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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wreck cont'd

When another doctor looked at Luke's EEG, he said it looked like fat in the white matter of his brain. He said that they were fat embolisms, and they would dissolve on their own. Usually when a patient has these rare embolisms, they have severe respiratory issues. At this point, Luke was breathing on his own with just a tiny amount of oxygen by binasal cannula (like 2-4L). Because he looked so good from a respiratory standpoint, it took them a while to diagnose him with fat embolism syndrome.  If you read about FES, you will also see that setting the broken bone ass quick as possible is so important! They gave him a feeding tube through his nose so he would have nutrition, and basically told me to "Hurry up and wait." Dr. Fabian and Dr. Croce are the two head docs at The Med, and they are amazing!! Dr. Fabian gently explained to my mom that recovery could take months. I cannot explain enough how amazing all the drs were in explaining and guiding us through all of this. We are so lucky to have The Med in Memphis!

On Tuesday, we were so thrilled when Luke squinted his eyes to the light being turned on. He also would move his feet when we tickled them and he pulled out two of his IVs. That got his arms put in restraints. It is hard to look back on this now, because we were so excited and it seems like it was nothing! We were excited because he squinted his eyes? They also put in a central line (which I suggested the day before b/c of the multiple IV sticks), and he had to get some blood. All of the lab values I had long since forgotten about from nursing school came back pretty quickly. They drew labs each am, and then supplemented him with whatever he needed that day. All of our friends had been asking for ways to help. That morning, I thought of two things I needed: pictures of the kids and deodorant for Luke. I emailed two friends who work downtown, and within the hour of me sending this email, I had a dozen 8x10 pictures of my babies. By lunch, I had deodorant for Luke. My friends helped us out in ways they will never know mattered! I got my mom to call our preacher, and he and our shepherds came up to the hospital. Mark (our preacher) annointed Luke with oil and then prayed over him with my mom and me. The shepherds stood in the hallway and were praying, and my dear friend had asked the rest of our church to pray at Luke at 6:00 as well. When Mark touched Luke with the oil, he opened his eyes for the first time on his own. No deep sternal rub, no pulling of chest hairs. He opened his eyes.

Later that night, we got you really riled up and you opened your eyes for us again (with agitation-and he was so determined. He was sweating, his RR was up). We called the nurse in there, and she was just as excited as we were. She called the chief resident (Dr Decocoa whom I also love), and she clapped with joy. Three times in a row he opened his eyes for us! Dr Decocoa had been very guarded in her optimism up until this point. Her team was good, but I noticed that none of the other young female residents would make eye contact with me. I know they were thinking, "Bless her heart. This is bad." After we got him all worked up, he never could quite get his respiratory rate back down. This caused his O2 sats to drop as well. About 2:00 am, the nurse paged Dr Decocoa, and b/c she was in a trauma, Dr Croce (big wig) came in. He thought it would be good to go ahead and put Luke on the ventilator to allow his body to rest while he was trying to dissolve these fat embolisms. He was so kind and explained it to me and allowed me to ask questions. I told him when I think of an embolism, I think blockage and death of tissue. He said that it was more of a biochemical repsonse, and there was no death of tissue, just a delay in sending/recieving messages. When the CRNA came in to do the intubation, one of my favorite friends from nursing school came in with him. She is in CRNA school, and it was such a comfort to have her standing there holding my hand while Dr Croce explained everything to me. Once again, a familiar face at 2 am at The Med when I needed it the most. When they let me back in about 5 am, he was already calmed down, and breathing on his own over the vent. We got moved from our 2 patient room to one next door that was a private room. They also did a bronchoscopy to make sure his lungs were ok and put in an ICP bolt. The bolt went through his head and screwed into his skull to monitor the pressure in his brain.

And then, we just let him sleep.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Wreck

I tried to decide on a better title for this post, but I think that is the most fitting. Luke was in a wreck on June 10, and it has literally wrecked our summer. My other option was "God Provides," and that is definitely more optimistic and just as true.
This story begins one early morning with Luke and his buddies meeting for breakfast. They were having the discussion that the road to Heaven is narrow; in fact, probably narrower than we would all like to think it is. Luke and I were discussing this later and Luke stated, "My life has been so good so far. I just really dont feel like God has tested me." I quickly retorted, "Well, I know I am going to Heaven and dont need to be tested. Please pray again quickly that he tests you and only you because I dont want to be along for that ride!" ha. ha.
On Friday, June 10, Luke and I had met for two law firm parties. He is fixing to start his 3rd and final year of school and had two internships this summer. Both firms had parties that night, and we attended both. Both were very lovely, the people were nice, and the food was delicious! I have learned alot over the past month, and one thing is, be careful what you pray for. I said a quick prayer that night that Luke wouldn't have to pick between the two firms. That is a ridiculous thing to think, and God took care of it. Kate was at my parents, and Preston was at my grandparents, so at the end of the night, I headed to get Kate and Luke got Pres. Luke went in to my grandmothers, fixed her tv, picked up the baby, and headed home. At 11:58, he called me, told me he had been in a bad wreck, and that he thought his leg was shattered. I could her Preston screaming in the background, and I immediately sprang into nurse/mama bear mode. I got 911 on the phone, and made sure they were sending someone immediately. Out where we live, there is sometimes a delay in emergency responders because they cant decide whose jurisdiction we are in. Anyway, by the time I got to the scene (I was ab 15 minutes behind Luke), there were about 8 cop cars and an ambulance on the scene. Luke's car was perpendicular to the road and I could tell he was cut up and hurting. The EMT was checking him out in the car, and told me he was fine and I could check on the baby. Preston was asleep in the backseat of a cop car by this time, and I stood there and held him in the middle of the street. My parents pulled up as they started to cut Luke out of the car. As they pulled him from the vehicle, he let out a guttural yell that just made me sick. Being there was almost surreal, and I hope I never have that feeling again. They put Luke in an ambulance and took him up to a gas station close by. He was airlifted to The Med, and my mom and I followed behind. My dad took the babies home with him.(Turns out the EMT who was in charge of Luke was my 4H horse judging coach. God provided a familiar face in a very scary situation.)
When we finally got to The Med, we couldnt find the ER, and we told we needed to speak with the chaplain. We moved on to the next checkpoint and were put in a tiny waiting room with no other people and were told to wait for the chaplain. When you have just loaded your husband onto a helicopter, that is not exactly the best thing to hear. I wanted to puke until she came in all smiles and told us he was in assessment and it would probably be a little while before we could see him. Two of our dearest friends had gotten there by this point, and we hung out in the tiny room until we could get back to him. When we did get to see him, they had determined that he had a broken femur and a 3rd degree laceration on his spleen. The nurse said they would do surgery on his leg, but it might not be until Monday. He would have to lay on that hard stretcher with no surgery for 2 days! We immediately started praying his surgery would be moved up. My mom and I ran to my house, got my dog and some clothes, went to her house, took quick naps and headed back to The Med. Prayers were already being answered when we met his dad and stepmother in the hallway. He had been moved to the TICU. We were able to get in to see him, & he looked great other than pain in his leg. They put his left leg in traction until it could be fixed. We continued to pray for surgery for that day, and it happened about 6 that night. Having surgery this day turned out to be imperative to his recovery. His mom got there while he was in surgery, and he woke up after and was his normal self. We decided that everyone could go home for the night and we would come back when they let us in for visitation at 9 the next morning. A family friend (& our wonderful pediatrician) has an apartment on the river, so he let Luke's mom and I go there for the night so I didnt have to come all the way home. At 7:04 Sunday morning, Luke's "girlfriend nurse," Pam, called very concerned. She said Luke had a mental status change over night and I needed to get there immediately. My heart dropped, and we headed back up there. Luke had gone to CT at 2:30 that morning for a follow up of his spleen. When he got back to his room about 4, he was unresponsive. Unresponsive as in he looked like he was sound asleep, but we couldnt get him awake. Not even a deep sternal rub, which I mastered, could get him to open his eyes. We had no explanations, but a lot of worry.
The next few days were a blur. The drs did test after test; xrays, ct scans, MRIs, arteriograms, and nothing came back abnormal. Every time they made me leave his bedside, I would shake uncontrollably and be physically ill until I was back by his side. On Monday, they really thought he was just going to wake back up. Tuesday, we had a neuro resident come in and say she thought that he had a series of mini strokes which left behind non reversible brain damage. Minutes before she walked in, the head of the legal council came by to check on Luke. She knew one fo their family friends, and had offered her help for anything we needed. After that news, I insisted on an EEG. The resident told me there would be now way for it to be done that day. I again insisted on it, and the nurse came in, got the legal councils number, and it was done within the hour. When the neuro attending ready the EEG, she said there were no mini strokes, that she saw FIRDA. It is a type of brain injury that is basically a bruise and would heal on it's own. God provided an answer when we needed it most, and He provided people along the way to help us out.

come back....the story gets better!