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September 29 through October 14, 2011


Barbara Hudgik · October 14 at 8:21 pm

I have a lot to report this evening! First of all, Dave survived his trip to the Atlanta Zoo. I must admit that I was pretty concerned and did my best not to think about it this afternoon. It wasn't until the group was way past their scheduled return time of 4 pm or possibly 4:30 at the latest that I started getting very nervous. He rolled in the room about 5 looking very tired and asking for pain med but he was alright. It took a good hour to get him settled in bed and I didn't get to do his 4pm IC until 6 and that was interrupted because he needed his trach to be suctioned. While we were getting him settled in bed he did perk up and kid around with his nurse! He also had a visit by a doctor to tell us that they're going to do a test next week to see why he has so much pain in that right neck/shoulder area. It involves sticking him with needles which made his eyes pop and he asked how many and if he could be knocked out for it! He was just telling Em all about the zoo and the gorillas. I'll have to report on that later.

Em and I took advantage of our free time to walk about a mile to a shopping center. We stopped at a very nice Panera Bread for some lunch. They have a lovely outdoor patio under the trees so we ate there. Our main mission was to go to Office Depot and get a stylus for Dave to use on the computer. He has a strap to wrap around his left hand which has a place to attach the stylus so he can move the cursor, etc. There was also a fund-raising sale in the hospital lobby today - everything cost $5 so we both bought a couple of things.

I must say it was great not to think about all the 'new-normal' stuff for a few hours!

Barbara Hudgik · October 14 at 9:46 am

After four days of clouds and on-and-off rain the sun is shining! What a great day to visit the zoo. Dave just ate all of his breakfast plus some raspberry white chocolate brownie leftover from last night. His 'lung man', Dr. Zadoff, had reduced his assisted breaths from 10 to 8 and Dave is doing well with that so the doctor is making another small change today. Dave is on his way to being vent-free!

Barbara Hudgik - October 13 at 5:19 pm

Wow, I have more to add! Dave is feeling so good that he wants to go visit a newer patient, Jeffrey, who is 20 and here by himself! He was riding a bike and got hit by a car. We had a couple of cookies that Dave wanted to give him. Now Dave is heading up to the sixth floor to check out the family lounge. What an amazing turn around - he's feeling fabulous and looks like his old self!!!

Barbara Hudgik - October 13 at 5:02 pm

Dave looked really good when he got back from PT at 3, although he lost at checkers against his physical therapist and Team Dave didn't win the wheelchair race (there were two other competitors). Since all three of us we were super hungry, I took a walk to Subway - a most excellent treat as far as I'm concerned - and we enjoyed an early supper. It's good to see Dave enjoying some food so I think the stomach upset is behind him now. He's also been in his chair since nine this morning so he's definitely breaking his previous record of about six and a half hours.

Tomorrow he will go on his first trip off of hospital grounds! Every Friday, everyone on the floor who is able goes out somewhere and tomorrow is a trip to the zoo. They'll leave around one and get back by four-thirty and these Friday excursions are only for the patients, too bad for Emily and I. During the week there are evening outings for the patients and their families to enjoy such as going to the movies, a restaurant or shopping.

Barbara Hudgik - October 13 at 8:11am

Dave did finally have a better evening but it took one more round of vomitting and some IV anti-nausea medicine to get there. He ended up having a bag of sour cream and onion chips, a little bit of Coke and 2 chicken nuggets around 9 pm - yum yum?!

The overnight went well and, as I discussed with his nurse yesterday, Dave was awake and starting the day with his bath and dressing by 7am. I think getting those things done right away will wake him up enough to be ready to eat breakfast and finished with it before therapy starts, which for today is 9am.

One last thing: Dave received two of the wristbands that were designed especially for him as a fundraiser. He's got them on the control bar of his wheelchair! Here's to the best Pumpkin Fest ever. If you're going to attend, please take a couple of pictures to post!

Barbara Hudgik - October 12 at 4:34 pm

It has been a day - a really, really off-to-a-bad-start-never-really-improved kind of day. However, Dave is finally resting comfortably now! I am so thankful that I had a good sleep last night because I think I'd be a damp, crumpled lump on the floor by now. I won't go into great detail but the day involved a painful - albeit brief - mishap in the lift, no time for breadkfast other than some Ensure during morning therapy which came back up when Dave was supposed to be having lunch. The cleanup and recovery from that and a couple of other things took the whole lunch hour. Then, when his occupational therapist insisted that he try to eat his lunch, none of which appealed to him in the least, he threw up again! I must say, to his great credit, Dave did manage to laugh at his nurse at one point because he bumped his head on Dave's wheelchair! 

Enough of that, we'll look forward to a better evening. I have a meal ticket for Dave so I'll be able to pick something more to his liking for dinner tonight and we'll attempt to Skype with big brother Jason and family as well. Here' to a much better day tomorrow!

Barbara Hudgik · October 11 at 3:22 pm

Off to another slow start, most likely due to the switch in meds. Dave could not be roused from sleep so he didn't get to his 9am physical therapy until almost 10:30. When he got back to his room, he had some air leaking around his trach cuff so he could make a really funny-sounding laugh. He and Emily were both nearly rolling on the floor over that! We did have a quick change of emotions after that, though. I ran down to the cafeteria to grab some food and when I got back to the room several minutes later, both of them were in tears. Em had been reading a message to Dave from one of his friends and it really brought up some very poignant and bittersweet emotions and, I'm sure, an acute sense of loss of those things that were but aren't right now. I read the message and was sent over the edge as well.

Barbara Hudgik · October 11 at 7:47 am

Another new day - First, I spoke with Paul last night and he wanted me to thank our neighbors, Mike and his wife, for bringing over a hot meal right after he got home from work. They have also been taking care of the lawn and flowers. Paul also had a special message for Dave - and this is an inside joke (my apologies, Jeff!) - that he (Paul) scared the 'crap' out of Repko for Dave! David was amused. No, Paul didn't forget you, Sherry, thanks for the food and everything else you are doing, we appreciate it deeply.

Yesterday I spoke to our attending physician's substitute about the enormous amount of pain in Dave's right shoulder/neck/back and even upper arm. She decided to switch him to a couple of other drugs (Lyrica and Baclofen) to see if they will improve the muscle spasms and pain. I happen to have a physician friend in my back pocket, so to speak, and she is pleased with this change!

Barbara Hudgik · October 10 at 7:36 am

Good Morning, All! Two amusing observations: 68 degrees is referred to as "only" and Beaver Ruin Rd. looks to be a 10 lane highway!

I'm glad the weekend has passed and we can get on with therapy. As it turned out, David wasn't allowed out of bed and into the wheelchair due to a certain circumstance which I won't go into here. Even though Em spent the previous night with him, she also managed to stay with us the whole day and got some sleep later in the afternoon, also still in his room.

In the evening, David told us that he's been having whole body spasms which scare him alot since he can't breathe when they happen. He says they're getting more frequent so we asked his nurse about it. She said some people do have difficulty with spasms and they can be treated with Baclofen. That drug can make one drowsy, but if he is really bothered by the spasms they may prescribe it.

Dave will be getting another shower today - that's two days in a row! Hopefully he can get some breakfast down before recreational therapy starts at 9:30.

Barbara Hudgik · October 9 at 3:02 pm

It's a quiet Sunday here in Atlanta. Paul should be arriving in Manchester around 4pm. Dave and Emily are watching Transformers and dozing. I've done a little grocery shopping so I was able to make Dave a fresh omelet for lunch: 2 eggs, spinach, ham and cheese and he ate all but two bites. As usual, it was a slow-starting morning but I hope to get him out of bed after the movie. Tomorrow will bring a much fuller daily schedule and on Tuesday I have a meeting with his doctors to map out a plan for him

Barbara Hudgik · October 8 at 4:34 pm

It's 4:25 Saturday afternoon and I'm pleased to report that David's day improved quite a bit over yesterday. We, meaning Dave, Paul, his nurse Gloria, his tech Wydrika and I all went out to the Secret Garden to spend some lovely time in the sun. Dave had a little trouble handling the elevator ride down so we had to pause for a blood pressure check but it was worth the trip. Lot's of folks we're out enjoying the perfect weather. It must have been 80 in the sun, but dry and with a few stiff breezes. Gloria let Wydricka break the rules and walk down the street to Chick-Fil-A to get a couple of shakes. They asked Dave if he wanted one but he said maybe later, so perhaps I'll be taking a walk a little later! The Cookies 'N Cream shake comes highly recommended by Wydricka.

Barbara Hudgik · October 8 at 8:59 am

It's our 4th Saturday since Dave's injury and I want to start out with something, or rather someone who's been mostly unsung and completely steadfast throughout this whole, crazy, scary process: Dave's sister, Emily. We simply couldn't be doing this without her, especially now that Paul is going back home tomorrow. I said it before on her FB page and I'll say it again: You are wonderful and beautiful, inside and out! I thank you and I love you very much.

Another huge thank you to my daughter-in-law, Brittney. What a powerhouse of planning - Dave is going to have the best booth at Pumpkin Fest! And thanks to all who are helping to pull that event off. Dave has the best friends anyone could ask for.

Now on to the man himself. He's still very much in this rough patch, so much so that I found myself having to sit down and have a cry in the hallway. One of the nurses, Gloria, came and sat with me and told me that he will get through this. When people with spinal cord injuries that are this new get infections, the going gets very rough for a while, but she assured me that she's seen it before many times. She also said that since the staff does get used seeing these things, and they are so routine for them, that they may forget how hard and scary it is for the relatives of the patients to see their loved one - to be frank - declining and getting sicker. As 'newbies', we came to Shepherd knowing that the recovery was going to be long and an incredible amount of hard work, and even that there would be 'setbacks', but I personally had envisioned the setbacks to be of the emotional variety, not medical. It's all part of the learning curve.

One last thank you those who read these updates, I also find writing them to be a good outlet for my up's and down's and I appreciate reading your thoughts and comments.

Barbara Hudgik · October 7 at 12:57 pm

I only have a few minutes before I have to go back to class. It's another one of those tough days for Dave and for me. I wish I could just tuck him in bed. The class I'm in is very sobering - it's everything you need to know about how to take care of someone with a spinal cord injuryand truthfully,it's pretty scary, but we'll learn what needs to be done and get comfortable with it in time.

Barbara Hudgik · October 6 at 12:35 pm

Sorry to be so late today. I was busy learning how to do bathing and putting the special socks and ace bandages on his legs among other things. It's another painful day, I'm sorry to say. They've started giving him ibuprofen (Advil) instead of acetominaphen (Tylenol). That's more effective on tight muscles. The young man next door, Ben, had a similar go-round with excrutiating muscle cramps and he found the ibuprofen to be helpful. Today, if Dave is up for it, he is going to have a Reiki treatment at 4pm. My sister found someone nearby who practices Reiki and hooked me up with her. It will be interesting to see if that has as beneficial effect on his right side.

Dave just returned from OT, (occupational therapy), where his therapist got him out of his chair and onto a big mat that's raised off the floor to work on his muscles. Right now the respiratory therapist is sucking the gunk out of his lungs because David it was hard to breathe. Going to try to get some food in him right now - he hasn't eaten since Tuesday!

Barbara Hudgik · October 5 at 1:30 pm

This has turned out to be one of those tough days that are especially hard for 'mom' to take, but that's how it goes. The pain in Dave's right neck/shoulder/back has been unlrelenting - so much so that his therapist couldn't even touch him to try massage for relief. Everyone I've talked to here says that their kids have had really bad pain too, but Dave's muscles are so tight we're wondering if something else is going on as well. He did slightly tear a rotator cuff muscle a couple of years ago and maybe that was aggravated by everything. He's back in bed now and sleeping, thankfully!

Barbara Hudgik · October 5 at 8:08 am

He just pulled a 1697 on his volume! He's trying to exercise his lungs and chest so he can get off the ventilator. They've just barely started weaning him by reducing the number of breaths the machine gives him in one minute from 16 to 14.

Barbara Hudgik · October 5 at 8:03 am

Good Morning! It's quarter of eight and Dave just smiled because the water Emily tried to squeeze on his head ran down the front of his face instead. Why does he want water on his head, you ask - because he has a fever and it feeling incredibly hot. He has a bag of ice under each arm to cool him down. Early this morning, around 3 am he started having a tough time - he had some thick stuff that needed suctioning out, he had some vomitting and of course the fever. He seems to be handling it well and right now he's playing around with the ventilator. He's trying to see how big he can make his volume number. It's usually around 670 something and he just made it go to 1300!

Yesterday went well, his left arm is getting stronger and more controllable. He fed himself breakfast during morning occupational therapy and he's driving his wheelchair quite well so they gave him more speed - watch out!

Barbara Hudgik · October 4 at 8:39 am

I neglected to mention that Dave had a very full and good day yesterday. He really wanted to get out in the sun and we managed to get him out in the garden around 4:30 in the afternoon. That brought big smiles!

Barbara Hudgik · October 4 at 8:35 am

Hey everyone! It's 8:20am and Dave is getting ready for Occupational Therapy from 9 to 10:30, then Speech Therapy at 11. There's an hour and a half break followed by Physical Therapy 1 to 2:30. Free time til 4, then counseling with Cheryl, (who is most excellent!), and since she is certified to be with him while he's on his portable vent, he'll probably be able to go outside for that session.

Dave's Dad and I have to really start figuring out where we'll be able to live once our 30 days here are up. David will most likely still be an impatient here - the initial plan stated 8 weeks of inpatient therapy. Then, beyond that, is where can we all live once Dave comes home? If anyone out there has any ideas at all, please let us know.

Barbara Hudgik · October 3 at 8:32 am

Good Morning! It's after 8 and Emily and Dave are still asleep! His therapy doesn't start til 10:30 today so that should give him time to eat a decent breakfast. Putting on some of the weight he lost is really important right now. Even though he can he anything he wants, he's had this very painful sore in the back of his mouth which was possibly caused by the bronchoscopy. It's making it really hard for him to swallow. I'm hoping it will be less bothersome today because the hard work is starting and he needs all the energy he can get.

Yesterday, Dave got outside for the first time and he was amazed how busy it is here. They had a family cookout in the Secret Garden. It's good for him to be out and about because then he uses his neck muscles to turn his head while he's checking everything out. He also took a ride down to see the therapy pool.

Barbara Hudgik · October 2 at 12:14 pm

Another quick post before I head out - Dave moved his right leg about three inches. This was a spasm, but he felt it and spasms are actually a good thing, they're good for the muscles. He says they happen all the time.

Barbara Hudgik · October 2 at 9:22 am

It's Sunday morning, 9:15 am and I think it's going to be a fine day. Yesterday, Dave struggled to stay in his chair for 5 hours and he didn't feel like eating until late afternoon but he did finally get half a hotdog, some beans and some egg salad (sounds like a dangerous combination - if you know what I mean!). He really wanted some fresh, hot pizza so Paul went across the street and brought one back about 8 pm and Dave had 3/4 of a slice.

Today started at 7am and he got his first shower! He also ate 1/2 a large pancake, 2 sausage links and 8 oz. of milk. Sunday is free from any therapies but I know Dad is going to keep him working. I am going to my cousin Fred's house this afternoon and hope to get in some shopping for Dave. He needs sweatpants and a jacket - it's actually unusually cool right now and breezy and he's supposed to go outside today!

Barbara Hudgik · October 1 at 10:11 am

A big thank you to Eim City and everyone who enjoyed the DH from us in Atlanta as well! That was one part of our very good day, yesterday. The other part was that David stayed in his wheelchair from about 10:15am to 4:30pm. That included occupational therapy in the morning and an hour of physical therapy in the afternoon. For a physical therapy challenge, his therapist gave Dave a buzz cut! He had to hold his head up the whole time without using the headrest! Dave was really ready to hit the sack by 2pm but there's no slacking allowed here, even if you're tired and your back hurts. Emily helped Dave use Skype to visit with Savannah and that made it easier to make it to 4:30!

Barbara Hudgik · September 30 at 10:55 am

We'll officially hit the one week mark at Shepherd later this afternoon and it's three weeks since the injury. It's 10:30am and Dave just wheeled off to physical therapy. The mornings are the hardest part of the day but he did have a relatively good night!

Connie and Fred did get Dave a pair of size 13 Reeboks, they are medium gray on top with neon green accents around the sole. Dave is also going to have a hair stylist come over this afternoon from a salon down the street. He can't wait to have his hair buzzed off because he's been feeling extremely warm and his hair gets in the way when he has to be moved. This morning's nurse, Edwyche (pronounced Ed - Witch), loves his thick hair and would prefer he keep most of it but I have noticed that most of the boys here have buzz cuts.

Keep the good thoughts and prayers coming, it all helps!

We need to get decorating his room so if anyone has photos or drawings, etc. he'd appreciate it if you would send them down.

Thank you all for your support. Every evening Emily sets the computer up in front of Dave so he can see your posts, they really give him a boost!

Barbara Hudgik · September 29 at 12:54 pm

Hi everyone, David's mom here. Big news - Dave has just been given the go ahead to eat whatever he wants!!! Paul has been sent out to find some chicken tenders!

After a difficult and painful start here, Dave is doing much better. He has a lot of very tight muscles on the right side of his neck and shoulder which have been causing alot of pain but will gradually get better. He spent two hours in his electric wheelchair this morning - one hour of therapy and another just hanging out watching Comedy Central!. He can even drive the chair already.

We also met a cousin of mine whom I have never seen before. I was born in 1960 which was when he joined the Merchant Marines. He left the northeast and never looked back. His name is Fred and he lives 25 miles north of Atlanta with his wife, Connie. They visited last night and took Paul and I out to dinner. 
Connie is out trying to find some stylish size 13 sneakers for Dave today! After their visit last night, Dave said, "I like them!", with a big smile.


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