Saturday, September 12, 2009

Update #36 on Kevin

So there have been some ups and down today, but mainly ups. Things may seem to move slowly, but they actually seem to be moving quicker than they should.

Kevin has been breathing only wall-flow since yesterday at 1:35 PM. That is going on a day and a half!!! It has definitely exceeded their expectations here at Meadowbrook. However, they do continue to be positive and optimistic about the future. Not even at night did they need to give him a rest. Kevin is doing great.

The wall-flow is just like normal air, with just enough pressure to boost the air through his tube. Try breathing through a straw, and you’ll have a better understand why even healthy lungs need a boost from wall-flow. At first one of the main differences was the humidifying device added to the wall-flow air. Yesterday, they added a heating element too.

Because he was on a ventilator, gunk was pushed down into the bottom of his lungs due to the pressure the vent provided. Now that he is off, a goal is to get all that junk and gunk coughed out. Kevin has spent a better part of this morning and much of this afternoon coughing it out.

One of the only downs today is that because he was coughing so hard this morning, he threw up twice. The cleaned him up each time and he has done better each time. Another down is that he has not had a B.M. in several days. They have him on medicine for that, but hopefully, will not take much longer to go.

This afternoon, Kevin was placed in a neurological chair for several hours. Whenever Kevin is moved around (rolled, moved, etc…) he seems to be roused from a sleepiness. One of the doctors today, Dr. Smith (a pulmonologist), said it is normally for them to wake and sleep and wake and sleep. It is getting easier for us to see the difference. It was difficult in the beginning since some of the difference are slight.

While in the chair, Angie stood by his side and encouraged him to cough harder and get the stuff out of his lungs. Each time, Angie would tell him to cough, he would. And whenever his eyes started closing, she would tell him it wasn’t time to sleep yet and to try and stay awake. She continued getting him to cough and helped him clear his lungs.

Thanks for stopping by, sending cards, encouraging us through messages and most of all, praying for Kevin’s healing and the family as they continue to go through this tragedy together.

Thanks for everything,
Matt, Angie and family

Friday, September 11, 2009

Update #35 on Kevin

So, we found out that last night they did give Kevin a rest for a few hours from breathing. They took him from CPAP and put him on Assist Control on the ventilator in order to give him some rest. They had him set at 12 breaths per minute. Assist Control allows Kevin the opportunity to initiate any breath and the machine gives it to him. This allows Kevin to be fully rested on the ventilator except for triggering, as long as there is adequate flow. Also it makes it so Kevin can breathe spontaneously without working. For more about it read

But when the doctor was in this morning he said that essentially Kevin has been breathing on his own for over 24 hours. Around 5:30 AM they switched Kevin back from the vent to CPAP again. Then at around 1:30 PM they took Kevin completely off any machine, vent, CPAP or otherwise and put him on what’s called “Wall-Flow”. It comes out of the wall, but it is just the same as room air. It has the same 21% of oxygen that is in room air. One of the main differences is that the air has humidification. That helps with his secretions. Yesterday, they put him on some allergy medicine, so helpfully that helps with drainage too.

Kevin’s had his eyes open quite a bit today, but not a ton of reaction. It is slow, but seems to be progressing forward.

Another way to help the family would actually be a big help to me and the rest of the family. Greg works at American Airlines, like Kevin. Not sure if there is a way for people at AA that have an extra day that they could give up to give it to Greg because it would really help the family. The reason is that there are many tasks related to the house construction after Kevin’s flood like going through the warehouse that is storing Kevin’s personal belongings in order to sort it all. Greg is also taking care of things for Kevin like getting documents procured and taking care of financial items for Kevin and family. Of course, Greg is also here at the LTAC helping with the care of Kevin on top of all that. If Greg has to go back to work it all falls to us. This would be a great help to me personally.

Thanks so much for everything that you are doing for our family and Kevin!

Thanks for praying,
Matt, Angie and family

Update #34 on Kevin

Real quick update…

Kevin has been breathing on his own for over 24 hours!

Also, the doctor said he was very positive and impressed with Kevin’s improvement.

Another quick note is that the red bracelets that have “Pray for Kevin” imprinted on them are in the process of being ordered. They will take about two and a half weeks to get in.

There are 188 members of the Facebook group “Pray for Kevin”. There are 237 people receiving the email updates . And the blog has been viewed 2,612 times by 1026 people in five days!!

Thanks so much for all the prayers, support, encouragement and love!

We appreciate it!

When I talked with Kohl earlier, he told me that they had put Kevin in a neurological chair. Kohl said his dad’s eyes were open and Kevin had movement throughout parts of his body.

Keep praying and thanks,
Matt, Angie and family

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update #33 on Kevin

For Kevin today was a good day. Each nurse or staff person that came in treated him with respect and wanted to know about him. Not just medicine but who he is. Refreshing for him to be seen as more than an object. The doctor came in and was very encouraging. He is going to read through Kevin’s medical records and start making orders tomorrow (Friday). He is the first doctor to actually acknowledge that his seasonal allergies could be affecting his secretions. He wants to get him on some allergy medicine to combat the drainage.

The Occupational therapist and Physical therapist came in and worked on Kevin’s range of motion. They also sat him up manually in bed, positioning him so his feet hung off the side of the bed. One of them stood in front of him, the other supported him from the back. They kept him in that position for about 8 minutes, until his respiratory rate started increasing.

Starting at 9:10 AM the Respiratory therapist switched Kevin over to CPAP, which means Kevin was breathing on his own. When we left tonight, he had almost gone twelve hours breathing on his own!! He had only gone two the day before. The RT was so impressed. She had said she was going to put him back on with low settings to give his body a rest. What a great first day in the LTAC.

Several times throughout the day, Kevin would open his eyes and move parts of his body. It is still limited, and not in any real order, but he has done great so far. This is especially true in his condition. A few times, Kevin raised either his left corner of his mouth or both corners after being suctioned. He was asked on different occasions to open his mouth for the nurses to suction his mouth and two times he opened his mouth at that time.

Please spend some time thanking God for bringing Kevin so far in just a few days. Tonight is the third week anniversary of his wreck. Kevin has come a long way in those three weeks too. Pray for God to heal Kevin’s mind and body. Pray for our family as we navigate some of the hardest decisions and issues that we may ever have to go through in our lifetime.

Note also that Kevin cannot have any fresh flowers or balloons, but can have cards or pictures to hang up in his room.

Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement.
Matt, Angie and family

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Update #32 on Kevin

What a difference a day makes….

This morning we met with doctors, nurses, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, neurosurgery, etc…. all to get an idea about Kevin’s condition. They were planning on discharging him and we wanted to see where things were before we left. We asked questions about where Kevin has been in comparison with how far he has come. We asked about thoughts regarding progress to expect in the next month and what improvements and setbacks they had seen so far. We got a great deal of information. I think a few people were a little put out by the questions, but most people understood.

Kevin’s finger wasn’t broken and his neck’s fractures were stable and still aligned making it so he could be transferred today. Still on antibiotics, Kevin is working through the C-Diff. His transfer took place around 5 pm in a shiny ambulance. Our caravan headed over to Kevin’s LTAC. We came in, having already visited once to check it out last week, and we have continued to be bowled over with how much we like it already.

The LTAC is named Meadowbrook and he can accept visitors. Although right now, due to the C-Diff, you still have to gown and glove up to go in. The difference between here and TICU at St. Francis is that our whole family can go in at the same time. There is also free pop in the cafeteria 24 hours a day. Those things are minor to the quality of care that we have already seen from the staff. They treat Kevin not only as a person, but as a family member. His first night’s nurse even said that she sees him as a brother and will treat him as if he were her brother. What a refreshing feeling. His room is directly next to the respiratory nurses station. There is even a window from their station straight into his room.

The other cool thing is that Meadowbrook is at 31st & Memorial behind all the hotels. It is in fact directly behind the Hampton Inn that we have been so fortunate to have provided for us. We can actually walk next door for a shower and breakfast! Kevin’s in room 133.

Earlier today, before leaving TICU. They switched Kevin from the Ventilator to CPAP. He breathed on his own for about two hours. When they tested his blood they found that his PO2 (Oxygen) levels were a little low so they switched him back to the previous low settings he had been on. This was also good preparation for the transfer. When I asked the Physical Therapist upon arrival if that was normal to have that reaction when doing trials for getting off the vent, she said “oh yeah” dismissing it with a hand wave, then said with a huge smile, “we can fix that!!” Man, this feels like a good night. On that note, I am heading to bed. They brought us in with two recliners for sleeping.

Thanks so much for your prayers and thoughts. It means so much for the family.

Matt, Angie and family

Update #31 on Kevin

So, like I previously mentioned, things are moving fast. They are still planning on moving Kevin today to an LTAC here in town. They are trying to get some final things scanned, such as a new X-ray for Kevin’s neck fractures before they move him in an EMSA vehicle. They are also X-Raying his right hand to determine if he has a broken finger or not. It’s interesting how they can get the reports back and read in an hour when they want to move him out. I asked the social worker why the move was happening in the early afternoon as opposed to the late afternoon which is what she told me yesterday. She said well the insurance is already calling to see why he hasn’t been moved yet. That’s not right. I don’t want them rushing things through. (ten minutes later) I just went back and discussed the matter and now it will be at least late afternoon.

Good news is that Kevin is now breathing on his own. It has been about an hour. It is with a CPAP machine. Basically, Kevin is initiating every breath he takes. The machine only gives him a low amount of pressure support, kind of like a boost of air whenever he starts the breath, but it is low. It’s at a 5, which is about as low of support as it can go they said. Also his PEEP is at a 5, which the Respiratory Therapist told us is also really low. She said is probably just enough to make sure air is going through the tube. That means when it’s not there, it shouldn’t be needed.

We’ve been talking with all the different disciplines (departments) of Kevin’s care. Asking about how far he has come in their opinion and what goals we can expect in the next month. Most of it has gone really smoothly.

Also, Dr. Fell, the neurosurgeon finally graced us with his presence. His last notes on Kevin were on August 31st, nine days ago. Then He had told us he would be back in a couple of days. I told him how disappointed I was that he did not follow through with what he had told us. He apologized. He went on to examine Kevin. Of course, Kevin didn’t do any of the things he has been doing when he was examined by Dr. Fell. So he said there hasn’t been any change. I told him that others had done the Kleenex in the eye test and Kevin’s left eye blinked all three times. He tried it again and said there was some blinking. I told him Kevin had started opening his eyes on Sunday and had done so at different points since. I told him how different parts of his body were moving, and some in reaction to stimulus in sitting and moving to the neurological chair. He then replied, I guess we have had some progress. He hadn’t looked at the latest CATscan from Sunday yet, and when I asked him about it, he asked if we wanted to see it. Angie and I had seen it, but Greg and Taylor hadn’t. I still wanted to look again to hear his views on it. He said there is still swelling around the Basal Ganglia (where the brain stem connects to the brain). Also, swelling around a couple other spots. This hasn’t changed his view that Kevin is up against very big odds.

We still need to meet with the head of trauma nursing and the main nutritionist/dietician. This is going to be another long day.

Thanks for praying for Kevin,
Matt, Angie and family

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Update #30 on Kevin

So, things are moving quickly. We have been told that the hospital is wanting to discharge Kevin to a Long Term Acute Care Center, or LTAC. There was great confusion today, because they were wanting to discharge him today, but there were pending evaluations to do, such as the ultrasound.

We went through a mountain of confusion of meetings today. Meetings with several doctors, head of nursing, social worker, etc…. Basically, unless there are any surprises, Kevin will be discharged tomorrow afternoon. We will be in meetings all morning tomorrow with different departments to work out a plan of progress for Kevin.

Pray as we go through this crazy process. There’s fog ahead that keeps us from seeing everything clearly. We can only lean on the One who sees clearly in any fog. The One who we know never leaves us.

Thanks for your prayers,
Matt, Angie and family

Monday, September 7, 2009

Update #29 on Kevin

So I had forgotten a few things and there were other new things.

Earlier Kevin had made a face when they were suctioning out his mouth. Also, the past two days he has bitten down on the suction tube.

Ventilator stuff – they have been doing weaning Kevin off the ventilator. He has been on only 2 breaths per minute for several hours and is doing good. After 5:30 PM they lowered his pressure support down from 15 to 14 then a little while later lowered it to 10. The PEEP is still at 5. Doing good.

Some family were back with him a little while ago and he was moving his eyes (irises) around. And his left eyelid blinked after someone asked him to blink. It wasn’t immediate, but he hadn’t been blinking prior to it.

We have been told several times by nurses that they have never seen a family that has been more compliant and helpful in cleaning out a room and following guidelines. Really? Our family?

His virus is not airborne, and that is why we do not have to have masks. His treatment is for ten days and we will have to keep wearing the gowns and gloves until he has three straight clear tests! Not sure when they will start testing him or the frequency of the tests. I guess we’ll wait and see.

We have pillows and blankets. Thanks for all the offers!! We ARE allowed to take new blankets in. We will have to wear gowns and rubber gloves to sleep in the room tonight! Won’t my hands get all pruny??

A couple other items –

A few people have already responded about helping with bracelets. Thanks! We can definitely still use a few more. We hope to know how many we can order by tomorrow.

If you are able and want to help with meals at the hospital, we can definitely still use meals! Lunches seem to be the hardest to fill, but lunch or dinner is just fine!! Right now that haven’t been too many that have responded to Jeff, who’s acting as our food coordinator. His number is 918-408-7680. Also, I found out tonight that our 742-DINE account is almost exhausted. The meals really help our family to focus on Kevin and his medical care. Just one of those background things that we don’t have to worry about. Thanks for those who have given before! If you want to give money toward 742-DINE, just call them and tell them you want to give to gift account 4374300, for the Crosser family.

Not sure where things are at on the hotel bill, but if you would like to give towards our housing expenses at the hotel, get in touch with Brian Jennings at Highland Park Christian Church. The number is 627-0783.

Thanks for the unbelievable help so far! Thanks for all of your prayers and thoughts.

Matt, Angie and family

Update #28 on Kevin

A few things to update.

First, Kevin got a stomach infection last night. He was susceptible to this because of the antibiotics he was on for pneumonia. The bacteria is called C. difficile or C.diff. Not sure how long they expect him to be on the meds for that. Hopefully, we will find out a plan of action for treating that. If you want to read more check out the Mayo Clinic’s website about it ( Pray for God to heal him of all illness, including the new infection. Right now, visitors have to put on gown and rubber gloves, washing their hands before and after putting the gloves on and taking them off. We also have to remove, wash and clean everything that we have had in the room and they have asked us not to introduce anything new into the room right now. He is on the antibiotic for ten days. They told us they can’t tell us NOT to sleep in there at night, but they would discourage it. So, now we have to figure out what to do for blankets tonight, if we decide to still stay here, which we want to do.

Second, they are still working on getting off the ventilator. They have lowered the rate at which the machine helps from 4 breaths per minute down to only 2 breaths per minute. He still has a pressure support rating of 15 and they lowered the PEEP down from 6 to 5. The respiratory therapist said she thought that he was doing well breathing on his own. She felt good about Kevin getting off the vent.

They have been putting Kevin into a sitting position a couple times per day. When they move him like that, he seems to open his eyes more. Mary Ann, Angie’s sister saw Kevin’s left eye (iris) move earlier when I was in there.

We are looking at ordering some silicone bracelets that say “pray for kevin” on them. If you would like to help with the cost for this, just send me a note!

Feel free to forward this message on or better yet just have people go and sign up here at to receive updates. Look in the top right corner.

Thanks for praying,
Matt, Angie and family

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Update #27 on Kevin

There are a few things to note before heading to bed this evening.

First off, Kevin’s eye moved! When the nurse was checking for reaction his iris moved around in his right eye. This morning, when his eyelids first opened, I was talking to him on his left side and Angie was standing beside me. His left eye’s iris was looking straight ahead. I looked away from his face and when I looked back his iris was pointed at me! Also, the nurse said that he has some pupil reaction to light, and that it is sluggish. She said it has had some reaction the past few days, but always sluggish.

Kevin sat in a chair, called a neurological chair, for about two hours tonight. This is to help stimulate his brain and also for better circulation of his fluids. He had already sat in his bed, when they changed the settings to make it sit like a recliner earlier in the day.

If B.M.’s are ‘too much info’ for you, skip the next paragraph. He had been having some stomach issues. This was most likely due to the pain & sedative meds he had to take on Friday for his trach and feeding plug procedures. They make your insides like super glue, therefore he was stopped up. Finally today he was able to become more regular again. Almost too much so.

The reason the digestion issues are important are that they are controlled by the same area of his brainstem that had so much damage. The same area controls his heart, respiratory and ability of consciousness. It is encouraging to see his body getting the first three under control. We are praying for him to now wake up!

Pray for God to help our family to determine when the hospital/insurances/case workers/etc… are really working for us and when they are working against us. Ask God to help us be discerning and wise in areas of which we aren’t experts. Pray that God would send those to us that would be beneficial to advancing Kevin’s wellness. Pray for us to make wise decisions.

I have to say this entire process has been the most excruciating thing I have ever been a part of. At times my mind feels ripped apart. Not only from two worlds, Italy and America, but because I want to trust and follow God while at the same time fighting the temptation to be selfish for my timing and wants. It may sound in emails like we have it all together, but we don’t. What we are striving to do is lean on Christ for our strength, for our peace in the midst of a raging storm and for wisdom. It is not easy to wait on God, but I know from past experiences that it is worth it. I rest in the pattern of God in our life.

In an effort to continue introducing you to my brother, I wanted to share a memory from Angie. Oftentimes, he would show up at our house and upon seeing Angie would immediately begin teasing Angie. If would scrunch up his face and with a furrowed brow say, “you haven’t done your hair today have you?” Angie would take the bait and reply she had, he would raise his eyebrows and ask her if she was sure or needed to check it in the mirror! Kevin is a teaser. Lighthearted and easygoing. We are ready to start teasing with him again!

Thanks for praying for my brother,
Matt, Angie and family

Update #26 on Kevin

Lots to update on. Last night respiratory started weaning Kevin off his ventilator. They lowered the rate at which the vent helps Kevin breathe from 10 to 8 breaths per minute. Then Kevin does the additional breaths, adding up to somewhere between 16-22 breaths per minute. Around 4:30 AM they lowered it again since Kevin had done so well. They lowered it from 8 to 6 breaths per minute. They are supposed to continue doing this every 8 hours as long as Kevin responds well, dropping it by 2 each time. At 2:30 PM they just lowered his breathing rate from 6 to 4 breaths per minute.

The doctor who has been helping this weekend, told us that he thinks Kevin could be reaching a point where Kevin may open his eyes, appear to move his eyes around, possibly say words (either that make sense or not), but still may not be “awake”. If he does get to that point, if asked to draw a number 2, he would not be able to do that. There would be some miscommunication in his brain/body. It sounds like this doctor is giving us a new worst case scenario. Previously, the worst case scenario was that he might never wake up, but this would be different.

He has moved his head a couple times today. His legs were slightly moving a bit too. When the nurses rolled Kevin over to examine a sore that has been healing well on his backside, I saw him open his eyelids. After they rolled him onto his back, his eyelids stayed open for a little while, never fully closing them. He has opened them back up a couple times since then.

The doctor this weekend had ordered a CATscan and it took place this morning. The doctor then gave us the results today. Kevin’s blood clots aren’t visible on the scan. This means they are either too small to show up and are being absorbed by the body, or have already been absorbed. There was no residual blood on the scans, except in one spot. He said it was on the inside of Kevin’s largest skull fracture (on the right side of his head, above the ear). He also said this was to be expected.

The started putting Kevin in a chair position last night. His bed moves into that position. They will start doing this three times per day to help with circulation and some studies show it helps neurologically. They will also try once per day sitting him in another recliner that starts out flat like a bed. There are studies that show that moving him can help neurologically stimulate the brain.

This doctor, Dr. Dailey, was great answering all of our questions. Very openly and honestly. He told us there is still much that they do not know and cannot predict. He told us about someone who had more damage than Kevin who had been written off by himself and the neurologist. Later on, this patient was dismissed to go home with his brothers. He isn’t exactly the same as before, but he isn’t laying motionless in a coma. He also told us of people with less injuries who never woke up.

About the vent settings, Dr. Dailey told us that he was pleasantly surprised that Kevin had done so well so far being weaned off the ventilator. This is good since it is controlled by the brainstem. It is also good because it opens up more possibilities for Acute Care Centers as a next step for Kevin. There are only three in Tulsa that accept patients on ventilators. If he’s off, there are centers that specialize in brain injuries, but again these don’t accept patients on ventilators.

I also wanted to clarify and explain some of the new areas to keep track of Kevin’s progress. Starting tomorrow, I will start weaning off the old communication, and use only the new. So that means if you are having problems, please write me with questions and I will help you out. We want your involvement and we definitely want your prayers. – This is essentially a blog with whistles. You do not need to sign up for anything to read this. I will post every update I make on this. - This is an email update list. If you are wanting to receive updates as soon as I post them, you may want to sign up here. If you go to you can subscribe to the list on the right side of the page. If you have problems signing up and want to receive the emails, please reply to me and I can add some on to it manually. The system will not allow me to add a major bulk amount however. – on Facebook, you can go and read the updates in “My Notes” section. If that is where you have been reading them and want to continue then by all means go ahead. – This link may or may not get you to the Facebook group – Pray For Kevin, otherwise you can search groups for “Pray for Kevin” and you should find it. - This last method is for Twitter. I know many of you are unfamiliar with Twitter. But it is best used for very short updates, like a text message on a phone. In fact, after signing up for twitter and “follow”ing Pray4Kevin on Twitter, you can choose to add your cell phone to your profile and turn device updates on for his particular twitter update. Below I’ll list a couple examples of our latest Twitter updates:

“They are prepping Kevin for a morning CATscan at 9. The doctor should also be in some time this morning.about 6 hours ago from web”
“The Respiratory Therapist just lowered his breath support/minute from 8 to 6 & his breathing rate is still staying around 21/minute.about 10 hours ago from web”
“Kevin was active w/his right shoulder & leg, sort of withdrawing them several times. In 4 hrs, they want to reduce vent from 8 to 6.about 13 hours ago from web”

You get the picture.

Sorry for the length of this one. I promise to not make this a habit. Every once in awhile maybe, but not normally.

We are so thankful for your prayers. We are so grateful for the answers that God has given so far to our prayers. Thank you for prayers.

Matt, Angie & family