Friday, October 30, 2009

Update #82 on Kevin

So Kevin had his rescheduled eye appointment today. The doctor thought that his eye is looking better. He isn’t going to change anything right now, and doesn’t see the need to sew (tack) his eyelid shut just yet. He is going to see him in four weeks. He was very encouraged because Kevin is moving his right eye and blinking more than it was (even if it is slow).

The doctor last week ordered cultures of the sores on Kevin. The results came back and Kevin’s sores have the MRSA bacteria. MRSA is a strain of staph bacteria that’s resistant to the broad spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it (Mayo Clinic). Staph bacteria are normally found on the skin or in the nose of about one-third of the population. If you have staph on your skin or in your nose but aren’t sick, you are said to be “colonized” but not infected. However, you can still pass the germ to others. That means gowns and gloves for visitors once more!

After putting in one of our recent updates about Kevin’s home heater, several people responded. Kevin’s heater is now fixed. Thanks so much to the guys who offered and especially those who fixed it. It really means a great deal to our family. At some point, we’ll need someone to look at his AC too, but hopefully, the weather will push that need back a little.

Since the update about Kevin’s kitchen, another $100 was contributed towards the project. That means we have about $1200 towards the need of $2300. The vinyl flooring was installed this week, and with the heater fixed, it is getting really close to structurally finished. Once we raise the money for the kitchen, it can be installed and stained in a relatively short time. After what has been contributed so far, we still need another $1100 to order the pieces. Next steps will be continuing to look at Kevin’s furniture to determine what is salvageable, what will go directly back into the house, and what might go into storage for the meantime.

Thanks to those who have mown lawns throughout this ordeal. It has been a great way to help our family. We really appreciate it.

Thanks for reading and praying,
Matt, Angie and family
_______________________________ (for all updates) (for another way to read the updates)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Update #81 on Kevin: Pupil Reaction

So quick good news…..something that we have been waiting on since Kevin was in the Trauma ICU. Kevin’s left eye had pupilary reaction. Tonight, Kevin’s nurse checked Kevin’s eyes with a light, while doing some regular tasks. She didn’t say anything, but went and asked the charge nurse to come back in with her. The charge nurse checked his eyes too and they had a quick whispered conversation, of which Angie heard one of them say, “it did, didn’t it?” Basically, Kevin’s left eye had a definite response to light. Later in the evening, three family members also tried it again. The dilation responses continued. Kevin’s right eye is still healing, so I don’t expect much from it. But it is really exciting to see any quick movement in either eye. Usually, pupil reaction is looked for in an effort to assess consciousness. I’m not sure what this means in relation to Kevin’s situation being two months out from the accident, but we will celebrate it for the new progress that it is.

Thanks for praying and reading,
Matt, Angie and family
_______________________________ (updates) (alt address)

Update #80 on Kevin

Low carbs….. My brother, Kevin, is a big believer in low carbs. So many times, I saw him eat a burger without the bun. Or go to a buffet and have all you can eat steak, proclaiming that it was okay to have that fourth steak…since he wasn’t having any bread or rolls. Kevin has taken care of himself; athletic, good looks, but it’s his personality that people usually fall for. It’s more than just being outgoing. It’s being friendly, nice, helpful. In my opinion, it’s being like Jesus. Is that to say that Kevin lived a perfect life? No, but neither did David, Abraham, Jonah or Paul. And neither have any of us. For those of us who are believers, we strive to do the right thing. That doesn’t mean we do it every single time. What it means is that if we weren’t striving to do the right thing, we would do it right even less than we do now.

Kevin’s eye appointment got cancelled today. His eye doctor got stranded out of state. His eye appointment has been rescheduled for Friday morning.

Since he didn’t go anywhere (on an eye doctor field trip), we requested that Kevin get another one of those old fashioned real showers! You know the kind….water pours out of a shower head on the wall and washes away all the soap and grime. They use a PVC pipe bed for the showers. Again, Kevin had a speaking valve placed instead of hooked up to wall-flo air. He coughed a couple times, but not much they said. He came out smelling good and looking good with a freshly shaved face. Something hit me, the other day when we were going through Kevin’s house stuff. We have to open up boxes and go through everything from his house. We look for flood damaged items. I opened one box and I thought that smells like Kevin. It was sour. I am not a big fan of the sponge bath….maybe it depends on who does it, but often he is not fully cleaned with one. So, I am happy with the real shower.

We continue to learn how to be advocates for Kevin. We don’t want to come across as jerks to anyone, but we don’t want his care to suffer in any way. Overall, the staff at Meadowbrook is great. We have formed several friendships being there and seeing their care for Kevin and our family. We are thankful for where God has us right now. It is hard to look at the future, much less the next step, it seems to be shrouded in a gray fog (or is it grey?). We just forge ahead, looking at the bits of the puzzle that God lays down in front of us. Is it hard? You bet. Is it what we really want to be doing? No way. But we will follow God, in the good and the bad.

Kevin’s house is still being finished. The kitchen floor could not be installed since the heater does not work. The glue would not stick if they tried to place the vinyl flooring now. It has to be more than 65 degrees for the floor to stick. The solution is to get an electric heater that will keep it a tropical 65 degrees for 24 hours in order for the floor to adhere. The flooring should be done by Thursday. Long term, we need the heater fixed (and the AC too). Please let me know if you know how to fix a heater.

The kitchen cabinets need to be ordered and then they can be installed. We have a small team for that. It should take a couple days once we have the modules bought. We have about $1100 towards a total need of about $2300. If you can contribute towards that, pleeeease let me know ASAP (Matt 850-9828).

Kevin was in the neuro chair earlier and was awake throughout. Remember, when I state “awake” I do not mean fully out of his state. In the early levels of consciousness you will begin to have awake and sleep cycles. The provigil Kevin has been on, seems to be having good effects. Also, we have been reading much of the material from the Brain Injury Association of America. There are all different things we can try, which we plan as we move forward.

Now, I think I’ll go get a burger without a bun, in honor of Kevin…..nah, I’ll still eat the bun.

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family
_______________________________ (updates) (alt address)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Update #79 on Kevin

When is a good dream a bad dream? Many in our family have been dreaming dreams. Since Kevin’s accident, we have all had dreams about Kevin, good and bad. It does however go in waves. The dreams in the current wave have been good. However, that can be the problem….when you wake up from a good dream and realize that it hasn’t happened yet, the balloon of good feeling is punctured.

I look back over the past couple months and see all the progress that Kevin has made, that brings us happiness. Getting stuck in the snail-like day to day slowness can take its toll on you. This weekend has also been a rollercoaster of emotions. We were basically told on Friday that if our family didn’t make a decision on a skilled nursing facility this week, insurance would force the staff at Meadowbrook to make it for us.

Friday, they also switched Kevin’s food from a continual feeding drip to four times per day getting a can of formula food. He gets two in the morning and one can every six hours after that. This shouldn’t change much in Kevin’s nutrition, but might make it easier for a skilled nursing center to approve him.

We still have not heard back from two centers that were assessing Kevin’s situation to determine their acceptance. Over the weekend, one of the doctors really stepped out and helped the family by ordering some medicine called Provigil. It is for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness associated with obstructive sleep apnea. There should be no problems with him taking it, but it might help make Kevin more alert. Today they actually started doubling it. Kevin’s left eye (right eye is taped, not patched) has been open and moving around a lot today. His right eye (that has had all the issues) is continuing to look lighter in color. The white of Kevin’s eye is much less red. The side of his eye has gotten much better, looking only like a bloodshot eye, rather than completely red.

Also, this doctor has been contacting the medical director for Kevin’s insurance in order to get more time here at Meadowbrook. We think they will be allowing Kevin to stay for ten to fourteen more days. We’ll still take it week by week or day by day. It doesn’t totally feel like the amount of time is a for sure thing though. But this doctor has been great.

Tomorrow is Kevin’s follow up eye appointment. EMSA is coming at 12:15 to take him over there. We’ll see what the doctor says about how his eye is doing.

We also received some paperwork from the Traumatic Brain Injury Association of America. Great stuff, we are busily reading through it all. Good insight and great information.

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family
_______________________________ (this is the main site address) (does anyone still have problems accessing that site)