Friday, December 30, 2011

2nd Surgery Complete!

Rob had his trach procedure and another round of ortho surgery this morning and did very well.  The trach was supposed to be done yesterday, yes, but faulty equipment or some other malfunction pushed it to today instead.  When Dad arrived in the ICU this morning Rob was wide awake, and when Dad left he said he looks like Rob again now that the tubes are out of his mouth. 

There have been some changes lately on the orthopedic repair front.  Another surgeon looked at Rob's x-rays and thinks that the fracture in the hip socket can be left alone.  It isn't at a load-bearing place and he doesn't want to mess with it.  This morning the rods were removed from the left knee and a metal plate was inserted to hold everything in place.  Another metal plate was inserted in his right hand.  His surgeon said the knee is now stable and didn't make any mention of more surgery, but we will of course just take it as it comes. 

I think that just might be the key to staying sane through this - proper expectation management.  And by management, I mean don't have any expectations because they will change.  We know that God is taking care of Rob and we have the utmost confidence in Rob's medical team.  We have been so impressed by the quality of his care and feel good about the decisions they have made to get him to this point.     


Thursday, December 29, 2011


Sorry for not posting an update yesterday, friends.  I was too busy living through the super contagious Stomach Flu of Christmas 2011 last night to make it down to the computer.  At least it's a fast-mover!

Rob is supposed to get his trach today, and not a minute too soon judging by his swollen throat and the alertness that is causing him to try and rip out all his tubes this morning.  That's right - he's WIDE awake.  Dad, Aunt Dena, and Uncle Drew are down there with him now and he definitely knows them.  They'll be getting the tubes out of his throat when they do the trach surgery this afternoon and hopefully they can untie his arms later today. 

I honestly can't remember too much of what happened yesterday and I didn't go back to see Rob since I was starting to feel bad while I was at the hospital.  I do know that they replaced his dialysis line to minimize the risk of infection and also gave him another round of dialysis.  His hemoglobin was very low since they actually didn't end up giving him a transfusion the other day, so I'll check in with Dad later and see if it wasn't better with this morning's labs. 

Because Rob is so aware and is getting so worked up, we're going to be limiting visitors today.  Just wanted to give you a heads up in case you planned to come down to the hospital this evening.  We hate for anyone to make the trip in and then find out they can't see Rob.  Hopefully tomorrow it will be fine again. 

Dad says the neurologist sounded the most positive about Rob than ever before.  Dad says it's been a good day so far.  :)

Please say a prayer that the trach surgery goes well and that he continues to do well today so more ortho surgery can take place tomorrow.  I imagine that the surgeons are getting pretty anxious to start on the hip and continue with his knee. 


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Tuesday Evening Report

Rob was very stable today and had another good day.  The surgeon yesterday tried to brace us for a setback as a result of the surgery, but so far we haven't seen it yet.  Vitals are good and he's still doing fine in the regular bed on his back.  His hemoglobin was way down to 7.1, which is not surprising since I've heard that orthopedic surgery is pretty bloody.  They talked about giving him blood again today but are going to push it until they see what tomorrow's labs are like.  Platelets are good at 230,000 and he's now actually on a blood thinner like most patients who are sedentary in a bed for so long.

The main event today was a two-hour MRI to double check the spine.  No fractures!  :)

I stayed home all day with my own little family and my parents reported that Rob was the most aware they've seen him despite his sedation meds still being fairly high.  He had lots of eye movement, eyebrow raising, and squinting/frowning.  We doubt that he understands the conversation but it does seem like he's trying to take it in.  Whatever he's seeing and hearing must be so strange!  One of the sedation drugs also causes amnesia and the nurses tell us he won't remember any of this, but I do wonder what he sees and hears.   

We haven't heard if he'll make the surgery schedule again tomorrow or not.  Nothing can be scheduled even the day before because it depends on how his night was, but if he's ready for it and if they have a spot I know they would love to get him back in the OR again.  The sooner these breaks are repaired the better off he'll be later, and I would imagine it will shorten his recovery time because everything's recovering at once instead of drawing it out.  If he ends up having surgery tomorrow I'll let you all know. 

What a blessing to be thinking about the length of recovery time.   

We sat and talked about how good the week has been while we ate yummy chicken and bean enchiladas - thank you, Dana!  Mom and Dad also brought a pizza home from Acme (since Brent and I are huge eaters and may have gone a little crazy eating the enchiladas by ourselves) and we loved it!  Thank you, Megan and Damien!   


Monday, December 26, 2011

Checking in After a Big Day

Rob sure worked hard today.  He was moved off of his new rotation bed onto a regular hospital bed, had his CT scan, and underwent three hours of orthopedic surgery this afternoon before entertaining visitors this evening.  By entertained, I mean he just laid there while we all hovered around him.  His mouth moved once when I was talking to him, but he was pretty sedated tonight.  By the ouchie look of the rods sticking out of his left leg, I'd say that's probably a good thing. 

His surgeon worked on the left knee and finished the left ankle and right foot today.  He wasn't able to do the right hand, but we think it was more because he ran out of time and not because Rob wasn't doing well.  The bottom line is that from an orthopedic standpoint, Rob's surgery was more complicated than it needed to be because of the length of time that has passed since the accident.  The trauma ortho team prefers to do these repair surgeries within a day or two, not two weeks.  They've been hovering and waiting for him to be stable enough to endure the procedure.  (We know that hovering and waiting feeling well!)  Because of this, the surgeon explained that the left ankle isn't going to be perfect and the left knee is now very difficult to fix.  On a scale of 1 to 6, the damage to his knee is a 5.  He'll have at least one more surgery on the knee, but probably more, to stabilize it. 

I'm sad for Rob that his knee probably won't ever be quite the same but also thankful that so far it's the only thing I suspect will not completely return to normal.  We'll definitely take a less than 100% knee - and I'm sure at some point, he will too.

We learned today that his collarbone and scapula breaks will more than likely not need surgical repair.  Other than getting his lungs back up to speed, he will still need repair work done on the right hand, left hip socket fracture, and the left knee.  I believe the fracture in his pelvis will also heal without surgery, but I might have that wrong. 

All in all, I feel like this is so much better than what we originally braced ourselves to face.

Rob could have surgery again at any time starting on Wednesday if he'll tolerate it.  They're giving him a day to rest, but the sooner they can continue the better.  I have a feeling this will be the main activity over the next few weeks now that we know his brain is okay.  After the surgeries, I think they'll start on breathing trials without the vent.

It feels good to have some idea of where we're headed now, even though it will all probably change by the weekend. 

Thank you for continuing to support us and for your prayers.  :)

And a big thank you to Ashley and Andrew for watching Jack again tonight.  Brent and I did a little hospital visiting and then went out to dinner alone for the first time in three months.  We really needed it!  Thanks so much, friends!


Hot Off the Press

Breaking news this morning - they finally got the CT scan done and all looks good!!!  There's a little bit of blood in the brain, but the neurologist isn't concerned.  He wasn't able to get Rob to respond this morning to commands, but he said that's pretty common for someone who's been sedated for so long.

More breaking news - Rob will still be having surgery today.  I hope no one remembers my bet of $1,000 that it wouldn't really happen.  Everyone's wrong sometimes. 

They'll be taking him back at noon and starting on the left knee, moving down to the left ankle, then the right, and finishing up with the right hand if it goes well and he's doing okay. 

Ya'll know what to do.  


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Seeing the Light

When Dad arrived this morning he found Rob in a new bed.  Someone worse off needed the RotoProne and he's done well on his back for several days.  Two weeks ago, I'm pretty sure there was no one in this hospital doing worse than Rob.  And now here he is, on Christmas Day, ready to give up the RotoProne for good (we hope).

On Sunday, December 11th, as I rocked back and forth on the floor of my living room, begging God to save my only brother, I decided this would be the best Christmas we've ever had if Rob was still here for it.

Today we experienced Christmas in a way we've never felt it before. 

It wasn't filled with wrapped presents or well-coordinated Christmas outfits (although, Jack did look pretty darn cute in his reindeer sweater).  But tonight, we were given a sign that Rob is with us.  And I just know that everything is going to be okay.

Rob's sedation was turned down today, and his eyes have been open quite a lot this evening.  He has been frowning from time to time.  He seems to know us.  But you know how we KNOW he's with us?  Mom told him that he ended up making money on his truck after all was said and done....and he raised his eyebrows.  His eyes have been wide open ever since.

Leave it to Rob to come out of this making money on that truck.  

This Christmas season has been numerous things for us: surreal, terrible, unsettling, uncertain.  But among all those emotions, the most powerful feeling has risen above them all - hope.  I've felt a peace within that can only come from the One bigger than all of this.  Our God is bigger than this.  He's using this experience, no matter what the outcome, to touch us all and to help us remember to just have a little more faith.  More than anything, I have been reminded this Christmas season that people are good.    

So while Christmas just wasn't the same this year without Rob at home, and without our usual traditions, perhaps this was maybe the closest to the real Christmas that we'll ever get. 

Last year my Christmas post ended with this message, taken from our Christmas Eve service at North Church in Indy:

Jesus came to us to be a light in the darkness.  The light does not make the darkness disappear, but the darkness cannot extinguish the light by itself.  Go into the world and shine your light.

This has undoubtedly been my family's darkest time, but the light is shining so brightly in our darkness.  It's shining because all of you are caring for us, praying for us, and reminding us that we just need to have a little more faith. 


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Quick Christmas Eve Update

This will be a brief post, but I wanted to let you know that all is well in the VIP suite of the ICU today.  Today was much the same as yesterday and the day before, with good stats and lots of stable healing going on.  His blood gas readings were great today, showing a 95% oxygen saturation rate (medical peeps, am I saying that right?).  The oxygen given to him through the vent is down to 35%, still on 14 breaths a minute. 

The best news of the day is that his femur isn't broken.  We thought on the very first day that it was one of the broken bones mentioned, but we were relieved today to find it isn't and that must have been a communication mistake or a misunderstanding in the chaos of those first several hours.  I'm not sure why that made me feel so much better, but it's one less thing to worry about I guess.

Mom, Tracy, and Patty were back with Rob tonight when his awareness monitor shot way up and he lifted his head up.  Scared the bejeebers out of them!  The monitor attached to one of his sedation meds had been beeping, indicating a low bag, so he must have come out of sedation briefly.

One of us was there during every visitation today and we weren't alone one time, even on Christmas Eve when everyone is normally busy preparing for their holiday celebrations.  Thank you again, everyone, from the bottom of our brusied, but not broken, hearts. 


Friday, December 23, 2011

Moving and Shaking in the ICU

We really seem to be making some forward progress right now!  Rob is doing such a great job and has made it possible for more vent weaning to happen today and for talk of bone fixing to begin.  After another good, stable night and morning, an orthopedic surgeon came by to see him and mentioned scheduling him for surgery early next week to work on the first of many, many, many broken bones.  I would bet $1,000 that he doesn't actually have surgery on Monday because I think that's a little overzealous, but I LOVE that they're at least talking about it and trying to get it scheduled.  I think if these doctors and nurses were looking at a man who they feel isn't going to make it, they sure wouldn't be seriously talking about fixing broken bones.  I do raise my eyebrows a little about this newest development because two days ago he wasn't even stable enough for a CT scan, but his hemoglobin is much better now and we wonder if that doesn't play a major role in this decision.

Rob's vent settings are still at 14 breaths per minute and he's responded very well to that.  He takes anywhere between 27 and 32 breaths per minute, so about half of those are initiated on his own.  The ventilator still helps him finish each breath, but he's doing way more on his own now than before.  The PEEP was turned back up a little today to help him out and not change too much, too soon.  At one point his oxygen was turned down to 30% and is now back to 60% for the same reason.  It feels like we're moving in the right direction.

Now I would like to introduce a little blog segment called:

"Shelby Isn't Shaving Until Rob Can"

Rob's friend Shelby has launched a shaving strike until Rob's up and at 'em again.  We'll check in occasionally and see how that beard's coming along! 

Speaking of facial hair, I noticed for the first time today that Rob's working on a mustache and beard himself.  I told him that he might wake up as a burly mountain man.  Maybe we'll mess with him a little and tell him he's been castaway at sea, Tom Hanks style.

I wouldn't really do that.  That's just not nice.

In all seriousness, I thank God every day for this miracle that is being unfolded each new day.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Lord, please continue to watch over Rob and finish this through until he's home and healthy.        


Thursday, December 22, 2011

"He looks better than he did 12 hours ago when I left him..."

Rob had another great day.  He responded well to the decrease in PEEP throughout the night and they turned his ventilator settings down from 32 breaths per minute to 14 to force him to breathe more on his own.  He did great with that today and still had pulse ox readings in the high 90s.  Kim was his nurse again tonight and my post title is her direct quote.  Well, I wasn't there, so that might be false reporting...but she said something to this effect. 

He's still heavily sedated because they want his body to relax as it responds to the vent weaning.  Makes sense to me - can we sedate him the entire year while they're fixing all those broken bones?  I think it might be safe to say we're starting the weaning process now!  I hesitate to make any proclamations like that because it's always possible he'll go the other way tomorrow.  Thus is the up and down of the ICU, but we need to celebrate when we can. 

I stayed home with Jack all day so I don't have any other data for you, but I'll be back in the waiting room tomorrow with my spreadsheet ready to record all his lab results, stats, etc.  Just kidding.  I don't really have a spreadsheet...but it's not a bad idea.  :)


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feeling Encouraged

Sorry for the delay, friends!  I have had a lot of texts about the CT scan results today and I'm sorry to keep you all in suspense! 

Rob did not have the CT scan done after all.  There, how's that for anticlimactic?  We're not sure exactly what transpired, but believe that the neurologist made a call last night that he was still not stable enough to risk moving him.  Dr. Dozier seems to think that the CT scan of the head isn't a make or break test at this point until his lungs are in better shape.  I'm almost relieved that they didn't move him around and set him back after the slow progress he's made over the last week.

We're feeling encouraged tonight because in Rob's chest x-rays today there was evidence that his air sacs are beginning to work on their own.  Because of this, the PEEP on his ventilator was turned down a little bit this evening to see how he would respond.  From talking to his nurse, Kim (a former high school classmate of mine - small world!) and a little Googling, I roughly understand PEEP to be the amount of air pressure exerted into his lungs during each respiration of the ventilator.  When I was talking to Kim his pulse oxygen reading fell as low as 85 while he was trying to respond to the new settings.  She was actually on the phone with the doctor when Rob coughed and the reading came right back up into the 90s.  They like his pulse ox to read 89 or higher, and a buzzer sounds when he gets to 85.  When Mom and Dad left after the final visitation tonight he was back in the high 90s.       

Sidebar: This medical stuff and what they can do for people is all just fascinating to me.  If I had enough productive years left in me to pay off my student loans after 10 more years of school, I would maybe consider going back to be a doctor.  That, and if I wasn't terrible at science.  The only way I got through Physics in high school was by being annoying asking questions after school, and maybe throwing in a look of pathetic bewilderment and the occasional teary eyes.  I seriously just didn't get it.  And I'll forever be indebted to my lab partner Ashley Ream for carrying me through CP Chemistry.


Rob had another round of dialysis today and also received more blood.  His hemoglobin wasn't rising and I think they finally just decided to do the transfusion since they've been on the fence about it for several days.  He hasn't gotten any blood since Friday, so that's really pretty good.

It was a good day overall, even without a CT scan.  I'm taking the morning shift tomorrow and I hope to find Rob just how we left him, with good oxygen saturation and the same decreased PEEP setting.  This is how they wean people off the ventilator, so I hope we can continue trending that way.

Thank you again for all your great comments, prayers, snack baskets, cards, gift cards, meals, etc, etc, etc.  We can never begin to adequately express our appreciation for your kindness.  And a big THANK YOU to the lovely Erika for watching Jack for me today.  :) 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Still Steady

Otherwise known as "The One Where I Ran Out of Better Post Titles".

Dad and I met with Dr. Zehr this afternoon while Mom volunteered to stay home with Jack.  I've yet to have him in the hospital with us because I'm worried about the germs in the ICU waiting room - even though I'm sure an airplane, or even Target, is probably worse.  Better safe than sorry.  If he got sick I would feel terrible.  I appreciate everyone who's already taken a turn watching Jack and don't want to wear out my welcome, especially during a busy week like this! 

Oh yes, back to Rob.  I'm looking forward to the day when this turns back into a Mommy Blog again, trust me.  But for now we will focus on Rob.

He was on his back this evening and still tolerating it well.  His fever had spiked above 103 again so he was back under the cooling blanket.  His second dialysis went well, pulling another 6 pounds of fluid out of his body.  In total, having 21 pounds of fluid removed in the last 24 hours has been a huge contributor to his improved lung function.  It is likely he will have dialysis done on a regular basis for awhile.

They also stopped given him the paralytic and he wasn't fighting the ventilator, at least when we were there.  He was taking some breaths over the ventilator, but not many.  They also reduced his sedation considerably but he didn't show any signs that he heard us when Dad and I talked to him.  I was thinking about him waking up during the night and was feeling bad that we can't be there if he does, but his nurse Jill tonight is very sweet and I know she'll talk to him.

Random thing I learned today - he gets his teeth brushed every 4 hours.  I had no idea. 

Since he's been pretty stable they would like to try the CT scan of his head again tomorrow.  The brain is our main wild card right now.  We know that his lungs are improving - his oxygen has been turned down to 50% and his daily chest x-rays show improvement each time, albeit slight.  Now we need to know what the brain is doing.  When his sedation was removed last week he started struggling when he realized that he had tubes down his throat, and then unclenched his fist when Dad told him to.  We know he's with us, but will feel a lot better if we find out that his head is 100% okay.  Or even 90% okay.  We'll take whatever good news we can get. 

Please pray for the CT scan tomorrow - that the medical team has an easy time moving him off the RotoProne, that he continues to breathe easily during the transfer, and that the scan is clear.     



Rob did well with dialysis yesterday and will more than likely get another round today.  They took 15 pounds of fluid from his body.  Removing that, along with all the toxins that his kidney wasn't processing, will surely help him.  Dad stopped in this morning and said that he's on his back again and doing well with it.  His blood ox level is consistently 97-98.  Dad said that nurse Adrienne is back today.  She was there last Sunday when they brought him in, so we're maybe finally through the rotation of new nurses.  Compared to where he was last Sunday, Adrienne thinks he's doing well.

I haven't gone to the hospital yet to ask my usual annoying questions, so I have no platelet count for you and don't know what his oxygen is turned down to.  There's talk of giving him blood tomorrow, so that tells me his hemoglobin is probably about the same. 

There's a meeting scheduled with the head doctor in the ICU this evening, so I'll have a better update after that takes place.

Please continue praying with us.     


Monday, December 19, 2011

Mr. Tough Guy

March of Dimes Poster Child
                                                                     Rob - 1990

Rob's doing great on dialysis and was holding his stats well this morning.  They've decided to switch him from the special, 2-day dialysis method to the traditional 2-3 hour method and will be doing that this afternoon.  It's supposedly more effective and will be better for him since they think he can tolerate it.  Another big win today - his platelets are up to 135,000!  His hemoglobin is still low but they're holding off with a transfusion and waiting for him to start replenishing his blood himself.

He's been paralyzed most of the weekend because he was having a rough time breathing over the ventilator, but they're going to be letting off the paralytic today because they would like more of his bodily functions to resume.  From only the few days I've been here I already feel like there's a lot of back and forth - turn off the paralytic, turn it on...move him to a different bed, move him back...turn his oxygen down then turn it back up...etc.  We know they just want to see what his body can do to facilitate the speediest recovery possible. 

I'm hoping to give you another good report this evening from my baby brother, the tough guy.  :)

**Editor's Note - I incorrectly said that UPS Brandon visited with Chris and brought the Hall's gift card, not UPS Braden.  I'm sorry to get your name wrong, Braden!  I was obviously confused and I'm sure you'll cut me some slack.  ;)   


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Check off Sunday, Bring on Monday

Tonight's report from the ICU is still a positive one.  Rob made it through the day with much improved breathing and stable stats.  It seemed like each time we went back today they were either getting ready to start dialysis or were waiting on the machine.  By the last visitation they finally had it up and running.  It's a different type of dialysis that will last for two days.  When Dad left tonight around 9:00 his blood ox was at 98 (a rarity!), the oxygen he was being given was still at the lowered rate of 60%, and his fever had broken. 

Rob seems to have a fever every other day of 102 or higher.  I personally haven't been too concerned about it, but I think it's because there are SO MANY things to be concerned about that it's one thing I've brushed out of my mind.  A survival tactic that I've developed is to find at least one positive thing from the nurse's report each time I go back to his room.  I then focus my energy on being happy that he has that going for him, even if it's only one tiny positive thing.  The nurses help me find the positive and sometimes the only thing we find is that he's a young, strong, healthy kid and if anyone can bounce back from his accident, he's got the best chance.  I'm glad that today we had many more victories to celebrate than just that.

Another major positive today was a steady platelet count.  He hasn't received any platelets since Friday afternoon, but his count is now at 101,000.  Remember that 100,000 is our magic number for the pressure monitor surgery.  This means that not only is he retaining the platelets he's been given, but that he is more than likely manufacturing his own again.  I'm anxious to hear what his regular doctors say tomorrow morning after checking his labs.           


One Week

It's been one week since our family started on this scary journey and we just keep telling ourselves how lucky we are to still be sitting here in the waiting room.  Every day further from December 11th is a good day.

Speaking of good days, Rob is having one!  His breathing has stabilized enough for him to tolerate rotating on his back again, and they were able to place his line for dialysis.  His creatinine levels fell even lower last night, but today were up to 8.5.  A little online research (which makes me an expert, of course) tells me that a creatinine reading of 10 signals the need for dialysis.  Since they now have the ability to do dialysis they feel it's best to go ahead and flush the kidneys now.  We haven't been able to go back in a few hours to check on the progress, but hopefully we'll get an update soon when visitation starts at 5. 


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Memphis Two Fister

Not much to report tonight, friends.  Rob rested comfortably all day and his blood gas was much improved this afternoon from the morning reading.  They seemed to find the right protocol to keep him well-oxygenated, at least for now.  He had another echo done this morning that shows his heart is still perfect.  Yay - something that's perfect!  His creatinine (the indicator of kidney function) level dropped throughout the day, which is also positive for him.  This drop confirmed that he would not be having dialysis today and risk disrupting his breathing. 

On a somewhat related note, there's a Hall's restaurant across the street from the hospital and every day we arrive we see this sign:

And every day I've thought, "Oh my...surely that's a sandwich."

Today we had two sweet UPS guys visit us, Chris and Brandon, and bring us a gift card from the night crew for none other than Hall's restaurants.  So after getting a good Rob report, Mom, Dad, Stormy and I slipped away for a late lunch.

Here's the old Two Fister in all its glory...

...and Dad enjoyed every bite.

Then we got one to go for Brent, who was at home again watching Jack today.  He gave it two fists thumbs up.  Thank you, UPS guys!  It was nice to get away for a bit.

We can't say thank you enough for all the support and prayers.  We so appreciate friends who've kept us company in the waiting room the last few days even though we unfortunately can't visit with Rob right now.  Please hang in there with us as he will rely heavily on all of you once he's awake and beginning the rehabilitation process.  I can't wait for him to see all of his messages and realize how loved he is. 


Day 6

Another resting day here in the ICU.  We found Rob exactly as we left him last night, with good vitals but still not tolerating being in the Roto-Prone (rotation bed) on his back.  He's better if he's hanging face down so that's exactly where they're going to leave him for now.  His platelets have risen to 91,000 (100,000 is where they would like them to be), but they definitely don't have plans to start monitoring his brain until they can stabilize his lungs.  Nurse Jamie said he's still fighting the ventilator and his lungs are very tight, which explains some poor blood gas readings over the night and this morning.  He's taking his own breaths but because the lungs are so tight they would rather let the ventilator do all the work right now.  I'll be slipping back later this afternoon to check on his last blood gas and hope it's going in the right direction after the tweaks they made to his vent. 

The kidneys continue to be a concern, but no dialysis is scheduled for the moment.  We're taking it hour by hour until they find the right rhythm to oxygenate him.

They're being very protective of him again today, so we won't be touching or speaking to him, only talking with his nurses if we do go back.  This is our third "rest" day now and we will sure feel better when the breathing is more stable.



Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Update...It's Friday, Right?

Today's another rest day for Rob.  After fighting with the ventilator and dropping his stats, they put him back on the rotation bed last night around midnight.  He immediately improved.  The transfer to his rotation bed on Sunday after the accident caused him to code, but last night he did great and tolerated the move well.  I am personally glad that we weren't here when they did it and just told us about it after all was well.  Moving him around obviously causes us some anxiety.  While it seems like a small step back, we know it's the best for him right now.  Whatever they need to do to keep him stable, calm, and fighting the good fight is alright with us.

Rob's fever is way down today, so thank you for praying for that.  He was going to have dialysis done this afternoon to flush out his kidneys but he's not ready for it today.  The dialysis will require him to lie flat for two to three hours, and right now he's much better off rotating. 

Friends Kory and Courtney are doing a puzzle with Mom and Dad right now, but it's really a pretty quiet day here.  We are restricting visitors today because we need to let him rest.  We've gone back a few times to speak with his nurses today, but we're not talking to him or touching him. 

Nurse Cathy explained to me that when the body goes into shock, the digestive system shuts down first, then the lungs, kidneys, liver, etc.  By keeping him stable and comfortable, the caregivers in the ICU are allowing his body time to wake up from the shock and begin to reverse itself.  The trauma/shock happens quickly, but the reversal can take weeks.  I've never had a reason to know this before, but it makes sense now. 

For now we continue to wait on Rob's body to flip into reversal mode.  We are being realistic and realize we might be sitting here in the waiting room for a long, long time.  As Mom said yesterday, we don't mind sitting here all year as long as we get to take him home.    


Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Evening Update

Several of us here in the waiting room have expressed the same sentiment today - that we're depressed because Rob didn't make any forward progress today.  Mom, Dad and I just got back from talking with his nurses and we've been told that he's really fighting the ventilator.  He also has a high fever from an infection, probably in his lungs.  His stats aren't the best (but better than Sunday!) and they're giving him the paralytic now to keep him still.

So that's the bad news...but the good news is that the nurses assure us that they see this type of up and down all.the.time in the ICU.  Since today was down, we're hoping for an up day tomorrow.

I can't explain it, but I feel such peace that all will be well again (well, at this moment anyway).  I know that peace is coming from the HUNDREDS of you praying for us. 

When you say your prayers tonight, please sneak in another one for our dear Rob.  Pray that the antibiotics take care of his infection and that we see more progress tomorrow.

Thank you again for hanging in there with us.  There have been so many sweet people loving on my family this week.  Friends have been with us for hours in the waiting room today, there's always a new meal in my parents' fridge or on their doorstep when they arrive home at night, friends have been taking care of my Jack so I can be here at the hospital, etc.  I couldn't begin to capture all of your kind deeds.  We are so extremely grateful, and so thankful that it's Thursday and we still have Rob.        


The No Update Update

After a very active day yesterday, Rob is resting more today.  He had a stable night and continues to keep on fighting. 

Rob was scheduled to have a CT scan early this morning, but moving him posed too much of a risk to his breathing so it's been postponed.  The wonderful staff continues to work on thickening his blood with platelets so the neurosurgeon can insert the pressure monitor.  Until his blood is thick enough for this surgery, the CT scan is pretty irrelevant. 

We're in the waiting room now and will see him again during the next round of visitation.  If there are any major happenings this evening I'll be sure to keep you informed. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday's Update

Rob has had a wonderful day! Today he did what we all have been anxious for him to do - he opened his eyes! I'm told he's done it several times throughout the day. At one point he was very tense and his fists were clenched. My dad held his hand and told him to unclench his fist - and he did. He was also told to wiggle his toes and could do it. We are elated!!

He was also moved out of the rotation bed today because his lungs have improved that much. He's been trying to breathe in between the ventilator's "breaths" (sorry, can you tell I don't have my medical terminology down yet?), so they were talking about turning the oxygen down some tonight to see how he does.

Thanks again for all you've done for my family.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Evening Update

Word from the ICU this evening is that Rob continued to move more and more throughout the afternoon and early evening.  He seemed to be trying hard to open his eyes but can't quite do it yet.  Other great signs are that he started coughing and once raised his head up off the bed.  I was so happy to hear this report tonight.  It shows that there is brain activity and that he's still fighting hard.  He was acting agitated, and they don't want him to move too much, so he is now sedated again.

Aunt Lori told me there were so many visitors pouring in all evening, mostly his sweet friends.  They were holding his hand, stroking his face, telling stories, and really loving on him.  She said that the general sentiment is just so positive and that his friends are just sure he's going to make it...and I am too.

Any Modern Family watchers out there?  Of course there are.  Remember the Thanksgiving episode?  There are dreamers and there are Pritchetts.  I tend to be more of a Pritchett - or a realist, as I would say.  But this morning I had to pull myself together and not let myself go to the dark side.  Yes, his accident was extremely traumatic.  Yes, he has a long way to go.  But gosh darn it, he's gonna make it.


Afternoon Update

I will be updating as much as I can here on the blog so that those of you who are pulling for Rob know how it's going.  Hopefully most of this is right....I'll have a much more accurate account starting tomorrow evening when I'm sitting there with my parents and can hear it all firsthand.  

Today has been a very up-and-down type of day in the ICU.  Early this morning, they shut off the nitric oxide going to Rob's lungs and started reducing the oxygen to see how he would do.  Late last night Rob had 60% lung function, which is great considering he wasn't breathing on his own Sunday.  After reducing the oxygen flow his blood-ox level started to fall again, so they put him back on.  The optimist in me just thinks it's too soon to do it considering the trauma he experienced.  The good news is that his lungs are getting better.

They also took him out of sedation this morning and hoped to see him be responsive soon after.  He's been moving his arms and legs some and his eyebrows will go up when someone talks to him.  However, his reaction has been slower than they'd hoped, and this might indicate trouble with his brain.

My very limited experience with how this works tells me that we have to think in terms of action items so we can stay positive and not go crazy.  Here are the action items they're working on now:

1.) Continue working on getting the blood to clot better so a pressure monitor can be inserted and his head injury can be better assessed.

2.) Continue to wait for him to move around more and come to life.  I'm told his eyebrows moved a LOT when some girls were in there talking to him.  So...

Action Item 2a.) Here's a callout to all the cute girls he knows - please go visit.  (I'm kinda kidding.)

Please continue to pray with us.



Monday, December 12, 2011

Thinking of Uncle Rob

Blog friends, I have a request for you.  If you aren't already praying for my brother Rob, please take a minute to send your positive, healing thoughts his way.

Rob rolled his truck early yesterday morning and was thrown from the vehicle.  He's in critical condition today and is in a medically-induced coma.  While he's pretty banged up everywhere, our major concerns at this point are collapsed lungs and some bleeding on the brain.  While we don't know the full extent of his injuries, we do know that his main doctor was VERY pleased with his progress and the results of some testing done this afternoon.

We are so overwhelmed by all the kindness that is pouring in to my parents from all of our wonderful friends and family.  I will continue to update on his progress, but until then, please PRAY for his recovery.  He has a long way to go.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Two Months.

Happy two month birthday, Jack!  You're getting to be such a big boy!  You've really come alive in the last couple of weeks while we were home in Indiana.  Moist air and lower elevation seem to suit you.  :)  I love having conversations with you and seeing you smile at us.  I love your huge blue eyes and your fuzzy reddish hair.  You are the absolute best thing that's ever happened to me.  I love you, Baby Jack!

Weight - 9lb 10oz - 10th percentile.  His weight was in the 25th percentile at his two-week appointment, but our pediatrician doesn't seem concerned.  His reasoning is that he's healthy, he's gaining weight, and that only a few ounces differentiate the percentiles when babies are still this little.  As he said, we've got a wiry little guy on our hands!  I just watched Jack's father eat a large Casa salad and a whole pizza this weekend and not be full, so it's not a huge surprise to me that I'm maybe fighting against a high metabolism.  I usually give him a couple ounces of formula at night to top him off, but this slip into the 10th percentile has convinced me that I need to supplement more.  I just can't produce 100% of what he needs, and I think I've finally made my peace with that (with the help of a wise woman who's been there before).         

Length - 22 3/4 inches - 45th percentile.

Head Circumference - 15 1/4 inches - 22nd percentile

Clothing size - 0-3 months and 3 months in Carter's.  He wears size 1 diapers and my fingers are crossed that his BumGenius cloth diapers will fit soon so I can stop cranking through the 'sposies so quickly.  I did the newborn cloth trial program through Jillian's Drawers, and have decided that I'm probably not a candidate to be 100% cloth.  I hated messing with the prefolds and covers but thought that the all-in-ones, like BG's, were easy to use.  I'm going to go with those on days we're home, but will still use disposables when more convenient.  I'm all for limiting the number of diapers going into a landfill, but I have to consider my own sanity too.  

This is maybe becoming more of a confessional than a two month update.  

Hair - lots of it!  He hasn't lost any yet that I can tell, and it seems to be getting thicker.  There's a little blonde fuzz coming in on the top.

Sleeping - Jack slept through the night four times the last week I was home in Indiana.  Then last night, he seemed to be begging me to go to sleep around 7:30 when we got home from the airport.  This is much earlier than I normally lay him down, but I've been thinking that I need some "me" time in the evenings for awhile now and have known that I need to move that bedtime up at some point.  I thought I would regret it but put him down anyway.  I also put him in his crib for the first time, because we'd been gone so long that I knew sleeping anywhere would seem like a transition...might as well get the crib transition over with as well!  I was so pleased that he slept 9 hours and didn't wake us up until 4:30.  Go Jack!!       

Eating - He's probably eating more like 7 times a day now, usually around 3-4 ounces each time.  He will be getting some formula snacks from now on if I'm out of fresh milk.  I started pumping a lot more over the holidays and that's going pretty well.  At this point, he's probably nursing three-four times a day and getting a bottle of pumped milk the rest of the time.  Pumping is so much faster and the pump never gets tired and cranky and flails its arms at me.        

Movement - He loves to kick his legs and move his arms when he's on his back.  He's holding his head up pretty well and holds it steady when held from under the arms.  He's getting really hard to burp because he wants his head up all the time (but still loses control occasionally and face plants into your collarbone...eek!),  During tummy time he can roll from his tummy to his back.  He is so strong - it's nearly impossible to pry his fingers open when it's time to file down his nails and since he doesn't like his right armpit washed, sometimes it just has to be that way.     

Milestones - So many this month!  Jack smiled a few days after he hit six weeks.  My friend Christi was booping him on the nose and he thought that was pretty cool.  A few days later, he had big smiles for Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Conni the Baby Whisperer.  Finally, he had smiles for me on Thanksgiving weekend and he never looked back.  My mom and dad swear that he laughed at them this weekend while Brent and I were out to dinner.  Jack embarked on air travel for the first time of probably many (which makes me tired just typing that) and did very well.  He met so many family and friends for the first time over the last two weeks - Thanksgiving posts to come soon.  He also found his hands while we were in Indiana and likes to put them in his mouth all the time and slobber.  I think it's super cute.  

Favorite toys/activities - He loves his Jitter Pal froggy and monkey.  We wind them up and put them on his belly, which gets a smile for the first five times at least.  He now notices the TV and is in a trance when he's in the same room with one.  He still loves a bath.  He loves to "Chirpa Chee" with Grandma.  It's really hard to explain really, but it involves a lame song from the 70s and a simple dance routine around the kitchen.  I Chirpa Chee'd him around our kitchen this afternoon to make him feel better after his shots.  

Dislikes - Sitting still, the train at the Denver airport, and when we take his bottle away to burp him or slow him down.  His 
squawking sounds exactly like he's yelling "MORE, MORE!". 

What we love - His adorable smiles, surprised faces, how he flails his arms in the bath tub or on the changing table. 

What we don't love - Having to create constant motion to keep him content, and all of his sassy squawking sometimes.  He's the only person who has bossed me around and not gotten any sass back.  :)   

What we're looking forward to next month - Learning more about Jack and how to make him happy, seeing more of those sweet smiles, and sharing our baby's first Christmas.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Treasure

The sermon today during Jack's first church service was part of a series about being generous, based around the scripture found in Luke:

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Luke 12:34

As I held my little sleeping baby through church today, I couldn't help but be bursting with thankfulness for the best treasure God has ever given me.  Being Jack's mom is the greatest pleasure of my life.

My treasure wears moose overalls...  

...and has the best surprised faces.

Thank you, Lord, for this little boy.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scenes from our house...

The last few weeks have flown by, and I really can't say I have too much to show for it other than gratuitous pictures of my favorite little boy and all his cuteness.  I've been to the doctor more times than I can count in the last week and a half, ranging from a middle of the night ER visit in a snowstorm for a kidney infection to calls to the pedi about thrush.  I don't think we actually have thrush but I'm watching the two little white spots in Jack's mouth pretty closely.  Not because it's life threatening by any means, but because the thought of sterilizing everything and killing said fungus makes me want to puke.

I've been feeling better for two or three days now and have actually gotten out of the house for something that wasn't related to a doctor's visit.  Things are definitely looking up!  Here are some of the things we've been doing around here lately when not obsessing about sickness:


Mel's brother and sister-in-law live in Denver and have a baby just a week older than Jack.  She came out to visit them this weekend and we got to see her on Monday night.  It was such a great evening and I wish she could have stayed longer!


Is there room in this recliner for one more?


Brent lost his wedding ring in the leaves right before the first snowstorm of the year.  When the snow melted, we rented a metal detector.  We were just about to give up after a couple hours of scanning the leaves when Brent found it!  That was $28 well spent.


...and Jack didn't mind hanging out in the laundry basket for about ten minutes while I folded clothes.


Pumpkin in motion.

If you've made it this far and can stomach some annoying Mommy Babble, check out Jack in action:


Sunday, November 6, 2011

More Owen and Olivia

I got a few more pictures of the twins from Rachel today.  She may get her own Mommy Blog up and running soon, but for now I will showcase her children on the internet on her behalf.  I talked with her today and it sounds like the twins had another good day.  Please keep them in your prayers that they continue to improve each day and get to come home earlier than anticipated!

Miss Olivia - look at all her hair!

Owen takes a snooze.

Mom and Dad do kangaroo care - Rachel has Owen and Justin has Olivia.