Friday, July 31, 2009

One Year Later.............

Today marks the one year anniversary of the accident that changed everyone's life. Dominic has made such a wonderful recovery. So much of our little boy has come back and we look forward to more recovery and discovery along the way. Over the year he has started back to school, joined his friends at summer camp, moved to a new house, made new friends, played at the park, playing video games and of course gone swimming. He is a little fish and loves to play and swim. Every day is a new joy and a new challenge. Dominic still misses biking riding, skateboarding, and riding the scooter but is working toward being able to do it once again. He is fully walking on his own (he does have 2 braces on his legs/feet), eating on his own, and writing again. We hope that you enjoy some of the pictures that are posted here and continue to keep him in your thoughts. They have worked a miracle and so has he.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Back to School. Dominic's now at Los Paseos.

On Monday February 2nd, Dominic started back to school. He is now attending Los Paseos Elementary School and is in Mrs. Rebollar's day class. He was so very happy to be getting back to school, looking forward to getting hot lunch and riding the bus. He had a great week and even seemed to enjoy doing some of his homework. (I don't expect that to continue for long. He is a kid after all. ) Overall he had a wonderful week until Friday when he got sick on the bus and had to come home. He seemed like he had a little tummy issue and than on Friday night at about 8:15 ish he had his first seizure ever. It seems like he had what they call a focal or absence seizure. We took him into Good Samaritian Hospital and he was seen in the ER.

They released us at about 10 pm and we were back in at about 10:30/11:00 pm as he had another seizure in the car on the way home. Good Sam decided to keep us there overnight for observation. We were released on Saturday afternoon with seizure medicine and instructions to see his doctors on Monday. Dominic had a great weekend and seemed back to his normal self.

Monday afternoon we saw his neurologist and he has ordered a EEG for Dominic. The EEG is done to see if there have been any seizures and also to see if there are any unusual brain waves that would point to the predisposition to seizures. He will be taking this test on Thursday morning. (Cross your fingers and hope he passes.) Next we saw his primary doctor and were let know that Dominic had lost a little bit of weight, but otherwise looked healthy. We need to help encourage him to eat a little bit more but the weight loss can be a side effect of the different medicines. Both doctors will be keeping an eye on his weight and adjusting the medicine as needed. Although, I have to say that on Tuesday night he sure was hungry and had two large servings of beans and franks.

A huge thank you to everyone for all the prayers, well wishes and your continued support. We will continue posting updates and pictures as new events happen.

Kimberly Loperena (AKA: Dominic's Mom)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Back to School

Hi All,

For those of you still following Dominic's recovery, we've been in the process of trying to find a program suited to help get him up to speed with his academics so he can eventually transition back into Charter School with his old friends and classmates. It was very difficult at first. The classes we visited early on were structured for severely impaired children. Many of the kids were unable to communicate verbally and were confined to wheelchairs. It was a sobering reminder of just how lucky Dominic is to be walking and talking so soon after his accident.

Ultimately, we felt this was not the proper environment for Dominic. While he is physically impaired to a degree, his mind is clear. His speech is still a bit labored, but he has no problem communicating his thoughts and feelings. We're finding that Dominic is just as sharp as he ever was (and that's pretty sharp). However, he's still contending with some of the same academic obstacles he was attempting to overcome prior to his accident.

Yesterday, Kim and Grandma Loperena visited a class that seemed like a much better fit. Dominic even made a couple of new friends during his visit. He will likely be attending this class for a 30 day evaluation period. After which we will decide whether this program is "the one" for him.

Wish him/us luck!


David Loperena & Family

Monday, January 5, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Hey All,

Dominic's Christmas was a happy one. He really enjoyed his presents (almost as much as we enjoyed watching him open them). 2008 is finally behind us. While it was a tough year for us, we have not overlooked the fact that we were fortunate enough to end it with our family intact and whole again. Dominic continues to make strides towards his recovery. Over the Christmas break, he told me he had something he wanted to show me. I sat and watched as he steadied himself and then... jumped! It was a little jump, but it meant so much to him. He was so proud of himself. He stood there grinning from ear to ear. It was amazing. Less than 6 months ago we were unsure if he would ever regain consciousness. To see him jump was like watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. It's a moment I will never forget. I'll try to get some new photos posted in the days to come. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday.


David Loperena & Family

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One More Update Before the New Year

Hi All,

Thought I'd get one last update in before we say goodbye to an emotionally exhausting '08. Dominic continues to improve week-to-week. He and his brothers have returned to their routine of alternately playing and bickering with one another. It's a welcome return indeed. We're currently in the process of looking into special education programs to help get Dominic up to speed with his academics and eventually transition him back into school with his friends and peers. It's unclear how long all of this will take, so we'll just have to take it one day at a time. Apart from that, we're just looking forward to giving the boys a memorable Christmas. It's been a rough year for the three of them and they deserve a little happiness. We wish the same for all of you. See you in '09!

Joy & Peace,

David Loperena & Family

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Greetings!

It’s been a while. Thanks for sticking in there and checking up on us from time-to-time. Dominic’s recovery continues, but not at the rate we’ve seen in previous weeks. As his Grandma noted, it appears to be more about fine-tuning now. His physical limitations, while greatly diminished, continue to be a source of frustration for Dominic. He has finally begun to grasp the severity of his injuries and has accepted the fact that he can no longer participate in many of the activities he once enjoyed. Again, we firmly believe he will be able to return to his pre-accident activities in time, but it’s difficult to see him struggle in the meantime. A recent appointment with his neurologist was very reassuring. We were told Dominic would continue to surprise us with his recovery. We have to keep in mind that it's still very early on and he's already made such incredible strides.

Dominic and his brothers are very excited about Christmas approaching. They’ve already submitted their wish lists and Kim and I have pretty much completed our shopping for them (with the exception of a few stocking stuffers). We have much to be grateful for this Christmas. Not the least of which is the continued love and support we receive from family, friends and our community. We wish all of you a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday, and we hope you will continue to follow Dominic’s progress in the coming year.

Peace & Love,

The Loperena Family

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Road to Recovery


I apologize for the delay in getting these images posted. I've been reviewing photos with the intention of selecting a few that would show how much progress Dominic has made since the accident. Sadly, a majority of the photos taken at the Parrot Heads event did not turn out as well as I had hoped. It appears we were using the wrong shutter setting for most of the evening. :( The images I've posted span from his admission to the pediatric ICU to just last night. It was very difficult to view some of the first photos we took of Dominic in the hospital. It was at a time when we were unsure of the extent of his injuries and whether or not he would recover at all. I can hardly believe how much progress he has made in the weeks since the accident. We are so thankful to have him back. We continue to hope for a full recovery so that Dominic can return to participating in all the activities he loves. Thank you for taking the time to visit. We'll continue to provide updates on Dominic's recovery in the weeks to come.

David Loperena & Family

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thank You, Parrot Heads!

Our family owes a huge debt of gratitude to the Morgan Hill chapter of Parrot Heads in Paradise. During the Taste of Morgan Hill, the Parrot Heads raised $15,000 for Dominic’s recovery fund! This will be a tremendous help for our family as we continue to work towards Dominic’s recovery. We are proud to call them friends and were honored to have been accepted into their fold. They’re a dedicated, compassionate group of people and I look forward to contributing to their next charitable undertaking. Please visit their website and frequent the businesses that contributed to the success of their fundraising effort. Thank you, Parrot Heads. You’ve done a truly wonderful thing.

We were proud to have Dominic with us during the presentation ceremony at Poppy’s Seafood Market (thanks for hosting, Mike). It had only been a few weeks since he made his first visit during the Taste of Morgan Hill fundraising event, but those in attendance were amazed by the progress he had made in that short time. Dominic is no longer confined to a wheelchair and is finally able to speak and interact with his friends and family. It was really heartwarming to see how many people were touched by his accident and his fight to recover. We also want to thank the entire community for the support, prayers and well wishes we have received (and continue to receive) in the weeks since Dominic's accident. Once again, I can’t tell you how incredible it feels to have had so many good people rally around to embrace our family when we needed it most.

We will be posting photos from the fundraiser and presentation ceremony soon. I promise! ;)

Love & Gratitude,

David Loperena & Family

Monday, October 13, 2008

Update - 10/13/08

Hi All,

I just wanted to bring you all up to date on Dominic's progress since he returned home. Dominic has continued to show great progress both physically and mentally. He is walking almost everywhere (even though he is still a little unsteady on his feet). We escort him when he wants to walk in an area where there are no objects to brace himself on. We also have to keep on him to exercise caution in some of the activities he tries to participate in. His strength and confidence are returning rapidly, but there’s still a lot more work to do.

His right leg and arm are still weak and he has a tendency to favor his left hand and arm while dressing, playing, etc. He needs to learn to use both hands in an effort to regain the strength and dexterity he lacks in his right arm and hand. Recently he has begun to use his right hand more when attempting to play his video games. This should help him regain some of the dexterity he lost. I can tell it’s a struggle, but he’s putting a lot of effort into it. His speech has also been steadily improving. His annunciation is much clearer and his vocabulary has also shown improvement in the weeks since he came home. Dominic still enjoys doing all of the things he used to. He loves to watch movies and play games. He loves candy and playing with our dogs. He still longs to ride his bike again, but that will be a long-term goal. He’ll make it there eventually.

Dominic has begun to grasp the circumstances of his injuries, but they are a bit skewed in his memory. He believes somebody ran him over with a car because they didn’t like him. We’ve explained to him that this wasn’t the case. What happened was not intentional and it had nothing to do with him personally. He has no recollection of the accident, so he feels compelled to create his own scenario in an attempt to understand what happened. This is also something we’ll have to continue to help him come to grips with.

In short, Dominic is still charging forward with his recovery and shows no signs of letting up. We’ll continue to keep you informed of his progress. We should have some new photos posted sometime soon as well. For those of you who have donated to his recovery fund but have not yet received a personal acknowledgment from our family, I apologize. We’ve had some difficulty keeping tabs on all the donations that have been sent in over the weeks. We’ll try to contact each and every one of you with a personal thank you, but please know that if your name has been lost in the shuffle, we are deeply appreciative of your support. I hope to have more good news to deliver in our next update. As always, thanks for stopping by. :)

David Loperena & Family

Monday, September 29, 2008

Home Again!


It's been a while since my last update. Sorry for the delay. I'm excited to tell you that Dominic was released from the hospital last Thursday and returned home to stay! His therapists agreed that his urge to get out of the hospital and go home was beginning to interfere with his ability to stay focused on his therapy. Dominic's first night home was a little rocky. He was excited to finally be back with his family, but when we put him in bed that evening, he started crying. He said he missed the nurses and wanted to know when we could go back and visit them. We assured him that he would be able to visit them soon. He fell asleep not long after and slept through the night without a problem.

We have to be constantly vigilant with Dominic because he still isn't fully aware of his physical limitations. He is healing, but not fast enough to keep up with his eagerness to do all the things he used to. We have to make sure he doesn't try to stand or walk on his own until he's able to do so safely. This is very frustrating for him. He still asks if he can go outside and ride his bike. We've explained to him on numerous occasions that he's not able to ride a bike just yet and that his bike was damaged in the accident, but that doesn't stop him from asking.

On Saturday morning, we took all three boys (and both grandmas) to the Taste of Morgan Hill. Before taking in the sights, we decided to stop at Just Breakfast for a bite to eat. Dominic was sitting in his wheelchair at the end of the table. He was very quiet and looked deep in thought. Finally he looked at me and asked “It this permanent?” I didn’t know how to respond. Firstly, the fact that he used the word “permanent” in a sentence was a bit of a shocker. So I asked him “Is what permanent?” He answered “Chair.” (meaning his wheelchair). I told him “No, of course not.” Then he thought for a moment and asked “Am I permanent?” My heart sank. He motioned towards his weakened right arm and leg. “No, this is not permanent. You will get well, but it’s going to take a little time. This is not permanent.” As painful as it was to hear him ask the question, it meant something very important. It meant that Dominic is beginning to understand what has happened to him which will ultimately help him to begin to cope with the fallout from his accident. We have no doubts that Dominic will continue to recover. He is determined to get back to the way he was. You can see it in almost everything he does or attempts to do. He’s a tough kid with an iron will.

Whatever the final outcome, we have our Dominic back. Our family is whole again.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank the Parrot Heads of Morgan Hill for the fundraiser they held for Dominic over the weekend. They’re an incredible group of people and it was an honor to have finally met them. I’ll provide more info on their organization and their efforts in a future update.

Thanks for stopping by!

David Loperena & Family

Monday, September 15, 2008

Update - Cheers & Tears

Once again, we've seen a week of firsts for Dominic. In the one week since the last update, Dominic has begun to talk! He still has not regained his voice, but he is speaking to us in whispers. There are times when we are unable to fully understand what he’s whispering to us. When this happens, Dominic becomes visibly frustrated by his inability to get his message across, but he supplements his speech by pointing to the things he wants or needs. Yesterday (Sunday) we were able to bring Dominic home for the day again. On the advice of his therapists, we took him out into the community to see how he would respond to being in a public place. It was decided that a quick trip to Safeway for a grocery run would be a good start, so off we went. I’m pleased to report that Dominic did very well. He showed no signs of being anxious or self conscious about being out in public. As we made our way through the aisles, he would reach out from his wheelchair in an attempt to snare cookies and candies, etc. (as he would often do before the accident). It was good to see the return of such familiar behavior. Even if it was a little naughty. ;)

After our trip to the store, we headed over to Grandma Loperena’s house for a dip in the Jacuzzi. Dominic had a terrific time playing in the water and even laughed out loud on several occasions as we splashed around and played with pool toys. It was wonderful to see him so happy. We allowed Dominic to play in the water until he decided he was ready to get out and go home. Sadly, he ended up getting carsick on the drive back, so we hustled him into the house for a quick shower before preparing to return with him to the hospital. It was already dark when we finally arrived and Dominic didn’t realize where we were until he was out of the car and in his wheelchair. As it dawned on him that we were back at the hospital, his eyes widened and filled with tears and his bottom lip began to tremble. It’s the first time he’s actually cried since his accident. I asked if he was sad because he wanted to be home and he whispered “yes”. It was so heartbreaking to have to bring him back to the hospital. Kim and I tried explaining that he would only be there a little while longer so the doctors and therapists could help him get better, but he still doesn’t fully understand what has happened to him or why he’s there to begin with. Kim said when they returned to his hospital room he cried some more and kept whispering “home”. He even made a couple of attempts to head for the elevator for a quick getaway, but was thwarted each time by Mommy and the nurses.

While it’s difficult to see him so sad and confused, we’re glad that he has clearly retained his memories of home and family. It’s equally heartening to see that Dominic is so anxious to come home again. We miss him dearly and want him back with us. It’s just a matter of time now. Thanks for checking in on Dominic’s progress. Hopefully there will be even more exciting developments to report over the next few days. And, as ever, thank you all for your fervent prayers and support.

David Loperena

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dominic's Visit Home

So the therapists arranged to have Dominic come home and spend the day with us on Sunday. It was a fantastic day! He was so excited to see his brothers and our dogs and a slew of familiar faces. He settled himself in right away and we put on one of his favorite movies (Spiderman 3). At one point, he smelled cooking and started scooting himself towards the kitchen. By lifting him under his arms, we were able to pick him up and help him walk there so he could see what was going on. It's clear his memories of home and family are still intact. He knew where he wanted to go and was clearly overjoyed to be surrounded by family in a familiar place. He spent his afternoon playing with the dogs, watching cartoons, playing with his toys and walking (with help) to and from the kitchen. His recovery continues to amaze us. Not only is he showing a return of strength and control to his right arm and leg, he has even begun to smile again. Within the past couple of days, Dominic has started to communicate with by nodding his head for "yes" and shaking it for "no". This is a huge accomplishment and a breakthrough in communication. This morning, I asked Dominic if he would like to watch some cartoons while Daddy was taking a shower. That got a big "yes" nod. When I asked him if he was hungry and ready for his breakfast, another big nod. As Kim was feeding him dinner the night before, she asked if he wanted more mashed potatoes (not a favorite of his). He shook his head "no". The fog of his injury is lifting and Dominic has begun to shine through. We are proud of his fighting spirit and of the progress he continues to make. Tonight he gets his first haircut since the accident. The very same barber (and an old family friend) who cut my hair when I was Dominic's age has offered to come to the hospital and do the job. Louie, if you're reading this, thank you so much. That’s all the news that’s fit to print. Thank you all for your prayers and support. Whether you realize it or not, each of you have played a role in his recovery. More updates to come…

David Loperena

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update - 9/3/08

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, but Dominic is now able to pull himself into a standing position within his cubical bed! It's clearly a struggle for him, but he can do it. And it doesn't end there. Today he was able to maneuver himself through the hospital corridors in his wheelchair using just his legs. He has a tendency to pull himself to the left because his right leg is still fairly weak, but he moved along with purpose and the doctors and nurses who saw him coming down the hall were simply amazed that he has progressed so much in just a few weeks. Dominic’s dexterity in his left hand has improved significantly since the last update. He is manipulating toys, scratching his ears, rubbing his eyes and even picking his nose! (The doctors agree that nose-picking is considered a fine motor skill). ;) Dominic is clearly experiencing cabin fever as he makes every effort to escape from his bed and head for the door if given even the slightest chance. He’s anxious to get out and play, but he’s not quite steady enough to go exploring. Not just yet. As of today, the doctors have stated that it appears his right arm, leg and his speech will probably take the longest to recover due to the nature of his injury. But we continue to have the highest hopes that he’ll regain it all in due time. He has consistently demonstrated an incredible drive and determination to get back on his own two feet. We’ll continue to keep you posted. Thanks for checking in!

David Loperena & Family

Friday, August 29, 2008

Update - 8/29/08

Just a quick update on Dominic's progress. The past two weeks have been remarkable. Dominic has gone from almost non-responsive to lifting himself into a sitting position. His speech therapist has even begun to introduce semi-solid foods as part of his diet. We are all very excited to see how much he has achieved, but he still has much more healing to do. His right side (arm, leg, face) still show signs of partial paralysis. We've seen small signs that he is able to move his right arm and leg, but it's clearly a struggle for him. We firmly believe he will overcome this obstacle in time. Dominic is still not responding very well to verbal commands or instructions. Again, we just need to be patient and allow him to progress at his own pace. It’s still very early in his recovery and he’s accomplished so much already. We continue to be inspired by his fight. He seems bound and determined to return to us as he was. Please continue to keep Dominic and our family in your thoughts and prayers. We’ll continue to provide updates on his recovery as often as we are able. Thank you all for your love and support.

David & Kim Loperena

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Dominic's family birthday party Sunday... His eyes are moving more and not as "fixed" all the time now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Dominic had a really busy day today. He woke up with his tummy growling and ready to be fed at 7 am. The Occupational Therapist started with Dominic at 9 am and they worked today on his range of motion, reaching and grabbing, following directions, and sitting up. By 10:30 the Speech Therapist was in the room working with Dominic on swallowing, and sticking out his tongue (the only time that he can do this without getting into trouble ; ) ). He had a short 1/2 hour break and than back to work with the Physical Therapists. They worked on sitting up, range of motion, holding his head up, and tummy time. Everyone was impressed on the improvements with mobility that Dominic showed today. He is moving his head more, helping them sit him up, swallowing a little faster, and smoother control of his arm. He still is not using his right leg very much and his right arm at all. He had a little break at 12 for lunch and was back to work with the Speech Therapist again at 1:30 for another short session to practice his swallowing with lemon swabs and ice chips. Shortly after she left, I had Dominic laying down on his left side and he pushed himself into a sitting position by himself two times.
The head honcho of the rehab came in to evaluated how Dominic was doing. He looked at his progress with his therapy, his movement, direction following, eye tracking, and other assorted things. When he was done he laid Dominic down on the bed and told him to scoot back in the bed and HE ACTUALLY attempted it. The doctor looked so surprised and pleased. I know that my mouth must have been on the ground. The doctor set his leg up and told him to scoot himself back and he did it again. Although he was going more sideways than back. He did this a total of 4 separate times. We also had to get weighed today. Mom had to hold him on the scale. NO, I DIDN'T LOOK!!! He has gained a little weight. They have moved his feedings down from 5 a day down to 4 a day. Good because that midnight feeding was killing us. It looks like the doctors will be starting to wean him off one of his medicines starting tomorrow. He was so much more awake today than he has been in the past. He did not take one nap today. Which is the first since the accident happened and his eyes where so wide and aware looking.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Update 8/20/08: I just wanted to share Dominic's progress with you all. Within the past week, we've seen definite signs of improvement. Last Friday Dominic reached out several times to take a toy from his Grandma. Kim and I cried with joy. This was the first real sign that he is beginning to become aware of his environment and the activities going on around him. He continues to reach for toys held in front of him (if it’s a toy he likes). He also shows signs of excitement whenever we play his favorite cartoons. His eyes grow wider and he actually seems more alert. He’s still unable to communicate with us verbally or otherwise, but we feel confident he will eventually reach that goal as his recovery progresses. His physical therapy is well underway. They continue to work on range of motion with his arms, legs and head. This is to ensure his muscles and tendons remain limber until he can regain control of his motor functions. Once again, we want to thank all of you for the prayers and support you continue to pass along to our family. I’ll try to provide weekly updates and share any new signs of recovery as they occur.


The Loperena Family


Well, I spent a long and productive day with Dominic today. He was officially accepted into the rehab program today. This means that he will be staying in the hospital to receive 3 hours a day, 5 to 6 days a week of rehab (Speech, Occupational therapy, and Physical therapy). He got a new jerry-rigged wheelchair today that allows him to sit up and helps him control his head so that we can get him outside in the fresh air and sun. He during PT (physical therapy) was put up on the tilt table; which allowed him to stand with help for the first time since the accident. We are still working on following commands and he is doing better. I was able to tease a little smile out of him today while playing with him and a little kiss (I think it was a kiss). He also was moving his head by himself a little bit today. Right before I left for the night (David's night tonight) he moved his body on 4 separate occasions to lay his head into my lap. Thanks for all your prayers and support. We are truly blessed in our community and family.

Friday, August 8, 2008

tons 'o hugs!

You are all loved! Happy Birthday soon to big bro, Dalen!

Hugs, Miss Jamie