Thursday, April 28, 2011

He's Back!

Kent had another follow-up appointment on April 14th and was released to return to work the following day. He is doing great - only suffering with headaches when tired - so that's an improvement.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kent Update

Kent saw his Neurologist on March 17th and got a good report. The incision is healing slowly, from the inside out, so that skin will be somewhat delicate for a while. It's looking better, but his hair will always be thin along the scar.

He is driving short distances and doing some light yard work to rebuild his strength. He continues to progress, but experiences weakness and speech issues late in the day, if he has done too much. Recovering from something like this is a process and his doctors are pleased with how well he is doing.

Kent's next appointment is mid-April and he is hoping that the doctor will release him to return to work soon. In the meantime, he is to keep building on his success and getting stronger.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Look Out! ... He's Back on the Road

Kent had his follow-up appointment on Thursday (2/24), and things are looking pretty good. The doctor feels he is healing, but remains concerned about the sutures closing up properly on the top of his head. He will check it again on March 17th at the next appointment.

Kent still has swelling on the right side of his face and this should decrease as scar tissue breaks down over time. His overall progress is where he should be (at this point) and some slurred speech, and the other symptoms he experiences when he begins to get tired, are to be expected. Kent is not to climb ladders, ride his bike or do anything that could result in a fall, but he should continue building his strength, little by little.

Look out on the roadways, he has been cleared to drive short distances - but only to very familiar places. He can also go up and down the stairs and even do a little yard work, as long as someone is with him at all times, while doing these activities, and he stops as soon as he begins to feel tired or dizzy.

It's a long road back to health, but his CT Scan looked good and they didn't see anything to worry about. More news on the 17th ...

Recent photo of Kent and Mary at Memphis' birthday outing to the Wildlife Park.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Kent has Hair!

Kent is continuing to recover and his hair is growing back ... he's starting to look like OUR Kent again.

Luckily the weather held out and Kent was able to see his doctor on Thursday, February 3rd. Following is a brief recap - not all questions have been discussed, but he will have a new CT Scan at the next appointment on February 17th.

It's too early to tell, but it is likely that he will recover 100%
It will take at least 3 to 6 months - maybe longer - for a full recovery
He will be on leave from work for "a few months"
He should continue trying to rebuild his strength a little each day - walking and exercising his left hand/arm

Speech & Motor Skills:

Although his speech has improved, it becomes slurred later in the afternoon or if he is tired. Now and then it takes a few seconds to find the right words. The doctor said that this is normal and should continue to improve with time.

When he is tired, Kent sometimes experiences episodes of not being able to effectively use his left hand. For example, he may need to use his left hand to hold a fork while cutting up food and this can be a real challenge. The doctor said that this is also normal for this stage of his recovery.

Check back for updates - maybe we'll get a few action shots in the coming weeks!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stitches Out - Recovery Continues

Kent had an appointment with the nursing staff on Tuesday afternoon to have the stitches & staples removed from his scalp. It went well, but without pain medicine it wasn't a comfortable process ... considering how many stitches there were!

Next appointment (with the doctor) is February 3rd and Kent was instructed to continue what he has been doing until then. It's possible there will be a new CT Scan at the next appointment and hopefully more information on what happened and what is next.

You can see in the following photos that the swelling is slowly going down, but isn't completely gone, and his hair is quickly growing back.

Recovery is going slowly, but he continues to make small improvements each day. He is walking to the mailbox most mornings and it's good for him to move around and work on getting his strength back. He feels better in the morning and tends to "run down" by mid-afternoon.

His speech continues to improve, but is considerably better early in the day and becomes more slurred as the day wears on. Like his speech, Kent continues to have some difficulty concentrating and doing day-to-day tasks. When he is rested, he doesn't exhibit any weakness on his left side. When he gets tired, he might not be able to hold a utensil to feed himself.

His recovery could be slow, with "one step forward and two steps back" some days. A Neurologist friend (who is not Kent's doctor) said that someone who has experienced what Kent has gone through could take up to two years to recover.

Keep the prayer circle going for Kent's continued improvement.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Catching Up with Kent

Kent did well over the weekend and is getting stronger each day. He is back on Advil since the pain meds were making him nauseous. His pain level is much lower, but with the stitches and swelling it hurts to yawn and chew.

Wanted to post these photos from Toni of Kent on his way out of the hospital.

Back to the Birthday

Kent had a special visitor on his birthday ... Memphis waited and waited and waited thinking that any minute Poppa was going to show up in the NIMU waiting room.

It's a bummer to be in the hospital on your birthday, but at least they'll bake you a cake! He got a cupcake with his lunch and a cake later that afternoon.

Here's Kent with his Birthday Cake, which wasn't eaten until the next day!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Good News - Kent is Out of the Hospital!

Kent was released from the hospital mid-day Friday and is staying at Toni & Ray's house during the initial phase of his recovery. Will have more information on physical therapy and his progress soon.

Additional good news is that the "skull flap" WAS replaced during the surgery on Monday and he will not require an additional surgery in 4 to 6 months, as was reported earlier. Not sure how this information was erroneously sent out through the nursing staff, but it sure is good news that his skull IS back together and he's not facing another surgery!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

PHOTOS ... (Warning if You're Squeamish)

Kent has continued to make progress today - although he was in some pain and had another nausea attack, he was awake and moving around some. Kent has been adjusting to his "new look" and thought we should share a few photos on the blog so friends and family, who have not seen him, will understand what he has been through and know that he is recovering.

Although Kent's speech isn't entirely clear, he is easily understood and is piecing together what happened to him over the last few days. There isn't much that's funny about this situation, but I have to share a story. On Monday morning, Ed and Mary arrived to usher Kent into the pre-op area and during this transition he told them he wasn't hungry because he had eaten a hamburger at about midnight. Everyone thought that was hilarious ... the hospital would NEVER give a hamburger to a patient with the very real possibility of having emergency surgery during the night.

Yesterday one of the nurses was doing something in the room and mentioned Kent's hamburger. Turns out he DID eat a burger on Sunday night - shame on us for not believing him!

Here's a photo of Kent (taken today) giving the thumbs up and sending a message that he's OK.

Today they removed the drain tube that's visible in the next photos. Kent also learned that as part of this surgery, a piece of his skull was removed and cryogenically frozen. As bad as that sounds, this section of skull was not replaced during the surgery to allow room for the brain to swell and not be damaged. He will undergo another surgery to repair his skull in 4 to 6 months.

This photo was taken on Monday when he was first brought back into the ICU from recovery - he was sleeping off the anesthesia.

In this post-op photo you can see the bandages along the incision and the site where the blood clot was removed. The blotches around his neck are Betadine Antiseptic (not blood).

Kent has been through a lot and appreciates your kind thoughts and prayers. Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to Kent

What a way to spend a birthday!

Toni & Mary reported that Kent was working with some nurses in testing his range of mobility. Although he was not able to lift his body weight to move forward on the bed without assistance, he was able to sit up and lift both knees and hold them up. They also had him walk the ICU circle and attempt a few stairs, which he was able to do.

His speech is slurred and his face is still swollen on the right side from the incision that runs from under, and then through, his ear lobe then up and around the ear towards the temple. There is also some weakness in his left side that prevents a full smile. He will see a speech therapist soon to discuss therapy.

Kent was moved this morning to NIMU - one step below ICU - where he will spend one night and then hopefully be moved down to a normal room for another night. This is great progress. He is alert today and asking questions about what happened to him. Mary and Toni are telling him a little at a time to bring him up-to-date on the last 3 or 4 days.

The hospital will allow him to have a piece of cake and a balloon for his birthday, but no party. (ONLY Kent can have food/drinks in this type of room.) I think his "party for one" may be delayed since he's now experiencing some nausea from all the activity.

More later and possibly photos of his birthday cake.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday Evening Update on Kent

Kent had a pretty good day - he is still in the ICU, but is only taking Tylenol for pain. He ate several small meals, sat up in a chair and got lots of rest. Ally, the charge nurse, told Mary & Toni that she will not have to wake him up on schedule tonight. Hopefully he will be able to get some sleep. Check back for updates!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Surgical Success!

I'm sorry to be so late in updating the blog, but have good news to report. I'll start with last night in the ICU ... Kent was under the constant care of a nurse who had to wake him up on schedule to confirm that he was responsive and could answer questions correctly. If he showed any decline in function, the nurse was to alert the surgical team. Kent did well, but there was one "test" that almost triggered surgery.

Kent was taken into the surgical prep area around 6am, but the surgery did not actually begin until about 8:20am. It lasted a bit longer than anticipated - almost 4 hours - and he was moved to recovery a little after 1pm.

Because his surgery was "an emergency" the detailed consultation with Dr. Johnson couldn't happen today, but the information we have is that she felt everything went well and that she removed a blood clot approximately 3cm by 8cm long ... that converts to 1.2 inches by 3.1 inches. Needless to say, this was a LARGE blood clot and was creating TREMENDOUS pressure on Kent's brain.

This next part might make you a little squeamish, but I'll include it for those of you who are detail oriented. Dr. Johnson commented that this blood clot "had been there for a while" and the CT scan showed that Kent's brain has been displaced (not centered) by 1.2 inches. She said that there is a 10 - 15% chance there could be another bleed as his brain "bounces back" to fill the void left by removing such a large clot. He is being constantly monitored and the team will spring into action at the first sign of trouble.

Mary, Toni and Ray have been in to see him and Toni reported that it was a shock to see his shaved head. Although he is still "pharmaceutically impaired", the nurse woke him up and asked his name and the year - he answered both questions correctly. Toni asked him the name of his favorite little boy and he answered ... Memphis.

Surgery at 7:30am

Kent's surgery to remove the blood clot is scheduled for 7:30am this morning. Toni talked to Kent on the phone early this morning and said he sounded good. Toni & Ray are at the ICU waiting room, but haven't been able to make contact with anyone else. Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kent in ICU at Memorial Hermann

Kent has experienced terrible headaches since January 1 and had a very bad day yesterday. Today, as he was getting ready for work, he became extremely weak and wasn't very responsive. Mary called for help and Toni & Ray brought him to Memorial Hermann Emergency Room to meet Ed & Hope.

Hope is a genetic research physician & professor at Memorial Hermann/UT Health Science Center and cleared the way for a quick response and treatment. After 3 hours, here is what we know:
  • Kent has a subdural hematoma (brain bleed), likely at the site of the biopsy
  • There is a 2cm blood clot that is creating pressure on his brain/spinal column and must be removed
  • There is a possible infection at the biopsy site, but this is unconfirmed
He is in the ICU, on oxygen, and is doing well. If he remains stable, the neuro team will perform surgery tomorrow (do not have time yet) to remove the blood clot.

Mary, Toni & Ed will be sending information out to me (Nan) and I will post updates as soon as I have them. Some of you are already followers and will receive an email with any updated information - you can access the blog at any time.

This is a scary development, but Kent is in good hands - under the care of the professionals at Memorial Hermann and always under God's watchful eyes.