Published On: Wed, Mar 5th, 2008

New home awaits accident victim

BOW VALLEY — A new home in Bow Valley with a refrigerator full of food was waiting for Denis and Karen Leise when they arrived back home from a lengthy stay in a Colorado rehabilitation center.
A doctor at the Craig Hospital in Colorado, where Denis was learning how to live with severe neck injuries, had suggested the family consider their living arrangements when Denis was released.

“The Doctor had told us that when Denis goes home he needs a place that he can live in,” said Karen.
A sister of Karen’s was visiting at the hospital when the comment was made.
“She told me – we will build you a house,” said Karen. “The whole community helped. The people here did so much.”
Denis was not told until after Christmas he would no longer be able to live in the house he had  built for his family.
“We were not sure how he would handle it,” said his daughter Tammy. “He was dealing with so much at the time.”
Denis said it was like heaven when he came back home to Bow Valley — and he was very impressed with the new home.
“It is beautiful, it is wonderful,” said Denis. “The sun room is my favorite room. I spend most of my time there.”
Denis’ condition started to improve on the way back to Cedar County from the hospital in Colorado.
Denis was still on oxygen when he left the hospital in Colorado.
“When we stopped at a filling station in Nebraska he felt like he could breathe better,” Tammy said. “When we got home we were all so excited to see the new house – and then we realized he did not have his oxygen hooked up.”
Denis said he does not have to have oxygen now and he has been able to sleep better since arriving  home.
When Denis first arrived at Craig Hospital in November he could not talk and it was difficult for him to breathe. He was fed through a tube for the first two and one-half months he was there.
“He had to re-learn everything,” said Karen. “He had to re-learn to talk, to swallow and to eat.”
The family was rejoicing when Denis started moving his fingers a little on Nov. 19.
“He can wiggle his fingers and movement in his arm is slowly coming back,” said Tammy.
To learn how to live again Denis went through intense therapy sessions and classes that started at nine in the morning and lasted until four in the afternoon.
Family members were also trained on how to care for Denis at home.
“He has had great therapists and Denis has determination,” said Karen.
“Whatever it takes” is the theme of the upcoming benefit being held in Bow Valley for Denis.

“That is what Dad said in the hospital when they needed to do something with him,” said Tammy. “And that is what he told us as we were growing up – do whatever it takes.”
Don’t be surprised when you see t-shirts with the words “Whatever it takes” and “I believe in Miracles” at the fund raiser for Denis on March 9.
These are family mottos that helped keep Denis alive.