By Samantha Marks, Rise Development Manager
On the morning of April 9, 2007, Dan moved through his usual routine to prepare for another day on the job at Mitsubishi Motors where he had worked as a service technician for the past 15 years. He kissed his wife of eleven years goodbye, knowing that he would be reunited with her and his son by dinner time.
Little did Dan know, those last precious moments would have to fulfill him for the next week.
After beginning a regular day on the job, Dan went to grab a box of light bulbs from the top shelf of the warehouse. His ladder gave way, and Dan fell thirteen feet onto a ceramic tile floor and experienced a traumatic brain injury. Dan was put into drug-induced coma for seven days.
He awoke with his family at his bedside, a moment described by his wife as “experiencing someone who had died coming back to life.” After they celebrated his life, they were left with uncertainty about what the future would look like.
Dan spent three months at the hospital. His wife was right there with him each and every day while continuing to work. Although his recovery process went better than expected, Dan and his family still feared he would never be able to go back to work. Not only was he worried about supporting his family, but Dan had always been a hard worker and took pride in a job well done.
As soon as he possibly could, Dan insisted on re-entering the workforce. However, he had new, unfamiliar barriers holding him back. He was no longer able to drive, lost his sense of smell and taste, and was now extremely sensitive to sound.
Feeling frustrated with these life-altering adjustments, Dan felt like he was at a dead-end. Sitting at home did not align with his hard-working mentality.
Three years ago, Dan began attending Rise’s Adult Day Fridley Program four days a week.
“In the past if you had a disability, you were written off,” said Jayna Allshouse, Dan’s case manager and the activity coordinator at Adult Day Fridley. “The Adult Day Program gets people out of the house and provides social interactions and activities that aid in building their fine motor and cognitive skills.”
Our Fridley Adult Day program is designed to meet the needs and interests of adults who can benefit from life enrichment activities and remain an active part of their community. Everyone in the Fridley program has a brain injury with some memory or cognitive loss.
“I have built skills here that I wouldn’t have gotten at home,” Dan shared. “Rise is family-orientated, structured, and enjoyable. I look forward to coming every day.”
“Dan is incredible to have in the program,” Jayna continued. “He helps everyone and easily makes friends. Dan’s engagement with others has grown and his fine motor skills improve daily.”
Dan also volunteers at Global Health Ministries on Thursdays packaging outdated medical to send overseas to developing countries. He is a devoted husband and enjoys spending time with his son, usually fishing when he is home from college on the weekends.
This article appears in the December 2019 issue of the Rise Reporter.