May 14, 2015 - 1 Year Anniversary as a TBI Survivor
A year ago today one of the most precious gifts god can give us, my son , was on the brink of death following a car accident on the way home from college with one of his best friends Edwin at 3 pm. The words that follow were written by a close friend of Patrick's and I could not have said it better myself. God Bless you, Lyla.
"A year ago today, I thought Patrick got into a minor accident. I thought I would go to the hospital, talk to him, give him a hug, and talk about the shit we would be doing after he got out. A year ago today, I walked into that hospital and saw my friend being pushed on a stretcher, unconscious and fighting for his life, his shaved head and the hundreds of needles and wires coming out from his body. A year ago I sat on the hospital floor and cried. A year ago today, I realized there are more important things than going to work everyday and doing laundry every night. A year ago today, I felt the regret of saying "I can't hang out today, maybe another day". I realized that going to Stanford at 10 pm at night to hold Patrick's unconscious hand was more important than sleeping a full 8 hours. I realized that taking an extra long lunch to see his eyes open for just a minute was worth getting yelled at by my boss. I realized that thumb wrestling with him, helping clean up his puke, trying to get him to talk, or reminding him not to pull at cords and keep his helmet on was more rewarding than sitting at my computer. From his first words and first steps to the uncomfortable leg brace and just getting up every morning to do it all over again, all the hurdles he has overcome in the past 365 days, shows he has been fighting continually for the past 365 days. Not a day goes by that I don't regret spending more time with him. Watching Patrick come so far in a year, when the doctors said he wasn't even going to live, is a miracle in itself. They said if he did live, he would be unconscious for 9 months and never walk and/or talk again. But look at you now! Walking, talking, laughing, talking back and showing everyone how strong and loving you really are! "
As Patrick struggles to regain his independence, we take each day as it comes. As I have said for a year, this a journey for which we have no set road nor path. Each twist and turn brings new revelations (some good and some horrible) but, we endure and make the best of what we have for Patrick is alive and doing better than all doctors predicted. He continues to gain progress in therapy and his daughter, Haylie, is doing very well with her Mom and visits with Patrick as frequently as we can arrange.
Attached are videos and words to live by that have carried me for the past year. The video was made last night. Also, in honor of Patrick's 1 yr anniversary, I have formed a new company which I pray will carry Patrick and Haylie financially into the future and allow our family the ability to allow Patrick to continue to focus on his recovery. Please visit and share the links to both this site and our company site http://www.TBILLC.net as we hope to inspire all those around the world suffering from any crisis and fighting to Take Back Independence.
God Bless everyone who has supported us for the past 365 days and continues to give us strength as we continue this journey of Patrick's recovery.
All the best with a warm and thankful heart on this very special day.
10 Months: Patrick is Home - Gratitude and Giving Thanks
I know it has been awhile since I posted. There is good reason for it. They say you never see it coming… that one day, you’re walking around living your life normally, and the next day, boom, everything changes. I have learned over the past 10 months that nothing is for certain no matter how hard you want to plan. At that time, I was told that my son would not live through the night, his skull need to be removed for three months and put it in a freezer with no guarantee he would not be a in a vegetative state thereafter, to expect him to the be in a coma for upwards of 9 months, that his pelvis was fractured in 5 places and there was no guarantee he would ever walk or talk again. Well thanks to the Good Lord, all the amazing medical staff at the Stanford, therapists at the rehabilitation facilities, Patrick's amazing spirit and Irish heritage, I am so happy to report that Patrick has been home now for three weeks. He is walking, talking, laughing, interacting with friends, went to Haylie's 4th birthday party and is so very happy to be as he puts it, to be "home forever"! Patrick may have sustained a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), but as his mother and motivator, I have given Patrick a new phrase for those three letters "Take Back Independence". Remember your mothers words, "you can look at the glass half full or half empty…your choice."
Patrick is attending outpatient therapy (OT, PT and Speech) and continues receiving his medical management at Stanford University Hospital. Patrick uses his wheelchair very sparingly (only when tired or needs to ambulate long distance). He will be receiving a hinged AFO leg brace to help him walk with greater flexibility as he develops his gate. His speech is limited, but improving daily. He is receiving Botox injections to minimize the spasticity of the right leg and forearm and will be seen by a neuro ophthalmology specialist, if his case accepted.
Patrick appears to be comprehending much more than he can express. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be when you have limited memory of what happened and can’t always express what you need. Patrick amazingly handles it well. He more often than not has a smile, says "Hello, How are you?" to everyone, still has his incredible sense of humor and is quick to let a pretty girl know his name is "Pat". It is a very slow process for Patrick to acclimate to new environments, surroundings and routines due to the brain injury. Patrick does require someone to be with him at all times. Patrick has a caretaker while I am at work and his incredible circle of friends once again rotate in and out of the house like before. I feel very blessed that there is a small circle of young men and women who would rather kick it with Patrick on a Friday night at our home when they could be out on the town. Thank you kids for not giving up on Patrick when it would be so easy to walk away as many have from his life.
Thank you everyone for all your support over the past 10 months and going forward. Please continue to share Patrick's amazing story of survival and this link as Patrick and Haylie will need our ongoing support for a lifetime and government assistance for a twenty year old young man with limited work history is very scant. Enjoy the photos of Patrick's arrival home, reunion with his friends and celebrating Haylie's 4th birthday party. A joyful sight to see father and daughter reunited even if few words can be expressed. Touch and feeling with the heart can mean so much more than words when you have no options.
May this Sunday bring you lots of joy with your friends and family!
As I reflect on Patrick's recovery over the past seven and a half months, a few (among many) words that have become part of our everyday vocabulary are "miracle", "faith", "strength", "courage" , "recovery" and "journey". As I struggled with what to include in this update, I opted to compile a photo video to music as it best chronicles the events since the car accident on May 14, 2014 which has changed our lives forever.
Thank you for all your support, prayers and love.
Please give Haylie and Patrick the best fighting chance by taking a few minutes to share this link. Patrick's journey to recovery and regaining his life has just begun.
Today marks the 7 month anniversary since Patrick's car accident and he remains an in-patient at the Centre for Neuro Skills in Emeryville. On that Wednesday afternoon when the police knocked on my door to inform me that Patrick was on the brink of death my heart sank to a level that I hope nobody ever experiences. This evening was almost as difficult when Patrick called me and affirmatively stated, "Go Home!". Trying to tell your son whether in person last night or by telephone today (while trying not to let on that you are about to burst into tears) that he will be home soon, to hang in there and word hard in therapy is heart wrenching. Patrick has become aware of where he is and is fighting to regain his independence. He wants to come home and last night showed signs of physical aggression toward his caretakers when I was leaving for the night and he was not allowed to leave with me. I left and cried all the way across the Bay Bridge and then some.
We had a very nice time at home over Thanksgiving and Patrick enjoyed spending time with his Haylie and Jessica (see pic). We took walks in the neighborhood with the dogs, played UNO and did puzzles. Our rendition of Black Friday shopping was a stroll (with Patrick propelling himself a great portion of the way) about 1/2 mile from the house to a local tattoo shop for Patrick to get a new pair of gauges. He was elated to be back in his element and shopping for himself.
Since Thanksgiving Patrick has made great strides in every therapy discipline. He's regained most of his continence back and happy to be back in boxers. His verbal skills are increasing from single words to being able to carry on a very short conversation both by phone and in person along the lines of "Hi", "How are you?", "What are you doing?" This exchange, along with Patrick listening to whomever is talking to him (he can understand much more than he can express), repeats itself over and over until Patrick is ready to hang up. Patrick is essentially presently trapped inside his own body and struggling to express himself. Patrick continues to astound everyone with his physical abilities. We always joked that he and his Dad are built like an Ox and for that I'm thankful. Patrick is able to transfer with less than moderate assistance and his gait is steadier. A true indicator that he is indeed getting better slowly is the ability to have the day pass and spend time alone out with Mom and friends. These outings bring joy back into his day and I feel very lucky that he is close enough for me to do this on the weekends because many of the patients at CNS live too far away for family visits. In order to bring some holiday cheer to those patient and Patrick, I baked cake pops and Christmas cookies for everyone at CNS (see pic)
Patrick is looking forward to being home for the holidays and got a taste of home yesterday when we spent a few hours visiting with the animals. Patrick also enjoyed listening to his music and his rendition of singing again (see video).
As we all steamroll towards Christmas, I am reminded daily of just how fortunate we are today despite this terrible injury Patrick has sustained. We can’t turn the clock backward and can only move forward learning each day how to navigate through this journey. Many are not aware of this, but Patrick saved my life 4 years ago. On December 23, 2010, Patrick brought me home after 4 months in the hospital. On December 23, 2014, I will bring my son home for Christmas. Thank you God for giving us back our lives.
Some days it feels like Patrick's accident was yesterday and other days it feels like it was a lifetime ago. The accident was six and a half months ago and I am very thankful for the patience and strong will I learned from my own mother that I have thankfully passed along to Patrick. Patrick has an amazing work ethic, cheerful disposition and wonderful sense of humor despite his severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that keeps him in a hospital today.
In the past two and half weeks, we have learned firsthand how much patience is needed and how difficult it is for Patrick to communicate when he knows what he wants but can't get the words out correctly. A couple weeks ago, Patrick started pointing at me or in my direction while repeating what I thought were the words "Day Done". I thought Patrick was trying to tell me he was tired, wanted a donut or to see his friend "Dakin". When he rejected all of those iterations of "Day Done", I kept guessing as to what he was saying. Patrick would shake his head and laugh at me. This went off and on for three days. But after playing the equivalent of charades and "Am I hot"/"cold" our patience and laughter along the way led to me finally understand that Patrick was asking for his "Gauges" and wanted them back in his ears. He was so elated when I said the word "gauges" he practically came out of the recliner to give me a big hug. So, the next weekend I ventured to a local tattoo parlor on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley and was able to pick up a couple pair of gauges that Patrick liked. I've attached a picture of Patrick wearing one of the new pairs of gauges.
Patrick's ambulation continues to improve weekly. He really loves his walks and strolls outside. A continuous beat is used in the form of a clicker or recently more recently music therapy was started wherein someone strolls along with Patrick playing the guitar and he keeps the beat with his stride. I've attached a video of Patrick, myself and the therapist walking last Tuesday outside at the CNS rehab center. Patrick continues to need his loaner wheelchair at the CNS apartment and on outings for safety and due to his limited endurance when walking. I continue to pray that Patrick's permanent wheelchair ordered back in August will come in before Christmas.
In addition to making gains with ambulation, Patrick is moving the right arm more. I pray that his brain continues to heal the synapses and that he will gain more independent mobility. Patrick works on a number of different modalities to help improve his vision too, one of which is a board that lights up similar to an eye exam and Patrick uses a flash light to match playing cards taped to a wall. Patrick got 100% on the day that I was watching him and was very happy that someone was there with him (see attached video). In order to keep up Patrick's spirits and provide some sense of stimulation other that the TV and eating, I've taken Patrick his guitar and got him a lap piano. A friend is getting him some sheet music in large print since we know that Patrick's vision in the right eye is impaired but, we can’t have it tested because he can't follow an eye exam yet. Last weekend, Patrick and I had fun attempting to play the piano together. We made a pack with each other that we could practice each time Mom came to visit and he promised to play me a song that he learned.
Haylie is doing great and Patrick asks for his daughter and Jessica (Haylie's Mom) each time I visit. He was able to see Haylie a few weeks back when we went to the Zoo and they had a nice time. Patrick was very happy tonight when I told him that Haylie would be visiting him this weekend.
I don’t know how long Patrick will be able to stay at the Centre for NeuroSkills because he has exhausted the in-patient rehabilitation coverage for the year. God willing it will all work out. Thank you all for your continued prayers, generosity and support. Please take a few moments and pass along this link to help us spread the word about Patrick and TBI in general, if you feel comfortable doing so. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) effects so many (primarily young and middle aged men) who suffer in silence because there isn’t much public awareness about TBI. This is a horribly debilitating injury for the entire family but your support and prayers keep us going daily. I recently received the following quote from the TBI daily inspiration board which I read daily, "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape".
Hi everyone! I hope you understand my delay in posting. I apologize but I was away on business for a week and then busy catching up with Patrick as we enjoyed watching the Giants on TV in the evening.
Patrick has made amazing gains since my last post both cognitively and physically. His strength, balance and gait have all improved. Patrick is now able to walk with a quad cane almost 100% independently while at the Centre for Neuro Skills. To regain his endurance the therapist have Patrick walk laps around the center (see video). Patrick remains in a wheelchair when he is at the apt. or out in public because cognitively he still requires constant supervision for safety reasons. Patrick is still very quick to move and he doesn't completely understand his limitations.
Patrick's right arm remains essentially non-functional but he's working to increase range of motion and strength on his entire right side. Patrick still requires the AFO brace on the right leg but the foot drop on the right has decreased which helps Patrick's gait be more normal. Patrick was incredibly strong for his size before the accident and he works daily to rebuild this strength to allow him to independently propel his wheel chair, increase his endurance and allow him to manipulate more objects with his new dominate left hand. Much of his increased strength can be attributed to his appetite being back to 150% and his favorite word is "eats". Patrick is now able to identify many food items (especially bananas) and let us know when he wants a drink. Patrick does continue to point at objects when he can’t recall the word but fortunately we have slow and steady improvement.
Patrick's personality and verbalization are also slowly emerging. Patrick recognizes familiar friends and family consistently now. He enjoys our visits and upon arrival will be the first one to say "Hi, how are you?" with open arms and a big hug/kiss for Mom.
The Centre does a great job at taking the patients out into the community as tolerable. It is wonderful to see Patrick and his new friends out shopping, watching a movie and/or enjoying a meal together when not in therapy. Each of them have amazing stories and remarkable families. We all learn a little something at each of these outings. Our next outing will be the Zoo with Haylie.
Patrick continues to work at every level to regain his cognitive functions. This is such a grey zone. I'm so grateful and thankful for the recovery to date and the fact Patrick has not suffered any major setbacks. He loves to listen music, look at pictures and play games on his iPad. One game in particular Patrick enjoys is "Don't Touch The White Tile". The game progresses with black and white piano tiles, plays Beethoven as tiles progress and can be set at multiple levels. The object being to tap only the black piano tiles as the tiles scroll. It has been really fun to watch Patrick's progress in this game over the weeks. Another milestone, is that Patrick's regained nearly 100% control of both his bowel and bladder. He's cued by a picture of a toilet seat that hangs from his wheel chair and he will tell us when he need to use restroom. This is also a psychological boost for Patrick as he can now make a trial run at not being in a Depends 24/7.
As we approach six months post- accident, I am reminded that Patrick wasn't expected to survive the night of the accident and thereafter most likely be in a coma for 6 months. All the prayers, good wishes and support have given Patrick the strength to exceed those dismal expectations. Patrick is such an amazing kid, both before the accident and even more so now. His delightful and humorous personality are emerging as he continues on his journey of recovery. We all laugh as Patrick loves to joke around. Now when anyone says "Thank you" to Patrick he quickly responds "No, No, No…Thank you!" and follows this with a tilted head and beautiful smile. That’s just part of the “new Patrick” who we love so much. I try each time I visit Patrick to think of what I can do to make him smile and laugh. He works so hard for eight hours a day and to see him smile is so heartwarming.
Patrick also is quick to play fight when his friends engage him and he commands complete dominance in "Left-handed thumb war". I hope you enjoy the additional pictures of Patrick enjoying visits with Mom and friends.
Thank you for your continued support and for keeping Patrick and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Day 147: Additional Pictures of Patrick's Miraculous Survival
There are so many pictures and videos I want to share with everyone, but the website limits each update to a combination of three videos and/or pictures. Therefore, I have posted 4 updates in the past 24 hours. To view them all please click on the link and then select the option "show all" updates at the bottom of the most recent post. This will allow you to scroll through all the postings.
The photos are an incredible reminder of how fragile life is and how thankful we should be for our family, friends, co-coworkers and everyone else who come in and out of our lives each day.
Kindness and compassion go along way towards inner peace and happiness. Our family is learning this each and everyday we embark on this journey of Patrick's recovery.
Please continue to share Patrick's story and fund link.
In the past two weeks since my last post, I met with Patrick's medical team after a month as an in-patient at the Center for Neuro Skills in Emeryville, CA.
Below I share Patrick's current status along with three videos and I will post more pictures immediately after this update as I am limited to three pic/videos per post.
OT: Patrick is becoming more aware of his right arm's deficit. The gross motor coordination on the left is moderately impaired impacting his ability to dress himself or perform grooming tasks. He is working hard in OT to improve his upper body strength to be able to carry items in the home like a laptop or laundry basket on his lap. Patrick's visual perception is that of a 6 yr. old and they are working to improve his ocular motor response speed using a range of visual modalities.
PT: Patrick's right leg has significant spasticity and rigidity. Therefore, Patrick is required to wear an AFO (plastic molded brace from toes to knee) to provide support and prevent foot drop. Patrick hates this brace and is constantly trying to take it off. Patrick is definitely working very hard on ROM (range-of-motion) and strengthening exercises on all extremities. Patrick's PT goal is to walk 500 feet with the lowest restrictive assistive device on level indoor ground with minimal assistance. We will not know if Patrick will ever be free of his wheelchair but we remain hopeful given Patrick's progress so far given the dismal projections from the trauma team. Patrick is adjusting to being in a wheel chair and even finds it very humorous when he runs over Mothers toes after cutting it too close to where I'm sitting. I wish I had gotten those moments on tape because we laughed hard on those occasions in the past two weeks.
Speech/ADL: These are particularly difficult for Patrick. Being apart from the family is very hard on everyone and we are all working hard to adjust to Patrick's means of communication. Therapy is focused presently on enunciation and relearning words and objects that he once knew. Six weeks ago Patrick's communication was the equivalent of a indiscernible grunt coupled with a head nod. "Yes" sometimes meant "No" and vice versa. Presently, the "Yes" and "No" are much more consistent. Particularly the "NO". For example, the other night Patrick was adamant that he was not tired (despite the head bobbing), didn’t want to go to sleep and instead wanted to stay on his iPad. That "NO" was very discernable coupled with a firm grip with only his the left hand on the underside of the table so that I couldn't pull wheelchair back. The attached video gives a good example of Patrick's progress in his verbal communication and also gives a very sad but realistic picture of the current state of his cognitive functioning when asked by the therapist who he wants to say "Hi" to, he responds "Hi Pat". With coaching, Patrick says a beautifully clear "Hi Mom". Patrick and I talk frequently during the week on the phone as the 4 hour round trip drive is too much during the weekdays. I am working with his medical team to load programs onto his iPad that will allow us to SKYPE and use other forms of internet based communication in the coming weeks/months as he improves and can use other means of communication.
Patrick's awareness of his overall condition is starting to emerge and the sadness from being away from family/friends he was never apart from is emerging. I am working diligently with the medical team to plan activities on the weekends that involve both myself, his daughter Haylie and friends so Patrick remains as upbeat as possible through this journey and as close to his friends and family that he was surrounded by daily. This past two weekends, we were able to have a BBQ (see pics) with Patrick's friends and this past weekend Patrick, Haylie and myself along with his Neuro-Specialist went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The bonding which took place between Patrick and Haylie brought out a spectrum of my emotions which ranged from sadness, joy, thankfulness and hope. Watching Patrick and Haylie interact and play a new version of tag that I came up with so Patrick could engage with Haylie without Haylie being scared (see video) was truly heartwarming.
I am so blessed to have both Patrick and Haylie in my life. I know that our strength and courage will get us through this. Patrick has come so far in the past 4 1/2 months. In addition to continuing to keep Patrick and our family in your thoughts and prayers, we are asking and appreciative of any financial donations, no matter the size, to help with the cost of Patrick's medical care and to share his story and link . Any additional money raised will go towards helping take care of Patrick's 3 yr. old daughter, Haylie.
The past ten days since my last post feel like a lifetime. The accident on I-280 on the way home from work on the 19th prevented me from seeing Patrick for the remainder of the weekend. I was deeply saddened about this as I sat in the ER myself getting checked out and angry at the same time at the kid on his cell phone who hit me. I can only imagine how sad Patrick was when he has come to look forward to these weekend visits from family and friends and it didn't happen. My imagination came to fruition during the week when the Clinical Case Manager said Patrick was showing some signs of being "sad" and not as engaging. For TBI patients, this emotion can be a double edge sword . Good news is Patrick is becoming more aware of his situation and hence, his brain is waking up. Bad news is that he is more aware when family and friends don't visit for long stretches of time and he's showing signs of sadness.
Patrick's speech is becoming clearer for the few words he can say. Patrick, the therapist and Case Manager gave Mom a big mid-week surprise when I received the attached video from Patrick while he was in speech therapy wherein Patrick said the words every mother longs to hear daily, "Hi Mom" clear as a bell (see video). Patrick worked hard this past week on a platform walker and I'm told was walking with a four point cane with assistance. Outside of therapy, Patrick is 100 dependent on the wheelchair.
Patrick is becoming more aware of the deficits of his right arm and is using his good left arm to actively move and engage the weak right arm/side. This is amazing progress as his brain is slowly coming around. Patrick continues to gain better control of both his bowel and bladder as well. I know he will look forward to the day when he no longer requires diapers and Mom no longer has to go into the men's bathroom with him. In light of Patrick being a little blue during the week, I decided to end of week with a special treat of cupcakes after dinner Friday night with Mom and fellow patients, a BBQ and the Godzilla movie with a number of Patrick's friends (Willie, Anthony, Alfonso &Tori ) on Saturday afternoon/evening (see picture) and a special video made for Patrick by Mom to always help him remember his beautiful daughter, Haylie.
Thank you everyone for your continued prayers, good wishes and never ending support you have given our family during this most tragic and amazing journey that Patrick and we have before us.
Please share the link to the page and Patrick's story as there are so many TBI patients like Patrick that need our support.
DAY 128: Patrick Makes More Gains In Therapy & His Craving for Mexican Food Is Fulfilled
This past week was one of many gains for Patrick. He is rapidly moving toward gaining control of his bladder incontinence. As a 20 yr. old young man, I can only imagine his thoughts as his own diaper is changed while at the same time his daughter is also being potty trained. This has to be emotionally devastating. He walked with a cane in PT and continues to increase his strength in his immobile right arm and leg. His speech is also coming along with increased clarity, words and gestures (see video). Patrick definitely comprehends more than he can communicate. Much like the incontinence, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be trapped in your own thoughts unable to communicate while everyone try's their best at communication with you or just gives up out of fear of saying something wrong and talks around you.
A nice reward and outing for Patrick and his fellow Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients at the end of the week is to take everyone to dinner on the town. Tonight's dinner was Mexican Food in Los Altos. Patrick very much enjoyed the food, Mariachi band and played games (see video) with us as we tried to limit his intake of a soda and food (see video).
Patrick's gentle demeanor, strong will and positive attitude shows in every aspect of his being. He reminds me every minute of every day of that which is really important as we go through life. Tonight is a perfect example of that. Just when I thought last weekend was bad when my car was broken into in Oakland following the Ferry ride with Patrick and that I couldn't take anymore, tonight on my way home from work and before meeting Patrick and the group for dinner, I was rear-ended on I280 and the impact forced me into the car in front of me. As I sat there in the car stunned, my first thought was Patrick because he insisted that I have a Bull Guard put onto my SUV and this was my Mother's Day present this past year. Needless to say, the Bull Guard works and I drove away from the accident thanks to Patrick's foresight.
I'm overwhelmingly grateful for the support from family, friends, colleagues and those whom I've not had the pleasure to meet. Thank you for your continued support and for sharing Patrick story. It is through your efforts that I am able to take the link viral as Patrick deserves better care than our system is willing to provide.
From the Traumatic Brain Injury Survivors group comes this wonderful inspirational quote, "Healing Doesn't Mean The Damage Never Existed. It Means The Damage No Longer Controls Our Lives."
This has been a long couple weeks since the last post. Following the first fall at the new rehabilitation facility, Center For Neuro Skills, I thought we had worked out the carelessness of the caretakers. However, after spending the entire day with Patrick on Friday, September 5th at the Hospital and again on Saturday, September 6th (one day post fall) at the apartment to make sure that the caretakers understood how fast Patrick is despite the TBI, I arrived home to a ruptured water heater and a laundry room covered in water. After spending the vast majority of the night cleaning up the mess, I finally thought I could get some rest. Well as with an journey, you never know where you are headed. My much need rest was interrupted with a 7am by a crying Case Manager to inform me that Patrick had fallen again due to lack of supervision. Needless to say, I was beside myself. Patrick spent another full day at the hospital for x-rays and evaluation. Fortunately, there were no additional new injuries, thank God. The water heater was also restored to normal that day.
After the second fall, I was all over the CNS directors and Case Managers to implement some very simplistic measures to keep Patrick safe which included bed alarms, wheel chair alarms and seat alarms. I wanted to bring him home that very day. However, I know in my heart that these things are going to happen and that we have to work within this very terrible health care system we have in the US for the very sick. CNS quickly implemented additional safety measures and we have had no additional falls.
This past week, Patrick worked diligently six hours a day in therapy. His speech continues to improve albeit very slowly. He is working hard on certain syllables which are more difficult for him due to the impairment on the right side which also affected his ability to move the right side of his face. Hence, Patrick's has a new beautiful smile which will brighten any room. Patrick is showing signs of understanding much more than he is able to communicate. His PT is also progressing in that he appears to have more involuntary movement on the right side, but is still confined to a wheel chair and can't move the right arm. Whether these deficits will able to be restored is a matter of time. He hates his AFO leg brace and we are constantly pleading with him to keep it on. It is one thing to train a toddler who doesn’t know any better, it's a whole different ballgame to retrain an adult who can become obstinate at any moment. Fortunately these moments have been few and far between.
We are working hard to keep Patrick entertained in the off hours. It is a fine balance between stimulation and over stimulation. It is readily apparent when you are heading to the overstimulation phase and we quickly adjust are outings accordingly. This past weekend the caretakers, myself and Patrick's daughter (Haylie) went on a Ferryboat ride from Jack London Square to Pier 39, had dinner and then rode the ferry back. This was the first time Patrick had spent quality time with his daughter and they had a blast. Below are pictures and a video of our beautiful day and evening. It is too bad that this wonderful evening culminated in someone breaking into my car at the Ferry Terminal and stealing my briefcase. A sad reflection of where our society is today. I am thankful that nobody was injured and it is a reminder that they can take your things, but they will never take your heart.
I am blessed that both my son and I have the courage and strength of the Leo's we are and that Patrick continues to progress and reach those weekly milestones that the insurance carriers so carefully scrutinize. Please forward this link and this journey we are in will one of a lifetime and we need so much help to provide the quality of care that Patrick deserves but the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for. TBI is a disease that inflicts to many people across this country, mainly young men as a result of car accidents and without our support these patients will not get the therapy and care they deserve to get better.
God Bless and thank you for your support. Please help me make this link go viral. I can't do this alone.
As we approach the four month post-accident, I am amazed daily at Patrick's stamina, determination and calm demeanor throughout this horrific ordeal. In the past two weeks, Patrick has had many changes and scares.
Patrick came home for the day last weekend. The smile on his face when we pulled up to the house and I wheeled him inside was one that brought tears of joy and thankfulness. His grin was from ear to ear when he was surrounded by his dogs, cats, friends and mother. Below are a couple pictures of Patrick enjoying his day visit. Patrick continues to work diligently in therapy. His speech is coming along slowly. Patrick's recall is very short. He's essentially relearning everything through a process of mimicking as his brain continues to heal, the synapses continue to reconnect and he continues to remember that which he knew before the accident. This is a very grey timetable for which patience, support and positivity are some of the best medicine.
Shortly after the home visit, I learned that Patrick had reached then end of the line at Valley Medical Center and the next move needed to happen.
Patrick was transferred to the Center For Neuro Skills (CNS) in Emeryville, California on September 3rd. This facility is a non-hospital based rehab center wherein the patients are paired into an apartment with a "Neurospecialist", attend 6 hours of therapy a day at the CNS main center and live in an apartment a mile away with another patient and their assigned Neurospecialist. The theory being that you maximize therapy during the first six months post accident while providing an environment wherein Patrick can learn ADLs (activities of daily living) with other patients in his condition during the off hours while not in therapy. While in theory this sounded great, yesterday I received the dreaded call that Patrick had fallen due to admitted lack of monitoring by his "Neurospecialist".
Patrick spent the majority of yesterday at the hospital getting CT scans and pelvic x-rays. Thanks be to God, Patrick sustained no additional injuries as a result of this negligence. Needless to say, I spent the remainder of the day making sure Patrick was safe and would not be left unattended again. I also learned that the term "Neurospecialist" equates to a 22 year old who had two weeks of training. As I continue to navigate these unchartered waters, I'm speechless some days about the extent to which the medical staff has to be constantly monitored, especially in Patrick's case when he can’t communicate.
Patrick and I ended the night with Mom cooking him a spaghetti dinner and having some discussions with the "Neurospecialist". I pray that we have no more scares such as yesterday and that Patrick will get the attention and care he deserves at this most expensive facility that is not covered by insurance.
Haylie is doing great. She is a happy and energetic 3yr old. She loves to walk her Uncle Nick to the bus stop and of course, can't wait for him to get home from school to play. I am working out the logistics of Haylie visiting with her Dad at the new CNS facility.
I have continued faith that we are going to make it through this. I received a text this morning as I do each morning from the TBI (Traumatic Brain Institute) which says it all,
"Not to Spoil the Ending For You, But Everything Is Going To Be OK".
God Bless and thank you for your continued support.
Day 102: Patrick's Able to Walk with a Cane with Assitance!!
Patrick is 10 days post-op from having the left-side of his skull replaced. He made it through with no signs of infection and the industrial staples will come out in a few days. Patrick is very aware of the new look (see picture below) and seems pleased with the results as he frequently checks out his head in the mirror during physical and speech therapy.
This past week Patrick received his first customized AFO brace to help prevent foot drop on the right side and provide stability to the right leg as Patrick relearns to walk. After having it on for only 5 minutes, Patrick was off and walking with a cane with assistance from the two physical therapists (see video below). At one point, the therapist had to get firm with Patrick to slow him down so he would focus on the pattern (cane, right, left). I am so fortunate that Patrick has the determination and fight as he works through this journey.
As Patrick's pending discharge date approaches, the medical team is working with Patrick on many activities of daily living. Yesterday, Patrick made a PB&J sandwich for himself and Mom. We enjoyed it immediately afterwards. Patrick's cognitive processing and speech are slower to recover than his physical injuries. This is a very grey zone as to how long this process will take and it varies from patient to patient with the same injury. The medical team can give me generalities, but there is no timetable for brain injuries such as this. One must have patience and realize that everyday is a gift no matter where you are on the recovery scale.
Patrick responds intermittently with audible words and otherwise responds to questions by pointing or nodding his head. On Friday, speech therapy and I helped Patrick select his entire menu for the next day by using the computer to show him pictures of the food options and describing the item to him. Patrick would pick the items he wanted and we helped him check the boxes on the menu.
I am so grateful for the progress that Patrick is making daily. I am also grateful to Patrick's friends who are keeping Patrick's spirits up by visiting frequently to share a meal, play games, listen to music or provide the much needed coaching in therapy (see pic below).
I should have a better idea of the discharge plans after the meeting with the medical team in the upcoming week. In the meantime, I continue to interview potential care taker candidates and look into all the possible options for the most appropriate programs for Patrick to continue towards recovery full steam ahead while at the same time reconnecting with his daughter, Haylie, and his friends whom have not seen him since the accident.
Thank you all for your support. This is by far the hardest journey I have ever faced in my life. My faith and support give me the strength each day to keep the positive energy going for Patrick.
Please share the link as the social media is our best means of reaching many people and sharing Patrick's miraculous recovery.
Patrick's surgery on August 14th to replace the bone flap on the left side of his skull was successful and so far there have been no complications. Patrick spent one night in the Stanford Neurosurgical unit and has returned to Valley Medical Center for additional inpatient therapy. He is happy to not have to wear the helmet any longer and is enduring the irritation of about 40 industrial looking staples on the left hand side of his skull in the shape of a question mark along with the normal postoperative swelling.
We celebrated Patrick's 20th birthday on Sunday, August 17th with family and friends (see pics below). Patrick played UNO, Hungry Hippo and Connect Four with his friends for a couple hours. He very much enjoyed his very beautiful chocolate cake and many presents. His daughter, Haylie, came and it was so wonderful to see them together again.
Patrick returned to his normal therapy schedule yesterday which entails several hours of OT, PT and Speech therapy daily. He is starting to work with a therapy dog which is very exciting since we are a very animal loving family.
Today Patrick and I celebrated my birthday (see picture below) with an evening dinner, a game of Connect Four (Patrick beat me). Patrick attended art therapy this evening (I had to leave so the art work would be a surprise present tomorrow) and I headed home for some much needed rest.
We are looking into additional potential rehab programs for Patrick upon his discharge from Valley Medical Center in the not so distant future so we can continue Patrick's aggressive therapy and the momentum that Patrick has going for him if we can find a program that is both covered by the insurance. In addition, Patrick will require 24/7 attendant care upon discharge from the hospital.
God bless and thank you for your support, good wishes and most of all your continued prayers for Patrick's continued progress and happiness.
Patrick came through surgery with flying colors. The Neurosurgeon was able to reattach the skull flap and insert small plates to aide in stabilizing the flap while the re knitting process takes place. Patrick is resting comfortably and watching a little TV with Mom in between cat naps. He will only need to stay at Stanford overnight.
Patrick's external appearance looks nearly normal (see attached pictures both before and after surgery) and he doesn't seem to be too bothered by the staples in his head.
Your continued support and prayers are giving us strength each and every day.
Patrick arrived at Stanford at 5:00 a.m. He went to the OR at 7:15 am and the procedure to replace the bone flap will take a couple hours. Patrick should be in recovery by noon. I will post another update as as soon as he is out of surgery.
Thank you for your continued support and sharing of the link:
We are a little over 24 hours away from surgery at Stanford on 8/14 to replace the bone flap on the left side of Patrick's skull. Patrick attended both a pre-op appointment last week with Anesthesia and Orthopedic Surgery recheck. Both appointments went very well and Ortho was very pleased with Patrick's mobility. We are not sure how much Patrick understands about the upcoming procedure. I'm praying that he remains as calm through this procedure as he has through the myriad of procedures undergone since May 14th. At least he will be in the same ICU E2 unit he was on when he first arrived at Stanford. I'm sure he will not remember a thing, but at least I have the comfort of knowing the staff ahead of time.
Patrick is working so hard in all disciplines of therapy. I've attached a video showing Patrick walking the length of the hand rail and a video of him counting to 60 during a PT mat exercise. While his counting sounds like repeated grunts to the average person, he is definitely counting to 60 and that is fantastic. He is working with the speech to increase his vocabulary/enunciation and with occupational therapy to modify his environment to ease the ADLs (activities of daily living). For example, Patrick is using shoe laces that are elastic and don't need to be tied in a bow to secure the foot in the shoe.
Mom is working with the occupational and physical therapist to order Patrick's permanent equipment (wheel chair, braces, shower seats, safety bars, special cushions, PT equipment, etc.) and modify the house to maximize independence for Patrick. We are rearranging the kitchen to bring as much as possible to wheel chair level and rearranging furniture to maximize ease of mobility inside.
I've attached a picture of the front of the house showing the ramp constructed by WL Butler and yard that Mom finished up for Patrick. We will celebrate Patrick's 20th birthday on August 17th at Valley Medical center with a chocolate cake at the request of the birthday boy.
Thank you all for your continued support and ongoing prayers. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.
I never knew how much the words TGIF meant until this week when on Friday night after not seeing Patrick for two days, I heard the word I had been longing to hear for two and a half months, "Mom". I cried those big "Happy" tears before everyone and they cried along with me. Since, Friday night we have these words too "Hi", "Bye", "Yes", "No", "Boris" and "Keiko" (our dogs names) and the most beautiful laughter a mother could hear.
Yesterday therapy was simply amazing. For the first time since the accident Patrick took his first steps with the assistance of the therapist and coaching from Mom (see video). My words were ..."Wow", "Wow" and then the tears flowed again.
Today, Patrick got to visit with out two dogs (see video) and had visits from his best friend, Alfonso, and Haylie's Mom, Jessica. Patrick was delighted when we brought him some of his favorite cookies and a milkshake from Baskin Robbins. My baby boy (yes, he will always be my baby boy) is coming back and kicking some bootie in the process (see photos). His surgery is just around the corner on August 14th to replace the bone flap and then we shall celebrate Patrick's 20th B-Day on August 14th and Mom's XX on August 19th.
Haylie is doing great and can't wait to see her Daddy again.
We are told that Patrick has a tentative discharge date home on September 3rd. God Bless everyone who has rallied behind us. Please continue to share this link as Patrick's daytime caretaker expenses will be astronomical and that is a bridge we have yet to cross.
Patrick was cleared by the Neurosurgeon at Stanford today for the bone flap replacement surgery (official term: cranioplasty) which has been scheduled for August 14th. This means Patrick will be able to celebrate his 20th birthday on August 17th minus the helmet :-). He will be at Stanford for a day or two and then will return to Valley Medical Center for continued in-patient therapy until hopefully the end of September. Patrick progress is scrutinized weekly by the insurance company to make sure he is making significant progress to warrant continued in-patient treatment.
Everyone is amazed at Patrick's progress to date. Even the neurosurgeon today was essentially speechless when he walked into the exam room, asked how Patrick was doing and Patrick gave him a head nod and a thumbs up. Patrick's personality and sense of humor are also coming back each day. This morning while waiting for the doctor, his dad made a comment to which I responded, "Oh, Dad gets no love" and with that Patrick made a pout face that his father managed to capture (see pic below). This absolutely made all of us crack up immediately and Patrick was smiling with his new grin. In between therapy and doctor's appointments, Mom tries at every opportunity to make Patrick smile and cheer him up even if that means making silly ape faces (see pic below).
Patrick is working so hard each day to regain his cognition, strength and speech. Today while waiting for the doctor his Uncle Steve called to say "Hi" and Patrick took the phone to his ear and tried to say "Hi" back (see pic below). It was a muffled "Hi", but discernable. I can't wait for the day when I hear "Mom" and "Love you" again which is how most of our conversations started and ended before the accident.
I can’t say "thank you" enough to everyone. We are managing to navigate these unchartered waters with very few major obstacles thanks to the support and assistance from many. Patrick still has a very long therapy road ahead of him, so please take a few minutes and share this link with whomever you feel comfortable.
Patrick was reunited with his daughter, Haylie, yesterday for the first time since the accident. Jessica (Haylie's Mom) and Haylie spent the afternoon visiting with Patrick. Jessica and I were very nervous about this reunion as we were on unchartered water. It went better than expected and Patrick recognized Haylie which was an immediate blessing. Haylie quickly overcame her initial fear of the wheelchair and by the end of the visit was actively trying to push her Dad and hold his hand as they went down the hallway's.
Patrick has a big week ahead of him. He revisits the Neurosurgeon next week to schedule the surgery to replace the left side bone flap which was removed to save his life . We are hopeful that he will be able to have the feeding tube removed at the same time.
Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.
The physical therapists are working on the right sided weakness and teaching everyone about safe mobility and wheel-chair transfers.
The occupational therapists are assisting Patrick to relearn the activities of daily living that we all take for granted.
The speech therapist are working with Patrick on his diet so that he can have his feeding tube removed (we are very close) and his speech. Most of us have not yet heard his voice other than moans, but one of his best buddies, Alfonso, heard him laugh.
Family and friends are visiting daily which continue to boost Patrick's morale and remind him of his daily activities. The attached video's reflect Patrick's amazing progress. He is smiling and engaging with his best friends, Lyla and Alfonso, as they play thumb war, Patrick mocks Alfonso and Patrick flirts with Lyla.
Words can't begin to thank everyone for their amazing support, but I'll start there. I am truly blessed to be surrounded and supported by such caring family, friends and co-workers. To everyone supporting us that we have not yet met, God Bless you! I have faith that this journey will lead us far and we have only just begun.
These videos capture Patrick and Mom having lunch today eating some of Patrick's favorites (deviled eggs, Dasani water, Orange/Mango/Guava juice, Elbow macaroni with meat sauce and Peanut butter & lemon drop cookies).
I'm elated to see him consuming real food and not getting sick to his stomach. Hopefully, this will lead to his feeding tube being removed sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, we are in a catch 22 because Patrick is progressing in certain areas much faster than anyone anticipated. He is under extra scrutiny by the insurance companies because as soon as they determine care be given as an outpatient, they D/C in patient rehabilitation and send them home, but won't cover the 24/7 home attendant care. I never realized how getting better is such a double edged sword within the US healthcare system...sad.
Please take a couple minutes to watch and then share Patrick's full story.
To all TBI survivors stay strong you are true warriors.
This past week was a test of patience and endurance. There were many ups and downs. I have a better appreciation for what the nurses and doctors meant by that statement early on when Patrick was in a coma. Now that he is waking up and realizing that something is drastically different, it is a whole new arena.
Patrick had a rough early start to the week with food not staying down. Quick adjustments by the excellent VMC staff have turned it from pureed yuk to today for lunch Patrick ate his entire hospital lunch (mashed potatoes, ground pork) along with homemade spaghetti followed by a Hagen Daz (see photo). The appetite is coming back ... must be all the physical therapy.
Patrick's cognition and speech are severely impaired and will require extensive therapy for a long time to team him to regain these functions. He is working hard in each session to do so.
Physical therapy seems to be the one area coming back the soonest as he is already propelling his own wheel chair and playing a little basketball (see video).
To see where Patrick has come from Day 1 (see photo) to now is truly a miracle unfolding before our eyes. I'm truly amazed and blessed each day as I see more sunshine in his eyes.
Thank you all for your past, present and continued support to help me bring this beautiful, young family back home.
Patrick was reunited with his dogs this morning and it was very touching. We spent about 15 minutes out on the lawn in front of the rehabilitation center visiting with our large dog (Boris) and the small dog (Keiko). Patrick is eating 120% of his food. He tried to take a banana from a patients tray next to him after he finished his plate last night. Although his diet is strictly regulated, the doctor's have allowed Mom to bring Patrick a few of his favorite foods.
Tomorrow is a big day for Patrick as the weight-bearing restriction will be lifted and physical therapy can start on working with Patrick to learn to walk again. Patrick has the strength and will to do exactly what is in the message from this quote:
“Behind each and every difficult mountain is an easy valley. Keep climbing; endure a little more. Your pain will bring you gain!”
Haylie is doing just fine in school and like all little toddlers brings the sand home to Jessica. Everyone is working towards the goal of now reuniting Haylie & Patrick when the timing is right. For now we continue to thank everyone for their continued prayers, support and donations.
Enjoy the video's of Patrick and his dogs along with the picture of Haylie being Haylie.
Patrick had a good day today on the altered regimen and only one episode of emesis. Patrick made it through all but one therapy session, but had enough stamina to enjoy visits from many family and friends over the course of the afternoon/evening.
Tomorrow Patrick has another full day of therapy. I am excited that on Sunday, Patrick will be able to visit with our dogs, Boris and Keiko, on the hospital patio. This should most certainly brighten Patrick's day and I'm positive it will brighten the dogs, as they miss Patrick very much.
The pictures below are of Patrick getting his usual back rub from Mom, visiting with Grandma & Mom and thumb wrestling with his buddy Anthony.
To all past, present and future donors...again, I am amazed at the generosity and kindness that still exists. Thank you for your assistance in bringing my family back home and together again by sharing this link to as many people as we can reach. It strengthens my faith in each other and God everyday when I read all the kind words of inspiration to Patrick.
Thank you for your continued prayers. We are watching a miracle unfold before us on a daily basis.
Today was a rough one for Patrick. He had many episodes of emesis, was very tired and not as responsive. Patrick can't speak so the medical team works diligently to read his body language. They are working on a plan to minimize the emesis episodes while at the same time maximizing therapy and his progression to solid foods. The non-bearing restriction is still in force.
We have been advised that in order for Patrick to safely come home, Patrick will need maximum assistance by a 24/7 attendant, medical equipment and structural modifications to the house. None of this is covered by insurance.
My gratitude and faith in God grows stronger and stronger. I know it is a miracle that Patrick is even alive. The power of prayer is an amazing gift and I want to thank everyone for their past and ongoing prayers for Patrick's continued recovery and eventual reunion with his daughter, Haylie.
I want to especially thank Kelli and family for their tireless assistance in every manner from dog walking to construction. To WL Butler for offering assistance in evaluating the exterior ramp/walkway needs. To Elaine for endless watering and playing with the dogs, to all Patrick's friends have helped around the house and checked in on Mom. To all the donors...what can I say, WOW and thank you so very much.
Please help me bring my family back home and together again by sharing this link to as many people as we can reach.
Patrick is making progress in acute rehab. He kept food down yesterday. He is still 100% non-weight bearing for the multiple pelvic fractures for another week, but he is learning to propel his wheelchair with his left foot and left arm. The brain swelling is slowly decreasing, but Patrick is still asphasic (not talking) and responding to commands intermittently. Time will tell if this will return as the brain swelling decreases over months/years of time and Patrick continues to receive extensive therapy. The bone flap will not be replaced for another month at a minimum. He is exhausted after therapy and we pray that he continues to tolerate this level.
Our goal is that he will be able to come home in a few months and continue treatment as an outpatient, but this will require a 24/7 attendant, many home modifications and continued therapy from multiple disciplines indefinitely. Most of this either is or will not be covered by insurance. Please pray for his continued improvement so he can stay at VMC as long as necessary and that we can raise enough funds to bring Patrick back home. The doctors and therapists are working on the right timing for a visit between Patrick and Haylie whom have been separated since the accident.
God bless everyone and thank you for your prayers and support.
Patrick had a long full day of physical, occupational and speech therapy. He had a bit of an upset stomach after several therapy sessions which the MD's believe is due to a combination not having been out of bed much in the past two months and just starting on liquid foods orally instead of all through his feeding tube.
Patrick was exhausted at end of the day. During a return visit this evening with one of his best buddies, Chris, Patrick wasted no time telling us with body language only (he has yet not spoken any words) how tired he was and wanted some comfort as he repeatedly would move as close as possible to us (even hanging onto the bed rail) so we could give hugs and a back rub (see photos & video).
Thank you all for your continued support in every fashion as we embark on this very long journey to recovery.
One day at Valley Med and both the medical team and Patrick are already full steam ahead towards his journey to recovery. Patrick had a shower, is sporting street clothes, had some light food, sat on the patio, looked at the vegetable gardens, knew his name when presented with two names starting with the letter "P", knew the "I" was the next letter in his name and was able to do simple math (Patrick wrote the #2 in the pic below when presented with what's 1+1 on paper and the "I" is his name).
Great news!! I am happy to report that Patrick arrived at Valley Medical Center Rehab Center in San Jose, CA this evening. This is a very difficult program to get into and we feel blessed that it happened so quickly. Mom is sitting right next to Patrick now and for the next couple days/nights as the MDs said it will help ease any potential anxiety with the changing environment. Patrick begins intensive therapy on Saturday, July 5th with a break tomorrow for the 4th of July.
As I ate my dinner tonight in the day room while the nurses were getting Patrick settled, I was delighted to see 8 therapy dogs interacting with patients. Immediately, my heart told me we found the right rehab center. I've posted new pictures of Patrick getting moved & settled into VMC.
God bless everyone for their continued support and referrals of the link. I have been told to be prepared to have ADA certified ramps/walkways/bathroom rails, etc, ready at a moments notice as the insurance company can pull the plug on rehab whenever they feel he is not making progress.
Hence, if you are aware of anyone who might be able and willing to help donate anything towards that goal (supplies, labor, technical expertise) please let me know or forward the fund link to them as these items have to happen before Patrick would be allowed to come home. He only has coverage for 100 days of inpatient rehab and he has already used 30.
Today Patrick was cleared to start active rehab with full weight-bearing in two weeks and the bone flap replaced in August.
We are working with the current hospital to get Patrick accepted into Valley Medical Centers Traumatic Brain Injury Rehab program in San Jose, CA and should know within a couple days if they accept him. Patrick will need extensive rehab, but he is making amazing daily progress (trach removed, feeding himself with assistance, turns himself on command, changes, looks at his Pokémon cards and will flip through pictures on my phone). He is not yet speaking and we won't know about that until he gets more extensive speech rehab. He is much less agitated with no restraints or Rocky mittens and he has a 24/7 sitter.
Haylie is doing good too. She misses her dad terribly and we are hoping to arrange a visit this week.
God Bless everyone and thank you for your continued support. I'm asking everyone to please share the link as every little bit counts towards the cost of the months/years of rehab we have before us.
Patrick had a very long week at Kindred. He started very slow in therapy with cones, blocks and general tolerance to sitting upright in chair after being in bed for 6 weeks. He progress rapidly from intially only about 20-30 minutes to now tolerating almost 3 hours per day. The trauma team is very pleased with the decease in brain swelling and they are amazed at his progress. They predict he will do very well in acute-rehab.
Patrick continues to follow more commands each day, moves his left side more purposefully than on the right and is tracking more from left to right. It is a fine balance between keeping him stimulated yet not agitated. He seems to really like his Giants blanket and Pokémon cards.
He has learned how to remove all restraints as soon he thinks nobody is watching him by shifting is body to the left thereby loosening the restraint. He reaches under the bed with his left hand and unties the first restraint. He methodically then frees himself of the others. His herculean strength on the left will serve him well once he starts active rehab. In the meantime, it poses a safety hazard as he fell out of bed with no helmet last Saturday night and put a good scare into everyone. Good news is all scans post fall show no increased swelling and pelvic fracture shows signs of healing. Patrick now has a 24/7 sitter in addition to Mom being there anywhere from 8-24 hours a day. We stay occupied with Pokémon cards, playing with mega blocks and looking at countless pictures and videos of Haylie, family and friends and being endless entertained by the roommate(s). Patrick definitely exhibits signs of impulsive and inconsistent TBI behavior like taking the blankets on and off repeatedly or consistently reaching for the plugs and piercings which are no longer present or any tube that he can either reach with his left hand or mouth. We are told and continue to pray that with time the swelling will decrease these impulsive actions and will be replaced with appropriate actions that allow for some semblance of independent living.
The tracheostomy has been completely removed and he graduated from ice chips to yogurt in 3 hours. Everyone is praying that today's evaluation by Valley Medical Center Brain Injury Program goes well and that he is accepted into the program possibly as early as next week if he gets clearance on weight bearing from Ortho at his post op appt. Monday and can have the bone flap put back on so.
Many, many thanks your continued support and prayers as it is working. The medical community is almost speechless at his amazing progress.
God Bless and enjoy the video and pictures of Patrick and Haylie.
Patrick has made great progress at Kindred in the past week. He is actively moving all limbs to the point that restraints and bilateral mittens are on 24/7 while he is unattended. This is great news as it means his brain is waking up and movement is coming back. Patrick was able to stack cones, know what to do with a toothbrush, tried to uncap a water bottle, is tracking more and following more commands.
Patrick has tolerated having his tracheostomy capped with the Passy-Muir valve all day, is breathing at 100% saturation at room air. The next major milestone will be to remove the trach once Patrick can follow commands more consistently. Patrick has moaned, but not yet said any words. His long trach tube that provided a constant mist was removed yesterday. Patrick hated this tube and was much calmer once it had been removed. He still try's to pull the other tubes at every opportunity, but we are told this confusion is all part of the recovery process. Mom gently reminds him of his injury and the need for the tubes. This is a very repetitive process.
Patrick has two to four more weeks of non-weight bearing to allow the pelvic fracture to heal. Hopefully, at that point, Patrick will be able to start more aggressive rehabilitation and tolerate it for a longer period of time. Patrick is getting very restless after a month in bed. It is a challenge to keep him stimulated but not agitated . Yesterday, I was happy when Patrick actually took the remote from my hand after multiple times of explaining what it was and he started to change channels himself. I had to laugh because once Patrick had possession of the remote, he was not giving it back for anything. He even hid it under the blanket and then gave me a look as if to say "Hmmm, see if you can get it back now, Mom". Patrick also has figured out how to move his body so that he can loosen the restraint's enough to get them off with one hand and then use the free hand to undo the other restraints.
Sweet Haylie had a sleepover with Grandma this week. We had a great time playing with the dogs, her toys and just having fun. We are hoping to take Haylie to see Patrick in a couple weeks once Patrick can be moved to a location off the main floor with greater ease and there are no scary noises or other patients.
Attached are updated pictures of Patrick and Haylie from the past week:
First picture is Patrick at therapy working with the blocks;
Second picture is Patrick suctioning his own mouth himself shortly after the long trach tube was removed;
Third picture is Haylie at Grandma eating blueberries and pizza.
Patrick is settled into Kindred Hospital in San Leandro. It is a transitional rehabilitation facility that accepts patients with a tracheostomy. The physicians, therapists and nurses are all encouraged by his young and willful spirit that is evident from the pictures, friends, family and most of all Patrick's unique personality that shines through his eyes, facial expressions and body movements.
This morning Patrick reached a major milestone in his recovery. Speech therapy placed a speaking valve on his tracheostomy which allows for one-way air flow and will allow Patrick to speak. With the valve in place, Patrick is breathing on his own at 100% oxygen saturation. He even muttered a very faint "arghhhh..." and then reached for his head. I cried crocodile tears of happiness and quickly got the nurse who provided the much needed medicine for a very painful head.
Patrick is moving all extremities at will now. The right side is still weak, but has gained enough strength to cause the nurses concern that he will pull out tubes. So they added a matching mitten onto the right hand and hand Patrick bears all resemblance of Rocky with his helmet and bilateral mittens. Needless to say, Houdini is not happy about the mittens nor the restraints. Patrick was good about climbing out of his crib, so some things never change.
Sitting here next to his bed coaching him through this is the most difficult and painful process I have even been through. I have incredible faith in the lord that he has big plans for Patrick once he recovers from this horrific ordeal.
Haylie is also doing great. I was able to spend a couple hours playing with her at the house with the dogs. She misses her daddy terribly and we have started the process of helping her to understand what has happened. It broke my heart to hear her say that her Daddy had not seen her because she did not clean up her toys.
Thank you everyone for your continued prayers, good wishes, dog walking, food, support and for sharing the link to Patrick's site. Here are some new photograph's of Patrick and Haylie.
It has been 3 weeks since Patrick's horrific car accident. Were all amazed and grateful at his progression (eyes open, legs moving, looking around intermittently, unzipping hooded jackets, holding cups, off ventilator) which has almost silenced the medical team. In the next 48 hours, Patrick will graduate to a LTAC Rehabilitation unit that takes patient with a tracheostomy. Were told average length of stay at these LTAC facilities is 12-25 days. Then he will transition from LTAC to active rehab closer to home and eventually home to our family and friends.
Each day we see Patrick's character coming back providing the much needed continued hope for success with the rehab. We are so thankful for these signs that he is still with us mentally so he can raise Haylie. For example, Patrick took his fathers (and others) rings and then tried to insert into his ear thinking it was a plug. Patrick gives hugs, will push us away when irritated and can sit up in a chair for 45 minutes. He attempts to climb out when his best buddy is by his side. Patrick wants out of that hospital to come home and see all the familiar faces:
The road to recover is long and the financial burden is already manifesting itself by the limited coverage and time off work. Were asking and praying for your continued support for Haylie's needs and to raise funds for Patrick's care. In addition to caring for Patrick medical and rehabilitation needs, we also need support either financial or services to perform the necessary modification once Patrick does come home so that it is ADA and wheelchair compliant,
Any amount you can give is greatly appreciate. Even if you aren't able to donate financially, please spread the link to Patrick's and Haylie's donation site to your social media connections (Facebook, Twitter, instagram, etc.)
God Bless and thank you from Catherine, Haylie, Rich and Ari.
Our 19 year old son, Patrick Fisher and his 3 yr old daughter, Haylie, needs your help and support now more than ever. Patrick is not like any other college student. He is very passionate about Environmental Engineering and landscaping. He re-landscaped our residence and the day of the accident he sent me a good morning photo of "Mom's Garden" that he had just finished before going off to class. Patrick is a single dad and a loving son, but his life changed drastically on May 14, 2014 at 3:04 PM, when he was involved in near fatal car accident.
Patrick suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, multiple pelvic fractures, bruised internal organs, multiple contusions and lacerations. Doctor's did not expect him to live through the night. Patrick showed all that he is a fighter. He has spent 14 days in the Neuro ICU both in and out of an induced coma, had brain surgery, pelvic surgery, cranial drains, chest tubes, tracheotomy and other tubes.
Patrick transferred out of ICU sooner than expected and his prognosis will remain uncertain until all the brain swelling subsides in the coming months. Doctors are amazed at his rapid progression in two short weeks, but with this type of injury there will be many up and downs with unforeseen obstacles as Patrick embarks on this journey towards rehabilitation.
He has months in the hospital and a long road in front of him. His youth, Irish will and love from family, friends and worldwide prayers will go along way, but he needs support for his medical care and rehabilitation expenses.
Please help our family help Patrick to have the best fighting chance possible at an excellent recovery.
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