all About Danny…


All about Danny…

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Danny in 7th Grade

Danny in 7th Grade

(Danny in the 7th Grade)

This post, I am not sure if I am ever going to publish. For the past several years, I have really needed someone to talk to, about ‘stuff’. There are things that you don’t want to talk to your doctor about, until there is no other choice. Since the beginning, I have tried (very hard); not to ‘look’ disabled, not to ask anyone for help or assistance, do as much as I can for myself every single day, and never openly admit to how severely my condition effects my life. For most of the past nine years, I have been able to follow these guidelines. Until, about, last year.

Last year, is when that strategy became less viable. I began to fall, a lot. In side my home (which is very small and pretty surprising when you fall in a 12×20 room), fall most times I went outside, fall in the middle of the night getting up to use the bathroom, falling getting in and out of the tub. I was getting bruises all over my arms and legs. Oh, and last year was the year I set my left arm on fire. I mentioned that, in one of the episodes. It wasn’t ‘funny’ I was just so shocked and depressed, when it happened, I did laugh. I don’t think anyone ever pictured himself or herself in this kind of condition. I know I didn’t.

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Danny and Darrell in 1959

Danny and Darrell in 1959, I am the Blonde Driving

(Darrell and Danny in 1959, I am in Front)

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Therefore, I talked to my caregiver, first. He was quite upset with me, when I talked to him about the falling. Especially when I told him I had fallen, just a week earlier, in the tub and it took over an hour for me to get out, again. He told me that he had been noticing that my walking was much worse, and it “scares the shit out of me, watching you go up and down stairs!’ I really didn’t think anyone had noticed, honest. I really had imagined that I was successful in hiding my slow loss of abilities. As well, I had somehow deluded myself into believing that nobody saw the bruises. Allen, my caregiver, helps me get into and out of my bath. Yet, somehow, just because he never mentioned the bruises I had allowed myself to believe he had not seen the bruises. I was embarrassed and ashamed.

Finally Allen pressed enough and demanded to accompany me into the next doctor’s appointment. I was busted. Dr. Gorlick is an extremely intelligent and compassionate individual. He has given me the best possible care, and been instrumental in my dealing with my progressive condition. When Allen finally spoke with Dr. Gorlick, was November of 2011. It was at that visit that Dr. Gorlick wrote the first prescription for a power chair.

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Darrell and Kenny Ray Playing on the Old Buick

Darrell and Danny Playing on the Old Buick

(Danny and Darrell Playing on the Old Buick)

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Well now, some of you might (rightly) be asking yourself; ‘Why a ‘power chair’ and not a wheel chair?”. Good question and one that we went over during the visit. I have; greatly reduced strength, reduced fine motor skill, limited loss of feeling (mostly to motion and heat/cold) in my left arm.

This makes it nearly impossible for me to properly move and guide a wheel chair. These same factors make using a ‘Scooter’ a less than desirable situation. Whereas, when forced, I can use a scooter with just my right hand but the manufacture says they are to be operated with “both Hands” and it is more stable and gives you better control.

Update-

I started writing this piece August 7, 2012. It is now September 5, 2012, approximately one month later. I forgot that I had started this article. I had forgotten that I have tried to communicate my life, to others. After nine years of hiding my disability, nine years of shame that I am half the man I ever was and can do less than half of what I used to be able to do. Nine years of solitude with my disease that has to come to an end.

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Danny and Sebastian

Danny and Sebastian

(Danny and Sebastian circa 1992)

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I already wrote my article ‘Daniel’s Disability and How it Began’, but this article is different. Today, I am going to tell you about Danny. It is not easy being Danny anymore. Oh, yes, it used to be fun being Danny. In high school I was quite gregarious and enjoyed the company of friends. The plays helped everyone get to know me, and I loved making them laugh. In college I did well with my studies and in my freshman year I nailed a leading role. That doesn’t happen often, in theater. Your first year in a new theater and you are cast in a leading role. I nailed it, of course.

Anyone reading this that saw ‘The Zoo Story’ knows that I nailed that show. Hell, one night when it came to the scene where I was supposed to kill myself on stage, something wild happened.  I turned around with the knife in my chest and an elderly woman on the front row fainted! Yes, fell flat on her face in the front row, right in front of me. I just kept going, as the ushers carried her outside to get some fresh air.

So, yes, I have had some really grand adventures… until now. Now, the adventure is getting out of bed each morning. The adventure is getting to the store to get food. Getting in and out of the bath tub, thatis an adventure. I spend most days trying to figure out how to make it through one more day with my pain.

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Danny in 1963

Danny in 1965

(Danny In Houston 1965, I Am Eight)

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If it were just the pain, I would have better luck at keeping my head on straight. There is more than the pain. Have you ever sat for a really long time, on one leg, then stood up to find that your foot was asleep? Do you remember the pain? Do you remember how you couldn’t walk right until the tingling subsided and the feeling came back? OK, then we have a common frame of reference.

Imagine, just for a moment, that every single time you got to stand up you face that very dilemma. Imagine how you would feel. Would you feel like; going out for a walk, going shopping, going out for a visit with friends? Would you even feel like getting out of bed, if you knew that every single step you were about to take would be an adventure in pain… and humiliation. Yeah, you can’t even imagine, can you. This is what my hands have been like for the past seven years. This is what my left (and now my right) leg and foot have felt like for two years. My friends, what few I have left, don’t like to go out with me anymore. When we go out shopping (and I have to walk because there are no scooters available), and I become irritable and short with people.

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Danny in The Fifth Grade

Danny in The Fifth Grade

(Danny in the Fifth Grade)

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It doesn’t happen often, but it also has made me more reclusive. That sucks. I was quite gregarious, before all this happened. If you knew me, or even was aware of me, in high school you know that to be true. I enjoy the company of people, and people enjoy being around me. That has become more difficult, and I need help changing. I know what it is, that I have to do. I know that I can not do this, alone. I had the dedication and perseverance to see this through to the end, I am more than half way there. I guess the only question that remains?

Will I get the help I need, to lead a more positive life. If you read my post ‘Daniel’s Disability and How it All Began’ then you are ahead of the game. See, in August of last year I had a visit with a new neurosurgeon. The one that performed my previous surgery has returned to his home in Switzerland. So, my new neurosurgeon looks over all the scans, the reports and the x-rays. He performs a cursory physical and a neurological exam, and makes notes. Then he turns to me and tells me:

“You seem like and intelligent person, Mr. Hanning. You have brought more scans and reports to this appointment than I think any patient. I have looked over the reports and looked at the scans myself. (A Good Neurosurgeon will ALWAYS review the actual scans, and not just depend on reports) And, Mr. Hanning your prognosis is not good… but I imagine you know that already, right?”

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Danny March 2001 @ Disneyland

Danny March 2001 @ Disneyland

(Danny March 2001 Disneyland)

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Dr. Tran and I spent the next half hour discussing the failures of my last surgery, and his prognosis.

“Your condition is not conducive to life.”

Multimillion dollar education and they make a simple statement into… this emotionless… legally non-binding… cold statement. I go to interrupt and ask him the question, he continues.

“Your condition will, most likely, never improve. Most likely, your condition will progress. The progression of your condition has increased, over the past 6-12 months.”

He then explains that his findings, from the physical and neurological exams, showed that I was loosing strength in my upper left leg and that I am experiencing loss of fine motor skill in my right hand, too. I ask him what he can do:

“Mr. Hanning, if you had walked into my office with a broken neck I could do more for you… I mean, if you walked into an E.R. and I was the attending… “

“Medical science can only do so much. This is a progressive disease that will… progress. You will experience more and more neurological and physical losses.”

I am sitting there, and we all know what is going through my mind. Evidently he knew what we are thinking. His very next statement, chilled me to the bones.

“Mr. Hanning, you have seen the images. I know, you printed them out. I know you know what you are looking at, because of the images you printed.”

All true, I spent many a summer working archiving x-rays where my father worked. I knew how to read x-rays and MRI images… well enough.

“What do you want me to tell you, Mr. Hanning? There is nothing I can do for you, your problem is inoperable. Well, no responsible surgeon would operate. Once that disc cuts off the spinal cord… well, that is not conducive with life.”

OK, for everyone that; didn’t come from a medical family (like me) or worked in clinical pharmacology (like me) or had much medical experience, or experience with doctors, Dr. Tran was explaining to me that my condition will take my life.

Yeah… I’ll let that sink in for a minute.

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It took me several… a lot of time, for me to speak. How uncharacteristic of me!

“So, I am going to die?”

 He laughed… he honestly laughed!

“We all die sometime, Mr. Hanning. It’s just that you are going to die before most of us… before you should, because of your condition… and the way the last surgery was done.”

Yes, how the last surgery was done. We’ll circle around back to that, soon.

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Danny Ken Darrell - HIS Three Sons

Danny Ken Darrell – HIS Three Sons

(Danny, Ken and Darrell… His Three Sons)

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Bottom line, in that visit. On that day. I came to a realization that has changed my life. That day I learned; I would continue to experience physical and neurological losses to my body that would eventually end in death. “We all die, sometime, Mr. Hanning.”  Just some of us will be existing stage left sooner than others. It has been eleven months, since that meeting. My condition has remained true to form. I have no expectation of a‘miracle’. Those mostly happen in movies, and when they do happen, they don’t happen for people like me. I’m not rich. I don’t have rich friends or family. The die has been cast, and my fate has been sealed. All that remains? How I spend this reaming time.

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Danny 1988 @ A Company Christmas Party

Danny 1988 @ A Company Christmas Party

(Danny in 1998 @ A Company Christmas Party)

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The past month, has not been bad. I have enjoyed, finally, writing and having people read what I write. That is a very nice feeling. I appreciateevery view. I am touched by the generosity of others; both family and friends. This generosity will never be forgotten, for as long as I live.

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Danny @ The Tinder Box 1987

Danny @ The Tinder Box 1987

(Danny @ The Tinder Box in 1987)

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I have decided. For as long as I am able. For as long as I can get to a keyboard and the internet, I will continue to write, for you. I will do my best to; entertain and share my life. I will do what I can to take you to other places, see other things. I will share my hopes and dreams, but I will also share my pain.

Aye, there’s the rub. For the past two months I have been secretive, about my pain. That stops today. For the past eight years I have tried to hide my disability. That stops today. From now on, I promise to be truthful about what I am going trough. I promise to be honest and forthright with all that read my words.

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Daniel's Moving Assistance Fund

Daniel’s Moving Assistance Fund

(Danny @ Terrace 2001)

Thank you for your generosity and support! 

http://www.indiegogo.com/DannyHanning

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About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to all About Danny…

  1. Hmm it looks like your blog ate my first comment
    (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any tips for first-time blog writers? I’d
    genuinely appreciate it.

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