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October 15 through November 4, 2011


Barbara Hudgik · November 4 at 9:38 am

David's going to take a couple of needles in his right shoulder shortly! Hopefully this will relieve his pain enough for his therapists to work that side the way it needs to be worked. He had another fine night without the ventilator so we'll be taking it out of the room by the end of the day. Btw, lydocaine and kenalog are what's being injected and Emily is filming the action. Well, as you will see in the video, it was pretty much a non-event. The suspense was the worst part!

Barbara Hudgik · November 3 at 10:38 am

Btw, Dave can talk! He's actually had a speaking valve since last Friday, it just didn't dawn on me to mention it!

Barbara Hudgik · November 3 at 10:34 am

Bowling was a success, the only tough part for Dave was the bumpy ride there and back in the van - it really hurt his neck. I was having a bout of vertigo so I didn't make it but Emily got a ride over with one of the other parents.

And the big news is, of course, he's off the vent! No problems overnight in ICU, they just have to leave the ventilator in his room for the next two days just in case but, after that, it will be gone for good.

In other medical news, Dr. Zadoff cut the amount of blood pressure med Dave has been getting in half. That should help reduce the higher blood pressure issues he'd been having and the doc also reduced the med that keeps his heart rate up from four times a day to twice a day. As his body gets more adjusted he will also be able to go without wrapping his legs with ace bandages and wearing the band (girdle) around his waist.

Barbara Hudgik · November 2 at 9:59 am

We're going bowling this afternoon! It's an outing that family members may also attend. AND: tonight Dave gets to spend the night in ICU without the ventilator, which he should breeze through, and be off the vent for good! The eating is still going well, too, so they're going to check on whether the feeding tube needs a small procedure to be removed or if it can just be pulled out. I would expect the nutrionist would like to see the eating continue as it has been through the end of this week just to be sure he's ready

Barbara Hudgik · November 1 at 9:53 am

The Haunted Gym was a great success - I screamed a few times and one of the ghouls made Emily jump. It was really quite elaborate, no wonder it took more than a week of planning. David was in the graveyard with Tyler and, after waving his left arm at people for a couple of hours, his neck was pretty tightened up but some numbing gel and pain med took care of it. We brought the camera but were too caught up to take pictures! I had to wash lots of 'blood' off of his arm last night but he was sound asleep while I was doing it. I thought he was out for the night but I noticed this morning that Emily had written on his food log that he ate a whole other dinner after I had left for the evening! If he keeps the eating up they'll be able to take out his feeding tube which hasn't been used for well over a week.

On the ventilator/trach front we're just waiting for the ICU to have a bed available for him to spend the night off of the vent and he'll be completely weaned!

A few posts ago I sent out some thank you's and I knew that I was missing some: Thanks to Uncle Steve and Aunt Eileen for their note and gift of a Bible and the book, For Your Joy. Also thank you to Trevor Chamberlin for the photos and note. We truly appreciate everyone's efforts to support David

Barbara Hudgik · October 31 at 11:00 am

Hello again! David is doing pretty well this morning - had a brief bout of nausea but got down a blueberry muffin before therapy and took one with him to eat during therapy. He's getting to be quite the jokester with the staff too. Today is the big scarefest in the fifth floor gym starting this afternoon at 1. They've been working on this for the past week and I'm told it's quite a spectacle. Can't wait to see what everybody looks like!

The blood pressure issue was still present yesterday so he hasn't had any of the med that helps to keep it up. Maybe he just doesn't need it anymore. Hope to post again later today with a description of the Halloween goings-on.

Barbara Hudgik · October 30 at 8:47 am

It's Atlanta Road Race Day which means Peachtree Rd. and some others that I travel will be partially blocked starting at 7am so I headed in early. Getting a little bet of snow, huh?! All the news programs are talking about NY, NJ, CT and MA for all the power outages and downed trees, etc. Is the snow fluffier up in NH?

David had his first experience with something called dysreflexia yesterday.... It's pretty scary - his head started to pound and his face got red blotches. This is indicative of one's blood pressure rising to dangerous levels very quickly. It's caused by the body being irritated by something that the person isn't aware of, because with a spinal cord injury, you don't feel when something isn't right with your body. Signals are being sent but they can't get to the brain, so the body's last ditch attempt to get you to notice that's something is wrong is by making the blood pressure rise. He was in his chair at the time and started to feel weird. He wanted his pressure checked and it was quite high, especially for him: 145/80 something. First action is to get him sitting upright, get the ace bandages and special hose off of his legs, take off the binder around his body. Those things are on him to help keep his pressure from getting too low when he's sitting in the chair but you want to loosen them when pressure is too high. The major cause of dysreflexia in spinal cord injuries is having a bladder that's too full. Another one is having an ingrown toenail or something is too tight on the body. Once the source of irritation is eliminated, the blood pressure will go back down quickly, but if it's not corrected very soon, the person can have a stroke! We don't know for sure what was bothering Dave's body but I think I may have put the ace bandages on his legs a little too snugly and maybe the binder around his torso was also too tight. He also gets a med to keep his blood pressure up because it tends to be low. He got it later than usual in the morning, but at the normal time around lunch, so it may have been that too much of it was in his system too.

Barbara Hudgik · October 29 at 2:03 pm

Always so busy here, so sorry I didn't get to post yesterday. It was another very good day - off the vent til midnight! My cousin Fred and his wife Connie stopped in for a visit and took me out to lunch. They also brought lots more candy for Halloween and some decorations. Next time they come Emily has to go out with them because I don't think she's left the building all week!

Today it actually feels like fall - I don't think it's quite 60 degrees and there's a stiff breeze. I'll take this over the Northeaster I heard is coming to NH.

Since it's Saturday, Dave and Emily slept in. He had a very, very leisurely (9:30 to 11!) breakfast of 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 McD's hash brown, 1.5 chocolate chip Eggo pancakes and 6 oz. of milk. It really takes his stomach a long time to calm down in the morning. Now we're all hanging out watching Jim Carrey movies but Dave is going to have to get to some history reading before the day is over.

We love you Elm City Bagels! The picture of Dave is as fabulous as I'm sure the DH is. It's too bad you can't ship a few of them to us

Barbara Hudgik · October 27 at 7:39 pm

It's been a fabulous day here in Atlanta! Dave has been breathing on his own since 9:45 this morning!!! That means he's been kind of free to roam the block, (his nurse gave him permission even though it's against the rules!). So, Dave has been socializing with Ben and Cole and having races in the hall.

This afternoon, his occupational therapist took him down to the cafeteria to work on eating since he hadn't eaten lunch yet. He actually ate half a good-size piece of chicken, all of the carrots, some fruit punch and half a chocolate chip cookie. I just went to Subway so hopefully he'll eat at least half of the foot-long and there's a cupcake from Tyler just waiting for him.

Our discharge date is Nov. 23rd, the day before Thanksgiving. My case manager said that she is 90% sure we'll go right into the day program. That would be the best thing for us since we're not yet set with housing in NH. If worse comes to worst, we would try to find a place here that would accomodate Dave and try to find another place to do therapy while we wait for an opening in the day program.

On to some thank-you's: to Dave's former, (not old!), teachers from Fuller School for their card and gift. Dave says hi and will come for a visit when he's gets back. To Dave's Aunt Lisa for the "spooktacular" care package - some of the things will come in very handy for the Haunted House that all the kids here will be participating in on Halloween. To dad and Candy for the care package that arrived today and to Aunt Kathy for the requested nose-hair trimmer!

Thank you all and good night!

Barbara Hudgik · October 27 at 10:31 am

Big and busy day, yesterday. Despite feeling sick to his stomach and actually losing it when he tried to eat some breakfast during OT, David managed to ditch the collar AND stay off the vent for a whopping hour and five minutes for his first try!!! I'm told that most people manage 10 - 20 minutes at first. He was really helped by a visit from a Rotweiller named Maisy. You can see pictures below. She was unbelievably sweet. He was petting her with the wrist support on his left hand and it was dripping in black fur! Had to change the straps afterwards.

During the afternoon, Emily and I received our respiratory training. We both worked on changing his trach dressing, suctioning and using the inexaflator. I got to suction him later in the day and did okay. The hardest part is keeping one hand sterile the whole time. Today we'll have PT training with Kathi from 1 - 2

Brittney Hines · October 26 at 12:56 pm

Ohhhh AND...I just got off the phone with Barbara (and I am sure she will post more on this later when she has the chance, but I am just too excited and wanted to share the info NOW lol) and David's neck brace is OFF and he was taken off the ventilator for some time today!:-):-) WOOHOO!!!!!:-D He was spending some more time with a therapy dog today (a Rotweiler- don't worry he/she was totally friendly!!) and that was a nice distraction for the doctors to remove the neck brace as well as the ventilator. Barbara said Dave was doing amazing without it! Now this isn't permanent yet...the doctors/staff said he would have to under go several observations and several more trials before he is totally weaned off the vent! But we are SO heading a GOOD direction!!:-) You are doing phenomenal Dave!!:-) You are making us ALL so proud!! Keep fighting and pushing and I bet, within the next week or so, you will be off that thing for good!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!♥

Barbara Hudgik · October 25 at 2:17 pm

Hey! Both yesterday and today, Emily and I managed to get Dave bathed, IC'd, dressed and ready with the 'net' underneath him so he could be put in his chair and be on time to his 9am therapy. The only thing that's lacking is breakfast - not his favorite meal - so he did drink an Ensure during PT. He's feeling the lower pressure setting on the vent but sticking with it. Also, since it's been six weeks since his surgery, they're going to do an x-ray of his neck to see if he can ditch the neck brace. They're also going to x-ray his right shoulder to see if there may be anything else going on there.

This afternoon he will have 'sports' recreational therapy in the room at 2:30 and then go outside for more of the same with someone named Tom. 3:30 to 5 is schoolwork for the first time and tomorrow Emily and I will finally have our respiratory training.

Barbara Hudgik · October 24 at 10:26 am

Hi everybody! Dave and Emily really enjoyed communicating with everyone at Pumpkinfest and checking out the posted pictures - a job well done to all!

Between having a UTI and staying up a long time on Saturday, Dave really needed a morning to sleep in, so I let both of them rest Sunday morning while I moved all our stuff to a new room! I'd heard we'd be moving but was surprised to find out when I arrived at 7:30 that we were going to 429 immediately. I did his IC at 8 (which he slept through) and then spent the next 2 1/2 hours making the move. I also had to be out of my apartment by noon - fortunately I had done most of the cleaning and packing on Saturday. I also sent Emily over at 11:15 to move the car up to the fifth floor and get most of the stuff out of the room. This was good because when I finally went over to do the rest it was 1:30 and my key card didn't work anymore! I guess they're really serious about checkout time. I had to wait for security to let me in but I finally finished around 3.

I had one more surprise when I arrived at Ronald McDonald House - they weren't expecting me! My case manager never faxed the paperwork. Thankfully they let me stay and even heated up a plate of spaghetti and meat sauce for me. It's exactly 6 miles away but it took me 20 minutes to get there and that was with light traffic.

Enough of my saga, Emily posted about Saturday's visit to the Secret Garden and meeting Blush, a 12 week old service-dog-in-training. Sunday turned out quite nicely and we're enjoying being in a bigger room that's on the main drag, so to speak. Our other room was in a corner so no one had to go by it to get to their room except for our neighbor, Ben. Now, everyone can see Dave's pictures on the door! Last night Tyler visited for quite a while. He's from Colorado and was out on August 28th with his dad and some friends doing some four-wheeling in the mountains. Tyler driving a large Jeep and he noticed his dad coming to a stop ahead of him. Tyler hit the brakes and the Jeep ended up flipping over. His two friends that weren't wearing seatbelts were fine but Tyler, who was wearing a seatbelt ended up with a spinal cord injury of cervical vertebrae 2,3 and 6 so they had to fuse 2,3,4,5and 6 together. Tyler is paralyzed from the neck down but he's off the vent and has a button in his trach opening so he can speak. Tyler loves to talk and knows all about his med's and med's for pain since he has a lot of it. While he was in the room, a couple of his family members also stopped in too. We finally had to say goodnight a little before 8 so we could get Dave in bed. Oh, Dave also had a successful (relatively pain-free shower) yesterday afternoon and I got him some chicken nuggets and a small vanilla shake too. He had those on top of eating a good portion of his dinner

Barbara Hudgik · October 21 at 7:47 pm

Judging by all the posts, it looks like many people have been very busy gearing up for the big day (Pumpkin Festival.) One last heartfelt thank you to everyone for making such a huge effort on Dave's and our behalf. I'll be praying for good weather and a smooth-running day for all of you.

David has had a good week overall. He can pick up his left wrist and hold it straight, whereas before it would just "flop". This means he can now stick his left index finger up his nose! Today in interactive technology he was shown a computer that runs with voice commands. Of course he doesn't have his voice back yet, that is unless his trach is out of position and then he can speak a bit. He finally got to have some McDonald's food yesterday afternoon and ate nine chicken nuggets, some fries and an entire small strawberry shake. I think that's the most he's eaten at one time since he arrived here! Like all the guys here, Dave has lost quite a bit of weight and it made me very happy to see all those calories go into him.

Next week his daily schedule is going to increase with an hour and a half of academic classes. The teacher here has been in contact with KHS so Dave's no longer going to be able to escape schoolwork. Unfortunately, he does seem to have another UTI so I hope that doesn't set him back too much.

I picked up a rental car today because my thirty days of free housing is over on Sunday and I will have to drive back and forth from the Ronald McDonald house from now on. Atlanta traffic is SCARY and every street is named "Peach this" and Peach that' so I hope I don't get lost as I almost did today just coming back with the car!

Good luck tomorrow and have fun!

Barbara Hudgik · October 19 at 10:12 am

Good morning, everyone. Check out the video below (click here) that Dave's cousin, Mark, posted. (Thanks, Mark!) The guys from left to right are Ben, (Dave's next-door neighbor), Cole and Tyler. Cole's injury was a month before Dave's and Tyler's was two weeks earlier. Can't remember when Ben's was but he's been here the longest, I think it's been at least 8 weeks now. They're all doing well and so is Dave. He's adjusted to the new vent setting and didn't ask to have it increased overnight.

The "bicycle" used in yesterday's therapy didn't actually require Dave to sit on it. He stayed in his chair and they brought what looked like a stand with pedals on it to his chair, strapped his feet on the pedals and started it. It looked like he was doing one full rotation every 1.5 seconds. He was tired afterwards but ended up staying up until 7 last night.

I also forgot to say thank you to our neighbors in Keene for feeding Paul again on Monday - it was delicious!

Barbara Hudgik · October 18 at 1:38 pm

Good afternoon. It's been a full day so far. David has his trach tube changed out, thankfully. The old one was leaking around the cuff and really slowing him down this morning. The respiratory therapist made the change at 11 and then a few Atlanta Falcons showed up with a news crew. After they visited the gym they came to his room and gave him a mini, red football and a 5" by 8" card stamped with the Falcons logo. Both items were autographed by the three who visited: Zelenka, Owens and Jerry. They commented on his ski photos and the bags of Funyuns that we have pinned to the bulletion board.

The vent weaning is going well and I learned from the pulmonary doctor that the heavy secretions in the lungs should be easing up as Dave gets closer to two months from the accident. Heavy secretions are part of the body's response to this particular kind of injury, as well as having a trach tube in the body.

He is in PT right now and I'll have to go down and have a look since Cathi is putting him on a bicycle today!

Barbara Hudgik · October 17 at 1:44 pm

Sorry to have disappeared - I think I need an assistant to keep up with my correspondence! It's still kind of slow going here. Dave's overnight tube feedings were reduced a bit over the weekend and he usually doesn't feel like eating breakfast (very common in all the teens here). Today he's had low blood pressure and he hasn't eaten breakfast or lunch. He might have done better with lunch if it had been more appealing! Also, particularly when it's lunchtime, two or three other things will need doing, then before you know it, it's time to go to a therapy at one. Today, the nutritionist happened to show up a little after one and offered to have the kitchen make him a BLT. Maybe he'll get some of that down while he's working with his recreational therapist until two, then it's off to the gym for physical therapy.

We did get outside yesterday afternoon from a little after 4 to 5. We started to get ready around 1:30 but, as usual, we had to wait for this person or that person. I can't wait to be trained to suction his trach. Then we won't have to wait for his nurse to go for a stroll. However, at the rate things move around here, they won't get me trained until he's off the vent and then it won't be necessary anymore! Such is life in a hospital.

Barbara Hudgik · October 16 at 7:53 am

This morning I'd like to thank all of you for keeping up with us on both FB and CaringBridge. Because we never know how the day is going to be, we don't always get to share your messages with Dave everyday, but Em and I try our best to do so. The messages always bring smiles and I think David especially enjoys it when those of you who have shared experiences with him bring those memories up. I also enjoy all your posts and I only wish that I had the time to respond to them all individually.

As for our Saturday, it was another slow starter. I heard from the physical therapist that everyone had one of those mornings! I don't know if the slow starting group were those that went to the zoo but I think Dave needed a day of recovery! We did finally get outside for about a half hour from 3:45 to 4:15 so there was still enough sun for Dave to soak up. He really perks up later in the day and was ready for another foot-long for dinner. This Subway is rather off the mark in preparing the subs - they left out the jalapenos so I went across the street to the pizza place and asked if they had some. They sold me a small container for 50 cents and Dave could finally eat!

Time to go for now, it's almost 8am and I have to get him ready for the day.

Barbara Hudgik · October 15 at 10:19 am

Phew! It's amazing how time flys when you're playing nurse! I started at 7:50 and just finished at 10 and I didn't even do breakfast - Em tried to take care of that but he wasn't interested. He's probably feeling worn out from yesterday and I don't know how the night went. I think there may have been a number of suctionings over night based on how the evening went.

I still haven't got the zoo report yet. I overheard him telling Emily about the gorillas - there was a mom with a baby that she just picked up and slung over her back, he also mentioned elephants and a bird pooped on his nice striped shirt! I'd noticed a dark green spot high up on his right sleeve when he came into the room and I thought that's what it was. He was very concerned about getting it out and I'm happy to say that the stain is gone.

Dave won't have PT until 12:30 so I'll just do some stretches with him this morning and I'm sure once the afternoon comes he'll feel like getting outside cause it's gorgeous again.


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