Progress is significant. Six weeks ago today Jim was in the hands of angels. We spent week after week visiting, waiting, hoping, and praying that things would get better. We believed that somehow he would find the strength to heal and continue to get better. Using his words "tell everyone that their support is what gives me the strength - I can feel their support everyday!" He is in his third hospital since May 27th. Rehab is the focus. We got some news this week that is very encouraging. The amputation appears to be healing well. There was a bit of a scare with some redness that may indicate infection but upon further review this week it is just from the stretching of his skin as part of the suture and healing process. His reconstructed shoulder, 15 broken ribs, and hand continue to have slow improvements but he can still only use his right side. As of now, when the doctors agree that he can get closer to home...he will be able to fly. From transport to flight to transport to the next destination of home or close by of three to four hours seems much more comfortable than a 12 or so hour drive. Judy has been able to stay with her cousin. This has been so helpful for her to get some small breaks, access transportation, and sleep in a home that carries ongoing support from family. We are hopeful he will be home as soon as possible. We are aware there are many challenges to him being home. We have worked to start the process of making home more accessible for him. So many hands have helped, more will help, more have pledged to help, and none of the work to prepare Jim & Judy's home for him could have happened without you. We are in the early stages of modifying the lower level of his home, adding access for him to get in and out, adding a bathroom that will allow him to use the restroom, shower, etc. We can't say thank you enough. He said he is not sure how to thank everyone or even how to express himself the next time he sees each of you..but know this - He and Judy are as thankful and as appreciative as anyone could be. I know that when I call to give them updates from home it is emotional. Emotional in a good way...We could not do this without you!
Jim has made progress this week. On Monday the decision to move him to a rehabilitation hospital was shared. When asked if this could be done closer to home the response was no - not at this time. He was moved to Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. Initial feedback from the rehab facility is that he will be here for atleast three weeks with rehab goals of sitting up more independently and moving from a bed to a chair with assistance. His strength (physically) is depleted by the month he has been in the medically induced coma or bed ridden with no use of his left side. His leg amputation dressing has been changed daily and is healing. His shoulder continues to heal. His left hand swelling is going down some but we continue to monitor it. He says he isn't in a lot of pain and he has had only limited pain killers in light doses and only once or twice a day. This morning I talked to him about the support that has come from family, friends, and from others...He asked to look through the names and messages from those who supported him. He then asked what updates I had shared with others on this site. I read the updates and he scrolled every name and message. Jim, Judy, and I teared up because of the support. He wanted to say this to everyone:
"Tell them I said Thank You. I couldn't do it without you. I can feel your support - It gives me the strength to keep fighting!"
Jim's scheduled lower left leg amputation surgery was done on Tuesday. Once surgery was complete it became a process of patience as doctors did not know with certainty that it would "take" or if further shortening of his leg would be necessary. In addition, it was decided that his shoulder that is shattered needed more imagery to build a plan for healing. Using 3D imagery doctors decided he would need surgery to repair the shoulder joint starting with the scapula where the arm meets and moves. Wednesday at 11:45 he went into pre-op. Doctors warned that this would not have a timeline due to the extensive trauma and what the surgeon called a "tough break." The surgery lasted over 5 hours and required plates and screws that will later have to come out. Jim was a bit discouraged when heavily medicated just after the shoulder surgery as he was in a lot of pain. As his 15 broken ribs continue to heal he has a lot of discomfort from leg amputation, shoulder plates/screws, and his left hand continues to struggle with proper circulation. Thursday was better. Judy has had a few emotional moments from the stress of the love of her life going through so much and the support of family, friends, and strangers. She is so appreciative. No procedures on Thursday other than some light PT for his right side that has been weakened by inactivity. Friday was a BIG DAY. Jim went into surgery again to have his left leg looked at. His leg looked good so the surgical team trimmed some things and closed the leg. This took several hours and the vac remains on the leg. Monday they will look at it again. Friday was the first day since 5/27 that Jim has not had an open exposure risk. We are not out of the woods but this is a significant step toward healing.
Thank you for your support, your prayers, and keeping Jim's recovery & Judy's well-being in mind. It is truly appreciated!
Jim's leg injury became so critical that they decided it was best to move him from Winchester, Virginia to Inova Medical in Falls Church, Virginia near Washington D.C. as they have deep tissue specialists there.
His condition is still critical. Other areas of concern like his shoulder that will require surgery are on hold until his leg becomes more stable. He has internal hardware (plates and screws) that are holding his tibia together. The external hardware keeping his leg at the appropriate length that was placed on him on May 27th was removed yesterday so that attempts to clean the wound and treat the tissue would be easier.
This morning he went in for what I believe was his 6th lower left leg surgery. Unfortunately, this morning, the determination was made by Jim's doctors to amputate the lower left leg. The tissue around the location of his compound fracture is not regenerating. It is infected and leaves him at a high risk. There is not enough tissue left structurally to work with. There is not sufficient blood flow to the area due to the trauma of the accident to carry the nutrients needed to keep the wound healthy. The amputation will take place withing 48 hours.
Transporting him closer to home is not an option at this time.
Our family thanks everyone for their overwhelming support. It brings Judy to tears when she things about how supportive everyone has been.
Below is the 6/3/2017 Update:
The call came...Your Dad was hit by a vehicle. He was on his motorcycle. There is a lot of trauma. He is in critical condition. Mom is in my truck. We are a 12 hour drive from home with no resources prepared for this situation. We were traveling with 3 other vehicles with multiple family members. We used an app to find the hospital that was a few exits ahead to wait for emergency transport...
He was wearing his helmet and there are no identifiable neurological or spinal damages.
Left shoulder - scapula is shattered like glass and collar bone is broken.
15 broken ribs, 10 on his left side, 5 on his right side, one of which punctured a lung, and many broken in multiple spots.
Both lungs collapsed.
Left hand is deep purple and not getting blood flow due to a clot.
Lower left leg has multiple bone compound fractures. He has had two surgeries thus far with more to come to repair his shattered fibula. Next surgery cannot occur until he is stable enough to tolerate the procedure.
He is on a ventilator and has limited response at this time.
Family surrounds him and Judy to offer support in any way that they can. Sometimes, challenges are so unique and tough that you ask for help...we are asking for your support.
Following years of struggle to be healthy; a survivor of multiple medical situations that give everyone's life pause - including cancer and heart surgery, Dad was fully ready to ride. His daughter's 40th birthday approached and the idea of a trip turned into a family commitment. Arrangements were made for 12 family members to gather in the mountains of North Carolina to ride. As things came together we would celebrate Jim and Judy's 41st anniversary, Carrie's birthday, Kevin's birthday, Richard's birthday, Jim and Judy both turning 60, and a well-deserved vacation time for many who wanted to celebrate life! We were a mere 6 hour drive from our destination.
Staying in Virginia with Jim, Judy is without the personal resources that include: a vehicle, funds to stay overnight, food, and the other various challenges that come with trying to figure out what to do when your husband is a 12 hour drive away from home and rests in a medically induced coma without knowing anyone or the surrounding area. All the while, knowing you will be battling this for many months, if not years.
Anything you can contribute to the cost of medical care, medical transport from Virginia to Maine, room and board, is greatly appreciated, including positive thoughts and prayers.