:15 PM CST
- Jonah and Kathy left Mt.Vernon on Saturday and got to St.Louis. Kathy
had to return the lap top that she had been using. They were invited to
stay the night at the home of his friend Guss. Guss's mom has been one of
the many folks in St.Louis who have supported us through this ordeal and
her offer of accommodations for the night was greatly appreciated. We had
decided that if Jonah went to the wall at all, it was going to be short
and sweet. On Sunday, Kathy and Jonah did a drive by. He spent a short time
talking with friends and renewing old acquaintances. It really did his heart
good to be there, even if the time had been severely cut back. He was very
accepting of the situation, which was a big turn around from Friday night.
I got into Mpls. around 11:30am on Sunday. Just
in time for the Vikings game (I sort of planned that). Bonita had secured
a house for us in Coon Rapids, MN. But instead of unloading the moving truck,
we had to spend the day moving the furniture that was already there. Our
actual moving in had to wait until Monday.
Jonah and Kathy got in around 1:00pm. on Monday.
After they visited with some of the relatives, Kathy drove out to us in
the late afternoon. Jonah looked good, really good. The trip up to MN had
gone very well, he was tired from the trip, but in great spirits. His ability
to reason had also improved a lot. We talked about his injury. I think for
the first time he grasped that he had been attacked and had almost died.
He doesn't remember it, or most of the time he's been in the hospital. So
we gave him an account of what had been happening over the last couple of
months. He was quite surprised and said "Wow" about a dozen times.
No question, the most dramatic change in him is, he is finally understanding
and accepting things. He knows that he's been injured, he understands why
he's been in the hospital and why he will need to be in the hospital for
a while yet. He's okay with the situation and knows what he has to accomplish
before he can be released for good. Up till this point, he's never accepted
there was anything wrong. He gets it now. That's a huge step forward.
We admitted him to SKI this morning. Once again,
he was very accepting of the situation and in great spirits. This is the
Jonah we all remember. Man! He's come along way. He's getting very close
to being whole again. I think that being here in Minnesota where both Kathy
and I are near at hand and his new found willingness to go through the process,
will make the final stages of the recovery go very quickly. Thank God, and
all of you out there who have cared and prayed for him.
Bob Hansman took some pictures at "Paint Louis"
that he's sending up to me. I'll scan and upload as soon as I can. Also,
I'll get some shots for you from SKI too.
Thursday 9/7/00 8:30 AM CST - All has been
going well. The traveling of last weekend wore all of us out, but I think
we're getting back to normal now. Jonah is very comfortable at SKI. It's
a wonderful facility. Today at 3:30pm we're sitting down with the staff
for their evaluation. We know he still needs to improve his speech and reasoning.
In the meeting, they'll be estimating how long he'll need to stay and what
happens after his stay there. This should be the last stop for in patient
care. I imagine he will still need to do out patient for awhile. I've posted
new SKI contact information for him at Contact
Information. We encourage his Minnesota friends and
family to get to the hospital to see him. He's doing his therapy during
the day, but in the evening and on weekends visiting is cool.
Some where between Grand Rapids and Mpls., my digital
camera disappeared. So current pictures are going to be slow coming.
Thursday 9/7/00 10:00 PM CST
- The evaluation today went well. It would appear that SKI intends to release
him to out patient therapy at the end of next week. Jonah's been living
in a hospital since June 28th. On September 15th, he will be living in the
real world again. He's still going to need 24 hour supervision though. Now,
as Spirit would have it, both Kathy and I are now living in the twin cities.
We also have a bunch of relatives. So, one way or another this can get worked
11:45 PM CST - Jonah had a pretty quiet weekend. He
hasn't had a lot of visitors, but that has picked up some. Of course he
loves visiting, but he's also okay with waiting to see people. I asked him
if he had called any of his friends. He said that he hadn't yet and he wanted
to wait till he
got out of the hospital. I think he wants to be at his best when that happens,
as much as possible like he used to be. I thought that was a powerful step
for him. We watched the Viking football game in his room on Sunday. He loves
football. It's always been a big father/son thing with us. He continues
to look forward to his release this Friday.
Jonah has become more conscious of what has happened
to him. He's mentioned to people in several conversations that "he's
lucky to be alive." He really has gotten a hold of the fact he is in
the process of recovering. There have been flash instances of that ever
since he was in SSM, but now he truly understands what's happened to him.
It appears that he's reached yet another level of willingness to cooperate
with the staff and the process in general. As we are now preparing for the
out patient side of his therapy, knowing that we will also need to work
with him therapeutically, we've been making preparations. The doctors are
going to do an evaluation towards the end of the week as to just how much
out patient therapy he should be getting. Until then, the planning is only
in general terms.
First, Kathy and I are trying to organize our lives/jobs
in order to be able to get him back and forth from the hospital. So far,
he'll probably stay with Bonita and I during the week, and with Kathy on
the weekends. Second, we've been talking about how Jo should spend his time
with us. The last thing we want is for him to go to the hospital for a few
hours, then watch TV the rest of the day. We intend to keep him busy and
challenged at a pace that's comfortable for him. Of course he'll be able
to draw and paint as much as he wants. We know he's going to want to play
some games on the computer. But, we think the games should not be time dependent.
Games where he can take as much time to make his decisions as he needs.
Puzzles, board games, and some computer games will good. Starting to learn
the computer, image processing, page building, communications, the internet
could work really well too. However, we ALL have our horror stories about
getting these little toys to work. We'll have to make sure he doesn't get
frustrated. Although, I don't think our role is really to entertain him.
I think he needs to take an active role in the duties of daily life, washing
dishes, vacuuming, helping prepare meals, laundry. We're preparing him to
live on his own again. Re-teaching him those everyday skills is the most
important thing. That's what our concentration will be on.
Saturday 9/16/00 11:00 PM CST
- My phone has been disconnected for several days so I haven't been on line.
Jonah had his evaluation by the staff on Wednesday. He still needs to improve
his speech, comprehension and short term memory. He's still exhibiting some
inappropriate behavior. He went to the Mall of America on a field trip and
was prone to singing in some of the stores. We giggle a bit at this, but
it isn't really what he should be doing. Strangers think he's drunk or on
drugs. If someone isn't with him to guide him and in fact, protect him,
there are numerous possibilities for a bad situation to arise. So when we
are talking about 24 hour supervision, it's a lot more than making sure
he doesn't slip on the stairs. We'll have to be aware of how the world is
reacting to him as well as how he reacts to the world at any given moment.
We were all looking forward to this Friday and
his anticipated release from the hospital. Didn't happen. The SKI staff
was going to get him transferred to Hennipen County Medical Center (HCMC)
for his out patient treatment. Their program allows for care of him when
he's not actually in a therapy session. That would allow some flexibility
in conjunction with my work schedule. Unfortunately, there isn't a space
for him in their program yet. That means he must continue to stay at SKI
full time, until the correct procedures for his transfer become available.
We're hoping that situation will change in a week or less. Jonah is getting
frustrated again with his lack of freedom. SKI has loosened up though, he
has been allowed to leave the hospital and even do over-nights until the
out patient program can begin.
His grandfather, Frank, picked him up on Friday
and took him over night. Jonah got steak from the grill and corn on the
cob. He got a soft bed and a whole lot of grandpa love. Tomorrow, the place
where Kathy works, the Frog Town Alliance, is sponsoring a marathon walk.
The walk is being dedicated to Jonah. They've asked if he could be there
to take the first steps. I think that's really cool. He will, but there's
only going to be a few steps. After that, Bonita and I are going to pick
him up and bring him back to our house for a afternoon of football and good
food. There'll be some pictures coming from the walk. Some of the "Paint Louis" photos are now
Sunday 9/17/00 11:45
PM CST - We all had a really nice Sunday. We all met
at the Mississippi river for the big walk. Jonah met a lot of people he
didn't know, but knew him, being working associates of Kathy. Jo and dad
spent the afternoon playing with the computer until the Viking's game came
on. Watched that with much delight, as they did win. Then Jonah, Bonita
and dad had dinner at Perkins. Had to get him back to SKI at 8:00 pm. Jo
got very confused about what hospital, in what city, he was in and was previously
in. I get a bit dizzy with that one. When we arrived at SKI, he did recognize
it, but I also realized part of his confusion is that all hospital rooms
look so much a like. The hospital bed, the same type of cabinets and bathrooms,
the TV hanging from the ceiling. I guess I can understand the confusion.
We hope to get word before the week is out, maybe
in a couple of days, that we can transfer him to the HCMC out patient program.
When that happens, he gets to sleep at home. I've posted some pictures from
Wednesday 9/20/00 8:00 AM CST - I'm afraid
there was a mess up with the out patient arrangements at HCMC. It now appears
they wouldn't be able to have an opening for quite awhile. Jonah's really
wanting out of the hospital again. The whole thing with paper work, red
tape, funding, is crazy. There's all these private and governmental agencies
that are supposed to help. Trouble is, none of them work together, they
all have their own prerequists, paperwork and requirements. Many of them
do everything they can to pass the buck. One agency in St.Louis that's supposed
to give assistance with any out standing bills of the patient, is a prime
example. I spent a whole day being shuffled from one automatic answering
system to another, when I would finally get someone on the phone, they would
forward me on to somewhere else. Never actually got anywhere. It's a crime
that when you need help, you have to deal with this crap at a time when
you're least able to do it. It's plenty for us to just deal with his recovery,
it's really difficult when all the other stuff gets in the way too. In addition,
both Kathy and I have problems with our jobs. So, in frustration we've told
SKI to set up the out patient there, even though it's much less than an
ideal situation. We're just going to have to find a way to make it work.
We can't let Jonah start feeling like he's a prisoner again. We've got to
find a way to keep moving forward.
Friday 9/22/00 7:00 PM CST - Today at 3:00
pm, Jonah was released from SKI. He's living on the outside now. We've been
waiting for this a long time. It's going to be Jonah and Dad for the weekend.
I managed to get off work until Monday. He's moved his stuff into our house
in Coon Rapids, MN. Over the weekend we'll be getting his room to feel like
home. I can't tell you how good it feels to have him free.
Monday 9/25/00 8:00 PM CST
- We had a really nice weekend. Bonita was gone most of the time at a seminar
so Jonah and I were alone. On Saturday, we moved stuff out of the basement
room that has now become my music studio. My musical equipment was in what
is now Jo's room. Saturday was Bonita's birthday, so we went shopping for
some presents for her and also groceries. Jo handled washing the dishes
and we made supper together. On Sunday, we finished up the transition of
the two rooms in the morning. Jonah made us lunch. Now if I had done it,
I would have slapped a couple of sandwiches together and tossed the potato
chip bag on the table. Jonah made the sandwiches, cut them in half, arranged
them around the outside of the plate and put a pile of the chips in the
middle. When I walked into the kitchen and saw what he had done, I had to
laugh. He was taking better care of me that I was of him. The rest of the
day was devoted to watching football and a walk outside.
I'm sensing that something is just a bit odd about
him. I mentioned it to Kathy and she had gotten the same vibe. Jonah has
always been a very warm and loving person, but that seems to have accelerated.
I said to her, "He's just so nice!". I know that probably sounds
strange, but I don't know how else to describe it. It may be that because
he's aware that he's lucky to be alive, he's found a new appreciation for
everything. I think that's probably true, but I think it's more than that.
What exactly, I can't say. But as Kathy has noticed it too, it must be something.
It's like, if you get him a glass of water, he says thank you as if that
glass of water was the most important thing in the world. It's not what
he says as much as the way he says it, like he feels honored to receive
it and you feel honored to give it to him. There isn't anything casual about
it, he makes it very meaningful.
Friday 9/29/00 5:00 PM CST - Well, we just
completed the first week of the out patient therapy. All in all, things
went pretty well for Jonah. He's enjoying his new found freedom. The scheduling
of the sessions has caused some problems, but hopefully that will settle
into something that will be consistent each week, which it isn't now. Jo
and I have been working on a thousand piece puzzle of the Titanic. If you're
into puzzles, you know how addicting they can be. We're having a lot of
fun with it and it's great therapy too. I had the day off from work today
so we got the basketball filled with air this morning and found a playground
with a hoop. After his afternoon therapy, Jonah wanted to rake the leaves
in the backyard (funny, he never wanted to do that when he lived at home
before). He did that for awhile, but he said he was getting some double
vision. I told him to stop so he wouldn't have to do twice the work. He
worked on the puzzle for awhile, but he just went back out to rake some
more. Cooking is becoming his specialty. He's made dinner several times
this week, not gourmet, but as good or better than I would have done. He's
getting a lot of pleasure in doing the everyday chores.
Next week, we're going to take some money out of
the Fund to get all the painting stuff he needs. He's been eying the neighbor's
garage, but he's going to have to settle for canvas. I think we can create
an area down stairs for him to work. I think he's ready to start really
creating again. I've posted new mailing information
for those of you who have requested it.
Monday 10/16/00 10:00 AM CST - I apologize for not getting more updates up recently. As I had
said previously though, Jonah's progress is leveling off and there is less to tell you. He's
continued his out patient therapy at SKI, but it's been reduced to three
days a week now. How long that will continue, hard to say, months I expect.
He is continuing to make progress, but it's very slow at this stage. He's
hooked up with a local graf guy, Ben, and they're going to go and paint
at one of the legal sites this coming Wed. I'll see if I can't get some
pictures for you. We got visited this weekend by one of my great friends
from Grand Rapids, MI, Gloria and her husband Dick. Gloria had a couple
of Jo's graf pieces converted to puzzles. That was very cool. Here's a picture
from our breakfast yesterday morning at Perkins.
Jonah has a few words for you .......
Well, I'm doing all right. My
vision is about half way, I don't see quite right yet, but it's getting
better. I see the doctors three days a week and they're doing a very good
job. Thank you for your messages to me, I do read them. And thanks for the
I am a Viking fan here in Minnesota
and have been for years even when I was in St.Louis. Both the Vikings and
the Rams are undefeated, I think that's because of me. (Laugh) I hope the
Cardinals will make a come back against the Mets, because they have a lot
I've got a lot of heart for
my family that is taking care of me. It won't be too much longer before
I can see properly, I'm about 60 % right now. I'm wearing glasses and that
helps a lot. My painting isn't where it was. I've done one outside painting
since my recovery began. Wasn't too bad, but I can do better. I didn't paint
at "Paint Louis 4", but I was still able to be part of the event.
Hope to paint next year.
I've been surprised by all the
nice things people have said about me and I thank you for that. Got a chance
to read the letters on the computer. Your messages are meaningful to me.
There's a lot of things that I can't do yet, but I hope that I can soon.
I feel better and better, weekly. Thanks again for your prayers and letters
to me, I do receive them and I do enjoy getting them.
Jonah "Stun" Anderson
Monday 10/23/00 9:30 PM CST - Hello, it's your friend
Jonah. I just today finished a piece that lasted me nearly a week to complete.
It didn't take that long awhile ago, but it was my second piece since my
recovery. It's not on, but near, Lyndale and Lake street. I did it with
my new Minnesota friend "Mines" . I think the old come back, is
on the come back!
12:30 PM CST - Again, sorry for not getting information
to you more often. One of the things that I hadn't mentioned was that my
work at the MN Orchestra ended; funding for Kathy's job got cut, putting
her out of work; and as fate would have it, my wife Bonita was let go from
her job. Needless to say, we've all been looking for work. So it's been
hard to get time for all this.
We got an evaluation on Jonah's eyes. You may have
noticed in some of the photos that his eyes don't aim in the same direction.
His vision has been skewed because of that. Being able to see properly has
been a real problem, as you might expect it would be for an artist. The
good news is, he has 20/20 vision. The muscle that controls the one eye
is responding and eventually his sight will be normal again. Next week he'll
begin therapy specifically for his eyes.
Tomorrow morning I'm taking a one way flight to
St.Louis. I've rented a truck and will be hauling Jonah's things up to Minnesota.
He's really looking forward to getting his stuff. That includes his air
brush equipment and his turn tables for DJing. He's really missed that in
particular. Once he gets his painting equipment, he'll be painting most
everyday. We've cleared out an area in the garage for him to work and he's
really glad to have a space to start creating art again. In the not too
distant future we'll be creating a web store for him to sell his work. Even
though he's not a 100% in any area, it's so great that he's gotten down
the road this far. I was thinking yesterday about the first time I got to
St.Louis and saw him laying in that bed after the attack. How terrible that
all was. We're so thankful to have him back and still recovering. There's
still a long way to go, but he's well on his way. Thanks for all the prayers.
Thursday 11/9/00 10:30 PM CST - The trip down to St.Louis went well, and quick. Got down there
by 11:00 am on Saturday. Uncle Randy picked me up at the airport. Got the
truck rented loaded up Jonah's computer. Then Randy and I drove the truck
to Task's house where we met Bob Hansman who helped us load the rest of
Jo's possesions, including his DJ and airbrush equipment. Much thanks to
Task's folks for storing everything until we could get it. Randy, Bob and
I took time to have a good lunch and catch up on everything, then I hit
the road by 4:00pm. Drove a lot on little sleep and got back to Minnesota
by 1:00pm on Sunday. Kathy dropped Jonah off here in the afternoon. After
some rest and football we uploaded the truck. It was really fun watching
Jonah going through his stuff, one box, one thing at a time. It was sort
of like Christmas for him. Yesterday we got paint for the airbrush and some
I've reorganized the updates, placing the older
ones on a new page, "Past Updates".
I've also added a new page to the Picture Gallery, "Pictures
from Minnesota", and added some new pictures.
Thursday 11/23/00 11:00 AM CST
- Happy Thanksgiving to you all. As you can imagine, it's not too hard for
us to figure out what we have to be thankful for today. Obviously, the continuing
recovery of Jonah, but much more. Some would think this has been a horrible
year for us, but I don't think of it that way. It would have been horrible
if Jo had died or if he hadn't been able to recover. I guess I'm over whelmed
by the good fortune that has come our way. Yes, we've been shaken, but Spirit
has held us firm and taken care of us all, in all ways, in our time of turmoil.
My heart goes out to those in the world that have not been as fortunate.
We have been given many new friends who have shown us much love and help.
We have been given a deeper insight into life and it's frailness and we
treasure it all the more.
Jonah spends the majority of his time with Bonita
and me in Coon Rapids. My days are full being his at home therapist, leaving
little time to do the things that I would normally be doing. Over the last
week we have set a daily schedule of things for Jo to be accomplishing.
Most of those things I supervise. Up in the morning, breakfast and pills,
eye exercises, typing class on the computer, airbrushing in the basement,
lunch, eye exercises again, answering e-mail or learning the programs in
his computer, more airbrushing, dinner, eye exercises. Those days when he
has out patient therapy, the mornings are spent in travel to SKI or/and
the eye institute, leaving only half a day for all the at home stuff. Jonah
does his part with the household chores as well, in particular the cooking.
He's involved in the making of almost every meal. He likes to be close to
the food. Both he and I are very busy. Everything with Jonah is steadily
improving. He's doing great. Still a distance to go, but he's getting down
the road to full recovery, thank God.
Last Friday night, we were adopted by a cat. Jonah
was with Kathy that night. Bonita and I were watching TV when we heard a
meow at the door. We opened it and in pranced this little fur ball. Bonita
thought it was the reincarnation of a friend's cat that had recently died,
so she named the cat Missy, after her friend's cat. Missy is all fur, extremely
affectionate, loves to be held, and is very well mannered. As Bonita has
a slight allergy to cat fur, and not too excited about fur on the furniture,
it may be that Missy will not be staying with us permanently, but for now
she is a joy. We have hope of finding her owner, but as yet, no luck. I've
added some pictures of Missy and of Jonah working
in his downstairs studio.
We all hope, that all of you have a blessed day,
today. Much love and thanks from us to you.
Wednesday 11/29/00 10:00 AM CST - On Monday
Jonah had an extensive examination of his eyes. It now
appears that he has some permanent damage. Most of us see almost a complete
180 degrees. Jo has a blind spot on his right side. The doctor said that
this is due to the damage from the attack on the left side of his head and
the subsequent surgery. It wasn't good news. Still, it could have been worse.
He can see. His vision using both eyes is still blurred. When he draws he
uses one eye at a time. We're still hopeful that the exercises that he does
everyday will eventually focus his vision with both eyes. Only time will
Sunday 12/10/00 1:00 PM CST - Jonah got some new glasses this week. That really improved his
sharpness of vision. The blind spot, of course is still there, but his ability
to focus has improved dramatically. His eyes are still not working together
properly, but that continues to improve through the exercises that he does
The weather here has gotten fridget. He and his
friend Ben did get out and did do some wall painting last week though. Naturally,
Jo liked doing that a lot. But, now that winter is coming on at full force,
there won't be much outdoor painting done till spring.
Bonita, Jonah and I got the Christmas tree up last
weekend. A real tree, never have gotten used to the idea of the fake ones.
The cat that adopted us has decided to stay, but she's gotten a name change.
She's not Missy anymore, she's Missy Butterball. Her fur causes a bit of
a problem for Bonita, but so far she's okay with it.
Last night Jonah had a get together with a bunch
on his friends from the old Minneapolis neighborhood, Jeremy Jacobson, Mike
Maron and wife Shannon, Jason Emke and Tim Cruzen. When Jo was growing up,
there were a bunch of guys that all hung together. I actually coached them
all in park board football. Good guys, all grown up now. It was a major
upper for Jo to see them, me too for that matter. I was having such a good
time that I forgot to take any pictures until the very end, just got one
There's a bunch of new pictures
for you to see.
5:00 PM CST - Hello,
it's Jonah to tell you about my life as of recently. Well, after my party
with most of my friends up here in Minnesota, the next day, I sat back and
watched the Vikings play their game on Sunday Football. The only bad thing
about that was the Vikings did not WIN, they didn't start to play football
until the second half. That was far to late for them to win the game. We'll
see what happens on Christmas Eve. One of my wishes for that day is, the
Vikings WIN in a glorious type of way. I hope the Vikings win for this original
Viking fan. Even while I was in St. Louis, I was always hoping they would
win the Super Bowl. I didn't know until a couple of weeks ago, when the
Vikes played the Rams. The Rams are Champions of 1999! I hope the Vikings
can go to the Super Bowl and not lose the thing.
The other thing that got me
excited was a meeting with a high school friend of mine named Mike Maron
one afternoon. He had brought me some things to use. One of them was a SEGA
game system. I used to have one of those, but I guess something happened
to it. He also brought me things I had drawn when we were in school. The
main drawing I remembered was Mike as a quarterback for our High School,"ROOSEVELT",
playing against the team on the north side of Mpls., "NORTH HIGH SCHOOL."
Mike was back in the pocket getting ready to throw a touchdown pass.
Now a days, I'm getting ready
for Christmas. It's only a day away for me! It's Thursday night and tomorrow
I go to my Grandpa's and then Christmas will begin! I start celebrating
Monday's Christmas early. On Saturday I'll be at my Grandma's and then I'll
spend the real Christmas eve with my Mom and watch Football. I will spend
Christmas day with my Dad. I expect to see my Grandma Anderson and my Aunt
Donna and Uncle Ron!
Oh, by the way, I'm not a 100%
as of yet! But I'm in the 85% range. I hope I feel better this coming year
for my Art work. My second piece I did up here is just a day away from being
completed. I need to get Ben to drive me over to it and just put an orange
line around the whole thing and there's a section just to the right of the
piece for my crews name which is "KMS". I think most the country,
that's into graffiti, knows of KMS. I made that one up because I wanted
a name that no one in the country had chosen. It stands for what ever you
can think of, from my memory,"Kings Making Styles". Next year
I'll go down to Kansas City and then St. Louis and see all my crew members.
That would be a good wish for this New Year.
Well, PEACE OUT!!!! It's Jonah
"STUN" Anderson hoping you all have your selves a MERRY CHRISTMAS
and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
1/3/01 1:00 PM CST - First, hope you all had a great
holiday season. Jonah painted some t-shirts and a canvas as presents for
some family members. Did a nice job. Still not totally up to speed, but
pretty darn good. He had a good Christmas, about four straight days worth.
Lots of presents, food and family. There's a ton of pictures. It's going
to take a while to sort through them and get them posted.
Jonah had found a "Stun" drawing in one
of his books that he had started before the attack. He finished it a couple
of weeks ago. It's awesome! It looks sort of like a Dr. Suess spaceship.
We scanned it on to his computer and resized it. Once on the computer it
needed a lot of touch up, which he has completed. As I'm writing this update,
he's in his room starting the process of coloring it. It's a very complicated
piece, more so than anything I've ever seen him do. When it's done, it will
be posted for you to see.
Kathy leaves the website for me to handle for the
most part, but we both thought that some more input from her would be appreciated.
She's got a bunch of pictures to be scanned, those will be coming soon.
But, she e-mailed me a letter to you
all that has been posted.
Thursday 1/11/01 6:00 PM CST - Okay! Here's the
"Stun" piece I told you about. Yes, it does say Stun. Jonah learned
a lot about the art software he has on his computer. I'm very proud of his
efforts. It's tough for him to remember which windows have to be pulled
down, and how to file and all the other things we do when we operate any
software. He did a great job of it. The art work, speaks for itself.
Christmas pictures on the way.
Saturday 1/13/01 2:00 PM CST
- I spent last night and this morning sorting out the Christmas
pictures. There's still some more to come from Kathy. I'll let you know
when they're up. There's also a couple of new pictures of Jonah's Minnesota
On a different note, I spoke with the city attorney's
office in St.Louis yesterday. The brothers that attacked Jo were found guilty
of the previous attack on another man, first degree assault. At this point,
the judge is deciding whether they are guilty of using a lethal weapon (the
baseball bat). If he finds them also guilty of that, the sentence will be
a mandatory 3 years. The trial for Jonah's case is still several months
off. The brothers are and have been in jail ever since they were picked
up after the attack on Jo and Jesus. Let's hope they remain behind bars
for along, long time.
1/24/01 1:00 PM CST - Hello, It's Jonah. I'm doing allright nowadays. I really enjoyed
Christmas this last year,I got lots of things. But now my focus is getting
my art back to where it was before I got hit in the head. Mainly my graffitty
art. The first one I did in Minnesota took me about five days to do. Some
toy person went over my piece, so I had to go back and cover him. I did
do that. It only took me two days this time. It looks better than the last
one I did. So now I've done about four pieces after I got hit in the head.
Well, if you include outside walls. I did a real good canvis for my step-mom,
BONITA. I wrote her name in graffitti and airbrushed all together. She liked
it alot. It's hanging in our living room. So I'm at least half-way to where
I wanna be. You can see both the wall and the canvas at my Work page at the top.
This summer I want to go to
other cities to show my skills. Kansas City is espeacialy calling for me
to show up. The city of St. Louis bring me down there for the trial of the
guys that attacked me. I know alot of places to paint down there. I have
two members in my graff crew there. We should do a big production just a
block or two blocks from the Arch along the Mississippi. A few years back
I led a movement to alow graffitty writters from all over the country to
paint the river wall. It's now a yearly event called "PAINT LOUIS".
This last year I was still kind of sick from my beating. I went to Mn. at
that time so I was there for a couple of days. It was the most people there
ever. There were about 300 artist from all over the country that came out
to that one. The wall runs about three miles long, it all was nearly covered.
I got one piece to stay up, I did years ago. It's one of my favorits, so
I don't mind it's so old. I'm not sure if there gonna have such a big event
for graffitty writters again. The river wall they provided was not the only
thing some clowns from LA painted in St. Louis. They chose most every night
to do something ilegal to the streets, The Metrolink, the riverwalls, just
anything they could get out and reach. BOOHOO!!! I hope they have one next
year and just invite a few artist out that don't go balistick on the city.
I'll go and be teamed up with my crew of seven peaple, KMS.
Friday 2/9/01 1:00 PM CST
- There's been a lot going on here. First, Jonah's doing great. Over the
last month his medication has been lessened and every time that happens
it seems he becomes more like his old self. That's really great for all
His eyes are improving too. His eyes are tracking
together much better now. The exercises that he does daily are having a
positive effect. One of those exercises is reading with glasses that have
a red and green lense for each eye. He puts a plastic sheet with red and
green vertical stripes over the page as he reads. Not sure exactly how it
works, but it certainly seems to help. The book he's reading is Phil Jackson's
"Scared Hoops". He enjoys that a lot. As I'm sure you've noticed,
he loves sports, basketball included.
This week we went downtown to the Target Center
and saw the Timberwolves play the Sacremento Kings. We hadn't been to a
sporting event together for nine years. It was a wonderful time. We expected
that it would be a close game, but the T-Wolves totally blew them out of
the building. It was great.
We've had some requests from visitors to this site
for copies of some of Jonah's art work. This is currently in the works.
Before the attack, we were preparing to get Jo up on the internet. Over
the last couple of weeks, we've been putting a new web page together, "Jonah
World". I think by next week, we can officially open the doors.
Saturday 2/17/01 1:30 PM CST
- Last weekend we took Jonah to his second concert at the Minnesota Orchestra.
He actually enjoys it, a bit surprising for a hip hop, graf kind a guy.
It's not easy for him to sit quietly during the performance, but he did
pretty good the second time around. He does like to conduct though, which
draws a few stares. So what, he's into it.
As I said last time, before the attack we had planned
on getting Jonah's art work on the internet. We've spent most of our time
over the last week getting that together. His store shelves are still a
bit bare, but as time passes that will change of course. This web site is
his business. He'll use it to sell things on the net as well as display
the other kinds of art work that he can do such as wall murals, canvas,
etc. There are a number of pages that aren't active yet as they are still
in the editing phase and will be added in the coming weeks. I'm teaching
him, but Jo actually has done the construction of the site as well as the
business structure with CC Now, who handles the credit card stuff. I think
he's done a very good job. There's a lot to building web sites. You can
visit the site by clicking on the graphic below.
I've added some more Christmas
Pictures from Kathy's side of the family.
Tuesday 3/6/01 4:00 PM CST - Sorry! It's been a while since I posted an update. We've been
very busy at Jonah World. Almost all the pages are in place now, even though
there's still a lot of areas to fill out with more stuff. But, all and all,
it's takes tons of time to build a business and a web site.
Last week, Jonah, Kathy and I visited a different
rehab facility called, the Courage Center. It has a national reputation
and is just twenty minutes away. Since October, Jo has been going to therapy
sessions, an hour each, two a day, two days a week. Also, eye therapy for
an hour on Fridays. At the CC, Jonah will spend about six hours a day, three
days a week, plus eye therapy.
We anticipate that this is the last stop on his
road to recovery. CC's objective is prepare patients to re-enter the world.
In fact, this process begins with CC asking the patient what they intend
to do with their life. Then CC sets out the game plan to achieve that. It's
a really nice place that looks more like a school then a rehab center. He's
looking forward to it. Especially, because part of the day, he gets to swim
and play basketball in the gym.They've already accepted Jo, but this Thursday
he's going to spend the day there to determine which of two programs will
work best for him.
Aside from the medical stuff, Jo continues to paint
and draw on canvas, computer, legal walls here in the cities, and on the
snow in our front yard. He and his friend Ben have lined up some projects
for the spring, including the exterior of a Mpls. bar. He finally got his
mixer working properly, so now he's enjoying being a dj and mixing tapes.
The two brothers who attacked Jonah had a hearing
last week to reduce their bail. The city attorney asked both Kathy and I
to send a statement she could use in the hearing. The Judge did not reduce
the bail, each brother is still at $150,000 and so far, still in jail. Apparently
they have no further obligations to the court concerning the other case
of beating another man with a baseball bat. The brothers were convicted,
but apparently had served enough time to satisfy the sentence. The victim
did not appear in court, which had an effect on the sentencing. We're still
waiting to find out when Jonah's case will be tried. I assure you that this
victim will be in court. The trial of Jonah's attackers has been moved back
Monday 3/26/01 4:00
PM CST - As many of you know, I've been out of work
since mid-October. That has been a blessing and a curse. Lots of time to
work with Jonah, not much money coming in. As luck would have it, just when
Jo starts at the Courage Center, I start work at the St.Paul Chamber Orchestra
on 4/2/01. Jonah will be going there 3 times a week, for six hours a day.
As I mentioned before, this is his last rehab stop. I expect that he'll
be going there for three to four months.
On a different note, I received a very disturbing
e-mail from Jennifer Roy, the attorney prosecuting Jonah's case for the
city. The judge who found the two brothers guilty on the prior assault case,
sentenced the defendants, placing them on probation. Just prior to placing
the two brothers on probation, he sentenced a defendant to probation for
multiple counts of robbery and whacking someone over the head with a tire
iron. I know there's a bunch of you from St.Louis who follow this story.
How do you feel about that. Is that the way you expect your courts to work?
The good news is, a different judge refused to lower the defendants' bond
so they are still incarcerated. Jonah's case is scheduled for sometime late
in May. Almost a year after this all began.
Sunday 4/22/01 1:00 PM CST - Jonah has been at the Courage Center for two weeks now. He's
getting along just great there and likes it a lot. Because both Bonita and
I are working at night, Jo gets home about 4:30pm and is on his own till
we get home around 9:30pm. So this is the first time in almost 11 months
that he's in charge of himself. All this time, he's had someone watching
out for him. It is a big step in his taking control of his own life again.
Last week his good friend, Erica, came up from
St.Louis to visit. That was really wonderful. They had a good time. He really
misses his St.Louis family of friends. He's not really too good at keeping
up with his e-mail, but he does stay in touch with his community.
Before he left Sister Kenney, he had entered two
of his canvases in an art show there that took place this last Friday. He'd
sent out invitations to his twin cities friends and family and most of them
came. I'm happy to tell you that even though he didn't win any of the top
three prizes selected by the judges, he did win the Peoples Choice Award.
That was voted on by the people that attended the showing. The winning canvas
was the one of the graffiti painting angel (at Jonah
World, it's design "Angel 1"). Apparently there were quite
a few children at the showing and they really liked that canvas. I don't
know if they got to vote though. That really made Jonah's day.
Kathy and Jo went shopping at Target a couple of
days ago and got Jonah a ten-speed bike (and helmet). I have to admit I'm
a little nervous about this one. His balance isn't a 100%, but this might
actually help. And as I have said before, the blind spot that he has in
his right eye will be there for the rest of his life. He's going to have
to be very careful. They'll be bringing it out to our house today. He has
some nice safe bike trails out here to ride on.
Friday 5/25/01 1:00 PM CST - I just recently got a couple of e-mails from folks wondering
when there would be another update. Well, here it is. I didn't realize that
it's been a month. We've all been very busy. Jonah is at the Courage Center
three days a week. He has up to five hours each day when he has to supervise
himself. He's been handling that just great. There have been some art projects
at CC that have taken time away from his Jonah World activity, but a couple
of new designs have been added. He's working on more now.
The weather up here (MN) has been really lousey.
We're all a little depressed as we wait for some warm temperatures and sunshine.
The sun hasn't come out much at all for weeks. Other than that, spirits
are up. Jonah continues to get more and more like his old self. He's looking
forward to this fall when the rehab stuff will come to an end. He's anxious
to resume his life. It's hard to imagine what it's like for him, having
a year of his life taken away.
6/12/01 1:00 PM CST - Hi, it's Jonah! I had a great last couple of days. Yesterday, I
went to CC for a carnival we were throwing. My job at the carnival was a
character artist. I took $2.00 for a drawing. I was busy all day long. I
probably made the most money for my group. I had about 15 minutes open time
when we started, so I went over and bought some ice cream. I was 1/2 way
done when a little girl was my first customer. My lunch time was at 12:30
but I ended up missing that time because I was working. The carnival ended
at 2:00, but I had a man and a little girl that wanted me to do them, so
I did. I also did a painting before the class of 4 wolves on a big rock
out in the ocean. They raffled that off quickly. My class ended up raising
around $350.00!!! We're gonna use that for a field trip. We'll probably
go to the Zoo and have our lunches paid for.
Now on Thursday, I'm gonna be
SO HAPPY!!! After school, I'll go to my Mom's and have dinner. After that
we're gonna get in her car and take me to the AIRPORT! I'm gonna fly to
St. Louis to go see my friends. While I'm down there, I'm gonna attempt
to reclaim that city as my painting city! First I'll start at the flood
wall and do my piece that I didn't do last year because of my beat down.
Then I'll go to the old wall I had as a job for Coca-cola,"IYDKYDG".
Sunday, I don't know where I'll paint at but I'm sure there's a great spot
somewhere. It's gonna be really nice seeing her and all my friends again!
This is going to be a great adventure. I'll tell you about it when I get
7:00 PM CST - Hello
there, Jonah again. I'm going to tell you about my trip to my old home,
St. Louis. It was a good trip, but it got off to a wierd start. I left the
twin cities at 6:30pm and was to land in St. Louis around 8:00pm. My flight
took off but, the plane didn't stop in St. Louis becuase the pilot said
the weather was too bad. So we landed in Memphis. We didn't leave at all
that night, so Northwest airlines paid for a hotel for me, 10 minutes long
distance phone calls and for dinner and breakfast. The next day, we were
scheduled to take off at 10:00 am. We where all on the plane ready to go.
The airplane pulled out on to the runway and then turned around . The pilot
said "I don't think this plane can get us there. We will reschedule
you on another plain later in the day." I suppose to take a flight
that took off at 9:15pm that night! I was pist-off! So I took a walk around
the airport and looked at all the flights leaving that day. TWA had a flight
taking off at 4:15pm. So I got in a long line and rescheduled my 9:15 NW
flight for the 4:15 TWA flight. They said there might be too many people
on the 4:15 pm flight, but if I couldn't get on that, then I could leave
at 9:15 pm. I was the last person on the 4:15 to get a seat. So I ended
up getting into St. Louis around 6:30 pm. I went to get my laugage, but
it never showed up. So I filled out a missing laugage form and left with
the one Rather than calling the friends that were supposed to pick me up,
I decided to surprise them. So I took the Metrolink train downtown.
While I was on the Metrolink
train I saw 4 teenagers get on. I got out my sketch book, hoping it would
catch thier eye, it did! They found out I do graffitty and they were STUNed!
They saw a page where I have T-Shirts I used to Airbrush. They liked it
alot and asked me if I still did that. I said "Yes, I do." So
they gave me their phone numbers and asked me to call them when I go back
to work in St. Louis.
My train was now downtown near
Busch Stadium and I thought that was a good spot to start my walk. I got
about a block from the Metrolink, to a bus stop, where there was some people
waiting for a bus. So, I thought I could ask for the best directions to
an address. I asked a black man and he confirmed my idea of where to go,
but he didn't stop there. He told me about his life. He has a wife, without
a job, and a kid that's jobless too. He got laid off his job a couple weeks
ago and is really hard up for cash. He asked me if I could give him $5.50
in cash. I hate to tell you, but I had $100 in my pocket and I guess I felt
a little sorry for him, so I gave him the money.
On my walk again, I noticed
the neighborhood was getting kind of lower status. I ended up walking through
the PROJECTS! A block behind me were 3 kids about 13 years old on bikes.
They kept shouting to me, "Heeeyyyy, Heeeyyyy, Heeyyy Yoouuu!!!"I
didn't stop at first, but they were gaining on me so I got tired of carrying
my laugage and stoped. They caught up and asked "You got any Money!"
I said, "NO! I used it all to get down here. By the way, do any of
you know where this address is?" They said, "Well, If you've got
a dollar or two we'll show you the way!" I said, "No, I'm completly
broke." "Well, go that way. It's about another 5 to 6 blocks!"
I moved on and was glad I talked my way out of a bad situation. I found
the address I was looking for and I rang the doorbell. No answer! I was
thinking my girl, Ericka, wasn't home. So, I chose to go a block down and
use a phone to call. I put my suitcase inside the door and left. From a
bar, I called Ericka and she answered. I was surprised! I said "I thought
you wern't home? I put my bag in your doorway." She said "No you
didn't!" I guess the house I stopped at was her mail address. She lives
about a block away from that. So she told me to stay at the bar and she'd
come and meet me there. She showed up and we went to the address where I
left my bag. But, NO BAG! The owner had come home and taken it inside. We
got the bag. Later that night I met with a few of my friends and hung out
at a HIP-HOP night club .
The next day I hung out with
the two guys in my KMS crew. Eric A.K.A. "PHITE" and Ryan A.K.A."SEVEN".
We went to a spot I had never painted before, near Kingshighway. I did one
of my better peices since my beat down that happened a year ago. Later that
night, I went to a club and the people were so excited to see me. They announced
on the loud speakers that "Jonah A.K.A STUN A.K.A. EXPO! is in the
house!" I got a great round of applause and had a great time that night.
I ended up painting 3 and 1/2 pieces while I was in St.Louis.
I also visited my old job at
GUS'S Fashions. I went there to buy a St. Louis Cardinals hat and to see
my old bus, Gus. Gus wasn't there nor his older son. The one running the
shop was the youngest son. He was so surprised to see me that he just gave
me the hat FREE! He told me about their future plans for the shop. In less
than a year, they're moving to a location where they'll have 3 floors. They
were so happy I suvived almost dieing. They want me to come back and work
for them. They said I could Airbrush all I want on the Second Floor. I could
have that floor all to myself. I think that would be a great idea.
Sunday, I went to a Baseball
game with my two D.J.'s friends, D.J. CHILLY"C" and D.J. SOLO.
The Cardinals played the Cubs and whopped their butts! We spent the rest
of the day putting up stickers around town promoting a new rapper.
So that's my story on how the
vacation was. I got back with no delays. Now I'm getting ready for my next
vacation during the 4th of July. Me and Ben A.K.A. "MINES" are
going to drive down to K.C. to meet up with other people in the KMS crew
and do a painting together. Also, a guy in my crew, who writes "QUISP",
has an art show that weekend. He's an outstanding artist and does well selling
his work. So next time I write you, I'll tell you how that went, OKAY. PEACE,
Considering Jonah ended up in a
strange city, had to deal with the airlines on his own, found his way through
St.Louis, as well as a few adventures along the way, I think he did a great
job! It would have been easy for him to get angry or confused, but he handled
it all like a champ. We're really proud of him. I think this is the strongest
evidence yet that he'll be able to get back to his old life successfully.
Monday 7/15/01 11:00 AM CST
- We had a bit of a scare on Saturday.
Jonah had spent the day at a festival on the north side of Minneapolis doing
drawings for people. It was a very hot day and even though he was working
most of the time in the shade, it was still really hot. He'd been drinking
pop instead of water. When he finished up he spent some time with friends
and arrived home about 8:30 pm. He seemed fine when he got in the house.
We talked, then he went for a walk as he usually does. He got back about
25 minutes later. When he returned, his speech was jumbled. I couldn't understand
anything he was saying. My first reaction was that he was just fooling around,
putting me on. Soon I realized that wasn't the case. My next thought was
that he had fallen, or was even struck by a car, and hit his head. I questioned
him, but couldn't understand his responses. Kathy was out of town on a business
trip. I called Bonita, who was house sitting for a friend. After she talked
with him, we both got very worried. She called her son Ted, who lives just
down the street from us. He arrived at our house in just minutes. Shortly
after that, Jonah went into a seizer. Thank God Ted was there. He'd seen
seizers before and tried to keep Jo secure while I called 911. By the time
the paramedics arrived the seizer was over. He still couldn't talk properly
and was very weak. They took him by ambulance to Mercy hospital, which is
just down the road from us. By the time we caught up with him in the emergency
room, his speech was beginning to improve. An hour later he was back to
normal, but they took a cat scan to be sure there wasn't any bleeding in
his head. There wasn't, he was okay. In fact, they didn't keep him at the
hospital, he was able to go home with us that night.
The only other time he'd had a
seizer was almost exactly a year ago, while he was still in a coma. His
recovery since then has been steady, with no incidences at all like this.
The only medication he still takes is to prevent this very thing. He was
late taking it on Saturday by several hours. That and being de-hydrated,
brought on the seizer. The doctors in St.Louis had warned us that he was
at risk for this, and probably would be for the rest of his life, but because
everything has gone so well with his recovery, we were taken by surprise.
As you can imagine, we were scared.
Jonah thought he was going to die. He didn't really black out, so he remembers
how it felt. The whole experience was very sobering and a reminder that
he isn't totally recovered and will have to live with the threat of this
As always, Spirit took good care
of him. When it happened he was sitting on the couch in the living room.
He could have been all by himself, outside on his walk. He could have been
standing and fallen. He could have been crossing a street in traffic. Ted
was home and arrived quickly. I had someone with experience with me to help.
Yes, it was frighting, but it could have been so much worse. We all learned
a lot from this and will be prepared if there is a next time.
Monday 8/20/01 1:00 PM CST - Maaaan! Sorry! Didn't realize I left you all hangin', and for
so long. Luckily, my friend Gloria reminded me that I was long over due
for an update. My job has commanded a lot of my time, and we've been doing
some painting at the house.
So, Jonah is doing fine. No more
episodes of seizer. As he remembers what happened as it was happening, he
doesn't want to experience that again. So he's being very careful to drink
water and take his pills on time.
We were all expecting that he'd
finish up at the Courage Center at the end of Sept., but we over estimated
the situation. We had a family meeting with them a couple of weeks back.
The folks at CC think it will be more like November. Jonah's biggest problems
are his ability to focus and his memory. His mind tends to wander a bit
at times when he needs to pay attention to what's happening. Actually, I
have trouble with that sometimes, think we all do, to some degree. But Jonah
really has to concentrate hard at being present, doing one thing at a time.
Multi-tasking is not his thing. The remedy for his memory is, he needs to
write a lot of things down. Things that we could easily remember, he can't.
So he scripts out the things that need to get done on a daily basis.
He had an evaluation for government
assistance in getting back to the work place. If all goes well, he'll be
able to get training with computer graphics. Of course, this is something
that we've already spent a lot of time on. So he already knows the basics.
I've been writing instructions sheets on the procedures that he follows
when he's working. Still, in all the time we've been at it. He hasn't been
able to memorize much.
I got a call from the St.Louis
attorney's office concerning the trial. Apparently, there is yet another
delay. Looks like the trial is going to be at the end of October. The attackers
are still in jail.
11:00 PM CST - Hi, it's Jonah! Well, I'm back from my old home, St. Louis! I went
there for a vacation and to be part of this year's "Paint Louis".
I've been working on getting writers to attend for a couple of months now
and was looking forward to being there.
I arrived in St. Louis at
7:30 am, I had to wake myself up at 4:30 am . I was expecting to see lot
of my old friends at the airport, but the only one there to pick me up was
Chilly "C"! We had breakfast that I paid for, just for waking
up so early and driving to the airport to come and get me. We went to Solo's
office just for me, to get new records/stickers/posters/CD's. A little later,
Chilly drove me to Eric's house as soon as he got off school. I ended up
spending the night there.
On Thursday, we decided on
what kind of production, we as KMS, were going to do. We decided on a picture
I have in my sketch book of a train yard, in the middle of the night, getting
painted by us and at the same time , there is something in the air. It's
a U.F.O. and in small letters, above our pieces, it says Konspiracies Must
Surface! So on Thursday, Eric and I drove to Home Depot to go buy roller
paint. We ended up getting 5 gallons. It cost me around $75.00. I spent
that night at Eric's house again. We were expecting some of my friends from
Minnesota to drive down that night around 1:00 am or 2:00 am. They didn't
show up until 4:30 am.
So now it's Friday! The first
day of the event that I scheduled from Minnesota. We all woke up somewhere
around 1:00 pm. We as a group showed up at the wall, when we got there,
there was only one car. I was expecting somewhere around 50 cars. We drove
to the car, in it where two fells. They where from Wisconsin. They were
in shock. They said,"There is NO Paint Louis this year, that's what
the POLICE said to us as soon as we were getting ready to paint something.
They said they will have to arrest us if we paint on this 3 and a 1/2 mile
wall, already full of paint!" We were all in shock! There also was
the News from channel 5. They asked a lot of questions to my friend Ben
and after interviewing him they moved to me. I explained how I got beat
down around this time a year ago and I explained my meeting an Angel on
So, I spent so much money
on paint and so did everyone else, I decided on a yard were people go to
do a production. We decided on a spot that Chilly "C" found on
his bike around 4 or 5 years ago. We drove out to the spot called "Page
Yard" and when we all walked in, we noticed that other people chose
this spot too. There was around 8 to 10 people in there painting or just
hanging out. So Ben rolled out the backround with some help and I just went
over and apologized for the Police action. When I got over to the GRAF Writers,
I noticed a real GREAT friend of mine. He noticed me and dropped his can
and ran over and gave me a real strong hug. It was a close friend of mine
when I lived in St. Louis. It was Leonard Givens. We sat and talked for
at least an hour on how our lives are going now. I got up and drew my outline
of my piece on the wall. Then, I filled in my letters with mostly Brown.
By that time Ben said that it was time to go. I didn't agree because I was
only half way done with my piece. He was the driver and we still had another
day to go so I agreed and left the scene.
The next best thing to happen
on the trip was that night. On the radio station 88.1 fm at around 10:00
pm is a HIP-HOP show that my friends are on. Chilly"C" spins music,
so dose D.J. Solo and a few others also spin records. They have a Linoleum
on the dance floor for people to break dance on. The Linoleum had been around
for at least a year and my name wasn't put on there by me. Yeah, I got a
shout or two from people I know. So, I got a marker and did, kind of a small
STUN piece on the linoleum. I was almost done and then I heard. "You
don't have to finish that one! It will probably get thrown away!" I
looked up, it's was the host of the radio show,"Da Fly DX", he
was holding a new linoleum and he said,"Here, knock the socks off the
people here tonight with your GREAT artwork, EXPO!" So, I did. Da fly
DX is also a good break dancer and he was right next to me explaining to
some guy how to do some of the moves. I got inspired to draw a break dancer
on the linoleum with HIP-HOP! behind the character. Everyone loved the guy
I drew and they didn't want me to stop! I got talked into drawing a couple
of girls behind the break dancer. They all loved that too. Then I drew the
Fly DX on a microphone rapping his way through the crowd. After all of that,
a few other people got up on the linoleum. Chilly "C" got done
D.J.ing and said "I love your work on the linoleum, but your missing
one MAJOR thing!" I thought about it and I said "What?"
He said "Who is all
the terrific drawing from? You still got a lot of space in the middle, you
should put a great big STUN piece right there!" I thought about it
and said "YES!!" So that was next to put on. I think I covered
at least 1/2 of the linoleum. I met a lot of my old friends that I had forgotten
about. Two really great rappers, Scooby Doo, and The BUSH Doctor. I sat
and listened to them freestyle in the corner for at least a 1/2 an hour.
I also saw a lot of female friends that I knew. Erin and Lisa and another
couple of girls. They were all friends with my old girlfriend, Jalane. The
club was ready to close and the girls said that we could all go over to
Lisa's house, so we did.
On Monday, Chilly "C"
picked me up and took me to the airport. I gave him a hug and said "BYE
BYE!!" I got on the plane and just before the plane was about to take
off, the pilot got on the microphone and said that the plane was going to
Seattle first and then the Twin Cities. I planned to be on the airplane
for an hour and 1/2, this time I was on for 5 1/2 hours. My Dad picked me
up at the airport. I went to get my suitcase, but the one with all my cloths
and two pairs of shoes didn't show up! I filled out a piece of paper for
the airline to go find it and then Dad drove us back home to Coon Rapids.
Jonah Anderson "EXPO!/STUN"
11:00 AM CST - It's been a while since
I've had the time to do an update for you. My time is extremely limited
Since his trip to St.Louis, Jonah
has made another trip down to Chicago. He went down there to visit his friend
Matt. They were supposed to paint a shop that sells radio control racing
equipment, but the owner flaked out on them. But, Matt found another sight
were they did do some painting, a shop called Art Of Healing on Ashland.
Those of you in Chicago can check that out.
Last week, Jo finished his rehab
at the Courage Center, although he still will be attending a weekly session
there for patients who have graduated the system. At that meeting, they
talk about adjusting to being out in the world on their own again. Sort
of collectively dealing with the problems that they encounter. He's on the
list for assisted housing and will really be on his own in a few more months.
Also, he's eligible for government assistance to get training in computer
graphics. He's really looking forward to that. However, he'll only be capable
of handling one course at a time. He's made great progress, but there is
still a long road ahead of him before he can compete in the real world.
Probably the coolest thing that
has happened is that he has found a job. He's now working in an air brush
shop at one of the local malls three days a week. He just started. He's
been out of work for over a year and a half. So this is a really big step
for him. I can't tell you how much this has helped his self-esteem. It's
so great to see him get this far. We're all very proud of him.
I imagine you're all wondering
about the trial. Us too! The last we heard it was supposed to be at the
end of this month. I called down to St.Louis a couple of weeks ago to find
out what was going on, but was only able to leave a message. No one has
returned a call to us. Obviously, there's been yet another continuance.
I'm going to place another call today. If I find out anything I'll post
it right away. As far as we know, the guys that attacked Jonah are still
in jail. They've been in a county jail all this time, and of course that
is timed served. Thing is, county jail is a lot different than prison. And
it's prison where we feel they belong. It's irritating to know that they're
not getting what we feel they deserve. It's extremely frustrating to watch
the criminal justice system at work. I can't say if this is the way things
work everywhere or only in St.Louis, but it sure doesn't seem like justice,
not for us, not for the criminals. But we do trust in the system so we have
to be patient.
I hadn't mentioned it before, but
to make a point, I will now. Another member of our family was attacked in
north Mpls. this summer. Our family member suffered a very similar injury
to Jonah's, but not as bad. He was hospitalized and may also have to live
with his injury for the rest of his life. This time the attack came from
a known drug dealer. It was witnessed. Everyone in the neighborhood knows
the dealer. No one cooperated with the police for fear of their lives. This
drug dealer didn't spend a single day in jail and in fact, he still walks
the street outside my relatives house and taunts him.
Since the last update, we've all
been impacted by the violence of the terrorist attack on the World Trade
Center. The most inhuman act of violence since WWII. If you're like me,
you're getting really fed up with this crap. The crap with terrorists, intimidators,
bullies, criminals, people of violence, Evil Humans! I work in a job where
I can see the effect all this has on society. There are two camps, those
who fight back and those who don't. There is No Middle Ground on violence
in our world. You Are on one side or the other. You either make it Your
personal responsibility to stop violence or You agree to be the willing
victim, and worse, You condemn all of us, including Your family and neighborhood
to live in fear. So as You read this, I ask You, what are You Doing to create
Later today, I'll be getting some
of Jonah's new work up at JonahWorld.com.
Updates On His Condition ]