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Thread: Reports on my T bucket friend

  1. #1

    Reports on my T bucket friend

    I hope Rob takes notice of this. These are a couple of reports about the guy I posted here who was seriously injured in a hot rod accident this summer.

    There have been changes for Kevin - some good and some not as good as have been hoped for.

    The good first - It looks like Kevin will be transported back to Tucson this week if all goes well.

    The tough part will be for the family and doctors to find a care facility for him that can give the level of care needed since he still has the tracheotomy installed. The plus side to all of this is that he will be at "home" if you will. The negative side is the care issue at this point.

    You can tell Kevin has all of his mental faculties in place as he knows everything you are talking about although you need to speak a little more slowly than you would normally. As a result of the brain trauma he doe not process information quite as fast as he used to. He gets a real sparkle in his eyes when you walk into the room. Still has his mustache too! He communicates with left hand gestures and facial expressions at this point.

    Now for the not so good stuff and please forgive me if I do not get this all correctly restated.

    There is the possibility that he may not be able to have the Trach tube removed. This seems to be a result of the stroke he suffered as well as his lack of body substance at this point. When he went into the hospital, he had only 5 or 6% body fat and his initial recovery used all that up. The next thing the body uses to recover is muscle mass and this is what has happened with Kevin. This muscle loss has inhibited throat muscles from recovering strength to allow him to clear his lungs, swallow, etc. If he cannot do these things, the trach remains...

    There are all indications that he is totally paralyzed from the waist down. No feelings or reactions at all. He still has no voluntary control of his right arm but they are still seeing involuntary movements so there is hope there that he may regain use. He still cannot talk but that is a problem generated by the throat muscle issue. He can say a few things if he really tries.

    My take on this all is that he is at a turning point. Since he is beginning to realize what has happened to him physically, he is going to have to decide what happens next. It will be very easy for him to just give up and not fight on to make the best of a bad situation. It will take all the support we can give as a group to help him overcome this hurdle.

    I know it is easy to say that I don't want to see him as he is now and that I only want to remember him as he was but - we owe it to him as a friend to help him out any way we can. After all, sometimes even McGuiver needs help getting fixed too!


    The last posting said Kevin was coming back to Tucson, but that has changed. He has been moved to rehab facility in San Diego.

    "Kevin is now in a huge room with two beds. She says the room is big enough for 2 beds and side chairs AND 2 power chairs. There is a much brighter atmosphere and it is much much quieter -Jan said it is quiet as a morgue in comparison to Scripps.

    Kevin is in the brain and spinal injury wing of the facility.

    Speaking of power chairs - Kevin has been assigned a power chair for his use while he is there. It has joystick controls on the left arm and can be configured in about a million ways He can drive it around, recline it and adjust it to his comfort level. It even has a parking mode.

    Kevin does his physical therapy in a huge open room where there are lots of other folks doing the same type of things he is doing. This is great because now he can see that he is not alone in the world with the type of issues he has.

    When he wakes up in the morning he has to get dressed. The concept is that if you are dressed you aren't sick so - he gets to wear sweats, tee shirts, a zip up hooded sweatshirt, and sneakers or slippers.

    The respiratory therapist has been working with him on his swallowing to be able to move him off the trach tube. He has passed the two tests for leakage from the esophagus into the trachea with flying colors. No leaking!! Now he has to go for xrays etc to make sure the swallowing mechanics are all working properly. If so, then they can start moving him off the feeding tube and onto food through the mouth. They have been working with his vocalizing as well -,kind of like vocal exercises for singers to exercise his vocal chords. Jan said he can get really loud.

    The docs have been monitoring his oxygen capacity as well and he tested at 99% capacity without the ventilator assistance or oxygen supplement. This is another good step towards getting the trach removed sooner than later."

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    The Land of The Edentulites

    Re: Reports on my T bucket friend

    Thanks for the detailed report, Mike... it's things such as this that remind one how fragile we are and that pretty much everything we take for granted can be gone in an instant.

    I'll try to bear it all mind next time I'm out on the bike....

  3. #3

    Re: Reports on my T bucket friend

    This is a fellow that, had he stood next to you, Eric, you could have passed as brothers. Tall, slim, and energetic. His friends and family are afraid that now that he understands what happened, he might lose his will to live. And his good physical condition actually made his recovery worse, having no body fat to consume.

    And his car was one that showed no excessive pride or extravagance.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Reports on my T bucket friend

    All noted.

    I'd have physical fitness over fat any day.

    I was super-fit in my first big crash.. and had the trachectomy [sp?] and coma and all that, and it was complications like punctured lungs and broken ribs and pneumonia which eventually nearly got me... apart from the massive multiple injuries.

    Sounds to me like your friend is doing well. I don't know how to describe 'will to live'... for some, all the will in the world ain't enough, especially if there are bad head injuries. Love and caring from people around you might be a deciding factor.

  5. #5

    Re: Reports on my T bucket friend

    He, of course, feels a terrible guilt over his friend who died in the crash.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Reports on my T bucket friend

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    He, of course, feels a terrible guilt over his friend who died in the crash.
    Yes, I met a few guys in the Spinal Unit who had similar experiences... there isn't any pattern to the circumstances that I would care to suggest.
    Some had anger over being hit by a drunk driver, some had been drunk themselves, but ultimately there are none among us who are perfect.

    Well, Margaret was once...

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