Sunday, November 28, 2010

James ~ November 23, 2007 ~

Last year Marietta and I did a presentation about James to her class on November 23rd. Click here to read about this and what we presented. I had taken the poster we made in to Staples and had it laminated so that it would stay nice for a long time. About a month or so after Marietta did her presentation I bought some clips to hang the poster up in the upstairs hall. Three days later I took the poster down and "hid" it behind our bed headboard. Rebecca had not been able to cope with seeing James' pictures hanging there each day.

It has not been an easy journey for Rebecca these past three plus years. Sometimes as parents we ache more for what Rebecca is going through then for what we ourselves have gone through. How can we help her? What can we do to make her feel happy again? How can we teach her how to work through her struggles and recognize what she is feeling and how to cope? So many times I have hugged a sobbing girl and felt my heart breaking as I feel so unable to help her.
When Rebecca came to me and told me that she would like to do a presentation to her class about James I at first did not act upon it, thinking she would likely change her mind in a day or so. But when she mentioned it for the third time, and that she would like to do it on November 23rd I decided it was time to take her up on the idea. Before hand I did talk to her about whether she thought she would be able to do this presentation without "breaking down". She wanted to do it and was sure she'd be okay.

So on November 23rd, three years after James passed away, Rebecca presented her brother James to her class. She did an excellent job and only during the last paragraph did she struggle a bit, but she held it together. What an accomplishment for our girls!! While she may struggle, I am proud of how well she did and that she would even take the effort to try something she knew would be difficult.

We did the same presentation Marietta did last year (last years post) and brought in some of the medical items we had - oximeter, stethescope, nasal prongs. Rebecca also took along the book James' Story which she had just received her own copy of that morning.

After school we made a trip down to the cementary so the girls could each lay their rose at James' stone. This year the girls did watch the movie Babe, something they were unable to handle last year. At first Rebecca did not want to, but we convinced her to give it a try and she did well until the last bit of the show. The girls also spent some time rumaging through James' memory box and talking about the things they remember. While it can be difficult to recall and refresh these memories it is also good.

While we know that Rebecca is not through her journey of grief and may never be, we are happy to see signs of progress in the last half year. We were especially thankful to see that after James' "anniversary" she was able to bounce back, the next day being happy and energetic, instead of being dragged down and miserable. This is definitely a sign of improvement for which we are very thankful! We continue to pray the Lord will grant her more healing and strength to cope with life as it comes to her.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Two Days Left!!

First off I would like to thank those who have taken the time to support Nathan and Aileen by purchasing tickets for the upcoming Fundraiser Breakfast.

This is just a reminder that there are only two days left to buy tickets.

For the many of those who have been offering your prayers and saying how you wish you could help or do something helpful ... this is the way you can!! Take a moment to purchase a ticket or two, or more ... whether you plan to attend or not the funds will all help Nathan and Aileen and their children now and in the future.

To purchase tickets or send a donation e-mail me at . If you live in the Hamilton area you can purchase tickets at Golden Fish and Chips - 1050 Upper Gage. For more details about the function please see my previous post by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Three Years

Life has Gone On ... but we still miss our dear James

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pancake Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser

Since Nathan first became ill his place of emplyoyment has shown great care and concern for their fellow employee/co-worker. We could see this already in my previous post (click here) and we see this again now as they have organized a fundraising event to raise funds for Nathan and Aileen. That being said I would like to pass along the information with regards to this event.

Further below is a copy of the memo from Sheehan's with regards to this function. (Click on the picture to enlarge and read the details.)

Pancake Breakfast with Santa Fundraiser for Nathan

Date: Saturday December 4, 2010
Time: 8am to 11am
Place: Port Nelson Unit Church - 3132 Sourth Drive, Burlington (click for Mapquest)
Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child ($12 and under)

There will be two breakfast seating times for the event, the first from 8am to 9:30am and the second from 9:30am to 11am. You will be asked to indicate which time you would like to attend when you purchase your ticket. Breakfast includes pancakes, bacon, sausages, coffee, tea, and juice. There will also be door prizes and an activity area for the children, as well as Santa of course :)

If you are unable to attend but would still like to purchase tickets please just let the ticket seller know that you will not actually attend so that they have an idea of how many people to expect. You can also just make a donation and not purchase a ticket. Donations of food towards the breakfast and/or door prizes are greatly apprecated, a sign will be posted at the event with your logo and location thanking all sponsors.

Tickets are only available until Friday, November 26. Please reserve and pay for your ticket before this time. Tickets can be purchased by e-mailing me at ... of course if you live close by you can call or drop by. My brother Cameron is also selling tickets, so if you live in his area (Campden) you can contact him at . You can also contact Sheehan's Truck Centre at (905) 632-0300 for tickets or to make a contribution.

If you would like to help sell tickets at your place of employment or to friends/family please let me know ASAP as we only have a few days to sell them.

Update: Staring on Tuesday you will also be able to purchase tickets at Golden Fish and Chips -1050 Upper Gage, Hamilton. Thanks so much Karen for offering to sell them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stay Tuned ....

Mark your calendar for December 4 to participate in a Breakfast Fundraiser for Nathan and Aileen.

More details to follow shortly :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What A Difference

Three weeks ago Nathan first entered the hospital. What a journey it has been since then. But even looking back over the past week all we can think to say is "what a difference". A week ago Nathan was just awake from his induced coma, still covered with tubes and iv's and what-not, half doped from sedation and unable to talk because he was intubated. Now when we walk in his room it seems empty (except when dialysis is running). He has one IV still running, keeping him well hydrated. Although he is very tired and cannot commuicate for long periods, he is able to now.

God has so richly blessed Nathan in these past weeks. We feared for his life and then we feared what it would be like when he would wake and the reality of what had happened hit him, and here he is awake and accepting, witnessing to others. Nathan is happy for the life he still has and figures he can't do anything about what has happened so he will go forward with the strength God is giving him. He is so unbelieveably strong and positive and will attest to the fact that it does not come from himself but from God.

The journey ahead is a long one and while he is "out of the woods" now, he is still very ill. His body has a lot to cope with and he continues to need to rest and sleep as often as possible. We realize that an infection or "common" illness could be very serious for him. Today we seen another sign of progress as Nathan was moved out of ICU and into the Burn Unit, which specializes in dressing changes.

The nurses in ICU called him the Miracle Man, but we know who the miracle comes from.

"Surely God is my help; the LORD is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I realize that those who are following my blog are also following Nathan's blog, so this will just be a repeat of information.

As family we did look into setting up some sort of Donation Account or Trust Fund, but found out this was a little more difficult then anticipated. Since Sheehan's has taken the initiative to raise funds for Nathan and Aileen then we think it is best to direct people to this initiative as there is no reason why there needs to be two funds going. If you have any questions, would like more information or anything of that assort you can contact me at

I will just copy and paste what Aileen wrote on Nathan's blog:

I was asked to post this information on behalf of Nathan's employers. Nathan's service manager Marc as well as owners of Sheehan's Truck Center have been working on a fund raiser. Anyone wishing to contribute is asked to send it to:

Nathan Diek
c/o Sheehan's Truck Centre
4320 Harvester Rd
Burlington ON
L7L 5S4

Sheehan's is able to take Visa and Master Card however there is a percentage based premium that is charged per transaction.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Yesterday I got to see Nathan "awake" for the first time in two weeks. What a difference it is to see him opening his eyes and trying to communicate by shaking his head or moving his hand. He suddenly seems "alive". We've known these past two weeks that he was alive, but he just lay there, "sleeping", unresponsive. Now it feels like things are truly improving.

To say Nathan is awake does not mean he's sitting up in his bed and communicating with us. While they have drastically reduced the sedation Nathan is receiving, he is still mildly sedated. They are working slowly to reduce this and as they do he becomes more responsive and alert to what is going on around him. We do not know how much he understands of what is going on, or how much the sedations effect his vision or comprehension, we do know that he still is very tired and sleeps alot, but will wake up and acknowledge that you are there. At the same time Nathan is still intubated. For those who do not understand how this works I have provided a picture below. When a person is intubated a tube is placed in their mouth and down their throat. This tube is hooked up to a machine that provides oxygen to the individual.

A look at the pictures indicates that this is very uncomfortable. While Nathan has indicated he doesn't like the tube and would like it out he has been very good about not touching it or ripping it out. When a person is intubated the tube goes through the voice box and blocks off the throat so that air only goes through the tube. This means an intubated person cannot talk, although Nathan tries. We can only imagine the frustration he must have with it.

Three years ago Rob and I sat in a different ICU, during a different circumstance. While seeing Nathan sedated and intubated was okay I found yesterdays visit of him trying to communicate brought back a flood of memories. This is probably also because when I came to visit him the Physiotherapist was with him and I would say she was "torturing" him. She was trying to get him to spell a word by using a chart. It was very obvious that he was far to tired and exhausted, never mind that he had just had extra sedation for his dressing change and probably couldn't see straight and for sure not read the tiny letters she had on her chart. Nathan was moving his hand and trying to indication something but she just wouldn't give up. I wanted to tell her to leave him alone, but it wasn't my place to interfer. He seen me step into the room and then step back when I realized they were still working with him. He raised his head to look, but I have no idea if he could actually see me or knew who I was or just seen another figure come into the room. I guess the nurse had the same feeling as I because she told me Physios time was up and to go ahead in, and then when Physio still wouldn't stop she stepped in to tell her that he had just had extra sedation and was too tired. When Physio asked Nathan is he was tired he had no problem shaking his head yes then. I only spoke briefly to Nathan to say hi and tell him to close his eyes and rest because he looked so tired. He instantly lay back and rested.

I remember clearly those three weeks when James was intubated (with no sedation). At the time we cherished the moments we had with him. We talked to him and tried to communicated and did a pretty good job of it too. At the time my thoughts did not really focus on what he must be going through with the intubation tube. I'm sure it crossed my mind, but it was not until later that I wondered how much it hurt or how wise it was to have him awake through that. James did not want us to move him, hold him, cuddle him, or anything of that assort because it was so painful to be moved. After James passed away it has often bothered me that he was awaking during those weeks of intubation. I wondered how much pain he was in and desired to talk to someone who had been intubated and awake to know more. I'm not sure why, it's not like it can change anything, it's just to know I suppose.

It would appear that I may have my desire fulfilled, although I really wish it had not come in this way. Yet having this desire fulfilled means that Nathan will still be with us and if he can tell me what it was like, that means he'll no longer be intubated. I guess I have to look at the positive of it and remember that while it may be awful to go through, it is still a lifesaving device. What a blessing that these device are available and have been able to assist in saving Nathan's life.

We are so thankful for the medical equipment that is available and working so hard to keep Nathan alive and with us. As Nathan becomes more aware of his surrounding and what is going on the reality of what has happened in the past two weeks is going to start sinking in. We pray for Nathan and Aileen to receive the strength they need to go on each day again and we continue to pray for those who are caring for Nathan that God may bless their work also. We especially give thanks to God for all He has done and continues to do during this trying and difficult time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today's Trucking

I thought I would share this article that was in the Today's Trucking.
Colleagues Rush To Help Suddenly Sick Dad

Some have asked how to get money/aid to Nathan and Aileen. As you can read at the end of this article, Nathan's work is busy with the process of opening an account. As soon as we have further details we will pass them along so others can also make use of this information also.

Aileen continues to be overwhelmed by the amount of support she has received from those she knows and then to see such overwhelming support from those she does not know is an amazing blessing during these difficult times. God continues to give her the strength to go on from day to day. We can certainly see how the prayers of so many have upheld her, as well as the rest of us, during the past couple weeks.


Colleagues rush to help suddenly sick dad 11/05/2010

BURLINGTON, Ont. - - Last Monday, Nathan Diek, a technician at Sheehan's Truck Center, the local Volvo truck dealer here, called in sick. Said he wasn't feeling well.
Diek, 32, father of two and resident of St. Ann, Ont., showed up at Sheehan's Tuesday but headed home early. Wednesday he was a no-show.
Thursday, his wife (a nurse) Aileen called to tell his colleagues that Diek had been diagnosed with nectrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and that he had to have his left leg amputated above the knee. And that he almost died on the operating table.
His heart had stopped the night before and they had to revive him to keep him alive. They were removing affected tissue and trying to stabilize him. Later that same day his kidneys shut down and he was in surgery again. They placed him in an induced coma.
His life will never be the same.
That night, at the monthly meeting of the Kitchener Waterloo Automotive Transportation Service Superintendents (ATSSA), Sheehan's Service Manager Marc Poland passed the hat and raised $800 just like that. And he's only getting started.
Poland says Diek will never be able to return to work in the same capacity as before and the family will need moral and financial support.
"This disease has been a huge burden on this small family and although they have support from their families and their church. I would like to request donations from any/all industry people who are willing. Its difficult to comprehend something as terrible as this."
You can find out more by clicking on Aileen's blog or you email Poland at
He's currently working on opening an account in Diek's name but in the meantime offered his own email address ( for anyone wishing to help out.
His office phone number is (905) 632-0300."Nathan is part of Sheehan's family and has worked here for six years," Poland says.
"In his spare time he repairs vehicles for people and helps out those who are not able to afford to take their cars to a retail shop. He is just one of those all-around good guys."

Thursday, November 4, 2010


The past days have been like riding a rollercoaster with the many ups and downs. It's hard to believe it's already been a week since we first gathered here in the ICU Waiting Room. While we as extended family have ridden along on this rollercoaster we cannot even begin to fathom what it has been like for Aileen.

Yesterday was a good day and with it we heard the same question asked often. Has Nathan made the turn towards recovery? Is he out of the woods? Today was a bit of an answer to these questions.

We have been travelling down a road with many dips, valleys, hills and mountains to overcome. It's a straight road and for a period of time we couldn't see any turns in that road, it just seemed like a fog of ups and downs. Yesterday we were given the opportunity to see that there is a turn in the road, it's not near us yet, it's in the distance and there are hills and valleys, and maybe even mountains to overcome, but at least we can see that turn in the distance. Our fear is that somewhere hidden in one of those valleys there might be another turn in the road heading in the opposite direction as that turn we can see off in the distance.

As far as we can tell Nathan has overcome the necrotizing fascitis bacteria. It is no longer spreading and the antibiotics seem to have it under control. And so we can see a turn in the road way up in the distance. But there are so many other concerns yet. The bacteria may be gone, but the hurdles are not. Today we seen fevers and an infection set it. This isn't totally unexpected in a hospital setting, but of course we had hoped he would skip that complication, or at least gain more strength before handling another complication. He also required more medication to control his breathing and heart rate, as well as his blood pressure. It's possible these could be related to the infection, at the same time it could be related to another underlying condition. These things in themselves remind us that he is by far not out of the woods yet. The situation remains very critical.

The road to recovery is out there and we pray that he will soon be on the more stable road with less hills and moutains, although still many valleys and challenges. We continue to pray that Nathan's kidneys will recover and that his right leg may heal and not sustain any further damage. We pray that the medications may work to stop the new infection and that further infections may not set in. We pray and we pray, sometimes we feel like we don't know what to pray anymore. Some times we feel discouraged, sometimes we feel encouraged.

So many have offered help, so many have helped, so many wonder how to help. It's hard to say how to help as things change so quickly, but at this time there are a few thoughts in this manner. Many have provided food, snacks, meals, etc. Originally this was wonderful, until it became overwhelming. While it's great to know that there will be food when we get there and that we don't have to worry about that aspect, it does become a bit difficult to know what to do with all the leftovers, bearing in mind the little space that we have (and even this is a blessing that Aileen has her own room). The best way to help at this time is by providing money for meals, parking, gas etc. The hospitals gift certificate system is not the greatest so cash is likely the way to go, vouchers from the school are also excellent as they have a dual purpose within the communion of saints. Cash is small and easy to transport (unless you have way too much of it :) and saves from Aileen having to worry about where to put the things she receives.

When it comes to visits. The questions is often asked whether to visit. Visits are always appreciated. Just keep in mind a few things. Short and sweet is effective. At this time Aileen is at the hospital 24 hours but occasionally she is convinced to leave for a short period of time ... so there may not be anyone to visit when you come (only family and close friends can go into ICU). If Aileen is sleeping please do not disturb her, sleep and food are the most important things for her at this time. If you are visiting other family members there is a chance they may not be there - they could be in the cafe (main floor) in the cafeteria (level 1) or at home trying to rest.

Please pray especially for Aileen. Nathan is oblivious to all that is going on, but Aileen is travelling this road on her own. We may all be here to support her, but none of us are the same support as her hubby.

"Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always" Psalm 105:4