Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Birthday to Remember

The plans are finalized for Rob's return home on his 23rd birthday tomorrow! He should be home sometime mid-afternoon. If you happen to be out in the 'hood tomorrow evening, please swing by the house and do a drive-by honking to help him celebrate his birthday. I mean, not 23 honks, as that would get a little annoying to the neighbors perhaps, but if you get the chance to drive by I think Rob would find it pretty cool. Dad says stop on in and visit if you want, too.

Thanks for everything, dear friends.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Say What?

Rob's coming home on Monday. Yes, it's true! And a little bit crazy!

He can't bear weight on his legs for another two weeks but his stay at Select Care has pretty much run its course. They'll be sending him home on Monday (such is the plan, anyway) to wait out the two weeks until his breaks are stable enough to start bearing weight. At that point, he will return to Parkview to complete physical therapy and be officially recovered.

How amazing. Thank you, Lord.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A splash of cuteness...

And some videos with annoying parent babble...


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rob Update - Day 43

43 days in the hospital sounds ridiculously long, but not when you think about what things were like on Day 1 compared to now.  I haven't updated much this week because of that whole full time working mom thing, but now that I'm taking some time to do it I'm happy to only have good news to report.

The first week Rob was in Select Care was hard on everyone, but things have much improved since then.  He moved rooms this week which helped with the noise level and makes it easier for him to rest.  It sounds like he's back to an almost normal sleeping pattern of sleeping through the night again.  (Hey, Jack too!)

The best news of the week was the completion of his swallow study, which he passed with flying colors.  They knew he could swallow from observation, but needed to observe liquid and food moving through his esophagus with an x-ray to make sure everything was headed to the right place and not into his lungs.  That day he finally got some Sprite...and has had Mountain Dew, Ensure, orange juice, etc. since then.  He was so desperate to drink something in the previous days leading up to the swallow study that he even asked for a V8.

He was able to eat for the first time in over forty days on Wednesday, and continues to eat normal meals in very small portions.  His feeding tube is still being filled at night, but we're hopeful those days are numbered.    

We're hopeful that Rob will spend his 23rd birthday (next Monday the 30th) back at Parkview after his release from Select Care.  Check back later for party details!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

We discovered that we were expecting this little Lima Bean...

We had just returned from a house hunting (or apartment renting?) trip to Denver the night before, and had signed a 6 month apartment lease just 12 hours before we were surprised with this wonderful, miraculous news.

2011 was quite the year for miracles of life, wasn't it?


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Better Week - Rob Update

Rob becomes a little clearer every day.  Last night he seemed interested in his phone again and was texting people and confirming Facebook friends.  He's still saying some pretty kooky things, so who knows what those texts said.  I sent him a very short text this morning just to see what I would get back, and he replied "Love you too, learns [I think this was Linds spelled wrong and his phone auto-corrected it...I'm 99% sure he doesn't think my name is Learns].  Hopefully getting out of hospital soon."  Oh no, dear brother.  Not soon.  But the more you cooperate the sooner that day will come.  Until then, any dvd requests?

He started with some physical therapy yesterday and it wiped him out for the majority of the day.  My mom said it was hard to believe how tiring a few reps of a simple movement were for him.  We're anxiously awaiting a swallow study this week so he can maybe have something to drink.  I know it's hard for my parents to stand his constant requests for Sprite.  Yesterday he proclaimed that he was going to drink orange juice until he threw up.  I really, really hope they got the swallow study done today so the poor guy can get some Sprite already.

The last thing I want to tell you in this quick update is that he's up for visitors again.  I think the steady-eddies have already figured this out and went to see him today, but I feel it's only right to lift my "no visitor" proclamation from the blog and not leave you hanging.  He hasn't been as restless so we think it's okay, but if he gets agitated at any point they may have to cut some visits short.

Hope you're all having a good week!  Even though it's a short one, I'm beat.  Until next time...



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Rob's Week - The Abridged Version

Today is Rob's fifth day at the new hospital and it sounds like this has been a pretty rough week of transition.  Physically, his health continues to improve each day and he even had his trach plugged today.  He is still running a fever and we continue to be concerned about infection and the potential for blood clots, but those are probably two aspects of long-term hospital care that we'll be worried about until he's home.

Mentally, this week has been very hard on both Rob and my parents.  He is now working through the steps that need to be taken after a traumatic brain injury and is spending a lot of time talking through memories and figuring out what's going on.  Between having this normal reaction from a traumatic brain injury, dealing with the effects of ICU psychosis, and weaning off of all his sedation and pain meds, I think it's been a pretty trying week for everyone.  Sometimes he's right there with you and other times he's so confused.  At one point yesterday, he was telling people he played basketball for Bishop Luers.  From what we hear this is all very classic TBI behavior (I don't know if traumatic brain injury is given the acronym TBI in the medical world, but it works for me).  It might be normal for now but it's not normal for my parents, and I know they can't wait for the return of old Rob.

Despite the rough transition, yesterday and today were much better for Rob.  He was finally able to rest (CONSTANT loud noise is a problem in his new digs since he's right across from the utility closet).  Not sleeping and resting has been one of the biggest problems, so anytime he can nap or sleep is good.  He sat in a chair for about three hours yesterday and was finally seen by his doctor and some therapists.

I just wanted to update everyone so you know that all is still chugging along.  Even though this was a hard week, it's just another step on the road to home - a road we're all very happy to be traveling.  That's probably easy for me to say from here.

It's really best for him not to have visitors for now.  We really appreciate your support but please know that your support from home is the best you can do for Rob right now to give him the very best chance to rest and recover quickly.  I'll keep you posted when he's improved and will fully appreciate visitors.  Thank you so much for understanding.        


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 31

So what did you all do this evening after work?  We just had the normal evening here.  Ate some pot roast, washed some bottles, talked to my brother on the phone.

That's right - I had a brief conversation with Rob tonight.

Remember how I wrote yesterday that he was making some sounds and trying to figure out how to talk after getting the smaller trach?  Well a few hours after my parents left the hospital, the phone rang and it was nurse Tony.  Rob was able to communicate to him enough to say he wanted to call home, and they put him on the phone.  "Heeeeeeyyyy" was really all they could make out last night, but by this afternoon he fairly clearly asked me, "How are you?".  Ummm, I'm fine, are YOU???

Rob and I were never big chatty phone buddies, but man I've missed that guy.  I'm going to be bugging him all the time from now on - one of many ways I want to change as a result of this experience.  

The move went well today.  Rob's really restless.  He wants a drink, wants to eat, wants to move, etc.  They've given him a little something to help him sleep so he can prepare for tomorrow when he will learn how to swallow again.

It's amazing how far Rob's come from 4 1/2 weeks ago!

On an unrelated note, if you've gone back to any posts before the accident, you know about those adorable twins Owen and Olivia.  Well, good news - after 69 days in the NICU, Olivia is home tonight!  Prayers for Owen that he is soon to follow so this very long, exhausting experience can end for our friends and they can start the next exhausting, but fun, phase of their lives - caring for twin infants at home!


Monday, January 9, 2012

A Big Day

Well friends, I have big news.  Rob is moving out of the ICU tomorrow afternoon and going to an acute intensive care facility inside St. Joe Hospital.  This is a step-down facility that will provide the physical care he needs to heal while he's also doing the occupational therapy part of his recovery.  The average stay at Select Care is 25 days, so we'll see how that plays out.  After Select Care, he'll return to Parkview for intense physical therapy.  There's obviously still a long road ahead.  We'll miss all of his wonderful nurses in the ICU but it will be fun when Rob can walk in there and say thanks for himself.

In other news today, he had x-rays done on his neck and his surgery sites.  If the neck x-ray looks good (I guess they didn't read it today) he'll have his collar removed tomorrow.  Apparently it's really itchy so that will be a relief for him.  He also got a smaller trach today which will make it easier for him to talk when the time comes.  Dad said he was making some noises today so it seems like he's trying to figure it out again.  He also had the sutures removed from his knee, ankle, and foot, and a cast was placed on his hand.

On to the next step, destination: home!    


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rob Update - Day 28.

Today marks the end of Rob's fourth week in the ICU.  The last two days haven't been as eventful, but each day that passes gives him more time to get stronger before he's moved to his next location.  I think we're still unsure if he will be moved to another floor of the hospital or if he'll go straight to the step-down rehabilitation facility when he's discharged from the ICU.  To be discharged, every doctor has to sign off that he's ready.  The last will be his neurologist.  Rob hasn't really been cooperating with the neurologist's requests, and his nurses have been telling him that the more he cooperates the sooner he'll get out.  His last two nurses have both said that he'll follow the commands they give him, but not this doctor's.  Mom said that today he was trying to get out of bed and leave, so maybe he'll connect the dots soon and just give a smile or stick out his tongue on command and be done with it.  :)  We aren't too anxious for him to leave the ICU because the care he gets there is SO good, but we also know that the sooner he can work with therapists at the new facility the sooner he'll have his life back.

The only major thing that has happened lately was another procedure to move his PEG tube down into his intestines yesterday.  The tube wasn't leaking or anything, but it sounds like they just decided that his stomach might not be ready to digest what they are putting into his feeding tube.  The second procedure went well and he seems to be resting much more comfortably than the last several days.

Speaking of resting comfortably, we do ask that if you come to visit and he's sleeping, please let him sleep.  He's had trouble sleeping really since the sedation wore off, and the more he rests the better off he'll be.

Mom's been telling him about the blog and how many of you check in each day.  He seems pretty interested when she reads him comments and Facebook wall posts, and also when she talks about the car decals that his sweet friends designed for him.  Thanks for letting him know you care.

Until the next update....happy weekend!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Months.

Baby Jack, I'm not sure how you're three months old already.  You were a happy boy all day today - you must have heard, like I did, that three months is usually when colicky babies figure out that there's nothing to be so upset about.  I love you more and more every day.


Weight - I would say between 11 and 12 pounds.  We'll have another official weight check at four months.

Length - I don't have a guess, but you're busting out of the feet in your 3 month sleepers.

Head Circumference - We'll see in a month!

Clothing Size - 3 month Carter's still fit well if there aren't feet; your most comfortable sleepers are 3-6 months.  You still wear size 1 diapers and your BGs fit now.

Hair - You still haven't lost any and I see more blonde fuzz coming in.  I love your hair!

Sleeping - You sometimes sleep through the night and sometimes you wake up after six hours.  I'd say that waking up once is probably more typical.  We've been all over the place with when you go to bed.  In Indiana you go to bed late, and in Denver you are usually down by 9:00.  This probably is because of the time difference, but it wasn't really intentional.  

Eating - You eat 4-5 ounces every three hours or so.  We've been giving you more 6 oz bottles and you seem to be pretty content, so we'll probably start doing that more.  You primarily have breast milk but you always have one or two bottles of formula a day, too.  You still nurse in the morning.

Movement - You move more and more all the time.  Your big thing this month is to move yourself 180 degrees in your crib if we don't come and get you right away.  You move your right leg all the time and have really been chomping on those hands.  Grandma and I caught you sucking your thumb yesterday, but we'll see if that sticks since you really love your pacifier.  Another new thing this month is "standing" up in your car seat or bouncy seat to try and escape.  Looks like it's time to start strapping you into all your play equipment!  You like to bounce up and down on our legs, which makes me really excited for you to be big enough for your jumperoo.

Milestones - Your 1st Christmas, being away from me all day while I hung out at the hospital with Uncle Rob.  You took your third and fourth flights and you're getting trickier to travel with the older you get.  You just want to move!  Santa brought you a Bumbo for Christmas and you do pretty well sitting in it for short periods of time.    

Favorite toys/activities - You love stroller rides, both around the house for entertainment and outside in the BOB.  You seem interested in a little Sesame Street and Dinosaur Train, but you can watch football or basketball for almost half an hour if we're holding you.  You like to play Pat-a-Cake, Peekaboo with your taggie blanket, and you think it's the best when we say "Mom-mom-mom-mom" and "Da-da-da-da-da" over and over to you.  I wonder which you'll say first?  Today was the first day you let me read books to you for several minutes without squawking.  I hope you love to read as much as I did when I was younger!

Dislikes - Being still, burping, an empty bottle.

What we love - Talking with you, seeing more and more smiles each day, and when you burrow your face into my chest when you're sleepy.

Mom, you are mildly amusing me today.  

What we don't love - Days when you don't want us to put you down.  It makes it hard to clean this messy house!

What we're looking forward to - Having Jensin stay with us in January to watch you while I go back to work, putting that jumperoo together, and having more days like today! 


Let's See How Shelby's Doing...

Shelby and The Beard - circa New Year's Eve-ish
Sorry it's taken me so long to post!

Rob sure has been throwing that right hand around a lot and has a pretty good grip when you hold his hand.  Do we trust him with a razor yet?  Better keep on growing that beard for now, Shelby.  :)

Jack and I made it home last night.  A have to say a big thank you to the Southwest pilot who not only flew us back here safely, but who also folded up my stroller and put the car seat in its travel bag while I held Jack on the jetway.  I mean, he wasn't busy getting ready to fly the plane or anything.  

ICU updates from today and yesterday - Rob got his PEG feeding tube and they're probably starting to feed him through it right now as I type.  He's getting really thin so we're glad that this procedure was done today.

Several people came yesterday and helped him sit on the edge of the bed.  He's seemed pretty blah the last couple of days, and we got a little more insight onto what he's processing and feeling from a traumatic brain injury specialist.  This specialist thinks that he's having a hard time filtering everything happening around him and wanted his blinds drawn and the radio turned off.  We're going to uphold the two visitor limit more strictly now but might also have to say no visitors sometimes depending how he's doing that day.

Mom received a Traumatic Brain Injury binder yesterday and I think it was a little bit depressing.  We know he took a blow to the head but we also know that the CT scan was okay and that he seems pretty with us.  We're going to take all the information we're given but not get hung up in what is typical.  Nothing about Rob's recovery has been typical so far.  Yesterday Mom and Candace wrote, "Rob, we love you" on a whiteboard and sat it in front of him, saying nothing.  He nodded...because he could read it.  The binder suddenly didn't seem like a very big deal.  He took the marker in his hand and seemed interested in writing something but couldn't do it yet.

Today was the first time he made an effort to mouth words.  He's opened his mouth before like he wanted to talk, but today he mouthed either "Help me out" or "Help me up".  So...they sat him up and he seemed happier.

There is something new each day and I know that he'll continue to make huge strides.  I have some thoughts that I'd like to share on this special miracle but I need a little more time to process it all and do it justice.  It's on my mind a lot and I want to make sure to use this experience in a positive way, as a wake up call for my own life.  Maybe it's a message for all of us?  To be continued... 



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quick Update

I'm on my way to the airport where I'll soon be trying to wrestle way too much luggage and a 3 month old squirmy boy onto an aircraft, so I'll give just a quick update now while I have a few more minutes in the car.

Rob is still breathing on his own and the ventilator has now even been removed from his room. His dialysis line has been removed because his kidneys are functioning again and he'll be getting a different feeding tube today so those last tubes can come out of his nose. This is big because now he'll be able to have more calories each day and an SLP can begin evaluating his ability to talk and eat, starting with a swallow study.

ICU patients who are down as long as Rob was often have to relearn many basic functions and movements. Everything we do involves the movement of muscles, and when muscles are sedentary for long periods of time there will be the need for rehabilitation. We're getting closer to understanding what type of rehabilitation he will need and where we'll go from here.

I have an updated picture of Shelby and The Beard, so we'll check in with him soon.

As always, thanks for hanging in there with us.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Breathing on His Own

The ventilator was turned off all day today...and Rob did just fine with it.  He had a successful four hour CPAP trial yesterday and they decided to give it a go today and see how he did.  The evening respiratory therapist said she's never seen anyone do so well with the changes they made for him in the last few days.  He now has an aerosol generator covering the trach, and his nurse has the ability to quickly put him back on the ventilator if needed.


I didn't go to the hospital today but hear that Rob was a little bit cantankerous.  We think he's really frustrated.  Mom asked if he knew he was in the hospital and that he was in an accident and he shook his head yes.  I guess we can quit telling him every time he wakes up now - I bet that was getting annoying!  He sat up in bed most of the day but I'm sure he has to be SO tired of lying there.   

We haven't talked next steps yet but imagine it's coming soon.  Tomorrow is Day 24 in the ICU and I would doubt there will be too many more, barring any major setbacks.

All of you fine folks reading this blog were pretty successful at praying Rob back to life, so I'm going to ask you to say another prayer for some new ICU patients today.  I have no details other than that Mom and Dad were shut into Rob's room late tonight because of a "situation", and there was a lot of commotion as they brought two patients into rooms and there were potentially two more coming.  I hesitated even posting this since I know so little about it, and because there are lots and lots of people who come in and out of the ICU.  What I do know is that there are people hurting in that waiting room tonight and a prayer for them can't hurt anything.        


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I'm finding that these posts on Rob are starting to get boring to write...which is more than okay with us! 

Rob's had another two good days in the ICU since I last updated.  He was pretty awake on Friday and yesterday seemed to be even more with us.  He did some big winking at the girls and seemed to really like it when Mom read him all his cards. 

I didn't recognize the second shift nurse last night and introduced myself to her during the 5:00 visitation.  I asked her if she'd ever had Rob before and she said, "No, but I know all about him.  He's quite the celebrity around here."  Not that being a celebrity in the ICU is a good thing, but I guess it's better than being the patient everybody dreads having (which still might happen as we get stubborn Rob back).  Mom told him about this exchange last night and he seemed quite pleased about it.  He's baaaaaack!

It's great that Rob's so awake now but it is also sometimes hard to see.  There are times when he will give us just the saddest look, or a look that seems to say he's tired of doing this.  He wakes up startled sometimes and whoever is with him will calm him down.  I'm guessing that there might be a long period of telling him over and over again what happened and where he is.  He was very interested in the machines last night and kept trying to turn his head to look behind him. 

The most encouraging, almost unbelievable, piece of news from yesterday is that they started his CPAP trials.  The CPAP trial is essentially when they turn off the ventilator and let him breathe on his own for a bit while monitored.  His trial yesterday lasted one hour and he did just fine with it.  I understand these trials to be the beginning of the end of the ventilator.  I don't dare make any I'll stop there. 

I guess this update wasn't boring after all. 

2012 is looking up for our family and we wish all of you a year of health, family, and prosperous times!