Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30, 2010

Upon taking her into surgery today, the doctors were both shocked and amazed. Mom's tendons have nearly covered themselves with tissue completely. All of her previous donor sites are healed. The Engenex (negative pressure machines) on her legs have inspired another 30 percent of healing on top of the 50 from my last update just from Monday. They no longer have to graft the elbow sections of her arms that were open to the joint as she has healed them naturally. They plan to leave the Engenex on her legs for another two weeks and then graft.

I cannot thank all of the Maricopa Burn Center staff enough for their support throughout our journey. They are all wonderfully dedicated and compassionate people. Mom's primary doctor and Chief Surgeon Doctor Caruso and Resident Dr. Machado have been absolutely instrumental in saving our Mom. There is no possible way that we could even begin to repay them for all of their time and dedication to Mom's health and well-being throughout her treatment. I would not hesitate for a second in referring anyone to the Maricopa Burn Center.

Dr. Caruso is also adamant in sighting that God has had an overwhelmingly powerful hand in Mom's healing process and her progress is near short of a miracle. Her strength and love of life has brought her through all of this and will take her much much further. We have a road in front of us but, with her continued persistence and ability to shock us all, we will be skipping across the mud-flats in Cholla in no time at all.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29, 2010

Just as she has done from the beginning, Mom continues to shock us all with her amazing strength. Yesterday she wrote her name, my sister's, and mine on a sheet of paper along with her infamous lady bug.  Fo a woman with severely damaged digits, her handwriting was incredible. If there was ever any doubt that she could beat all of this and work past the handicaps that she may experience, it has dissolved into her will power and determination. 

The doctors replaced the negative pressure machines on Monday and are very confident in the progress that is being made to re-grow leg tissue. They are also giving her steroids to help with vocal improvement especially in light of the swelling that her pneumonia causes in her throat. They plan to evaluate her legs on Thursday and proceed from there. 

Both my younger sister Savannah and my Dad have spent everyday with her talking and helping her to rebuild muscle strength. She continues to be inspirational to us all in spite of the obstacles that she is facing.  We, as a family, would like to wish everyone a joyous New Year filled with the love and compassion that only a family can provide.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

December 24, 2010

Mom is on her way to the pool today!!! She slept for six hours last night, though not all necessarily restful, she is still having strange dreams that are no doubt a result of the medications that she is taking. The physical therapists will be working with her in the pool over the course of the next two days to get her a bit more limbered up from having been in bed for the vast majority of the last three months. 

The doctors plan to put her negative pressure machines back on this coming Monday. Though the doctors are giving her a break from the more traumatic surgical and tissue building procedures, the physical therapists now have their turn to run the show. Mom is an absolute trooper through all of this as she is constantly on the go trying to get stronger and get out of the hospital. She has spent the last few days up in the tilt table and on her Cadillac chair. We had a few spare minutes, while she was on the Cadillac to paint her toes so that she could be festive for Christmas like everyone else. She still tires very quickly but pushes through it so that she can continue to progress.

Her days are far from routine, but they do become monotonous as each day is filled with therapy, bandage changing, splinting, vocal exercise, skin therapy, and vital checks. She is incredibly strong willed, as we all know, and takes all of this in stride. She has even managed to maintain her wonderful sense of humor through everything. The nurses were discussing a lack of ski equipment for their upcoming trip just outside Mom's room a few days ago and he heard their conversation. When they came into the room she told them that she has an extra ski boot that they can have since she would only be needing one :) . She has no problem smiling through even her most hectic days. She also has no problem scolding people as my younger sister knows very well as does my uncle Loren. He came to visit last weekend and, upon entering her room, was asked: "Why aren't you at work!?" fortunately for Loren, it was a Saturday and once that bit of information was cleared up, he was no longer in trouble for fussing over her rather than being at the office. 

We all wish every single one of you a very Merry Christmas. Be mindful of family and safety over this wonderful holiday as you travel to be together. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 23, 2010

Again I have to apologize for my lack of posts over the last week. Mom has done so well in that time and has managed to impress her doctors and physical therapists with her progress. Just as we all knew would happen, Mom is awake and ready to get out and about as soon as possible. She is off of dialysis and has been for several days. Her kidneys are functioning very well at this point as are her joints.

The grafting that was done over her entire right arm has taken completely which, in and of itself, is a shock. Her hand specialist is very impressed with her mobility and the state of her hands so far. They removed the pins early this week and she is still able to wiggle her fingers independently and is currently working very hard to get them functioning as closely to normal as possible though we are several months away from an acceptable range.

She has been up on the tilt table standing and in the chair beside her bed for several hours over the last two days. The doctors have spoken with her and let her know that if she can get moving and work hard to get healthy she will get to leave the hospital much sooner. Just as we would expect of Mom, she is determined to hold her doctors to their word. Though she does tire quickly, she has continued to push herself so that she can rebuild her strength. She exercises her hands and tries to talk so that her vocal cords can stretch and strengthen her voice. In rebuilding her strength she has also shown incredible range of motion considering the fact that she had been sedated for close to three months.

They plan to put the negative pressure machines back on her legs over the next few days and leave them on for around two weeks so that the tissue on her legs can build up making them more fleshed out before grafting over her legs. They are happy with the tissue that has grown to protect her knee joints so far but are hoping for more with continued use of the negative pressure machines.

We have received our Christmas present early this year and could not have asked for a more special gift. Our entire family would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and hopes that the new year brings you the faith and miracles that we have been given over the last few months.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16, 2010

Today turned out was yet another amazing day of progress. They moved Mom further down the hall into a room with a window so that she can distinguish between day and night to help with her sleeping habits. They changed her trach early this morning and have given her a Fenestrated trach tube so that she can both breath and talk. She is a long way away from her normal voice but, slowly, she will progress from her current airy whisper to her normal voice. The nurses also reported that her kidneys processed some fluid on their own last night so hopefully we are on the road to increasing kidney function.

Dad and I put up her decorations and pictures in her new room for a few hours today while talking with her. She asked questions periodically but was pretty worn out from having confused day with night and the rather rigorous bandage change she has everyday. The doctors will be coming in sometime tomorrow afternoon to check all of her wounds and make sure that the new grafting is still holding well.

Mom wishes everyone a  merry Christmas and we will continue to pray that her kidneys and grafting progress and that she will be home just as soon as possible.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14, 2010

Mom's surgery went well today. They cleaned her from top to bottom, grafted her right arm fully, put the negative pressure machines back on, and reduced the size of her tracheotomy tube. They are quite convinced that, if these new grafts will take, she will be on road home. The doctors plan to leave her alone until the end of the month and then evaluate the progress of her legs to see if she is ready for grafting.

Over the next few days we will have to keep a close eye on her as she has a tendency to squirm about quite a bit and be pretty "feisty" as the nurses have said. The right side of her body needs to remain very rigid so that the grafts can take fully so there will definitely need to be conversations with her about getting too wild and absolutely no right arm waving.

They all of said that she is incredibly strong willed and blessed from above. With some of her cooperation and tons of support, we will get her going just as fast as she is ready for.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Today was filled with huge leaps in progress. Though we are still in fear of bacteria spread from Mom's lungs, she was up and about today. They put her in a chair so that she could sit up, which made her much more comfortable and even led to a few smiles. She remained off of the respirator for the majority of the day as well.

After having spent the morning with Dad at her side, she had a wonderful afternoon communicating with her nurses and family. With the help of my best friend Megan and aunt Cheryl, Mom was able to communicate some of her concerns. They were able to talk about Christmas and, with a bit of guesswork, realize that Mom was concerned about the gifts that she had stashed in her office for everyone and the cookies that need to be made for the Jim Witt Mechanical (our family business') Christmas baskets. This is a mind frame that only a true mother could have in such circumstances. More specifically, a mind frame that only my Mom could have.

She asked about everyone and quite obviously misses all of us. She was able to laugh and find humor in even her own mistakes and cuddle a bit with dad when she felt insecure. She was a bit scared this evening, of what exactly we are unsure, but Dad sat beside her and let her lean against him until she could calm down and fall in to a more restful state. With only our short phone conversation is was obvious that this bit of consolation that he could finally offer Mom was an absolute relief to him. Finally having the chance to help her in any way will be a gift from God in and of itself.  Overall, it was a wonderful day that will hopefully set the tone for the days to come. With our support, constant acknowledgement of her strength and dedication, and some serious anti-bacterial soap, she is bound for further progress.

She is set to go into surgery sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) to finish grafting her right arm. We can continue to pray that she is squeaky clean and that all goes well so that she can heal quickly and get back to moving and miming for us all.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 11, 2010

My Dad (as he does everyday), sister, Jeremy, and I went to visit Mom today. Both her blood pressure and temperature were stable all day. She was able to rest for small periods when fluids and machines weren't being changed but, was very alert overall. She is able to move her arms and legs quite readily when she wishes or is requested to.  Savannah and I talked to her for quite a while and as we were leaving we had the most lucid response that either of us have seen from her since the accident. It is amazing how special even mouthing the words, "I love you"  can be. The next important move other than the acceptance of further grafting is the full function of her kidneys. The quicker she can function on her own, the better she will be in the future.She still has a very long and painful road to follow but with her famous determination and our love we can all beat this.

Dad is healing well though he finds physical therapy to be challenging. Just so that all is clear to those of you who read the blog avidly, Dad is living in Mesa about ten minutes from the hospital. He is also receiving treatment through outpatient therapy and visits Mom several times throughout the day. My blog is generally based upon the information that he shares of Mom's progress so that my sister and I can convey it to all of our wonderful and caring friends and family.

As a side note today, I would also ask that you keep my two year old niece Bailey in your prayers. She has her own battles, even at such a young age, with kidney function and currently a blown ear drum as a result of an infection. I ask for your prayers for her sake and because my Mom would ask your focus to be put on this little angel rather than herself if she were given the chance.

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for all of your support.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9, 2010

Thank you all so very much for your positive encouragement. It is unbelievably inspiring to know how small the world can be when people are in need. We wish you all the most wonderful holidays.

Though the surgery was not quite as productive as we had hoped, baby steps may be a better plan of action. Patience is a virtue that we must all develop during this process. They did not finish grafting her right arm as the donor sites had not healed as much as they had hoped. The doctors plan to wait it out for a few more days with twice daily bandage changes to ensure cleanliness and progress. They are currently trying to establish a middle ground with the new pain medication that they are administering but, all considered, she is much more stable than she was this time three weeks ago.

Though we have prayed fiercely, deep down in my heart, I know that Mom has done so well because of her will to live. She is the light of so many lives. Throughout my life alone I have seen her do nothing but inspire and challenge people to rise to their strengths and face life head on. She has devoted her life to caring and loving everyone. It is not only my sisters and I that she lives for, It is for herself. She is facing adversity and pushing through it daily because she wants to.

December 9, 2010

According to the nurse early this morning, Mom had a very good night. Her blood pressure was finally stable in comparison to the lows that we have been seeing for the past few days. She is set for surgery today to cover the section of her right arm that had been covered in cadaver skin last week and was taken off. The nurse also reported that she was trying to move around quite a bit more on her own which, I have to say, is inspiring. I am sure that she would love to jump up and run out of the hospital at this point.

She must know that all of her kids are wishing and praying for a miracle this Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

As much as it pains me to have to say this, I have to retract a bit of the good news this morning due to some miscommunication. Mom's lung x-rays have improved, however, her lung cultures are still showing growth. Whatever bacteria that has managed to make camp there is not leaving easily. The doctors have made an executive decision to pull her off of the antibiotic and see how her own immune system tackles the issue. Removal from the lung antibiotic is also necessary as it is not helping to get rid of the bacteria though it is still very damaging to her kidneys. We need to pray that she continues to be tough and that her body has some better ideas as far as her lungs are considered.

Thank you all so very much for your prayer and concern.

December 6, 2010

In comparison to the last few grafting procedures, Mom is still doing well. We did have a scare on Saturday evening as her temperature rose over 104 and the nurses were forced to remove the negative pressure machines from her legs and put her back on dialysis. Her response in this manner is thought to be a partial result of overstimulation throughout Saturday's visiting hours. Mom misses and loves all of us very much I am sure but, we have to keep in mind that she is incredibly fragile both physically and mentally at this point in her healing process. While she can still have visitors, we must keep it down to a minimum until she is completely stable. Visitation will become absolutely crucial when she reaches a point where she is completely grafted and awake and will want company and uplifting. This is often the greatest concern over weekends as it is the most convenient time to visit, however, we need to be conscious of her well-being above all else and make sure that we are only an aid to her healing.

She has managed to bounce back a bit from Saturday after they gave her a few units of blood to stabilize her pulse and covered her with ice blankets. Her grafts are still sustaining, which is an absolute miracle as we have had so much issue with their adherence. The doctors also confirmed yesterday evening that her cultures are continuing to come back clean with the new inclusion of her lung culture. Yes, this means that we are breaking the lines of the pneumonia battle front. According to the nurses report this morning, she had a good night and they have decorated her room for Christmas!!!

We hope you all have wonderful holidays and continue to pray if for no other reason than to be thankful for the miracles that we are all given everyday.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010

The surgery went very well. They began by evaluating her through their cleaning process and reported that her tissue was healthy. The doctors were able to put the negative pressure vacuums on both legs so that they will inspire tissue growth to improve the overall appearance of her legs prior to grafting. Her previous donor sites are healing well, excluding one small section in the crease of her upper thigh were took some skin from her back ad grafted over it.

They were able to rebuild her right hand with her own skin and were very happy with the end result. They have used a section of cadaver skin putting a 1/2" gap between it and her own healthy skin and completing all but that small section of her right arm. They have made such spacial precautions so that in the event she rejects the cadaver skin, her healed skin will not be contaminated. Her left arm is entirely covered with her own skin now as well as her chest.

They will be taking her bandages off early (most likely Friday) so that they can catch any sign of rejection early without her general traumatic response. If all is still well on Friday, they will leave her until the following Thursday where they will take her back into surgery to graft her own skin in the place of the cadaver skin.

As of 5am this morning she was still doing very well. Her pulse was fully maintained and as reported by the nurse....she smiled. I hope this post has given you all as much hope as it has to our family. The strong will prevail. Please continue in prayer with us that she will bypass rejection and completely adapt to her new skin so that she can be on the clean and clear road to recovery.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1, 2010

Due to emergency surgeries that took precedence yesterday, Mom's surgery was pushed to this morning. They are set to take her in a 9am for a six hour surgery. There plan is to replace the negative pressure machines in order to better prepare her legs for grafting so that they are smoother and will have a better tissue base beneath future grafts. They will also use her back as a donor site for the skin that they will be grafting over her left arm and the remainder of her chest.

She has done much better over the last few days and had continued to maintain blood pressure and all vitals without having to be given blood or stabilizers. She was very awake in comparison to what we normally see yesterday. Dad went in to look through her doorway yesterday morning and noticed that she was staring up at the ceiling. He called out to her and she actually turned her head and looked out at him in the doorway. When she focused on him her pulse shot up so he had to go and throw a gown and mask on to go and stand by her. She calmed down quickly as he began to talk but, obviously, there was a definite response. This one particular action is such that my Dad has been hoping for over the last few months. It is amazing how we come to cherish the smallest actions in times of strain and desperation.

We pray that all goes smoothly today and the days to come so that we can avoid the plummeting sensation that is normally felt days after surgery and, instead, be overjoyed by the blessings that we receive in her recovery.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010

It has been a few days but finally we have good news. Mom's white blood cell count has reduced considerably. She is much more responsive than she has been as of recent (keep in mind: her response is limited to blinking her eyes due to the level of sedation and the type of tracheotomy). She also responds to requests and was able to bend and apply pressure with both legs when asked. Her general color has improved overall though she still has a great deal of swelling in her neck and stomach. She has maintained her own blood pressure for over 24 hours and her skin is still clean and bacteria free.

The doctors have scheduled to take her into surgery at 7am tomorrow. They are planning to use her own skin to graft over a fairly small portion of her upper body. The use of her own skin is in hopes that her body will respond better and not act as though it is a threat.

News like what we have received today is a true blessing and proof that God is fighting alongside us. Thank you all for persistence in prayer as we help Mom to fight her way through this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 27, 2010

Over the last two days Mom has managed to spiral downward again. They put her back on dialysis yesterday morning because of the pressure the kidneys were experiencing from the level of antibiotics. They removed the majority of the cadaver skin as it had begun to slough off, though some did take. She is also having a difficult time maintaining her blood pressure and has been given a few units of blood to counter-act the instability. The doctors are still planning to take her into surgery on Monday for evaluation.

I would like to ask everyone to continue to pray that she will overcome all of this quickly so that the antibiotics will not begin to impact her in other ways that are even more counter productive to her health. We need her to make a huge effort at this point and get over the hill so that we can all see her laugh and smile again.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010

It is almost as if she is following a schedule of some sort. Mom is continuing to follow her m.o. and had a bad day today. She was able to remain steady enough to be kept off of dialysis, however, she did carry a very high fever for most of the day. As of her last bandage change this evening, the nurses informed us that the cadaver skin still looked healthy. Please please please pray that she hangs on to it for at least as long as it takes to generate more tissue growth beneath while kicking the bacteria in her lungs.

We all love her very much and she has to know that but she must like keeping us all on our toes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

November 22, 2010

Mom did increasingly well over the weekend. All of her tissue cultures are coming back negative for bacteria growth. The only remaining bacteria that they have found is in her lungs which they will be treating with a different antibiotic that will have less of an impact on her stomach.

She has been taken off of dialysis and all of her vitals have maintained even throughout surgery this afternoon. They were able to use live cadaver skin to cover her arms (which can become permanent if her body will assimilate) which will generate tissue growth beneath it even in the event that the cadaver skin does not become permanent.

The donor sites that had become infected over her inner thighs have begun to heal and in order to make the process more uniform, they have encircled both legs with negative pressure machines (which work very much like a vacuum seal to pull fatty tissue and blood vessels to the surface of her legs) which will help with the healing process and overall appearance.

Her hands will continue to be under revision for quite some time, however, they are in much better shape at this point than previously. Essentially her range of mobility is dependent upon how much her body is willing to re-develope tissue and muscle in her finger joints, plastic surgery to revise if necessary, and  a tremendous amount of physical therapy that we will all be able to support her through.

As long as she continues to maintain health and a decreasing level of bacteria, the doctors will be letting her rest as far a surgery is concerned until they believe that it is necessary in the healing process. She will still have dressing changes and constant evaluations, however, they want to allow her body to heal itself as much as possible at this point and regain strength.

We, as a family, have so very much to be thankful for this year. We will continue to pray relentlessly and give thanks for the gifts that we have and will receive. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, 2010

Today was much needed. The doctors took Mom in again for a cleansing surgery and actually saw tissue growth for the first time!!!! They had begun to use a fluid Sulfa based product as opposed to a cream (which normally inspires Mom's infamous hive reaction) and it has proved be a major benefit. They are seeing wonderful results in response to the use of the Sulfamylon and bleach. The rate of infection has definitely decreased in the tissue and is clear in her blood at this point. She currently is still battling some pseudomonas in her lungs, however, they are still very functional. Today was "her best day yet" quoted from her primary doctor.

I have to thank each and every one of your for your support as we continue to keep the prayers flowing on the sidelines. We are obviously being given miracles from above as Mom continues to battle her way out of this seemingly overwhelming trial.

Savannah, Dad, and I would also like to wish everyone a fantastic Thanksgiving. This is the beginning of several family events in which we are all brought together into each other's company. There are always times in life when we regret not having been closer with one another and it is the holidays that allow us to reunite. Be thankful for all of your loved ones and be sure to make them know that, despite distance and lack of time, they are in your thoughts. We survive life alongside those that care most for us. The more people that we have on our sidelines, the greater the battle will be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November 15, 2010

This was a frustrating day overall. The infection flared up again and forced the doctors to remove all of the cadaver skin. On the upside of the entire situation, Mom no longer has bacteria infecting her blood. The current issue is the bacteria that is running rampant in her tissue and remaining skin. We have to conquer ALL of it before she can begin to heal. As we saw with the jump in white blood cell count today, the antibiotic being used to fight the surface bacteria was no longer working. She is now being giving penicillin to fight the bacteria that is resistant to everything else at this point. Please pray that this works and that she can finally kick all of the bacteria.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 14, 2010

The surgery went well, though very long, on Friday. They did a bit more cleaning and work on her hands. They were able to apply cadaver skin everywhere but her legs where they applied a different synthetic. Over the last two days she has done well and continued to improve in way way or another slowly. She is still retaining a lot of fluid around her neck and mid-region mostly because of the heavy flow that she has had to process (i.e. medications, IV fluids, nutrition).  They will be administering a separate medication to break up the masses of fluid so that they can find their way back into her blood stream. While changing her bandages and washing her hair this morning, the nurses found another source of infection. She has several ulcers on the back of her head beneath her hair. They will have to shave her head in order to clean the area and ensure that the infections that have developed from the unmanaged ulcers are gone.

All considered, life is much better today than it was last week. Progress is actually measurable at this point. I say this in nearly every post as it is a major part of our determination: it is important that everyone following this blog knows how much we appreciate all of your support. I feel that I can say with great confidence that Mom makes it through everyday with her unbelievable will and the support of all of our friends and family behind her.

As a secondary note, I would like to wish both Mom and Dad a Happy Anniversary. They have been married for twenty-three years today. It may not be the best of circumstances, but it most definitely isn't the worst.

Friday, November 12, 2010

November 12, 2010

The doctors decided that Mom was looking well enough this morning to take into surgery. They will be cleaning her tissue, pinning her hands, and adding some cadaver skin to cover her arms and legs. We can only pray that she will cooperate and her body will accept them and help her to heal faster. Some of her cultures have come back showing no bacteria growth which is incredibly inspirational. Please continue all of your thoughts and prayers. It is with your support that we will continue to fight.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 11, 2010

As I am sure everyone has already heard, Mom has been moved to the Arizona Burn Center in Phoenix (Maricopa). The level of care here is greatly elevated and will be our best bet to over come the hurdles that have been placed before us.

The day after her arrival the doctors took her into a six hour surgery where they had to remove all of the grafts that had been applied (apart from her neck) due to the level of bacteria that had built up beneath them.

They also did a vascular study immediately (after putting her on dialysis to help her kidneys) and realized that she had blood clots in her left leg blocking in-coming and out-going blood flow. This was the cause of the loss of color in her toes and later her entire foot. The doctors performed a mid-calf amputation to sever all of the infection and dead material that had developed from the lack of blood flow.

They inspected her hands and determined that the pinning and grafting that had been done was more of a detriment to her health. Her hands were addressed and re-set by the Arizona Burn Center hand specialist.

She is still intubated because of the trauma that she has had to go through in the surgeries. The level of antibiotics that she is receiving also adds to the stress on her body. To reduce her exposure to infection and add to her level of comfort, they also performed a tracheotomy during the initial surgery.

She is currently battling nine different bacterias, three of which are the most resistant to antibiotics that are dealt with. She is on five different antibiotics to fight all of them. Her lungs, heart, and kidneys are in very good shape and she is still fighting very very hard on her end.

With all of the above considered, Mom has a massive amount to battle against. We cannot deny that she is incredibly strong and stubborn. She is fighting a battle that would over come most people but with the support and prayers that we can provide compounded with her faith and strength, we will all beat this and walk out of the hospital stronger people.

The last few days have been very trying which has been the majority of reason behind my lack of posting. In addition to that...the hospital has a terrible wireless network which begs my apologies in keeping you all on the edge of your seats.

Please continue to pray and hold her in your thoughts as we arm up for the biggest battle of our lives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3, 2010

Mom was just taken out of surgery and into recovery. She did well in surgery. They covered the last bit of her arm with Integra and also the upper half of both legs. The lower half of the legs are covered with Acticoat because the left side is still not cooperating as far as maintaining healthy and clean tissue. This lack of health is due to the general lack of blood flow in the area. Because she had bad circulation in this area to begin with, the burning causing the veins to shrink only amplified the issue. The doctors spent a great deal of time cleaning the left side as well as possible in hopes that it will remain this way so that they can go into surgery again on Friday.

If there is a way that we can will her left leg to cooperate, we all need to do so now! Thank you all so very much for your support.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November 2, 2010

We've had a bit of a rough patch again lately. Mom's white blood cell count has been a roller coaster but, thankfully, she got ahold of it today. They have altered her meds again to try and help while avoiding any more stress on her kidney. She is scheduled for surgery tomorrow and hopefully that will mean that in 24hours, her upper body will be covered and she will rest easier.

Please send your prayers when you can and know that we love and appreciate every single one.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

October 30, 2010

Mom's surgery went well overall though they did not get as far with the grafting as they had hoped to. One arm is completely grafted and the other has an inch or so left. She responded very well and has been pretty stable. They were also able to remove some more of the bad skin on her left leg that could be the source of some of her infection issues.

They will have to remove her left big toe due to the lack of blood flow that I reported a few weeks ago. This may also help to reduce her white blood cell levels so that she can concentrate on healing in other areas. Though this is not good news and will be anther hurdle to climb, the doctors also said that it was possible that she could start weaning off of the ventilator and not have to be given a tracheotomy.

As long as the good news is quickly followed by the bad, we will get through this. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27, 2010

The surgery went well. They were able to graft her right hand and the majority of her left arm. The process of re-covering the hand and inserting pins to ensure that the fingers keep their form and hold the grafting in place is very lengthy which accounts for the smaller area of grafting completed in the surgery.

WE can only pray that everything continues to be progressive and positive. There is no way that we could even hope to make up for all of the support that we have been given by friends, family, and even acquaintances. Have a wonderful evening and thank you so very much for all of your support.

October 27, 2010

This is more of a quick request than an update....Mom is scheduled for surgery at 3pm please keep her in your prayers. She is still doing well, however, she will be much better if these surgeries take well.

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 24, 2010

There isn't a great deal to report but overall, Mom's current grafting is still looking good. Though some bacteria has cropped up in her blood, they will continue with another surgery on Wednesday in light of the fact that her new skin is still intact. Hopefully she will respond well and we will be able to have her transferred to Maricopa when she is stable enough.

Thank you all so very much for your continued love and support!

-The Durham Family

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October 21, 2010

I would like to begin with an apology for my lack of posting. I know that everyone visiting is full of anxiety and, trust me, I understand. This week has been a bit hectic on the home front for one reason or another.

Mom was taken into surgery yesterday evening around 6pm. They covered her neck, upper chest, and left hand with her own skin. There are a few pins in place through her fingers to keep the grafting in place and her hands from losing full range of mobility later on. In order to keep the tissue on her arms clean for the next few days while the pressure bandages are helping the grafts to take, the doctors covered the left and right with EZ Derm. This application to her arms will, hopefully, also inspire some tissue growth while they are in line for grafting.

The surgery itself went well. She had very good blood flow and remained stable throughout. Prior and following surgery she responded well to the doctor's requests and even grinned at a nurse. She has had fevers today but never over 100.5. Her heart rate has been a bit elevated but calms quite easily.

We won't know wether we are in the clear for a few more days yet so I ask you all to please continue to keep her in your prayers. We're not out of the woods yet but thank you all so very much for your continued dedication.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 19, 2010

The kidney specialists visited mom today. They believe that the issue cropping up in her right kidney could have existed previously but flared due to the irritation of several medications. They are confident that they can keep it under control as they will be monitoring it closely. The skin and blood cultures came back today and are both clean. Because of today's results, they have scheduled Mom for a 5pm grafting surgery where they will use skin from her inner thighs to cover her neck and upper chest. If the surgery goes well, they will also attempt to work on her hands so that they can prevent the possibility of future damage from atrophy.

We all need to pray as deeply as we can. Tomorrow is the third round of grafting and as it is her own skin, we are definitely gambling. If she can fight through it and keep this round, she may be able to be transferred within a few months to the Maricopa Burn Center. Though this would be wonderful for all of us to be in closer proximity to her, the burn center itself is known for its dedication and has a very positive reputation as such.

Please keep her in your thoughts tonight and tomorrow...My mother is an absolute angel and deserves the chance to rise above all of this so that we all have the chance to repay her for every second she has dedicated to the improvement of our lives.

-Bless you Momma. We all love you so very much and are fighting right beside you. Know that when you feel beaten, we are on either side to hold you up and comfort you. You are never alone.

Tia, Mannah, and Daddy

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010

News has definitely improved since Sunday. We were bombarded with circulation and kidney concerns yesterday morning, as of this morning however, news is much better. Dad had shown some concern on Friday and Saturday with the coloration of Mom's toes. They were turning purple in color and were very cold. The doctors began scanning again for blood flow in this area and were not registering any. Coincidentally, Mom's IV port was in the main artery of this same leg and once removed, blood flow registered in the area once again. Though there is some obvious arterial damage to her veins due to the burn damage, her toes are turing a normal pink color and now have more warmth to the touch.  Though her renal numbers are a bit high, they are not nearly as severe as the doctors had anticipated yesterday after today's visit with renal specialists. Her right kidney is the one in concern but her change in numbers are small enough to be in response to medications. All considered, scary weekend with an oddly redeeming Monday. 

Mom is on schedule for a grafting surgery sometime this week so please please pray that she accepts something so that we can get her covered up and protected. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 16, 2010

Dad is much more comfortable in his new apartment just walking distance from the hospital. He started physical therapy yesterday and though it was painful, it went well. The only bandaging that he is still having changed every few days is over his right hand and is progressing well.

Mom has been much more stable over the last week. Her blood pressure and pulse is controlled and her temperatures have been continuously manageable. As of this morning, her blood cultures came back clean. They have noticed, however, that her white blood cell count has been rising. Though we are not sure of the actual cause, the heightened white blood cell count could be in relation to several things (medication, bacteria in other areas).

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 14, 2010

To be perfectly honest, there really is not very much to update with. Mom has continued to remain fairly stable. The doctors have said that if the next to cultures come back negative for bacteria, they will attempt a direct skin graft (using skin from her tummy) to her arms and see if her system will accept that more so because of the exact cellular composition match. Please let this work!!!

Dad is doing very well. He no longer has bandages on his left arm (though it is still VERY tender and red) and the amount of coverage on his right arm is minimal considering what it looked like just a week ago.

Thank you all for your dedication to their health and all of your prayers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

Overall, there is not a huge amount to be said in this post, however, what I do have to say is positive. Mom had a restful day yesterday and last night. The doctors switched her antibiotic to a much stronger form. They say, overall, that her tissue is looking healthy. Her fever, heart rate, and oxygenation has been down to a much healthier level as well. As long as she maintains this level of health, they are considering another cleanup surgery just to relieve healthier tissue in some areas that have been neglected to aid of the harsher burns.

Thank you all again for your continued support!!!!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010

Unfortunately, today turned out to be a bummer. The EZ Derm that they were able to apply to her neck and arms was rejected. They have removed all of it and her fevers and heart rate stabilized soon after. We are unsure of the reason behind her rejection. It could be a bacteria that is preventing fusion or possibly just her body rejecting this method, regardless, they will continue to vary treatment until they are successful.

Due to the stress that Mom's immune system has been under, she has developed Shingles. This virus is not uncommon in burn patients as they are already so compromised. Her legs have continued to progress a bit and, hopefully, they will be able to graft them in the next few days.

Another issue that needs to be dealt with soon for matters of her comfort and bacteria prevention, is the removal of the ventilator. She is still fighting some Pneumonia which makes the tubes necessary for the removal of built up fluids. Though this is counterintuitive, the tubes also increase the level of bacteria that can enter the body and irritate the healing process of her face as they must be tied in place.

This week we need to continue our prayers in hopes that she can be taken off of the ventilator safely and that her grafts will adhere without infection. Thank you all very very much for Savannah's birthday wishes. She appreciates every single one!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

October 9, 2010

We had an inspiring morning today. Dad went into visit mom and while he was giving her everyone's love he also told her that her Granddaughter Bailey would be visiting soon and Mom turned and gave him a big smile. She also tried to reach out and touch Uncle Barry. Though these may seem like small gestures, they have come to be the most inspirational moments of our day.

As of yesterday evening, the doctors were able to begin the application of the EZ Derm. She now has grafting on her neck and arms and has been responding to it well as of late this morning.

Please please please keep sending your prayers we will need each and every one of them before the end of this (very long and bumpy) road.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

As I have conveyed in prior postings, progress is very slow. Dad was released from the hospital yesterday! He will, however, remain in out-patient care for bandage changes. Mom has continued to remain fairly stable. The doctors are still battling with the infection on her legs but are happy with the tissue in other areas. If she continues to maintain healthy tissue elsewhere, they will begin grafting her neck and upper chest areas with EZ Derm.

As a secondary note to today's post I would like to make a few comments about the Visitation Calendar:

Prior to visiting, it is very important that you contact me with the dates and make sure that they do not conflict with existing visits. The last thing we want to do is interrupt Mom's progress with a large influx of visitors. We appreciate every single visit, however, we need to make sure that she is not overwhelmed physically or mentally. We also have to keep her vulnerability to bacteria in mind.

I am sure that Mom misses and loves everyone so very much but we also have to understand how much stress she is dealing with.

Thank you all for your love and please know that both Mom and Dad love and appreciate your visits to this page and to the hospital.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 5, 2010

As you might have gathered from the lack of posting, we have had several days of stability. Mom's fevers have been low and controlled. She has been much more relaxed and appears to be in less pain. Though the cultures did come back positive for one of the bacterias, the doctors have exchanged her medicine and are now using a bleach based cleaner for her leg (the focal point of the bacterial issue). They hope to have the bacteria completely cleared by the end of this week and possibly begin the EZ Derm application. Just as with every other step of this process, we must "wait and see". In comparison to former days, however, she is consistently stable and the amount of rest that she is able to get has also increased.

Though Dad had hoped to be healing a bit quicker, the doctors say it will take a bit longer than he had anticipated. He is, however, doing wonderfully considering the circumstances.

Thank you all for your continued support and may you have a wonderful evening!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010

This weekend proved to be very calm for both Mom and Dad. After reviewing his progress, the doctors have now decided that he only requires a medicated bandage change once a day. I cannot convey to you how much of an ordeal bandage changing can be. Aside from the general pain from the wounds, there is a great deal of discomfort brought on by the medicated cream that has to be applied. With these steps in mind, I am sure that you can just imagine how relieved he was to hear this news.

Mom was very consistent this weekend maintaing a very low fever throughout (this is common as the body is fighting to healing itself). As of yesterday morning, they had cultured her skin and sent it to the lab to determine if all of the bacteria from infection has been killed. When the lab can confirm that she no longer has any skin infection, they will begin the process of applying EZ Derm (a product derived from pig skin). This layer of EZ Derm is, in no means, permanent. EZ Derm does not stimulate tissue growth or attachment and is, therefor, a barrier. The application of this product is merely for protecting the living and vulnerable tissue beneath that is currently exposed. Once they have determined that she maintains stability without infection with the EZ Derm (3-5 days after application) they will move on to removing the EZ Derm and applying another round of Integra.

THank you all so very much for your continued thoughts and dedication to their progress. My Dad would also like everyone to know how much he appreciates every thought, prayer, and extended hand to our family. We are only as strong as the support that stands behind us.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2, 2010

I have to say that it is much nicer to be able to report the progress to all of you with first hand information.  Savannah, Natalie, Megan and I are visiting Mom and Dad this weekend.

Dad is healing wonderfully. His faced has progressed a GREAT deal in comparison to the first week that we were able to spend with him. His arms are progressing quickly as well. The burns were not quite as severe on the left allowing it to heal faster, however, the right is a fairly close second. They have said that it is possible that he will be discharged sometime during this coming week.

According to the doctor's report this morning, Mom is in a much better state than she has been over the last week. They believe that they have killed the three bacterias that were effecting her lungs and skin but will continue to administer the antibiotics through the remainder of the week.

In order to fight off later issues with muscular atrophy and the elasticity of her skin, they have begun regular therapy. The instruments that they use are in constant motion so that her joints can maintain proper lubrication and flexibility. In addition to the constant movement of her bed, they introduced a machine that moves her legs in a motion much like riding a bicycle. All of these efforts to continue body movement as much as possible will help a great deal in later rehabilitation.

Today's level of oxygenation into her lungs is the best that it has been during her time here. Her white blood cell count has come down to a normal level. The doctors seem hopeful that she is coming over a hump in the process of healing. We can only pray that she will support the doctor's optimism and continue to be so strong!!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 1, 2010

In order to control the initial infection, the doctors have now removed the rest of the Integra. As soon as Mom can maintain normal temperature, white blood cell count, and heart rate the doctors will be able to apply another round of Integra or possibly another synthetic over her own healthy tissue. They are treating the current tissue bacteria with an antibiotic. 

In addition to the irritation that her lungs have suffered, the ventilator tubes are also a great source of irritation. The bacteria in her respiratory system is also being treated with an antibiotic. Today they are hoping to change out the old tubes and replace them with new to cut down on the build up of bacteria. The doctors will most likely be giving Mom a tracheotomy in the very near future. With this method, they will be able to maintain her medication levels with greater control and also reduce the amount of bacteria that would be introduced into her system. 

She has been fairly stable over the last 12 hours and hopefully continues to maintain that status. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 29, 2010

Overall, today has been a good day. After some analysis of Mom's Integra, the doctors found that infection was beginning to spread (which was also the source of her more radical fevers over the last few days).They were able to find the bacteria that invoked infection and administered the correct antibiotic yesterday evening. As of today, they have removed most of the Integra which has clearly kept Mom stable and much more comfortable all day. Generally speaking, the removal of the Integra is not uncommon as it does not always adhere on the first application.

Apart from maintaining a regular heart rate and temperature, Mom has also been much more responsive. She is able to answer questions with a nod when awake. Due to the pain, however, she is still heavily medicated for is obviously not completely lucid. With regards to the state of her respiratory issues, she is somewhere in the range of 80% improved from her initial state. Though they still give her breathing treatments during the day, the material being pumped out of her lungs is much improved.

Dad, due to Mom's stable condition today, has had a fairly restful day. I am told that his face has improved drastically and his arms are following quickly as well.

Thank you all for your wonderful comments and words of inspiration. Have a wonderful evening and know that we appreciate every thought and prayer.

September 29, 2010

Today, we are starting off with good news!

Mom's fever has been gone for at least four hours and her heart rate has been back to normal for this period of time as well. Dad actually slept for six and a half hours which, for him, is more than he gets on a normal basis.

We are still riding a roller coaster but today WILL be a good day!

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010 (2nd Update)

Just to contrast the bad news with some good....Mom actually turned her head to see visitors this afternoon. She tried to respond as much as she could and also smiled again. This news alone makes my day. As long as she can continue to fight off the fevers and be strong, news like this is a blessing!!!

September 27, 2010

Yesterday and today have been rough days...though its hard to distinguish those from what wouldn't be considered a rough day in this realm. Mom has maintained some pretty high fevers throughout both days with a bit of a break occasionally but not consistently. She was visited earlier today by her primary doctor. Upon inspecting the Integra on her arms they noticed a bit of an issue and are removing some of the areas where it appears to be failing. As soon as they were able to remove the areas that were not properly fusing, her fever began to drop rapidly which is at least positive in that aspect. If they can control her fever this evening and into tomorrow, they are discussing taking her off of the ventilator. Please pray that she responds well and can overcome these roadblocks.

After today's evaluation of his wounds, Dad no longer has to be treated with the reacting enzyme cream. This change in medication will greatly reduce the amount of pain that he has to endure throughout the day.

Again...if you have a moment during the day, please send them your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

She had a good night last night with nearly non-existant fevers. She was even able to open up her eyes and take in the sights for about thirty minutes early this morning. As anyone might assume, Dad's health hinges on the positive progress of Mom's condition. He had a pretty good morning and his wounds are still healing nicely, despite the stress that is caused in changing his bandages twice a day. Throughout the day, as we have noticed to be a sort of cycle, her fevers picked up a bit as can be expected during her healing process.

As is common with with these sort of medical situations, there will be a number of ups and downs that will circulate throughout the process of healing. The best we can do for both of my parents now is pray and help them through both the bad and good spots that they will traverse in this journey toward rejuvenated health. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24, 2010

Today makes seven days since my parents were brought to the UMC Las Vegas Lion's Burn Unit. Dad is healing well, though painfully. It is looking like he will not have any skin grafting done at this point but the process of debriding is long and uncomfortable. His face is progressing quite well with his arms steadily behind as they took the blunt of the burning.

Mom has just had her second surgery for skin removal today. The surgeons were able to remove nearly all of the rest of the damaged skin. They have replaced all of the skin that was removed with a bi-layer synthetic called Integra. Though her body temperature is still riding a bit high she has been fairly consistent both after the first surgery and this last surgery. As is expected, we need to help her in fighting off pneumonia and any infection that can and most likely will crop up from her constant intubation. If all goes well there will, most likely, be one more skin removal surgery and then possibly the process of slowly pulling her off of the ventilator.

We must continue to pray for both of them and keep them in our thoughts.

Thank you all so very much for your support. We cannot express how much we need and appreciate any and all thoughts and prayers.