Chapter 2- Diagnoses
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
There was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child, during your trials and testings,
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
by- Mary Stevenson
As much as I want to say everything about my traumatic brain injury is over and done with I cannot. Not a single day goes by that I have to, “why me?” Should I look at this event as a blessing or curse? I know some might think that this is blasphemy for my actions while others think that this is a blessing in disguise. There are days when I like to think that yes I can do this but there are many other days when I just want to throw in the towel.
Not every day is a Sunday. There is no deeper truth than this. I did not write that my accident took place on a Wednesday, but the randomness of all that meant it could well have been a Sunday. Funny, you might think, but to be able to sit here now and write this after going through what I had endured, perhaps, I should allow a corny moment or two. Chapter two was written about my accident and journey through the hospital.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
It was a usual Wednesday night snowmobile trip with the guys: Dad, Chad, Ryan, John Corwin senior, Joe Wilke, and Uncle Paul.
“At 4:34 pm I was crossing Highway 41 on a snowmobile what I was hit by a pickup truck. The truck hit the front of the sled and then the mirror knocked my helmet off. I suffered severe head trauma. I was stabilized at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, Wisconsin. I was then flown to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, on the Eagle III flight for life.”
The doctors found from my computed tomography (CT) scan a one centimeter of abnormality high attenuation (e.g., the strength of bleeding) in the anterior lateral right basal ganglia likely representing a localized intracranial hemorrhage related to the recent trauma. There was a less than a five millimeter focus of increased attenuation of the deep white matter and left parietal occipital region. There are several areas of increased attenuation in the white matter. The blood spots were widely scattered throughout my brain. That may be an artifactual or may represent other tiny sheer injuries. There was no evidence of subdural epidural hematoma, skull fracture, or any amount of mucosal thickening of the left maxillary sinus, but no fluids had been seen in the sphenoid sinuses. Along with all of that there was extracranial soft tissue swelling on the left parietal region. There was some high density in the atrium of the left lateral ventricle probably representing left lateral intraventricular hemorrhage. The doctors found evidence of contusion left extracranial soft tissues with consistent with localized hemorrhage on the anterior lateral right basal ganglia. After suffering an injury the doctors examine my entire body for injuries due to the accident.
The chest exam showed the endotracheal to be in good position above the carina. The orogastric tube was in place. The heart and mediastinum showed no abnormalities on a supine chest view with my lungs appeared clear with no pleural effusion or pneumothorax. There was no fracture or other osseous in my pelvis, lumbar, and thoracic.
I was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and possible spinal cord injuries with internal injuries and broken bones had been ruled out; the three inch gash on my head was stapled shut. After several computed tomography (CT) scans, spinal cord injury was not likely. I was put into a drug induced coma.
An interview with my family doctor. He was one of the first medical professionals to be at a near by clinic may be 50 yards away from my accident on Highway 41 on January 28, 2004.
Chad: Can you please describe what you saw from my accident?
Dr. Post: When I saw you; you had just been hit by the pickup truck while crossing Highway 41. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) had not yet arrived. We steadied your head so we could make sure there may be no neck injury. I had my hands on the back of your skull and I could feel the bones moving around. There also was blood coming out of your ears. I thought you had a basal skull fracture at that time.
Chad: Can you interpret my cat scans?
Dr. Post: Yes, your cat scans showed trauma.
Chad: Well trauma is a very vague term.
Dr. Post: Yes, with a chuckle, trauma it is a very vague term. It is also important to note that CT scans can also be misleading. I say misleading because CT scans can rule out a lot of hemorrhaging but the scans do not tell the whole story.
Chad: Why is that?
Dr. Post: Because an injuries like that evolve, in other words, it is not just an injury that is is there one second and gone the next. The injury evolves into swelling that occurs and then the swelling shifts structures in the brain and can cause further damage.
Dr. Post: The initial CT scan showed no fracture of the cervical spine. The CT of the brain showed a one centimeter, a little less than ½ inch, of a hematoma, bleeding, free blood in your brain. A few areas that were smaller of bleeding, kind of a battering in the brain, that had been bleeding on the left side of your posterior parietal lobe. There was also some areas of punctate of hemorrhage.
Chad: What does punctate mean?
Dr. Post: Punctate means like the size of a pin.
Dr. Post: What that means is there was a slamming trauma and you had several areas that were bleeding.
Dr. Post: There was a question, because the doctors could not use contrast, whether there was hemorrhaging underneath the skull too. There also was air in your sinuses and the fracture.
Dr. Post: Then you had some swelling and bleeding under the scalp itself but not in the brain, so in other words, there had been several areas of bleeding on top of the skull, in your sinuses, and in the brain itself.
Dr. Post: If we compare it to a CT scan done in 2006 post injury there is no hemorrhaging, bleeding, swelling of the brain, and pretty much the mass effect was gone from the original CT scan. In other words, that showed those areas that had been affected by the trauma had healed. Furthermore, the gross or large lesions were healed but that does not mean that there was not an effect; that means that there was no further effect. Then in 2010 showing no change in your brain.
Chad: So it was shearing in my brain.
Dr. Post: You are correct, the brain bounces back and forth in your skull. When a skull is hit the brain slams on the opposite side and comes back and slams on that side. The brain bounces back and forth in the skull.
Chad: I was trying to think about other way to describe my situation to other individuals.
Dr. Post: Here is a way to think about an accident like yours. If you have a mass mold of Jello and you put it in tupperware and you violently shake it.
Dr. Post: What is your end result? A lot of jello pieces scattered throughout your tupperware. That is more what shearing is like.
Chad: On a scale from 1 to 10 what did you think I was going to live? One being I will put a Band-Aid on to 10 be I will die on the highway that day.
Dr. Post: I thought when I was holding your head I thought you were not going to live the day.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
The day was a whirlwind of tests. The good news was I was alive, but still in critical condition. No one from my medical team would tell my parents, “if” I would live. The first 24 to 48 hours are the most crucial. Dr. Walsch said the outcome was still unknown- twice he said, “dead” as a possibility. I had many supportive family and friends. My uncle Rob had Angie to the hospital by 8:30 AM. The bolt intracranial pressure device was put into my head and relieve pressure. Through the night, the scan results came back with no spinal cord breaks, but could be tendons or nerve damage. I was not responding to environment, no movement among left side, with little movement on my right side. There was no response to stimulus, my eyes did not dilate, I had a blank stare. While I remained in a deep coma my vitals are strong (e.g., heart, lungs, blood pressure, and temperature). The medical professionals gave me steroids to keep the swelling down. A follow-up study of my head was done with these findings: a left temporal parietal extra cavalier hematoma was slightly decreased and there was no associated skin stable present. I had scattered Paranasal sinus inflammatory changes. There was increased conspicuity of multi-punctate intraaxial foci of hemorrhage. These most prominently involved the left parietal occipital sub cortex. A dominant intra-axial hemorrhage involved my right putamen appeared stable. Intraventricular hemorrhage again layers within the left lateral ventricle and atrium. Ventricular cerebral swelling manifest as some effacement of sakai with no competition such as trans, tentorial, or uncil herniation was demonstrated. The echocardiogram report showed that my left ventricle and atrium was normal in size. My aortic, tricuspid, and mitral valve appeared normal with no pericardial effusion. My left ventricular function was normal and hyperdynamic. My valves also appeared normal. There was no sign of ventricular or atrial septal deficit. I weighed 165 pounds.
Friday, January 30, 2004
The CT scans showed substantial damage to the right side of my brain. I remained in a coma, on life-support, and on a ventilator. The prognosis was limited. The medical professionals still said that there was a strong possibility that I could die. My family and friends hearts are heavy with despair, the tears never ending, but the prayers are being heard. I was alive. My family could not lose sight that these first 48 hours are life/death minutes. Every minute is a blessing. The brain pressure bolt was removed. I had a feeding tube placed with the tip was curled in the fundus (e.g., stomach) and body of the tube near the antrum of the stomach. The chest portion exam showed to be stable. The head exam showed with expected subtle recovery, without any evidence of progression of new competition concerning, multiple intra-axial punctate hemorrhages related to axonal shearing injuries of both cerebral hemispheres. Hemorrhagic products again layers within dependent portions of the ventricular system, most prominently within the atrium of the left ventricle. The ventricle size and configuration appeared stable. There did not appear to be any morphological changes suggested transtentorial. Paranasal inflammatory changes appear stable. Left extracalvarial soft tissue swelling and laceration with skin stables was again demonstrated. The doctors told my family that I was not likely to survive the trauma to my brain. The prayers and support of many family and friends, I remained in a guarded condition.
Saturday, Wednesday, January 31, 2004
Today, the team of doctors thought I was fighting pneumonia/sinus infection. My family waited for the cultures to grow. Things we will not remind you of: my hair was cut off make you look nice. My father cheered and many thought I looked like Ryan. I had white leg supports with orange leg massagers to help flawed to avoid blood clots. The neck brace stays because of nerve and tendon damage until I wake up. Be doctors are informing my family that there is a strong chance that I could die or remain in a coma or vegetative state. My chest exam appeared consistent with previous findings. It was important to note that my tubes and catheter remained in place at the current time. The cranial conclusions had been consistent with previous findings. Then my family and friends had to wait by my bedside.
Sunday, February 1, 2004
It was Super Bowl Sunday, but everyone was cheering for me. I was in a stable condition which was a good sign. Dr. Garden, Green Bay Packer’s neurologist, answered endless questions from my parents.
Monday, February 2, 2004
I was opening one eye (e.g., left) 1/4 of the way. The nurse was testing to see if I could track a flashlight with my eyes. I can squeeze the nurses hand upon request. I was very agitated with tubes, noises, pokes, and easily upset when needles and suction devices were put inside me. Dr. Garden went through the MRI. I had substantial bleeding on my right side of my brain with many small spots throughout, also known as shearing. Dr. Garden asked the nurse and a lot of questions about medication.
Tuesday, February 3, 2004
My mother spent the night at the Altausa house and talked with nurse Margaret at 11 PM, 3 AM, and 6:30 AM. I had a restless night, I had an increase in Tylenol and Morphine with a fever of 100° to 101°. My mother drove my grandparents to the airport at 7:30 AM. When she arrived back at the hospital she saw many doctors and nurses in my room with gowns and masks. My mother’s heart was racing when the medical professionals discovered I had a staph infection in my spit. I was treated with antibiotics, the low-grade fever and agitation remains uncomfortable.
Wednesday – February 4, 2004
I continued to make “slow” progress. The doctors put a trachea in and the breathing tubes are connected through the neck tubes. The 7 AM surgery went as scheduled. With less amount of morphine. There was continual movement from my right arm and some in the right leg. I could move my left side response to pain. I lost 7.6 pounds already. My white blood cell count was at 6,000 which is slightly elevated. I continued on antibiotics.
Thursday, February 5, 2004
The medical team decided to add in my IV proteins and carbohydrates. The stitches in my head had been removed. I looked better, good color, and smoother movement. Briana made my heart race when she was talking to me. The nurses asked her to leave. The nurses added potassium but there still is so much sweating and agitated movement. I was sitting up in a lounge chair.
Friday, February 6, 2004
It was very difficult to keep myself rested. Both eyes were opened and close with a blank stare. It took two nurses who hold my arm down to change the dressing. I was such a fighter to get out of the arm restraint. I remained in a coma and on a ventilator. I was making minute steps to recovery. My family sat and waited for me to open my eyes.
Saturday, February 7, 2004
I was so disoriented that I tried to take out the ventilator. At 8 PM I was checked over by the nursing staff with the flashlight test. The second time I tried not to open my eyes when a nurse was holding my eyelids open. This was a good sign. I was very restful. The left side was starting to move more which was also a good sign.
Sunday, February 8, 2004
The doctors started to wean me off the ventilator. I was doing a great job with a little assistance from the machine. I seemed to rest during the day and become more active in the evenings. I had a lot of visitors at the hospital. My family tried to give everyone a chance to see me for his or her own healing during the difficult time. I have not had a bad day and was taking small steps toward recovery each day.
Monday, February 9, 2004
The doctors’ plan for me was to check on the tracheostomy position in my throat. I was now on moistured air. I had another allergic reaction to Vercil (e.g., an oral pain medication) where I got huge swollen lips. My blood tests showed that I did not need insulin. There was a slow leak due to placement of the tube. I used to have long flowing blonde hair but when I first arrived the physicians had to shave my head. I was slowly being taken off the ventilator later that evening and was breathing more and more by myself. I was coughing quite profusely, which is good, because it means I was cleaning out my lungs. My family would turn on my “Boston” cassette disc as I laid there still in an unresponsive stage of a coma. Tuesday the doctors’ planned to take me down for neck x-rays and do flex exercises before taking off the neck brace.
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
I had a restful night. The physicians took neck x-rays and gave neck exercises. If I pass the test the doctors will take the neck brace off. The doctors and nurses at St. Vincent Hospital have been spectacular! The trac was causing concern by not healing and making me more agitated to get the foreign substance are of my body. I was breathing more independently. My mother went home to Katie’s basketball game.
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
I was off the ventilator and breathing on my own with a tracheotomy. I was scheduled to have a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (e.g., feeding tube) placed into my stomach. I will then have the feeding tube removed from my nose. The physicians are thinking of moving me out of intensive care unit to across the hall to another observation room intermediate care unit.
In the room next to mine a patient passed away.
Thursday, February 12, 2004
I was still in an unresponsive state to commands; unable to squeeze hands or move my toes. I was out of the intensive care unit and lie in a intermediate care unit room. I had a much larger room across the hall. I now had nothing (e.g., shunt, neck brace, or feeding tube in my nose) in my face area. The plan for today was to make sure everything was working in the stomach area from the percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy and to start the tube feeding (e.g., protein, vitamins, and carbohydrates) again to keep up my weight.
Friday, February 13, 2004
I was slowly making progress, which was not like my personality at all. I was still in a non-responsive state to stimulus. Thursday night I was having a difficult time with the tracheostomy tube, healing too soon, so the doctor replaced it with a different model. I was doing much better when I coughed and swallowed with the new tube. I received physical and occupational therapy daily, along with my mother and father doing the same exercises throughout the day. I found loud music to be soothing while I listened to my music and books like “Harry Potter.” There had been two nurses and doctor Post at the scene immediately after the accident on January 28th. A special thanks goes to those individuals who assisted at the scene of the accident; it helped save my life.
Saturday, February 14, 2004
My family continued to wait for me to awake. I would open my eyes slightly and have more movements with my hands. I had a busy night, trying to pull out the tracheostomy and had it half way out to be caught by my parents. It looks like my body is healing quickly and the doctors cannot get it back into the front of my neck. My family had to wait and see if the physicians could remove it completely or wait until my regular doctor came back on Monday. I was working up a sweat trying to get the tubes away from my head. I got to watch/listen to the “Simpsons” and my family had my cassette discs blaring loud music when I was more active last night.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
When in a coma time is always essential; so I took as much time as needed. The doctors told my family to learn patience. The process of waking from a coma is a long and slow recovery. It is common to take weeks or months. It has been two and half weeks and my family felt blessed. My family continued to do rehabilitation on me. The physicians say a coma patient can hear, even though he or she may not respond, so my family continued to have the visitors come and talk to me. My cousin, Jamie, eight years old, sat and fell asleep by my bedside holding my hand.
Monday, February 16, 2004
The doctors are thinking about moving me out of the intermediate intensive care unit and removing the tracheostomy sometime this week. I was starting to open my eyes briefly and move my right (e.g., to move things out of my face) hand. I was still weeks away from coming out of the coma. The biggest threat to my recovery was pneumonia, blood clots, and nosocomial infections. I lost over 15 pounds, one day the medical staff tried to pump my body full of protein, vitamins, etc. of 3600 calories. I was still getting 2400 calories a day; I needed those supplements to continue to heal. I received a football banner, a Marinette Marines blanket, and my football jersey number four. On my bed was a quilt with pictures from the Thunder hockey team. A special thanks to Robin Hook, the ER nurse at the scene of the accident.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
My parents arrived early to the hospital. I was starting to make some noise, groans at the nurses when the staff tried waking me up early in the morning. The physicians are doubling my therapies starting today. It looks like the medical staff has stopped my weight loss; I was down over 15 pounds.I stood with assistance and supported about 30 percent of my weight. Although I was opening my eyes for extended periods of time, I was still weeks away from “waking up”. There are many stages of a coma; I still had a long way to recover. The doctors reminded my family and friends daily that I was very lucky to be alive after the severe trauma to my brain. Thanks for all the support from family, friends, and our community. An important quote at that time was, “It takes a village to raise a child -has a new meaning to my family and me.”
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
My mother warned the nurses to enjoy my silence while I was resting. I kept pulling out the tubes that supported my systems. The doctors finally took the tracheotomy out and turned off the humidifier. I pulled at my stomach tube and stitches. The medical staff are back to tying down my hands. The next stages of a coma was mass confusion and hyperactivity to figure out what was going on. The doctoring staff tells my family that I must go through these stages in order to get things organized in my brain. I would also like to thank Sandy Ermis, the other nurse at the scene of the accident.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
I got to watch the Orange County last night with close friends. The team of doctors had been starting to consider moving me down to the rehabilitation floor. I continued to be more aware of my surroundings.
Friday, February 20, 2004
My hands had been active and last night I pulled out my feeding tube. The medical professionals had to perform surgery to get a new feeding tube put back inside me. The operation turned out to be fine but this was a coma patient. I finally moved on Friday, down to 2nd floor at St. Vincent. This was considered to be the rehabilitation floor. It took a whole day to move everything down to my room. I still remained in a non-responsive to commands coma but was still making progress daily to move to the next level. I had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. The rehabilitation team was trying to make me stand (e.g., four people holding on) to stimulate myself during physical therapy.
Saturday, February 21, 2004
I still was in a non-responsive to commands coma. I was very tired in the afternoon after the move. It was a tough day for the rehabilitation therapists because I still was in a non-responsive coma. I slept through everything. I will hopefully wake up soon and start the long and treacherous road to recovery.
Sunday, February 22, 2004
There are eight levels, using the Los Ranchetos Scale, of coma patients and I remained at level three. I had five more levels to go in order to benefit from rehabilitation. I was still in a deep coma and non-responsive to commands. There are a lot of rumors going around in Marinette. Here was my current condition: I was opening my eyes more frequently, but I was not standing, walking, talking or eating regular food. I did not truly know what was going on or have the ability to focus on certain activities. I needed this time to heal from the trauma to my brain. The teams of doctors are trying to stimulate me to wake up and move up on the coma response levels but there was no time frame. The physicians just had to hope that I will come out of the coma. My friends and family continued to talk and visit in hopes that I would wake up.
Monday, February 23, 2004
The first day of rehabilitation from a catastrophic injury was immense. I had six sessions of various activities. Most of it had been evaluations, but the therapists had to find out that I have a long way to recover, even though, success was easy to measure. My family and friends just had to work on stimulating my brain cells to form new synapses in order for the rehabilitation process to continue. I will be working the hardest I ever had to worked in my life. As I worked my way out of the coma, my family continued to be by my side, the reader can just guess how dark and scary it must be for my family and friends.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The physicians are asking my family to limit visitors to two at a time and for shorter periods. Rehabilitation was going to take all of my energy for the next few days. My immune system was very weak right now, so doctors are being overly cautious. My family was warned that I would from time to time have setbacks. I had a high grade fever(e.g., 102.1) and the medical professionals were not able to run tests to find the source. I will prevail but I had no rehabilitation today. I must have been worn out from yesterday.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I still remains in a non-responsive to commands coma. I still went to therapy throughout the day. The therapists are trying to stimulate my body to come out of the coma. My fever came back down to normal.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
The doctors think that one of my coma medications may have caused my high fever. I was starting the agitate stage. My mother spent the night here at my bedside in the hospital. The nurses did not even try. I continued to pull on tubes and annoy the nurses when he or she came into my room. The physicians tell my family this is a good sign of getting one more step closer to coming out of a coma.
Friday, February 27, 2004
I was struggling with a high fever again and the doctors have called in a specialist to find the source. I had tests all day. I was in need of prayers, it worked in the past, hope it now works. I was in state of mass agitation and tried with all of my strength to pull out my IV. I pulled a total of four out yesterday. I was strong, but cannot keep this pace up without finding the source of the fever.
Saturday, February 28, 2004
I went back to therapy, but showing more signs of improvement. I would open my eyes more, but still had a dazed look on my face. The medical professionals still did not know the source of the fever, but the tests taken yesterday came back negative. The team thought it may have been one of my medications. My sister and Uncle Rob are watching over me. My parents did not know who will work harder that day the nurses that have to answer Angie’s questions or me.
Saturday, February 28, 2004
It looked like I may be heading into the next stage of recovery. I have become very agitated and continue to move around a lot. I had a good day at therapy and my team was starting to ask more of me. The therapists continue to work my muscles and stimulate my senses. This is all part of getting my brain and body to work together. The stage of agitation can be said to be very hard to see, and usually does not last long. Then a patient starts organizing his or her thoughts and raise levels of consciousness. The doctors hoped for this by next week.
Sunday, February 29, 2004
I had a day off of rehabilitation. I was still fighting a fever and the medical team continued to look for the source(s). I appeared to be more alert, looking around, and tried to rip out the IV again from my arm. The coma recovery remains a mystery to even the doctors. The physicians recommend to my family to be patient, I will get better. I tried my best to reach that level of consciousness to tell my family how frustrated was I. Until then, keep the faith. I have had very exceptional care from the staff at St. Vincent hospital. My family still could not thank all of the friends and family that have shown his or her support for this very difficult time for my family and me.
Monday, March 1, 2004
I was starting the climb to awareness and hopefully responsiveness. I seemed more alert and started to respond to simple (e.g., receiving assist to brush my teeth) commands. I still continued to struggle with a fever, but the medical professionals work with me until it gets in the way of progress. Tests keep coming back negative regarding: infections, illnesses, or some other causes. The therapy team continued to work with my muscle control. I was still in a coma, even though, I was moving more towards consciousness. I started rehabilitation session wearing a Hooters shirt. My mother would not let my friends hang it in my room until I could do it myself.
Tuesday, March 2, 2004
The month of February seemed to move very fast, even though, I was finally making notable improvements. The improvements might seem minor in the big scheme of things, but my level of awareness was growing. I still did not know where I was or who exactly are all these people around me, but I seemed more determined to interact with my surroundings. I must relearn to sit, stand, walk and even talk. When I got mad at the rehabilitation person, I would pinch him or her. I still was in a coma, in a level four on the The Rancho Los Amigos Scale, still four more levels to complete awakening. The goal for this week was to pass the swallow test and have myself some pop. I enjoy ice water on a sponge toothbrush, simple pleasures! The doctor, later that day, placed a request to have an extra nurse to keep an eye on me, in other words, I still am still very agitated and busy. I still have not slept for more than 30 minutes, usually only 10-15 minutes for a couple of days. My mind was on overload and was hard to slow down. This was a good sign because the physicians said I must go through this in order to get to the next stage. All but the feeding tubes have been pulled out; I used to fight the nursing staff even when when he or she tried to even take my blood. http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/documents/traumasurvivors/files/The%20Rancho%20Los%20Amigos%20Scale.pdf
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
I was in a coma but making baby steps in my rehabilitation sessions. I would start rehabilitation at 9:30 am (e.g., from six to seven sessions in physical, recreational, occupational, speech, and neurology) until 3:00 pm each day. My temperature was 100.1 degrees Fahrenheit and did not go up so the medical professionals hoped that my temperature would continue to decrease. I was not responding to commands on a consistent level, however, I would inconsistently do some tracking of faces with my eyes. I was very agitated with my right hand and was not sleeping. I staged all parts of a coma.
Wednesday, March 3, 2004
The rehabilitation sessions was all about getting into and out of a car. Part of my sensory stimulation was going outside, in the fresh March air, and getting into the car. I still remained in a coma but was making baby steps each day. The doctors, therapists, and nurses had been extremely happy with my progress. I still continue to have about six rehabilitation sessions a day. Starting at 9:00 am and going until 3:00 pm. I still was in the agitated stage and got little sleep. I was a handful at that point of time. I did not respond to commands on a consistent basis but that will come with time.
Thursday, March 4, 2004
I had been busy all morning in therapies. The therapists found that I could be stubborn at times. I would try and rest in between sessions. I still continued to get little sleep. My temperature stayed low, but continued to make me feel ill. I took a trip to the Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin with the recreation therapist. My braces remained my biggest distraction right now with a lot of sores in my mouth. In my free time, I would enjoy watching cartoons! My family got together some of my old videos hoping to help with the amnesia. I reached a new level of therapy; the team put my body into a walker to see if my brain cells could remember how to move. I took a few steps with assistance, the first sign of recovery. On my third attempt I took 8 steps. It seems like only yesterday it was January, a time when my family could hear the complaints of Chad the tease, Chad the tough guy, and Chad the kind hearted! As I battle to reach a level of consciousness, it reminds us of how much every individual takes for granted. It is very confusing to everyone, how a person can open his eyes, but cannot really see. Coma – a state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be awakened or aroused, even by powerful stimulation; lack of any response to one’s environment. It is defined clinically as an inability to follow a one-step command consistently.
Friday, March 5, 2004
I had another first by eating dish of ice cream and drinking pop. For supper I tried some mashed potatoes and peaches. It was a mess trying to get me to eat food. I did not like potatoes probably because of the texture. I had some friends stop by the hospital: Jeri, Stevie, Briana, and Ben. My friends gave my parents time away to go out for dinner. I still was somewhere between awake and asleep, I would not respond to commands, but I was starting to get some simple things. I still could not walk, talk, stand, feed, or dress myself, the list was very extensive of things I could not do. I had some very dedicated friends and hospital staff that will help me recover.
Saturday, March 6, 2004
I ate meatloaf, pears, and a bunch of popsicles. Mr. Stauss came to rehabilitation that day, using his football voice to get me to work harder with for my therapists. Mr. Berg could not help me fast enough with the popsicles. I had some new skills (e.g.,clicking the Bic pens with my thumb and then switches to clicking with my finger), or turning on or off a flashlight. I gave Mrs. Stauss the peace sign and now did it when the rehabilitation team would ask me too. My family and recovery team knew that I was starting to get more aware of my surroundings; I would have to relearn new things each day. I still need to work on the simple things like sitting up, feeding myself, and talking. The little steps to recovery started to add up.
Sunday, March 7, 2004
Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest. My recreational therapists took me for a ride in the car to the Wildlife Sanctuary. The rehabilitation team wanted to get as much familiar things around to stimulate my memory and create more awareness. I got to watch the cars, birds, snow fall, and fed the geese and ducks. Mr. Stauss and my family made sure I was motivated for rehabilitation. My cousin Jake and Aunt Sandy visited for the weekend.
Monday, March 8, 2004
I was working to regain some of my daily care (e.g., getting dressed) but I would rather rest than work. It was hard to sleep in the hospital, but I would take short naps in between therapy sessions. During my physical therapy session I worked on my gross motor skills (e.g., ability to move my leg or arm on command) and in speech therapy I was looking around more and seemed to recognize a few familiar faces. I like some of the hospital food (e.g., quesadillas) but would rather prefer homemade food.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
I started to regain my appetite. I ate my breakfast: scrambled eggs, a pancake, sausages, a banana, and grape juice. I was starting to independently eat popsicles. I was woke up early to have an ultrasound test taken of my liver. I have started to eat pureed food because my liver enzymes had been slightly up in count. I was very tired during morning physical therapy because of my behavior which was frustrating for my mother and father. Individuals may know that if I was not in the mood to do something I was surely not going to do it. I still continued to have physical, occupational, and speech therapy in the morning and afternoon.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
I still was somewhere in between a coma and being able to follow simple commands. A special thanks to my friends that came to visit because it would break up my nights. My friends got to help with my first hair cut in weeks. I still had a hard time sleeping, but that will come with time. I almost reached the point of getting most of my food by mouth. This was a colossal step, the next step would be getting better at feeding myself!
Thursday, March 11, 2004
In therapy, I kicked a soccer ball and used a cane to practice my hockey skills. I needed little enthusiasm to take a cane and hit a ball. Not enough like real hockey. I was slowly gaining some skills, but struggles to repeat activities for an extended period of time. My sister and her friend hung out in my room and bugged me. A little payback from all the times I used to annoy her. My family and I want to thank everyone who has taken the time and energy to bring a little Marinette comfort to my room. My family has had Brother’s Three pizzas, Mickey Lou’s hamburgers, and homemade snacks and bars from various individuals.
Friday, March 12, 2004
I took my first big road trip to the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association State High School Tournament in Ashwaubenon, to cheer on the Marinette and Menominee Thunder. I was still the leading scorer for the team, I sure wished I could have helped my fellow players. I was able to watch the action, but got tired towards the end of the game. I was able to go out on the ice in a wheelchair after the game. My right side still continues to progress slowly, but my left side was severely delayed from the head trauma. My parents are working on having me turn on the television and changing channels because if I needed help I would forget to push the nurse’s button.
Saturday, March 13, 2004
I moved into the next step of recovery. I saw a neurologist doctor (e.g., Dr. William Hitch) that I will be working with over the next couple of years. The doctor did not use the Rancho Los Amigos scale, but said that he was very pleased with my progress. I was now in the Post traumatic Amnesia (PTA) stage: PTA is the period of time after a patient emerges from a coma that he or she has no continuous memory from day to day events. I will be working at getting my memory back during this stage. The final stage is having the ability to learn and apply new concepts or skills. The neurologist expects me to continue to progress, and said the brain still remains a mystery. He has seen patients with less trauma recover very slowly and others with more trauma recover amazingly quick, there is no rule to predict the rate of recovery.
Sunday, March 14, 2004
My family and I got up early this morning to see my hockey team’s last game of the season. I showered and was dressed for the game by 9:30 am. The team had me out on the ice after the hockey game for pictures; it brought tears to every individual at the game to see my teammates pay such high respect for a fallen teammate. After the game, my parents were hoping to get me tired enough to get much needed sleep. The doctors are finally treating my headaches; doctors say after a coma it is like a 24 hour seven days a week migraine. The next big goal was to get me to communicate with words. Medical professionals say that high emotional (e.g., swear words) would come back first.
Monday, March 15, 2004
I seemed to have progressed out of the coma, but still am not yet able to do most of the things the outside world take for granted. A patient could remain in the Post Traumatic Amnesia stage for a long time, it is a slow process of regaining past memories. I was just starting to react to my surroundings and could identify some people. I still could not do many things by myself (e.g., sit, walk, talk, dress, and eat) and my left side of my body is not able to move because of the severe trauma to the right side of his brain. My right side is starting to get some of its muscle tone back, but I had very little range of motion and no balance to help sit, walk, or even stand. People who visited the hospital can see the tiny bits of improvements, but for those who rely on the word-of-mouth updates are easily confused about my recovery. I could not tell the reader how much my parents have learned from the doctors and nurses at the hospital. In other words, the road is long and excruciating to recovery! In fact, most individuals with a traumatic brain injury are never be the same.
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
I started to have an attitude during therapy. There are things I liked and definitely things that I did not like during my sessions. The therapists have resorted to photos of hunting and fishing or bribing me to stretch further for money. I could answer some simple questions with a yes or no. Angie was home for the week and kept the nursing staff on point. I listened to her on the phone last night and hung up on her twice. Briana called and I did not hang up on her. Briana was my girlfriend at the time. I started to eat more normal foods (e.g., macaroni and cheese, green beans, and a cookie) no more pudding and blended food. I made some very soft sounds came out and the speech therapist was hopeful that I would find my voice. I stood with only two people at my sides, down from four people the first couple of times.
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
It looks like another good day. My mother and father had to go back to work so Angie had to come to the hospital and stay with me. My parents had to coordinate his or her time with me at the hospital. My mother was at the hospital Monday and Wednesday in the morning and my father was there Thursday and Friday. I was awake enough to try to get out of the wheelchair and could almost succeed. I could not walk or sit by myself, but that did not seem to affect my efforts. I was able to make more decisions for myself and let it be known I was not happy. Now the real work starts for the staff, I am determined to become the old Chad!
Friday, March 19, 2004
I started talking, and could answer simple questions. I could just a whisper. I answered with one-word or short answers (e.g., McDonald’s hamburger) which was for supper, first since January. I was starting to get some of my memory back. It was very frustrating because it was hard to follow along with what had been going on around me. My parents are limiting my activities and visitors because I work so hard during my therapies throughout the day. I need all of my strength to work on walking, sitting up, and standing; basic skills had to be relearned.
Saturday, March 20, 2004
I definitely was out of the coma. I could understand some of what was going on around me. I whispered ever so softly a few words and could say “Hi,” “I love you,” and knew the names of a few of my family and friends. I had a surprise visitor Kenya, my dog. Kenya hopped right up into my bed and we had a nice reunion. I could of got easily agitated and frustrated with the activity going on around me, but that did not occur when my dog was next to me. My family would ask how I was feeling and I replied, “bad.” It was still a painstaking road to recovery.
Sunday, March 21, 2004
I did not want to eat hospital food. My father asked, “what do you want to eat?” I replied, “McDonald’s.” My father drove to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger, french fries, and a chocolate shake. My father, recreational therapists, and I went for a walk in a wheelchair outside to get some fresh air. When we were in the sun it was nice but as soon as we got into the shade I began pulling at my jacket collar trying to get it better around my neck because of the cold air. My rehabilitation team was talking in the near future about getting me in a swimming pool. Before my accident, I loved going into the families hot tub at home so I hope the pool is warm. My sister has been here all week for her spring break and was going back tomorrow to Minnesota. Every time my sister left I was saddened because she is a good nurse and mother to her little brother. Thanks for all your love and caring it means a lot to my mother and father.
Monday, March 22, 2004
Monday means a return to the busy therapy schedule. I consistently was asking to go home. My therapy team wants to take me swimming on Wednesday to work on balance. I asked my absolutely amazing speech therapist, Colleen, if I could have Doritos, Frito’s and grapes. She upgraded my diet to more common foods of a teenager. After recovering from a coma, most people go through an agitate stage, aggression is common, then depression. My family could see the depressive symptoms. When my father or mother asked how I felt, I would reply with the words, “I’m bad.” I hated: the hospital food, missing out on sophomore year, losing friends, my popularity, my intelligence, or losing what seemed like everything. I still talked softly, whispered short answers but, on the brighter side, information started to come back to me.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
The rehabilitation team added more therapy sessions to my already busy day. I was getting tired of working and just wanted to go home. I no clue on how far I had to recover in order to go home. I had to find the inner strength to keep working. I still could not gain weight, but the nurses have found some food that I will eat. I was expressing much anger at my nurses and therapists, but he or she just had to brush it off; another sign of recovery. I met another traumatic brain injury patient named Megan, 17 years old that went through a lot of what I was going through at that time. I saw a video of Megan’s progression through therapy and my rehabilitation team said it would be a good tool to show progress.
Thursday, March 25, 2004
I did not make it to the pool on Wednesday because I was too preoccupied with my current therapies. My father stayed with me while my mother had to go to work. Briana and Ryan came to stay with me last night. My father and I talked a lot about all the things going on at home. I wanted to go home so bad. My family keeps telling me to keep working hard. My day will come when I will go home. Keep praying as I have a long road to recovery but each day I took baby steps toward my goal. In speech therapy my family talked about school and she asked if I would like to do some school work. I quickly replied, “NO!” What a surprise! The day will come when I will be back at school.
Friday, March 26, 2004
I had a very good day. I did a real nice job in all of my therapy workouts. I was using a machine for my arms and legs in physical therapy.My brother Ryan stopped to watch my therapy sessions. My brother watch me walk about 30 feet with the aid of therapists. My left side is still delayed but it will come with time. Dr. Fisher, my orthodontists, was nice enough to stop by the hospital and check on my braces. Everything looked good and as soon as I get home I could the braces off. My brother and I were throwing the tennis ball to each other. I still have a better arm than him.
Sunday, March 28, 2004
I started to struggle with sleeping at the hospital. I would ask my parents when I was going to go home. I was getting some movement out of my left arm and leg. I have a lot of work to get back to the physique I was at before my accident. Conversations with my friends are getting easier, but still a little fast for me to follow. I started to talk on the phone a bit, but the strength in my voice was soft. My day off was Sunday, but my father and I managed a trip to Fleet Farm to look over the fishing and hunting supplies; picked up a few fishing lures and hunting videos.
Monday, March 29, 2004
I started reading! I started out reading at the third grade level. Each day I would get a few messages off my Caringbridge website and I would read the postings with my mother or father. I know all my friends and would tell my parent about the ones he or she did not know. I enjoyed reading all the other individuals supportive messages. Please no more prayers, it makes me wonder why me? I did not remember what happened that day or that week, but I did know that I had to work the hardest I ever had to in order to go home to Marinette. My movement and strength on my left side was starting to come back but I still struggled with balance and stability. The accident happened two months ago and I have been out of a coma for two weeks and I made remarkable progress.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
I watched Star Wars II in the morning before therapy. I started therapy at 7:30 am and had an hour and half break for lunch. I was working at getting my voice heard, I became very upset when individuals could not understand me. I wanted to do the trip to Fleet Farm again, I kept saying I needed more hunting stuff for the fall.
Thursday, April 1, 2004
I was having fun in the pool for therapy on Wednesday. I could move my legs a little more freely in the water. Briana and Ryan came down from Marinette last night and brought supper, “McDonald’s.” Every time I saw Briana I would get a smile. Keep praying
Friday, April 2, 2004
I had fun playing jokes on Angie. I had the nurses wishing me a happy birthday, only to have me say “April Fools”. The old Chad was starting to come alive. As I got more control over my left side, the doctors discovered a broken collar bone and/or ligament tear, I was complaining of pain for many weeks. Pain recognition was a good sign that my feeling was returning to my left side. I was getting better at using my legs for walking; even though, I wanted the therapy team to start lifting weights for strengthening. My speech was improving, but needed to slow down when I am trying to get my ideas across. I set a goal to get out of the hospital in a month. It was a good goal to work for completing.
Saturday, April 3, 2004
The physicians discovered that I did have an injury to my shoulder, now that feeling was returning, I was in pain. The bone is sticking out and healing poorly.
Sunday, April 4, 2004
Angie was leaving after lunch but before she did she was doing exercises with me. My sister and I would take a quick walks to the door of my room. I still had severe pain in my shoulder.
Monday, April 5, 2004
The doctors finally took an x-ray of my shoulder and found that my clavicle was broken. The physicians found that I had broken my left collarbone and that may be the reason why I have not been moving it. Now that feeling is returning to that area the therapists are working it profusely. In speech therapy, I was working at whistling and winking at the cute nurses. I was using my Spanish vocabulary to be rude the nurse. My parents called Coach Blystone to discourage me from using Spanish for personal reasons, but I was pretty creative.
Tuesday, April 6, 2004
I was very anxious to return home. My parents first project was to get a room ready upstairs, right now, it has mauve carpet and pink curtains. My goal was to get the apple tree project started for my deer, my father will have to talk to Pete at the Feed Mill to get these ordered. Planting apple trees sounds like more work than therapy right now. My parents started video taping my progress in therapies, it was hard to see progress daily, but I continued to reach my goals each week. I was working on getting my voice loud like when Mr. Sitek would yelled, “Punt team” at football games. Small goals are great; balance still remained my biggest goal.
Wednesday, April 7, 2004
The therapist are surprised at the progress I was making, I was displaying “abstracting information.” I asked my speech pathologist to talk good about me at my evaluation today. I threatened to walk home yesterday if I did not get my Mountain Dew and Frito’s, and asked for Combos at 5:00 am (told the nurse she was mean for saying no). Jeri hung out with me for most of the day.
Thursday, April 8, 2004
Today my father and I are hanging out together. I did get frustrated with my own perception of lack of improvement but everyone here saw daily improvements. I did not understand time. Pete, Connie, Ryan Hass and I got together the night before to talk about my apple trees. I guess the group planted 10 trees. Briana and Ryan were also at the hospital to keep me company. I sure liked it when my brother and girlfriend were at the hospital with me. The hotel from hell, as I call it, getting old but it made me work that much harder to get out. Ken and Tammy Vieth came to see me.
Friday, April 9, 2004
I will spend Easter at the hospital with my family and cousins from Minnesota. My family will figure out something to do (e.g., traditional Easter egg hunt). Looking for the golden money eggs can keep anyone entertained. I said goodbye to Briana who was off to Florida for the week. I was starting some school work next week with Mr. Berg. My eye sight is slowly improving, but I want Oakley’s sunglasses. My taste has not gotten any cheaper, I did not want any watch either, after my family laughed about wanting a Rolex watch, he settled on a Fossil. There are some memories my family wished I would forget.
Saturday, April 10, 2004
I did occupational, physical, and speech therapies early this morning in hopes of going on a road trip to Gander Mountain. I walked with assistance in hopes to get in shape for the long walk to Marinette. I was easier to motivate when I knew it involves going home. Time was what helped me, but in the hospital time seemed to stand still.
Sunday, April 11, 2004
He has risen! Happy Easter! It was a great day to celebrate and give thanks to Jesus our Lord and Savior. I have been in the hospital for 73 days, and know that it will not be much longer. I have been out of the coma for a month and have made miraculous improvements. My family was truly thankful for my progress. Each day my parents and I learned how important family and friends are in life; especially when in a crisis. Videos, food coupons, gas cards, gift cards, have helped my parents bring a little bit of Marinette to me in Green Bay. I want to extend a special thanks to my friends for keeping me included in his or her thoughts over these past months. An extra thanks to Ken and Tammy Vieth who took me to Hooters, Pete and Connie at Marinette Farm and Garden, and the list goes on for all the videos, blizzards, Culvers, McDonalds, Krolls, and Mickey Lou’s. My family and I want to extend a thanks to all, including the contributors to Altrusa home; Park PTO $350, Merryman Elementary $1000, 10 boxes of supplies from Park School, three boxes from Community Lutheran Church, and Marinette Middle School started a collection after spring break. Marinette and Menominee schools that sent money; my mother used this to purchase my new shoes and clothes for rehabilitation sessions, snacks, and gas for my sister that came to visit. Marinette Youth Baseball Incorporated sent a contribution to the Caringbridge. My mother’s Bunco group that sent money which was used to supply my mother with her new hobby of knitting scarves for friends and family. All these things are greatly appreciated and warmly welcomed. The list was long and my family and I could not forget Marinette and Menominee Thunder hockey, Trainer Mark Husen, Megan, and Mark Adams, Marinette High School teachers and coaches, and the endless prayer chains from all over the world. He is risen! Happy Easter!
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
I had fun playing cards with Hans and Ben. My favorite therapist was Colleen Busche, she would challenge me in our therapy sessions. She won an award as Speech Therapist of the the Year in Wisconsin! I was starting to see improvements, and was getting ready to get out of here. I could sit by myself for short periods of time and my balance was getting better. Standing and walking are getting easier, but my left leg still makes it difficult. I had a remarkable sense of humor and kept my cool when things got hectic.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
I started at 7:30 am this morning and did not have a break until 5:00 pm except for lunch. The therapy team had me going to the pool. I have an attention span of about five minutes unless it was a video or my friends. My mother and I went for a walk in my wheelchair to see the Altrusa home. Next week my goal was to walk with only one person helping my weak side, the balance is getting better. I do not know where I was putting all the food, but I did gain four pounds last week, hope its muscle.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
My father and I are spending the day together while my mother went home to get some rest. I had a busy day planned which started at 8:15 am and goes until 3:00 pm with my rehabilitation. Mr. Berg was coming today at 3:30 pm and will do some school work with me until 5:30 pm. I missed Briana who was in Florida on vacation. Briana called every night and we talked for a long time. Briana and I talked about the show “Orange County”. During physical therapy I sat and balanced for six minutes by myself. I was walking with the aid of two therapists. It will take some time but I was getting my balance back. I could not wait to get home to see my dog Kenya, water my new apple trees that UP Whitetails donated, and see Briana.
Friday, April 16, 2004
My father and I will spend the morning together then my mother will arrive to the hospital. Half of my Junior/Varsity baseball team was at the hospital. Mr. Berg showed up at the hospital and started some school work. My attention span was very short so Mr. Berg had his work cut out for him. Trainer Mark also showed up last night to see how I was doing with my room exercises. Mark and I get along great. When the phone rings I was on it fast. I used to tell everyone that “his” trainer was at the hospital to make me work harder. Thanks Mark! Another exciting day of rehabilitation in store for me so was time to get to work.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
The day started out early with three therapies in a row. Then Coach Berg came for some school work. I told my friends last week that he or she was lucky to be in school. Jeri and Stevie stopped by last night and that made my day. My two friends brought Krispie Creme Doughnuts. My Uncle Paul and Aunt Kelly had come from Marinette to take me to Hooters restaurant. I could not get enough of the chicken wings. Ryan plans on bring Kenya down this weekend. I wanted a picture on the internet with his best friend, Kenya! I set a goal of being home by May and that might just be possible.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
The new things about my progress: I can now sit unassisted for longer times, stand for 15 seconds without any help from a therapist, started to walk down the hallways, but still needed a lot of help on my left side. The rehabilitation team got a cane for me to use, but I needed more help with the walking stick before I can try it by myself. I still continued to work hard and was looking at goals to get out of the Hotel from Hell. I started to move my left arm. I could move my arm about 6-12 inches, but struggled with getting my leg to help with walking.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Angie was in Green Bay and I am always excited to see her. I can sit by myself which was extremely exciting news. The therapists have me standing with a cane for support. In the morning rehabilitation session I stood for one minute. The team was trying to have me walk with the aid of the cane for balance while a physical therapist was holding my gait belt. I kept telling my parents that I was working my “butt off”. I was concerned about my eyes because I could not read print clearly. The farther away I was the more blurry the object. The doctors feel my eyesight will come in time. If the reader has not picked up a key word was that many times in these journals the word “TIME” comes up. Friday I went back to Marinette to get my braces off. I was asking to stop by my house to look at his new apple trees. I was happy to have Briana back from Florida. Each Wednesday the hospital staff decided what the future holds for me. Keep praying
Friday, April 23, 2004
I was ecstatic to be going back to Marinette to get my braces off my teeth. My father and I planned on stopping off at home after my orthodontist appointment. Then it was back to the hospital for rehabilitation. The doctors said it will be about two to three weeks before I will be released from the hospital. The physicians are starting to give some new medications (e.g., Botox shots) to help relax my distonic muscles, in other words, hypertone on his left side. Jeff, my physical therapist , felt this should help with my muscles when I tried to walk.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
While my father and I went home to Marinette for the day. I was all smiles after I got my braces off prominently and being home. My favorite speech pathologist person, Colleen, returned from getting her state speech award so I was overjoyed. She brought back with her “Lord of the Rings” in larger print. Colleen and I are going to read this book together.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
I had an eye appointment and things are getting better with my sight. My parents got a chuckle over the paper glasses the optometrist gave me to wear. For summer school I am having the book (e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird) read to me. I was an avid reader before, I still had the “Lord of the Rings” book on my bookshelf at home. I would of given anything to be back at school. I was getting better at transferring in and out of the car. While in Marinette I saw a person who had suffered from cancer. Her name was Amy. Amy was returning to school very soon and I was envious of her. My mother reminded me about how long she has been out and how hard the road has been for her. Good Luck Amy
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
My parents were just down to having help me walk short distances and move about in my room. This was a step up from always having the nurses be the one to give help. Angie was coming again on Wednesday, she enjoys the hands on learning that her I give her.
Friday, April 30, 2004
I had my daily therapy. It is getting boring being in the hospital everyday. This weekend my father was trying to arrange a trip to the cabin by Twin Bridge. I loved the outdoors and liked to go to the cabin. My mother will have to see if boy’s (and grandma) keep me over night. If there is a problem my parents and I will just drive back late Saturday. Keep me in your prayers and hug your children!
Monday, May 3, 2004
I had a great time at my cabin this past weekend. I saw a mother bear and three cubs and lots of deer. How long have I missed my grandmother’s homemade cooking? It is very difficult to go back to the hard work of therapies and the isolation of the hospital. I was starting a count down of the days till I got out of the hospital. It looks like my check out date will be Friday, May 14, the families lucky number! I will be going home in a wheelchair, but the therapists at the hospital suspect that I will be walking this summer. I was starting to get more of his memories back and enjoyed hearing from my friends. I finally remembered my Hotmail email password.
Tuesday, May 4, 2004
It got to be harder to be inside these past days when the sun was shining. My therapists are giving more good marks as I keep improving. My friend Ben helped in and out of the car by himself, and my mother knew that the two together could be an interesting tag team. I could not wait to go for a ride when Ben gets his license, that is a scary thought (turkeys beware). Briana and Ben took me to Fazolis for dinner.
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
I went on a road trip to Marinette to watch the JV baseball team play Depere. It was hard to go back to the hospital. The countdown was started, only nine more nights in the hospital. I was starting to work on walking with a cane, the left side refuses to cooperate enough to make it easy. Always things to work on.
Thursday, May 6, 2004
My father and I spent the day in rehabilitation together. Wednesday night Chad & Dad watch the Brewer’s blow another game in extra innings. Only eight more days in the Hospital from Hell. My parents and I will have to drive down to Green Bay each day to continue my rehabilitation sessions. It will be hard for my family to coordinate someone to drive me down to Green Bay but it will be nice to come home and sleep in my own bed with my dog Kenya. Today my father has to leave to go back to to coach the varsity baseball team for the game against Seymour. After the game my father will drive back down.
Friday, May 7, 2004
I could not wait for Saturday! I will be able to come home for the weekend. Sleep in my own bed, next to Kenya, the things we took for granted in the past. My father will have to make steak on the grill for Saturday night meal. I could not wait to see Briana at home. I planned to help my father and brother move lawn furniture on the deck. After this weekend we will be on the home stretch for staying at the hospital. FRIDAY, MAY 14TH IS THE MAGIC DAY! I will have to make a visit up to fourth floor Intensive Care Unit and Intermediate Intensive Care Unit to visit the nurses that saved my life. I wanted to walk into the Intensive Care Unit to show the doctors and nurses. I will need some assistance as I still struggled with my balance. My parents and I will learn the stretch of Highway 41 since we will be traveling daily for rehabilitation five days a week. Keep up the prayers as I have a long road to recovery.
Saturday, May 8, 2004
I was in heaven. I was home for the weekend, sleeping in my own bed with Kenya. My parents were home for only five minutes and I wanted to go to Farm & Garden to see Pete, Connie, Deb & Grandpa. I was not there for more than two minutes and the staff had me working the cash register. I only worked for an hour but I was in my glory. Thanks to Marinette Farm & Garden! I already told my parents that I will have to go to work next Saturday. Sunday night I have to go back to the hospital but I knew that it will only be five days and I will be home for good. Saturday night was my night to pick supper so we had steak & shrimp. I have never seen anyone eat like him. Briana came to supper and that made me very happy. I was constantly calling her and talking about her. I really cared for her. She has been very supportive throughout my condition. She is one great young lady. Starting May 17th I will be going to rehabilitation five days a week in Green Bay from 9:00 am to 11:30 am. My parents will have to setup a driving schedule to get me to the hospital. It sure was nice to see me smile again!
Sunday, May 9, 2004
I slept in until 8:00 am, usually it was 6:30 am, and had my favorite breakfast of bacon & eggs. Sunday afternoon Mr. Berg stopped by to do school work for two hours. I enjoyed the challenge of school. It was a lot tougher than before but school was coming back. I still continued to heal. Sunday night he will return to the hospital with my mother. Friday, May 14, was the date I will be home for good after my therapies. Keep praying so I make a full recovery. Happy Mothers Day!
Monday, May 10, 2004
I have been here at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay since January 28, 2004 and cannot wait for May 14 to come. I came out of the coma on March 15, in just under two months I am going home! I now know about true courage and strength. There is not a day that go by that I do not ask the difficult question “WHY ME?” The hardest thing to deal with is the healing process of the brain. My parents and the doctors keep saying that it takes a long time for the brain to heal. I am at great risks of falling back into a coma or dying, should I injure my head again before it has time to heal. I am only about 1/3 of the way healthy and there is so much more that I want to be able to do. I have not and probably never will learn patience. After being away from home so long, I cannot explain how well my own room will feel. I often have bouts of depression over the fun times that I have missed and the sports that I can never play again. I have awesome friends and family.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
I am making fantastic progress, even though I have a long way to independence. I will be going home in a wheelchair only temporarily and as upsetting as that was to me. My brain continues to work with balance and a fall would be life threatening. I will be receiving speech, physical and occupational therapies and will continue throughout the summer. Pray for lower gas prices, as my family and I travel to the best head trauma place to be is in Green Bay.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
The packing has begun! I was already to get out of here and set up my stuff at home. I have made outstanding gains, but would rather run that walk out of here. The wheelchair remains my greatest disappointment, but the therapists say it is only temporary. I enjoyed talking on the phone to some of my friends last night, it makes the time go faster and easier to connect up with him or her. I have missed so much. It’s great to see my friends take the time and effort to make him laugh again! Only two more days.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
I was released from the hospital! Dr. Turba gave the clearance for me to go home. I still had my regular rehabilitation schedule today. I visited the Intensive Care Unit and Intermediate Care Unit to see all the nurses that took care of me. It is important to note that I still have a lot of work but it was be nice to be home. My family and I drove every day for rehabilitation (e.g., physical, speech, occupational, and neurology) starting on Monday. My parents would not tell me where I was going, but ended up at the Packer Stadium. Mark made a call to Red Batty (Packer’s equipment manager) who gave us a guided tour of the facilities. My family, friends, and I got some souvenirs. I even got an autograph football from my idol Brett Favre. I even had his picture taken with Brett Favre’s game jerseys, both home & away, plus his red practice jersey. Thank you Mark Hussen for everything that you have done for my family thus far. A huge thanks goes to Bob Harlan in the Green Bay Packers organization for the Stadium tour.
In conclusion, I writing this because I want my audience realize that life is much bigger than one thinks. If we all lived in a plastic bubble and never experienced a truly sincere benefits of life; it would be pretty dismal. I also want to thank from the bottom of my heart every single person that has given some form a helping hand in my continual recovery.