progress report from the 1st week in icu

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 5:53:50 PM

Just had news that there may be some complications, so please continue to pray for these. 

Dad's enzyme levels in his blood are higher than normal.  They are not extremely high, but they have been up today.  The suspicion is that when they stopped the internal bleeding by clotting the veins and arteries in the pelvic area, they cut off the blood flow to the butt.  This may in turn be killing the muscles there.  If that is the case, it will require surgery to remove those muscles.  I'm not sure how much muscle or how it will impact him in the future.  There is still a possibility that this may not happen, but I don't know how possible, and it depends on if his enzyme levels continue to climb. 

I'm getting this information from my mom over the phone, she just spoke with the Trauma doctors.  One of the complications is the bed that he is in.  His current bed is one that rotates from side to side constantly in order to keep healthy blood flowing to the lungs.  However, this bed can break down the muscles in the butt area.  They need to get him out of the bed for this reason, but he needs to stay in it for his lungs.  They just don't make a bed for both types of injuries.

Again my dad is a fighter.  I've said it a thousand times, and I've had numerous emails from other people saying the same thing.  Please continue to pray for the best possible outcome.  We can't lose hope at this point, we've come such a long way already in such a short time.  Please stay strong and help all of my family to do the same (including me).

If we haven't said so already, thank you everyone for your incredible support and devotion to my family.  We love each and every one of you.  I will update again if I hear anything else tonight.

The Galloways

Monday, December 18, 2006 4:03:22 PM

Dad is off the respirator, breathing on his own with very little assistance from the oxygen.  He is also off the paralytic drugs entirely.  They are beginning to ween him off of the sedatives and pain medication as well.  They are currently switching out the central line that supplies 3 different medications with one that supplies 4 types so we had to miss a visitation.  They are also giving him Manitol, a steroid to help control the swelling.  He continues to look a little bit better every time we see him, and he gets more responsive as well.  He is still not stable and the chance for infections still exists.

They shaved his face today, but the nurse said she refused to shave his legs.  We thought it would be kind of funny.  Oh well.  We did tell him that we were going to paint his toenails and there was nothing he could do about it.  When we mentioned him having to listen to NBA basketball and rap all day he opened his mouth as if to scream "NOOOOOO!"  He also gave us some arm movement when we asked him if he's like some John Grisham and James Patterson books on tape to listen to in the room.  When Missy was walking out of the room and said she was leaving, he moved his arm as if he was trying to wave.

That's pretty much it for now, but we're all so happy for these baby steps.  They say he's coming along well and that hopefully he'll be out of the Intensive Care and into Intermediate Care by next week.

Thanks to everyone again for your prayers, they are obviously being answered. 

The Galloways

Sunday, December 17, 2006 10:08:26 PM

Well we have some good news tonight.  Some of you have heard already that they are beginning to slowly bring him out of his unconscious state and are weening him off of the paralytic drugs.  When we saw him this afternoon his color was returning to normal and he was beginning to give us some responses.  He was trying to hold our hands when we asked him to, and we also got some lip, head, and leg movement also.  He very obviously wants to speak to us and must be frustrated that he's not able to. 

We have explained to him everything that has happened during the past 81 hours so that he understands why he is where he is. 

The next few days will hopefully be pretty good, but the doctors tell us there is about a 90% chance that he will receive some sort of infection.  We will need a lot of prayers for this as well.  Everyone's prayers are obviously working very well for us.  I had word tonight that the China Catholic Church announced his name and accident and prayed for him.  So my suspicion was correct - people all over the world would soon be praying, and a lot of them will never even have met Dave.

We are still not out of the woods on this, but we're getting closer day by day.  My dad is being very strong.  The trauma surgeon thought that it may be possible to have my dad out of the intensive care unit by Christmas and that he may be able to talk to us soon as well.  We will just hold out hope and pray that everything continues to go well, and that any infections are found and immunized very quickly.

Thank you again everyone, for your tremendous support.  Even my grandfather, Dave's dad, is impressed with how much love and compassion people have for my dad, and how well respected he is.

The Galloways

Saturday, December 16, 2006 3:09:30 PM

My dad is in surgery right now to start working on some of the broken bones and some various other things.  My mom and I spoke with the orthopedic surgeon and they will be putting some stabilizer bars and pins into his left wrist and right leg.  They are not doing any setting of the bones and are not doing anything with his pelvis right now.

The Vascular Surgeon, Dr. Parker successfully put a filter into his inferior vena cava (the vein returning blood from each of the legs to the heart, these veins come together in the abdomen).  The filter will catch any possible clots from travelling to his heart or his brain.  Dr. Hasty, Orthopedic surgeon, has successfully stabilized the breaks and put his elbow back into socket and braced it.  These are not the permanent pins that he will require, but are just in order to get him through the next few days.  The tracheotomy apparently is done and we should hear back from the trauma surgeon, Dr. Newell soon.  This was to reduce any irritation from the tubes being in his mouth and will also reduce the risk of infection and pneumonia.

My dad still can only have immediate family visiting in his room, but when we are able to get in to see him we are telling him about everyone that has come to the ICU waiting room to meet with our family.  I know he's anxious to be out here talking to everyone.  Some of you have been added to this list because you are a friend of one of us or a friend of a friend of Dave's...regardless of that, I am sure you will all one day meet my dad - somehow or another, I don't know how he does it.  When my dad comes to visit me in Apex/Raleigh area, he generally sees more people that he knows than I do.  We've been several states away and he runs into people that he's met once.  He almost always remembers their name and how he met them, and they always remember how he individually touched their life in as little as 1 meeting.  Children think he's a superhero, and he believes they are the ones with the super powers.  My dad has led more legacies than I will ever hope to in a single lifetime.

I have written a "resume" that I think my dad would write about his life.  It's just to kind of give people a background, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

The list has officially grown past the limit allowed by my email so I have to send out 2 separate emails. 

The Galloways

Friday, December 15, 2006 8:31:45 PM

Dave is out of surgery!!   He has been out of the abdominal surgery for a while, but they had him in angio-surgery in order to locate the bleeding in his pelvis. 

The abdominal surgery went very well.  Without going into too much detail, they have opened up his entire abdomen to relieve the pressure, which in turn raised his blood pressure and did make some of the veins in his pelvis bleed.  He is now on meds to reduce his blood pressure.  After the surgery, they injected dye into him again to locate any bleeding and were able to close off the veins that were causing the problems.  He has been returned to a new room in the ICU, with a different type of bed that will move him around some in order to keep the oxygen flowing to certain parts of his body.  Once he is in this new bed we should be able to get in to see him.  His pelvis has been fractured in several places, and the ligaments that are supposed to hold the 2 sides of the pelvis together have all been torn.  This injury is typically so incredibly serious because of the amount of force that it takes to break these bones.  Generally there is more internal damage so I think we lucked out on this one.

To be completely honest, we are looking at a very long recovery.  This will probably include many months in the hospital before he is able to come home, followed by many more months of therapy.  There is absolutely no prognosis at this point for how he will be AFTER HE SURVIVES the initial trauma.  We will all deal with that when it comes time.  Right now we have to concentrate on him surviving this trauma, which is still touch and go.  There will be peaks and valleys.

Writing these emails probably helps me as much, if not more, than it does to all of you reading these emails and praying for my dad.  It almost creates a sense of calm being able to talk about this and have somewhat of an understanding of what he is going through, although it is difficult to imagine how he is feeling.  I will be able to look back and read these emails with my dad so he knows how many people were actually involved.  This email list is getting longer and longer, and I laugh every time I add another name to it, knowing that my dad has touched so many lives and been such a positive influence for so many people, myself included.  I will gladly add any email addresses to this growing list if there is someone else that may be interested.  Simply forward this to them and copy me on it, I will add them on the next version. 

I hope that the emails become fewer meaning that there really are no changes, but as things come up I will let you know immediately.  They're letting us in to see him now, I'll give him the love and prayers that everyone has asked me to share with him.

The Galloways

Friday, December 15, 2006 2:52:02 PM

This is where we need everyone.  We were just informed that they are going to do emergency surgery on my dad.  Without the surgery there is little to no hope.  The surgery is to release the pressure in his abdomen due to swelling and fluid build-up.  He is not able to get blood to his intestines and the blood is not returning normally from his legs, which is causing problems with his blood pressure.  This procedure is normally done in the ICU, but my tough old man had another emergency surgery in 1978 - he ruptured his spleen and had to remove it.  Due to the amount of scar tissue from that procedure, this procedure has to be done in the OR.

There is a risk with moving him from his room to the OR, but the risk far outweighs the risk of not doing the procedure.  It is going to be a few hours before we know anything.  During the surgery they may have to move him to do another angio surgery (not sure what this details), but it would be to reduce the internal bleeding from the pelvic injury.  This too carries a risk, as well as bringing him back to the ICU.

Please continue praying for us all.  We have felt your prayers, and he knows that he's a well loved man.  We have a long way to go, but we've come a long way too.  He's shown incredible strength and determination throughout this ordeal.

Thanks everyone.

The Galloways

Friday, December 15, 2006 1:17:49 PM

Time for another update on my dad; if you haven't seen this already, please start reading below first for a brief history.  I'm sorry if we are flooding anyone with emails but this is the easiest way to keep all his friends and family informed.  Again, if I have forgotten anyone, please let me know or forward this accordingly.

We were able to go back in to see him and found out that he had some broken ribs and bruised lungs, and they are constantly draining fluid out of his lungs.  They may find some more injuries as time goes on, but we think and pray that all of the major ones have been found.  His vitals are still unstable and they are trying to keep the sedation in a very narrow range.  He was squirming and fighting some of the tubes in his lungs, causing some of the instability.  They kicked up the meds and he seemed to calm down quite a bit.  I know he's so frustrated not being able to talk back to us, but we know that he hears us and he wants to hold us as much as we want to hold him.

We went in to see him another time and found out that his blood numbers show that he's bleeding again.  The hemoglobin number was at 7, they like to see 9 or better.  They are giving him blood and something to help him clot.  I think we're in the phase where he's had a big upward swing back towards healthy and now he's goiing to be up and down for a while.  He's going on 24 hours since the accident, and they say that's the most critical time (I think).  Again the most critical injury is the pelvic fractures and the resulting bleeding.

Some good news now...a chaplain from the Air Force base church was in the room with my mom, Shane (my brother-in-law), and myself.  She was praying with all of us.  My dad was heavily sedated but managed to raise his eyebrows as we were talking to him.  The chaplain asked him to raise his eyebrows if he could hear us and if he loved us, and he raised his eyebrows for each one of us individually as she said our names. 

I can honestly say that I felt the hand of God touching my dad as we were praying for him.  That, along with his recognition of all of us, is the most comfort that I have felt throughout this.  The prayers are working, but keep them coming! 

The Galloways

Friday, December 15, 2006 8:50:55 AM

Wow, my dad has such great friends and family (I'm sort of partial though).  Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.

My mom tried sending an update, but not sure if it sent or not.  Things seem to be a little calmer this morning, the trauma surgeon seemed much more optimistic today than he was last night.  They continue to give him blood and maybe platelets as well as pumping fluids through him.  The acid levels in his blood have peaked and are dropping back down, a sign that things are working the way they're supposed to.  His blood has started clotting and the internal bleeding seems to have stopped, and his blood pressure is more stable.  We don't have a lot of information right now, things are still touch and go, but more on the go side.  My mom and I were able to get in to see him several times last night, but he's heavily sedated and not able to respond.

For those who are not aware of everything, he was hit on his bicycle head on by a car that crossed the center line in a curve.  He was air-lifted to Pitt Memorial hospital.  All of his major organs seem to be OK.  There appears to be no injuries to the brain, spinal, neck, lung, or heart, and he had feeling in all extremities at the scene yesterday.  He has some very serious breaks in his left arm, wrist and hand, as well as in his right leg and some breaks in his pelvis.  The major life threatening injury is from the broken/sprung pelvis where he had some internal bleeding behind the pelvic fracture.  They had to stop the arterial bleeding one by one.  There will be several surgeries to come to fix the broken bones, but he's going to have to be stable first.

My mom is doing very well considering the circumstances.  I've never seen her so strong in my life.  The rest of the family is doing well also and can't wait for him to get better.

I know exactly what my dad is thinking and what he'd like me to say on his behalf:  "We have no control over our fate, everything is in God's hands.  Don't take anything, especially life, for granted.  Love your friends and families always."  He is feeling your prayers through his healing and recovery

We will try to continue sending out updates through email, as that is probably the easiest way to reach everyone at once.  You all know that my dad is a fighter and he will come out of this.  The doctors are going to marvel at how strong and determined he is. 

Please feel free to send this on to anyone that we missed.

Thank you,
The Galloways