Don’s Miracle

I choose to keep this here because it is my diary of some very dark yet wonderful days in our lives.  Sometimes I need to read these entries to refocus and be grateful for our lives.

On June 10, 2010, our life changed forever.  I got a phone call at work telling me that Don had been hit by an automobile.  The police dispatcher told me it was not a very serious injury and that Don was awake and talking he was put into the ambulance.

The minute I got to the hospital I knew that the policeman had been dead wrong.  Don quickly deteriorated right before my eyes.  He coded in the ER and I signed a consent that when he was stable enough the neurosurgeon could operate on his brain to relieve the pressure from the bleeding.

I have logged this information in many places, but I guess I need to begin to try to put it together here.  Right now I am not really so much concerned with my own battles, since I am having to fight for my husband’s life.

DAY ONE June 10


I am so confused as to who I have told what to and this day is just a blur.

We were able to get in to see Don soon after Becky arrived. He’s in bad shape but I feel a bit better after talking to the nurse who was caring for him in ICU. They have him in a medically induced coma. His blood pressure is so very low so he’s on meds for that as well as who knows what else. He’s still on a ventilator since with all the broken ribs, plus the tube they put in to drain the blood from his lung, it is painful to breathe.

They were to do a CAT scan tonight to take a look at his head, and then later on they will be taking him for more x-rays. He is just too fragile to think of moving him enough to do that now.

I am having an issue with eating. We did go to the cafeteria and I ate some mac and cheese. I know I must eat but I have little interest in that.

Glad Becky is here and she is too. She did not want to go back home alone, so she’ll stay around here at least through the weekend.

I woke around 2:30 and my mind would not turn back off. I stayed in bed til 5 and then figured that is my normal time to get up anyway, I had restless confused cats who wanted to be fed, and I had a multitude of things that I needed to do, so I am up. I hate to admit if but I did not know how to make coffee. That was part of what I had on my mind as I tossed and turned — Don does so many little things around here that I don’t realize until he’s not here to do them.

Becky had gotten up to go to the bathroom but she has gone back to try to sleep a bit more. I know that is useless for me. Once I wake that is it.

I do not know what today holds. I am grateful that my phone did not ring during the night. That gives me hope that he had a peaceful night, which is exactly what he needs right now.

There are so many mysteries about this. Don’s phone, his eyeglasses, and his Sony radio headset that he wears when he walks are missing. I need to call Verizon about the phone. He uses that as a business phone, so I have no clue what he may have in his voice mail. Another thing that he does that I have no clue about. And he can’t tell me. I am going to try not to worry myself sick over that, but it is on my mind.

I just checked the calendar and he has a dentist appointment on Wednesday and has signed up for a one day seminar on Thursday as part of a CEU requirement he needs to meet for one of his licenses.

I am rambling, but maybe it will help me just to type it out.

I will try to update as I know more. Right now I am sitting here in my very quiet house sipping some of that coffee I made – it’s not that bad.  But I miss having my buddy sitting there asking me questions while I am trying to concentrate on typing

Becky and I were talking last night about how men, Don especially, are so wimpy with pain and we both agreed that it will be music to our ears to hear him complain about pain. I’m getting weepy, so I better hush.

DAY TWO – June 11


Update on Don. We talked to one of the Residents who had been on the floor all day today, and she was able to give us a bit of information and answer some of our questions. He’s relatively stable, but his BP is still very low and he is on meds to try to elevate it. There is concern over continuing this medicine through the IVs that are in now, so she asked that I sign a permission to put in a central line which they likely will do at some point during the night. This will allow them to continue to give him this medicine, as well as be a vehicle to administer the other myriad of drugs he is on.

Good signs are that he is breathing for himself. They have the ventilator there to give him assistance and make sure that he is breathing in enough oxygen, but his oxygen level is good at this point, so a plus. They have started with some tube feeding. They want to be able to remove the ventilator tube but not sure whether or not to try that too quickly.

They can wake him, but he is still experiencing a lot of what they term aphasia (I had to Google it to find out how to spell it) now, and he has a lot of bruising and swelling in his head. It’s not really easy to know to what extent this is temporary or perhaps somewhat permanent at this point. It may take weeks to get to that, but she is pretty sure he is in for a lot of physical therapy. Also his stay there in ICU is going to be a long one.

As far as the hip, they do not feel that it will need to be operated on. His shoulder likely will, but it can wait for weeks – perhaps until he is out of the hospital even. His ribs are a mess, and that is what is causing a lot of the bleeding in the lungs, and the inability to breathe. He’s on a ton of pain medicine but that will have to be removed at some point in time. As a catch 22, the medicine may be one of the reasons for the very low BP. It’s so complicated.

He’s been in a neck collar since they brought him in, so the MRI was to check to make sure he had not damage there, and if that is the case they can remove that collar and he should be more comfortable.

The bothersome news is that he is not responding to their directions – ie, move your right hand, etc. When they wake him and remove the restraints from his hands he makes appropriate movements (tries to get to the tube in his mouth, etc.) but those are instinctual and not responsive to instructions. So that is yet to come – hopefully as the brain injury heals he will regain some of his verbal and cognitive skills.

That’s about where that is. Typing things out sometimes lets me read them back and have a clearer understanding.

I am having a lot of stress from other seemingly trivial things – like trying to figure out what he does with his business stuff. Simple stuff such as paying bills, etc. If you have not done that for years and years, it seems to be a daunting task.

Just the knowledge that I had allowed myself to become so very ignorant of how our household finances run, and various bank accounts, and such, makes me feel very stupid. But Becky, the psychologist and counselor, told me that I am being too very severe on myself, and to try to think of how I would respond if a friend told me they were in the same situation – I would not call them stupid – and she is right.

Yet, it really is disturbing and I think of it a lot, but then I almost feel like these are inappropriate thoughts if that makes sense. I have so much that I really need to think of, but I believe that maybe dwelling on these problems and trying to find a solution is likely because there probably is a solution to them – my more pressing problem I can not solve so I feel more or less helpless there. Wow – this is deep stuff but this is where my head is and what I think of when I wake at 2 a.m.

Becky needs to go home tomorrow to deal with her diabetic cat – but that is another story for another time. We asked and the on call said it would be as good a time as any. I hate to see her leave but I know she needs to attend to the cat and she’ll come back tomorrow night and stay over til Sunday.

I try to put my head in the sand and pretend nothing is going on, but I’ve done that so successfully in the past and it has gotten me nowhere. I just hope it will buy me a few hours of sleep tonight though.

I have a haircut appt tomorrow a.m. but I am going to call and cancel. Should have done that earlier, but I thought I might go ahead and go. But I don’t feel like making small talk in a beauty shop. I don’t even want to have to talk to my hairdresser at length right now. So I’ll put this off until things are a little bit more settled.

DAY THREE – June 12


What a long day but maybe a happy (happier?) ending tonight.
Starting at the beginning, I got a call at 3:45 a.m. from a doctor. Do you need to know how alarming that was? He wanted permission to give Don a blood transfusion. Needed to give me the list of risks vs. rewards, and needless to day I told him that I had entrusted Don into his hands and as the expert I felt that if Don needed blood, the rewards far outweighed the risks. Then he told thank you and “now you go back to bed and try to get some sleep”. Yeah, right.

Anyway, a call to the hospital later in the morning gave us some mixed results. The transfusion had worked it’s miracle – blood pressure was stable. He was totally breathing on his own and his oxygen levels were great. Good news. The bad news? They were preparing him to go back for another cat scan since they feared something was going wrong in his head. He had limited or no movement on his right side. So here I had to convince myself, that it’s okay – so what if he can’t move his right arm or needs to walk with a cane. If his heart and lungs and other vital organs were in good shape, we could deal with some paralysis.

So off we go to the hospital, and we’d not been in the room 5 minutes when we looked and was wide awake. We both went over and the nurse began talking to him – telling him his name, where he was, why he was there, and who we were, etc. I don’t think it was my imagination when way back in those eyes I saw a tiny spark of recognition. He tried to grasp at our hands and he held them so tight. Becky was on the left side, and I was on the right. That right hand was moving just fine and he had a good grip. Then we noticed the feet and the right foot was moving, too. He was clearly agitated though – I think he had a bit of hope that his people were there to free him and we were not taking the restraints away. He was just loosely restrained and his hands (both of them) got dangeroulsy close to the central line that had indeed been put in during the night, and to the tubes in his throat and nose. He wanted out of there. But all in all this was good – he can and will move the right side – when HE feels like it. The man has almost every bone on that side of his body broken – no wonder he didn’t want to move it. This may be a stretch, but I like the fact that he is being a bit stubborn and asserting his rights to behave like he wants to behave. His brow became furrowed – he was thinking. He tried so hard to speak to us, but he can’t with all the stuff he’s hooked up to.

One of the nurses, who I dearly love, told me that she should not say this, that it was not part of her job at all, but she assured me that I was right to believe that he is improving and I can be hopeful. Again, she says and I know – it is going to be a LONG road. Long time in ICU, the hospital, long time in rehab. Perhaps relearning a lot of skills, but we can begin to believe that there can be a good ending to this saga.

It is obvious that our being there is disturbing to him but we were not upset with that knowledge. He needs most of all not to rest, relax, and heal. So tried to sit quietly without letting him know we were in the room. He’d still wake and see us and finally the nurse upped the dosage of the medication they are using to sedate him.

We were getting ready to leave and she asked in anyone had given us the results of the CAT scan and we said no. She said it was exactly the same as the day before – NO new bleeding, NO new swelling, NO new bruises – the best news that could have come from that.

So – his blood pressure is picture perfect. He is breathing by himself and able to sustain his oxygen level despite the severely injured right lung. His head is no worse that before, and the fact that he is not moving that right side is because it HURTS to move. He’d spiked a fever last night, and they’ve sent cultures to see if there is any infection, but no fever today, so hopefully that was all a result of the blood pressure issues.

Becky has gone home for the night. She had stuff she needed to do. She will be back tomorrow. So here I am alone with the cats. They are stressed. They miss their buddy and know things are not really normal here. But right now both of them are sleeping.

Around 8 I called the hospital to talk to the new night nurse, and asked her how he was doing. She said he was sleeping. That she wakes him every couple of hours just to check how he can respond and move his extremities. He’s moving the right side for her, just like he did for the day nurse. I told her I’d had a rough night sleep and I just wanted to touch base to get a feel if I should be able to hope to sleep through the night tonight and her answer was that I should, in her words “he’s just fine“.

Three little word that speak volumes. I am very grateful tonight. Grateful for family, grateful for friends, many of whom I have never even met.

DAY FOUR – June 13


Sitting here telling myself that it is okay to cry.

Just got a phone call from my middle brother and his wife. He is the one who was born when I was 12 years old and my mother needed surgery after his birth to repair bladder, etc. She could not lift him for some long period of time, and he became “my baby” of sorts. I’d put him in bed with her when I left for school and come home at lunch, care for him, and then back to school. We bonded differently than the other two brothers and I just broke down crying when I heard his voice. I know he is a big old grown man, but he will always be my child more than a brother.

Becky called earlier. She is not coming back today and I can understand. She has one more week of school and it will be busy with graduation, etc. So after feeling a bit lonely, I’ve picked myself up and realize I will likely have many many days to feel all alone, but I’m not really alone. She’d called and spoken with Michelle, our guardian angel nurse, and he had a good night. And the best news of all – they have removed those tubes out of his head. Because he does not need them any more – praise the Lord. He may not look quite as ghoulish next time I see him. I called and they were still trying to arrange an MRI to see if his neck is okay to take the collar off. That will certainly make him feel better. Michelle told me that the best time to visit him would be between 2-3 so I am doing so busy work. Laundry, cat litter, dishwasher, etc.

I just made myself sit down here at the computer so that I can drink my big old green smoothie. I put in an orange and a banana, and some protein powder with vanilla soy milk. A scoop of oatmeal, and a big handful of spinach. Lots of nutrition and it is easy going down. I have no appetite at all, but I know that

It’s hard being the grown up.

I went to the hospital at 2 and Michelle was getting him ready to go for the MRI. Hospital times – ya know how weird they are (he was supposed to have gone at 10 this morning). She apologized that she had to sedate him more since his vitals were a bit skewed. She explained that was because she’d just bathed him and cleaned him up a bit. He has the bandage OFF his head. I can’t see the entire left side, but the scar itself looks so much better than a bloody gauze skullcap with tubes coming out of it (sorry if this is TMI).

Anyway, he’s still very fragile, but he slept pretty peacefully as I waited and watched her disconnect and reconnect tubes, and drips, and such. Those nurses have to be so strong – lifting the machinery alone takes much muscle. She said she needed to lighten the equipment as much as possible since she had to push that and him in the bed.

I love this nurse and I asked her when she’d be back, since she mentioned she is not there tomorrow. She said Thursday, and I told her that both Becky and I would miss her, and she thanked me so much. And then she said – you know I may not even see him on Thursday, since he may have moved out of this unit by then. I was shocked to hear that. She did say that he won’t be moved initially to a regular floor, but to a step down ICU unit. (Whew)

Anyway the bottom line as far as I know now. IF the MRI shows no damage in his neck, the will remove the collar. And then they will remove the breathing tube! She says it may not be tonight, because they will need two groups of surgeons to review and approve the MRI results.

But when I see him tomorrow he may be in less shackles than he was today. This is totally amazing beyond my wildest dreams.

I felt so good that I went to one of Don and my haunts and ate a Quarta Pounda (as they call them). I did order the Light Edition – Feta cheese, mixed field greens, sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and balsamic dressing on a whole wheat roll. All that with 1/4 pound of beef. I told Becky, she was wrong about being a bad influence on my eating – I am quite capable of eating badly on my own.

Hey my scale was down 3 pounds this morning – I’m due for a big meal I think.

Hope to get another good night’s sleep. I know that once he moves in to regular quarters, our work will be cut out for us.

I’ve still not gotten a good luck at his head wound – it is on the back of his head. The incision is on the left side, from the top down to right over his ear. Yesterday he had TEN things going into those lines, today we are down to just six.

DAY FIVE – June 14


I am so tired. Police will not give me the straight scoop on what happened. Don’s personal belongings are all missing and they say he did not have them when they arrived at the accident. I am getting conflicting stories. I have more to do than play amateur detective, but I swear I feel like I have landed directly in Mayberry and Barney Fife was the investigating officer.

In good news. Don’s MRI was clean, so he got the neck brace removed. Working on getting him off ventilator tomorrow. Worrisome was some fever today and maybe a bit of fluid in his lungs. I just this minuted called (between typing) and the nurse says the fever is gone. Whew.

So now they are weaning him off the sedation and some of the pain medication, hoping to be able to remove that tube from his mouth and then it will be easier to judge how much he can understand/communicate back.

That is a scary thing for me, and I realize it may take him a long time to recover his communication skills. I am putting all of this into the hands of the Lord though – he’s been faithful so far, and I know we are ever under his watchful eye.

Friends and neighbors here are being amazingly supportive, too. An across the street neighbor is going to have her brother who is a State Police officer call me later tonight and let me know if this runaround I am getting from the local yokels is normal. The police department is in a small town that abuts mine – but I’m not sure my own city police would be any better. I feel like I am living an episode of Dateline NBC right now. Mysterious clothing and notes that appear and disappear.

Supposedly Don had no cell phone and they found the contact information in his “jacket” on a piece of “pink” notepaper. I got no jacket back with the other clothing, and Don would NEVER be seen with a PINK note – they do not know that man as well as I do. I have asked to see the note – it is evidence I’d think. I’d recognize his handwriting for sure.

The social worker at the hospital has requested a full police report with information on the driver. The driver’s insurance is liable and should be billed before my own hospitalization is touched. Pray now that it was not an uninsured driver, and that she was not a sister or girl friend of the investigating police officer. I told you I am getting very suspicious – but they are making me so with their lack of cooperation.

That is all for now. Hoping we make more progress tomorrow. Hoping I sleep as well tonight as last night.

DAY SIX – June 15


Copying early morning text from Becky:

“Spoke to nurse this morning. Uneventful night. Took Tylenol to bring fever back down. Spoke of holding off on taking tube out today given fever and cont’d need for pain meds. She wasn’t sure…”

I have a lot on my plate.
Police officer was supposed to call my at 7 – he didn’t. I did not really have confidence he would.
Don has some sort of order from his website. I haven’t a clue but have a Visa payment of $585.00
I need to call this person later and see where we go from here. He is in Denver, so need to make sure it’s after lunch sometime.

I called Don’s cell phone and got voice mail. That means the phone is “off”. That is good.
My concern today needs to be insisting that the cause of this fever is treated. I fear pneumonia – he had that with his heart surgery. It scares me, and that is one reason I am thankful they are not going to take that tube out.

Whew catching my breathe here and need to update my lists.
I have showered and put on makeup (needed that today to feel human).
Wish I’d gotten my hair cut but I am thinking once Becky is back, I’ll go get that done. Bad hair days are no fun!

I am home.
Easier to make calls here.
Called the police again – supposedly the officer who was to call me this morning changed shifts and is off. I feel like I am getting the run around. I asked Gary, the nice dispatcher, if I needed an attorney. I am so.sick.of.this.treatment! He said it is an active investigation, yada yada yada. Anyway, he told the that they had furnished the driver’s information to the hospital. I need to confirm that is true when I get back up there.

Don is just blah. Just blank stares. That is frightening. I know he had a fever and feels bad. They are weaning him off the sedation and pain meds. Likely start a broad spectrum antibiotic this afternoon and wait for results of cultures. When I left there was a crisis in another room, so all hands were “on deck” so to speak. I had been there long enough that I needed to get away. It is just such a very depressing place to be and today is probably the worst I have seen him – before he would at least appear to be there, but today it is just blank. Won’t respond to anything. Very bothersome, but I need to believe that is not permanent.

I have made a bit of progress maybe.
Don is self employed and works as a consultant. Tried to call Peter Z. (the guy Don’s consulted steadily for over all the years) – left a call back number – I think. I know they have some pending work. Not sure where that will end up.

Contacted the person, who made the order yesterday, via email – got a strange number voice mail when I tried to call. I can likely fill that order IF it is what I believe it is.

I guess I should see about changing locks. Not in the mood for that, though.

I’m going back to the hospital after lunch sometime.

Fever was down from 102 to 100 so a bit of improvement – thanks to Tylenol.

I was there when the trauma team visited. They were not visibly alarmed, but noted that he was unresponsive. Lead doctor said he was more responsive today than yesterday, but she must have seen him yesterday when he was totally zonked.

Some times I think I want to know what they believe will happen and then other times I want to believe that this will all go away in a few weeks and be like a bad dream.

It is gorgeous outside today, after all these many days of clouds and rain.

I am very down today. Tired, lonely, and feel like crawling under a rock.

So much to do and I don’t really know where to start.

DAY SEVEN  – June 16


I feel a bit better tonight, despite the fact that Don likely will have surgery tomorrow.
They want to put in a trach and a PEG line for feeding. Right now he has that ventilator tube and feeding tube in his mouth and they need to come out. He’s not really ready to be without the CPAP, so this is the right thing to do.

The encouraging thing – they told me they would not do these procedures on a patient that did not have a prognosis for recovery. I am grabbing on to that and holding tight.

In other news. No pneumonia. Don’t really know the source of the fever. He had it spike again this afternoon. Lots of Dopplers run to make sure there are no clots. Tylenol works, so for now that is the treatment. Antibiotics stopped.

CAT scan this morning since he was so lethargic yesterday (the fever is my daignosis and I think that is correct). Results show slight improvement over the last scan, so that was great news.
So there is the good and the bad news, but I hope the good is outweighing the bad and that soon we will get a better picture of the road we will travel.

DAY EIGHT – June 17


What a week it has been here.
I’d love to have a rewind button to hit and go back to last Thursday morning around 6:30 and I’d tell Don that he should just take a break and not walk today. But he would have likely laughed at that and done it anyway.

I’d hoped for some good news today and I believe I have some.
Surgery was supposed to be this afternoon. Becky called early and sent me a message at 6:30. They told her he’d had an uneventful night, still had a little fever, but was on for surgery in afternoon. Less distressed when waking in the night. That was about it.

So I called around 8:30 and was shocked to hear that he’d gone down to surgery at 7:30. That was a good thing I guess. I still had some errands to run, so I took my time getting to the hospital and began to wait, and wait, and wait. They told me about an hour and a half when I asked yesterday, but after 3.5 hours I finally rang in to talk to his nurse and he was back. Had been back for half an hour.

He was still very sedated at this time, but his color was great. The fever was gone. Blood pressure was excellent. They were just checking his blood sugar and that came back good, too. Don’s never had diabetes, but he’s been on and off insulin during this hospitalization. Something about the trauma affecting his blood sugar – not sure about that. But anyway everything was good. He was still on the vent, but the tubes in his mouth were gone.

I went down for lunch and after I got back some time later, he began to sort of wake up. Saying Don wakes up is really not accurate in the sense that he is “awake”. His eyes open, and he moves, but he’s still very much still “sleeping” in his head. Respiratory guy was there and he turned off the vent, allowing Don to breathe, but leaving it on standby just in case. Progress.

Don was still very groggy and non responsive. As the day wore on they completely removed the ventilator machine. He has a tube in front of the tracheostomy that has some oxygen and moisture, but he is completely breathing by himself. His oxygen levels were good. Fever came up, but by the time I left they had it going down again.

The fever is a mystery but I have heard from several sources that it is not that uncommon. Poor Don is most uncomfortable at times, it seems. He grimaces, and tries his best to move his hands and get them out of those shackles that have him tied down.

When I left the nurse and the respiratory therapist told me he was doing well. Still need to have him more awake and more off the pain medication before any assessment of his brain injury can be made. Today I saw two good signs that he is in there.

When I came back into the room at one point this afternoon he had his eyes shut and as I walked across the room I said “Don, Don Bruehl” and he opened his eyes and followed me as I moved. He’s in there and he knows who he is. May not know who I am – at some times that sort of bothers me. I talk to him and he tries to turn his head and look away. Honestly, I am not nagging! smile One more thing though – one of the things the nurses all try to get him to do is squeeze their hand, and late today I was holding his hand and he squeezed very tight. So I may be a nag, but I think he may be trying to get on my good side, since maybe I can spring him out or that prison.

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll move another step forward. I believe he’s had a remarkable 7 days.
Got sent out of the room so they can remove the central line – not needed.
He’s doing a tiny bit better. Breathing for himself -which is huge. He’d been back on the machine since before the surgery.

I’m just tired right now. I want my old life back – where is the rewind button – I want to go back a week and a day in time and get a do over.

Just feeling mad, and sad, and lonely, and a bit sorry for myself. I guess that is normal, but I don’t like feeling this way.

On a positive note – scale is down 4 pounds!

DAY NINE June 18 – Our Anniversary


A year ago the most wonderful gift was jewelry or clothes. On anniversary 19, I got the best gift ever. Dr. Kim told. Don to wiggle his toes and he did. He squeezed her hand on command. It is not my vivid. Imagination or hopes and dreams. He understood. Prayers being answered.

After lunch I went in and they told me they needed to bring him to have a picc line put in – no more veins to use in hands/arms. So another consent to sign and off he went.

When he came back he was so much worse – probably back to where he was two days ago.
Tonight he is back on the vent – they had removed the tube from his lungs this morning, and he was not breathing deeply enough given all the broken ribs, etc. He is so full of goo, and they were constantly having to suction him out.

He was cleaned up and resting when I left there at 6:30. If I’d not had cats to feed, I’d have stayed another half hour or so. His BP is very low, as is his oxygen level, so they were going to increase the oxygen. I’ll call before I sleep tonight just to make sure he is still pretty stable.

He had a big, rough day.
Hope tomorrow morning we gain back the ground given up today. It is a roller coaster ride.
The Critical Care Nurse Practitioner’s words this afternoon “he is still acutely ill”, and his day nurse, Ava, said tonight – “he is very fragile right now”.

Becky comes back tomorrow. I think that will give us both a little boost.

I am so thankful for that tiny bit of hope I got this morning though – I am going to hold on to that during times like tonight when he looks so very very frail.

I still believe in miracles.

DAY TEN – June 19


A text from Becky sent at 5:30

Pretty positive update from Alison – slept on vent to give him a rest but will likely come of it again this morning, ‘Much, much more awake and moving spontaneously” “He definitely looks at you, tracks you” I told her I’d not seen him since last w/e and am v. excited to see him, She said “You’ll see a big difference, he looks much better”

I slept pretty fitfully, woke several times but was able to will myself back to sleep. Having company in the house tonight will help.

I wanted to try to sleep a bit later this morning but somehow the cats TURNED THE TV ON.

DAY ELEVEN – June 20


I think this will be a Fathers Day to remember for us. Here’s a picture I took of Don and Becky this morning. I think he has had it with the paparazzi always hanging out with a camera.

He had another good day.  I think he was a bit tired today, and spent a lot of time resting.  He had been on the ventilator overnight but came off it early and has been breathing on his on all day.  The nurse said he is doing great with that, and his oxygen levels remain high.  He still coughs a lot and that distresses him.  I am sure it must hurt with all the bruises and broken bones on his right side.

One new and exciting development today was that Don is mouthing a lot of words.  And not just isolated words, but sentences.  He’s answering questions – correctly!  And making random comments, not just repeating back things that we said to him.  He is really coming into his own more and more as the days pass.  It is hard to believe that just 3 days ago we were staring into some vacant eyes!

Don’s good friend, John Kick, was able to come down to visit him today.  They have known each other for almost 50 years!  I think Jack was glad to be able to see that his old buddy is coming back and there was much laughing and smiling going on with they were together.

We had to leave a bit early because Don was going for xrays of his hip.  They need to find out if he will need any surgery to repair that break.  The initial thoughts were that no surgery would be required so I hope that holds true.

Once that determination is made and he can get all the fluid up and out of his lungs, he will be off to rehab.  Or at least they will begin to try to find a rehab facility that has room for him.  I need to try to have him in a place that is convenient so that I can start trying to think of returning to work, at least part time.  My employer is very understanding and I do have saved vacation/sick/personal time, but I would like to save a bit of time for when Don gets home and we can actually take a day or two of “real vacation”.

I just called the hospital, and nurse Mike said Don was doing well.  He’d left the restraints off his hands and he was not trying to pull tubes and IV lines out.  I know he hated to be tied like that, so I hope he comprehends that he needs all of those various devices that are attached to his body at this point and behaves himself.

Every day just gets a little closer to recovery.  Today I actually uttered the words “When Don gets home” and realized that before now I’d not verbalized my inner thoughts of “If Don ever comes home”.  I really believe he will be home and he will be himself.

I’ve left things here pretty much as they were that day that I left for work and he left to go walk.  His sneakers are still under the coffee table.  I am looking forward to the day when he’s sitting there at his spot on the sofa watching the Sox game!

DAY TWELVE – June 21


Today was a pretty uneventful one.  Don slept most all day long.

Notable though was the fact that his hands are no longer restrained at all.  He’s not tried to pull out anything – vent, iv lines, etc.  He did feel his head to see if he has hair left.  I told him his mustache was gone and he reached for his upper lip.  He was much less restless and agitated with the had restraints gone.

X-ray of his hip last night shows there is no need to do surgery at this point.  They will re-evaluate once he is able to stand up and bear weight on it.

The big news is the plan of action:  Getting him off the vent, and then he’s off to rehab.  I got information about a rehabilitation hospital in Westborough, MA, that is pretty conveniently located relative to my workplace,  and also not that far from home.  I think I could easily work out a schedule where I can work and visit/advocate for Don.  That is one think I have found I really must do.

So I left him a bit early just to let him rest.  I’ll call and check on him before I sleep.

We are still moving in a positive direction.  I try not to get down on days like this when he is less alert.  I know he is so tired and sleeping is likely one of the best things he can do.

This morning I had the little tv on in his room and asked him if he wanted to continue to watch the nature scenes, with gentle music, OR the World Cup and he said “Soccer!”

Hope to have more good news tomorrow and maybe a tentative date for his release from ICU.

I will just continue this dialogue in daily posts now that I’ve caught up.


One thought on “Don’s Miracle

  1. I remember this so well, as it is also my anniversary date (June 10th). I’m so happy he is fully recovered and doing well. I cannot believe it’s been almost 6 years. Prayers do work.

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