progress report from Life Care Hospital

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 12:30PM
Dad just got a room at Pitt Memorial in Greenville.  He will be moving at 1:30 this afternoon.

Monday, February 19, 2007 10:30PM
The doctors from Pitt Memorial Hospital in Greenville came over to Life Care to observe dad today and to make a determination on whether they would treat him at their rehabilitation center.  Dad put on a great show for them, wheeling up and down the hall twice.  That is 3 times as far as he went on Friday!  He also stood up out of bed for the first time in 9 1/2 weeks, standing for about 3 seconds.  We all take for granted something as simple as standing; I can't imagine how difficult it was for him to lift his now 160 pound frame on 1 trembling leg and stand for 3 seconds!  Those legs once powered up Grandfather Mountain, and all hope is that they will do it again sometime soon!

Upon his observations, the doctor immediately recommended dad for the program at Pitt and wanted to get him over there ASAP.  We should know in the next few days when dad will be moving.

Monday, February 19, 2007 12:00PM
Dad just got approved to go to Pitt for his rehab.  He will be moving as soon as a bed is available.  More info to come...

Friday, February 16, 2007 3:30PM
Dad got into a wheelchair for the first time today!  He had a little bit of trouble wheeling around the hospital using only his good arm on the wheel and his good leg on the floor, but he was able to get out of the bed.

They also tried getting him to stand up from the edge of the bed, but he wasn't fully successful at it.  His right leg started hurting too much for him to make it all the way up.  But again, "Pain is just weakness leaving the body."

Right now it looks like dad will be going back to Pitt Memorial to do his rehab.  I'm not sure when or even how long he will be there, but they will probably do a much more rigorous rehabilitation (now doesn't that sound fun).  He will be subjected to much better therapists and doctors, and will probably be expected to do things on a much tougher schedule there than he would be at a nursing home.  He is pretty happy about the decision if he gets to go there.  They are supposed to come in and meet with him next week to see if he is eligible for rehab at Pitt Memorial.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 9:30PM
I just spoke to dad and he's had some time to think about everything that the doctors told him.  Although he is still a little upset, he is more than determined to prove everyone wrong at this point.  He talked about how HUGE his good leg is going to be when he gets back on that bike and starts kicking everyones butt again!

Apparently he has damaged his radial nerve in his left arm.  This nerve supplies the feeling and movement to the entire arm, from the tricep to the fingers.  They don't know the extent of the damage at this point.

Dad said that the nurse brought a toolbox into the doctors office and began pulling plyers, wrenches, and a power screwdriver out.  He had been joking that they would treat him that way, but he didn't know it was really going to happen!  They didn't numb him at all, they just took the power screwdriver and backed the screws out, all 3 inches of every one of them.  It wasn't too bad for him; they even let him keep the hardware.  I'm sure the grandkids are going to fight over taking that for show-and-tell!

There is no word yet on when dad will be out of the hospital and into a nursing center.  We will let everyone know that information as soon as we have any idea.

Thursday, February 15, 2007 7:45PM
Dad's on his way back from Greenville as I type.  The visit wasn't the greatest, but it certainly could have been worse. 

First off, they removed all ex-fixes from his pelvis, wrist, and elbow.  He is allowed to bear weight on his pelvis and his good leg right now.  One of his legs will be shorter than the other due to the pelvis break.

However, they did not give a very good prognosis for his broken leg and broken arm.  There is nerve damage in both that may be irreparable.  They put his arm in a ½ cast and a sling, and they do not want him moving the arm for the next week.  He will go back to Greenville in a week for more x-rays.  At that point they will see how much he can actually bend his arm.  They hope that it has not calcified and caused the joint to seize up, but they won’t know until later.  The pins will stay in his leg for at least another month.

They said that he should be able to get into a wheelchair right away, so hopefully they will start working with him tomorrow.

I know this isn’t the best prognosis, but there is always the opportunity to prove these guys wrong.  He has defied odds several times already, so this is just another chance for him.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:15PM
So tomorrow is the big day, dad has been waiting so patiently for this!  Dad will finally be going back to Greenville in the afternoon for an appointment with Dr. Hasty.  He is the orthopedic surgeon who did most of the surgeries on dad, including the pelvis ex-fixes.  The hope tomorrow is that these ex-fixes will be removed and dad can finally sit up straight and get into a wheelchair.  There is no guarantee on what will be done or even when it will be done.  The pelvis fixaters were only supposed to stay in for 2-3 weeks, and we're going on 4-5 weeks already.  I believe the plan is to do a consultation and some x-rays, and if there has been enough healing then they should be able to remove the fixaters right in the office.

They will also take a look at his arm and leg, but we don't think they're going to do anything at this point. 

I havne't been down to see dad in about a week now, but all reports from him and from everyone else seem very positive.  He continuously sounds better and better on the phone, and it's rare that I call and someone isn't in the room with him.  Having so many visitors has certainly helped him keep his spirits up, and we really do appreciate everyone making that drive to Rocky Mount to hang out with Diesel Dave.  The nursing staff at Life Care has been top notch, and those nurses will do anything that dad can think of to ask them.  We couldn't have asked for a better place for him to be to get better.

I think the next step is going to be getting dad into a Rehabilitation Center/Nursing Home.  There are a few options at the moment, all of them closer to home than he is now.  Depending on how the visit with Dr. H goes tomorrow, he may be able to move within the next week.  Keep your fingers crossed, and more importantly keep the prayers coming!

Sunday, February 11, 2007 4:00PM
Dad has started making his own posts in the Guestbook.  Check it out, posted February 10th!

He's looking forward to going to see Dr. Hasty, the orthopedic surgeon that operated on his pelvis.  He has an appointment for Thursday February 15th and may be spending most of the day there.  If you are planning on visiting that day, you may want to go up later in the evening, or maybe even call first to see if he is there and if he is up for having visitors.  He is hoping that they will take the ex-fixes out of his pelvis so that he can start sitting up and possibly even get into a wheelchair by the end of the week.

Friday, February 9, 2007 11:30PM
It's so amazing to see such a positive attitude from dad right now.  Every time I see him, he looks even better than before.  Everyone that goes to visit says the same thing.  The nurses there all love him and do everything they can to take the best care of him.  They never hesitate to ask if he needs anything, from his feet rubbed to a cup of ice cream to picking up something that he's dropped.  They really are the greatest.

He still seems to be positively influenced from the Rocky Mount Rehab Ride last weekend.  He has started setting goals for himself and plans to do everything in his power to meet or beat those goals.  He is slowly regaining the use of his left hand, although the doctors are unsure of how much use he will have in the future.  He is able to hold small things like paper between his thumb and forefinger right now.  That was all he could do with his right hand just a few weeks ago, and now he's doing tax returns already!

For those that are wondering, the Latin quote "RES FIRMA MITESCERE NESCIT" on the top of the home page is from one of the greatest cycling movies (or should I say one of the few cycling movies) ever made, American Flyers.  The translation is "A firm resolve does not know how to weaken," or roughly translated into "once you've got it up, keep it up."  You'll be up soon old man!

I've submitted an article to the News Argus and to the News and Observer about the ride last weekend, but I'm not sure if either paper will pick it up.  We can always hope.  I've put it on the RM Rehab Ride page as well.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007 9:00PM
It's so hard to believe that this has all been going on for almost 8 weeks now.  Dad has set a personal goal of the end of May to be completely out of the hospital and rehab, and we all firmly believe this is possible.  He has a very positive attitude about everything right now, although he does get a little scared and a little emotional at times.

He is still on such a high from the visit from all of the cyclists this past weekend, and if you've been in to see him at all this week, I'm sure he has been talking non-stop about it.

It's getting a little more difficult to write updates at this point because everything has stabilized so much and dad has already started pedaling down Recovery Rd at a pretty quick cadence.  There isn't as much news to share, good or bad, but we will do our best to keep everyone updated as things happen.  Please continue to check back here often, sign the guestbook, visit with Diesel Dave, and certainly please feel free to visit with him.  His father has come up here from Atlanta, GA and has spent a lot of time with him, something that dad never really had the chance to do before.  I know that he is enjoying spending this time with his father very much, and this is definitely a positive thing that has come out of the accident.  He was also able to spend time with his sister, and his brothers were here while dad was in the ICU and plan on coming back soon.

Dad is such an optimist and is always looking for other good things that have come out of this.  We all know that he will certainly make the best out of everything that is given to him.

Saturday, February 3, 2007 6:15PM
For those that care, NCSU 83, UNC 79.  GO PACK!

Today was the big RM Rehab Ride, and we had a great turnout.  We had 33 cyclists braving 33o and what felt like 33 mph head winds (the wind was actually 15 mph, but we were riding 18 mph, so the additive head wind was 33 mph) to ride 58 miles to see the old man himself!  It was a great ride with a much better turnout than we ever thought, with guys coming from Fayetteville, Asheville, and Pilot Mountain, as well as the home-town crew of Seyboros.  We felt somewhat lost without our fearless leader, but felt strength in knowing that he was at the finish line!  When we finally made it to Rocky Mount, they had put dad in the "Pink Cadillac" mobile bed and wheeled him down to the cafeteria, where we could see him from outside the window waving to everyone.  Then we were able to go inside and visit with him for a while until they kicked us out and wheeled dad back upstairs.  It was such a great pleasure to see him interacting with so many old friends and their spouses and children, who also came to show their support.  Life Care Hospital has never seen the likes of the Seyboros, and probably never imagined what they had agreed to get themselves into!

Dad said that he was so moved by everyones effort to brave the elements and come to see him, and he said this is the most touched he has ever been in his life.  The smile on his face told it all.  Everyone said how great he looked, and how much like himself he seemed, aside from the fact that he's immobile right now.  He even said that if he doesn't get the full use of his right leg back, then he'll just have to learn to ride with his left leg only.  He then commented, "imagine the size of my quads then!"  I reminded him of one of the Seyboros who was once beaten up a climb by a one-legged man riding a bicycle.

The security guard at the front door often makes comments about how many friends dad must have, because he seems to ALWAYS have someone coming in to see him!

Dad should be moving from Life Care Hospital in about 3-4 weeks, at which time he will move to a nursing home for rehabilitation.  We're not sure at this point which nursing home he will go to, but we're hoping to get him to one in Goldsboro or Snow Hill so that it's much closer for everyone to come and visit him.  His appointment with Dr. Hasty is on February 15th, where they will take x-rays of his broken bones and pins and make a decision on what to do about his ex-fixes.  Hopefully at that point they will remove all of that military grade titanium and carbon from his abdomen so that he can sit up straight and be moved side to side in the bed without everything burning so badly.

Friday, February 2, 2007 8:00PM
So tomorrow is the big day!  The day for the Rocky Mount Rehab Ride, the day the Seyboro Cyclists and other groups ride to see dad in the hospital!  I know everyone is looking forward to it as much as dad is.  They're going to try to put him in the "Pink Cadillac", a chair that they can move him around the hospital with.  They are going to take him downstairs to see the crazy group of cyclists that came out to brave the cold winter weather to ride 50 miles to see him (not to mention 50 miles back to Goldsboro).  That will be the first time that he's gotten to move out of his room that wasn't a mandatory move!

His BUN level is back up a little, up to 44.  This number seems to go up and down, but never seems to go away.  He also has an intestinal infection that is common in patients who are sick and taking antibiotics.  It almost seems like he can't catch a break; one bad thing causes another, and they're always difficult to treat simultaneously.  But, like we said on the very first day that dad was in the hospital, "my dad is a fighter and he will come out of this."

Thursday, February 1, 2007 10:30AM
Dad wanted me to let everyone know that physically he is feeling GREAT!  He does still have a considerable amount of pain in his leg, but things seem to be working for him.  His rehab is going well, and although he only has use of one arm and one leg, those limbs seem to get stronger and stronger every day.  He still couldn't beat me in arm wrestling though, unless I let him win.  Who knows, maybe I'll be feeling generous.  His pain seems to shift around, from his leg to his arm/elbow to his lower back from laying down for more than 7 weeks now, but a quick shot of morphine and a long nap and he feels better almost immediately!