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December 22, 2017 06:08 PM

Spending The Holiday In The Hospital

Sioux Falls

You get the question a lot over the holidays: What are you doing for Christmas?

For some it might be heading to the grandparents' house or taking a tropical vacation. 

Only there's one place you probably hope you don't end up in over the holidays. 

It's certainly not a Florida vacation. That's what Sandy Lown initially had planned for Christmas. 

"Instead we're here in Sioux Falls," Mother Sandy Lown said. Avera McKennan Hospital. 

Lown's 28-year-old son Dan was injured in a car crash about 11 weeks ago. 

"He was not able to walk. He had a broken shoulder, broken elbow, and a lot of brain trauma," Lown said. 

Her son is walking with assistance now, and Sandy says soon he'll be able to do it all by himself. 

Still, his recovery continues, and discharge from Avera McKennan hospital is about two weeks away, which is well past Christmas. 

And Dan's not alone...

Many people will be spending part of the holiday season at Avera McKennan, but the hospital offers several ways to help people celebrate such as Christmas caroling from staff members and a Christmas meal and mass. 

Look around the hospital and you'll see signs of the season too, including Christmas trees, poinsettias, and a Nativity scene. 

"We really look to bring that holiday spirit from without and infuse it within our hospital walls," Registered Nurse Tamera Larsen-Engelkes said. 

The festive touches just might make someone's stay a little more enjoyable. 

"I think being here is not most people's first choice. Generally they're here because they're experiencing and illness or life-changing event," Larsen-Engelkes said. 

Sure, it's not Florida, but for Dan's mother Sandy, no vacation could be a better Christmas present than having her son by her side. 

"We are very, very blessed that he is here with us and that's the biggest thing we have going right now, that he's here to celebrate the holidays with us," Lown said. 

Dan will go to mass at the hospital on Christmas and then he'll go home for a few hours before returning to Avera.

Once he's discharged he will go to Omaha for more rehab.

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