Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Successful surgery...

Neil underwent surgery yesterday to repair his broken vertebra. They inserted two titanium rods and several screws. The surgery only took about three hours and the surgeon felt it went much better than expected. Today Neil will be fitted witha clam-shell brace and he will be able to sit up. The surgeon also said that Neil will hopefully be weaned off the ventilator and be out of the ICU soon. Please continue to pray for a speedy recovery.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Further Delays...

Let me first say that Neil still is improving day by day. More of his chest tubes have been removed, which is good. His sodium is still below optimum (correction to previous post that said it was too high), so they have moved his surgery to Monday, December 11. Please be safe out there on the roads and keep warm!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Slight delay...

It seems that Neil's sodium count was too high (?), so they are postponing the surgery until Monday.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Good news...

Neil is improving from day to day. He had all of his stitches and staples removed from his previous surgeries. He is breathing more and more on his own and relying less on the ventilator. The infection in his lungs has improved enough to go ahead with the surgery on his back. This surgery is to stabilize his vertebrae at the injury site, which will allow more freedom of movement without fear of further injury. What this surgery will not do is fix the spinal injury. The surgery is scheduled for Thursday, November 30 at noon. It is a 4+ hour surgery, so please keep Neil in your prayers. As always, thanks to all for your prayers and support.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Thanksgiving came and went and although Neil couldn't be with us, he had a special visit from his granddaughters who are visiting from California. When they first arrived earlier in the week, the nurses made it clear that there was no way they would allow the kids (3 years old and 10 months old) into the ICU. It was also very clear that this was not an acceptable situation, so with enough pleading, begging and talking to the "right" people, the girls were able to see him. Neil unfortunately still has infection in his lungs, so the doctors will not proceed with any surgeries until the bacteria is out of his system. The feeding tube is in his nose now, so he is much more comfortable having his mouth clear of tubes. He can mouth words, but mostly his is able to write, which makes communication much easier for all involved. He also has better control of the TV, which makes him happier. He looks better everyday and is making slow, but steady progress. Basically, we are so thankful that Neil is still with us and that we have such loving and caring friends and family.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Stable and Improving

Neil's condition continues to improve, albeit very gradually. His pneumonia is under control and his fever is down, although still low-grade. On Friday, November 17, Neil was given a tracheostomy to move the ventilator out of his mouth and he is far more comfortable. He remains on the ventilator through his tracheostomy. He still cannot speak, but he was given an Alphabet Board which allows him to communicate by squeezing his hands to tell spell out messages. It's a slow process, but it allows for better communication. His neurologist is talking about performing surgery on his vertebrae that would allow him to be able to sit up. Originally, it was discussed that he would have to lay on his back for 10-12 weeks to let the bones heal themselves. The only catch is that he would need to be able to lay on his stomach for four hours during the surgery. We continue to be amazed by his recovery and are comforted by the love and support of family and friends.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Weaning off medications...

Neil has been weaned off his blood pressure medications and arrhythmia medication. Last week a filter that was placed in his Vena Cava to catch and break up any blood clots. It appears to be doing it's job, as we have had no instances of problems. His external oxygen intake has been reduced, however, he has now contracted pneumonia, which carries high risk overall. Dr. Ellen Nichols, the neurologist from Freeman Hospital that come to consult on Neil's spinal injury concurs with Dr. Kremer (of St. John's): the likelihood of Neil walking again is extremely slim. Although Neil cannot talk due to the tubes in his mouth, he is awake and alert and can communicate with nods of the head and facial expressions (smiles, frowns, etc.). He's pretty bored not being able to do anything but lay in bed 24/7, so please feel free to visit to talk to Neil and or visit with the family. Please continue to pray for healing, pray for wisdom and compassion from the doctors and nurses, that they do the best they can to help Neil recover, and thanks again for your love and support.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Continuing to improve...

Neil's condition is stable and continuing to improve. He is gradually being weaned off most of the medications that he has been on the last several days. He is awake and alert and is watching CNN news out of boredom. He still needs surgery to repair his collapsed lung, but the doctors are waiting for overall improvement of his condition before they proceed. Please continue to pray for healing.