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Revelations and Realizations

So Sam’s movie has been done for a while.

As I had planned, I submitted the film to several different film festivals. One, was even faith based. One by one Amazing Grace and Dad was rejected so I set out to compare what I had done with other recently released documentaries. I realized something. While I am happy with HOW the story was told, technically the film looked…….. Amateurish. When I say technically I mean the look of it.

The day before yesterday, after looking around the internet and my normal gadget nerd sites I decided to Google the woman who we hold responsible for Samantha’s injury. This woman, when we crossed paths was a Major in the US Air Force. Through her actions as well as inaction, she holds the bulk of responsibility in our eyes and that will never change. This woman has not only been promoted once, but TWICE and his now one step under Brigadier General.

I lost it

I absolutely lost it

I drank more booze in one sitting than I can EVER remember drinking and lashed out and anyone moving. This included people like Glenn Beck, and Billy Hallowell. Now I’m not going to get into certain particulars but to lash out like I did and yesterday, in my massively hungover state, I had a few revelations and realizations all rolled into one big dose of reality.

First: The military and their practice of promoting to get rid of people? Why? Why get rid of someone who has such a botched birth on their record by PROMOTING THEM?!?! This woman should be in a jail cell and not a commander of ANYTHING.

Second: Myself, and booze, don’t get along too well. Maybe I should pick up stakes and move my family to a marijuana legal state? Ok, maybe that’s drastic.

Third: This cant be the end of it. I didn’t pour everything I had into trying to tell Samantha’s story only to get a brief bit of spotlight on it and alot of sympathy well wishes. Over 2 million if you search the photo used on The Blaze and Today Show websites. The end goal was ALWAYS to create a legacy for Samantha. The goal was ALWAYS to go the festival route and hope and pray someone liked it enough to pick it up and do something with it. EVERY DOLLAR was to go into a foundation in her name. I wanted her name to live on in some fashion until the rapture.

Finally, I used some of the money raised in the IndieGoGo campaign to consult an attorney about the legality of telling part of Sam’s story. While I did tell the story pretty much in it’s entirety I left names out. That was a mistake. For ten years the person responsible and prospered while Samantha suffered. Since our son was born, he has missed out, on having the experience of being a typical little brother. While I couldn’t be more proud of Wyatt and how he has adapted, as his dad, it will ALWAYS weigh heavily on the experiences he has missed out on, not just Sam. Anyone who takes the role of being a father seriously would feel the same way. So, I’ve decided to correct that mistake.

I am going to remake Samantha’s movie. No fundraiser, no trying to get press for the project atleast until it’s finished. The story will be told in it’s ENTIRETY which INCLUDES YOU Colonel Yates. That attorney advised me that as long as I stuck to the absolute facts and didn’t deliberately lie, I can tell the story with names included to whomever will listen. I OWE IT TO SAMANTHA and ANYONE who has ever taken pitty on her to get her story told COMPLETELY. I have always said that if Sam’s story ever got made into a Hollywood movie absolutely NONE OF IT would need to be embellished to make the story more appealing when the truth is damning enough.

No timelines

Just taking my time and doing it right. I owe it to the people who backed the original movie. I owe it to people like Glenn Beck, NBC News, and Billy Hallowell, Bill Goldberg, Shawn Michaels, and many others who helped shine a light. When I set out to do this project I had a righteous fire in me. After the fourth and final rejection I lost that fire. Now… I believe I found a match to light that fire again

Most of all I owe it to Sam.

I am after all, her dad.

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With one little exception

With ONE little exception, Amazing Grace and Dad is done. Ready. I just need one line re-done by the narrator, Billy Hallowell, and we’re good to go. I sent out a newsletter that should be getting to all of the backers over the next few hours about the preferred method of viewing the film.

I plan on cutting a few “teasers” in the meantime.

Exciting times for yours truly.

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I’m still here….. But almost wasn’t

In my ICU Bed

In ICU

Since Sam was born, I developed quite a sedentary lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Being paranoid over taking Sam out around other people; It being cold and flu season; Back bothering me; And pure laziness. Part of taking care of Sam involves alot of sitting and being there “just in case.” At my size that isn’t healthy and this past Friday night/early Saturday morning that caught up to me.

The day was no different than any other. Carlene and Wyatt had started back to school and I went back to my normal role as Samantha’s primary care giver. Went to bed at a normal hour and thought there would be another day tomorrow. There almost wasn’t.

I woke up about 2am with a weird feeling in my chest. Almost like heartburn that sneaks up on you. No big deal, it happens to the best of it. The problem is, my next memory is my wife shaking me, asking me if I’m ok and telling me that the EMT’s were on the way. I felt EXTREMELY sleepy and remember thinking, “Why? What for.” Before my thoughts could go anywhere else, she said I had two seizures. Things went downhill from there. I have vague memories of the EMT’s helping me but I have a VIVID memory of not being able to breathe. The best I could do was quick shallow breaths. My wife tells me I fought with the paramedics while screaming I couldn’t breathe. My next memory is being transferred from a stair walker onto a gurney, and a few fleeting visions while in the ambulance. I remember hearing the EMT talking to the hospital and the word that stuck out was “Cardiac.” Immediately I thought I was having a heart attack.

Once in the ER memories are still very vague. I remember what had to be 6 people trying to help me, and asking me questions. I remember being very frustrated because I didn’t want to talk, instead I wanted to rest. Then I remember, thinking I’m dying and looking around at the corners of the room for the “Light” coming to take me away. Yes I know that last part is corny but it’s what I went through.

I have a vague memory of someone telling me I had a massive blood clot in my lungs and to take deep breaths, it would subside soon. Turns out I had been given a super clot busting drug that can kill you as easy as it can save you. Wasn’t given a choice, but then again, what choice was there? My next memory is being much calmer having the ER doctor explain to me that I was within five minutes of cardiac arrest, which likely couldn’t have been reversed. I remember calling my wife and trying to explain as best I could and then my wife being there and walking me to my room in the ICU.

The official diagnosis is a Massive Bilateral Pulmonary Embolism affecting both sides. The main thing that was driven home is how close I was to not surviving.

I’ve been home a little more than 24 hours. The doctors explained to me that I have a “new normal” when it comes to physical activity and to not try and do too much or I could run out of breath very easily and possibly pass out. I’m finding it isn’t as bad as they described but it is still VERY different than before the event. My kidneys briefly went into failure, and my liver took a hit. Over the next few days that corrected itself. The doctors explained that when you are dying that the body diverts blood to the brain leaving other organs starved. During the event my body from the chest up turned grey and purple from the chest down.

Other than the new normal I have to get used to and overcome, the only ill effects I have is massive bruises from the clot busting drug. I’m writing this update to give everyone who supported the film. I’m not announcing a delay because I just don’t know. I just want to be upfront with everyone. If this was going to happen to me I just thank the good Lord upstairs that it happened when my wife was home and not while at work. If not, I wouldn’t be here.

The bruise on my left arm before it spread.

The bruise on my left arm before it spread.

arm2

Home again, home again with a really nasty bruise.

Home again, home again with a really nasty bruise.

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Production Update

This is part of a piece that will go between my wife and I talking about different things with videos intertwined.

 

 

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09/25/2013 – Production Update

I did a whole sequence covering frustrations with vacations and road trips. This segment covers the first time my wife and I got away on a vacation without kids. We had not been able to do that since Sam was born six years earlier. It was a vacation that was badly needed.

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Problems with disabled discrimination

Having issues with my son’s school over my daughter attending a field trip in a couple of months. Their stated policy is so clearly aimed at younger siblings but their trying to apply it to Sam. Wrote a very clear and nice letter to the higher ups and can’t get a call back. Unfortunate. Filmed the first parts of it but no call back makes it tough to get the story clear for the film. No, the calls are not recorded. It’s just my end of it but it’s pretty clear.

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First Production Update


 

The first official production update. This is likely going to be a scene in the movie. Sometimes it’s a challenge to track down equipment for Samantha as you can see in this video. In reality there was an hour and forty minutes. You can see I had to do a little editing.

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Reality TV?!?!

If you didnt already know, I’m doing most of my updating for now on the Facebook page. You can click the link above and it will take you there.

I wanted to answer a nagging question. Have I or will I consider a reality TV show and have I been approached. I was contacted informally about my thoughts by someone claiming to rep a production company. I would consider doing a reality show yes. The safety and health of Sam is first priority though so precautions would have to be written into any deal. No smokers on any crew and anyone filming Sam in the house or enclosed spaces like vehicles or rooms must have mask and gloves on. I explained this to the person who I spoke to and they said that wouldnt be a problem.

Never heard back

I think our story could definitely work for a reality show. Each episode Sam shows someone what she’s shown me for seven years. Educate on children with disabilities. Lots of possibilities. I wouldn’t agree to anything that even approaches a train wreck like show like Honey Boo Boo or other nonsense. As long as the show had a common theme of wholesome and family than we’d definitely consider it.

When I didn’t know if the funding would be successful I actually looked seriously into a web series instead of documentary. I’m glad the funding was successful because I think I can do much more with getting the moral of the message out in that manner. I AM doing a “behind the scenes” web series though. No regular episodes but one every now and then.

If there’s a bunch of typos than I apologize. Typing this on my phone.

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Wow, what a day!

To wake up this morning to a flooded inbox and contributions that just about doubled overnight is a wonderful feeling.

Last night I spent quite some time making the rounds between TheBlaze.com , and the Facebook site for the Blaze trying to respond to a few comments where I could. I read one where one guy thought euthanasia should be the only route. Really? I just hope that person watches the film when it is complete and I think his mind will be changed pretty quickly.

I just can’t thank Billy Hallowell and The Blaze enough for covering Samantha’s story and how she has changed me over the past seven years. To be almost halfway to my goal is an amazing feeling.

 

 

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Major Surprise

Someone anonymously donated $1,000 towards the documentary. Thank you to that person for the help and confidence in what I’m doing.

Like I’ve told anyone and everyone I’ve talked to about the project, it is my mission and goal in life to make sure that there is a legacy for my daughter. I want as many people to know her name and her story as possible. This is about a legacy. This little girl has changed my life down to the way I handle basic problems. Making sure her story is out there, so other people might learn from her, is the least I can do. I’ve said it a million times – I’m her dad. It’s my job.