Last Updated 07/08/2009

Neil's Information Page

A log of what we know about Neil.
Sat July 18th
- Neil was in a chair today when we visited. He was still very nervous or fidgety or agitated. He tried answering questions with words more today. His answers don't always make sense. When asked if he remembers some one, he nearly always indicates that he doesn't.
Fri July 17th
- Another phone call today to inform us that Neil has pulled out his tracheotomy tube a couple more times. So, it will not be replaced.
Thu July 16th
- I went to see Neil with Mom & Paul today. And, was surprised to see the improvement in Neil. He stood up much better and with only moderate assistance. Plus he actually spoke a couple words, not the very first, but the first that I heard. And, he was off the oxygen during the day. The plan still calls for it at night to provide moisture.
Wed July 15th
- Not much change, however, he didn't seem quite as down today as yesterday. It seemed to us that Neil hasn't made much progress lately.
Tue July 14th
- It seemed that Neil showed some emotion today, maybe for the first time. He seemed sad, or maybe anger. It may be that he has finally become aware of his situation. We still have not seen him attempt to speak. He did wave goodbye as we started to leave.
Mon July 13th
- Another early morning phone call today to report that Neil had once again pulled out his tracheotomy tube. Turns out the tracheotomy is there more for the moisture in the oxygen than anything else. It is important that the throat and bronchial tube stay moist. The hand mit hasn't been as effective as hoped. Neil removes it pretty quickly. The valve is only placed into his tracheotomy during his therapy sessions. It is a one-way valve, allowing air to flow in, but not out. This then forces the air up through the larynx so facilitate talking.
Fri July 10th
- We got a call early this morning telling us that Neil had worked his way out of bed. There were mats on the floor beside the bed to prevent any injury. He also pulled his tracheotomy out. They re-inserted it, and asked him if he would leave it in place. He indicated that he wouldn't. So, they put a mit on his hand to make something like that more difficult to accomplish.
Thu July 9th
- Physical therapy works Neil pretty hard to stand. He cooperates and follows most of their commands pretty well. He stands, but has difficulty putting any weight on his right leg. His tracheotomy has been changed to permit him to talk, but as much as I saw them encourage him to speak, he didn't. He also kicks his shoes off repeatedly. Both of the therapists working with him indicated they had replaced his shoes numerous times.
Wed July 8th
- Physical therapy seems to be pushing Neil pretty hard. They are doing their best to get him to stand up.
Mon July 6th
- Neil is clearly moving his right leg and even his right arm better. In fact, he seems to be squirming around in bed quite a bit. He was laying at the very edge of the bed and I thought I'd try to slide him over from the edge, but could only move his legs easily. But then he realized what I was doing and he lifted his backside and slide over himself. The nurse reported that he had been found trying actually get himself out of bed.
Sat July 4th
- Neil responded to yes/no questions pretty well today.  When asked if he wanted to watch TV, he nodded his head 'yes'. After locating a James Bond movie, he nodded 'yes' to liking James Bond.
Fri July 3rd
- Neil got his neck brace removed today, too. He still tries to pull at the Peg tube and the oxygen tube. So, the staff resorts to limiting the movement of his left hand. He doesn't seem to move his right hand, yet.
Thur July 2nd
- I took Mother and Paul to visit Neil today. They had taken Neil to the physical therapy room and given him some exercise.   It occurs to me the therapist worked a great deal harder than Neil.  But, it was still good to see Neil in a geri-chair, even if he wasn't really aware of it.  Mother tried to show him a greeting card, but I don't think Neil had any idea what that was all about.
Wed July 1st
- Neil's catheter has been removed. He still has a neck brace/colar on and oxygen connected to his tracheotomy and the Peg feeding tube.
Tue June 30th
Mon June 29th
- Late this evening Neil was moved from ICU. He still requires more care than nursing homes provide.   And he still has a long, long way to go before he is really Neil again.
Sun June 28th - He's Awake!!!
- Sue stopped in to see Neil this afternoon and found him awake. He's off the ventilator and simply has a sort of oxygen mask over his tracheotomy. He isn't able to talk, due to the tracheotomy, either. But he was able to answer yes/no questions by nodding and shaking his head. He doesn't seem to remember why he is in the hospital, but Sue is pretty certain that he figured out who she is. Tomorrow he is going to be moved to a sub-acute care facility in Stark county.
Sat June 27th
- Neil is doing well after his procedures yesterday. There is also discussion about moving him out of ICU soon. His condition is stable enough that he really doesn't need intensive care any longer.
Fri June 26th
- Neil had his tracheostomy today. He also had the feeding tube removed from his nose and placed directly into his stomach. He was given pain medicine to keep him comfortable, but it also made him sleep more deeply than usual. He will certainly be more comfortable without that ventilator tube down his throat once the incision heals up. Now, perhaps, he can be weaned off the ventilator.
Wed June 24th
- I took Mother to the hospital to visit Neil for the first time today. Neil wasn't very responsive. In fact, he seemed more sound asleep today. Even though I've told mother repeated that I can't tell if Neil knows I'm there or not and not to expect him to know she is there, she apparently still had the impression somehow that 'beginning to respond' includes looking around and talking. So, it really seemed that she expected Neil to respond to her voice and open his eyes and say 'Hi'. She asked me more than once if he 'sleeps' like that all the time. In addition, a tracheostomy is being planned to get the ventilator tube out to make provision for long term care.
Tue June 23rd
- Neil wasn't very responsive at all today. In fact, the nurse expressed that Neil doesn't respond to him consistently. It seems that the response to my wife on Saturday was perhaps an exception.
Mon June 22nd
- No change today. The respiratory therapist talked about what Neil needs to be able to do to have the ventilator removed. She checks Neil's breathing by stopping the ventilator and then telling Neil to take a very big, deep breath. The ventilator measures the depth of the breath. Neil has been registering a 14 and needs to be able to register at least 25 before the ventilator can be removed. So, even though Neil is essentially breathing on his own, he isn't alert enough to have the ventilator removed.
Sun June 21st
- Not much change today. The nurse did say she has been checking Neil's responses to such things as wiggling his toes, and squeezing her hand and if he could see her, every two hours. Furthermore, she indicated that she received responses from Neil each time. This seems like it would be another small step of progress.
Sat June 20th
- Good news and not so good news today. I couldn't visit Neil today, due to my work schedule. But, Neil seemed to respond to my wife during her visit. She was talking to him about his dog, Andy, and Neil kept his left eye open for most of her visit. And when she said to him that Andy was getting pretty old and hard of hearing, she was sure he nodded his head in agreement. Sue went and told the nurse, who wanted to see for herself. Sue repeated the question in front of the nurse and Neil clearly nodded again. The nurse then asked Neil to squeeze her hand real hard and Neil did. But he didn't seem to be able to open his right eye, for whatever reason. So, the good news is that Neil is just beginning to respond. The not so good news is that there may be some damage to his right eye.
Fri June 19th
- Very little change. Apparently with Neil's type of injury, we can't expect him to all of a sudden wake up and sit up. Waking will happen gradually over time in small steps. A change was made in his antibiotic due to a rash he had developed. While watching him, he seemed to make a couple attempts to get more comfortable. He got some pain medication to make him more comfortable.
Wed June 17th
- Neil's only IV's are for fluids and antibiotics.
Tue June 16th
- We received a couple bits of good news tonight. First, the probe to monitor the cranium pressure was removed. This would indicate that the swelling and resulting pressure are no longer a critical issue. And second, the settings on the ventilator indicate that Neil is doing 80 - 90% of the work of breathing on his own. The machine is there primarily as support.
Fri June 12th
- The hospital called to say that an ultrasound showed that Neil had a blood clot in his leg. A mesh filter was then inserted into a vein to prevent anything that might break off the clot from reaching his heart.
Thu June 11th
- Neil now has a feeding tube.
Wed June 10th
- A probe was placed in Neil's head to monitor the inner cranium pressure. After any concussion, swelling of the brain tissue is possible. That swelling causes increased pressure inside the skull. If that pressure becomes too great, extra steps would be required to prevent the pressure from causing additional damage. Neil has several IV's to prevent seizures, to reduce swelling of the brain tissue, fluids and antibiotics.