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Author Topic: Daniel's health  (Read 33254 times)
gina164
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« on: November 25, 2005, 02:08:03 PM »

I just read about Dan's recent medical crisis-

No one answered at the house just now, so I've left a phone message for his brother and will e-mail him, too - to try to get an update.


Feeling worried about our Dear Daniel, Gina
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2005, 02:34:45 PM »

From www.rejectedunknown.com:

Friday, November 25th, 2005 - WALLER, TX - Daniel Johnston was taken to the Tomball Regional Medical Center Wednesday by emergency medical vehicle. His family called for emergency help when the acclaimed artist and cult song-writer became incoherent and unable to walk.

His father, Bill Johnston - a WWII veteran "Flying Tigers" fighter pilot - noticed a problem with Daniel shaking in the morning and tested his blood sugar. Daniel is a borderline diabetic and receives extensive medication for treatment of manic depression. He is tested daily to control the blood-sugar levels.

His father found the sugar levels low that morning and gave him candy which seemed to improve things. When he had trouble rousing him from sleep late in the afternoon, Daniel was found to be incoherent with trembling arms and hands, unable to speak coherently or even to walk.

Daniel was taken to the area hospital by emergency medical team and is in stable condition in the intensive care unit in Tomball, Texas.

"I thought he was dying," his mother told us.

"We're pretty sure at this point that this is lithium poisoning," his father concluded.

Lithium is the prescription medication used to stabilize patients like Daniel who have a history of mental illness. Daniel was diagnosed as manic-depressive or bi-polar, meaning that your body's chemical state is subject to imbalances resulting in extreme mood swings and even delusional states of mind.

Daniel Johnston gained notoriety in the early 80's first with his hand-made cassette tape albums.  It is these early cassette tapes that has caused some to title Daniel the "father of lo-fi" music.  His exposure grew after an MTV appearance and receiving "Songwriter of the Year" from the Austin Music Awards.  His bouts with success in his music career have always been un-raveled by his manic-depressive extremes, getting him in trouble with the law, and endangering friends and family members, including an incident where he caused the crash of their family plane in 1990.

After many such episodes, Daniel was mis-diagnosed and treated with sedating medications which contained the manic behavior. However, these medications left Daniel listless and unmotivated. Daniel has spent a total of over five years during the last 22 years as a patient in medical institutions.

In the late-1990's lithium carbonate and other medication adjustments brought Daniel to a stable and happy condition. He resumed touring and making albums, including the 1999 "Rejected Unknown" produced by Brian Beatty and "Fear Yourself" with Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse in 2003.

Daniel made regular public appearances and participated in making of the feature length documentary "The Devil and Daniel Johnston". Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig and produced by Henry Rosenthal, the film received accolades at this year's Sundance Film Festival and at film festivals around the world throughout this year. Sony Pictures Classic has announced official release of the movie in March 2006.

In August of this year, Daniel's family made a last-minute decision to cancel over three weeks of performances in Europe when Daniel reported feeling depressed unlike anything he had experienced for the last six to eight years. "There was just no way to stay on top of it if Daniel could not get regular clinical attention," his father said.  The cancellation disappointed fans in Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, and the UK.

There is still no official report on the causes of this episode, but his father speaks with seasoned assurance that it is the result of changes in eating and drinking habits that alter the levels of the medications that build up in the body. Daniel takes multiple prescription medications four times a day. The potentially lethal lithium medication is monitored by regular visits to the clinic to assure that they are high enough to be effective, but not so high as to be dangerous.

Daniel's father says that changes in eating and drinking habits can throw things out of balance quickly, and that Daniel is notorious for sneaking in foods that will affect his diabetes.

Compulsive eating habits are yet another trait of manic-depressives. Consumption of liquids - like soft drinks - can wash the medications out of his system to bring the levels down, or too much salt can cause retention and build-up of medication.

Maintaining safe and effective levels is a weary routine, but manageable, Daniel's father tells us. "But what can you do when he refuses to be concerned about the effects [of his eating compulsions or changes in eating habits]?" he explains.

Daniel is thought to be out of immediate danger, and this episode may dramatize what families living with mental illness experience somewhat routinely.

"This one was scary in a different way," his mother said. "It wasn't [his behavior] that was the problem, it was that he couldn't speak or stand up."
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« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2005, 02:53:18 AM »

Sounds like he is going to make it. I'm thankful for that and will keep Daniel in my thoughts. Get better soon!
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« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2005, 03:07:45 PM »

That is very scary.  I know we are all hoping for the best.
I don't really have anything to say, I am stunned.
Keep us posted.
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gina164
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« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2005, 08:55:41 PM »

Hi, again, All -

Dan's brother, Dick, updated me on Dan's situation, and asked me to fill you in a bit -

Dan is medically stable for now, but is now going through serious medication withdrawal, as his docs wanted to get all of the lithium out of his system, and may next try safer meds.

This 'blood cleaning process' is very hard on Dan, both physically and emotionally, as you can imagine.

I'll keep 'you' updated as I learn more.

I will be visiting Dan in person on Dec 5th, 6th and 7th, and am hoping that by then his docs will have gotten him to a more comfortable state, so that I can joyfully share with him the great concern of his fans.

Gina

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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 01:49:02 PM »

Please be advised that I have learned that Dan's condition REQUIRES that he receive no unnecessary stressors at this time -

That means, unfortunately, NO VISITORS, until such time that he is in the right frame of mind AND also in stable physical health -

I had already planned with Dan to visit him in early Dec, and so I will still go - I am hoping that by then (Dec 5, 6, 7), Dan will be able to receive visitors. If Dan's docs will not allow it, though, I will visit with his family only.

In any case, knowing my sister's history with this sort of thing, it should be 'some time' before the docs get him stabilized -

So, everyone needs to just 'hang tight' for the time being - and keep Dan in your thoughts and in your prayers -

Gina


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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2005, 10:01:23 PM »

I hope Dan comes out of this ok.  He will be in my thoughts and prayers. 
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2005, 03:51:48 AM »

Daniel,
Hang in there! The world needs the sunshine you give it! Please take the doctors advice! AND MOST OF ALL KEEP PUNCHING JOE!!!


Much Love Wickedwill!
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2005, 04:32:05 PM »

Oh I agree , here's hoping that Dan gets back to his usual self soon, best regards to family and friends too.
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2005, 10:19:38 PM »

I'm bumping this thread because it needs to remain at the top of the forum. I spent an hour with Daniel on Sunday and he needs all the prayers and kind thoughts he can get.
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gina164
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2005, 11:02:34 PM »

I spent an hour with Daniel on Sunday and he needs all the prayers and kind thoughts he can get.

Jeff - I am VERY happy for Dan that you were able to visit him -
It's good that his closest friends are able to sit by his side, hold his hand, and tell him how much he is loved.

I look forward to being able to see him next Monday - and am SO hoping that his condition improves significantly by then, but I had read that the acute kidney failure he experienced can take a long time to recover from...not to mention his need now for safe psychotropic meds...and the adjustment period for those to reach therapeutic levels...

He sure needs a lot of love right now...


Gina



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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2005, 05:11:55 AM »

This is awful news. At least one person in New Zealand's hoping he gets better.
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2005, 10:13:06 PM »


Jeff - I am VERY happy for Dan that you were able to visit him -
It's good that his closest friends are able to sit by his side, hold his hand, and tell him how much he is loved.



Gina - it's for that very reason that I've been asked to respond in public to some of the things you've posted in this thread. Daniel has some very close personal friends - people who've been his friends anywhere from 6 to 30 plus years in one case. They've known Daniel through his ups and downs and would do absolutely anything for him but unfortunately some of those friends have been told by the person you're doing the speaking for that they should stay away and not visit Daniel in the hospital. When I visited Sunday afternoon I noticed that some rooms did have "no visitor" signs and wondered if I'd be allowed to visit Daniel. Upon arriving at his room I found 3 nurses working on him as he seemed to be having a problem breathing. We waited in the hall for a few minutes and when the nurses came out they told me we could go on in. I was unsure about this since he had sounded so bad just a minute or two before so I introduced myself to one of the nurses and talked about Dan's condition for a minute or two when I asked if she was sure it was okay for him to have visitors. Her response was to go on in there - that "he needs the company".á And he did. I held his hand for most of the hour I was there and told him how much his friendship means to me and how much his life means to this world. I don't know how much he heard and I'm pretty sure he didn't recognize me as he was still having some breathing difficulties and trying to toss and turn a lot but he definitely responded to having his hand held and having Jaimi and I stroke his hair.á Another couple of friends who've visited say the same thing.á

The point of all this is that the doctors and nurses aren't keeping Daniel's friends away from him. There are no flowers or balloons allowed in the Critical Care Unit but as of last night visitors were still welcome. Only one person that I'm aware of thinks it's a good idea to allow Daniel to be left alone when he has now been unconscious without improvement for an entire week and there are good friends who'd like to be at his side.

Which brings me to the difficult part of this post...á You've always been very nice to me both on and off the board and I know you care deeply for Daniel but I feel obligated (okay I've been asked) to let you know that some of his friends who do read this board even though they never post would like to know how somebody who has known about him for less than a year and met him exactly once can be allowed to visit by you know who while THEY would be turned away? There are some people that are very upset about this and I hope you'll understand why.

The person for whom you've been relaying messages spends large amounts of time on the internet and not as much time as he should at the hospital so if he has something to say here please let him say it himself. And while I'm at it the fake newspaper article on rejectedunknown.com is in very poor taste.

I'm sorry if this post rubs some of you the wrong way. One of the best friends I've ever had has now been unconscious for over a week and the notion that ANYBODY would try to keep his friends for seeing him is absurd.
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2005, 10:36:05 AM »

A classic sick responce from Jeff.

Gina, as long as YOU have Daniels folks blessings do what you feel is right.

This is a time we should all pull together for Daniel.

Jeff, your post proves nothing.
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gina164
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2005, 10:42:32 AM »

Jeff - I have a lot of points to make, so I will list them, to keep them separate -

1) Yes, as I already told you, I was asked by Dick to add 'no visitors' to my post about Dan's health.

2) I had not (and still have not) been to the hospital yet (since it's 2000 miles away), so I had no knowledge of signs of any kind - until now

3) I was asked by Dick to relay this info to the fans (as I told you), and I did, because he didn't want 'just anyone' trying to visit Dan in the ILL state he is in, or to call the CCU at the hospital about Dan (since that takes time away from HIS nurses), and I agreed with that (which I also told you...so, I did not speak 'for Dick only')

4) I was also told by Dick before posting 'no visitors' that close friends HAVE been OK'd by the family to visit Dan, so I wasn't worried about that -á

I should have added that, and regret not doing so...

So, it was MY MISTAKE: Which I will now correct -

"Close friends, please know that you can call the family to let them know you are visiting...."

BTW, Calling the family first seems like a polite thing to do...especially if Dan's family wants to try to coordinate visits...and, I knew that ANY close friend of Dan's would call the family, and would have the number, since Dan lives with his parents still...

5) I told you ALL of this via an e-mail - why not just reply to me personally, and ask me to add on that close friends can easily contact the family to let them know they will be visiting?


6) I knew you wanted to visit Dan, because you told me you were going to before you first did, and I encouraged it, because I knew that other close friends were visiting, and I told you to not worry about Dick (when you said you were concerned about encountering him at the hospital), and I told you that I thought he would know that your visit was good for Dan - even though neither of you would enjoy seeing the other.

But, I also told you that due to the problems that Dick and you have, and Dan's dad and you, that I probably shouldn't announce to Dick that I knew you were planning to visit -

Now, I am announcing it - so that I can end my involvement between you and Dick.

"Dick, I knew Jeff wanted to visit...I did not discourage him, but ENCOURAGED him to, because I knew it would be good for Dan....I did not tell you because I do not want to do anything to damage our relationship, because I have nothing to do with the beef you two have."

Once again, Jeff, you knew I knew that friends were visiting...

I only posted what I did because I also believe 100% that Dan needs to rest, and should not have 'just anyone' visiting him - I told you that also via e-mail, so why accuse me of talking for someone else? ...please do not assume things.

I now wish I had simply added, 'close friends' can call the family....

I am disappointed, Jeff, that you did not just call me, or e-mail, but instead chose to post to me publically...PLEASE try to interact with me directly - I have no desire for intrigue...

And, I have no desire to get involved with any 'beef' you have with anyone-

In fact, I have done the opposite, and I have even told you that I will always defend your friendship with and love for Dan, if ever need be.
Perhaps you are pushing me on that...if so, I hope you can see that you have now been defended...

BUT, I also told you that the last thing Dan needs right now is for you to go around bad-mouthing anyone in his family -

PLEASE try to not do so....it's just not necessary....and it IS counter-productive, at least with me...

You could have simply just asked me to add that I had learned that close friends are being allowed in...

Annoucing that the nurses are allowing people in without asking who on Earth they are is NOT good for Dan!

THAT is exactly why I had no problem with adding 'no visitors' when Dick asked me to -
Now, I want to call the hospital myself and ask them to screen visitors....

Gina

Jordy - thanks for the reply - what I said to jeff, I want to say to you, too - this is not a time to attack one another...that part is 'no healthy,' as you say...
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