Level 13

Friday, June 9, 2006 at 12:10 am 7 comments

Today was pretty wild. Here's a good example to sum it all up: If you ask Doug to raise his right hand, he does it. Ask him to wiggle his left foot, he does it. Grip his hand, and he grips back. The list goes on.

I can't express how I feel about that. All this week I've been steeling myself, bracing to cope with him not moving for a long time to come. But, after mentally preparing myself for that, at the end of today he was pretty much in constant motion, shifting around to get comfortable and responding with movement to people and basic questions. It was such a relief that it was almost completely overwhelming.

Now, that's not saying he's back to normal or even what you'd call exactly conscious. His state is kind of a deep version of what we all experience in those few moments right after your morning wake-up alarm goes off and just before you go back to sleep. You can hit the snooze button, but no one would really call you awake yet. His motor control is impressive, but nowhere near 100%. There are things he can't do, like lift a given number of fingers or keep his eyes open or focused for long. Still, it's absolutely amazing. As much as I've felt like crying for being sad, today I felt like crying because I was so happy, it was that wonderful to see.

Unfortunately, they are going to do the tracheostomy afterall. They tried letting him breathe on his own for a while and he's not quite up to it yet and needs assistance. The trach will let them remove the ventilator tube, which will reduce the chance of infection and irritation as well as reduce swelling around his throat and free up his vocal chords. A feeding tube will also be inserted into his stomach, but the blood filter has been deemed unnecessary since he's moving his legs so much. All of that is going to happen tomorrow (Friday). Both of these seem to be standard, relatively straight-forward procedures that will ease the healing a great deal.

So, Doug's doing really really well. Much better than the doctors thought. Remember, the heavy sedatives are still flushing out of his system, and they've been applying lighter ones when they take scans and so on. He'll also have to be sedated for the surgery tomorrow. However, it won't be as deep as before and should dissipate quickly.

Other news: Despite all this progress, visitors still aren't allowed back into Doug's room. Please come join us in the ICU "lobby," (don't worry, I've got a letter drafted to HUP about the splendor of their waiting room…), but he really needs to be left in peace. His body's already putting so much work into healing that motion and processing the world around him clearly take a great deal out of him. However, current plans are for him to move out of the ICU early next week, and hopefully he'll be well enough for visitors then. We'll keep you posted.

Also, this Saturday DB and Jessi are organizing a dinner at the hospital. It'll be at 6:30pm in the hospital cafeteria. DB's cooking up a delicious-sounding storm and others are bringing things as well, so it should be a good time. Drop a comment if you're coming & can bring something.

Finally, the Markgrafs asked me to thank all the administrators, professors, and staff at Drexel whom have been so supportive this whole time. We've gotten a pile of email and comments, all of which meant a lot. Like I mentioned yesterday, Athletics is helping out with hotel rooms near the hospital, and today Doug anad his family received several lovely bunches of flowers from the dean of Student Life and others (I'm sorry, I didn't get everyone's name before I left!). All of this is deeply appreciated by the family, and I'm sure Doug as well.

That's about it for tonight. I'll see you all on Saturday, if not sooner!

– joe

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Entry filed under: update.

Early Morning News Friday

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DBs  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 3:15 am

    so to sum up what I’ve got on the list already:
    Tilapia (Ben)
    Cornbread & juice (Joe)
    Napkins, utensils, lemonade, brownies (Kirsten)
    cake, sterno holders (Jessi)
    german carmel brownies, twice-baked potatoes (Z)
    Chicken parm, pasta, risoto, steak (me)

    more drinks, plates, and cups are still needed.
    Anyone who would like to bring hot food, let me know how much and please put it in a disposable foil container. We are getting sterno holders to keep the food hot over the few hours it will be availble, so those things can fit into them and not burn. Just make sure it’s sort of a shallow dish, so it will fit.

    Saturday is a free event open to EVERYONE! anyone who knows Doug, or knows someone who knows Doug, and wants to support Doug, his family and friends. We are not asking money to help with cost of food as many people are volunteering stuff and the cost isn’t weighing heavily on anyone. If you would like to give money, it will go to the family, NOT to me or anyone else. Thanks guys. I appreciate all the positive responses to this and all the help I’m getting in making it happen.
    ~DBs

    Reply
  • 2. Kristin Imhoff  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 8:02 am

    I’ll be attending… I can bring some 2-liter sodas if that’s okay. Oh, I can bring cups and napkins, too.

    Reply
  • 3. Trevor  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 10:10 am

    Doug, pullin’ through! Reading this made me pretty teary, I’m so happy to hear about his astounding progress, way to go!
    As for the dinner my little brother and I will be attending, and possibly a friend as well. I’m sure we’ll be able to bring things, I’ll give it some time and figure out what’s most needed. And I’ll try and make up a little something (I’m not much of a cook so by “I” I mean “my mom”) but we’ll see.
    So that’s that.

    Reply
  • 4. Steve Markgraf  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 11:10 am

    Doug: Since we were plugged into the website I’ve been reading it to your cousins every morning. They come down each morning and want to know what is the latest with “Cousin Doug,” and with all the fantastic progress I am happy to tell them. Keep up the fight; you are in our thoughts.

    Joe: Thanks for the updates and all the effort expended. I am touched by the caring community Doug has surrounded himself with-everyone should be so lucky.

    Reply
  • 5. Stephanie  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 11:23 am

    I’m really glad to read that Doug is doing so well!! I haven’t been able to make it over to visit, but I really want to soon.

    Joe – you write eloquently and I’m glad Doug has such a person as you to keep everyone updated.

    Reply
  • 6. Alan Ostrow  |  Friday, June 9, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Todays news was so exciting!!

    My wife Wendi and our 2 kids Evan and Emily will be there with me. Not sure what to bring but we will definitely bring something. If you need anything specific just post a note or send us an email.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone.

    Thanks to everyone that helped to put this together.

    Reply
  • 7. Jacqueline M. Watson  |  Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    Hello, Doug. I know you are probabely not able to read this message yet, but my brother and I are really pleased to hear the good news. To Doug’s parents, I was one of the people training Doug at ECI. I have a card for Doug and I would really like to give it to him, or you, if possible. My number is (610)506-4835 and my e-mail address is at the top. I would really appreciate it if you could get in touch with me.

    Reply

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