Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the Year continues...

To finish my post yesterday....

September I started my third semester at OTC. I knew it was going to be difficult and some of the most challenging classes yet, but I had no idea that more than school was going to be happening this fall. I was taking a Children's Lit class, my major, a world music class and then there was Chemistry and Algebra. James has been a HUGE help in my chemistry class as he is a chemist and a fantastic teacher. Could it be that he missed his calling???

October was fairly normal I think. At this point my fall all begins to run together. I think this was the month that the funerals began. It would have to be, as they ran for 6 weeks and ended the week of Thanksgiving. In those 6 weeks we lost: Uncle David's mom (, Jim Scott (my Graphic Design instructor and a close friend of dad's), Aunt Abby, Dorthy Boutwell (SGT co-founder's wife and a good friend), a scrap-booking buddy whose presence is greatly missed. I know that is only 5 but the last I didn't really know, I knew the person who found him. I have a friend who found her brother in law who had hung himself in his garage.. I was supporting her. During all of this I was taking my midterms and trying to make sure I would finish this semester with another 4.0 and bring my overall grade point average back up from my first college experience. My aunts birthday started a few family problems, but we are all adults, I thought we could talk through them, right??

November started harmlessly enough. Other than the family still not getting along and us reassuring someone that he hadn't divided the family due to actions that did/didn't happen, we were doing fairly well. We celebrated Thanksgiving a little early so some could go to a MSU Volleyball game (which they didn't), but it turned out to be a good thing. Tuesday, November 25th, at 11:15 pm, I got a phone call from Pamela, Brian's supervisor. She needed my permission to take Brian in a ambulance to the hospital. She is so sweet and was just trying to break the news to me gently that he had suffered a very severe fall at work and was going to be Life-flighted to St. John's in Springfield. They took him by ambulance to Skaggs in Branson long enough to put him on the helicopter to St. John's. Brian was working on the side stage during a dimmer check after the show was over. The theater was dark so no one really know what happens, but they know Brian fell from 10-12 feet backwards onto the concrete floor below. Brian sustained many injuries such as bruises on his brain, a spinal fluid leak out of his left ear, a cheek bone fracture, an 8in. skull fracture, a brain hemorrhage on the left side, a broken left collarbone and fractures on the T-5 through the T-10 vertebrae, with his T-10 collapsed. We spent 3 weeks in the hospital, including a 2 week stay on the rehab unit. Brian has been very blessed and even though his injuries were serious, they were all on the minor side. Mom wrote this email...

On Tuesday evening after the show, they were doing dimmer checks (all the lights in the theatre are turned off and the spots on the set are turned on one at a time and checked for angle, brightness, etc. About 11:15 PM, he stepped back to check a light and took a 10 – 12 foot fall from the 2nd level of the ark into the seating below.

When they got to him he was unconscious. 911 was called and an ambulance arrived within minutes. He was conscious but unresponsive. They took him to Skaggs hospital in Branson and life-flighted him to St. John’s Hospital in Springfield. (He could not be taken to Cox because they do not have a level one trauma unit).

We beat the helicopter to the hospital and ended up waiting quite a while. He began responding to them just before they reached the hospital and was complaining of abdominal and chest pain. At first we were told to be prepared for a gash in his head because of all the blood. Once they checked him out, they said there was no gash, but there was bleeding from his ears. After CT scans and x-rays, we were allowed to see him and he recognized Jenn and told her he loved her. They told us the chest and abdominal pain was from a broken clavicle and we were told he had a ruptured ear drum. (left side) They moved him to ICU and we were allowed to see him again. After they cleaned him up in ICU they did find 2 abrasions on the back of his head, but he continued to bleed from his left ear. (They were changing the gauze every 2 hours). We were told they thought first one thing and then the other and he was taken back and forth for x-rays, etc until the next afternoon when the trauma Dr. said he had a 1.) temporal bone fracture (left side) 2.) small temporal subarachnoid hemorrhage (left side) 3.) small bilateral temporal contusions 4.) pneumocephalus (air under the skull) related to the skull fracture 5.) cerebral spinal fluid leak from left ear (related to the skull fracture) 6.) Left clavicle fracture 7.) t10 vertebrae fracture…

After more tests and consultations, they have determined to let the body see how much it will heal itself. He will be in a back brace and sling when he’s up for the spinal fracture and they will watch the bleeding in the back of the head (which is what has been draining out his ear with the spinal fluid through the cranial fracture) to make sure it seals itself.

He is being seen by Trauma Drs., Neuro Drs, ENTs….

He was moved into a private room on Thanksgiving and sat on the side of the bed 5 minutes the first day, on the side of the bed 10 minutes and in a chair about an hour the 2nd day – and then taken off his IV and had his catheter taken out, he sat in the chair a couple of hours and walked almost to the door the 3rd day and walked 3 times and sat up a few hours today. Today he passed the test to be moved to the rehab floor tomorrow and will be working with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist and neuro therapist.

Due to the fact that the cranial fracture involves the nerves to the face, there is some drooping on the left side of his face.

He is making fantastic progress daily and is very anxious to be back on his feet, so is working very hard to do anything asked of him.

December was when we were able to go home and were very excited that we would be home for Christmas. Unfortunately, God had other things in mind. On December 23, Pamela came over to watch movies and spend some time with friends. Brian was feeling too well and couldn't decide if his brace was on too tight or he was having a panic attack. We finally put him to bed with a Xanax and hoped he could sleep it off. I watched him breathe all night, but it seemed labored and uneasy.. The next morning I called Dr. Kent and took him to the ER - Christmas was not to be at home. Brian had developed multiple blood clots in each lung and needed to be hospitalized immediately. The only thing keeping him out of ICU at that point was the fact that he wasn't in respiratory distress. On many levels, this was more serious than the initial accident. He was put on two different blood thinners and we were able to go home December 28th.

New Year's Eve we didn't make plans, so we got to spend it at home. We stayed away from the hospitals and enjoyed the evening just us. We are still doing doctor appointments, therapy sessions, pills and have even had to go back on the shots because his blood won't thin like it should, but overall, I still have my husband and I am VERY glad about that. Brian is a walking miracle and is so because of the prayer he has received.

2008 has now come to a close and I can't say that I am sad about it. We started out so wonderful, but didn't end so hot. And now we begin 2009 and can only wonder what this year holds in store for us.

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