Bruce Barton Med and Rehab Journey

At 11:00 pm on September 20th, 2016, while sitting on the couch with my 2 year old niece during vacation in Florida, I received a call from my neighbor, telling me that my father Bruce fell backwards off of his front porch and hit his head on the cement driveway. She said 911 had been contacted, and he was being rushed to OU Medical in Oklahoma City. Shortly after, I would learn that the fall was so severe it caused his brain to swell and clot on the right side, it left his frontal lobe heavily concussed, and doctors were surprised he even survived the fall at all. Because of the swelling of the brain, the right side of his skull needed to be removed to allow the brain to swell and prevent any further damage. I gave my permission, and we jumped on the first plane home to Oklahoma.

Although the surgery went well, Bruce was placed into a medically induced coma due to pneumonia, which required a trach tube, high blood pressure, and stress. Over time, he recovered from the pneumonia and was taken off of sedatives but he did not wake up. After doing all that could be done at OU Med he was transferred to Select Specialty Hospital, a type of half way point between the ICU and Rehab, where we waited for any type of change.

After nearly a month, Bruce was still not waking up, and it seemed that the right thing to do was to take him off of life support, and let him go. Over the next few weeks, he was slowly weaned off of his oxygen and pumps, yet vitals continued to hold steady. Bruce then started to show signs of actual life! First with subtle squeezes of my hand and then he began to track people with his eyes when they entered the room. When the doctors were still unsure if his movements were cognitive, we brought in our therapy dog Leo. As soon as Leo jumped on the bed, dad reached on to pet him! These improvements were nothing short of a miracle. One day at a time, he began to wake up, move, and even speak!

Bruce was then transferred to St. Anthony's Hospital where he started lower level rehabilitation, getting stronger every day. In January we were lucky enough to send him to Center for Neuro Skills in Irving, TX which specializes in the rehabilitation for people with traumatic brain injuries. This was truly a blessing for Bruce because he was surrounded by others with injuries similar to his own, which persuaded him to fight, and also by staff who were knowledgeable, kind, and many close friends and family members who lives in Texas.

Unfortunately, June 3rd was his 65th birthday, and he is now on Medicare and can no longer attend CNS rehab programs. Although Bruce made an exceptional amount of progress during his stay at CNS, he is still in need of physical therapy, and cognitive/educational therapy to continue gaining strength. Regardless, he is now back home in Oklahoma City with family. My boyfriend Kastan and I are doing our best to take care of all of his needs. In fact, Kastan has stepped up to the plate in ways that most would not, but dad still needs 24/7 care. He cannot do any basic life functions such as feeding, bathing, or dressing without assistance. He is also a fall risk as he sometimes forgets he cannot just get up and go on his own.  While Kastan and I are doing the best we can on our own, we are trying to get some help through a home health agency. Home health will allow us to take him out in public more often so that he can have social interactions, and do more of the things he loves, such as going to Jimmies Egg to eat with family, or attending church services and groups. That said, we have hit a financial road block. Aside from the general hospital bills, we’ve paid nearly $2,500 for household supplies to bring Bruce home. We owe about as much to the pharmacy in Irving, and home health care alone costs roughly $9,000 a month for just over half a day of help. Despite the fact that I hate, hate, hate asking people for money, I have found myself with no other choice. It has become far too difficult to see the light at the end of the financial tunnel. While the goal has been set pretty high, honestly anything will help. 

Our highest priority is to get dad into an assisted living facility. However, to do so, he will need to have his right bone flap/right side of his skull replaced via neuro surgery. We do not even have a consultation with a doctor for this for another month, at which point we do not know what will happen next. In the meantime, while Bruce is in our care, we not only want to be able to have home health come in, but find a way to continue some form of rehabilitation physically and mentally aside from what we can personally provide for him. These are out of pocket costs, as Bruce did not invest in a long term care plan. We will also need to pay out of pocket for him to see a physician when he needs things such as medication refills and general checkups, as booking a physician through Medicare can take at least a month to be seen.

All of this being said, our goals and financial responsibilities are as such…..


Home Health Care to help with transport, bathing, public outings, respite, social interaction, and overall allowing Bruce to live his life to the fullest during his time at home! - $22/hr. Mon – Fri and $24/hr. Sat – Sun ($9,000+/- for around half a day of care/month)

Either in home or outpatient physical therapy, which we are still researching - $?

What We Have Spent/Owe (thus far):

Pharmacy in Texas from Rehab - $2,000

In Home Medical Supplies - $2,500 (thus far)

        This includes everything from shower chairs and toilet bars, to leak proof mats, transport chair, gloves, baby wipes, appropriate silverware, and more….

Medical Bills (thus far):

OU Medical - $12,059.12 !!!

Specialty Select and St. Anthony’s Rehabilitation (includes radiology, labs, etc.) – $1,228.16

Quest Care - $768.00
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Lindsay Barton 
Oklahoma City, OK