January 28, 2013 Julie collapsed at work. She suffered a brain aneurysm (bleeding in the brain) and stroke. She was initially taken to a smaller, local hospital where the care was not impressive and her husband Garry was told "not to get his hopes up" by the ER physician. Garry insisted on her transfer to Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio and after a battle of wills with the ER physician Julie was transferred.
Julie was in the ICU-SICU at Ohio State University Medical Center for 32 days where she received the best care any of us could have asked for. Initially she was intubated, had a feeding tube through her stomach and a drainage tube in her brain, plus all the other EEG, heart monitors, etc attached to her. There are no words for the feelings and emotions that come over you when you see your loved one laying still in a hospital bed, half-head shaved with tubes and wires everywhere. There were more surgeries than we care to remember but they came with a lot of little victories; Julie waking up, opening her eyes, recognizing voices, making eye contact, a lot of "Hey Jul can you squeeze my hand?" or "give me a thumbs up Julie!" There were definitely good days and bad days. Days with improvements and days with set-backs, some of which were very scary. If it were not for the amazing team of doctors, surgeons, nurses, nurses aids, etc. Julie would not be where she is today.
After a shunt was surgically placed behind one of her ears (to drain the fluid in her brain internally instead of the external drain originally put in) and Julie improved enough she was transferred from OSU Medical Center into a rehabilitation facility closer to home. Here she continued the rigorous physical therapy and speech therapy regimen. It was also here that Julie amazed us all and took her first steps again, sooner than anyone anticipated (see below). She began to gain more and more control over her body and muscles. (Due to the stroke she suffered, she was favoring her right side a lot and it was more difficult for her to use the left side of her body.) It was also discovered she has something called "aphasia" which basically means when she speaks she says the wrong words a lot. Her brain knows what she is trying to say but the wrong words come out. For example, a lot of the time when she would try to say someones name she would say "grandma" or "wedding" instead. This continues to improve over time.
May 21, 2013 Julie was able to come home to her family. She participated in outpatient physical and speech therapy where Julie continued to make improvements. Julie's mom stayed in Ohio for 3 weeks to help care for her during the day while the kids were in school and Julie's husband Garry was at work. Julie also got to attend her daughter's high school graduation (see below)!
In August Julie's husband was laid off from his job. The morning of August 12, Garry's first day home, Julie had a seizure. She was transported back to Ohio State University Medical Center where she stayed for 16 days. Her neurosurgeon removed the shunt that was draining the fluid from her brain internally and put back an external drain. They also discovered Julie's gallbladder was completely black & removed that as well. She was kept in the hospital until the infection in her stomach cavity was completely healed. They then put the internal drain and shunt back in. Julie was released from OSU Medical Center again on August 28th and went back home with her family.
Julie is continually making progress but her doctors say recovery is about a 2 year process, maybe more maybe less, every case is different. Some people can make a full recovery, others will never be quite the same person. Even still, we continually see improvements, those small victories. If you know Julie, you know she has quite the sassy smart-ass personality. So even though the right words don't always come out, when we hear her cracking jokes it's a big deal.
The road to recovery is a long one and literally it is one baby step at a time. Julie is a fighter and each day is a new battle. She has come a long way in these past 10 months but still has quite the journey ahead.
The family held a benefit in Julie's honor in May (go here
for the Julie Jones Benefit Facebook page) and was able to get donations from family and friends to help with the initial medical bills, but now with Julie on long term disability and her husband Garry on unemployment this family of 5 is struggling to get by.
We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your donations, thoughts & prayers. We are truly grateful for your help; any donation made, whether big or small, is very much appreciated.
The Jones Family
(Haley, Sofia, Eric, Helen, Karen, Chris, Linda, John, Colton, Holden, Julie, Garry & Danny)
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