Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Update - Kathleen

As of today it's been 7 weeks. Even as I'm typing this I'm thinking about the night of the accident and all that was going on in my head. I'm really missing him. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because I just laid there thinking of our long talks at night about anything and everything and how we're always laughing together. I miss it a lot but I know the day will come again. Sometimes being patient is no fun.

When I got to the hospital this morning, the nurse greeted me and then said that Cale pulled out his trach last night! He didn't just pull it out he somehow got his right arm (the one he never moves!) out of the mit they put over his hand, and wiggled part way out of his elbow splint then pulled it out and threw it on the floor! They call him Houdini :) He may not be completely functioning in his brain but he's still so tricky! :) At first when she told me about him pulling out his trach I was scolding him for it but then later, the doctor came in and downsized his trach size from a 6 to a 4. That's the last size he'll go down to before the trach comes out. I was so excited! Then the doctor said he was also going to have Cale start capping trials which means they put a cap over the trach hole which then makes Cale breathe in and out of his mouth with out the trach. He can also start talking just like when he has the speaking valve in. So it's good that he pulled it out! The trial today was for 4 hours and Cale made it 2 1/2. I'm so proud of him. Tomorrow they'll try to do 4 hours again and everyday add more time just like when they weaned him off the ventilator. When he can do 48 hours with no problem the doctor will take out the trach! Woohoo! Hopefully soon!

PT had Cale sitting on the side of the bed today. One of them gets on the bed and holds him up from the back and the other stands in front holding his head and the front part. They stretched him pretty good. It's so great to see him up like that!

We put the prayer chain around his room this afternoon! Make sure to email if you want to be a part of that! Just send your name and location. Thank you everyone for praying!

Update - Kathleen

It's 1pm in North Carolina and they just started capping trials on Cale. If anyone gets on in the next 4 hours pray for him! :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Today a new and exciting thing happened! PT and OT came and got Cale out of bed and this time not straight to the wheelchair! They put him on a tilt table which starts out flat and then slowly work him to a standing position. He was only in the standing position for about 2 minutes but from what I've heard that's normal for the first time. It was so great to see him up. I will say that things that used to make my day were days when a dessert I made turned out or I got to eat lots of chocolate but now it's seeing Cale in a shirt or seeing him vertical :)

He wore the speaking valve for about 4 hours today. The speech therapist said once he can tolerate it for the whole day they can start capping trials. Capping trials is when they cover the trach hole so that he has to breathe in and out through his mouth unlike with the valve, he still breathes in through the trach and then out through the mouth. Every step is so exciting!

As for me, today was a pretty good day. Right now, I'm guilty of watching American Idol...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Update - Kathleen

On Mondays I get a report showing how Cale did through the week with the different therapy's. Today's was really short because he only had the two days last week. With comprehension, expression, and cognition they're saying he's severe deficits-profound deficits which severe deficits means-patient has great difficulty with even basic tasks and profound deficits means-patient is unable to complete daily tasks or express needs. They also increased the amount of food he has been getting. For everyone that doesn't know Cale, he's not a big guy! He's 6'2" and 140lbs and now he's 116.6lbs. They were feeding him every 6 hours and as of today they're feeding him every 4 hours so hopefully we see a little weight gain! I keep telling him that they're pumping him up with healthy stuff :) he hates healthy stuff! hehe!

Speech therapy gave him some more ice chips this morning and I got to see him swallow a couple times. The report shows that Thursday he spontaneously swallowed 3 times but I'm pretty sure he did more today. She's been working with the speaking valve, trying to get Cale to make noise or talk. I can't wait for that moment! He hasn't done anything yet as far as trying to communicate but one day I'll get to hear him say "I love you" and even though it may be along time away, I know it's going to happen at some point, and when it does happen, I'm going to be VERY happy!

The program he's in is on average 4-6 weeks and as of now they are estimating 8 weeks for Cale. They said it can always change but as far as what they see right now that's what they think. I don't mind. God has made a way that I can just sit by his side through all of it, so as long as it takes we'll do it! Of course, that doesn't mean that I'm not letting God know everyday that I wouldn't mind for this to all be over soon! :)

Also, if you haven't sent an email to to be added to the chain then you should do it! For the ones that have, THANK YOU! It has been such a blessing to me already! Not just seeing how many people are praying for my husband and from all over, but also the emails you've sent with them. I can't respond to each one, but they have been so encouraging to my heart. Remember in the email to include name and location. The cutting of construction paper has started!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Good Sunday morning! :)

There wasn't anything new to blog yesterday. The weekends are a lot more relaxed as far as Cale's schedule. His therapy sessions are only Monday-Friday. Yesterday afternoon Julie Hoppel flew in for a few days and today my brother and his family are coming to visit today. They usually come visit every Sunday and get to see all the changes Cale has made over the week. God has really blessed Cale and I with all the people in our life! It amazes me.

Now that we can decorate Cale's room and make it look happier, we're going to make a prayer chain! If you want to be apart of this chain, send an email to, include your name and where you're located. We're going to put the chain around his room and on every strip write where the person is from so he can see how people all over the world have been praying for him. It'll be so exciting when he wakes up and see's how long the prayer chain is!! I'll be getting lots of construction paper! :)

Today is going to be a good day! This morning I was able to go off alone and spend time reading the bible and praying. I read in Mark about how the man came to Jesus with a crippled hand and Jesus asked him to reach out it out and it became normal again! I've been told that Cale will most likely not be able to see out of his left eye again. The optic nerve has been damaged and the optic nerve, unlike other nerves in the body, doesn't regenerate itself. Well, many miracles have been done and are still being done through Christ, Cale's optic nerve can be healed! Also, last night I couldn't sleep (along with everyone else in the room!)and as I let my thoughts wander about the future and all that's happening, I had a little pitty party. Well in 1 Corinthians, Paul reminded me that all this stuff that's happening with the accident, and Cale in the coma, it stinks. I hate it. BUT this life on earth is not the prize. In verse 26 he says "So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step." The prize is eternity with Christ, where there is no pain and suffering. Cale will have a new body not injured like his earthly body. There is so much more to look forward to then the things I want now, like having my husband awake and starting a family. I'm sure that I will need to be reminded of this again and again but for today, this new day that God has given me I will claim his promises and know that I do not need to be discouraged or dismayed because He is my God and he gives me the strength I need. He holds Cale and I in His victorious right hand.

All that to has started off to be a great day! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Good but hard day today. I talked with the neurologist this morning. I found out today that all the moving he's doing with his arms and legs, which they call "restlessness" is usually seen in Rancho level 4. She explained to me that the Rancho scale is cognitive, so 1 is deep coma like right after the accident. Cale is at the baseline of 3 right now. The more severe the brain injury, the sooner they see this. Cale was showing it in level 2. I already knew that his brain injury was severe and that he was in bad shape, but since I was seeing movement so soon, I was thinking that he was making such quick progress. I felt like he was getting better so quick and that in the back of my head the long road was going to be a lot shorter for us. Also, at the end of the conversation I asked how well she thought Cale was doing and she said that over the last 6 weeks his progress has been very slow and that's about how things are going to go. She said with how bad the injury was it's going to take a lot off time. Again, something I already knew but from what I was seeing and everything we've been typing on the blog has seemed to be moving so quickly. I'm not going to let this get me down and I know the future is in God's hands and that it's going to be His timing not the doctors, it was just hard to hear that all the moving wasn't because he's almost awake and better. I felt like I just wanted a fairy to sprinkle pretty sparkly dust over me, that would make me fall asleep until he was awake and could kiss me awake...fairy tales...God's plan is so much more exciting though!

On a happy note, the speech therapist was brushing Cale's teeth and had him grab the brush and try. He didn't quite get it but it really looked like he was trying to do the motion. Also he was in a wheelchair today! It was so great to see him dressed and sitting up! He didn't handle it for too long but it's a start! This afternoon they switched his room to a bigger one so it's nice to have more space. Beth and I are going to be decorating it and making it cozy :) PT asked me to bring in pictures so they can start showing him everyday. If you have a picture you would like to send so Cale can see you that would be great!

Update - Joe

There's a lot of new changes and information that we've been trying to stuff into this blog, so I'm sorry if I'm leaving some things out. Just in the last couple of days that we have been at this new hospital we've seen exciting improvements. He has started to do more with his right arm. For the last while he hasn't moved it at all. He has kept it curled up next to his chest. We were told by his therapist that it is because the muscles are basically all balled up in his arm. She described it like a bad charlie horse. He has started to have some purposeful response to commands. Yesterday when the nurse was in, she was asking him to give her a thumbs up if he could hear her. After about 30 seconds, when the nurse had gone onto other things Kathleen spotted it, "He's doing it!". Cale had a VERY pronounced thumbs up. His speech therapist had said that they were getting some response to commands when they were working with him as well.
The doctors would like to get all of his "tubes" out as soon as possible. Hopefully if everything is still going well, they will be removing his trach tube soon, and when he is able to start eating they will be able to get rid of the feeding tube as well.
There have been a lot of changes, and many more to come. We will try to keep everybody updated as quick as possible when we hear new information.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update - Kathleen

So many good things to say!! The move to Cary has been so great but very busy! I have a ton in my head and Joe’s so we’ll try to get it all out :)
First, on Tuesday, I was told that they would get Cale transferred on Wednesday if he had a good night. They didn’t want a high heart rate, fever spike, or seizures. Well, Joe stayed with him that night and said that he had a great night and his heart rate was in the low 90’s!! At one point it even dropped into the 70’s! Cale did so good! I’m so proud of him :) Then Wednesday morning the ambulance was supposed to pick him up at 11 but ended up being 12:30. I had one of those moments that I’m guessing mothers have when their child is going to have their first day of kindergarten. I just kept telling Cale that he didn’t need to be scared with the big change of being transferred, and that I was going to be right behind him. I had such a hard time saying good bye and not getting to ride with him. Joe and Beth picked me up at the hospital and we got on the road right away. Part way there we found Cale’s ambulance! I could see his feet out the back window. I was so confident that it was his because I saw his toes and was saying “those are for sure his toes!” kind of a funny thing to say…but it was true! Haha! It was fun to follow it all the way to the hospital. The paramedic said he had a good ride. Once we got to the hospital, we left right away to find the hotel. The first was a bit sketchy and I’m not sure Joe would have let me stay there, so we found a nicer one, that he approved of :) after getting settled in we went to find Cale!
Seeing Cale in his new room made me smile. I knew right away that Cale was going to be ok and this was a good thing. His nurse was giving him meds when I went in the room so I was able to talk to her quite a bit. As we were talking she was telling me how hard it is to get accepted into this program and how the doctor only takes patients that he believes has great potential. I was pretty overwhelmed with all the information I was being given through the evening and a little nervous about how things were going to be changing, but it’s all good. Already I’m very impressed with the care here. Not just in how sterile everything is but also how they interact with Cale. While they are doing his care (changing his clothes, trach care, meds) the nurses talk with him the whole time and ask him to help. They even let him know when he can’t follow a command that it’s ok and it’s something they can help him work on. It’s very obvious in so many ways, that they are very knowledgeable in his stage of TBI which is very encouraging.
Today was another very eventful day. It started out with the nurse getting Cale dressed! Last night after the hospital, Joe, Beth, and I went to the store and bought Cale some large fitting (which isn’t hard) shirts and sweats. After he was all dresses and I stepped by the bed to see, tears immediately filled my eyes! It was so amazing to see him out of a yucky hospital gown and in a T-shirt! It may seem to most people that it’s a small thing, but for me it was so huge! I must say he’s quite handsome! :) The nurse also did mouth care today and he opened his mouth all the way and let her brush his tongue. That was a first! Also, the speech therapist did ice chip trials today. I was told today that the goal is to get rid of the tubes as quickly as they can. Yay!
This morning I had the chance to speak with the case manager and she was saying that every Monday morning she will give me a full report on how Cale had done for the week and the goals for that week. I like having lots of goals!
As for me, my brain feels like its on overload, but people experience that all the time! I’m getting very tired again. Last night I had trouble sleeping, just thinking about Cale being alone. I know I need rest too so I’m really going to work on that. If anyone has a hot tub I can use in my hotel room, let me know ;) I did realize today after wondering about how I was feeling with everything that the last few days, I’ve put reading my bible on the back burner since I’ve been so busy with so many other things, BUT God has to come first. He is my life line; I can’t get through this without soaking myself in his word. That’s how it should always be with or without Cale in a coma. I was reading in 1 Corinthians 7:30 Paul writes “Happiness, sadness, or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God’s work.” There is still a lot more to write about, but it will have to happen tomorrow. Good night!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update - Joe

Today was a long day. Cale has finally been moved to his new location at WakeMed Hospital in Cary, NC. We have so much new information about Cale and his treatment plans. It has been a fairly overwhelming day for Kathleen, and she will be posting more tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers today, it has been very evident that God's protection was with Cale's transfer today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Update - Kathleen

We got the word that there will be an ambulance to pick up Cale tomorrow morning to take him to WakeMed! Well, as long as he doesn’t have a seizure, his fever spikes, or his heart rate does something crazy tonight. I’m really excited, I think this program is going to be great for him. There’s going to be lots of hands working on him tomorrow so please pray for everyone involved.
Also, Cale’s right arm has been staying bent at the elbow and been getting tighter everyday so yesterday they brought in an elbow splint to start working it to straighten up. He hates it! Today, Beth and I took it off shortly after putting it on because his wrist was turning purple from trying so hard to bend his arm. He’s stubborn :)
Today I put in the speaking valve and had him listening to his favorite band. I was kind of hoping he would just start singing! That would have been great. Maybe one day soon!
Here’s a picture of his new bed…even though it may be only for tonight… :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Update - Beth

Today we didn’t end up moving. It has been kind of frustrating but good. Cale has to be seizure free for 72 hours before they can move him to WakeMed so he does not have a full seizure on the way. The issue has been that the tremors he is having can be seizure activity at times and other times not. Our bodies are so intricately made; it is amazing to think that God knows how every little part works together.
Cale has been moving constantly! It is so great, but he was starting to hurt himself on the railings of the bed. So the Occupational Therapist got him a new bed, it is really fun. It is like a giant play pin, he is able to move around now without the fear of getting hurt.
The time we wait to move is hard, but Cale is keeping us busy. Keep us in your prayers the next couple of days as God is preparing Cale to move to WakeMed. We have see God’s hands and feet at work all around us and are blessed beyond belief.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Well, today was great getting to start off with such good news! :) Then, finally, I was able to go to church this morning! There's a church here in Greenville that has been an amazing support through all of this and today I was able to meet all the people that have been such a blessing to me. I was also very humbled because the last 41 days have been about Cale and about how I'm getting through each day but I was brought back to reality that there are so many other people going through so many other things that make what I'm going through not so big. It was just a reminder that out of the people I've met at the hospital that needed prayer there are tons more people that need it too! i just need to remember that even through this God wants to use me and even when I'm not feeling like it, I need to be His hands and feet.

Tomorrow might be the big move day so pray for us. I'm trying to remind myself that this is going to be so great for Cale and that God is going to continue to be with me so I'm not going to be alone.

Thank you everyone who is STILL praying! It's so great to know we haven't been forgotten even after so long. Love ya!

Update - Kathleen

GOOD NEWS!!!!!!! I just talked to the doctor to find out where Cale was on the Glasgow Coma Scale and he said Cale is now a 10!! This means as far as the scale goes his brain is healing and he's out of the coma! He's not following commands yet, or talking but he's in the process of waking up! It could still be days, weeks, or months but at least he's a 10 now! Praise God!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Today has been a good day! I talked with the doctor today about the EKG results. He said everything looks great. They also checked his thyroid and everything looks good there too. Hopefully everything will work out for us to move Monday. Please pray for a smooth transition and that he’ll handle the transfer.

Earlier when I took the ball from Cale’s hand he immediately grabbed my arm and moved fingers to find the ball on my hand. This is huge because he was able to recognize that my hand took the ball from him. Cale has been moving his left leg a lot but as of last night he realized he can do the same with the other one! He still doesn’t move it as much but he’ll get there :) It’s so great to see all the “new” things everyday! It makes me smile so big! God is doing a good work in him.

Another exciting thing today was that I had the chance to do some more wifely duties. :) I brought his hair clippers and got a razor from the nurse and with Beth and Melody’s help we cleaned Cale up! His arms were going crazy and he moved his head a lot but we did it! He’s looking so good! His outside is healing great, and the inside is taking longer but I know it’s happening!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Busy day today! It started with Cale being very active again, at one point I was reaching for his left hand that was about to pull out one of his tubes and then with his right hand (within seconds) reaches to the IV on his left arm and yanks it out! It was so fast! This was also while he was busy pulling at his trach (which he's gotten really good at!) and pulling off his leads that monitor him. It gets crazy with him! haha! Later on a nurse came to start another IV and Cale was so angry. It took me, Bethany Lotz, and Melody Bechard to hold him down while the nurse was trying to get it in and it ended up taking several tries with three different nurses. The first try, I was so excited because Cale was reacting! It was so great to see the fight in him. He even lifted his head up today, which was a first! The second time, I was feeling like they just needed to get it done, and the third time I was having a really hard time watching him struggle so much. Then when she finally got it and I saw blood, I instantly felt dizzy and sick to my stomach. My first reaction was to push away the two nurses! Finally, it was a done deal and we were able to leave for lunch with queasy tummies :)

I received a call from WakeMed today and they don't want to transfer Cale until everything is stable with him. He's not having the seizures but he still has a really high heart rate. So far the doctors aren't really sure whats going on, they've tried a few different things. Today seemed to be better for the most part, but for awhile it did rise again. They did an EKG to see if that showed anything. Hopefully we'll find out tomorrow. So far still looks like Monday!

My flesh and heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Well, today was my first day alone with him! It was really sad at first but in the beginning he kept me really busy! He’s doing a lot more things that are funny to me and I can see Cale’s personality through them, but at the same time, it might just be me making myself see it. He’s moving his left leg (which is the injured one!) a ton! He just throws it up in the air all the time and bends and straightens it a lot.We were worried about it when he was still in ICU because it was turned in so the did an x-ray and it showed that it’s healing up as it should. He shows us now! He doesn’t move his right one hardly but hopefully soon. He’s started moving his head by himself too. With all the moving he’s doing, I feel like he should just start talking. I know it will happen eventually, but sometimes “eventually” isn’t very fun. I can feel myself starting to get anxious and desperate to hear his voice and have him awake, but then I’m quickly reminded of Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. I am trying my hardest to be obedient with that because I know this is going to be a whole lot easier for me if I do :) As far as his facial fractures, skull fractures, and clavicle, they will hopefully heal nicely on their own.
Thank you everyone for the Happy Anniversary wishes! My sweet moment was at one point, I crawled in bed with him and fell asleep on his chest. It was only for 10 minutes if that, but he woke me up by moving his arm and I responded with a grumpy “boy…” forgetting for just a second that this was all happening. It felt like one of our naps on a Sunday afternoon. It was what I needed, even if it was just for a second.
Cale has been in a very restless and agitated mood. He’s constantly moving and has hardly been resting. He’ll be calm for just a few minutes and then all of a sudden his leg will fly up or his arm. I just kind of giggle because he’s still so hyper! I hate seeing him like this though. I know there are so many things bothering him but he cant tell us. I’m very ready for this to all be over but we still have a long ways to go.

Update - Kathleen

So far today, Cale is so active! He's in a coma but that's not stopping him from being his crazy, hyper, funny self! :) Even now, I'm typing this a couple words at a time! He moves his arms so much and is constantly pulling off or grabbing something that’s hooked to him.
I was told this morning that it looks like it might be Monday that we're going to be transferred. It’ll be nice to have a couple days to get ready for it. I’ll try to update more later!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Today is a very special day! It’s our anniversary! When Cale and I decided to get married 5 years ago, I remember specifically the night I prayed about it and how much peace God gave me. It was a big step, not only because marriage is big but I was only 18! I can now look at Cale and be reminded that God didn’t just give me peace that night for our marriage up until now, but he gave me peace for our whole marriage. He already knows when Cale is going to come out of the coma and he already knows the man he’s going to be. I’ve been telling myself all this for the last couple weeks, but it wasn’t until Rachel and I were talking one night and I was telling her about all my thoughts that it actually sunk in. So, thank you Rachel for letting me babble! :)

The last few days have been crazy! We found out yesterday that Cale is going to be getting transferred to WakeMed in Cary, NC. At first I was not very happy to have to move somewhere, but after talking with one of the ladies at Wake, I was so encouraged. I think it’s going to be such a good thing for Cale. The facility specializes in the stage of coma that Cale is in and will be able to prepare him for aggressive rehab. He needs to be free from any seizures for 72 hours straight before he can be transferred. Right now, it looks like Friday, may end up waiting until Monday.

Kathy leaves tomorrow morning and TJ leaves on Saturday. It’s going to be hard to say good bye to both of them. Thankfully Joe and Beth are going to be coming tomorrow night for a couple weeks so I won’t be alone yet :) It’s going to be harder to keep the blog updated but I will try me hardest!
Here’s an anniversary picture…

Update - Kathy

Yesterday Cale had a very active day. He was moving around all day with just mini naps here and there. He is back to moving his right arm quite a bit. I am pretty sure that he is "feeling" things now. When the nurse put an eye drop in he reached up and rubbed his eye. He kept reaching up to his head and rubbing as if he was wondering where all that hair came from. He also scratched his nose and his beard. His tremors were very light and short lived. This is really good. The doctors are still working on the dosage and right medicines to completely stop this. When his speech therapist came in yesterday she stated that Cale is definitely more conscious. While she was here he reached out for her arm and rubbed it a bit. When she was standing down by his legs beside me on his right side, he flung his left leg up and over and put his foot on her shoulder. This was pretty funny to us. We are seeing more and more of Cale's quirky ways as he heals and becomes more aware of things.

He is now resting as Kathleen and I quietly sit by his bedside. So far his nap has lasted 20 minutes, which is quite a bit longer than any naps he took yesterday. TJ said he did not rest much through the night either. Since it is Cale and Kathleen's 5th wedding anniversary today, we are hoping for a glorious day filled with wonderful surprises. God Bless all of you that are still praying for us.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update - Kathy

We were able to speak with the doctor this morning about Cale still having the tremors, even though he is getting double the dosage of seizure medicine. They started him on another medication in hopes to control this completely. It will also control his blood pressure, so they quit giving him a separate medicine for that. His heart rate was elevated again today but since his new medicine is suppose to lower blood pressure it also lowered his heart rate. His left eye has been pretty red the past couple of days and today it seems worse. It is swollen and had gunk in it so he is now getting antibiotic drops every 4 hours. On a good note-Cale is moving his head quite a bit more and was very active up until about 4 p.m. Probably about the time his new medicine kicked in and shortly after he was given pain medicine. Cale is always pulling on his leads and oxygen tube and just seems pretty fidgety so Kathleen got him a small squishy ball to hang on to, a soft lamb and a mini skateboard. He really likes the ball and it seems to give him something to do with his hands. It's really great to watch him pick it up every time he drops it. Every day he is becoming more aware of "different feelings" like earlier we saw him scratching his nose. When he's trembling he tries to stop it on his own by holding the area.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Today has been another good day! Cale was active for a good part of the morning and then again later this afternoon. His tremors seem to be coming back more often, they are lighter now though. They had him sitting up in the bed for a while which is a nice change from always laying down. The last couple days, his vitals have been a little off. His heart rate was up to 141 yesterday and he had a slightly high blood pressure but today they've looked great all day and he just seems to look a lot more comfortable! Also, I've been doing his mouth care and today OT was in and said I should start trying to have him help, so this afternoon when he was being more active I grabbed his hand and had him hold onto the swab along with me. :)

It's Rachel's last night here, and in a couple days, Joe and Beth will be here. God has blessed Cale and I with such amazing friends and family. I'm not the only one saying it either! Even the CNA today was saying how great our friends are. Again, thank you everyone for all the support. It's so encouraging and helps me so much through all of this.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Update - Kathy

Today Cale started out being very active this morning. He is still moving his left arm and leg a lot. Not so much the right side. His nurse told us when we came in this morning that he was constantly pulling on his leads and oxygen tube. The new thing for today was that he moved his head to the right. It has always fallen to the left on its own so it was great to see him try and move it in the opposite direction. He still has a slight tremor which starts a little while before the medicine is due. The doctor was informed and they will be deciding whether to up the dosage on what he is already taking or try some other medicine. Also, forgot to mention yesterday while he was wearing the valve that allows him to make sounds from his mouth, he did a heavy sigh. All of these may seem very small, but they are HUGE!!!!! Cale is still struggling at times with an elevated heart rate. Not for sure what's causing this. Maybe seizure activity, pain, don't know.

When I start to get a little discouraged, I look back at the very beginning and realize how far he has come already. I know my son will not let this get the best of him because he has never given up on anything until he masters it. He still has multitudes of people praying for him and that is so awesome. My sister Susan told me something that was very comforting the other day. She said that she knows that God has something big planned for Cale and we may not know what it is but it will be so much bigger and better than Cale had even planned for himself. I have always believed this, but it helps to be reminded when it has been a rough day. Thanks so much sis.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Update - Rachel

Today is a great day!
Yesterday we found out Cale was having seizures and he seemed to be having them all day. Last night they doubled his Keppra dosage (anti-seizure med). TJ didn't notice any seizure activity all night, which is awesome! This morning, about an hour and a half before the Keppra was due, he started having some lite seizure activity. We'll continue to watch him carefully for any tremors.
The exciting thing!! He's been doing another new thing today. He's been moving his left arm up and across his body. It looks like he's exercising. Kathleen put her wrist up to him and let him smell her perfume and he reached his arm over toward her. :) She loved that of course!! She also took a video of him "exercising" that will be attached. God is so good. It's been fun seeing progress today!! Thanks for the continued prayer!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Update - Kahtleen

Today has some bummer but also helpful news. The results from the EEG done yesterday show that Cale is having seizures. They are pretty constant some days, which makes me so sad for him. The Nurse Practitioner said that he's probably in a postictal phase a lot, which is basically a resting period that happens after people have seizures. This explains some things I've been noticing, like how he hasn't been responding to commands as much. The helpful part of the news is that now we know he's having seizures and they can start treating it like they need to. I asked about the long term effects, wondering if this was going to be a permanent battle, and right now they said there's no way to know at this point. Eventually, when the seizures stop completely, they can try weening him off the meds and hopefully the seizures will be gone. She said it could be months or even years, they just don't know. It's been so hard for me to watch the tremors, especially when they're in his face because I can't do anything. All along I was really hoping it would end up being an easy fix and no big deal. Now that we do know, hopefully the medication will kick in quickly and the tremors will be no more!

His heart rate has been a little high today. This afternoon the nurse gave him some pain medication, but even now, his heart rate is 127. It's been going up and down though all day. He's been very figidity too and just seems to be bored. Every time PT comes in Cale falls asleep right away, so today at one point when his heart rate was at 130 I decided to do some range of motion with his arms just to see if he would relax like he does with PT and he did! Haha! As soon as I started working with his arms, his heart rate dropped! It's really funny that he falls asleep during his work out :) I'm just not as tough as the army I guess!

Here is a picture Rachel took yesterday while I was calming Cale down at one point. His hand is propped on his chin like he's awake! He's been doing this a lot lately and I think it's so cute! :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Update - Kathy

The staff here have been really great with Cale and also very comforting for us. They are real good about taking preventative measures, answering any questions and concerns, and keeping us informed. They did the EEG today and was able to do the test while Cale was doing his tremors, so they did it for an extra 10 minutes. 30 minutes total. We were told that we will here about the results either tonight or tomorrow. They are checking for any seizure activity since the tremors have seemed to worsen. The new things Cale has done today is he now moves his arms from the shoulder area where before it would be from the elbow. Just a bit more movement and that is great. He also reached up a few times and felt his face, almost like he was wondering where that goatee came from. Being clean shaven in the Army and head shaved I feel when he does wake up and look in the mirror he may ask himself "who is this person with all this hair." Physical therapy was here this afternoon to do some more exercising and sit him up on the edge of the bed. Cale seemed to sleep through the whole process, so they will be trying to catch him in the morning and hopefully he will be more awake. Cale is really liking not having the t-tube on the end of his trach tube. With just the collar over it he seems so much more comfortable.

I am so grateful for everyone that is still showing there support. It does make things so much easier for us.

Update - Joy

This is the last update I will be doing, at least from NC. We are sitting in Cale's room & today Rachel is with us. Cale is pretty active right now, his busy mat is across him but he is more interested in getting to the trach collar. He may not be awake yet, but he is very determined to get the trach off. He gets really sneaky about how he gets his hands & fingers up under the collar. He is trembling pretty bad right now around his mouth, Kathleen managed to get him to clench his teeth which helps slow down the trembling. I am watching & listening to her as she talks softly to him trying to calm him down. The doctors are pretty sure that he is not having seizures, but will probably do another EEG to be sure. He has on the valve that helps him to make sounds, talk & pushes the air he exhales out his mouth. He started to cough just now & there was definitely some sound that came out of his mouth. Praise God for Cale's progress!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Update - Kathleen

The last few days have been full! As all of you know we're out of ICU! Cale has been making huge progress, the nurse yesterday said "dramatic progress" :) Occupational and Physical Therapy were here yesterday and did some movements with Cale to stretch him out. They also sat him up and let his legs dangle! It was so great! They had to hold him up and he wasn't able to hold his head up on his own but it's something to work towards!

The speech therapist has also come in. She was in on Thursday and again yesterday and today and put a little valve in his trach to help him talk. It allows him to breathe in through the Trach and then out through his mouth. He isn't talking yet (I can't wait for that!!!) but he has made a few weird noises, not purposeful yet. She showed Kathy and I how to put the valve in and take it out, also how to clean it.

I've also been getting to help with his care! It's been so great. While Cale was deployed this last year I took a CNA class and worked as a CNA for 6 months in the Tri-Cities. I never knew why I took the class. I've never had any interest in medical but God seemed to allow that door to open and not let any other doors open. I really enjoyed what I was doing but towards December when I was getting ready to head back to NY I was thinking, I'm not sure if I ever want to do anything medical again! Well...looking at it all now, God knew this was all going to happen and I get to be even more apart of Cale's care and feel confident helping because of it!

Cale is still moving his arms a lot and trying to pull out his tubes. The last couple days he hasn't been following commands like he was. I'm trying not to get discouraged since he's come so far already so fast. He has been yawning a lot which the doctors said it's a sign that he's close to waking up. The 17th is our 5 year anniversary so I keep telling him he's not going to get away with sleeping through it! :) They brought in a busy mat which we lay across his lap and it has different things for him to feel and touch but so far he still wants the tubes :)

A verse that has been standing out in so many places since the accident, especially the last 2 days is Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." What a verse for God to give me :) I keep seeing it everywhere!

While I've been typing Cale's trach size has gone down from an 8 to a 6! The process to get that out has started! Praise God! It'll be so nice not to have to see this tube coming out of his throat!

Yikes! There was lots to write! Rachel flies in tonight and mama flies out early Thursday morning so this week is going to be a little emotional. Thank you everyone for all of the support!

Update - TJ

Cale's first night in his new room went well. I know he's hating the restraints on his hands but it's been motivating him to work his fingers more. Not much else to report, he's been pretty quiet all night other than some snoring off and on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Update - Joy

So we are sitting in Cale's new room & Kathleen is very excited. The nurse showed her how to feed Cale through his feeding tube & she did it on her own. Cale is resting right now, although he was just very actively trying to pull on the tubes. I had my arm blocking his & I told him if he wanted me to move it, he would have to tell me to. All he did was growl at me, not good enough to impress me or scare me. Kathleen is happily sitting on the edge of his bed, holding his hand. It's a very good day at Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC. Thank you God.

Update - Joy

Cale is being moved right now to room 444, it's on the same floor just in a different wing.

Update - Joy

They had Cale sitting up on the edge of his bed today, of course they had to hold him up. They were moving his arms, legs & head in an effort to stretch his muscles. Rehab was back in today & said he is still not ready for rehab, but they are checking his progress. He is still in ICU waiting for a room to become available. Cale continues to move his arms & legs on his own, he is determined to pull the hoses attached to the trach, he hates them.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Update - Kathy

When rehab came to see Cale on Friday they told us that he wasn't quite ready for rehab. He needs to be a little more conscious to where he can track things with his eyes and following our commands more consistently. Saturday morning when I asked him to follow my finger, with his right eye there was just a slight movement to the right, but when I checked his left eye he could follow my finger to the right and the left!!! This was so exciting. What this means is that his level of consciousness is a little more. We are still waiting for a room to open up so Cale can be moved from ICU. He is now completely off of the ventilator. We are all so amazed at Cale's progress. He has accomplished things much quicker than expected.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Update - Joy

GOOD NEWS!!! The doctor is putting in the order today to move Cale out of ICU into another room, prior to going to rehab.

Update - Joy

Cale is now off of the ventilator completely, he made it for a full 24 hours of breathing on his own. The trach is still in, but is being used as a sort of humidifier & the speech therapist will use it to to help Cale make sounds. But we pray that soon the trach will be removed also, He yawns occasionally, mostly without any sound, but the nurse told us that is one of the signs that he is starting to wake up. Yesterday Cale was pretty active & feisty in his efforts to grab the hose still attached to the trach. Most of the bruising, scrapes & areas on his head where the staples were are healing nicely. There is still some slight bruising around his left eye and left arm. When Cale is fully recovered he will be very proud of all the scars he has & I'm sure he will want to show them off. With the help of so many prayer warriors, God has shown all of us a true miracle.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Update - Joy

Since they are having trouble getting an accurate EEG, they started Cale on seizure meds as a preventive measure. The stimulation meds have also been decreased in case this is the cause of Cale's trembling. He will still be wearing his legs splints, but not the arm splints. The doctors are hoping that by early next week Cale will be completely weaned from the trach tube, if they are able to remove the trach tube by early in the week, Cale will be moved to rehab. Cale is fighting stronger than ever & I mean that literally. He tries to get his hands up to pull on the trach tube & when we try to stop him, he fights us to let go of his hands. In a very short time, he will be starting on the long road to full recovery. I wish I could stay here just to see what God has in store for Cale & Kathleen.

Yesterday I was talking to the social worker here at the hospital & she said that at the end of this journey, Kathleen will have a more powerful testimony than she has had from all of the mission trips she has been on. There are so many individuals here that have talked to me about how strong Kathleen's faith is & how she not only talks about her faith, but she is also walking in her faith.

Update - Joy

Cale has been off the ventilator since about 6:00 this morning, today is the day we are praying that he will last all day. They are waiting to do the EEG until Cale is shivering & trembling, as this will be be the best time to determine if he is experiencing seizures. Kathleen has been catching him on video as he is moving & we hope to get a video posted this blog soon. We continue to see more movement every day & know that he will wake up soon. God is so good to us.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Update - Joy

Cale was off the ventilator for 11 hours today & tomorrow the doctor wants to try for all day. I was in his room this morning when the speech therapist was there. She put a blue valve in the trach tube which will help Cale to talk, when he exhales his breath is pushed up so that it comes out through his mouth. She kept the valve on for 10 minutes, his oxygen leveled stayed at 100 which is good, but he did not make any sound. She will come in 2-3 times per week & repeat the process, she said it may take several attempts before Cale actually tries to make noise or talk. They are still planning to do another EEG, but we don't know when. This afternoon the occupational therapist was in & said that because Cale is starting to move so much they are not going to be putting on the hand splints or leg splints for at least a couple of days.

When I went in with Kathleen this morning, Cale was pretty agitated from what the speech therapist had done. Kathleen was trying to calm him down & she leaned down close to his ear to talk to him. She said, "Boy, can you hear my voice? Reach for me, reach for where my voice is." He raised his arm & stretched out his fingers to grasp onto her hand. I wanted to cry, Kathleen asked me if I saw what he had done & I assured her I had seen it all. I know that Cale & Kathleen have a long road ahead of them with Cale's rehab, but I have also seen the hand of God at work here in Cale's room. There are so many people here that are willing to look out for Kathleen when I go home that I am no longer worried about leaving NC. I am so proud of how strong my daughter has been & how she has shown that God is in control.

Update - Joy

Here is a very quick update & specific prayer request. Cale is off the ventilator again today & the doctor wants to try keeping him off for 10 hours. Please pray that God gives Cale the strength to last that long. This is a big step for him & brings him that much closer to having the trach tube removed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Update - Kathleen

Woohoo! Today was a day full of so many ups and downs. As far as my amazing husband, he did fantastic! I'm so proud of him! There's little things that he does that make me smile so big because I can see Cale even in the coma. The other day I got a little discouraged when I started reading a book about what rehab was going to look like. I know that he's going to have to learn stuff over again but I had in my mind that Cale and I would have our relationship back. The book talked about behavioral changes and it freaked me out! Well, anyways, since then, I've got my eye's and heart back on track and know that God created Cale, Cale belongs to God not me, and after this is all over, we will still be the couple that God put together and blessed.

All the downs today were from all the stuff we're trying to get figured out like getting the Honda registered when it gets here and insurance stuff. I got really frustrated this afternoon because all I want to do is be by Cale's side and not have to deal with all the other stuff. After taking a couple breaths and getting visited by more very sweet people from Memorial Baptist, I was all better :) No need to get all worked up! God's in control!

Yay for Cale today! He's fighting hard!

Update - Joy

Cale was off the ventilator for 4 1/2 hours today, tomorrow they will try to have him off for a longer period of time. Today Cale was moved from his hospital bed to what the nurses call a pink Cadillac. It is a bed that,becomes a chair for him to be in more of a sitting position & reclines when he is resting. The television in his room was turned on & his Cadillac was turned to face it. His right hand has been strapped down, because he has tried to pull out the trach tube. The nurse said this is a sign that he is coming out of the coma. He is still lifting his right hand & trying to get it loose, he is getting frustrated that he is unable to. I will say it again & again that God is the one who is healing Cale. My faith & trust in God has never been stronger than it has been in the last 3 weeks. We have a church family here Greenville, NC that are taking care of us while we are here, I love to have them come by just to sit & visit. I have missed my church family so much, that Memorial Baptist Church has been an absolute blessing to me, Kathleen & Kathy.

Update - Joy

Let me start by saying, PRAISE GOD!!!! Cale was off the ventilator for 2 1/2 hours yesterday & did really well. He has been off the ventilator since 5:30 this morning & the goal is to keep him off for 5 1/2 hours today, so far he doing really good. Continue to pray for God to heal every part of him. We know in our hearts that Cale is one of God's miracles.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Update - Joy

Cale did really good off the ventilator, he is back on the ventilator now. They will try him off again in about 12 hours for probably 4 hours. Each time they take him off the ventilator they will increase the amount of time he is off. Once he goes for a full 24 hours, they will remove the trach tube.

Update - Joy

Between 10 & 11 this morning they are taking Cale off the ventilator. If he does good for 2 hours they will put him back on the ventilator, so he can rest. If after about 10 minutes or less they see that he is struggling they will put him back on the ventilator & do a bronchoscopy & a chest x-ray to see if there is some reason why he is struggling to breathe. There are no changes in his condition, his vitals all look good & his consciousness level is still at 8. Today, we are praying that he is able to breathe on his own for at least 2 hours.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Update - Joy

Cale is still doing good & we are seeing small improvements. The doctor told Kathleen this morning that when the level of consciousness is 10 and below the patient is in a coma with 3 being a deep coma. Cale is now at the level of 8, which shows that he is slowly coming out of the coma. Tomorrow they will start doing trials of taking Cale off of the ventilator to see how he does. If he has any trouble breathing they will put him back on the ventilator, but will continue to try him off of the ventilator. This morning we are excited and praising God for the progress Cale has made in such a short time.

Update - TJ

I've been letting Cale just rest most of the morning. They have the braces off his hands so I felt like working him out. I asked him to raise his hand and point his index finger for me. It took about half a minute for him to get control of his hand but then he held up a couple inches off his stomach and pointed his index finger towards me. I was stoked like usual whenever I think he can hear me so just to make sure it wasn't just in my head I asked him a couple minutes later to do it again. Took him a half the time and with his hand raised he pointed his index finger.

It has been hard up until now to know for sure that my best friend is still with me but I know now. I know all the rambling night after night is actually getting him somewhere. Still not sure whether it bores him or gives him something to listen but at least I know he hears me now.