Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year

Neal and I were talking the other day and determined the year actually went by fast. I would never believe that I would say this. Of course it was fast for Neal, he missed a couple of months! So here is a list of what we have learned in 2007:

1) Patience - As Neal always says nothing changes overnight

2) Appreciate the good days

3) Never take for granted drinking multiple glasses of water in a day!

4) We are so lucky to have great jobs and great health coverage

5) Good friends and family are priceless, we would be lost without them

6) It is amazing what people will do for you if you ask!

7) We are lucky to know all of the above at such a young age


This year, as miserable as it was, has shaped who we will be for the rest of our lives.


We are excited to have a New Year to look forward too. We have the transplant, weddings, parents moving, birthdays, a possible camper purchase, vacations and the growth of our Company. I am sure it will be one to remember. Ryan, Les, Connor, Matt, Jen, Raegan, Patty and Ed are spending New Year's with us. I am hoping to cook a great dinner for them, but that cannot be promised. We still have some Christmas gifts and some transplant stuff to exchange. The rest of the evening will be filled with Wii most likely.


Unfortunately, we have some bad news. Leslie's Grandpa passed away. The viewing hours are on January 2nd between 4 to 8 at the Schoedinger Funeral Home Worthington Chapel. The chapel is on North High Street just north of Rt 161 but south of the 270 Outerbelt.
The church funeral service will be on January 3rd at 10:00 AM at Maize Manor Church on Maize Rd. For some reason, both of our families strength has been challenged. Luckily for all of us, we are surrounded by family and friends.

Thumper

No not my childhood obese rabbit, but Neal's heart. The doctors wanted to do a 24 hour heart monitor before the transplant. Just another standard test they wanted to run. We do not anticipate anything other than Neal potentially having a hard time falling asleep. Dave drove him to pick up the monitor today. Luckily he can take it home. We will drop it off tomorrow to make sure it is safely delivered.

Connor Scott McHenry is having surgery on his feet tomorrow. The poor McHenry and Young families have spent as much time in the hospital this year as Neal has. Connor should be home shortly after the surgery. He will be back in casts for another 3 weeks to correct his feet and then back to the bar (not the local establishment, the one that holds his feet in place).
UPDATE: Connor is out of surgery and doing fine!

This weekend we have a visit with my Dad, Dawn's bridal shower, and New Years Eve dinner at our place with the McHenry's and the soon to be Thornton family. Time sure is flying when all of our weekends are jam packed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

how do the little piggies eat?

I hope everyone had a chance to watch A Christmas Story. I was surprised to see people had rented it from Blockbuster. Don't they know it is on TBS for 24 hours!


We had a nice weekend. We even got to have a talk with Santa, although the fact that he thought I could be the mother of a 13 year old scared me! I guess we are getting older. Neal spoiled me. We ate way too much. All in all it was a great holiday that went by too fast. We are hoping next year we can make it to see the rest of our family in Cleveland.

Friday, December 21, 2007

What a year

I just wanted to thank everyone for the support they provided us during this year. We could not have made it without our friends and family. We look forward to spending time with everyone over the next 2 weeks. I am sure I will want to post something more sappy before the end of the year.

Leslie's Grandpa Cecil is not doing so well. Any good thoughts and prayers would be appreciated for him and his family. It seems like 2007 was a challenging year for many people around us. Hopefully 2008 will be a great year to remember.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I could get used to this...

Neal's words to me regarding being chauffeured around now. I know he is miserable some days when he is stuck at home, but is starting to get used to it the rest of the time. For example, this coming weekend we are headed North to see our families and he is already gloating how nice it will be to not have to drive! Come March, I am looking forward to the favor being returned! Perhaps before returning to work he can be parked outside of Leslie and Ryan's or Stacy's house available to drive them wherever! That would be hilarious. I hope he likes the hat I bought him for Christmas.


Neal had a bad dialysis day on Friday, but recovered quickly. For some reason his blood pressure took a dive. Yesterday his fistula was not quite clotted and it made quite a mess. Luckily we were not yet in the new car. He was able to make it to Monday night football with the guys. He has made it through all doctor appointments and is ready to move forward. All in all most days he is feeling pretty good!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Swallow Test

I had another swallow test on Monday. I passed. I had to swallow thin liquid barium, a barium paste, and barium past with graham crackers mixed in. I could see the monitor and see the liquid flow down my throat. It was cool. The speech therapist that was conducting the test remembered seeing me when I was an inpatient. I told her I was sorry because I did not remember her. I am glad that is over with. Today I have an appointment with the transplant doctor again and PT. That is about all.

Later,
Neal

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I got shotgun. MAYBE TILL APRIL!!!!!!!!!!!

I learned on Tuesday that I might not be able to drive till April. I heard from the person at physical therapy that the doctor I have is very conservative and usually makes people wait 6 months after a seizure before driving. Needless to say I was not happy about that. I hate having to have other people drive me around. They have better things to do. I am trying to get in to see the doctor to see if he will change his mind. I have physical therapy again today. I am tired from Tuesday so I am not sure how long I will be able to go today.

Later,
Neal

P.S. I am surprised that there were not more comments on the action shots of Dave and Matt playing guitar hero. Those were tough shots to get.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Guitar Zeros!




We had a few people over for dinner and Wii night. Here are some pictures of Matt and Dave playing Guitar Hero!








Friday, November 30, 2007

No PT on Thursday

I did not make it to PT on Thursday. I was feeling pretty bad but I am much better today. Other than that I am not doing to much. Just doing my Mr. Mom job. Keeping the house clean.

-Neal

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wii are Thankful

Our Thanksgiving holiday was wonderful. After Thanksgiving, Neal, Austin and my arms were so soar from playing video games. Denise was smart and did not play all day. My bowling score took a severe hit. Neal claims we played for 10 hours on Thursday. I cooked a half way decent meal. We got a great surprise on Friday when my mom, Mike and Uncle Jim fought the crowds at Walmart to get us a 42" tv! Friday night everyone came over to play the wii on the new tv. It is wonderful. UJ seems to be the guy to beat.

We made a trip up to see my dad for his birthday and had a nice day. Everyone kept staring at Neal not believing how skinny he is! This is really the first trip out of town Neal has made since the accident. We are hoping to make it to the Machovina Christmas this year in December.

UJ, Mom and Mike raked leaves at our house on Tuesday and it did not take more than a day for the yard to be filled with leaves again. Sunday during the Browns half time and after the game, Neal and I did another clean up. We still have one tree that has quite a bit of leaves left. It is wonderful to have Neal outside doing this! This week is busy with dialysis Monday, Wednesday and Friday and physical therapy the other 2 days.

Thanks again to Stacy, Leslie and Mom for driving Neal to dialysis, I really appreciate it. At this point, we do not think Neal will be cleared to drive for 3 months. He should be able to drive after the transplant.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Physical Therapy Again

I had Physical Therapy again. This time I was able to complete the therapy. I did alot of the same exercises and some new ones. Needless to say I am really tired.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Physical Therapy

Today I had physical therapy again. I am tired. I did the elliptical machine, 3 different kind of leg lifts on a set of stairs, toe raises on the stairs, heel touches on the stairs, stepping up and down on the stairs, leg lifts on a machine, toe raises on a machine, hip flexes, side hip flexes, and I was doing pull downs on a machine when I told them I was done for the day. I was there for about 45 min and did not rest much. Needless to say I am extremely tired. I have not worked out this much in years. I will be doing it 2 times a week until my transplant. They gave me a workout to do at home but I know that I would not do it. So I am going to go in and do it. This way I am motivated to do it. Hopefully this will keep me healthy. I plan on doing it after the transplant as well. We went grocery shopping afterwards I was so tired I took a motorized cart. I don't care I was tired and could hardly walk.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Out Patient Therapy

Neal had his first outpatient therapy. It was a little awkward. When we arrived we were put in a room with 8 different therapists asking a variety of questions. At the end I believe they looked at Neal and Neal looked at them thinking, why are you here? Neal then had quick individual sessions with each therapist and all pretty much concluded he could use exercise to increase his endurance, however it is his choice whether he go to the facility or do this at home. He has one more appointment if he chooses to go over some exercises. He is also being scheduled for a follow up swallow test so that he can stop modifying his diet and thickening his liquids. That should be in a week or two.

The one good thing that did come out of this is that he needs to obtain written permission from a doctor to drive. Apparently there could be some legal ramifications given what his diagnosis was the last hospital visit. So Neal did get to drive there, but I drove home! He feels comfortable driving, but we are going to get a doctor to sign off on it. Until then I will continue to ask Stacy and Leslie to be on call and even Matt on his day off. Too bad we cannot afford a limo so Neal could travel in style.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Getting Better

Not much is going on. I am getting better each day. I still don't have to much energy but I am able to get around ok. All I am doing is taking care of the dogs and doing the dishes. Michele has been a saint. She has really been taking good care of me.

Later
-Neal

Monday, October 29, 2007

Nothing new to report

Nothing much going on. Neal is doing good. I am trying to force him to eat more. He is not eating enough calories to get his strength back. So far no headaches. We have been playing more video games than normal and have 20 episodes of How it is Made to get caught up on. We bought good old Sonic the Hedgehog and I must say I am not as bad as I thought I would be. There is nothing else new to report.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Here is a new pic of me. down to 180.5lbs. I have lost a total of about 70lbs now. I look like a total cheese. Michele was doing something that made me laugh. If you look at my neck you can see the tape over my trache. It is gross but what ya gonna do. Talk to you later.
-Neal

Home at last

Neal came home yesterday in the early afternoon for a couple hours, then we went to dialysis. He is feeling good and is happy to be home. The only thing they sent us home on was a different diet. No bread and he must thicken his liquids. We plan to take it easy most of the weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Home sweet home

Neal should be coming home tomorrow in the early afternoon. I am going to meet him at the hospital first thing to have a few therapy sessions and then the plan is to discharge him. He is very anxious to get home and I am very excited to have him back. We will have a follow up appointment with the neurologist in a couple of weeks. I am at home working on disinfecting and laundry. I am unsure I will sleep. I am so happy he agreed to stay one more day as recommended by the doctors. His speech does not appear to be bad at all, no where near what we originally thought. If you did not know him, you would not know the difference, I am not even sure I do. Almost three weeks ago they were telling me he would not have a tongue! His diet is going to be a challenge as he needs to stick to soft foods. I plan to grocery shop after I take him to dialysis tomorrow and cook for him this weekend. I think Neal is starting to realize exactly what he has been through. From what I can gather, he does not remember most of the hospital stay. We still do not know what happened, but doctors are telling us it was an isolated incident related to blood pressure and potentially meds. I actually had a neurologist call me back tonight at 8:30. I was completely shocked. At least someone in the medical world still has a heart.

Neal I hope you realize I am not encouraging you stay to make you miserable. I would prefer the doctors and myself feel comfortable with you coming home. I think we will be there within 24 hours. I want nothing more than for you to come home, however I do want you to be safe. It has been a long year and you have been through a lot. I want this to be the last thing before the transplant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Getting ready to come home

I should be coming home tomorrow. I just have to do some pyhsical therapy. They are already impressed with how much i get around.

Catch you later
-Neal

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fighter

Neal is a fiighter and everyday he is irritated, I try to remind him of this. He is anxious to get out, but I keep telling him we are not quite there, but so close. I hope he can hang in there a couple of days. I want to ensure when he gets out, that will be his last visit until the transplant. Today was the first time Neal had called me in 18 days. You do not know how happy I was. I was so overcome with emotion.

Today was a big day. Neal had a repeat MRI and it looked better than the last. I feel much better now that this happened. I had to poke and prod a lot to get it, but they finally did it. I do not want to see Neal go through any of this ever again and now I am at a little more peace. He has also been in the hospital 18 days and no repeat seizures. I do believe the conditions of that day lead to this. I have asked that when Neal come home he monitors his blood pressure on a more regular basis, may not help, but does not hurt.

Neal was pretty agitated when I arrived at the hospital tonight. He had requested dialysis be stopped a little early. I do not believe this is a big issue since he got it yesterday and will get it tomorrow. He also requested to have his feeding tube removed. He has had two days now that he could eat, therefore he would prefer to remove it and be more comfortable. The doctor came and advised against it, however Neal disagreed and pulled it out as the doctor turned to convince me. I told the doc it was too late. Neal did not eat much for dinner, so hopefully he will have a good breakfast. The frost train may begin tomorrow as well.

Next ear, nose and throat came in to remove his trach. The did a scope up and down his throat and down his nose to check the swelling and everything looked good. The trach came out pretty quickly and is held shut by tape for a couple of weeks. He is talking pretty good now (with pressure to his throat), although I am unsure how much his speech is impaired by his tongue being partially bitten off. It is no where near as bad as the doctors first told me. I do not believe anyone just meeting Neal would have a clue if we would not tell them. He bit on his tongue by his back right molars. My initial impression is he will be just fine and his speech will not be impaired at all. He is still on oxygen, but I would guess he will be off once he adjusts to breathing without the trach. There is not much follow up unless he would like some cosmetic surgery on his tongue. At this point I do not think he will do anything. It is so far back, no one will know but him. That is quite a relief considering 10 days ago I was presented with the possibility that his tongue would be cut off. I know compared to what he has been through it was not a big deal, but all I could think of was how this would affect him every day of his life forever. Unfortunately he will have a scar to remind us of this nightmare (termed by my mother and so true).

Next on the list, controlling his pain medicine. He is still getting quite a bit. Between that and all that has happened I am a little uncomfortable with him coming home and am hoping he will agree to a rehab facility for a week or so. I do not feel as though I can take care of him and would prefer if someone was around for a little bit longer and if he had someone ensuring he was able to eat for a week and swallow his pills. I will be contacting the team that is seeing him first thing in the morning regarding this. Currently Neal is opposed to rehab. I really do not believe he needs as much as I originally anticipated (speech wise), however having 24/7 care will allow me to sleep at night. It has been a long month, but everyday I feel more comfortable with the fact the Neal will be coming home unsupervised. I am sure my phone calls and text messages will drive him crazy, but for my own sanity, I will need to know he is safe if he is alone.

WEDNESDAY - Neal is in dialysis this morning probably until noon or one.

UPDATE - Neal has agreed to a little rehab. He will be transported to Dodd today. Everyone I have talked to regarding Dodd has said it is an excellent program. They recommend a two week stay, but told him if he works hard he can go home much sooner, maybe even this weekend.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is anyone out there cause it's getting harder and harder to breathe...NOT

Today Neal had his trach covered up. It is still in if he needs it, but currently he is breathing on his own, with oxygen in his nose. He also passed the swallow test so he has started eating. He is anxious to get the feeding tube out, but I am unsure we are there yet.

I spoke with neurology and they are thinking seizure due to his medical condition. He was having bad headaches all week, was sleep deprived and had high blood pressure. I have asked for a repeat MRI and hope they will do this. There was some abnormality on his last MRI but they believe it was simply an indicator for high blood pressure.

Currently we are discussing physical and speech rehab options with social workers. I am unsure Neal will want this, but I think he should have it. His speech sounds pretty good given the circumstances.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I See the Light

I think Neal calmed down a little bit this afternoon. Last night his nose tube came out again. This morning, he did not want it back it again, but he was told he needs his medicine and feeding, so he agreed to let them put it back in. After the tube was in, he calmed down. He can talk, but it is quiet and raspy. We still have not heard anything from neurology, so that is tomorrows goal. I explained to him a little more of what has happened. He knows he is missing a portion of his tongue, but it is no where near as bad as they first told me. Our first report was it may need to be cut off. Now I would say he is missing about a quarter of the right side by his molars. They are assuming he will talk normally and be able to eat. Tomorrow is his next swallow test, which I anticipate he will pass. Denise (Neal's sister) and Mom were able to see what progress he has made since last weekend, so I believe they are happy. I did not mention it, but the nurses thought Denise was his wife! Some of you know this, but when I first became interested in Neal I also confused Denise for his girlfriend! I pursued him and called his house and guess who answered....Denise!

Neal is now in room 1017 Doan, right off the elevators. Visitors are welcome, although you may find him asleep. Any updates are welcome as I am returning back to work full time tomorrow. I think Stacy is working on a dog plan for the week. Thanks to Joey and Kristen for supplying me with food for the week! Again I have to thank those that are helping out, it is much appreciated. Unfortunately it has been a long year. I am hoping Neal's 31st year of life will be completely different than the 30th and we can forget about all of this!

UPDATE: Neal is in dialysis today from 7:30 until around noon.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Some things are coming together

We still have not talked to Neurology, but we did get ENT. They were able to down size his trach so now he can start talking again. He is still quiet and raspy, but will be back to normal in no time. ENT would like to get the trach out soon. Monday he will have another swallowing test to see if he can start eating and drinking, then he will be able to get rid of a lot of the tubes. This was good news, since the first doctor we talked to this morning said he could not get his trach downsized for 7-10 days. I wish they would not talk out of their areas as it sends us all on a roller coaster.

Early this morning Neal accidentally pulled out his nose tubes and IV. They were able to replace the IV quickly, but it took a while to get the nose tube back in. Unfortunately since he cannot swallow and he needs to take his pills. The tube is back in now and he should be getting his pills tonight. He is able to get in and out of bed and into a chair. He had physical therapy in before he could talk asking him about his lifestyle and helping him bathe, if he could talk, man would he have a lot to say. They were just trying to help, but I know he was saying oh please in his head. He was able to send a text message to Ryan and Leslie since they have been unable to visit and I know that made their day. Mom was able to see him as well, which made her worry a little less. Seeing it is much different than hearing about it, I can understand this. I think we can all sleep good tonight!

Friday, October 19, 2007

2 weeks later

Neal is doing ok. He is still off the ventilator. He still needs oxygen. He failed the swallow test and was pretty upset. He will try again on Monday. Currently I am just trying to get answers and am pretty frustrated. I have never heard from Neurology and have not heard from ENT since Tuesday. I currently have signs posted all over the room for the doctors to call me. It is frustrating that no one will call me and they think it is ok to talk to him. Given the fact that he cannot talk, that does not work very well. This morning they told me they are sending him home or to rehab early next week. I am baffled.

He is still writing a little and I am getting better at lip reading. Thanks to the Whitney's for bringing some treats for the family. Neal has said no visitors as of now, I will let you know.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Neal is in the house

Well some folks saw Neal's sense of humor today and some saw him agitated, but it is him. He is completely off the ventilator and doing fine. He has quite a bit of mucous that needs to be suctioned from his lungs, but otherwise he is doing ok. Last night when his Aunt, Uncle and cousins visited he wrote on the dry erase board what had happened asking if they had heard, so he does now know why he is in the hospital. Today he had quite a bit of anxiety from what I hear and I would assume knowing why he is in the hospital is doing it. Because of his anxiety he received some drugs, therefore he was pretty sleepy. He cracked some jokes with others and pretty much yelled as much as he can at my sister and I! I could not be happier to see it. Imagine how dry your mouth would be without water, I do not blame him for wanting the spongy things on a stick (in proper medical terms).

His blood pressure is low again, not as low as last week but the top number is in the 90s. I think it is related to the amount of fluid he is getting taken off in dialysis. They are planning to get him out of ICU as soon as a bed becomes available. The nurses planned to get some tubes removed from him tonight after my sister and I left. He was so anxious to get the tubes out that he told us to go away! I am ok with that if he is happy. I am taking all card and letters up for him to see. Not much else to report, so I guess that is good.

I bought the nurses some Cheryl's cookies and immediately got better attention, sad but true. I will bribe all I can to get him the best care. Today he was watching Animal Planet and yesterday Lifetime.....hmmmmm I am beginning to wonder what the nurses are doing in there! Now don't get me wrong, we have watched Animal Planet once in a while, but Lifetime, are you kidding me. I left the channel for the Indians game on tonight, I hope it stays on and he stays awake to watch a little.

I am not sure where he will be tomorrow, but anyone that is healthy and wants to see Neal is more than welcome. He still has quite a bit of tubes sticking out of him. I will always have a dry erase board in the room if he chooses to write As I have warned others, he is currently infatuated with the time. So that may be the first thing he asks. I am a horrible lip reader (Denise I need you) so if you have problems, ask him if he wants to write. I still have not talked to ear, nose and throat, so I am unsure when he will be able to talk. First he will have to pass a swallowing test so that he can drink. Currently Neal has a feeding tube.

If anyone has any recommendations for home nurses, I am all ears. Thanks again for everyones help, cards, posts and calls. It is times like this when you realize how lucky you are for your friends and family are and how great of a guy Neal is. I would be happy if I had half the amount of people interested in me! Times like these make you realize what is really important in life.

Update: Neal is being moved to 1007a Doan tonight. For any visitors, ask if he needs suction when you get there and if he does call the nurse. I appreciate everyones help. I am excited to see him in the morning. I do not think I gave enough thanks to Suzy and her family for providing me with lunch and dinner for the week. I greatly appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

There is no looking back now

The trach is in and you can ask anyone that saw Neal, he is a new man. He is now off of the ventilator, his vitals are still good and he is more responsive. He is still on quite a bit of pain medicine though and that is still having an effect. He does still have oxygen attached to his trach. He did not pass the swallow test, therefore he still cannot drink. My sister and I were convinced he was trying to trick us into giving him water. He even had a minute when he was telling me that he remembered what I had already told him once. He is now really asking what time and day it is. He still does not remember anything and probably never will. Neal still cannot talk, but is on his way there. Since he cannot swallow, he cannot eat, therefore he has to have the feeding tube. I think his weight is holding stable.

Neal's tongue also made it's first appearance today. The only way I can describe it is a dental impression of your molars. He bit the right side of his tongue parallel with his tongue. There appears to be a portion missing, however I think what is still there should be salvageable. We are waiting to hear from ENT to get more information.

Neal will most likely be moved out of ICU tomorrow or Friday. He had been on a ventilator for 11 days and it is amazing how he is the first day off. I am unsure when they will send him home and what sort of therapy he will need. Physically he is still very strong for all he has been through.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It is in

Neal had the trach put in this afternoon. He was not as drugged as I anticipated. I have to say I broke down when I first saw it thinking that I had chosen to do this to him and wondering how we got here. Again I ask why. I came home and looked at his phone and noticed some calls around 9 o'clock the day of the accident to numbers 17, 13, not ever a full phone number so I am thinking he was here for 2 hours alone and hurt. I had just talked to him 2 minutes before that. I thought I was over the fact that I was not here, but this released all of those emotions again. If only. I guess we will never know and I do not know how I will ever leave him again. All of these unanswered questions can drive you crazy. I am sure after a good nights sleep I will be fine again. I have had a chance to figure out what my true emotions are. Unfortunately still no answers. I just cannot believe this is happening. I am in total shock.

On a lighter noted... This morning before the trach Neal was very responsive. He wanted to write and his first question was "was there a bombing". I immediately explained to him what had happened to him and that there was no bombing. It is either the drugs or whatever was on tv that day. His next question was when can I go home. I think he is realizing what has happened and wants to move on. This makes me realize the trach, although horrible, was the best decision.

After the trach, I explained to Neal again what had happened to him and that he was going to be fine and we were looking forward to a transplant. He then, I believe said I have already bit my tongue three times (or he was telling me to shutty, I already told him this). I explained this is the first time he had done this and he seemed to be happy with the answer and move on. Later on I called and the nurse said he was watching tv. I said, great the Indians game and she said no the rodeo! I am guessing he fell asleep while he was changing the channel or could not find the remote or he has taken up a new hobby I was unaware of. I also got to see his tongue today. He bit it on the right side from the back of your throat to your lips. I did not have a long enough look to give my professional opinion, but I think he should be ok.


His vitals are good and by the time I left the ventilator was pretty much turned off, with the exception of a little oxygen being pushed through, but he was initiating every breathe. I am hoping by tomorrow he can sit up more and get his restraints taken off. It is much easier to lip read without the tube in his mouth. Thanks again to everyone that is helping us out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The next step

Today the doctors informed me that they are going to trach Neal. It may happen tomorrow, but we are not sure. After talking to some people and looking at the pros and cons, it is the best option. He will be more comfortable and will be able to talk and move around more. They are concerned that if they try to pull the ventilator again, they may not be able to get it back in if needs it, then we would be in an emergency situation. I had to sign off of on the procedure which was more than I thought. I talked to Denise and other nurses that I have made friends with along with the doctors and it seems as though there really is no decision. I explained everything to Neal this morning and he nodded yes. I am unsure if he really heard me, but I think he did. If Neal was able to comprehend everything I really do feel like it would be a no brainer for him too, but it is much more stress on me having to make that choice. The trach will be much safer once it is completed and he can get out of ICU. The longer he is in the hospital, the more risk he has of infection and given our transplant timeline, we do not want infection. So Neal as you read this weeks down the road, I hope you agree with my decision and you are in a much better place.

At the evening visit, Neal was pretty agitated. I cannot exactly tell what was going through his head, but I knew he was agitated. His blood pressure is fine, but his heart rate was pretty high. I worry about the stress that is being put on his heart, but it is hard to juggle the blood pressure and the heart. When I left the nurse had given him quite a bit of anxiety and pain medicine to calm him down. He is running a fever again, but that has been on and off for days. The doctors tried to remove his neck collar, but had no luck. In order to remove it he has to be responsive and he was not at all. Again, I wish I knew what he was thinking. Hopefully the trach will allow him to communicate easier. I plan to head up there early tomorrow with hopes that he is getting the trach.

On another note, and I know Neal is going to hate this, but the nurse that helped us in the ER the day of Neal's "accident" lives in our neighborhood. I saw a lady in scrubs walking down the street so I decided to literally chase her down (Ryan I did not take my maglight). Turns out it was the wrong nurse, but now I have a nurse resource close by. She did walk me over to the ladies house I was looking for and we had a chance to chat. Everyone seems confused by the compazine. She suggested I call the ER and ask the question. I will try that tomorrow, but who knows if I will get a response. Yes I am a little bit crazy, yet still on earth enough to admit it. I also got Neal's current med list with hopes to send it on to some friends for review. I no longer trust anyone.

I am not sure who is still reading. I am trying to document things well so Neal will be able to read when he comes home. Thank you to those that are helping with the visits, I really appreciate it. I have been able to work 10:30-4:00 because of you. I will let everyone else know when it is time for full on visitors. Unfortunately now, Neal just gets frustrated since he cannot communicate.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday

Neal is doing good today. We removed his restraints while we were in the room at 9am and he was able to stretch and itch. He wrote a little bit for us. I forgot to write that yesterday when he was writing for the first time what he wanted to know was can we move the transplant up? Then he went on to say ask the doctors and Ryan. Denise and I told him one step at a time, let's get him healthy from this first. Today he wrote that he is having some pain in his stomach. His blood pressure is stable now, but still very low for him. His heart rate is still in the 110s. The other question we get from him is he wants water. Unfortunately he cannot have any. We are working real hard to get ear, nose and throat docs to talk with us. We are requesting that they clear him before removing the tube again. His tongue appears to be pretty swollen again which may be related to having to put the ventilator in. Hopefully I will hear from them by tomorrow. Today they do not intend to do anything.

I am going to try to get some people to visit Neal at 1pm this week as the family has to return to work. I really appreciate everyone that has been helping on the visits. It gives us comfort getting some sort of report.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The ups and down

Neal had the tube taken out around 1:45 today. The first five minutes he was fine. He was trying to cough stuff up and was suctioning it out. After about five minutes he was gasping for air. They started him on a breathing treatment and we were removed from the room. The nurse told us assume the ventilator will go back in. By 2:30 we were back in the room and Neal had the ventilator back in. He had actually requested the ventilator to be put back in. By 5:00 his vitals were good and he was ok. He has been through a lot, but is still pulling through. We are back to the drawing board to figure out what is wrong with his throat.

We are very thankful to our family and friends. All of our family is down with us. Suzy was kind enough to bring down enough food that I can not worry about that. I am very appreciative of that. More updates tomorrow, but we are not expected any major changes.

Update

Neal is getting his ventilator out as I write this. Let's hope this is the last time. All of his vitals are ok. His blood pressure is still low for him, but ok and his heart rate is still a little high. All blood pressure medicines will be held until his blood pressure is high again. They are also hoping to clear him so they can remove the neck brace. Hopefully he can sit up and watch the Buckeyes.

He is currently in isolation, which means you have to wear a gown and gloves when you are in his room. There is a slight chance he has c diff. It is a bacterial infection.

So far the doctors have been taking good care of Neal. We have been lucky enough to be there during rounds. We cannot ask all of our questions, however we can ask a few.

Friday, October 12, 2007

What a lonnnnnng 7 days

Neal was doing good this morning. He was on dialysis and trying to talk to us with his lips and hands. Unfortunately he needed to sit still, so we had to back off. His blood pressure was pretty low yesterday (60-70/30-40). Today it was 90/40 by the time we had left. They are working on getting that up and his heart rate down so that they can pull the ventilator. It sounds like the ventilator will be pulled by tomorrow.

Neurology is back to the drawing board. He was given compazine in the ER last Friday and they are wondering if that caused all of this. My sisters pharmacy friends are going to be put to work!


3pm update - The top number in Neal's blood pressure is holding above 100.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Enjoy the good days

My sister mentioned this and boy was it right. Neal was getting frustrated this evening because he could not communicate with us. How often we take for granted the fact that we can speak, or write, breathe on our own or drink a glass of water. I bought some different things tonight in hopes that Neal can more easily communicate. It is so frustrating and sad that we cannot communicate. His go to move is a thumbs up which is wonderful. After everything he is going through we are still getting a thumbs up from him. How amazing is that! I could never be as strong as he is. I wish I did not have to find out how strong he really was this way. Hopefully in a short time this will all be behind us and our next hospital visit will be for a kidney.


Thank you to everyone that has been helping out, I could not do this without you.


I was lucky enough to hold Connor Scott McHenry tonight. He is adorable and such a good baby already. Here is a picture.

Thursday morning update

My mom and I saw Neal this morning and he is doing pretty good. He is trying to talk and we are trying to get him to write. The ventilator will stay in a little longer to get his tongue swelling down.

Leslie's water broke last night, so hopefully soon we will have a baby!

UPDATE: It's a boy! Conner Scott McHenry. More updates as they come.

They believe Neal had a seizure and are getting him on some medicine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two steps forward and one step back

The day started out pretty well. Neal was told to put two fingers up and he did. He was responding to us pretty well. We saw the doctors during rounds and all tests are coming back negative. We are still waiting on a couple of neurological tests, however they are not anticipating any new results. At 10am, they decided to turn the ventilator off, although not yet pull the tube out and see how he was. He did well, so at 1pm, the ventilator was removed. Mom, Dave, Ed and I were all there for the visiting hour and he seemed pretty good. He was nodding his head, looking around, trying to talk and responding to commands . He even gave a thumbs up when he heard the Indians won the series. It did appear that he was lacking a short term memory. He was trying to reach to his face, which was of concern since he has a feeding tube and a tube to drain his stomach. Eventually we restrained him again. By the time we left, his oxygen was a little lower, but still ok and his blood pressure was going up. He even nodded yes when I asked if he felt short of breathe. Around 3:30, we received a call that they were putting him back on the ventilator. It turns out he has too much dried blood and mucus in the back of his throat that he cannot cough up and they cannot suction out. They used a scope and were surprised by the amount of stuff back there. He was sedated again and given pain medicine. He is pretty exhausted and slept most of our visits. He opened his eyes a couple of times, but was not doing it on command. The sedation will take a while to wear off.

As I reread this, especially the first two sentences I ask myself what the heck happened. He was the best he has been in a year and now this. Is there some sort of Nintendo wii virus going around? I thought we had seen it all, but unfortunately we did not. When Neal wakes up and reads my notes, he will probably not even believe it. Ryan and Leslie have been going to the 9pm visiting hour as I need some rest and I appreciate that. I appreciate all of the kind notes and help I have received. I was just telling my mom how lucky myself and Neal are to have great friends and family. I know if I needed something I have a long list of people to call and I appreciate those that I have already called upon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Baby Steps

Neal was a little more responsive today with his eyes. We did not have to irritate him nearly as much to get him to open his eyes. He is still not responding on command with his arms and legs or focusing with his eyes, but he is moving when irritated. He had an EEG today but we do not have the results. He also had dialysis. Hopefully we will get some more response tomorrow. I started back to work today. I may be asking some favors to make sure someone is with him during every visiting hour in order to stimulate him as much as possible. Thanks to all those that have been helping so far. For those that have visited, I am no longer speaking so loud. I will update tomorrow.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Monday Evening

Not much change. Neal is taking some extra breathes when stimulated, otherwise the ventilator is breathing for him. He did open his eyes a couple of times and appeared to be looking around and trying to focus. Dave really stimulated him the most. His name and voice made Neal open his eyes very quickly. He is currently on an anti-seizure medicine. Neal's tongue still appears a little swollen. We are requesting a neurology and ear, nose and throat consult. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow. We are receiving different stories on his tongue, therefore we want to go to the experts. The EEG has not been completed yet. The fever is hanging on a little. The team is taking good care of him and all of the doctors have been friendly. We still have a few nurse issues, but no where near what we had before. We confirmed that they did not find any broken bones.

Neal is going to get another tube put down his throat and into his small intestine as it appears the food that he is receiving in his stomach is just sitting there. He has something on his legs to hold his feet so they are at a 90 degree angle to his legs. There was no sign of a sinus infection. We will be headed back tomorrow at 9am to see him. It will be baby steps, therefore we do not expect any quick changes.

Finally Good News!

Meningitis has been ruled out. The infectious medicine doctor said the spinal tap fluid was crystal clear therefore there is no way. The caution tape came down! Neal was able to open his eyes for us. We had to continually tell him to do so, but eventually he did. There is still no diagnosis. They are going to decrease the breathes the ventilator is giving him and see how he responds. He is no longer on the sedative and the thought is the sedative may still be in his body since his kidney does not work. He is getting dialysis now, so we are hoping to see even more improvement by this afternoon. We will be anxiously waiting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rollercoaster Day

The day did not start out so well. The good news is Neal was given a blood pressure medicine and his blood pressure is now under control. Neal had a temperature earlier, but it was gone by the evening. They did blood cultures to determine if he has an infection. The bad news is he stopped responding when the nurses were pushing on his chest. The doctor believes something is still going on in his brain. Neal had an MRI this afternoon and the results were inconclusive, showing a sign of high blood pressure which we already knew. At our last visit, Neal had opened his eyes when the nurse irritated him, however there is still no focus. He is moving both sides of his body a little, but not much. He is still on the ventilator. The first concern is what is going on with his brain. Once that is figured out we will figure out the rest of the issues. We have all been through enough that we realize patience is important. Nothing happens overnight. A move of his hand or foot is a positive sign to us. We are trying to constantly talk to him and try to stimulate him. We even put the Tribe game on for him tonight.

The next assumption is meningitis, however she is not sure. I believe everyone is dumb founded and going down the list of possibilities. They have ordered an EEG, which I will have to look up. I will update tomorrow. We are currently doing our own investigative report on the internet.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

24 hours later

Not much has changed. Neal is on the ventilator. It is giving him 14 breathes per minute. Later Saturday he was taking an extra breathe every minute. He is not responding to anything right now. The nurse claims he opened his eyes a couple of times, but I have yet to see it. They are having a hard time controlling his blood pressure and all they can think is that he is in pain, however there is no way for him to communicate that to us. We are hoping to get someone in neurology to look at him and try to figure out what is going on with his brain. His tongue is also very swollen. He looks like he has three lips and you cannot see his teeth. He bit it pretty hard and according to the doctors it is still attached, but is cut really bad. He is currently being restrained. Hopefully once he is awake the restraints will be removed if he can understand that he needs to be on the ventilator. He currently has a slight fever that they are keeping an eye on. The plan from here is to get the swelling down in his tongue and then put a trach in so that they can fix his tongue. His tongue will probably swell again, therefore they need to keep his breathing passage open. I will update again Sunday.

I bit my tongue and now I am on a ventilator?!?!

No this is not the title of the new tv drama.

Neal had a rough night Friday. We are not exactly sure what happened and he does not know either, but we are guessing he fell and bit his tongue. He has a pretty big bruise on his thigh and supposedly a bump on the back of his head. Unfortunately he was alone when this happened. By the time I got home, we had quite a mess of blood, a very swollen tongue and a very confused Neal. The ER treated him quickly as a trauma patient. The initial concern was his breathing passage. To stabilize this, he had to be put on a ventilator. They then ruled out a stroke or heart attack. We may never know what happened. Perhaps a seizure or just a bad fall. The next step is to figure out what to do about his tongue. Apparently he did quite a number on it. The doctors still have not provided us with any updates. He is in the SICU at OSU. Visitors are not currently allowed except family and O+ kidney donors (sorry I have to add some humor). He cannot talk and is restrained, therefore visitors just make him frustrated. I will keep you posted, but am assuming I must be patient as nothing happens too quickly. Thanks to Stacy and Chris for hanging around with me all night at the hospital and Greg the purple shirt guy who was very friendly! I guess Neal's return to work will be a short one.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blood Test

Ryan and I had our blood tested and we are still a match. We had to have it tested again because I received a blood transfusion during my colon surgery. We will have to have our blood tested one more time before the surgery. The transplant is scheduled for Jan. 15th. Cross your fingers.

-Neal

Friday, September 21, 2007

back to work

Looks like I will be going back to work on the 3rd of October.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hip Better

My hip is almost 100%. I no longer have to use a cain and I don't limp as much as I used to. But poor Luke's hip is still bothering him a little. He sleeps on the floor now and does not jump in bed. That is all for now.

Later,
Neal

Friday, September 7, 2007

Doctors orders

Neal did not make it back to work this week. We both came down with a nasty cold this week and he has some joint pains. He received an anti-inflammatory shot last week, which helped a little, but he is still using a cane to get around. The doctor told him to relax. He is headed to a specialist today to figure out what is going on. Luke is having sympathy hip pains as well. He made a trip to the vet yesterday and walked away with a couple of pills and doctors order to relax. So....we have been spending a lot of time on the couch watching Weeds. I am not complaining at all.

Specialist today said Neal has burcitis in his hip and calcification in his hands. The first will be cured with physical therapy and the second hopefully with a transplant.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Not much going on

Michele and took a road trip up to Casino Windsor this weekend. We only stayed for a few hours. Normally we stay overnight but we just wanted to go for the day and take a trip in the new car. Michele and I got a new 2007 Honda Crv. It is a sweet car. It is a goldish color. I have attached a picture below. Also it looks official that I will be going back to work on September 5th. We also watched a bunch of movies. They sucked. Michele picked them out. ha ha.


-Neal

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Other than lack of sleep Neal is doing well. He had his follow up with his surgeon and everything looks good. He had some type of flu early this week, but seems to be recovering. The dogs are getting spoiled having him home so much! I guess I am too since I no longer have to do laundry or dishes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Update

Hello everyone,

Nothing much going on. I am feeling 100% better. I am getting around good now. I am looking to go back to work soon. Hopefully the 5th of September. Nothing much else going on.

-Neal

Monday, August 6, 2007

Quick Update

Nothing much to report. Neal is getting around fine and will begin driving today. We are trying to eat healthier. So far, so good. I am really proud of how Neal is handling everything. He has been through a lot, but is continuing to try to look ahead and make life better. His weight is at 195. We got out of the house a couple of times over the weekend.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Stiches and Staples

I had my stiches and staples taken out today. I think they were in a little to long. But all went well.

-Neal

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No news is good news

Neal is doing fine. He is getting around and slowly eating. That is all there is to report.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

There is no place like home

Neal is home. He arrived last night around 6:00. He went to bed immediately to sleep. We brought him some Dairy Queen later and he woke up for that. I am assuming he will be getting a lot of sleep the next couple of days. Although he has not eaten in a long time, he does not appear to be real hungry. Nothing else exciting to report. I guess that is the good news.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Close Down 315 North

Neal is waiting for his discharge papers and then Denise will be driving him home.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Word on the street...

Neal is getting sent home tomorrow. He is eating his first solid food today for lunch. He is currently off of the morphine pump. The blood thinner pill will restart today. His heart rate has come back down to normal. I will keep you posted.....
Not too much to report today. The blood cultures show no infection, which is wonderful news. Neal is still pretty loopy. He is starting to laugh in his sleep if any of you remember that stage. At least he is happy! If you do not get him sitting or standing, he pretty much falls asleep within seconds of speaking. I encourage any visitors to get him up and walking. He is not opposed to it, just needs to stay awake long enough to actually stand up, then he is good to go. He did pass gas yesterday, but still has not eaten. He should talk to the docs about it today. He is getting a medicine because his heart rate will not slow down. This is causing his blood pressure to be low.

Denise, Austin and his friend Bradley finished staining the deck yesterday. Thank you!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Questions Answered?

The doctor went over my questions with Neal this morning. I am not sure they really got us anyplace. His fever has been gone for 12 hours now, so hopefully not infection. They are treating him with anti-fungal drugs just in case. Not much is going to change with his situation until he can pass gas and then start eating. They will not give him any coumadine (blood thinner) or take away his morphine pump until then. They did decrease his benadryl and give him a different medicine for itching. I guess it is just a waiting game now.

On the lighter side, Neal woke up the other day when Stacy, Toph and Herbeck were there and said (I apologize if you are offended) "All I have to do is crap and take a lap and I can go home". That pretty much sums it up!

He has been moved to private room 1018. He is having dialysis this morning. Visitors are welcome. He also has his cell phone if you want to contact him.

Teresa - Please keep us in the loop on Kelly and the baby.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend

Sorry for the delay, my internet was down. Neal is doing ok this weekend. He still has a fever. They started him on antibiotics on Sunday. We are again frustrated with his care. I think it is a combination of holes in his care and this going on for so many months. Neal is pretty irritated with me now because of some discussions we had with the doctor and nurse. I think it is what he needs, so he will just have to be mad at me. He is very loopy again. It appears to be the benadryl in his system. It seems the longer between dialysis sessions, the loopier he gets. He can barely stay awake to complete a sentence. I have requested they give him a lower dose. The doctors agreed, but Neal did not. He is still on oxygen. He is doing laps around the floor without any problems. We hope to get a lot on questions answered tomorrow with the surgeon. Today we could not get a hold of anyone on his team. The surgeon that did come said he could not really answer any of our questions. It has been a frustrating weekend and we are all ready for this to be over. He is still on the self controlled morphine pump and I have already discussed weaning him from narcotics before he is released. Again I hope to have more answers tomorrow.

The posts help, so please keep them coming. Thanks to Uncle Greg, Aunt Sue, Colleen and Jamie for making a long trip down to visit. Thanks to Denise and my Mom for sleeping at the hospital one night to help me regain my health and sanity. Denise and Austin will be back down helping out for the week. I will be returning to work for a full week hopefully. My time is running out, so I need to save it for when Neal really needs me.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Tube is Out

They took the tube out of his nose this morning. He still is only allowed ice chips. He would like visitors today, so anyone is welcome. He will be in dialysis until about 12:30 or 1:00. He is in room 1026a. It is not a private room. His fever is breaking when he takes tylenol, so the docs are not too concerned. Denise said he walked over to the sink last night and he was sitting in the chair.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Night

Neal is doing pretty good still. He has a fever which they are treating with Tylenol. The surgeon is hoping to take his nose tube out tomorrow. Neal is sitting up and working on his breathing on his own. No nagging required! Denise and Austin were kind enough to clean the house up and do some laundry. Denise is also going to stay the night at the hospital tonight so I can get some sleep and work a full day tomorrow. Neal's blood pressure IS under control. I will keep you posted to changes.

Day After Surgery

Neal was in quite a bit of pain last night. He is on the self controlled morphine pump but by 4am he was calling the nurse in asking to sit up. He sat up for a couple of minutes and even stood up for about a minute. This morning he sat up for a quick sponge bath. He has a tube down his nose into his stomach to suck up any fluid (kinda looks like an elephant trunk). This will come out once there is no fluid left. Luckily he did not have to have a catheter. He will not be able to start back on his coumadine (blood thinner) until this tube is removed. The doctor said surgery went really well. They removed 1 foot of his colon. It was pretty inflammed. He also got the tube removed from his chest so he will be able to shower again. I would imagine 7 months of bird baths gets real old. Heck I did it for 2 nights and could not wait to get home to shower.


No visitors today, but hopefully tomorrow he will be feeling better. He is pretty drugged, however coherent. The only crazy thing I heard from him all night is ordering 5 pork chops and a pound of ground beef from a meat counter. He is hungry! I am guessing he will be down under 200 pounds before this is all over.

Scott Trimmer's funeral is today. I stopped by to see Leslie's family and everyone is handling it really well. They estimated there were 600 people at the funeral home last night. I think that tells you what kind of man Scott was and how kind his family is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Surgery has begun

I will keep updating this post as the day goes on. Neal went down for surgery around 12:30. They say it will take about 3-4 hours. I am guessing we will not hear anything until 5 or 6. We are not sure where he will be after surgery, but thinking intensive care.

2:15 - Just ran into the surgeon on his way to get lunch. He said Neal has not started yet, so there will probably be no news until later tonight.

4:30 - Surprisingly we just heard from the doctor. The surgery went fine. The doctor said about a foot of his colon was removed and it was extremely inflammed. The only thing they still have to do is pull out his permacath in his chest. He will probably not be in intensive care. I will post later if I get a chance. We have not seen him yet, he is in recover.

It really looks like it is on

Well here we go. I had a little trouble with the bowl cleaner they make you drink. I threw it up half way through so I had to drink more now. I want to make sure I am nice and clean.

That is all frome me.
-Later
Neal

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another change in plans!?!?

The surgeon called Neal and would like to admit him today. He made a quick stop at Ryan and Leslie's and then home to pack. I will post an update tomorrow after surgery.

Neal is in room 1026 a. He is requesting a private room, so there may be a change, just not sure how quick.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Surgery Update

I got a call and surgery is back on for the 18th this Wednesday. I am glad it is back on but having to do all the prep work again sucks. O well. I just want it over with. I won't be going in early for this.

Later
-Neal


FYI - I have updated the Scott Trimmer post with funeral information.

Surgery Postponed

The surgeon had a family emergency. We will not know about rescheduling until later this week. Neal is at home now sleeping. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Scott Trimmer

I just want to inform you all that Ryan and Leslie's Uncle Scott passed away today. I had posted his blog link on the website a while ago. Below is the post from his blog.


SUNDAY, JULY 15, 2007 04:27 PM, EDT
Scott Lynn Trimmer passed away at 2:30 PM at Kobacker House. Our beloved Scott is now free from pain and suffering. He is in heaven with God.
Mom, Dad, Kathy, Jim, Terry, Harry, Mike, Jill, Aunt Ruth Ann, Aunt Janet, Jack, Rev. Freshhour and his wife Mary Kay were all with Scott when he died. We were all singing Amazing Grace when Scott went to heaven.

Here is his story:
Scott was diagnosed with esophageal/stomach cancer over seven years ago. He had major surgery that removed parts of both organs. He was treated with chemo and radiation. Several years later the cancer returned and additional treatment was needed. Scott went into remission again. In 2006 the cancer returned for a third time.

He was a great man with amazing friends and family. I will post the arrangements when they are known. Ryan and Leslie, let us know if you need anything and know we are thinking of you.

UPDATE
Schoedinger Funeral Home, 6699 North High Street, Worthington, Ohio 43085. Viewing from 4PM to 8PM on Wednesday, July 18th.
Funeral at Maize Manor Church on Maize Road at 10:00 AM on Thursday, July 19. Family will receive friends starting at 9:00 AM at the church.

No food or sleep

Just wanted to update the peoples. I have not had much sleep. I guess it is because of the PlayStation and the fishing game. I can't help but play it all night. I have not been eating much and I am now down to about 210. It is crazy I was up to 270 in December. I guess one good thing has come out of this whole deal. The nurses here have been ok but the doctors have really sucked. Sad to say considering I have worked here.

That is about all for now. I doubt I will be updating for a few weeks. Michele will probably do most of the updating.

And Ryan if any of the girls do say the are blood type O in Florida just club them like a little Seal Puppy and make them carry on luggage on your way home.

Later,
Neal

Friday, July 13, 2007

Surgery Update

Well, there is not much to say other than surgery was postponed. We just found this out at 4pm. This morning when Neal woke up his potassium was very high. It is very dangerous to have high potassium an be put under, so the docs decided he should get dialysis to remove the potassium first. Afterwards we waited for bloodwork to be completed and by that point the next available surgery time was 5pm. The surgeons felt this was not a good idea since they had been around all day and Neal is a complicated case, along with the fact that only the on call doctors would be around after surgery over the weekend. Once we heard this, Neal went to get some food. He has not been able to eat since early Wednesday. Now the surgeons are saying Monday, Tuesday at the latest for surgery. Unfortunately the bad news is he will have to drink that disgusting stuff again on Sunday night to clean his colon. Neal gagged it down last night.

The surgery will take about 3 hours. Afterwards he will have a feeding tube in his nose for a couple days and probably will not be able to eat for 4-5 days. I will update you as I hear more.

Neal is feeling really well. The neurologists came in yesterday and are treating him daily for migrain headaches. Hopefully that is the solution to his headaches. Visitors are welcome as far as I know, I will let you know if that changes.

Surgery Tomorrow

Not sleeping to well. Everything should go well. See everyone later.

-Neal

Thursday, July 12, 2007

No Visitors Today

I apologize to yesterdays visitors, I did not realize Neal was not feeling well. He has another headached today, so no visitors. This has been going on all week. The doctors are no longer allowing him to get pain medicine to cure them. Neal is receiving a neurology consult while he is there. So far, he has only seen an intern. The doctors are supposed to go back to see him later today. I hope the issue is resolved. It is horrible to hear and see him in so much pain/discomfort.

Tomorrow surgery is scheduled for 10:30 am. I hope to post an update once he is out. My assumption is he will be pretty doped up over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Readmitted

Neal was readmitted tonight. His INR was 1.5. He will need to be on a heparin IV drip. As soon as we got there, he said he loves the hospital beds and will sleep good tonight. He needs a good nights sleep. Please feel free to visit him the next 2 days. He will probably be bored. Neal also took his cell phone, so you can call or text him. He is in Rhodes 950, a private room. He was admitted into a a shared room and was moved already to a private suite (in his words), that is great news! Surgery is scheduled for Friday at 10:30.

The video games will be there shortly if you care to visit (fake car crashes seem to be popular). The schedule is in effect. Thank you to everyone that is helping me. Denise and Austin will be down starting Thursday for the next 2 weeks. That will be very helpful. Austin, you better get ready for football camp!!!!

Neal has dialysis Wednesday from 12-4.
Neal is going in for bloodwork this morning. Depending on his numbers he will be admitted today or tomorrow. He has not been feeling well the last couple of days. We are not sure what is going on. Hopefully after the surgery he will have a nice string of healthy days.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

We have made trips to the ER the last 2 nights. Neal is at home now. He had another dialysis headache last night. We were in the waiting room for almost 5 hours. It was horrible. We are going to have a low key weekend. We did not get home last night until 4am, so my guess is we will be napping today. Surgery is still on for the 13th, however we are still unclear about what day Neal will be checking in.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday

Neal is not feeling so great. It appears as though he has come down with the flu or something like it. We were supposed to go to Wicked with the McHenry family tonight, but I do not think he is going to make it. We also have not received any confirmation on surgery next Friday. I will keep you updated.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Back at Home

Neal is back at home. He has slept most of the afternoon and to be honest so have I! He will try to contact the colon surgeon tomorrow to determine when he needs to go back into the hospital. I am sure he will post more once he is awake.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

One more day

Neal has decided to stay one more day to receive another treatment of IV antibiotics. He should be coming home tomorrow. We are going to attempt to watch fireworks tonight from someplace at the hospital.

Monday, July 2, 2007

My Version of the 3 wiseman

50mg of Benadryl
6mg of dalauted(stronger than morphine)
12.5 mg of Finergan

I got this mixture about 20 min ago. Crazy that they can give this much sedation.

Matt, Dave, or Ryan,
Can one of you please cut the grass for me sometime before sunday this week.

P.S. I take no responsibility for my grammar due to lack of brain activity. Most of my cells are sleeping now.

Later,
Neal

Fistulagram

The fistulagram went well. The fistula appears to be fine, no further surgery is needed. The plan is for him to come home tomorrow. Hopefully he will get one more round of dialysis as he is carrying around some excess fluid. Thanks to Dawn, Kathy and Joey and Kristen for the food. We should be eating good this week!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Sunday night

Neal is doing good. He is no longer on oxygen. He has an elevated enzyme from his heart, but it appears as though it is from excess fluid. He will get dialysis Monday morning and then head off to his fistulagram. The doctors are thinking he may go home Tuesday. I will fill you in as more information comes. He may be out of commission for visitors. Feel free to call before you come up, I will be with him all day 293-5042.

He is now in private room 986. We have playstation set up and plenty of DVD's. As Neal says, don't steal my stuff!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Update


Hello,


Looks like I am going to be in the hospital until Tuesday. I have to have my fistula gram done so I need to stay in here so they can monitor my thinning blood. I had a bloody nose last night for about 6 hours. It came back this morning. I feel much better but still have some stomach and pain issues. Talk to you later.


P.S. My weight is now down to 211 pounds. At one point I was up to 270. Thornton I can now fit into my year 2004 St. Patty's day subway slider shirt. IT IS AN XL ONLY.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday

Neal is in dialysis this morning. I am not quite sure how long he will run since this is his third day in a row there. Yesterday he only ran for 2 hours. The doctors are going to try and do a fistulagram today to figure out what is going on with his fistula. The second site just does not want to work. We still do not know what time this is. They had to load him up with plasma last night to get his INR below 2.0 so that they could do the surgery. I have not yet heard what his levels are.

We still do not have a release date. His breathing is definitely better, but the fever still comes and goes. Yesterday he walked down to the gift shop to buy some things. He still has not gotten his private room, but his roommate is really nice. Neal is actually talking to him every once in a while! Unfortunately he will be readmitted around the 9th for his colon surgery, but hopefully we can get him out for a little while.

CHANGE OF PLANS....his INR is not going low enough, so they are going to do the fistulagram on Monday now. You know what that mean, he has to stay in the hospital all weekend and then has to stay after the procedure a couple of days to get his INR back up above 2, which seems to take 4 days. Yuck!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

PCRM

I receive a call from the new PCRM Peggy! I have to take back what I said. She is very nice. At this point there are no changes in Neal's treatment. Peggy is going to call me if anything does change. I will update as I hear more.

Just got a call from Neal, he is doing another round of dialysis today. HE WILL BE IN DIALYSIS from 11:30 until about 3:00 is my guess, but I am not 100% sure.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Doctor update

We saw a doctor today. It was not Neal's doctor so we may receive a different story tomorrow. The x-ray showed pneumonia in the bottom of both lungs. They are treating him with different IV antibiotics. We should know more tomorrow. Visitors are more than welcome. He is on some pain meds, so he may be a little loopy. If you do go, please try to get him up and moving. I will be returning to work the rest of the week. At this point we do not know how long he will be there.

He is in room 924 Rhodes. It is right off the elevators. We are going to try to get him into a private room.

I tried to contact his PCRM (I think patient care resource manager) and for some reason it is someone new this time. This essentially means I will have to make a lot of calls until someone answers the phone as I have not had much luck hunting anyone new down by leaving voicemails. I hope to get ahold of them in order to hear what the doctors are thinking. This individual typically does rounds with the docs.

Back to the ER

Well, I am not sure what happened. Last night Austin, Neal and I were staining the deck. After Neal went to sleep he started to develop a fever and was having a lot of problems breathing. After arriving at work Neal called me to take him to the ER. On my way home, I called 911 and apparently Neal did as well. We were both on the same page. They arrived quickly. His oxygen saturation was around 86, which is not good. They put him on oxygen and drove him to the ER. Preliminarily the doctors are thinking pneumonia again, but we have no confirmation yet. They have already drawn lab work and taken a chest x-ray. He is going to be admitted. I will let you all know his status once we hear back from the doctors. For anyone that has seen him lately, you know he seemed to be in the best condition ever. I am not sure what brought this on.

Neal went to dialysis around 11 and will be there until about 3. We still do not know what room he will be admitted to.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Making Austin work


Here Austin is washing the deck. What a good kid.

Friday, June 22, 2007

2 needles

They used 2 needles today. THis is good news. I won't have to have the fistula gram now. We are going camping this weekend so this will be the only update for the weekend.

I hope matt will camp with us.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

update on surgery

I found out yesterday that I will have to be admitted to the hospital 5 days before my surgery. The reason is because i am on blood thinners and I have to stop taking them 5 days in advance. To do that I have to be on IV heparin therapy. That is something I can't do at home. I am going to try to talk him down to 3 or 2 days but i doubt i will win. It sucks.


I also got a call about my Fistula today. If I am unable to sucsessfully use it on Friday and Monday I have to have a test done on it Tuesday. This is what a fistula is. It is not a piece of equipment but an artery and vein they tie together and stick needles in. Some of you have felt it. It is sometimes called a thrill, but we like to call it Neal's other heartbeat.

NEAL CALLED ME FRIDAY MORNING and he had 2 needles in his fistula. Hopefully it holds up, then he will not have to have the test done on Tuesday.

























Later
Neal

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Colon surgery is scheduled

I will let Neal elaborate, but surgery is set for July 13th. We will try to call weekly for a cancellation, but it will be difficult since Neal is on blood thinners.

Elaboration below,

My surgery will consists of fixing my hernia, removing my abscess, and removing some of my colon. The dr says I will be in the hospital for a week, and out of commission for about a month. Does not sound to bad. They are going to do a patch job on the hernia and not put in new mesh because the colon surgery could cause a major infection.

Michele and I met a few of her work people at Jason's in downtown Old Dublin. I just went for dinner and left. I was a little tired. (Thanks to the boys - you know who you are - for offering your power washing skills - it is greatly appreciated - It is amazing how considerate people are - Michele)

Also no need to borrow a power washer. I am going to get my own. I took in my change jar and got 180 bucks. I am going to use that to buy it. I know Katie can appreciate the change jar purchase.

talk to you later

from Michele.......Stacy you know this well, but Neal is getting more funny the longer he is off of work!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Can't sleep again

Well up at 4 am again. O well. I put a load of clothes in the washer to get started with my chores early today. I also think I am going to put our old dryer on craigslist. So if anyone needs a gently used gas dryer they can have it. I am selling it on craigslist but will give it to a friend if they need it. We only used it for 7 years and it runs like a champ but is missing the handle on the door(and our new house is all electric so we can't use it). Of course I can deliver or Matt can since he has a truck.

I also need a power washer if anyone can let me borrow it for a couple of weeks. I have to power wash our deck before we paint.

Talk to everyone later.

PS why does ESPN show the Yankees at 4am. They are a 500 team. Put on my tribe. They are leading the toughest division in baseball.

PSSSSSS REDS SUCK.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Weekend

cFriday,

I had dialysis and we went to roosters for Harry's a guy a work with fake retirement party. It is just a reason to get people out at work to drink. This was his sixth fake retirement party and next year will be the real thing. Dee, Austin, Michele and I(DAMI is what i will call us) did not stay that long because i had a killer headache. Nothing my Oxycontin fixed when I got home. No worry I won't get addicted because this was the first one I had in a few weeks. I get bad headaches after dialysis most of the time and Tylenol does do the trick.

Saturday,

We had Mutha and Mike over for dinner. It was nice. I made my lasagna. At least enough for 30 people and we ate enough for 15. DAMI went to sports Ohio. We went on the go carts. I picked the cart that had a rather larger girl and she was passing people. I figured it was the fast one. Well i was wrong or the girl was really skinny because I only passed one person. booooooo. We also went to the batting cages. I still got my hitting skills. I doubt I can run yet. It was nice to be out. Michele got a little bit of sunburn from being out in the sun to long.

Sunday,
Austin and I went fishing at Antrum Lake. He caught one fish. About the size of my thumb. I did not catch anything. It as really hot out so we did not stay out to long. We had pork chops for dinner. It was so hot Michele and I were on the deck with no shoes and we had to do the happy feet dance to get back inside because it was sooooooooooooo flippin hot. Well pork chops were money, and the weekend was great.
Later

Thursday, June 14, 2007

15th Would have been the day

Well today the 15th would have been the day that I would have had my transplant. Michele and I are in bed writing this. She said it is good to write the blog and give a little cry when you are not in the best of moods. I honestly almost forgot today would have been my day for the transplant if my aunt Marsha did not call me. I guess I wonder if I had chosen the other type of dialysis would I be getting a robe on now getting ready for surgery. Who knows? It has been really tough today. I am glad Michele and my sister and Austin are with me. They don't know but them just being here is really good for me. I also had lunch with the guys at work and had dinner with Ryan and Leslie and Matt. So I had friends around all day

I feel like such a wimp I am really crying when I am writing this. At this point the cavs are down 3. OK back to being a man. Later

Can't sleep

Dialysis went OK last night. I had a ton of fluid taken off. 6.5 Liters in all, I normally only have 1.5 to 2 literes taken off. 6.5 Liters is about 14.3 lbs of fluid. So you can imagine how swollen I was. My chest was very heavy due to all of the fluids the hospital has pumped into me. I am almost back to normal. I think one more day of dialysis and my fluid retention should be back to normal. I came downstairs because i did not want to bother Michele when she is sleeping. She is the only one working and needs her sleep. Good old Tippy followed me down and we are just going to watch some ESPN and Viva La Bam. They just did this skit where they woke this one guy up by putting his mouth on the end of a shop vac. And they put thumb tacks into his shoes so when he put them on he was not happy. That is some funny stuff. I am going to try it on Austin. ha

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What about Tippy


He is so lazy now that I am not working. Just take a look.He is just a pile of dog. I am so ashamed. Well at least he is not barking it up. I thought that he would be a good watch dog but all he does is watch the food go into his mouth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Todays events

Austin is staying with me this week so it is time to get some work done.(well he will do the work while i nap.ha) Today we cleaned up the house and went shopping(We went to andersons great store Maria!!!!!!!). We planted the garden and watered the yard. Tomorrow we will just be chilling because i have dialysis.

Sorry to Ed and Patty

Here is the story. I had just gotten some of my meds that make me a little sleepy. And the good ship Mchenry rolled in. I remember saying hello and then I fell asleep. The weird thing is i remember having a conversation with them, but I doubt it was the same conversation they were having with me. I do remember after some time sitting up and saying thanks for coming. They only thing thing is I was talking in my sleep. So i have to apologize. Hopefully next time I will be more coherent.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I AM HOME

I am home now. Everything is fine. I will have to follow up and have some more tests. Austin is staying with me for the week. So he can do all the work that I was not doing. So far he is just eating us out of house and home. But that is what 13 year old does. I go back on my normal dialysis schedule. The one sucky thing that happened is that one of my veins for my fistula influtrated.( blew up) My forarm look like there is a golf ball under the skin. Pardon the french but if fuckin hurts. O well I am going to go to bed now. Big Mamma's House is on and I can't miss it.

-Neal

No Release

He has dialysis from 2-6.

Neal spoke with the doctors this morning and they are hoping to do a fistulagram during this hospital stay. My understand is they shoot dye up through his fistula and take pictures to see if there are any blockages. He had this done in March. If anyone remembers, this is what gave him the giant bruise on his arm. His fistula is not maturing fast enough to be used for dialysis. It will come to a point where he will need to have a different surgery to place another dialysis port if his fistula is not working. Given that the surgery is not yet scheduled I would imagine he may be staying a couple of more nights. He is in Rhodes 908. He is really sick of being in the hospital, so visitors are welcome. If you can get him moving around while you are there, that is even better. I will post once we have a confirmation on dialysis times today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Not much to report

Neal is still in the hospital. My family helped us out a lot over the weekend. We have another grass cutters, my dad. He also got the garden prepped so Neal can plant when he gets home. My mom and Mike stayed at the hospital Saturday, which allowed me to have a night out. Neal placed a bet on the phone, but had no luck. Thankfully I was the big winner at the track, but not big enough to retire tomorrow. Ryan's parents made it over to see Neal, although he was pretty loopy. Denise and Austin came down Sunday afternoon and went straight to the hospital and are staying at the house overnight. I really appreciate all of the help and visitors.

Neal is eating fine and his oxygen saturation is around 93% without oxygen. We were able to get Neal up and moving around a lot. This morning we even got to sit outside and read the newspaper. The doctor wants him to stay until Monday. He has been taking pain medicine regularly, so I am hoping another night will allow him to not rely on that.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Is Neal following Paris' lead?

As Paris is sent back to the slammer, Neal is being readmitted. Hopefully one day out will help his spirits. He made it though 2 hours of dialysis and called me to pick him up. By the time I got there he was ready to go to the hospital. He was having problems breathing. He is also carrying around quite a bit of extra fluid. He now has pneumonia in both lungs. The whole family is coming down to help us get through this. Not really sure what to say, but it is still pouring at the Kothe house. At least he was directly admitted to a private room!

I am sure both Paris and Neal will make it through these trying times.

Friday

I wish I could think of more creative titles. Neal is doing ok today. The crazy meds he was on have not warn off completely. It was a long night for the both of us. His mind is racing and I am trying to convince him it is just a dream. I took him to dialysis at noon and am hoping that will help. He is also overloaded with fluids and very swollen. He decided to get oxygen while at dialysis. He thinks it was all the iv fluids that he received in the hospital. There is nothing we can do now but wait. We did request that he go in tomorrow as well for some dialysis. I want to give him every shot at feeling as good as he can.

I too am going a little crazy, but will survive. I find myself to be fairly responsible, but I have been so absent minded I have lost my debit and credit card in the same week. It was a little embarrassing when I could not pay in the check out line!

KT is leaving for out west tomorrow so we are supposed to go send her off tonight. Hopefully Neal and I can make it.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Neal is home, I think

Neal is physically home, but he is still having some hallucinations. He gets very frustrated with himself sometimes, but other times he believes his hallucinations are so real. It is very scary and it seems to be hard to snap him out of it. The doctors said he will be fine. I am hoping dialysis tomorrow will get this out of him. I am going to try and get him in as early as possible.

Ryan, Les, Matt and his mom came over tonight. Neal was in and out of the group. He took a little nap in the middle. We are headed to bed now as I try to figure out all of his new medication.

Thursday

Word on the street is Neal is coming home today. I really hope this is for good or at least until the colon surgery. He has an appointment with the surgeons on June 19th, so surgery may not be as soon as we anticipated. It would be really nice to have him home for a couple of weeks and maintain a normal schedule. His oxygen saturation is 95%, which is fine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wednesday - UPDATE

I guess they are saying he has pneumonia. It sounds as though they will be putting him on IV antibiotics again. If anyone goes up there, please encourage him to walk or at least get up and sit in a chair. Maybe if we spread the nagging around I will not be the only bad guy! We do not know when he will be coming home.
UPDATE - Just got a call from him saying oral antibiotics and he may be home tomorrow. I will believe it all when I see it. I have a call in to the doctors now. Hopefully they will call me back. His INR is 2.2.

Neal's breathing seems to be getting worse by the day. Some guys from work went over a couple of times yesterday to get him walking and he did not make it far. By the time I was there, he was complaining of pain in his side. We asked for an xray, but have not yet received the results. Last night they put Neal back on oxygen. His oxygen was only at 90% saturation on room air. I do not even want to say out loud what I think it is. Hopefully it is what everyone keeps saying...he has been in bed so long. The Whitney's stopped by and brought some new reading material. His spirits are getting better.

Neal also started taking pain pills, so loopy Neal is back. He is no where near where he was last month, but he had to call me and verify his dreams were just dreams this morning. So Dave we no longer have the boat and it is not for sale and Denise, do not bring 20 people down for us to feed. Perhaps he watched Just the Ten of Us or My Big Fat Greek Wedding and read his fishing magazine before going to sleep.... who knows! At this rate I am really unsure when he is coming home. I am not comfortable caring for him if he cannot breath on his own and do not want to have to return him to OSU Med Center 2 days after bringing him home.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Tuesday

Neal called me this morning and his INR is now 1.4. I do not remember it taking this long last time. They even doubled his dosage of coumadine yesterday. Yesterday we went down to the cafeteria together for dinner. His breathing does not seem that great. I have been nagging him to get around more. He is still eating fine. By the time they get his INR up he will have to go off the coumadine to get his INR back down before the colon surgery!