Saturday, January 31, 2009

1.31.09 Day After surgery

Levi's surgery went well. The surgery was about 15minutes long but pre & post stuff is what took longer. (of course you guys all know that!) The family was glad they were able to take the fixator off the right way (through surgery) because Levi had asked for a knife all week to take it off himself.

Levi has managed to walk 7 steps with assistance of tall walker. He then realized his R leg hurt so he lifted it off the ground about 6" to stop it from hurting. (Truely amazing, Levi. There is an ole saying "tough as leather" and boy I believe you resemble that remark).

He had a good week of celebrating for his birthday. He got visit, calls, cards. The musical cards he enjoyed to jamm' out.

The blood drive went well in Bovina. I hear many people came out and basically camped out up to 2 hours trying to give blood. Hopefully, Robyn will update on that.

Joe commented humorously, "Levi is ready to walk and that they better get ready to chase Levi around the hospital".

Friends, great things continue to unfold. What amazing things we have been apart of whether physically or by the blog. I hope that our current post in life gets to be set & edited by Jesus so that we can view the beautiful, amazing things he has for each of us.

Til next time,

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Jan 30th-Levi's Birthday!!!

I just spoke with Esther and she said the surgery went very well. Levi is in recovery and then in about an hour he will be transported back to Trust Point. Joe is going to spend the weekend with Levi and Esther is going to come back to Bovina in a few hours to go to the
If you don't think that you should give blood today because sheesh your just one person.
You can't make a difference.
How has little ol' Levi impacted your world?
Please Please Please come donate blood. There is going to be snacks and finger foods galore. You can meet new people. You can see old friends. You can make new friends. You might win some movie passes. You will help save someone's life at some point in the near future.
Have a great Superbowl weekend!

P.S. Where did the song go?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

1.29.09 Follow up NEWS

Levi will have surgery @ 8:30 UMC in Lubbock tomorrow.
On Feb.12th, Dr.Lehman will assess his right hand.
This week Esther has been celebrating at the hospital for Levi's birthday.
Mon. crispy creme
Tues. veggie/meat tray
Wed. homemade burritos
Thurs. Rosas
Friday. birthday cake
The staff followed their noses right to Levi's room and enjoyed all the treats. They were very grateful to be included in Levi's birthday.

I spoke with Seth who is the supervisor of all therapists. I don't know the official title but I am sure he has one.
*Levi is progressing well
*With the fixator being removed it will increase physical mobility. ITS A BIG STEP FORWARD.
*Brain injury has a specific progression and Levi is aligned with it (meaning he is healing on schedule)
*Limited attention span due to injury and in accordance with guidelines
*Levi demonstrates big window of lucid cognitive function then agitation sets in and he's gets mad, or won't perform {we knew this, right! :o
*HOWEVER TINY the progression, it is always better than the day before.

Levi told Roda today that she was mean, like his mom. But he did say he loved her anyway. Way to Go Levi, sucka!

Thank you to Roda, Moses, Melissa, Jenny, and Seth for challenging Levi and inadvertently challenging yourselves!

Levi got an IPOD for Christmas that he is trying to use. He loves it. Esther said he comes down the hall, jammin' and then shruggs his head with "Whatz up" ...... :))))

p.s. Levi asked about his aunt Gilda and uncle Doyle!!!!! (I'm making him a chocolate cake just for that!!!)

Til next time,

1.29.09 Brief Therapy summary

Okay folks as promised, the therapist was sick this week and so she gave us brief facts as follows.
Initial intake,
When Levi came into TRUST POINT he was very quiet, humble as a lamb, and unable to roll his body to either side. They had to use a sliding board to move him. He was unable to stand or sit. He was noted as impatient and needing immediate gratification. {wow, they discovered that on the 1st day :0) Roda noted that Levi has shown immense improvement since day one.

To date,
*Levi can roll to right side with assistance.
*He can sit at end of bed and can scoot on his bottom to the right side and into the wheelchair with minimal assistance.
*He has stood on parallel bars with moderate assist. SOMEONE always makes sure his right leg if off the ground because of an unknown internal condition. He can stand for 2 minutes if he's not too tired. Repetition is desired but depends on agitation level- aka exhaustion.
*He can push his wheelchair with left hand
*He can change positions from sitting to laying down.
*He is able to lift legs up on bed
*Levi is still noted to be impatient and wants immediate gratification

Roda is also a pilot and uses alot of pilot terminology with Levi. It probably provides an instant bond that makes it easier or more interesting (whichever the case may be) to work with Levi.

Please pray for Roda, Moses, the other personnel that interact with LEVI daily. Thank you for their expertise and we ask your abundant blessings on them.

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Top 10 reasons people give for not donating blood (read gilda's update under this)

10.I don't like needles / I am scared of needles / I am afraid to give blood.

Nearly everyone feels that way at first. However, most donors will tell you that you feel only a slight initial pinch, and 7-10 minutes later, you are finished and headed for the canteen. If you take the time (and courage) to make one donation, you'll wonder why you ever hesitated.

9.I am too busy.

The entire process takes about an hour, and the actual blood donation time is only 7-10 minutes. If you stop to think that an hour of your time could mean a lifetime for a premature baby, someone with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, or someone who's had an accident, you might decide that you can make the time to give the gift of life.

8.No-one ever asked me… I didn't realize my blood was needed.

Consider yourself asked! There is simply no other way to supply the blood needs of hospital patients but for the generous donations of people like you. Every two seconds someone in America needs blood. More than 38,000 donations are needed every day in communities across the U.S.

7.I already gave this year.

You can give every 56 days. Many donors give 5 times a year!

6.I am afraid I'll get AIDS.

It is not possible to get AIDS by donating blood to the Coffee Memorial. A new sterile needle is used for each donor and discarded afterwards.

5.My blood isn't the right type.

Every type of blood is needed daily to meet patient needs. If you have a common blood type, there are many patients who need it, so it is in high demand. If you have a less common blood type, there are fewer donors available to give it, so it is in short supply.

4.I don't have any blood to spare.

The average adult body has 10-12 pints of blood. Doctors say that healthy adults may give regularly because the body quickly replaces the blood you donate.

3.I don't want to feel weak afterward.

Donating blood should not affect adversely a healthy adult because your body has plenty of blood. You will donate less than one pint, and your body, which constantly makes new blood, will replace the donated volume within 24 hours. Most people continue their usual activities after donating.

2.They won't want my blood (I am too old / I've had an illness).

If you have doubts, check with your physician. The qualified staff on duty at a blood drive or donor center will also review your medical history with you. There is no upper age limit to donate blood with the American Red Cross, and a great many medical conditions do not prevent you from donating blood, or may have done so only temporarily in the past.

1.I have a rare blood type, so I'll wait until there is a special need.

Blood that is rare or special is almost always in short supply. There is a constant need for these blood types in order to avoid having to recruit specific blood types in a crisis.

1.27.09 Brrr! It's cold.

Due to technicial difficulties I have been unable to update the blog on a regular basis. I have enjoyed reading the other updates though. It's a relationship that we have developed here so thanks for your friendship

What's new:

  • After Luke and Joe took him to the doctor on monday, they found out that Dr. Risko (the orthopedic surgeon) will take the fixator off Lev's right leg on friday (HIS BIRTHDAY). PLEASE PRAY FOR THE MEDICAL TEAM AND GOD's hand to be upon everyone and the healing of Levi's leg.
  • Dr.Leeman, hand doctor, will be looking at Levi's right hand. It currently is in a downward position they call "palsy". The doctor will be looking to re-route nerves and tendons to stop this condition.
  • Therapy is going well. Esther is has asked the therapist for a summary of his initial assessment and his recover to date. I can tell you that it has been tough, it has been joyful, it has been miraculous, it has been tear jerking, and it has also been very funny.
  • Visitors are still welcomed. Be mindful that with too much stimulation Levi starts to use obscene language (Joe's words). So best be the first one to come so you don't hear the brunt of it. :o
  • The therapists always make small talk with Levi which is part of their assessment. However, Levi has not been one for small talk. He will tolerate it for a while but then he will tell you the truth. It's the "don't ask or he'll tell" policy. Levi coined that for himself long ago at the ripe old age of 1.

  • Esther was sure to point out that no matter what, LEVI is just a miracle.

    Esther, Joe, Luke, Jake, Trish, Nana, Papa, Weita, Cristy, Reese have been giving lots of care to LEVI. (lets remember to pray for them)

..............................................DONT 4 GET 2 GO GIVE BLOOD....................
Til next time.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Facts About the blood donation Process

1.Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded

2.Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration and medical history, mini-physical, donation, and refreshments

3.Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor's temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hematocrit level (red blood cells count) to ensure it is safe for him or her to give blood

4.The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour

5.The average adult has about 10 to 12 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation

6.All donated blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases, before it can be released to hospitals

7.Information you give to the Coffee Memorial during the donation process is strictly confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law

Blood Drive in honor of Levi Steelman
Friday January 30
First Baptist Church Bovina TX

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Facts about blood supply

Facts about the blood supply

1.The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15 million (2001)

2.The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 8 million (2001)

3.The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 4.9 million (2001)

4.The volume of blood transfused to patients is increasing at the rate of 6% per year (2001)

5.The demand for blood transfusions is growing faster than donations

6.Less than 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood

7.Blood cannot be manufactured — it can only come from generous donors

8.Shortages of all blood types usually occur during the summer and winter holidays

Blood Drive in honor of Levi Steelman
Friday January 30
First Baptist Church Bovina TX
$25 Gift certificate raffle!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

From Esther

Levi is not moving from Trust Point at this time. We had been discussing moving him to TLC here in Lubbock but after much assessment, all docs, therapists, and nurses are in agreement that Levi is not quite ready to move there. He will be eventually but we still have some medical issues that we have to yet battle. They have Levi scheduled with an orthopedic doc here in Lubbock to assess the situation with his external fixator. Everyone thinks it's time to remove it so he can be more mobile. He has not been able to put weight on that leg so it has effected his therapy. It is so crucial that all things work together for what is best for Levi. He has indeed made so much progress. With the help of therapists and Luke, Trish and Jake, he was able to stand for 6 minutes. That is quite an accomplishment.

So often we share our daily adventures with you. We hope you don't mind but it's those experiences that help bring us joy and keep our spirits up. We are with Levi day after day and at times it get weary but we keep going because we can laugh with each other and at each other. Levi keeps us rolling but at time there are tears. But we brush off and keep going. Buddy Jeff came in the other day and Levi was sleeping. Jeff is so much like Levi about being patient. He wanted Levi to wake up and visit with him so he was bugging him. "Levi, wake up" he said "I brought you an Allsup's burrito, That is what you said you wanted. Why are you tired? Have they work you? Have they worked your right arm? Come on, show me what you can do with that right arm." Levi precedes to turn around in his bed and drags his arm over to the front of him. He begins working each finger with such grace while both Jeff and I are looking to see what he does. He bends his pinky, then his ring finger, his pointer, and finally his thumb. He gives Jeff his middle finger extension. Jeff and I look at each other and die laughing. Jeff says, "Attaboy, my Levi is back". Later I see Dr. Walcott and tell him what Levi did. He says," That is so awesome, do you know just how many parts of the brain he just used?" No, Dr. Walcott, we just thought it was funny. He says it is but that's just great that Levi could do that. I guess we all look at everything so differently. I go tell Roda, his therapist (Levi calls her Rosa with a D) and she assures me that they have been working with the extension of his wrist not his finger. I am so glad to be where we are (at Trust Point)), I believe that was also a God thing. They have been so fabulous with Levi.

As a family, we are sharing the responsibility of being with Levi so don't be alarmed if you see someone different when you go. We are pooling all our resources to help Levi as he recuperates. Everyone has taken time to come see him, read the blog, and send cards. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude to you. So many have pulled together to help out. We sincerely appreciate everything each of you have done. You guys have a good day and keep checking in with us. We love you!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Update from Joe

Hey guys, I (Dad) was talking to Aunt Cindy just a few minutes ago. She had texted me earlier in the day, asking about Levi's progress etc., but I was cleaning nozzles on a sprinkler at the time. Between that and building fence, a very farmer style MLK day, don't you think? Anyway, I closed the conversation by making a request of put a certain song on the blog....We call it the "Knocked down song". It reminds me of Levi....not only for the obvious reason now....that this accident "knocked him down and he's trying to get back up again'....but he picked it himself back several years ago!
He was fortunate enough, when he was a junior in High School, I think, to be selected to participate in a special "field trip". He and several others got to go to the NASA facility in Houston...ala "Houston, we have a problem". Anyway, they got to do a lot of cool stuff like ride the simulated weightless airplane also known as the "Vomit Comet". As part of the project, they had to make and present a power point presentation of their trip. Much like me , Levi didn't want to get up in front of a bunch of people and talk, so he did the computer part of the presentation. The song background he chose was this "Get Knocked Down" song. He just had it looping....over, and over, and over again...aaaargh! LOL. It reminds me of him in so many ways! I am sure it will likewise remind those of you who have known him for long, of our LEVI. Just click on the green Chumba thing!
Thanks SOO Much Cindy! Although I KNOW Monty helped ( I heard her asking, "Who sang that, babe?") I been trying to get this on the website 2 months now! Shoulda just asked a woman! (Shuddup, Naomi!) She got it up and running in 15 min or less!!!! Nice to have talented family members!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

10 Quick Blood Needs Facts

1.Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

2.More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.

3.One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood.

4.Total blood transfusions in a given year: 14 million (2001).

5.The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints

6.The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.

7.The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.

8.Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98% of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.

9.More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

10.A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

Blood Drive in honor of Levi Steelman
Friday January 30
First Baptist Church Bovina TX
Be there or be square!!!!!


Luke, Jake and Trish went up to visit part of the weekend.
Esther and Joe went to Bovina to chill and visit with Aryah and they had other company in town.
Cristy went up to Lubbock the other part of the weekend.
Levi is doing remarkable...

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Blood Drive on Levi's Birthday-1-30-09

Levi has used 8 units of blood since October 18,2008. That is not counting what was needed during surgeries. The average adult has 10 pints of blood in their body. That blood was there to be used on Levi as needed. That blood was there because people gave.

I have felt relatively helpless through out all of this, constantly wondering how i could help without causing more stress. Then one day God gave me an idea. Have a blood drive. Replace a little bit of what was available to save Levi. How easy is that?!

I called Coffee Memorial and found out exactly how easy it is. I was told that if we can get 17 donors, that would be great. I thought, 17? that's it? That seemed like such a small number compared to how big all the other numbers have been. You know,

  • like the number of people following this blog; 105 (that we know of)
  • and 42,656, the number of times people have logged on and looked at the blog.

Well, Levi turns 26 on the day we are having the drive. Why not shoot for 26? That might not be realistic, but I think it has been proven that we are not in control.

The blood drive is the last Friday of this month, from 2-6pm in Bovina, TX at the First Baptist Church. Coffee Memorial will have promotional items to give away and there will be a drawing for a $26 gift certificate to Allen Theaters in Clovis, NM. Some of the congregation at First Baptist has volunteered to make snacks for the fabulous event.
I have plastered the town of Bovina with fliers. There are tons of advertisements going out in newspapers and church bulletins. From here on out, I am going to do a daily blog on blood things, facts, figures. Please be in prayer for this event and come out and show your support!!!
Go to for more information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13,2009 Update from Joe (dad)

Many people I have seen in the last week have asked about Levi, said the blog hadn’t been updated much lately. That is true, and sorry, folks. None of us, or Levi had realized before all this just how many friends we had, or how many people were concerned about us. Thanks SO MUCH for all you have done. All the card, letters, prayers, food baskets, offers of help in one way or another---acts of kindness. You lift us up and inspire us.
Things have been very busy! Not only were the holidays to deal with, but as you know, Levi relocated. He is now in Trust Point Hospital in Lubbock. It is primarily a rehab facility and its GREAT. Dr. Wolcott personally met us at the door and showed us to Levi’s new room. He, as well as all the rest of the staff, seemed so very excited and happy we were there! (I even wondered to myself if they were all on “happy pills” or something. LOL).
Levi has made a lot of progress since he has been there. I believe the very next morning after arriving, Seth and Roda had Levi sitting up on the edge of the bed! That was the first time since the accident. They asked where his clothes were; they were ready to get him in a wheel chair and on the fast track on therapy. We brought clothes and he has been out of bed and in a wheel chair at least twice a day ever since, sometimes 3-4 times. It exhausts him, but as he told Nana one day, “Gotta go to therapy. Gotta get stronger. Gotta get better”. Yes, Levi---you go, boy!
Even though he arrived with a peg tube in his belly (for feeding) he has been eating by mouth ever since arriving in Lubbock. Obviously, he was gaining strength and mobility daily. After about a week Levi pulled his own peg tube out (They say “DC’d it”). Doc said, “Oh well, he didn’t need it anyway”. He then proceeded to eat just about everything in sight----even cauliflower and lima beans, sometimes even Bingo tokens and play dough--- Huh, Fabian? Levi did develop an annoying urinary tract infection, but Dr. Rice cleared it up pretty quickly with a round of antibiotics. Dr. Rice was also kind enough to spend 45 minutes or so (on a Sunday morning, if you can believe that!) giving me the clearest explanation of many things going on with Levi that I had received. I was highly appreciative and impressed. (I’ve talked to a LOT of doctors the last 3 months.) Anyway, about 18 hrs. after finishing the round of antibiotics, Levi DC’d his central line. Didn’t need that anymore either!
One night he was eating corn chowder. The nurse came in and slipped a couple of pills in a spoonful. When Levi chomped down on it, it sounded like an unwanted cherry pit in a piece of pie. Levi spit it halfway across the room and bounced it off the far wall! She laughed and went and got some more. I said, “Guess he didn’t need that either”! This time she gave him just the pills with a drink of water and he swallowed them.
The poor nurses seem to get the worst of it. They come to give him medicine, check his vitals, bathe him, dress him----whatever. He characteristically has a good many choice words for them. They are always so calm, unflustered….just talk calm to him, go about their business. Funny thing about Sal----He’s a large, muscular, male nurse, 30’ish. To him, Levi says, “Help me out, dawg”. LMAO Levi hasn’t lost all control, he’s just “lax” with it!
Melissa, the speech therapist was having a hard time getting Levi to cooperate. He didn’t want to identify simple objects or point to pictures or colors, etc. Luckily in the next day or two, Nana brought homemade Christmas cookies---white snowmen, red bells, green Christmas trees, etc. Amazing thing---Levi could identify those shapes, tell which color he wanted, and even lift that stiff arm to his mouth for a bite! All of it in one bite, I might add. It was kinda comical, like a greedy cow trying to waller around a whole ear of corn in her mouth so the others can’t get it! I told Melissa she just didn’t have the right motivational tools. She needed Nana’s cookies! Nana left a whole boxful, just for Levi. Cristy asked him if she could have one. He said, “No, MINE”. Sounded clear enough to me! He polished the last one off last night.
Sometimes Levi seems to talk nonsense or just ramble, but he can focus when he wants to. He had a pretty interesting exchange with Dale one day but I won’t go into that here. He had us all rolling with laughter and I’m pretty sure it made Dale’s day. He also had a really lucid discussion Christmas night with Luke—about cattle, prices, death loss, etc.—read a couple pages in a book, discussed that and so on. Jeff Bertrand brought him a T-shirt yesterday. Asked Levi if he knew what it said. Says, “Bertrand Spraying” “Gimme it”. You want to put it on? “Yep”….We did. As Jeff was talking to him he said he wanted one that said “Ouch, Dammit, Ouch”. We laughed, wondered if he knew what he was saying, but before Jeff left Levi reminded him again to bring the shirt and what it was supposed to say. Short term memory may not be there ALL the time, but it certainly isn’t absent either.
I guess its been a little over a week ago Levi got to take his first shower. He looked both exhausted and yet refreshed. He had been getting bed baths, but that’s just not the same as a regular shower. He brushes his own teeth, too. The chair won’t wheel up real close to the lavatory, but that’s ok----turns out Levi can spit a stream of water about 4 feet! LOL I think Beverly kinda got sprayed with some back splash, but you learn to get out of the way!
When he gets really fed up with our incompetence, he starts spelling. I thought he was talking something about school and couldn’t really understand. Finally he spelled it ‘S-K-U-L-L, SKULL!” With Cristy’s help I figured out he wanted to watch Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Monday he was saying something---we were looking outside; I thought it was jog---like a nice day to jog or something. “J-O-B, JOB”. He wanted to go to work with me. Hasn’t asked that since he was like 10!!!! WOW! Later I heard him asking the nurses for directions to Bovina! They might need to lock the doors; Levi’s liable to “Break Out”!
He does now have the splint off his left arm. Esther said that smelled really bad, like when a cast comes off, I guess. Still has the ankle fixator on. I know several staff members have been making calls, trying to see about getting that off, too. It may still be a while on that, though.
We may soon be moving to another facility, TLC, also in Lubbock. More therapy still, but more emphasis on cognitive function. Those arrangements are not all settled yet.
In summary, Levi’s not close to 100% yet, but he’s a LOOOONG blinking way from a persistent vegetative state!

Thanks for the “Never Give UP’ poster, Mac.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 2, 2009


Esther is finally settled. The new temporary address is :
402 Kirby Avenue
Lubbock,TX 79416-4195.
Even though the Christmas holidays were celebrated differently, one thing remains the same and that is JESUS. Isn't he wonderful to us?! Thank you to all the Mejias and Avalos who shared this holiday time with us (and made it possible) at the hotel and Lil' Louis'. Love you guys!

We miss the Amarillo ICU folks and all the friends we have there who visited us daily and helped us laugh and held our hands when we were lonely and afraid. We want to talk with them to share all the miracles taking place but now we are in Lubbock (which is a good thing) so we will rely on the blog to share.

After being here in Lubbock, we continue to watch Levi have wonderful progress. The care and love he is receiving has been nothing but a blessing. Keep praying, journal either on the blog, on paper, or by sharing with someone because what we are experiencing will serve as a reminder of how nothing is impossible with God. I talked to Levi and asked him if he wanted me to read or sing to him and he said, "SSSSSHT". Love his sense of humor!

What we need:
prayer for Levi's wounds to heal completely
prayer for Levi to stay strong physically to endure therapy
prayer for the care givers

We love you and thank you for your love.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 1, 2009 NEW BEGINNINGS

2009 Contract

After serious & cautious consideration . . .
Your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2009!
It was a very hard decision to make. So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2009
May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts. May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills. May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips! May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires and may happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy. May the problems you had forget your home address!

In simple words . . . May 2009 be the best year of your life!!