October 3, 2011

September 25, 2011 19:45
After listening to multiple people tell me that CaringBridge is an easy way to update a blog, I have decided to finally switch over (mostly because CaringBridge has an iphone app). The new website where I will publish all of Brian's info is:http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/brianjergens
Sorry if I confuse everyone! 

September 25, 2011 18:30
Wow! I just realized how long it has been since I last updated! Thanks to James and Carolina Brown, I am no longer going without internet :) Things around here have been slow.  For those of you who didn't read my facebook post, we are in the IICU right now.  Brian's blood pressure dropped pretty low on Tuesday and the doctors were concerned and felt he needed monitoring until his infection is under control.  Brian has since been stable and kicking his legs nonstop! Unfortunately, Brian has yet to get outside in his wheelchair due to the unexpected turn of events, but hopefully soon! Speech pathology has been working on the Passey-Muir  valve with Brian.  It is basically a one way valve that goes over his trach and allows him to breathe through it, but forces him to exhale out through either his mouth or nose.  He has done really well with it on both trials.  The Passey-Muir valve will allow him to talk when he is ready.  He cleared his throat a few times on command and it was nice to hear some sound come out of him! Brian watched the Chiefs play today and wore his KC hat that was sent to him :) Unfortunately he couldn't wear his jersey or the tshirts that came with the hats just yet, but the hat seemed to satisfy him.  Sadly they lost, but it was a good game.  I posted a pic below of Brian is his hat. Looking good, huh!? That was first thing this morning when I turned the lights in his room on. He isn't exactly happy about the lights going on and prefers the room dark, but his day and night cycle is very out of whack, so we are trying to get him on a schedule.  He is currently waking up around 3 or 4 am and going to bed around 7 or 8 pm.  Keep Brian in your prayers as he undergoes some scans and tests tomorrow! 

Picture

September 20, 2011 16:30
Greetings from California! Sorry for not updating yesterday, my room doesn't have internet, but the hospital does! The flight went smoothly yesterday afternoon. We were delayed a few hours at the hospital because they wanted to have some blood on hand for him in the event of an emergency and it took longer than expected. We landed here about 630 and were greeted by some pretty amazing people. They held flags and cheered for him. Once he was loaded in the ambulance, the patriot guard riders hopped on their motorcycles (also equipped with flags) and escorted us to the rehab center.  The ambulance had the sirens on so that the CCATT team could get back to the plane in a reasonable amount of time once they dropped Brian off.  He got settled in and had an uneventful night. 

We've been busy today with therapy. Brian is in radiology right now getting some x-rays. This morning Brian started with neuro psych, OT, and PT.  They all came together since they all run basically the same test.  They got a baseline of where Brian is right now and are planning on setting some goals for him over the week.  It is very important for him to take rest breaks between therapy sessions so he doesn't feel overwhelmed so he had an hour and a half to relax this morning before speech pathology came by.  She ran a different test and he did much better. He was awake all night though and tired this morning so he had a little more energy this afternoon. He got fitted for his helmet this morning and they are working on getting him a wheelchair right now. They are hoping to have it done by this evening so that he can go outside while the sun isn't so bright.  My mom says she will bring our dogs tonight if he gets to go out! He will LOVE to see them.  Of course if you know them, you know they are WILD, so they will probably only visit for a few minutes and be restrained so they don't jump all over him.  Very excited for therapy tomorrow! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

September 19, 2011 8:15
Another peaceful night.  Got the good news yesterday that we are leaving for California today!! I am so excited! Finally time for Brian to get better :) I'm a little nervous for the transport, but it will be a direct flight so hopefully it will go smoothly and the thunder storms here won't prohibit the flight.  Cross your fingers and say a prayer for Brian! 
-Jennifer

September 18, 2011 8:25
Brian had a good day yesterday and a good night.  They didn't have to call the rapid response team, although his heart rate still does become elevated when he is fed.  The doctors say this is something they see sometimes with people who just had a surgery or operation in their stomach.  Brian just had the ulcer so they think he is trying to get used to food again.  It should get better on its own over time. Talked to the admissions coordinator from the VA in Palo Alto yesterday and I cannot wait for Brian to start rehab there! Please keep Brian in your prayers today.
-Jennifer

September 17, 2011 6:45
Hi everyone! Sorry I haven't updated for a few days. As I told all of the people who asked me why I didn't update yesterday, I just can't update from my phone and I didn't leave the hospital at all yesterday to come and do it.  Brian is fine though! We had some problems with his feedings yesterday. Every time they would feed him they would have to call the rapid response team because his heart rate would jump up.  All his other vitals remained stable, only his heart rate was affected.  They are trying to get it sorted out today.  We will not be leaving for California today as we had hoped, but soon! They want to make sure Brian has absolutely everything he needs and they want to make it the smoothest transition for him, so it is taking a little longer than normal. Please keep praying for Brian. 
-Jennifer

September 15, 2011 18:15
Good day today for Bri! OT worked with him this morning. His arm is still a little tight because of the sutures, and the skin is tight, but it is getting better! Big highlight of the day is when speech pathology came in. She tried to see how Brian could handle ice chips on Monday (if he would swallow). He did okay on Monday, but was mostly asleep the whole time. She was going to come back Tuesday morning but with all that happened Monday night/ Tuesday morning, she didn't.  She came today and Brian did GREAT. She rubbed the ice over his lips and he licked the drops off.  She put it in his mouth and he moved it around and eventually swallowed it when it had dissolved.  She told me that he would be fine to do it with me several times throughout the day.  A couple hours later I put an ice cube in his mouth and he chewed it! I am so excited! She is going to come back tomorrow morning when he is at his best and see what he can really do since she has only seen him in the afternoon. I can't wait! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

September 14, 2011 18:30
Brian is out of the ICU. He moved back to the step down unit. He has been stable all day and all of last night as well. They have done blood counts and say he is not bleeding anymore. OT and PT both came in today and both said he is looking good.  He has a good range of motion.  A couple of minutes after they moved Bri out of the ICU, they were drawing some blood.  He sat right up in bed and nearly gave me a heart attack! He's never done that before.  He looked like he was in a lot of pain so I'm sure that is why he sat up so quickly! I hope the next time he sits up, it isn't because he is in pain.  Hoping for a good night tonight and day tomorrow! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

September 13, 2011 19:10
Making a quick stop to get some clothes for tonight so I thought I would update.  ROUGH day today.  Around 1 am this morning the nurses discovered him sitting in a lot of blood.  His blood pressure was extremely low.  There must have been 15 doctors and nurses all crowded around him shouting orders at each other. They moved him back to the ICU.  He needed a bunch of units of blood so they got all that going and him stabelized so that GI could come in and do a scope to see where he was bleeding from. After what seemed like forever, the doctor came to the waiting room and let me know that he was all taken care of.  Bri had a large ulcer in his stomach with a blood vessel poking through it.  The doctor cauterized both of them and hoped that the bleeding would stop.  They had to give him more blood after, but he seems to be more stable now. Our plans to leave today were set back a little, but I am very glad this happened here and not in California or in route there.  He was very out of it most of the morning but was opening his eyes and kicking his legs around some this afternoon. He is very swollen. We are hoping that this is all taken care of now and does not cause Brian any more problems.  Please keep Brian in your prayers!
-Jennifer

September 12, 2011 23:15
What a day! This morning was pretty relaxed for Brian.  No one really came in to mess with him until after lunch time.  He had an elevated white blood cell count so they ordered a full body CT scan to look for any infections or pneumonia.  They were worried that with the mix up with the tube feed the other day and his severe allergy to milk, that he may have thrown up and got it in his lungs causing an infection.  The CT scan just came back and showed no changes from the last one they took.  His fevers still continue, but they are so common that they hardly phase me anymore. It's not so much if he is going to get a fever, as it is when.  They have learned to keep tylenol on hand at all times for him and to keep ice packs in the room ready to go.  I talked to one of head nurses at the hospital today and expressed my concerns about the care he is getting, or lack there of.  She really seemed to agree that the problems we were having were unacceptable and the nursing staff on Brian's unit had a meeting and things seemed to improve for Brian by the end of the day.  He had 3 nurses taking care of him tonight! It's typically impossible to even find one.  Hopefully things continue like this.  It seems though that every day there has to be a major problem.  Tonight, Brian was due for a tube feed at 1900, the nurses realized that he didn't have any food in his room so they sent someone down personally to get some instead of waiting to have it sent up. It should have only taken a few minutes.  Well, because of Brian's strict diet, there are few formulas that he can tolerate (most contain dairy). The nutrition room had NO food that he has been having.  No Vivonex and no peptamin.  The nurse came back up with peptamin junior.  Apparently that was all they had.  So they called a doctor up and they tried to sort out the problem.  The peptamin junior had less calories and less proteins than the peptamin did.  They tried to sort it out so they could make it about equal by increasing how much he got.  There was really no way for them to make it work though.  In the end they ended up just saying that having less protein and calories was better than nothing and at 2100 finally fed him. 2 hours late.  Next problem that arose, they only had a couple of cans of it.  So now they need a new plan for when they run out. Hoping tomorrow is much smoother! Keep praying for Brian!
-Jennifer

September 11, 2011 20:25
Bri had a really good day today.  He relaxed and just enjoyed his Sunday.  The Chiefs played today so of course he showed in interest in that.  He watched tv for a while and was just staring at it.  He watched football and the Simpsons. Early evening he spiked a temp of 103.8 so the doctor came and looked at him and ordered an xray and some other tests.  Hoping for a good night tonight! Well back to the hospital I go. Say a prayer for Bri! 
-Jennifer

September 10, 2011 21:05
This morning we had a little bit of an issue at the hospital.  I went in his room this morning to find him with a rash on his stomach, chest, and arms.  I asked the nurse about it and she said "I don't know what it is from, nothing has changed." Oh but she was wrong.  A while later I was looking across Brian's bed and saw unfamiliar looking cans.  I walked over and realized that they were feeding him the wrong tube feeds all night and morning.  The ones they were giving him had dairy in them.  The doctor came up and put in an order for benadryl for him.  Needless to say, I was not happy. His nurse from last night will not be taking care of him tonight. He slept a good chunk of the day, probably because he wasn't feeling well and was dehydrated.  Still no word on when he leaves here, but I sure hope it is soon! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

September 9, 2011 21:10
Good day! Bri is officially suture free!  His O2 levels stayed about 97-100 today, which is quite an improvement from 85-94 the past few days.  He maintained a fairly stable temp and didn't go over 102 again! Hopefully this is the beginning of officially breaking the fevers.  He did really well with pain today and didn't need a lot of dosages of medication.  I think he only got pain meds twice today.  OT came and worked with him this morning and she said that his right arm is doing well.  His left shoulder is a little stiff and it hurts him when she messes with it, but he's getting a little stronger every day.  I will definitely be doing some exercises with him this weekend since OT doesn't work weekends.  She has been showing me what to do with him, so hopefully we can loosen up the stiffness some more! Still no word on when he will be leaving here, but his case manager is saying Tuesday at the latest, so I hope she is right! We are ready for the next step! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer


September 9, 2011 5:30
Just came back from the hospital to shower and get ready for the day.  Bri had a pretty good night.  Once they got him on some fluids, he was feeling a lot better.  He hardly coughed at all tonight so I think he got some good rest for the day, although he was kicking his legs almost all night.  Pray for a great day! It's time for those staples to come out!! 
-Jennifer

September 8, 2011 17:30
It's still pretty early but I won't come back to my room again tonight to update.  Bri was dehydrated today and is finally now starting to feel a little better.  The doctor was a little late today so he spent most of the day kind of out of it and not feeling well.  No more word on when we will leave here, but I am hoping it is soon! I can't wait for him to get started in neuro rehab!
-Jennifer

September 7, 2011 21:35
Busy busy day! Good day though! This morning was relaxed. The doctor came in to check him out and he just had a calm morning with his mom while his dad and I took care of some errands.  We had the teleconference with the VA in Palo Alto this afternoon.  It was a pretty big conference with the chief of trauma doctor, the PA, the TBI specialists, his case manager, the VA case manager, and the VA officer. It was a full house.  They decided that he is medically stable enough to move to Palo Alto!! He will basically be doing rehab every day from 9-4. Their first goal they set for him is to get him out of bed and into a wheelchair.  Once he can do that, then our dogs can come and see him! He will LOVE to see them, especially Starr (daddy's little girl).  Apollo will be a bit of a challenge since he likes to jump on everyone, but I think it will be a really good thing for Brian.  All we are waiting on is a plane that can take him! We should expect it to take 5 or so days, so hopefully this will be our last weekend here! This afternoon the orthopedic surgeon came in to check him out and said he looks really good! He said his work with Brian is basically done. The Ft Riley Rear D commander and another soldier came to see Brian today. He had a lot of visitors today. He had his eyes open a good portion of the day though! Bri was just taking all the visitors in and raising his eyebrows. Pray for a good night and another good day! 
-Jennifer

September 6, 2011 20:45
This morning, OT came in and did some exercises with his arms and hands and she said he is looking good. The doctors made their rounds and determined that Brian would be moved out of the ICU again today.  They told me he would be going to a step down ward. Meaning it isn't as intense care as the ICU is, but he will still be monitored and checked on fairly often.  I wasn't impressed with the last step down ward they put him in so I asked for him to go to a different one.  They decided he would go to 6 east.  We got up there and the nurse checked him out and then walked out.  I went to go find her to ask her why Brian wasn't hooked up to the monitor yet.  She told me that they don't use monitors on the 6th floor. AND they only do vitals every 4 hours! Needless to say, he didn't stay on the 6th floor long.  The 6th floor is FAR from a step down ward.  The only other option with an available bed was 3 east.  I wasn't happy about him going back to 3 east, but I guess him being monitored is better than not.  His heart was beating very fast since the first move out of the ICU and his O2 level was lower than normal.  On the plus side, he got the stitches out of his right leg today! Pray that tonight goes well and tomorrow is a better day for Brian! 
-Jennifer

September 5, 2011 20:40
Early night tonight. Brian had a pretty long day so I wanted to leave early so he could rest with the lights off. This morning, Brian got even more stitches out! All he has left now are the stitches in his lower right leg and the staples in his right arm (theres about 40 of those). Ortho said they will take the ones out of his leg tomorrow and the ones out of his arm on Friday. Very exciting! I can't wait for him to be suture free! Late this morning Brian went down for a CT scan.  The nurse let me know when the results came back that nothing had changed. Hopefully now they won't have to stick a needle into his brain to get a fluid sample.  He had a ultrasound this afternoon. The technician was VERY grumpy (she got called in on her day off).  Brian didn't help matters. She was going to scan his entire body for blood clots.  It should have been very quick, but it was not. Every time she would position the camera and move her hand off of his leg to take the picture, he would kick his leg up and she would have to start over.  That leg took 2 hours. I tried to explain to her that he wasn't doing it on purpose and he does it all the time, but she was very upset.  That's just Brian being Brian though. I swear he had a smirk on his face.  She ended up being in his room for over 3 hours.  He was awake a lot of the afternoon.  I gave him a kiss while his eyes were open and he kissed back! I was very excited.  He spiked a fever tonight, but they were able to control it with tylenol. Overall, a pretty good day for Bri. Keep praying! 
-Jennifer

September 4, 2011 22:15
Pretty exciting day! I got there this morning at 7 and Bri had his eyes open when I walked in the room! He had apparently had them open for about a half hour already. He kept them open until about 830, kicking his right leg a lot.  I think he wore himself out though because then he went back to sleep.  He got lots of stitches out of his leg today, not all of them, but almost! He had a pretty big scab behind a few of them, so the orthopedic doctor wanted to leave them in until the scab healed some more. Totally okay by me! I was just happy to see more stitches come out of his body. Visitors started rolling in later in the morning, and Brian opened his eyes again! Everyone talked to him and he kept them open for a while, then went back to sleep.  He started really moving his left leg today too. It is typically only his right leg bending and moving around, but it looked like he was riding a bike this afternoon with his legs! Very exciting! The respiratory therapist (who has watched Brian progress since he arrived at BAMC) said Brian is looking strong and has a great cough.  Brian is able to cough a lot of the secretions out of his lungs without having to be suctioned too often. He was being suctioned every hour or so, and now RT only comes by every 6 hours for a breathing treatment.  They want to cut it down even more to maybe even only twice a day, so we will see if that request gets approved by the general surgery doctors.  I am hoping that tomorrow Brian will be just as active, if not more! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

September 3, 2011 21:45
Very uneventful day at the hospital.  The weekends are slow around here so really no doctors came in to see or work with Brian today.  Brian slept all day again.  He had his eyes open briefly for me this morning before all his visitors came in, but he must be feeling shy or want to surprise everyone tomorrow because he didn't really do it again! They took Bri off the oxygen this afternoon.  He was at 28% and room oxygen is 21%.  They put him on the room oxygen so that his humidifier would still work.  He did really well on that for a while but once they gave him the pain meds this evening, he started to get really tired and started forgetting to take sufficient breaths, so they put him back on the 28% oxygen for the night.  They will put him back on room oxygen in the morning.  He was really kicking his right leg around all day long.  He bends his knee and brings it up pretty close to his chest and drops it back down. I swear he is going to hurt himself one of these times!  He kept smacking his knee on the bed railing, but it didn't seem to even phase him.  So I ended up standing there next to him until they figured out to put a pillow down, and holding his leg so he wouldn't hurt anything else.  He is definitely still the same Brian we all love. Stubborn as ever.  Pray for a good night tonight and a good day tomorrow!
-Jennifer

September 2, 2011 22:30
Happy Friday! (almost Saturday).  Today was a peaceful day for Brian.  He slept majority of the day and only opened his eyes a couple of times.  Bri got the stitches out of his fingers and arms today! I get excited every time something new comes out of him.  He's healing up! Bri should get the staples out of his arm next week since they are newer than the stitches.  The stitches in his legs should come out within the next few days.  Brian is very fond of lifting his right leg up and down.  He is supposed to have them on a pillow at the ends so that gravity will pull his knees down. Every time I would go to fix the pillow (about every 2 seconds), he would lift his leg up, bend it, and put it back down.  This lasted about 15 minutes before I finally gave up and let him wear himself out before I put his leg back.  Brian always wins! It will be a busy weekend for Brian. His favorite mother in law and aunt, uncle, and cousin, all arrived today so tomorrow will be a fun filled day with our favorite boy. Hopefully all the rest today will mean a great day tomorrow! Keep praying for Brian!
-Jennifer

September 1, 2011 21:35
Today was a pretty busy day for Bri. The temps seem to be downtrending a bit, so that is a good thing.  Awesome news, today Brian got accepted into the Palo Alto VA in California.  He will hopefully be moved there within the next few weeks.  There is a lot of paperwork and a lot of small details to work out, so it is really just a waiting game.  Neuro and Ortho both came to check on Brian today (neuro hasn't been around in a while). They say he is looking better.  When he left the ICU last week his coma scale rating was a 10t, it went down to a 7t by Monday, and they assessed him at a 9t today. So hopefully we can get him back up to a 10t again.  Brian was really moving his legs around a lot today. When you try and put a pillow under his legs, he sometimes helps you by lifting a leg up for you. So exciting! Keep praying for Brian! He will hopefully get to relax this weekend since mostly everyone will be out of the hospital for the 4 day weekend.  
-Jennifer

August 31, 2011 22:00
Bri was very active most of the day today.  This morning he was moving his arms and legs around a lot and opening his eyes.  His highest temp today, I believe was 102.7. So still pretty high but not as bad as 104! Before they could even get the IV tylenol, the temp had already dropped. The whole day pretty much went like that with another temp just about 102 this evening, controlled by tylenol.  When I left tonight he was sitting between 95.9 and 98.1 (his ears give different readings so they generally take the higher temp and go with that). So quite the difference there. They had to put a sheet on him to warm him up some.  Bri got 136 cards today! (most of them were from 6th graders in OK). They were so sweet and it is so awesome knowing that Brian has support from all ages all over the US. There were a lot of questions asked by the 6th graders, whether Brian likes OU or OSU football better. I wish I could respond to all of their questions, but unfortunately, by the time I sit down to write something to someone, I get up to talk to a doctor or a nurse. I will leave you with this though (I think your teacher says she keeps you guys up to date), I don't believe Brian prefers one to the other.  He is more of a professional football fan and doesn't really keep up with college football. He is a huge KC Chiefs fan though. 
-Jennifer

August 30, 2011 21:30
Long day today.  Brian had a pretty uneventful day. Fevers here and there, but not as bad as yesterday. I definitely am more comfortable with the care he is getting now. Brian got 121 cards in the mail today.  It took a big chunk of the day to open and read them to him.  99% of the cards were from Oklahoma. It is so nice to see all of the support everyone has given to me and Brian.  We are so appreciative and I know it made Brian happy to hear all the good wishes and prayers for him.  Thank you so much to you all for sending those to him. Good news, they replaced Brian's trach today with the smaller size. Another step closer to getting rid of it! It made him cough all day long but at least he was getting all of the mucous out of his lungs! Hoping for a more comfortable day for Brian tomorrow! Keep up those prayers!
-Jennifer

August 29, 2011 23:45
Bad day for Brian today.  Started the afternoon off with a bang with a temp of 103.7.  They got it controlled and Brian was finally comfortable when he spiked another temp of 104. His heart rate was out of control and the monitor was saying SVT so they called the rapid response team (should be called the not so rapid response team) and a nurse and doctor came up from the ICU to help out.  Ultimately, we decided he needed to be put back into the ICU this evening so that he could be watched a little bit better.  I wasn't feeling all that comfortable with the step down unit only checking on him every few hours.  He will probably only stay a couple of days in the ICU since they were reluctant to let him back in, but I think that a few days of constant supervision will do him some good.  On the plus side, he got his staples out of his head today. I asked to take some of them out and the neuro surgeon let me :) Brian seemed fine with me doing it but when we got to the back and they got harder, I let the neuro surgeon do them and Brian didn't like that much. I guess he wasn't putting enough love into it. Please keep praying for Bri. 
-Jennifer

August 28, 2011 21:15
Today was pretty much the same as every other day. Brian is on so much pain medication that he isn't awake most of the day. He really only opens his eyes when you are hurting him or moving him. Hopefully this week they can start to wean him off of some of that and hopefully get a smaller trach put in so he can get off of that. We will see what happens! Keep praying for Bri! 
-Jennifer

August 27, 2011 20:40
Back a little early tonight.  Brian had a pretty busy day today! Lots of visitors! He got the staples out of his stomach today. The ones in his head look ready to come out, but Neuro has to come and do that. They regularly gave Brian pain medication today, so he was pretty out of it.  Best part of the day: when I said goodnight and gave him a kiss, he opened his eyes and gave me a huge smile. Teeth and all. That's the Brian we all know and love. Keep praying for him! 
-Jennifer

August 26, 2011 23:35
I forgot to mention the biggest news of the day! Brian will hopefully be leaving BAMC in a few weeks to go to either a poly trauma rehab center or a long term care center if he can't get accepted into the poly trauma yet. I am very excited about this, as it is the next step in his recovery.  He will start neuro rehab as soon as he can actively participate! 
-Jennifer

August 26, 2011 23:30
Very long day at the hospital. I got in this morning about 7:15 to find Brian in a lot of pain with a very high fever. Two things that are very normal for him, problem is no one was attempting to help him at all. It took a few hours to get him back to normal and calmed down which was a shame because he was pretty out of it all day.  He got a bath this evening and is even getting a special bed tonight! Keep praying for Bri! 
-Jennifer

August 25, 2011 22:50
Big day for Bri.  He was VERY active today. He was moving his arms and his eyes around a lot and had them open for majority of the morning and bits and pieces of the afternoon and evening.  They moved him out of the ICU this evening. He is now in what is known as a step down ward.  Basically, instead of messing with him and taking blood and vitals every hour, they will take them every 2.  He will get more rest here.  I was very against him leaving the ICU at first, but the doctors told me that he couldn't really improve anymore in there and even though someone wouldn't be watching him all the time, moving him is a really good thing.  I loved all his nurses and doctors in the ICU so it will be hard to adjust to the new ones, but I am very excited now about the change.  Pray for a great day tomorrow! 
-Jennifer

August 24, 2011 21:35
Exhausted from a long day at the hospital so I'm updating a little early tonight. Brian went from 40% of oxygen to 35% today. I think he was down to 30% when I left.  They sat him up twice today and he did great both times.  His heart rate stayed the same and he was able to cough up some phlegm that had been sitting down in his lungs. His good friend Ben came to visit him today with his wife Becky. The two of them have been very supportive. Ben was involved in the attack as well and just got out of the hospital himself. I was so grateful that he came up to see Brian and sit with him for a while.  Brian opened his eyes to see him, something he doesn't do for just anyone.  Brian has such amazing and supportive friends. Occupational therapy and physical therapy came by today and worked with him for a while.  Brian's hips and shoulders are functioning great. They stretched him out and moved his arms and legs around for some exercise. He seemed exhausted after, but it was a LOT of work for him. He spiked a fever this afternoon again, but it was controlled with ice packs and back down in a couple of hours. I am hoping for some more progress tomorrow! Cross your fingers and say a prayer for Bri! 
-Jennifer

August 23, 2011 23:20
Another long day. Brian was pretty out of it today. When I was in this morning before everyone else got there, he was pretty awake with his eyes open. I tried to walk around and have him follow me with his eyes but he was being stubborn.  He spiked a fever of 102 today but it went down pretty quickly. They switched the nutrition they were tube feeding him because of his allergies so hopefully the new one will help and be a little better for him.  He was taken off the vent this morning and is now breathing with the trach collar.  They started at 50% and turned it down to 40% this afternoon.  He was doing well on that. They hope to have him at normal room oxygen which is 21% tomorrow. Keep Brian in your prayers! God bless. 
-Jennifer

August 22, 2011  19:20
Taking a quick break to eat dinner so I thought I would update now.  Brian had his peg put in place today and they did the trach.  He looks MUCH more comfortable now with no tubes down his mouth.  Now he can get some good dental hygiene every couple of hours.  Very excited for tomorrow. They are hoping to wean him off to a trach collar which will basically be the hole and the plastic piece sticking out of his trach, but he will not be connected the ventilator and will be breathing more on his own, just a little easier with the trach collar. Pray that he continues to progress!
-Jennifer

August 21, 2011  20:30
Today was a relaxing day for Bri. No surgeries, just rest.  When I got there this morning he was pretty awake.  He was looking around both directions, just moving his eyes.  He can't move his neck yet because they keep him in a collar because of a fracture on his C7 Vertebrae. He was looking from side to side though. A big step for him. Previously when he would open his eyes, he would just have his eyes rolled back a little and not move them at all. Yesterday he moved them a little bit, but today is where he really made some progress.  That must have exhausted him because the rest of the day he just slept.  His fever was lower today than it has been and didn't break 101 so that is a good thing. If he starts to spike a fever again, they will have to do a spinal tap on him to test for meningitis, etc. We are crossing our finger that tomorrow they can do that tracheotomy and do the peg (move the feeding tube straight into his stomach instead of up his nose).  Please pray that Bri continues to improve!
-Jennifer


August 20, 2011 21:30
When I walked in this morning, Brian was pretty alert. I walked in, touched his arm, and said hello, and he just stared at me. He has been pretty heavily sedated for the past almost two weeks so it is now just wearing off, but by this afternoon, he was following with his eyes for a minute. That wore him out though.  Tonight he was pretty uncomfortable so they put him on some more pain medication that pretty much knocked him out.  He was moving his arms and legs quite a bit, but most likely due to his comfort level.  Keep praying for Brian and hope for a good day tomorrow! 
-Jennifer

August 19, 2011  22:35
Long day today at the hospital.  Got there about 7:30 and shortly after, the OT came and examined his hand to see about making a splint which they will come and do on Monday for him.  He went into the OR about 11:00 and was in there until around 15:00. They closed up his right leg, checked to make sure his left leg was still looking good, and pieced his arm and elbow back together. Now he has the external fixator off! A lot more comfortable and less heavy for Bri. The neuro doctor came and took out the drainage tube from his head this morning as well.  One less tube in him! They ended up not doing the trach and the peg (feeding tube going straight into his stomach instead of up his nose) because his neck was red and swollen and could possibly be an infection and his liver is overlapping his stomach so the tube placement could be dangerous.  They will be doing a CT scan tonight or early in the morning to see if he has any infections or anything in his neck before they do the trach.  Tonight, Bri was pretty calm, mostly due to all the pain medication and all the stress of the surgery. He was running a fever but they had brought it down to 100 when I was leaving.  Brian has had a big dried blood ball up his nose and it has been bugging me to say the least. I does NOT look comfortable.  I mentioned it to the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and he tried to pick it out and started to pull and realized that he had packing up there that no one knew about.  They took that out and suctioned because that could be the cause of an infection, being up there and unnoticed for so long. Hopefully this will end the fevers! He is still opening his eyes but he is just staring straight up and isn't focusing on anything yet.  Tomorrow should be a relaxing day with nothing big planned. Keep Brian in your prayers!
-Jennifer

August 18, 2011  22:45
Pretty early night tonight as well. Left the hospital about 20 minutes ago but had to stop and get dinner on my way out.  Today was like a roller coaster for Brian.  He opened his eyes multiple times today, even kept them open for a decent amount of time, but still isn't looking anywhere except the ceiling.  Tonight he had some trouble breathing but they suspect it is due to pneumonia.  This afternoon they set the ventilator to spontaneous, meaning that Brian would take the breaths himself, but the ventilator would deliver as much oxygen as he was inhaling for. He stayed on that for about an hour and a half, but was getting tired and his numbers were falling, so they switched him to the lower setting of breathing both with the ventilators help and by himself, and ultimately to breathing completely with the ventilators help and not pulling his own breath.  Brian is scheduled for surgery in the morning, so he will be VERY out of it tomorrow. They expect it to take a majority of the day. Their goals are to close up his right leg (already closed the left on Tuesday), put his arm back together and fix his dislocated elbow, remove the drainage tube from his head, move his breathing tube to his trachea, and put a feeding tube directly into his stomach instead of up his nose.  This will get all the tubes out of his mouth and off of his face hopefully, making him a lot more comfortable. Say a prayer for Brian that his surgery goes well and that he continues to progress. 
-Jennifer

August 17, 2011 22:00
Not such a late night tonight.  Today went pretty much the same as all the other days so far.  I got to the hospital about 645 this morning and was there for most of the day except a couple hours to do laundry and eat.  He had the same nurse as he did yesterday morning/afternoon so that was nice. I really like him and think that he is very on top of everything that Brian needs and his comfort level.  Brian had a new nurse tonight though. She came in a couple of hours ago and obviously doesn't know Brian or us yet.  Brian's parents left a little early tonight since we have all had such a long week and Brian needs rest. We have all been waiting for him to open his eyes though! While the nurse was cleaning the lubricant like stuff off of his eyelids about 30 minutes after his parents left, Brian opened his eyes! I pictured that when he opened them I would have a heart attack, but he opened them, blinked, and shut them.  We couldn't get him to open them back up, but I was SO excited that he just opened them even if it was only briefly! The nurse must have thought I was nuts since she doesn't know how long we have been waiting for that to happen! I left a couple of minutes after that so that he could rest and have the lights lowered. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for recovery! Keep praying for Brian please!
-Jennifer

August 17, 2011  1:00
Another late night at the hospital. Brian was scheduled to be number 2 in line for the OR this morning but ended up not getting in until after 8 tonight. It of course took some time and we didn't end up getting to see him until about midnight.  They decided not to fix up his arm and elbow tonight because they were pressed for time and wanted more time to do it, but they did clean out his legs and even closed one of them up! They closed the left one with muscles, but of course an infection can still start and they might have to reopen it, but we are praying that it stays infection free so he can keep as much length as possible.  The right leg looks okay, but not perfect and had more damage than the left one, so naturally it needs time to heal. They put the wound vac back on it (sucks out the gross stuff) and will look into it again hopefully on Friday, as well as fixing up his arm.  They wanted to move the breathing tube to his trachea to make things easier on him, but he had some puss in the wound they were going to reopen. They packed that and kept the tube in his throat for now but hope that it is healed enough by Thursday to try again.  They want to do the feeding tube straight into his stomach at the same time so they are also waiting on that.  He had a fever majority of the day but they put a cooling blanket under him and after he came out of the OR he was even shivering he had cooled down so much. Sounds like tomorrow will be a much needed day of rest for Brian. Keep praying! 
-Jennifer

August 16, 2011 00:40
JUST got back to my room after being at the hospital all night and leaving only for a quick dinner break after all the check in stuff this morning.  Brian will be going into surgery in the morning so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. They are planning to do A LOT in the operating room, ranging from orthopedic surgery to feeding tubes. I guess they are trying to make it easier on Brian by getting as much done at one time as they can.  The nurse forced me to leave tonight after my in-laws kept telling me I needed to go and get some sleep, so I was very sad to leave Brian, but she did let me stay for a whole 90 minutes after she told me I had to go and go to sleep.  They gave Bri a wet wipe bath and used some soap on him while I was there, mostly to get all the dried blood off of him and maybe make him feel a little better. The rest of the day basically went the same as this morning, but his blood pressure was a little high so they gave him more pain medication causing him to be quite a bit more sluggish with his reactions to the pain.  Once again, keep Brian in your thoughts and prayers so that his surgery goes smoothly.  I will update again next time I have a chance. 
-Jennifer

August 15, 2011 12:20
Quick update: Went to see Brian and got there about 9 this morning. We met the nurse that is taking care of him today. He has 3 people, all to himself.  They don't even leave the room. They are either at the computer, or at his side.  I love that he has such great care. When you go into see Bri you have to wear this yellow gown and gloves until they clear him from having brought back a disease from Afghanistan.  I believe they said it usually takes about 10 days.  When you leave the room you have to take all the stuff off and wash your hands before you can go outside.  It's quite the process.  When we left to have lunch they were going to clean him up and put drops in his eyes and ears.  Brian wasn't heavily sedated today so he was responding to pain.  They need to get him to cough every couple of hours to get all the mucus out of his lungs so they shove a tube down there and suction it out.  He doesn't like that very much. His whole body clenches. He even moved his hand today when they were pressing down on his chest to cause some pain. His heart rate and blood pressure started to get too high though so they had to put him back on the pain medication.  He is more responsive to his dad's voice than to mine or his mother's, but we are just happy that someone can get him to respond at all.  His dad was telling him "Brian, open your eyes". You could tell that he wanted to because his eyebrows were moving and his eyes were flickering, but he can't get them open yet. We are hoping that he will open them soon.  Brian was given a blanket that he had on him when they flew him yesterday that I just brought back to the hotel to wash for him. Well, back to the hospital I go. I will try and update again tonight. Hopefully some good news to report! Keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

August 14, 2011 22:00
Sorry I have totally failed you guys and haven't updated in over a day.  The last update I really heard though last night was the one I posted and then Brian got on a plane and flew to Texas. Brian's parents and I met him here and got to see him this evening.  If you have any kind of mental picture in your head of what you think he looks like, erase it and remember the Brian you all know and love. He still looks like Brian. Just a little banged up.  His neck is secured and he has stitches on his face, ears, and head.  We finally all got our answer to his legs.  He has part of the legs below the knee, but that can still change. The orthopedic doctor says that it is a good thing he has the knee, but they might have to take a little more off depending.  His right arm is secured with rods on the outside, but they are trying to decide what they are going to do with it.  The orthopedic doctor is going to meet with his team and they will decide where to go next.  Brian's left hand and wrist is all bandaged up and he is missing about half of his ring finger, but will most likely end up missing the whole thing because he can function better without it in the way.  Brian's fever has gone down to about 101, but just kissing his forehead, I could feel he was very warm.  I think I've said pretty much everything. I will update you all again tomorrow, but will probably spend a majority of the day with Brian.  Keep up your prayers for our brave soldier!

-Jennifer

August 13, 2011 18:05
Brian's fever has gone down to 102.  His antibiotics are starting to kick in the nurse told me. His heart rate has been affected because of this, but she told me this is normal and they aren't concerned about it yet. Keep praying for Brian!
-Jennifer

August 13, 2011 11:55
Brian has a fever now of 103 degrees.  They had the cooling blanket on him but it was messing with his CO2 levels so they had to take it off of him.  Now, they are just blowing cold air on him and giving him antibiotics. Keep praying for Bri <3
-Jennifer

August 13, 2011 7:45
Talked to the nurse about an hour ago. Brian's CT scan from last night didn't show any additional bleeding which is a positive thing she said. His vital signs are still stable. Keep up your prayers for Brian!
-Jennifer

August 12, 2011 20:15
Sorry it's been 12 hours since I posted last, but no changes since this morning.  Brian has a low grade fever but his blood cultures came back and didn't show any signs of infection.  The doctor says it could just be from all the trauma.  Brian has been vaccinated as well because now that he doesn't have a spleen, his body doesn't have the same number of antibodies to fight viruses and infection.  Around 18:00 Brian had another CT scan to see if there was any more bleeding in his brain and I am awaiting a call from the neurosurgeon.  Please, keep praying!
-Jennifer

August 12, 2011 8:15
Just got off the phone with one of Brian's doctors.  The surgery went well she said.  They had to remove a bone in his skull so that his brain can have a little bit more room to swell and heal.  He lost some blood, which is normal she said due to all the blood vessels, and they were giving him more blood.  When I asked if he is still responding to pain, she told me that they have him sedated now enough to where it isn't rare that he isn't. Keep up your prayers for Bri! He's a tough cookie, but he needs our help. 
-Jennifer

August 12, 2011 7:15
Around 1 this morning I talked to one of the doctors taking care of Brian.  They had planned to have him fly back to the states this weekend, but that might not happen anymore.  He had to go into the OR because of intense swelling in his brain.  They were worried about a brain hernia. Please keep praying. 
-Jennifer

August 11, 2011 19:00
Just talked to Brian's nurse.  No changes except that his fever has gone down a bit. Keep up the prayers!
-Jennifer

August 11, 2011 13:50
Just got off the phone with Brian's nurse.  I talked to her around noon while on my way to the dentist and she told me that Brian was responding to pain still. He has developed a fever and his CT scan shows some more bleeding in his brain.  The fever is most likely due to an infection.  They took a blood culture but they will not get the results for at least 24 hours.  They have placed him on an antibiotic and think it might possibly be pneumonia.  I asked for a couple of things Brian had been doing to respond to pain and she told me he had moved his legs a little, moved his fingers, and he even tried to move his head around.  They of course do not want him moving his head so he has something on to prevent that from happening too much. They are planning on him being stateside this weekend. Please keep praying for Bri!
-Jennifer

August 11, 2011  9:10
I talked to one of Brian's doctors this morning at 6. She told me that he is responding to pain. When they put the feeding tube down his nose, his eyes teared up.  He is still not awake. They were rolling him down to do another CT scan while I was on the phone with her. They found on his last one a small spot on his temporal lobe that looked like it could be dead or dying.  They wanted to get a closer view of that and also check out his neck due to one fractured vertebrae. 
-Jennifer

August 11, 2011  0:00
I just got off the phone with the nurse that just got on her shift. She had just completed her rounds and did her evaluation of Brian.  She told me that was she was suctioning his mouth, he moved his jaw and shrugged his shoulders.  They are replacing his feeding tube with one that can get deeper and give him some more nutrients that he needs. The pressure in his brain is stable right now also.  
-Jennifer

August 10, 2011 18:45
I personally just got off the phone with Brian's nurse not too long ago.  Brian's dad had just got an update from her on Brian, but I had a couple of questions that I wanted to ask and I HAD to make sure they knew Brian can't have any dairy or tree nut products. Even with Brian in a hospital under excellent care, I still feel the need to look after him. He would have been rolling his eyes and getting annoyed at me the entire time if he was listening, but some things never change.  The CT scan they performed showed some bleeding and bruising in the brain, along with some swelling. She did tell me though that they were monitoring his brain pressure and that his heart rate was still okay. 
-Jennifer

August 10, 2011 17:30
Brian has still not woken up.  His dad just talked to the hospital and they had done a CT scan on his brain. 
-Jennifer

August 10, 2011  11:45
It has been over 6 hours now since they have taken Brian off of the sedatives.  He has shown no signs of waking up or any signs of movement.  Please keep praying for Brian. 

-Jennifer

August 10, 2011  7:20
Brian has made it to the next hospital on his journey home. I talked to his nurse over the phone and she gave me an update on how the flight went and how he is doing.  He was pretty stable during the flight.  They have taken him off of the sedatives, but he still has not shown movement or any reaction.  He was in the Operating Room while I was on the phone with her where they would be cleaning all of his wounds and checking out the metal rod that he has in his arm.  His blood was looking a bit low, but she told me that one unit would be enough.  He is still on the breathing tube, but they will keep him on it until he makes it to the United States. 

I will be hearing more updates daily as I can call and talk to the nurse as often as I would like. I plan to let Brian get out of the operating room and rest for a while before I call again this afternoon to check on him. I will update you all then!

Keep up your prayers for Brian!

-Jennifer

August 9, 2011 11:20
Not too long ago I got another update.  Brian just had his spleen removed while they were trying to take care of the damage to his abdominal area. 

-Jennifer

August 9, 2011 7:45
I just got a phone call/ email update on Brian again.  They have addressed more wounds he has that we were earlier unaware of.  Right now, Brian has no movement of his arms.  He was able to shrug his shoulders on command, although it did take a while for him to comply with the request.  They had to amputate his left ring finger.  He has a large gallstone and some internal abdominal damage. They are concerned right now about the swelling/ pressure in his head.  He is still receiving blood transfusions at this time. 

-Jennifer

August 9, 2011  6:00
Just got a call a couple of minutes ago that there have been no changes with Brian. He has not gotten worse, but he has not gotten better either.  Brian will be resting for a while until he can be stable enough to make the journey stateside. Last I heard, he is still on the breathing machine, but they are going to try and wean him off of that when he wakes up.  I will probably be updated about once a day for the next week or so, so I will update this when I hear. Keep Brian in your prayers. We are hoping that improvement is the only way to go from here. 

-Jennifer

August 8, 2011  13:30
Still no new updates on Brian. Last we have heard he is doing better than he was last night.  Right now, they are trying to keep him stable and get him to wake up so that they can take the breathing tube out so he can breathe on his own.  A lot of you have been wondering what exactly has happened to him. I have heard many different versions of his condition, so this summary may not be entirely accurate.  He was critically wounded by an IED and lost both of his legs.  He fractured both of his arms. His face has a lot of stitches right now.  Last night I was informed that he had a brain hemorrhage and blood clots in his lungs. He had surgery last night and I got a call at 6 this morning letting me know that he was doing a little better. He is still in critical condition, but a little better.  We are waiting to hear where he will go from here. 

-Jennifer

August 8, 2011   8:30 
Hello everyone, we are all very thankful for your prayers. It was suggested that I start a blog so that everyone can keep updated with Brian.  His family and myself are so overwhelmed right now with all your support that it is nearly impossible to respond individually to each of you, but we really appreciate all your concern.  I will keep this blog updated with as much information as i can so that you all can stay updated on Brian in this long road to recovery. Please understand though that right now, not being with him, it is very hard for me to even get updates for myself. So please be patient and I will let everyone know everything I hear. 

-Jennifer