|December 31, 2005
Yesterday, Michael received his new wheelchair and stander. It is difficult for me to get excited about my son getting a new wheelchair, but
the stander is cool. It is a " sit to stand" stander. It looks like a chair that he sits in and then it slowly raises him to his feet. He cannot
tolerate standing long as his legs start to become discolored. His legs have not supported the full weight of his body in months. We will
get him in his stander twice daily. Check the "PICS" page to see Michael in his stander.
Michael has grown quite a bit since he has been home. Colleen, our fabulous wheelchair rep, had to adjust his chair to fit him. Many thanks
for everything, Colleen.
The year is ending on the worst year of my life. The seven months of hell that we have been through this year is just the beginning. 2006
will be filled with attorneys and court proceedings as well. It's just getting started. God, give me strength.
I recovered Michael's cell phone after he drowned. When I turned it on, the greeting was "The cutest little gravedigger I've ever seen." ( I
also have his phone log from that day, and guess whose phone numbers are listed? ) This is from a song from by Alkaline Trio. I have been
wanting to post it for a while, but the language that is used stopped me. It is really a nice song, but there is some profanity in it. It is not
obscene, the only thing obscene on this website is a 14 year old being furnished with alcohol and drowning. Since it is New Year's Eve, the
year is ending, and this song makes me think of Michael, I am going to post it. If you have small children or are easily offended, I suggest
turning your sound down.
We wish all of you a safe and New Year.
December 28, 2005
Michael had HBOT yesterday and today. A lot of laughing last night. It started when I was talking to him and started joking around. He
smiled and then began laughing. I'm not sure if he knew what I was saying, but it sure seemed like old times. He frowns at the appropriate
times, which is a good sign. If I brush his hair with my hand, I get a big ol' frown; Dads aren't supposed to do that. He is trying so hard to
talk. I know it's coming soon and I'm sure that when he says something, I will clutch my chest and fall to the ground.
December 26, 2005
What a great way to start the day. Nothing quite like seeing that boy smile. Sure wish I knew what he was thinking. He has been active
most of the day, now he decided to take a little nap. He did not go to sleep until late last night and awoke early. We will be getting up early
for HBOT, so he needs to get his rest.
We have invited you into our lives. We have shared our pain, our joy, and our anger with you. You have given us your support and have given
us the strength to go on. Your words of encouragement have picked us up when we were down. The fact that you take a few minutes out
of your busy day to check on Michael touch us deeply. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
This Christmas was not filled with the joy of watching Michael opening his presents. It did not have his laughter and quick wit to make us
laugh along with him. It consisted of our lame attempts of trying to pretend that nothing was wrong. We failed miserably. With every gift
opened, you could hear a heart break. The things that would have brought happiness to us means nothing since June 7th. The day was
filled with memories of past Christmas's. It is a Christmas that I am glad is almost over.
However, Michael is still alive and that in itself is a gift. He is ever so slowly improving and maybe by next Christmas he will be able to open
a gift himself. The grinch may have stole Christmas this year, but I'm betting that next year will be different.
Merry Christmas to all and God Bless.
December 23, 2005
Michael had a swallow test today. They inserted a scope in his nose and watched his epiglottis as they gave him different foods. He was
able to swallow the applesauce, but not the pudding or water. He will be re-evaluated soon. We're hoping that he can be able to eat soon.
While in court, the defense attorney made the statement that he didn't even know if Michael could swim or not. I will answer that question
for him now. Michael took swimming lessons at the YMCA at an early age. Michael and I spent summer after summer swimming at the
exact beach that he drowned. He was a very strong swimmer. He knew how to get out of a rip current. He could have made it out of any
situation if he was not given any alcohol and did not have a 0.32 blood alcohol. Hope that answers your question, counselor.
The attorney brought this website up in court and I will address that tomorrow. He made accusations that I will defend tomorrow.
I put a short clip of Michael on the "Pics" page.
I had a dream last night. I dreamed that Michael was a young child again and ran into the room saying "Hi Dad." I was lying on the floor and
he jumped on me, wrapping his arms around me. The joy that I felt was indescribable; then I woke up. I knew that Michael was in his bed,
unable to walk and talk. I wanted to go back to sleep and continue the dream. Instead, I got out of bed to start his morning feeds.
He has been vocalizing a lot tonight. He had a little laughing episode that I videotaped. I will post it tomorrow. Seeing and hearing him laugh
made me laugh with him. It is great to see him happy. HBOT works people, I see the results every day.
Tired tonight, thank you for all the support you have given Michael.
December 21, 2005
Hello all, this is Brenda.
Sentencing Day today. Justice prevailed again, but not after a lot of gut-wrenching hard work. In addition to the letters we wrote in the
short amount of time given to us for the Pre Sentencing Investigation, I stayed up well past midnight last night working on another one to be
After receiving the copy of the Pre Sentencing Investigation at the late hour of 4:55 pm yesterday evening, we were beside ourselves. We
were devastated. We read the comments of the Probation Officer, who suggested that this adult bartender was very polite during her
interview, so her recommendation was 12-months probation. We read the comments of the Alcohol Awareness Counselor suggesting that
this adult bartender, the person who provided alcohol to our minor son, other people’s minor children, and got behind the wheel of a car and
drove yet another 16-year old boy to his sports physical after literally hours of drinking on the beach, would be an ideal candidate to speak
to children at schools about the dangers of underage drinking.
We also read that she is currently 3 ½ months pregnant with her first child.
As far as I’m concerned, this speaks volumes. Throughout the documents that we read, it was indicated that this bartender was extremely
sorry for her actions, and that she had learned that all of her actions can have serious consequences. Duh. Her “actions” have resulted in
“consequences” yet again, and also again, no thought to the fact that these consequences are regrettably going to affect a child. I can’t
even say “at least this time it’s her own child”, because I truly hate the thought that this child is going to be born in jail. Not a choice of
his/her own, but the result of the actions of this bartender.
I have never found myself facing possible jail time, but I believe that if I were, I would most likely take extra “precautions” not to bring a
child in there with me.
Her defense seemed to be denial of providing alcohol directly to our son, therefore she felt that she should not be charged with anything
that is related to the events that happened to him. Our letter “politely” pointed out that every action she took on June 7th, 2005, led to
Michael’s drowning and another 16-year olds incarceration.
The PSI stated that she came to visit and check on Michael the night he drowned. We “politely” pointed out that this was not the reason
she was at the hospital. She was there to work out the story. She did not “visit” Michael, she sat in the waiting room with us, and listened
to every word that we said. We never even knew that she was part of the beach party until she was leaving. We thought she was there for
another patient, not our son. She never said a word to us. She laid blame on the juvenile co-defendant for her initial lies. She told the PSI
officer that “she was scared and felt pressured into lying by another involved party”. This adult bartender was scared to defy one teenaged
high school boy? We think not. She contacted the Sheriff’s Office for a second meeting only after the co-defendant confessed. Had he not
confessed, she would have stayed consistent with her perjury.
She also stated during her interview that when she left the beach after drinking, to take one of the 16-year olds to his sports physical, that
she “called throughout the day” to check on Michael, because he was acting “weird”. Very interesting, considering she stated in the police
report that she left the beach at 5:00 pm and returned at 6:00 pm. I never realized that a one-hour time period constitutes “throughout the
The bottom line of our letter pointed out that the consequences of her actions left one child with permanent brain damage, and another one
behind bars. She is the only adult charged in this action, and she should most definitely not be the only one to walk free. Not when one of
the kids can’t walk, period.
Possibly our letters were beneficial in assisting the judge to make his decision. But more than any letters, I think that Michael in his
wheelchair, with his head hanging down to the side, while not speaking a word, had the loudest voice in the court room.
The Judge pointed out that while she stated she was “sorry”, it was not enough. She would be just as “sorry” if she got behind the wheel
of a car and killed someone while she was intoxicated.
She was facing a long, long time in jail. With the four counts against her, she could very well have served approximately 2-1/2 years in jail.
Instead, she received 11 months, 29 days incarceration time, and 11 months, 29 days maximum probation (house arrest) afterwards.
I feel that what happened today was supposed to happen. This bartender felt that she was above the law, the rules did not apply to her, and
therefore she should not have to serve any time in jail. She was wrong, and she is sleeping in a jail cell tonight. Justice. Finally.
This being said, I want to move on to something else. For every one that posts supportive comments on this website, we thank you. We
know you cheer Michael on when he does the slightest thing, like roll or smile. For us, these are miracles that we give thanks for every
time they happen, and we give thanks to those of you who keep Michael in your prayers, and in your hearts. We also thank you for your
support of us, his family, in our fight for justice. Once again, we felt some closure today in the courtroom. But as Dave has said many times
right here on this website – there are no winners here. We still grieve every day for the son that we lost, his sense of humor, the life in his
eyes. Today we watched another family grieve. We watched another mother cry in the courtroom as her daughter was led away in
handcuffs. I’m sure she taught her daughter the right values, to play by the rules, to “do unto others”, just as we all teach our own
children. However, when our children grow up to be adults they have minds of their own, and they make their own choices.
This other Mother’s pain will never come close to mine or Dave’s. Ever. But it is still a pain she has to live with, and for that I hope that
people will feel some compassion for her and the rest of her family when they post their comments. Her daughter is an adult, and her
actions were her own, not her mother’s.
Mom, Dad, Brandon, Gator, Dana, Wanda, Brigette, Jamie….thank you for being there today. It means so much to me I can’t even put the
right words down.
Brooke. You know we could not get through the days without you. You are the very best.
December 18, 2005
Michael has been very alert and vocal this weekend. There was smiles and some laughs. The little things.
This poem was written by Britni, a friend of Michael's. It is both beautiful and sad. Britni's father recently suffered from a brain aneurysm.
He is doing better. We wish him the best. He is in our prayers.
driving past your house.. seeing how much it has changed.
reading all the newspaper articles.. with sorrow in its every line.
seeing the videos of how you are now.. thinking could this real ?
hearing the people talk everyday.. knowing its all true.
how could he do this to you...
they say its best that i dont see you now..
but all i want to do is say hi..
they said it will tear you up inside to see you in this condition..
but all i want to do is see you..
they say God will help soon..
but all i want is for him to help NOW..
if only you could see how terrified i am..
if only you could see the fear in my eyes..
if only you could see how torn i am inside..
if only you could see how this affected the ones who love you the most..
if only you could understand..
you dont even know who i am..
im sitting here.. thinking..i really never got to say.. GOODBYE..
We had some special visitors tonight. It was really nice to meet them. Thanks for everything, Seth and Cheri.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005, court day for the adult bartender that likes to party with children. Justice is coming.
After a lot of thought, I would like to know why Children and Family Services did not help out in this. While at Sacred Heart, I talked to a
family that was not allowed to take their child home that fell down the stairs until CFS did an investigation. I asked the staff at Sacred Heart
to contact CFS, because my minor child having a 0.32 blood alcohol was worse than a child falling down some stairs. No response from
CFS. I contacted them via phone and was told that they could not do anything because it was a criminal investigation. I contacted them a
month later via e-mail and did not get any response. This agency is set up to protect our children and they did nothing. There is no excuse
for this. This is one of the most useless agencies that we have. These people suck. Someone will answer for this.
Very busy day. It started with HBOT at 7:00 AM. Next, we were off to Destin to see Dr. Renfroe. Michael had his baclofen pump refilled and
the output increased. It is sitting at 850 micrograms per day. He also had his biceps and hip botoxed. This will help with the tone. From
there we went to Pediatric Therapy Center for OT and PT. They put him on his stomach on a huge rubber ball to stretch him out. They
worked him until he yelled. No pain, no gain. They are really good with him and treat him very special. I enjoy watching them work with him.
They even gave him a gift certificate for Christmas. I was really touched by their kindness. After PT and OT, we went to Speech Therapy.
He had a taste of chocolate, peanut butter and applesauce. Finally, Michael went home to relax. I went to work.
He was a little active tonight, but he is about to go to sleep. After a long day like today, watching him sleep, I realize just how much I love
that boy. I also think about the people that gave him the alcohol and took him away from me. I think about Justice.
December 14, 2005
HBOT went well this morning, Michael was very relaxed. When he is put in the chamber and the pressure is increased, I get nervous. If he
gets sick, we can't just open the chamber, the pressure has to be slowly decreased. The staff is the best and can handle anything, but I am
very protective when it comes to Michael. I used to wait outside until he achieved depth,(at the staff's request), but now, I just pace the
floor. I am getting better.
School went well for Michael. I like going to the school at lunch because I enjoy talking to the Silver Sand's staff. These people are top
notch and I know that Michael is in good hands. On a sad note, Michael's teacher, Wes, is being transferred to another school. He is a
great guy and we will miss him. Hate to see you go, Wes.
We had to get Michael a Florida identification card so that we can get a handicap sticker. They had a rough time getting a decent picture of
him, because his head was moving all over the place. They did get a picture, but it is not one that we will be framing.
I watch Brooke when we are in public with Michael and she amazes me. People stare at him because they wonder what happened to him,
but Brooke does not even notice. Her attention is on Michael, making sure that he is comfortable. She takes care of him as if he were one
of her own. We are very lucky to have her. Don't tell her I said anything nice about her, she might ask for a raise.
One of our neighbors recently had a brain aneurysm. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. Hang in there, Dave, you will be
I think God's justice is making wrongs right.
December 13, 2005
Brenda had Michael almost talking tonight. He used to love Cokes and I think he was asking for one. She gave him a little taste on his
tongue and he seemed to ask for more. She will be the one that gets him talking, I have no doubt about that.
He was calm through the HBOT session and agitated through speech therapy. I don't blame him, I was a little agitated myself.
Our morning routine consists of getting up at 2:00 AM to start Michael's feeds. Back to bed, listening to the baby monitor for any unusual
sounds. Up at 5:15; getting ready for the day. Dress Michael, put him in his wheelchair, make sure that he has everything for school. Go to
HBOT, speech therapy, and then off to school. When all of this is done, I go to work. The weird thing is that I enjoy all of this. It is the only
thing I do right. I like the people at the hyperbaric place, therapies and school. I just wish I met them under different circumstances.
December 21, 2005, the day of reckoning for the adult that has spent the past six months denying her part in this. No more time, no more
lies, this is it.
This will be an interesting week, stay tuned.
I pledge allegiance to the Flag and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
Today was a good day. The 19-year-old that is charged with 2 counts of providing alcohol to persons under 21 years of age, and 2 counts of
contributing to the deliquency of a minor, changed her plea from 'not-guilty' to 'nolo contender'. This means that it will not go to jury trial,
her fate will be decided by the judge. She should have done this from the beginning, it would have been a lot easier and much cheaper. I
guess her attorney needed the money to make payments on his Hyundai; that $199 down and $199 a month is a hell of a payment.
Michael had HBOT first thing this morning and was relaxed through the session. He yawned a lot, but did not sleep. He was on the tilt table
at school for 25 minutes today. That is a considerable amount of time. He needs to do this every day. It is not only good for him to bear
weight on his legs, but it helps his cognitive function as well. He is very alert tonight and turns his head toward me when I talk to him. The
HBOT is helping him, I don't have any doubt about that. He has had 16 treatments and since it began, he has laughed, smiled, voiced, and is
much more alert.
December 21, 2005 is the next court date. This is when the judge will make his decision for the 19-year-old. Just in time for Christmas.
When this is over, we will focus all of our efforts on the one remaining person. Vodka boy, you remember. Michael is taking is punishment,
one of the teens is taking his, it is time for everyone else to pay their dues. It's coming. Justice.
A hearfelt thank you to Donna Rae and Edna.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.
December 11, 2005
Michael slept well last night and woke up early. He has been very active, squirming all over the place. He has also been vocal. His
vocalization has been in response to me moving him from his bed to his recliner and back. I don't think it was pain, I think he is just getting
tired of not being able to move around on his own. It's coming.
He had a bath today and fought that every step of the way. He uses a lot of energy fighting people when they try to move him. Not
necessarily a bad thing, it means that he is aware of some of the things going on around him. I like to see the fight in him. A little attitude is a
Tomorrow he has HBOT, then on to court. Another day in the justice system. It seems like we have been to a thousand of these, and I am
sure that we will be at a thousand more. We show up to make sure that nobody tries anything sneaky. We may not be attorneys , but we
will make sure that Michael has his justice.
Too much mercy... often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been
put first and mercy second.
December 10, 2005
Today Michael had Mom, brother, and pet therapy. It was a low-key day for him and he was very relaxed. No smiles today, but some
voicing. Tomorrow is a new day and my miracle could happen at any time. I go to bed every night hoping that in the morning he will say
something to me. Gotta believe, or it will never happen.
Court day on Monday. This one is for the 19-year-old. It is open court and the public is invited. If you can make it, I encourage you to attend.
In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a
thousandfold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers... we are ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new
December 9, 2005
Brooke videotaped Michael as he smiled while sleeping today. I guess he was having a great dream. The smiling, laughing and serious
voicing has started since he began hyperbaric oxygen treatments. The early mornings and money spent are worth it for this one smile. I'd
give it all to see my son happy again.
December 7, 2005
Michael was very calm through HBOT this morning. School went well for him
Brenda went to court today to scope things out. Of course nobody showed up, that's the way the legal system works. It has been
rescheduled for February 8th, 2006. The 16 year old boy that is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor will stand before
this judge for the last time. This is it. One roll of the dice, one spin of the wheel. In the meantime, he will continue to play football at school
and not talk about his role in this. His parents are teaching him the lesson that it is acceptable to commit a crime and not be held
accountable for it. He will be held accountable for his actions, I have no doubt about that. "When justice is done, it brings joy to the
righteous but terror to evildoers." It's coming.
December 6, 2005
Michael's day consisted of HBOT, followed by speech, and then school. After school, we put him in his tilt table which seemed to agitate
Tomorrow's court date will be another wasted day. The hearing has been rescheduled for January 18, 2006. I really don't know why they
want to keep putting off the inevitable. He's guilty and will be punished, why keep playing this game? Justice is coming your way, son, don't
ever doubt that.
I will have much more to say tomorrow, but right now, I am going to read a book to Michael. I will pick a book that has a happy ending.
I posted a couple of pictures on the "Pics" page.
December 5, 2005
Michael had his daily hyperbaric oxygen treatment this morning. He was once again active throughout the session. This was followed by
PT at school. This therapy consisted of sitting. When he came home, we put in our tilt table, (inversion table), for about 15 minutes. He
seems to like being in a vertical position. He has been very relaxed tonight. It makes me sad to see him just lie there.
Wednesday is fast approaching. This is the pre-trial for the boy who eyewitnesses say brought the vodka to the party. This is the boy that
has yet to make a statement about that day. This is the boy that met outside the hospital with the other people involved in this, while Michael
was on life support, to work out his lie. This is the same boy whose parents used to work at the same company as Brenda and I. This is
the boy that atttends Fort Walton Beach High School, where Michael wanted to go. This is the boy that will learn a lesson about the judicial
system in the State of Florida. This is the boy that is not walking away from this. Justice.
Six months of my life. Six months without my son; just a shell. Six months of these little BS legal games. Six months of having to push
everybody to do their jobs. Six months of dying each day. Six months of Continuance after continuance. Excuse after excuse. Lie after lie.
Enough is enough. It is time for justice.
Dean, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Fight the good fight every day and you will be fine. Debi, push him hard every day. We're here if
you need us.
December 3, 2005
Yesterday started with HBOT. Michael was extremely active through the entire session. He was covered with sweat when we took him out
of the chamber. School was uneventful, as he was very low-key. We brought him to Dr. Krist to find out what was going on with his cheek.
The gland that produces saliva is swollen. This can be caused by a bunch of different things. We are trying anti-inflammatory meds and
I went to pick him up out of bed today and he sneezed on me. He must have thought that it was funny becuase he laughed. I put him in his
recliner and he laughed some more. He then began voicing. I didn't understand anything he was saying, but it will come in time. It begins
with a word here, a sentence there, and ends up with him testifying in court.
The one thing that I have learned throughout this ordeal, that we cannot sit back and wait for things to be handed to us. Since he is getting
very little PT/OT through the rehab center, it is up to us to fill in the gaps. We need to get more aggressive with his therapies. We will get
him into his tilt table or stander daily.
Near-drowning. That is such a misnomer. To me that means that someone almost drowned, but the lifeguard saw them, jumped into the
water and rescued them at the last minute. That is not the case here. Michael drowned. He was floating in the water for 8 to 10 minutes.
That, in my mind, is not nearly-drowning; that is definitely drowning. Now on top of that, add in that a couple of people furnished alcohol to
him and allowed him to go into the water, where he drowned. That, in my mind, is murder. Now, let's factor in that the party was planned
the night before. That in my mind, makes this pre-meditated murder. Michael may have been resuscitated, but he was still murdered. Do
you really think that this is going to end on December 7th and December 12th? Do you really think that I will ever let this go? These people
will never forget what they did on June 7, 2005, I will make sure of that. Justice.
December 1, 2005
Michael is sleeping great these nights. I am weaning him off of the Geodon that he was taking because he no longer needs it. HBOT went
well again today. Yesterday he was very active and he kept raising up almost hitting his head on the chamber wall. Dr. Zant was prepared
for that today and put a batting helmet with a piece of foam attached to it on Michael's head. Not the coolest looking getup, but it worked.
Joe came to the rescue by bringing in a sparring helmet. Michael will get to wear that tomorrow.
Michael's cheek is a swollen, we're not sure if it is his teeth, sinuses, or what. We will do something about it tomorrow, either go see Dr.
Krist or find a dentist. Always something.
Michael had speech today and was supposed to have PT/OT, but due to a communication problem, he missed it. We try hard to work
around everyone else's schedule, but the bottom line is that we are the customer. It is our money that is being spent. It's time that people
start realizing that. We'll get it all sorted out, I have no doubt about that.
"Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together." - Daniel
"A man must be willing to die for justice. Death is an inescapable reality and men die daily, but good deeds live forever." Jesse Jackson
I moved the pictures to the tab "Pics". I will add to it quite often.