Saturday, November 7, 2009

Update #86 on Kevin

Sitting at lunch, driving in the car, living our lives….our family seems to constantly remember the little things that Kevin would do or say. Others have told us about dreams they have had. I had another extremely vivid dream a couple nights ago. In the dream, Kevin had apparently ‘awakened’ and took place a few days after and was telling everyone about his experience from his viewpoint. That is, what he had heard, what he had seen, etc… Man, it was so real. Unfortunately, that is not our reality yet, but we pray that it is soon.

Kevin’s heart rate got up pretty high today. Apparently, he was in his blue neuro chair for over three hours (three hours and twenty minutes). Towards the end of his time in the chair, his heart rate got into the 130’s, then while having his trach changed out his heart rate got up to 147 and stayed in the 140’s. By the time, I got up there several hours later, he finally crossed the threshold of 100 to 99. Pray that he can continue to have lower, healthy heart rates, as his body and mind heals.

He also had a temp of 101.8 earlier today, but was 99.5 when I was there. He had a bath today, but it didn’t look like he had been shaved…..hard to tell anyway.

Pray for Kevin’s mind to continue to heal. Pray for his body to continue to heal. Pray for our family to lean on God as we struggle through this. Thanks for praying.

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family

Friday, November 6, 2009

Update #85 on Kevin

This week we have seen Kevin having an even better heartrate than normal. This week in times of rest, Kevin’s heart rate has been down in the low 80’s. Even hitting 80 one night this week.

Thursday, Kevin got another shower. That makes our family very happy since it provides a different stimulation to Kevin (water, gurney, different room, etc…), and it also helps him be cleaner than a sponge bath.

After reading about them in the Brain Injury Association of America resources, we asked if Occupational and Physical therapy had a Tilt Table. We didn’t even know what it is really, but we know it is something that helps a patient “stand” in a more upright position. We have read that for traumatically brain injured patients the most neurologically stimulating position is standing. This morning around eleven o’clock therapy put Kevin onto the tilt table. It looks like a general doctors office “bed” that you sit on for the doctor to examine you. Same vinyl covering, same size. The difference is that it tilts up electronically. After strapping Kevin in with several belts, they starting lifting Kevin up a few degrees at a time. They would stop and monitor his heart rate, blood pressure and O2 levels. They kept taking Kevin all the way up to 60 degrees. That is actually really impressive for someone who has not been in a standing position for over two months. The therapy department was really impressed with how well Kevin did. They said usually a patient will pass out or their blood pressure will drop suddenly. Kevin didn’t do any of that. He’s a fighter. They said Kevin did great and they will do it again on Monday.

Kevin’s right eye continues to look better each day. With some staff we have to make sure that the ointment is really getting in his eye each hour. Pretty sure today, it didn’t get in there for over three hours this morning. We will keep vigilant about that ointment, since if his eye doesn’t continue getting better the eye doctor has said he would have to tack (sew) his eyelid shut.

Insurance has cleared Kevin until Monday at Meadowbrook. We still have not heard back from the Rehab at St Francis nor the Skilled Nursing Center assessing Kevin. The insurance continues to hound us through the case manager at Meadowbrook about what other places have we visited. We scoured the industry guide, called the Vintage Guide, calling each facility. Then those who would even consider taking someone with a trach we visited. How can we visit more places, if we have been to them all in this area?

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Update #84 on Kevin

A family member wrote yesterday about something that I was planning on mentioning in an upcoming update….that is Kevin’s love of claw machines! You know those machines that look like popcorn machines, with a claw that reaches down and grabs stuffed animals, toys and even jewelry? "The Claw! The Claw is our master. It decides who will go and who will stay." (The little aliens from Toy Story say this when Buzz and Woody meet them at Pizza Planet). A few days ago, Angie, Kohl, Jacob and I were at Wal-Mart. We were leaving and saw the arcade on the way out. We decided to stop and toss in a few quarters. We ended up at the claw machines. I won a necklace for Angie and Jacob won something as well. The allure for me was that Kevin does love those claw machines. The family member that wrote talked about Kevin sitting there dropping twenty bucks to win a stuffed animal for one of his kids or someone else’s.

I saw Kevin’s back sores last night….wow! What a difference a few days makes. It is looking better and healing up. They started putting an antibiotic ointment on it last week and that has seemed to do really well. Kevin’s right eye is also looking better. It still is red in different areas, but the right side of his eye is looking better each day.

Kevin’s doctor came in today and said that Kevin’s blood work came back okay. Which means the MRSA staff infection is not in his blood. This means that the MRSA staff infection is most likely colonized in his back sores.

Kevin has had quite a few secretions the past couple days. Not sure if it is due to allergies or what. It seems many people we know are dealing with allergies, headaches due to allergies, etc…. So maybe Kevin’s are a result of that too.

We got another $1100 this morning towards the kitchen project at Kevin’s house, which means we reached beyond our goal, so we can start ordering the kitchen pieces then it can be installed. Depending on how long it takes to order and get pieces in, the install should only take a couple days. We may have a work day for those wanting to help install it.

Things are progressing, albeit slowly. I was reminded today of this, when a couple of Kevin’s visitors stopped by. They hadn’t been by in about a month. They remarked about the jump in progress since they had seen him. I likened it to watching a snail move. If you sit and watch the snail crawl across the room, it seems like forever…..but if you leave the room and come back later, you see how far the snail has actually come. Well, we’ll celebrate all the progress, whether it comes slowly or quickly. And we will continue to thank God for the progress that has been made.

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family
_______________________________ (don’t miss a single update)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update #83 on Kevin

Sometimes it feels like this whole process is going to take forever. Kevin shouldn’t be laid up in bed in a coma, vegetative state or minimally conscious (depending on whom you talk with). It shouldn’t be like this. All of our lives are ripped up out of the stable ground and cast into the swirling wind. For instance, how do I answer the question, how am I doing? How am I doing? I know for many it is just another way to say “hello”, but some ask expecting an answer. Some ask it with a tilt of the head and quiet understanding which suggests ‘I’m here for you.’ Others ask it as if nothing else is going on. So, how am I doing? Any answer I could give you, on better days to lesser days would be tainted with one fact… this moment, Kevin is not now what he once was. That does not mean he will never be again. In fact, as a follower of God, I believe he will be better than he ever was….one day in eternity. But right now, when we go to lunch as a family after church, go to a movie, hang out, etc….and he’s not there, a piece of us is missing. So, if I hesitate in response to that question… is only a processing of the current state of our lives and how to state something like “good, but my brother is still not completely awake or the same.” Or “decent, but I haven’t been able to hear my brother tell me one of his stories for over two months”.

This weekend there were a few bumps. The nurses started having trouble getting Kevin’s IV into his veins. Apparently it took at least three different nurses trying to get one in on Saturday and then his IV got pulled out when they moved Kevin into his blue neuro chair on Sunday morning. So, when they went to get it back in, there was a couple more tries.

Also, the infection specialist doctor came in on Sunday morning, saw Kevin had a fever (around 101), heard about the IV’s wanted to know about his PICC line (a line from his arm that goes into his heart and empties out). The nurse told him that he had requested the other one be pulled when Kevin was having fevers before. He wanted everything to be checked for infection (catheters, PICC line, etc…). I guess no one knew to order a replacement PICC. So they replaced a PICC line yesterday evening.

A PICC line was already scheduled for today anyway by Kevin’s general doctor. They have started Kevin on another couple antibiotics, Cipro (ciprofloxacin)and Vancomyacin. He had been on Cipro before. Vancomyacin is a hard hitting antibiotic which is usually only used for serious infections which other medicines may not work (mayo clinic). These are on top of the antibiotic ointment that Kevin is getting for his right eye (which was continuing to look better today). Vancomyacin is so caustic that they have to insert it very slowing to prevent thrombophlibitis (swelling or redness)

It is interesting to note sometimes the politics that play out in a hospital or medical institution. That is, who doesn’t like who, or who disagrees with who. Sometimes, it is interesting to see a whole group (ie nurses, doctors or techs) that disagree with another whole group. They need to all sit down, realize they are on the same team and read the book, “Silos, Politics and Turf Wars” by Patrick Lencioni. Great read, especially for leaders.

A note about Kevin’s kitchen….I hope that as you read these updates you feel no strange impulses of guilt, or a desire on my part to impart those feelings. What I know is that this is how the church can be the church. To not know about a need is the ability to do nothing for that need. It’s really that simple. If you can help…then help. If you can’t or God isn’t leading you to do so…..then don’t. If you have a need, let those around you know about that need and trust God to meet that need. For us it seems to be as difficult to trust sometimes as it is to believe that there is no way God won’t take care of those who love and follow Him. That said, another $100 came in this weekend towards the kitchen project. That means we now have $1300 out of $2300. If only ten people gave $100 we would be purchasing and installing the kitchen in the house this week. Or twenty people to give $50. Really what it comes down to is…if you want to help (and many people have asked for ways to help) this is another way you can help.

I have been checking on the Pray for Kevin bracelets. When we placed the order towards the end of September, it was supposed to take a few weeks. We still have not heard anything from those who were ordering the bracelets, so we will continue to check on those and get them in. Thanks for those who have asked. And definitely thanks for continuing to pray for Kevin with or without those bracelets.

Kevin’s main doctor came in today and saw Kevin alert and up in his blue neuro chair. He told the nurse that this was the most alert that he had seen Kevin. He asked the nurse if Kevin has been like this before, she replied that he has had many alert/awake times like this in the past, especially since getting started on Provigil.

Not sure, who all has been checking the dilation in Kevin’s eyes, but I asked a night nurse recently and she said she hasn’t seen any dilation. I will be checking it myself in a little while. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement.

Thanks for reading,
Matt, Angie and family