Ethan's Road to Recovery - Calgary
He was brought to the PICU where he has been treated since. Ethan is a fighter, strong, so stubborn, and loved immensely. The priority in his treatment has been his traumatic brain injury, but he has also sustained multiple fractures. He pelvis is fractured in 6 places - BUT it is stable and will heal fully with minimal intervention. He has a broken bone in his ear - BUT it will heal fully on it's own. He has a broken bones around his eye that may require surgery at a later date. His internal organs (besides his brain) are all functioning and do not show signs of trauma!
Thus far treatment has included keeping him stable. We are most concerned with his inter cranial pressure (ICP) which is expected to peak at about 72 hours. Keeping this pressure low in critical to minimizing the effects of his brain injury. While we have had ups and downs (include spikes in ICP, unstable blood pressure, inappropriate response to ADH and collapsed lungs) he has been able to pull through relatively stable.
The plan is to allow Ethan to start waking up on Monday. This will be a very difficult time, and is where we start to see the extent of the damage.
At this point expenses that we may be dealing with include potential cost of the STARS transfer, ambulance rides for Ethan and Riley, and the unknown rehab costs once he continues his recovery. Also there is time off work for Melanie and Jordan.
Having expenses covered so Melanie and Jordan can focus on Ethan's recovery while still maintaining stabilty and quality of life for Ethan's siblings Skyler and Ryley would be a immense relief.
Thank you for all of the support,
The Nielsen Family
Today was the first time since Monday that I was able to watch Ethan work so hard in therapy. I totally miss out on that when he is in school. As you can see, he really does have fun and work hard. I have some great videos too, but I couldn't decide which one to use. Since Ethan was doing half days this week, he was all done at noon and we got to start or pass early. Monday he starts full days at school. I am excited for him, and scared for me. I do have lots that I need to be doing it is just hard to let go.... again. I already sent him off to preschool, kindergarten, grade one and a few others. It is like starting over again with him.
We visited daddy at work, got a new haircut and picked up kids at school this afternoon. That sure kept us busy. Now we get to have an exciting weekend home add a family!
Ethan told me today that he really likes his new school. I am so glad to hear that because it is a huge part of getting him back to his old school.
I miss seeing all of his therapy appointments though, and watching him work hard and persevere. I get to go down tomorrow and see him. I am pretty excited, and so is he.
Tonight he wanted to go on a walk with his Nerf gun. I asked him how the nurses felt when he shot them all. "It's ok mom, they like it" was his response. I am not sure how much they like it, but I am grateful they go along with it. Long stays in the hospital are no fun at all.
Ethan also picked out this stress ball to play with today. I actually think it is a pretty great idea. He has fun with it, and it works on hand strength. It reminded me that someone had given us this finger massager. I pulled that out too. He loved them both and spent a long time playing with them. He was getting therapy and didn't even realize it.
I am so grateful for the sweet souls that I get to raise. They stretch me farther than I thought possible, and bring me more joy than I have ever known. Joy can be found anywhere as long as I have my family.
This morning I was anxious, and worried about ethans first day at school. His first day where a family member was not with him all day since the accident. I was grateful for some friends who came and distracted me for the morning. This is Ethan when I picked him up from school at lunch. He had a great time, and we are ready for tomorrow.
This afternoon actually felt really relaxed. Ethan had done all of his therapy and school before noon for the day. We played games and colored a really cool cape that Ethan wants on his wheel chair.
Sadly tonight bingo didn't happen. . The person with the keys couldn't be found. Instead we went for a walk and played clue. I am so grateful for my one on one time with Ethan, especially when it is not meal time (he is so stubborn with food! )
Ethan never forgets. Today was another great day at school. He is really enjoying himself downstairs, which I am so grateful for.
After school grandma and grandpa were there to pick Ethan up since I was on a field trip with my daughter. They went to the art room and made a wishing well. He wrote 4 wishes. 3 make me want to cry - one of which is because I am afraid I will never live this down.
Ethan also just realized that the many many stuffies in his room are actually his. He thought they were therapy aids and belonged to the hospital. I have been racking my brain trying to figure out where they will end up in my house!
We also snapped a quick picture of Ethan and his cape. It says "captain awesome" he likes how it flies out behind him when he goes super fast in his chair.
I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude that I was given the blessing of today. My son was home with our family, he was able to eat chips and ice cream cake. He was strong enough to throw water balloons and shoot a water gun. Today was a magnificent gift. A month ago, or even just a few weeks ago we couldn't have done what we did today.
It was such a fun day for Ethan. When the 3 kids got up this morning, they were all excited about presents. I relented and let Ethan open just what his brother and sister had gotten for him. It is so touching to watch my kids want to give everything they have to make Ethan happy.
This evening, we filled our house and yard to capacity with family (and I wouldn't have it any other way) we enjoyed great food and conversations. Ethan really wanted Griffin, his cousin to stay by his side. He even asked him to feed him his hot dog.
What was supposed to be a simple fun water fight turned a little more epic since the big kids (my brothers) were right in on it. The kids were plotting how to get them. I watched buckets full of water being used, the hose and a giant bazooka gun. I didn't even manage to stay dry. I took a water balloon to the butt when I was trying to get inside before mayhem broke out.
Ethan had so much love shown to him, he thought it was a wonderful day. I am grateful for his smile, and the joy today brought him.
Unit 4 may have to be careful, he got bigger guns, and I am sure they will make an appearance.
Ethan works so hard! This morning we went down for physio, and Ethan wanted to try going outside since it was so nice out. He really misses most of this beautiful weather. We had his new Physiotherapist who is going to start working with him tomorrow down at the school, and his one he has had up until now. We went out to the park where he worked on standing, and side stepping. While he is not doing it on his own, he is following cueing really well, and he was so stinkin proud of himself. I was pretty sad that I left my phone in my room when I ran back up to grab Ethan's shoes which I had forgotten. I wasn't able to snap any pictures or video - much to Ethan's dismay.
When physio was over and we were getting ready to head upstairs, I asked him if he was tired. He says "nope, I want to play feed me Fred". Feed my Fred is a game we play on OT, and it works on fine motor skills. We had to head upstairs instead because it was lunch time. Now let me tell you, all meals are turning into battles of one sort or another. Today Ethan had a turkey sandwich that was sent up for him. You would think it was poison or something. I relented, he has never really loved deli meat sandwiches. I made him a peanut butter and nutella sandwich at his request (yes, I have even brought a jar of nutella to the hospital for him). 1/4 of the way through he decides that he is full. NO WAY DUDE. He was full of sandwich, but wanted chocolate eggs. The compromise that I allowed was that he could be done with his sandwich if he ate his apple that came in his lunch. He tried fighting me on that one too, but I won. I wonder where this kid got his stubbornness from?
Since one of my other kids was home sick today, we changed up trade off a little bit so she didn't get dragged through the hospital spreading what she had. My mom stayed up for a visit while I ran to grab the kids from school, and came home to trade with my husband at home. While we were doing the trade my mom fed Ethan and took him on a walk. They ended up at the playground, and Ethan was on a swing for the first time since the accident. Sorry the video is unedited, the internet at the hospital is unbearably slow. I can't wait to be catheter free, it will make things like this so much easier. June 24th is the day we are hoping to have it out!
Wish us luck on our first day being dropped off for school tomorrow at Gordon Townsend School. I am not allowed to be with him, and I worry about him being cooperative. I guess the worries I have when I take him to school every year are the same now.
I would like to know who it was that hit Ethan and Rylee so I can reach out to her and do something to help ease her burden. I can't imagine the sorry she must be in and I just want to send her hugs and prayers and encourage her that often accidents happen to strengthen our faith and dependence on the Lord.
Am I able to share this page? I was at the site of the accident on Thursday and tried to look after Riley. My heart is broke for this family, this precious little boy and brave little Riley. I have not stopped thinking and praying for Ethan and for the trauma that Riley was exposed to. I will continue to pray for healing and strength for this family. I am going to donate money but I also had planned on preparing some meals for the family. Is this something that I could do? Please let me know if there is anything else needed? Thoughts and prayers, Jocelyn
Just wondering how Ethan is doing?I still pray for his recovery and pray that he is with his family.
How is Ethan doing?
That is just so fantastic to hear he went home, even just for a day and a night. I read all your posts and I can't think of a more joyful treat to hear how he is doing and the progress he is making! Love you guys!
There have been no updates for a week, does anyone know why?
I read your updates every day and I think I speak for all, it is just so heartwarming to see your little guy improving day by day. Sending love to you all and Ethan and looking forward to that day when you report he can go home.
At this point, the bladder infection is not YET a game-changer, it is a silly Kerfuffle. These happen 20-75 percent of the time, where there is some sluggishness of urine drainage, exposure to multiple instrument and personnel, an in-dwelling catheter, lowered immunity, and a boy who is trying to wake up-->recipe for infection (not disaster). This too can be treated.
We are praying and hoping for strength for Ethan and for you and your family. Ethan looks good in your most recent picture posted. Thank you for sharing this intimate part of your struggle. Our love for you all grows each day. Please, if you need anything at all, we are in the Queensland Ward in SE Calgary.
STARS Iis always free. No worries about that.
Thanks for updating Nathans condition, many prayers to you and Nathan as he begins his journey back to you.
So good to get this update. Go Ethan!
"There is so much more that could be said about the injuries he has sustained to his brain, but instead I will say that he is fighting." You're an amazing mother and an amazing person. Take good care of yourself.
Your little boy will be in our prayers everyday. My heart breaks for your family. May God give you strength, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have engraved you, Isaiah 16