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Heath & Angela Frazier

$19,125 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 213 people in 1 month
Created August 12, 2018
On the morning of August 12, 2018 Heath was involved in serious car accident. The following is from Angela's Facebook post: He is on the ventilator but is doing a fair share of the work which is a positive sign. He is currently moving all four extremities spontaneously but is not yet showing purposeful movement. He does have several brain bleeds and most likely a fractured skull, the extent and effects of those which are still unknown. So far there is no major swelling which would cause more damage, so we pray that stays that way. He does have a broken sternum and wrist, and quite a bit less hair than he did from abrasions. We are unsure at this point if he has a pulmonary embolism or not. His injuries are very serious but we are hopeful that he will recover, and will take care of getting him back to the same character you all know him to be. The first 48 hours are the most critical as his injuries evolve, so we are nowhere near out of the woods.

8/12/18, 930 pm Update: It has been confirmed that he has multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms.  They are unsure at this point if he also has a DVT (which could have caused the PE's or all could be from the trauma). He will remain ventilated until his neuro status improves.  They have placed an ICP monitor, and for now his pressure is stable. At this point the effects of his head trauma is unknown. They anticipate his ICP will likely rise in the next 3-5 days, and the ICP will determine if he will require NeuroSurgical Intervention.  There are concerns that he is having subclinical seizures and they will be addressing that tonight.  They splinted his arm and he will have surgery on it in the next couple of days. 

Many have asked how we can help the Fraziers and currently donating to this GoFundMe Campaign would be most helpful.  We will be putting a meal train together in the next week, or so, once Heath stabilizes. Luckily they have family support to help care for the kids, while Angela is at Heath's bedside, but this will be an extended recovery and we will need many helping hands. We are unsure what the future holds for Jug Creek Distillery, but we will update you as plans unfold.
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Heath had a good session with his speech pathologist today. With some prompting to stay on task, he was able to recall the days of the week, the Pledge of Allegiance, and was able to identify objects and state their uses. These are great signs that his difficulty with communication is just temporary and that he will be able to recall his long term knowledge of at least basic things and retain his verbal skills! At the same time, because he is able to do these things, he is obviously starting to be able to follow commands much better! As he progresses, we will see how much of his higher level knowledge, particularly of medicine and most importantly of distilling be retains, but this gives us much hope! One suggestion given by the SLP was to work on getting him to sing simple songs that everyone knows. She has tried several times with no luck, he just looks at her. I have a playlist of some of his favorite songs that I have been playing for him since his accident. I haven't played it in a few days because he has had so much other stuff going on. He was agitated this morning (and pretty much all day) so I turned the music on and immediately he started singing along to the songs! I guess he just didn't want to sing Happy Birthday to himself!

Not much else new today, he was very restless all day and didn't get PT/OT so I'm hoping he sleeps well tonight! Pray for my sanity as we go into the weekend when he gets no therapy to wear him out!
Weed, Whiskey, & Willie
Ring of Fire
Starting to look like his smartass self!
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The last few days have been very busy with trying to keep Heath safely in the bed as his muscle tone improves and he becomes more antsy in the bed. By the time Heath konks out for the night I might think about grabbing a bite to eat for a late dinner or a shower, but mostly I'm grabbing my own blankie and pillow and crashing too. Right now, he is mostly free to worm around the bed during the day, during which time he is usually lying sideways with his legs slung over the side rail. Everyone that walks in the room wants to sit him back up but he just puts himself back in the same sideways position. He goes from restless and squirmy to completely asleep 10 seconds later, only to sleep 5 or 10 minutes until someone wakes him up because he probably pulled a telemetry lead off right before he fell asleep. His therapies are usually in the morning and early afternoon so he is typically pretty busy during those times. By mid afternoon and evening, the stimulation of the day often leaves him restless, co fused, and unable to get comfortable or communicate his needs. His agitation has actually improved from a scratching himself perspective so we have been able to leave his hands free now, but in exchange he has won wrist restraints at least at night as a safety measure to keep him in the bed. The staff would prefer to put him on a Posey bed for their convenience and his safety, but since I'm doing most of his care, my convenience is not to have to wrestle him inside that bed. If you aren't familiar with them, I encourage you to look them up. They can be great for confused patients, but in my head as he struggles to become more oriented, waking up in a Volkswagen sized zip up kennel just doesn't seem like the best way to encourage him to recognize his surroundings. His new motor skills include being able to push himself up and rolling over in bed which means his trunkal tone has really improved just this week and also explains why the restraints are necessary. He unfortunately still has limited use of up his upper left extremity due to high tone, so we have started a new medication that will hopefully help that spasticity. Further down the road when he can have outpatient visits, we may need to use Botox injections in his elbow, or ultimately surgery to loosen the tendons, but we hope that meds, time, and intense therapy will be enough for now.

He continues to amaze the staff at his success at eating a regular diet and is doing great without the feeding tube. His speech therapist gave him the clear today for the next level in his dysphagia diet so he should have many more options to eat now, not that he has turned down anything I have fed him yet. He has also in the last few days started talking with much more clarity. Many times it is still incomprehensible mumbling, but every day he is able to answer us more appropriately and clear when we ask him questions or talk to him. Similar to dealing with children that are learning to talk, we also of course have to deal with the fact that sometimes he just doesn't want to answer us and chooses not to, but luckily he also really likes juice and snacks and bribes easily so there is that. Thus far, I feel fortunate that his affect and emotions have been mostly calm and pleasant with occasional hints of his humor... compared to the angry, vulgar, and extremely frustrated emotions that are very common at this stage. Given that Heath wasn't exactly Mr. Susie-Sunshine before, I'm just biding my time for what I feel like will eventually come lol.

I have to thank our therapy team for their monumental dedication in making our therapy today a trip outside at my request. Since he can't stand on his own yet, that involved using a powered lift to take him from the bed to the wheelchair. Believe me, that is not as easy as it sounds, nor a fast process, but we did it! He spent about 10 minutes outside, during which the entire time he looked like all he wanted was his sunglasses and to go back in lol. I can't believe I made a rooky mistake like forgetting his sunglasses. Anyway, they were really impressed with how well he was able to now hold his own head and torso up, because just a few days ago he couldn't. I attribute his improvements in tone to the hours of gymnastics and yoga that he is doing in his bed all day long.

Another big accomplishment of the day is that they capped his trach today! That means they literally put a cap on it so that no air can go in or out of it so he is breathing entirely using his upper airway just as if he didn't have it. He has done great with that all day! We will see how turn nighttime goes with the undiagnosed sleep apnea I'm pretty sure he previously had! This was the last step of weaning to be done before it can be taken out. We know that still won''t happen until next week, but that just means we are fully prepared when they FINALLY clear his neck! I'm fairly confident that if the doctor doesn't give the go ahead, once the c-collar is removed that Heath will be taking it out himself, so it's good that we will be prepared.

I think that's most of the updates for the last few days. He is getting closer and closer to really needing to be at an inpatient rehab facility but we have not had much news in that area yet so please continue to pray for favorable options, open beds, and insurance with a conscience. We had a pretty adorable visitor today and one I have missed so much in the last 5 weeks. Livvy sure misses Mommy and Daddy, even though she is still a little uncertain about Dads new neck gear. I hate that we are missing precious milestones at the age that she is right now, but am also so thankful that she could not be in better hands with my parents. It seems like every week when she visits she is talking more and has grown up more, stop that right now! The big kids will be coming up for a visit this weekend and can't wait to see dad again too!
Trach capped, one step closer to gone!
Sweet baby girl!
He was not a happy participant.
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It's been 35 days since the accident turned our lives upside down. Every day I see bits of the husband I know coming back to me. While this stage is exhausting, he is making steady progress that is amazing to me. Emotionally I am in a much better place than where I was 2 weeks ago, except for the frustrations of dealing with suboptimal care at times that makes me feel like I can't take a break and that I should be being paid for all I do instead of them.

The last two days have been full of calorie counts and eating by mouth, so I was finally able to convince the doctor to allow the feeding tube to be removed this morning!! He is eating and drinking great so as his alertness improves they will advanced him to more solid foods. I was hopeful it would keep from from scratching at his face if it was removed but it doesn't seemed to have helped that much as of yet. It likely is neurological in nature and will improve eventually. When his hand is restrained and covered with a mit he still constantly shakes and scratches with that hand. I found him the neatest fidget device on Amazon that helps keep his hand busy and gives him an energy outlet for short periods of time. Check out the video to see those awesome fine motor skills.

He is trying to speak more and more the last few days. Most of it is garbled and even though he seems to know what he is saying, I can't understand it but it is a huge improvement over the week when we started with the speaking valve and he just mostly moaned all the time. One of the ways that he will start to get his speech back is by repeating things that are said to him. Of course I have been telling him I love him so many times a day since the accident but I usually just get a blank look in return. After 32 days, his first clear words that he repeated back to me were I Love You. I don't care if it was spontaneous or repeated, it counts! That has actually been one of the most common phrases I can get him to say! You better believe there was some ugly crying over that! Today has been a good day in that he has been trying to speak a lot. We look at pictures of friends, family, and familiar things and I try to get him to tell me what they are. The ST suggested multiple ways of input, like pairing verbal with auditory and visual to help connect things. An example is I wrote the word SMILE on a dry erase board and told him to smile for me, and he said the word smile (but didn't actually smile). We don't know what is going on in his head, so he may be able to process some ways better than others, like written better than auditory but not visual. It continues to he a game of stimulating his brain to connect the dots without overstimulating him and frustrating him.

We are T-minus one weekish until he can come out of the C-collar, and hopefully have the trach removed pretty shortly after. At this point, that C-Collar really isn't doing much as he pretty much turns his head how he pleases- see pic below.

No news yet on where our next placement will be. We are evaluating backup options that are in network in case the insurance denies us for Shepherd Center again. I am also starting the SSI/disability process because if he qualifies for that we may be able to get him into a better place that accepts Medicare/Medicaid. We all know that isn't a fast process though, so for now we deal with it one day at a time and I try to make the best decisions for his future.
Even in his sleep that hand fidgets!!
Looks so much better without that tube!
Really protecting that neck!
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We started yesterday morning with the speech therapist feeding Heath a pureed breakfast. At first glance it doesn't look super appealing, but this is the first food in his stomach he has had in 31 days so he didn't seem picky on the choices! He did great so she gave me the go ahead to start giving him 3 trays a day, woop woop! He has eaten great at every meal since then, amd promptly passed out afterwards. Who knew eating was such hard work! This is amazing progress because just over a week ago we could barely get him to open his mouth for anything and now he opens it readily for oral intake, although he still doesn't open it on command... if that makes sense. His tube appears to have migrated or may be malfunctioning which isn't uncommon after being in for a month, but I'm determined not to replace it unless completely necessary. We are going to start a calorie count on him starting tomorrow morning for 2 days to determine if he can get enough calories in by mouth. Luckily he really seems to like the Ensure supplements, and so far he has eaten everything I have offered him, so I am confident he will do great. As his oral skills improve, they will work towards advancing him to a more solid diet, but he can have lots of tasty things pureed, so I'm about to get imaginative. If we can convince our 6 month old heart baby with oral aversion to wean off of her tube (Addy), convincing my 40 year old husband who loves food to eat again should be a piece of cake. I went and bought all kinds of soft foods and a portable blender to puree some things, pretty sure these people are gonna think I'm a little weird but I wouldn't want to eat the same chicken or meat puree patty and mashed potatoes twice a day every day so I figure neither does he.

We were transported to Vandy this morning for his ortho follow up where he was given the all clear to start weight bearing and more intensive therapy on his left arm. Our hope is that as his cognitive status improves and with lots of therapy, the tone in his elbow will also improve. If it does not, at some point in the future he may require additional surgeries to loosen those muscles, but we hope not.

No new news on where we will go from here, but at the rate he is improving I suspect we will find ourselves in a new home within the next week. Stay tuned and keep up the prayers.
Oh yes I did. Looks like himself now
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$19,125 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 213 people in 1 month
Created August 12, 2018
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