Archive for November, 2010

An open letter to Mom

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Dear Mom. Everyone says to me, “don’t wear yourself out; take care of yourself,” and I think of you, making your way through 2 1/2 years taking care of Jack after his stroke and hospitalization, after your own breast cancer surgery, on the awful Tamoxifin drug, tired, and sad. And I can only answer, “Thank you Mom for teaching me Love.” I did not understand when you were buying pre-mashed potatoes, and now I often eat “only cereal.” I didn’t understand how Jack just sat and waited for you to come, not interested in television and books as he used to be, only waiting for you, until I saw Chuck waiting for me. I’m blessed to be out of the hospital, and I am blessed that he waits for me to come. God bless you Mom; you are one of God’s angels, and you have taught me to Love.

Our leisurely day began today with 8AM Mass where I read as a lector from the book of Isaiah, a mile walk with Chuck, a shower and shave given to Chuck by his geisha Susie, a visit from Mike and Lois as Chuck ate steak, potatoes, and eggs. A nap for Chuck to get him well rested up for a 4:30 PT session. Then the phone rang. Chuck is scheduled for a CT scan that the neuro surgeon needs for Chuck’s 11:30 Wednesday appointment. “OK”, I said, “where?” When I mapquested the directions I knew we were in a ballgame. Travel north on the Palmetto Expressway about a million miles into Hialeah where all the street numbers mean nothing (like Coral Gables). The Palmetto has been under construction by a drunken rabble of men who didn’t pass 2nd grade. Many people fall into the Palmetto and are never seen again. With mapquest directions clutched in hand, I woke the sleeping Chuck, and we hurtled North into hell. Actually found the place and didn’t get killed doing it. After the CT scan, fortified with a chocolate shake, we headed south to Kendall drive for PT. Sat in a freezing waiting room (note to self, bring coats next time) counting my blessings that the PT location, 107 Ave and Kendall, is a straight shot home. Chuck went off into the bowells of the place with Edgar who came out all proud of where Chuck is and fired up about getting Chuck better, “walking a mile! keep it up!” This is going to be good for both of us. I haven’t walked a mile in years. If you come to visit bring sneakers. God bless us, everyone. Love Susie

My midnight walker

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

My dears… Have you ever wakened “in the middle of the night”, cracked one eye open towards the clock, “2 AM,” and heard water running? My next glance is toward’s Chuck’s side which is empty. Find my glasses and go into the bathroom on a stealth mission… He’s there in the shower. Now what do you do to a man who loves his own way, his privacy, is stubborn as a big oak tree, and who does things when HE wants. Well you gently advise him, “It’s the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!!!! Finish the shower and come back to bed! No coffee, no movies, BED, SLEEP!” Indeed, he reluctantly, with grumbling, climbed back into bed, and I lay there thanking God for those gentle breathing snores! This morning we watched a John Wayne movie called “On the Wings of Eagles” that had John Wayne overcoming a broken back and paralysis to walk again. He played a Navy guy who helped develop air craft carrier planes. Oh I love the patriotic movies. I went out to the grocery store in the middle of the movie and came back to find Chuck eating a bowl of cereal he made for himself. He’s OK! We then started an On Demand movie with Paul Newman, and friend Rob came over. The boys are sitting down by the lake now… All is well. Tomorrow we begin out patient rehab and Chuck will obediently do what rehab people say. He’s actually using the walker as rehab people taught him to, getting up slowly and carefully, etc. Chuck will be triple teamed next week with rehab, me, and cousin Carol cracking the whip. Have a wonderful sunny Sunday. God bless you. Love Sue

Troopers in the house!!!

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Chuck is presently sitting and talking with 3 troopers (Dave and Al are retired) and Andy, Chuck’s “new partner”, plus our beloved neighbor Mike. WOW! I sneak off when people visit to pay bills, to write about drugs, and to negotiate getting drugs and rehab. I am so blessed to have help! Chuck took a nap yesterday and it was too long. He went to bed at 6pm and slept until midnight when he got up to make coffee. Made the coffee fine, but when I found him… I said “It’s midnight!!!!” He wasn’t allowed to get up in the hospital so here he says, “there’s no hospital rules here.” So after a mile walk this morning I let him sleep one hour and got him up when Andy came with burger and shake. I warned him he had to get up to see Andy with burger, also he will sleep at night. If I don’t kill him with wakefulness, walks and messing up his drugs, he will survive and come out stronger. Cousin Carol is coming to crack the rehab whip, and friend Karen cracks the whip too. I actually made it out to shop some sales while Dave was here this morning. One more ride out to pick up drugs and then we’ll watch an Audie Murphy movie… and of course…. John Wayne. Happy Thanksgiving weekend!!! Thank you thank you for prayers! Love Sue

Home Sweet Home!!!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Chuck was released today from rehab (will return on an out patient basis). He just finished a burger and beans and is sleepy. We are home at the lake house all weekend and next week. He should take an afternoon nap, but we would love to see visitors in the afternoon and definitely for sunset. Please come and “do” sunsets ! I understand many of you are visiting relatives for Thanksgiving - Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Next week is a good time to visit too. Love and thanks so much for prayers. Now, we’ve got him back and we start work on the cognitive “deficits…” (planning, problem solving, dee stuff). He already did a suduku… Thank God for many blessings. Love Sue

Anticipation! How sweet the anticipation of freedom!

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Today at the 3:00 meeting actually held at 3:45, the rehab team said Chuck has got a few deficits…. but there’s no reason for him to sleep at the rehab hospital any more, he can walk and talk, eat and eliminate, shower and live at home!!!! he can come to outpatient rehab to continue to tweak the recovery. I had my hand on the suitcase, but believe it or not… there’s paperwork to be done. Of the most importance is the doctor’s orders and other “sign offs.” Chuck himself is excited to go home and I am very excited. I have to move slow and be quiet because he is still recovering! He said, “good thing we built that bathroom with a walk in shower and a bench.” He showered himself tonight “in anticipation.” This Thanksgiving we can say “thanks be to God for blessings” and we know a true miracle. I will keep you posted and I thank so many of our friends who were with us through this and have pledged to be with us until “the man is back” grumbling because he has lists of things to do, grumbling because he has to jog, etc… what else? Love to you this time of Thanksgiving. I’ll continue to blog especially tomorrow. God’s Angels have cleared many boulders out of the way, and I am sure tomorrow will go smoothly. Until tomorrow evening…. say a little prayer for Karen Skipp’s Mom who went into the hospital with pneumonia in Orlando. Karen is worried. God bless Karen, her Mom, and her family. Love to you all my readers, Sue

The good, the bad, and the wonderful

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Chuck loves an early Clint Eastwood movie “The good, the bad, and the ugly”… well with all the blessings poured out on us, I can’t think of anything ugly. Today was, like Chuck’s injury, interesting. I made a special carry-in meal for Chuck today and as he ate, I asked about rehab. He answered: “The rehab girl walked me all over the place and she doesn’t make me use a wheelchair. We walked out side all around the gazebo.” He went on and on about this walk outside, and I thought “He’s hallucinating. About what he wants, or what I do with him. He wants to go out, but they won’t let him.” (The nurses on his ward make him stay in a wheelchair “for his own protection.”) A few minutes after lunch, Chuck was wheeled away by rehab; I called Karen, and out of the corner of my eye, there goes Chuck with a PT girl, strolling all around the gazebo, walking a maze, waving to say “Hi” to people, doing leg stretches and all kinds of upper body coordination tricks the PT people do. “Oh I feel so guilty for doubting him!!!” He’s all up in arms because the nurses make him stay in a wheelchair and call when he needs to toilet. Protect him like wrapping him in cotton, and even gave him a full time assistant to protect him. I swear! Her name is Veronica; she’s at his beck and call. He will be so spoiled. We meet with the staff tomorrow and with the managing doctor who is making him stay in a wheelchair (anyone here heard of liability?) to protect him…. Chuck will say, “Let me have a walker! PT lets me walk!!!” My dog is in a fight. My first instinct is to fight for him, to say, “stop waking him up 4 times a night, let him sleep…. let him walk!” But my first reality is “rehab him.” Friend Karen will try to come to the meeting and I’ll bow to hers and the doctor’s wills.

My own adventure for the morning was cooking a chicken dish for Chuck, packing 3 bags (Chuck’s clean laundry, my big bag, 2 sweaters, and the food) into the car and getting to the corner and having the tire light flash and ding. “Oh you sissy,” I said to car, “it’s not winter yet.” Car hates cold weather. But I’m not foolish either so I turned around to head back home and give the problem to Chuck. Realized he isn’t home, and turned around into Dick’s driveway…. Some of you have already heard my plaintive, “I need your help” and responded with much love. Dick walked around the car and we spotted a screw stuck in the tire. I then handed Dick my car key and asked to borrow their car and had all my stuff moved to their car when I said, “Wait! I have the van!” My brain only works on one thing at a time lately as you can probably tell from this rambling narrative. What used to be my competent brain is reduced to one cylinder and that one works slowly. Diane and I drove her car to my house and unloaded all the stuff into the van and off I went to give Chuck the special lunch. He then also ate from the tray they give him at the hospital. If Chuck lost any weight being on IVs and a stomach tube… he’s eating like a truck driver now.

So what’s the good, the bad, and the wonderful?
The good? Chuck’s progress; he’s alive… I thought he would die in post op, my prayer as I walked the surgery halls was his name. “Chuck… fight… Chuck fight.” Today he took a 10 minute cat nap after lunch and then PT came - like clockwork. He woke up and moved off the bed, albeit grudgingly… and went off to rehab.
The bad? The screws that get into our tires (and our life?) when we least expect or need them. Not being able to sleep at night… I am finally sleeping well at night. Chuck has to deal with nurses taking his blood pressure at 2am and then getting back to sleep…
The wonderful? Friends that I can wake up at 5am and who will drive me to the hospital and stay with me there bringing me milk to drink, friends I can hand my keys to, friends who are praying for Chuck and me. Chuck is lookin’ good! Our God is an awesome God. Love Susie

Yikes ! No rehab today

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Our boy Chuck was ready for a jog when I got to the rehab today. The nurses had him in the secretarial position with a tablet I had given to him… he was writing and I noticed his writing has improved. But bored. On Tuesday I get to meet with all the rehab people and I’m going to ask them to consider giving him a walker to walk the halls and work off some energy. Sitting in a wheelchair is just frustrating him. I think he needs a good workout morning and afternoon. If there is no rehab, I will need to entertain him on Thanksgiving so will welcome visits all day. I am torn between “overdoing it” with too many visitors (which I think contributed to his relapse back to the ER - something I hope I never have to do again) and letting him nap vs him chomping and jerking at the bit. Yikes this is delicate business. I will write to tell you all if he has rehab on Thursday and if not… we would love a short visit any time. If there is rehab then he’ll need that rest from 3-4. I certainly hope there are some football games on. Today he watched the NASCAR race and then… there was no football on (the TV in his room has odd stations… there might have been football, but not on the channels the hospital gets). Well dears, please continue to pray for Chuck to regain decision making and patience. He’s having trouble with patience and what is called the executive function which helps him to make the right “conscious” decisions. I know you pray for us, and believe me, your prayers are heard in heaven. And thank you for the beautiful dinners. If I lost a few pound in the beginning you are helping me find them!!!! Love Susie

learning to knit

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Well my dears, Chuck had a good day of rehab, visitors from Coral Gables old neighborhood, speech therapy which involves moving stuff around in mazes, very complicated stuff… and only a one hour nap.. so I assume he is deep in dreams right now. I left him in mid dinner which is very hard for me to leave him at all, but it was dark and I am not a great driver at night and very tired so I ask forgiveness… He is fine as he has a nurse and a nurse’s aid on a floor that has only about 10 patients. Karen and Peter Skipp invited me for dinner and I ate great food! We are now watching a replay of the Gershwin award given to Paul McCartney in the White House…. beautiful music that makes me proud of the USA. Karen is teaching me to knit and Chuck will get a “rehab scarf” for Christmas. I will sleep here tonight amidst people who love me and have known Chuck since he was 14 (Peter). So my dears, I continue to ask for your prayers for Chuck. I want him back 100%. I am thanking you for the beautiful cards you are sending, and I have every hope of complete recovery so Chuck and I can continue to visit you and entertain you and love you. God bless you. Susie

leaping and bounding and napping

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Hi dear friends and family. I’ve observed two full days of rehab and Chuck is settling into a routine that I hope will be a full 2 weeks. We might hate being in an institution (being awakened, given food that is good, but not “Susie cooked”, being taken to the toilet and then someone hovering outside the door waiting for you, being showered by someone…. although I think he enjoys being shaved… ) yikes not like home, but he gets rehab 9 to 11:30, lunch, back to rehab 1 to 3:30 and then he falls into bed! Today he had his glasses off and his head hit the pillow and I heard soft snoring noises! He’s up again about 4:30 to 5pm and I take him for a ride all around the grounds in his wheelchair for about an hour and then we wait for food!!!! he’s hungry. He has to work hard and he has to heal. The brain was stunned, and damage at this point is an unknown factor. He’s walking and talking and his sense of humor is intact. All systems seem to be go. He thinks he’s OK so he’s impulsive and trying to go faster than rehab folks want him to … some cognition and planning issues to deal with. Just need to heal. Friends have brought burgers and chocolate shakes i think twice or three times - probably need to think about cholesterol, but a couple of burgers is like manna when you are on salt free hospital food… and tonight I found the mother load! He sucked down his milk so I went to the desk and asked if he could have another milk. “Take what you want” she said, showing me where the refrigerator is…. OH boy! applesauce, milk, and ice cream!!!! He ate all 3. It’s the simple pleasures that make icky OK. Thanking God for many blessings. Love Sue

Rehab 201 (19 out of 20)

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Hi dear friends and family. Chuck had a full day of rehab. This morning he took 2 tests on a computer: they flash different colored boxes and you have to push a button when you see a yellow box. He got 19 out of 20. Then they played tones and you had to push the button when you heard the right tone. 19 out of 20. They are exercizing his legs and walking, but they make him stay in the wheel chair during rest times which drives him nuts. They know there were seizures and a day of dizziness at Baptist so they are all over Chuck to be careful. So he learned to drive the wheel chair. When I took him for a walk today to the gazebo in the gardens outside his bedroom window at the back of the hospital; we were talking and he drove out down the walk. “What are you doing?” I asked, and he answered, “I wanted to be sure it is raining”. I guess he saw the rain and wanted to go out and feel it - and indeed it was sprinkling. Then we road to the front of the hospital and I saw parking spots and said I wanted to go to his room and get the car key to move my car from a back lot. I parked him in front of a lovely water garden and when I came back he was gone. I thought….. “Oh we are going to get in so much trouble.” He was headed across the driveway to another garden. “You stay here in the garden!” I fiercely said and went to get my car and indeed he stayed, driving up into the garden and was waiting for me. He is rehabbing quickly and not having any dizziness, but he is ready for a nap after the 2nd rehab. Today he got to the room at 2:30 and was snoring at 2:45. I love to hear him sleeping as I know the brain is down and healing. He wakes very slowly so let’s say he rests between 2:30 and 4:30. … He is eating well. Tonight he ate dinner and then Peter came with burger and shake and he ate that too. I hope he won’t have discomfort from all that food, but I don’t think he got a lot for lunch in rehab. … He’s being pretty good and behaving and the staff is very good at taking care of him. He liked the male nurse who washed and shaved him this morning, and he likes “Julie” who drives him to rehab and brings him back! Thank you Lord for 19 out of 20! Love Susie

Rehab day 1

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Hi dear friends. I think we better brush up on our math skills! Yesterday a Doctor Pi (pronounced pee) came to test Chuck. I stood outside the door while she quizzed him. Name, dob, age, studies (he answered U of M Finance), year, season (he answered fall), month (I’ve kind of taught him it is November as he’s really lost November), day of week (she laughed because checked the board; well I check the newspaper to see what day it is sometimes), state, country (the United States of America), city, what type of building are you in? (he said “what type of building?” as if to say what an open ended question that is… he then said, hospital), 3 things repeat them and i’ll ask you again later… now the math: 100-7 he said 93. OK 93-7 ……… she said, “you’re writing that down” (I’ve given him a tablet to “take notes” and he uses it, although we can’t read what he wrote!) and I thought standing there using my 10 fingers, “I can’t figure it out myself” …. then she asked OK 95 - 7 = same response. I don’t think he got the arithmetic questions right… . … Repeat the 3 words. he did. she did some identification: what is that, what is that (no problem)…. instructions. I love these: before you touch your nose, look at the door. poor Chuck is constantly touching his nose for doctors and he even does things in advance before they ask him (this is the impulsiveness that comes with brain injury. It is Chcuk saying “I’m OK”. Instruction: take this paper and read this. OK write a sentence. … He’s lost his writing - it’s just chicken scratch which I am sure OT will work on. He’s also a little paranoid “they’re watching me and won’t let me do things alone…” Rob and I both answered “Well yes Chuck you have had a brain injury and they are protecting you and themselves. Let them help ou. it’s their job.” Our old Chuck is very much with us. In control, impulsive, moving quickly, but doctors are keeping him under wraps and moving slowly. When you come to visit, listen to his tales of woe, and then be positive and firm. We expect full recovery, it will just take time. Did anyone ever see Chuck ask for help, move slowly, or let anyone do anything for him? i am always so grateful for your help like when Chuck and I were up on the roof laying giant sheets of plywood and Dave and George came up and finished the job…. Chuck was so concerned about whether they were doing it “right”. Enuf said. Please continue to pray for Chuck. His is a mighty injury, and his will be a mighty mission because he is one who helps people and I pray he will be able to use this experience to help others. Thank you for your prayers. God bless Chuck and praise God for keeping Chuck with us. Love Susie

Ready to go. Let’s call this rehab day 1!

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

My dear friends and family. The sun is shining, and after I do a few errands at the bank and insurance company I will go with crossword puzzles and magazines and “meet the rehab folks.” Today is evaluation again and tomorrow starts rehab in earnest. Please you keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming. When Chuck was in the ER this last time I put my hand on his chest and asked our Blessed Mother to cover him with her mantle. If you look at a statue or image of the Blessed Mother Mary, she wraps up the baby Jesus in her cloak. Well, why not ask her to wrap up our “babies”? If you have my book, please read what I wrote about Mary…. Our God and the angels and Mary have a lot to do with this recovery. Again, my role with Chuck is not the one who will teach him stuff (like how to be careful when he gets out of bed - although I am there to remind him!) so much as it is to love. You all do the rest. My teams are in place and people are helping!!! When we got the diagnosis from the MRI and they said to rush to the ER … I thought oh good it’s not cancer. Because we’re all scared of that - especially in the brain… Many have been through the scary disease times and have came out on the other side with brains intact… What we’re dealing with here is physical and mental and it seems all we have at this point is faith, hope, and charity. Doctors are technicians and probably too overworked to do “emotional stuff” like explain things to relatives…. I will continue to search for the “what next” and all the details I need to know to return life to normal for Chuck! My friends keep helping me! For example: Karen (Skipp) a very old friend who works with the elderly at a rehab and nursing home came by last night and will help me and Chuck greatly to get through rehab. All his old friends will help him to get the scrambled past back into shape: for example; he had a little trouble last night getting time frames and the sequence of when he went into the navy, to the university of Miami, and FHP, but he can quote our wedding date and that we just had a 40th Anniversary party! he remembers the right stuff! Cheers and blessings to you. …. My continuing prayer is… God bless Chuck and bring him home. Love Sue

Chuck’s second (hiccup) day in rehab

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Hi dear friends and family. The second day in rehab finally came after a hiccup: Sunday night in the ER and a day and 1/2 in tests that revealed “nothing.” I am calling what Chuck had on Sunday evening an “event.” In the last day and 1/2 I’ve spoken to at least 6 doctors and indeed another “McDreamy.” When I got to the hospital today, the neurologist and neuro surgeon were at the desk and this McDreamy was kneeling by Chuck’s chair and talking with him. Later McDreamy handed me his card. Are you ready for this girls? Damian Chaupin, M. D. I do not recommend hanging around a neuro science step ICU unit, but oh my gosh what “catches” hang out there. He is the cardiologist who was called to consult on the “event.” He too found nothing wrong with our sweet Chuck. Doctors said he’s fine and they don’t know what caused him to “go away” for almost 1/2 hour on Sunday evening….Maybe a little TIA, maybe a seizure, in my opinion pure exhaustion, but doctors don’t think that. This was a very active morning while he was visited by neuro surgeon, had stitches removed, visited by the neurologist and the cardiologist; took a last walk with Sabrina the rehab girl (cute blond pony tail), and was finally dismissed from Baptist. As Chuck told me… “The doctor said, ‘Get out.’” Dave helped Chuck out of the hospital gown and into “sweats,” and a van picked Chuck up and swooped him away from Baptist (We’re really trying to close this part of his adventure) and back to rehab about 1pm today. I immediately played Mama and got him into bed. (I might have to monitor him, make sure he gets naps for a few days, and keep him quiet until he stabilizes and heals some more. He ate a very good dinner and his eyes started closing again so We (Karen and I) . 0 tucked him in and left him ready for sleep at 7:30 pm. Karen will be able to advise and help me with rehab. So many people have helped already, and will help more later, and I’m eating well from the food neighbors are bringing. The rehab place is nice, clean, and people are competent. People check on him at least every 2 hours and they are very kind. God has blessed me with the best of the best, including Chuck and you my dear readers.

Chuck’s first day of rehab

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Was exhausting! he had an “event” and the rehab doctor wanted him checked out so back to Baptist. A day of tests revealed… nothing. I talked with the neurologist today who said Chuck is healing nicely…. Again what caused the seizures and the “event” doctors don’t know. it is the neurology is an art and not a science thing…. one more test today and he goes back to rehab - today if we can move the test taking and the review along. Dave is with him and I am home to nap. …. Ah! Sleep that knits the ravelled sleeve of care! (Shakespeare Macbeth) All systems are healthy, and we need to continue the work of rehab and prayer. Thank you so much for caring. Please wait to see him if you were considering visit as he needs rest for a few days. Love Sue

November 14, 2010

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

We have been blessed with all the love of our family and friends. Chuck’s first day of rehab was very busy and exhausting. Please no visitors today we are trying to focus on his rehabilitation. Thank you all for your love and support.

Rehab 101.5

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

It’s Saturday afternoon and Chuck and I spent our first night together in a week. He was in his hospital bed at the rehab center, and I was across the room in my little cot. (George, think Mother Teresa cot…. but it will do for now.) I thanked God for every breath or snort he made as he slept from 9pm to 4am (take a little break for a potty stop) and then from 4 to 6. How amazing it is to have a partner that we begin to take advantage of (I think there is another way to say this but I’m not firing on all cylinders myself!) …. wanting him to be quiet when he sleeps and then almost losing him. I feel sad for those who have lost this partner; I understand your sadness and I send you a loving hug. Chuck ate breakfast and the rehab people started evaluating. I don’t have their report, but he saw OT, PT and speech therapist. He has been surrounded with Dave and Debby and Charlie and Kathy while I was sent home for a nap…. haven’t wanted to sleep yet. I took a photo of Charlie and Dave on my sofa sipping a beer watching the University of Miami football game. Hey! who’s with “the kid?” Chuck is in good hands and I’ll be back there with him tonight and Sunday night when he should be oriented and ready for full day of rehab on Monday! maybe even rehab on Sunday. If you visit go slow as he has a little cognitive confusion… Brain has to get firing again. It’s a little like getting hit up the side of the head by a 2 x 4. His brain is stunned and trying to get his bearings. God bless you for continuing prayer, and God bless our Chuck.

Rehab 101

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Chuck moved today at 6:30 pm to West Gables Rehabilitation Hospital Room 109! We are very close to home on Coral Way and 75 avenue. Sue will be spending the first night there before real rehab begins. Tonight is just orientation. Tomorrow a rehab doctor will come and plan the next week. Friends Kathy and Charlie just helped us celebrate Chuck’s release from Baptist with Wendy’s burgers and chocolate frostys. Before we end here please Continue your prayers: Our God is an awesome God… praise him for the miracle of life Chuck has received and now let us pray for Chuck’s complete recovery. God bless you Love Susie

Leaping and bounding right out of the hospital!

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Chuck has been poked and prodded, kicked in the head and pummeled, stuck and beaten, sleep deprived, and subjected to a million tests, but he has won the first round. Today I came home early to take a nap (ha!) and Charlie Paparelli called to patiently tell me (amidst my frantic squeals of concern) that the doctors met and say Chuck is medically stable; he is ready for intensive and aggressive rehab. “Got a pencil? Call this place.” I was stunned - pencil? write?” Like a deer stalled in the headlights of an oncoming car. So Charlie called the place to say I was on my way (With Debby my loyal support sister driving). The Admissions Director is a friend and ministry sister of mine at St Timothy church!!! It was one of those “Sue!” … “Zely!” (big hug) moments. She took me around the facility - oh my gosh you can see yourself in the shiny floors. He gets a nice room with a window view and there is another bed for someone to stay there (Little does Charlie Paparelli know but I’m thinking he should stay with Chuck the first night!) Kathy and I can stay home and watch a movie and eat pop corn while Charlie gets Chuck settled in. Rehab will be about 6 hours per day. The brain is an amazing creature. It’s like being hit hard on the head. he’s dazed… and he has to work back the brain function, let the swelling go down. But doctors think he will make a full recovery. Praise God in all his wonders my dears because no mortal could ever have orchestrated this storm in any finer manner. Stay with us as we walk this road. keep praying. Love Sue

Not leaping and bounding but strong

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Hi my dear friends. Chuck was visited by many experts today who all tested him… poor Chuck. He just falls asleep and the door opens… “Hi Chuck I’m Tiffany, lift your right arm!!! Good, now the left…” etc etc. Physical therapy got him out of bed, stand, walked him to the chair and proceeded to test his arms and legs. Will take him for a walk down the hall tomorrow!!!! Occupational therapy had him drink, chew up a baby aspirin and brush his teeth. All OK. Dr from physical therapy examined him and said he is strong… will need speech therapy. And how many times did I tell him to shoosh because he is so loud! OK OK I will be so happy to hear him postulating again! Neurologist thinks he is progressing nicely for someone who had his brain beaten up - asked Chuck a question that scared me: “Chuck who is in the room?” You know you can fake a lot and I gulped and held my breath… “Debby, Dave,,(he hesitated as if he knew I was holding my breath),, and Sue” big whoof of air from me. Neurologist also had him repeat “it is a sunny day.” which he did. Today he did not sleep through these sessions, but I’m validating every person who ever said you can’t get any sleep in the hospital!!! I left him sitting in a chair like a king. Peter Skipp is coming in to help him eat his dinner. Tomorrow is another big day. Our God is an awesome God! Happy Veteran’s Day to all our vets. Love Susie

Chuck: in leaps and bounds

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

When Debby and I arrived at 9:30 occupational therapy (OT) was here - Chuck is lifting his arms, moving arms, speaking (answering questions with a low slow voice) and he washed his hands with a towelette. The temporary feeding tube came out (by accident) last night (hand of God?) and the RN was talking about putting in another feeding tube, but first they would try to schedule a swallow test. The neurologist came and asked Chuck the date… he answered “2 thousand seven…or 9″. Well, I thought, he’s missed the financial downturn and the presidential and mid term elections which is not a bad thing!!!  He dutifully squeezed the neurologist’s hand and I gave a report on how the OT went. I asked the neurologist to please help me escalate getting the swallow test done, and indeed I heard him talking to the nurse about it. And indeed the technician came an hour later when Chuck was very drowsy. We all (me, Kathy, Dick and Diane) left the room to allow Chuck to concentrate, and true to his nature, he passed the test. The neuro surgeon visited also and he thinks we’re going for a pretty full recovery: the Ct scan is clear, no bleeding and the brain is back in place (isn’t that nice - poor brain has been abused!). Finally on the physical plain the echo cardiogram shows no disease in his arteries (they are trying to find out why the thalamic infarcs). Cousin Carol advised that the thalamus where he had the three bilateral infarcs is responsible for hot and cold registration which might help to account for Chuck’s hot and cold and sweaty hands. Oh well Chuck join the ranks of we women who are hot one minute and cold the next. Then the social worker came by (she interfaces with the insurance company.) She also was very nice and recommended I go for massage therapy at a wonderful sounding place called Body Mind and Spirit Natural Health Care. Doesn’t that sound nice? For physical therapy he sat on on the side of the bed and did some exercises and then he stood up and moved to a chair (of course with the help of the therapist). He did a bunch of exercises and his range of motion looks good. He’s in a very fancy new room above the emergency center and will receive “aggressive” physical and occupational therapy. Room 2407. God continue to bless our Chuck. Love Susie

neurosurgery - an art not a science - November 8

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Our friend Karen wisely advised me why the neurosurgeons don’t know why Chuck is having seizures and why his case is unusual, unique and well just uncommon… neurology is an art. Today was an amazing day where baby steps seemed like leaps. Chuck saw me across a 30 foot space, I waved at him and he waved back. He blew an air kiss at Diane. He reached out for Rick’s hand and held it. He kind of grinned at Rob and reached out his hand for a University of Miami pin Rob gave to him. He nods “no” his wife’s name is not Pam, “yes” his wife’s name is Sue. He’s coming along. Now of course our contrary Chuck slept through Physical Therapy (who wants to run and jog when he can take a nap instead???? Chuck!) He slept through the neurosurgeon’s 6PM visit, utterly unconcerned that the high priest of surgery was evaluating him. Shake your head here and say “that’s Chuck.” His brain must be healing because he’s himself more and more. He sleeps because they are medicating him trying to get his brain to quiet down after being abused by being squeezed under the hematoma. His heart beat, blood pressure, pulse, all vital signs are normal and he has always breathed on his own… The bilateral thalamic infarcs are confusing the neurologists. unusual, unique and well just uncommon…. I guess that’s it. We wait and we pray.

Chuck’s journey November 4 thru 7

Monday, November 8th, 2010

For a few days after I took Chuck to the doctor to see what was wrong with him, I have been running on adrenaline and tears - not great brain food so I forgot about this blog.  But I remembered it about 3:30 this morning and I decided to use it. Friend Mike helped me remember how to write… and so I’ll write here “what happened” as Chuck will want to know “what in the heck happened…”  and so he can read it here…

Let me summarize the past few days… Please see the dates from the bottom up.

Chuck post op day 2  (November 7 written at 9:30 PM)
Hi dear ones. Today is Sunday. I went to 8am Mass that was said by a priest who is praying for Chuck “Father, mi esposo esta infermo,” I said, pointing at my head. He took me into his arms.  During Mass which was in Spanish, I prayed a big long prayer for Chuck’s recovery. Please you too pray for Chuck. 
 

What a roller coaster our Chuck has taken us on. Today Debby and I arrived at the hospital and there seemed to be little change. Chuck had a seizure at 2am and he was sleeping it off. His neurosurgeon came in about 10am while I was on the phone with Jon Lynn getting advice on a second opinion consult.  We assembled a neuro team of the best of the best with Chuck’s neuro surgeon, Dr. McDreamy, and the “best of the best” neurosurgeon at Baptist. The story of how we found Dr McDreamy is a story in itself. Bear with me a moment…. Debby spotted him standing out in the central area. he was dressed in a leather jacket and blue jeans. I looked at him and swooned and called Penny over to look…   We stared at him for a while and then I pulled myself back together to go tell the RN in charge of Chuck that I wanted the consult with the “best neuro at Baptist.”  ”Well he’s sitting right over there,” he said. …   “Yikes, what do I do?” I asked Rick who said, “go get him! bring him in here!”    I did and he did.  This new neuro team consulted over Chuck’s CT scan and then over Chuck himself.  The neuro team says we will take small steps and an ICU nurse I know from St Timothy church says with neuro it’s wait and wait. He’s had several CT scans and his neuro surgeon says “this is the most unique and interesting case he’s seen in 20 years.”  Chuck we could stand you to be a little less “unique and interesting.”   (the RN watched me assemble this dream team and asked me ‘who I know” and I sagely pointed up…. (thank God! and Lyn/Klein)
 

Chuck grew in awareness as the day progressed. His old friends Rick (navy), Dave (FHP partner), Jon Lynn and Rob Klein (law firm partners where Chuck worked) all stimulated him and drew responses from him. Rick got him to wiggle his toes and Rob drew a smile.  We ask for prayer for Chuck’s recovery and walking out of this place. More if you don’t mind… tomorrow. God bless you, Sue   
 

from our friend Danilo from Venice Italy:  Dio lo benedica (God bless him).
From St Augustine women’s Emmaus: “Chuck Peabody - has some complications… Doctors are treating post 
surgery seizures and evaluating some tiny infarcs in the brain.  Had 
subdural hematoma.  Divine intervention…..for this we pray that 
neurologists can heal everything about this.”
 

November 7 (6:12 AM)  The Emmaus family
Please convery our thoughts and prayers to Chuck and may God’s mighty and protecting arms be on both of you and may each day bring you peace as you await a Chuck’s recovery.  Prayer for Trust in Jesus 
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength.  Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things. AMEN…  Iris, Laura and Joy. It is so comforting knowing 3 churches and many Emmaus family members, men and women, are praying for Chuck. We’ll need prayers. This is very scary, but people are praying who never prayed before, people see me leaning on the Lord, praying the Rosary, praying, and they too are influenced. Chuck has so much talent. I am asking the Lord to save him and put him on an Emmaus team. So strong, so self willed, so … so much clay for God to work with!!!!   let us pray… Please forward as you see fit (to Emmaus sisters - I’m thinking of Ana Cairo and others) Love Susie 
 

Chuck post op day 1  (November 6 9:30 PM)
 

As you see there are many people on this list!  I call as many as I can but this is traumatic and I can’t often talk about it. I’m supported by, two friends (Debby Johnson and Pete Skipp) here to hug and help me to pray, and believe me, you all have helped me so much. Again, the role we all play here is prayer. I’d like to try to update you every day and ask you to continue to ask God for healing for our Chuck. Each of us has a special connection to Chuck even if it is only through your knowing me (some St Timothy friends have not yet met “the man Chuck,” but you will one day! )   I can’t speak too much about this or I start crying so I hope these emails help and one day… Chuck will hear of how many loved him and prayed for him over these hard days. Your prayers keep me strong. Pete reminded me today at lunch when I saw the RN who put in Chuck’s feeding tube and I started to cry…… “stop going down that road, stop, and say a prayer,” he said.. And that settled me down. 
 
To summarize. Chuck probably bumped his head on the car while he was loading equipment during a 3 day shooting range with FHP. He was under great stress to master a new weapon and indeed he shot a Master level in the course (I think 39 out of 40). But it exhausted him and sometime during the weekend he bumped his head.  Thinking the exhaustion and stiff neck he got were from the exertion we missed the bumped head. He began to lose functions, balance, signature and putting on socks and I made him an appointment with our family doctor who pretty much judged correctly that Chuck needed an MRI. That same afternoon we got heavy news that Chuck had bleeding on the brain and needed to get to the ER immediately. He was admitted to the ER on Thursday afternoon (11/4) about 6pm and lay in the ER until 3pm Friday. Surgery for a sub dural hemotoma on Friday (11/5) at 6pm followed by a rough recovery. He was finally moved to ICU Saturday morning (11/6) at 5:30am. When I saw him this morning (Saturday) at 7 I was frightened at the enormity of his suffering. He is basically non responsive and he is rigid and trembling at times. Other times he is fast asleep.  .. At about 10:30 am the surgeon reported that the surgery went well, the hemotoma has drained and there appears to be no more bleeding, but something else is going on inhibiting recovery that a neuro surgeon has to deal with. he ordered an EEG, MRI and MRA. These are scans of the brain looking for seizures.  The physician on duty said Chuck should be awake but the brain issue is causing the sleeping and tremors… so wait for the neuro surgeon.  At about noon they put in a feeding tube, which I know he needs, but it freaked me out. All I could see was long term this condition continuing. Peter’s advice to pray and give it to God helped me focus on the short term. he needs nutrition today and tomorrow…   We stalked the halls and made the Nurse Practitioner make 3 calls to the neurosurgeon who finally came at 8pm. The physical assessment indicated he responds to pain on fingers and toes (shades of prison torture in my eyes), his pupils respond correctly to light, his toes curled with the Babinsky test, but the clenched hands and tremors when he is stimulated might be seizures keeping him from communicating. Treat that first. …  he will be medicated with 3 new medications hopefully tonight… and we will see him in the morning.  I want you to keep praying and realize there is nothing else you can do at this time. Debby and I summarized and concluded in the car on the way home that this will take time (and that is what the neurologist said although I don’t know why we couldn’t see him at 10am this morning… we waited a day just watching Chuck twitch and sleep. It was awful. Please continue to pray and let us pray for Chuck’s recovery and health. I will send again tomorrow night. God bless you. Love Susie 
 

November 4 (10:43 PM)
Hi my dears. Today has been the hardest day for me as I had to be the strong one… Since he went to an extreme FHP training a few weeks ago,  Chuck has been feeling bad, headaches, exhausted, and finally when he had trouble getting his socks on, I put my foot down and got him to the doctor today at 10:30am (a very blessed find of a doctor from my church came to me by church friends). Doctor’s very able assistant got us scheduled for an MRI. The MRI tech alerted the Radiologist who moved very quickly to write up a preliminary report and by 6pm we were at the Baptist Hospital emergency room…. they were waiting for us. They covered Chuck with tubes and had a stroke kit ready and 2 people getting his history. Fortunately I know him well and was able to provide much information. The bottom line is he is having a sub dural hemotoma (hemorrhage) on the brain.  This is the reason everyone moved so quickly. They took him for a CT scan and confirmed what showed as bleeding on the MRI, but got some good news. It is veins bleeding and it is unlikely it is an aneurysm or embolism. I left him well cared for, ordered not to move and to relax, and reading a book. He is being moved from ER to neurological ICU and will see neurosurgeon tomorrow who will monitor him for a few days to see if bleeding stops…. It should stop and recede…  We know no more until tomorrow. This is day to day.  I’ll go back to the hospital after Mass and stay with him tomorrow. 
 

My role, you ask?  To carry his stuff, to document and give information, to give him his book when he needed it, and to pray. And that my dear is your role!  Say a little prayer for our Chuck. He will have to change his wild man lifestyle…. But he is alive and will live a long good life.  I will email you again tomorrow evening and keep you posted. I expect a full recovery and we will follow all orders and directions of neurosurgeon. I promise!  God bless you and God bless our Chuck. Love Sue