September 5, 2011

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Mike’s Status and the VA Stuff….

It’s been a busy summer and I can barely believe it is over…and we are almost 7 months post cardiac arrest.   All in all I would say we are leading a charmed life. Mike’s cardiologist says his heart is in pretty darned good shape all things considered.  Ejection fraction is normal.   Damage from the attack […]

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September 5, 2011

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Today I Have Brains On The Brain

I swear, I am so consumed with brain injury my own brain feels like scrambled eggs.  I have had to simplify it for myself.  I can’t fathom all this talk of neurons, neuro-transmitters and the rest of that mad scientist stuff.  I’m a simple girl.  I need things simple.  To that end, after talking to Mike […]

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August 15, 2011

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Mike Day 81 Moving Forward: Out Of The Fog

It’s  been a very long time since I last posted.  I seemed to have lost my voice.  My mind.   My spirit.  It was everything I could do to pick my head up off the pillow in the morning…especially since it had probably been picked up off the pillow no less than 8 times during the […]

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July 11, 2011

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Mike Day 45 Moving Forward: Recreational Therapy

All of these therapies Mike receives are great.  As far as they go.  To him, I am sure, they feel like work.  I also find them to be a bit tedious.  I’ve been looking into adjunct therapies…some speech therapy workbooks, different from the ones his therapist uses. Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy which I am certain I can’t afford […]

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July 3, 2011

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July 3 Mike Moving Forward: “One Of The Best Nights”

Really, Mike is so easy to please…he always was, but now is even easier.  Such simple things have always pleased him. During the day Mike slept blissfully till about noon.  After the wandering of the night before and in the absence of scheduled appointments, this was what I expected and what usually gets him back […]

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July 2, 2011

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Mike Day 36 Moving Forward: Midsummer Night’s Dream

It’s been one of those periods of those days.  Days…and mostly nights…where I can’t quite explain what the heck I’m seeing and experiencing.  They’re like bad dreams.  Unexplainable.  Surreal.   Not that there has been anything big going on, or bad, it’s just a strange period.  Mike’s been making progress cognitively.  Some days he has such […]

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June 23, 2011

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Mike Day 27 Moving Forward: Catchup Epistle

Well, I haven’t written for several days…and during brain injury recovery there don’t seem to be many static periods.  So there’s lots to ruminate on.  This will be long.  I should probably break it into multiple posts, but who has time.  Grab a cuppa joe if you’re reading and inclined to see it through to the end.  […]

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June 19, 2011

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Father’s Day

My daughter Lara said it best about Father’s day this year.  On Facebook she wrote: ” My family and I actually received the BEST Father’s Day gift ever, the chance to still have my father in all of our lives! A special Happy Father’s Day goes out to the GREATEST father in the world…MINE! Love you […]

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June 18, 2011

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Mike Day 22 Moving Forward: Out Of The Mouth Of…Mike

You never know what might come out of Mike’s mouth…you expect confusion, made up words, incomplete sentences, all courtesy his acquired brain injury.  When you get snippets of his old personality, his old sense of humor, it’s truly a treat that makes me laugh and laugh.  And laughing is good.  So very good. The other […]

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June 18, 2011

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Nostalgia

Do you remember playing with paper dolls when you were a little girl?  I do.  It was one of my favorite pastimes. I’d sit for hours and hours with new books of paper dolls which my  Nana would get for me when we went into Stroudsburg.  My favorite was Betsy McCall.  Speaking of Betsy…does McCall’s magazine […]

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June 16, 2011

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Mike Day 20 Moving Forward: EUREKA!

Mike woke up, hopped out of bed, headed to the bathroom.  He came out looking for what I inferred to be the towel and  wash cloth as he mimed washing he face.  He informed me he was planning to wash and brush his teeth.  I gave it to him…he washed his face dry.  There was no convincing […]

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June 16, 2011

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Mike Day 20 Moving Forward: Medical Updates

Yesterday I met with the various therapies working with Mike.  PT tells me he is pretty high functioning actually, in the physical department.  And they tested his balance and he passed the balance test with flying colors…which surprised them because in the gym he is oblivious to what is around him which makes it throw off […]

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June 15, 2011

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Mike Day 19 Moving Forward: Are You Kidding Me?

Who would have known that the guy I’m married to for 31 years now, who cannot recall our marriage, who often doesn’t recall momentous events in our joint lives or his own life, who cannot remember his sister who died 30 years ago, who cannot remember five minutes after lunch that he had lunch and had […]

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June 14, 2011

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Mike Day 18 Forward: Our Wedding Anniversary…how sweet it is

First, Happy Anniversary to us.  It’s 31 years today since we were married.  I’m interested to see if Mike retained that information till this morning.  Lately, it seems as if sometimes his short term memory is improving with enough repetition of the same data…and then only for short periods.  Truthfully, the memory thing is a […]

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June 13, 2011

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Mike Day 17 Forward: This, That n The Next Thing

It’s Monday…our day off from Therapy, doctor’s appts, wound care center appts and the like.  Mike DID have to have blood drawn, and, since our priest is leaving for two weeks in Italy and has been wanting to give Mike the sacraments for a bit now, Mel took him to church for communion.  Right now […]

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June 11, 2011

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Mike Day 15 Forward: Rainy Day Impressions

It’s early.  I’ve been up for an hour, since 5, awakened by the pups who were sure it was time to go out.  Somehow they hadn’t realized it was raining buckets…and they don’t like the rain.  Awake for nothing.  SIGH.  I lay here in the semi-dark hoping the light from the pc and the tapping […]

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June 6, 2011

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Mike Day 10 of The Journey Forward

So here we are, ten days from Mike’s discharge.  It’s been a ride, but we are finally settling into some sort of normalcy…or something akin to a routine, which is very comforting to me these days.  Oddly enough, I used to view spontaneity as the greatest gift and found routines to be tedious.  I think […]

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May 26, 2011

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Mike Day 97: D-Day

At last it’s here…after 96 long days of hospitalization I get to bring Mike home!  I grocery shopped last night and brought home all ilk of fruit, juices, veggies and good for you stuff to eat.  I have the prescriptions in hand to drop off on the way to the hospital.  Nursing gave me my discharge […]

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May 25, 2011

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Mike Day 96: D-Day Minus 1

Tomorrow is the big day!  I can hardly wait.  It’s been a huge week getting ready, and I still have grocery shopping to do…but we are almost home “free”.  Free is an odd way to put it.  We are definitely not “free”.  The cost of a serious medical illness such as Mike’s is pretty staggering.  […]

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May 24, 2011

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Pennsylvania Electric Choice: What A Broken Mess It Is!

I am unable to believe the legislature in Pennsylvania couldn’t foresee that deregulation of the electric companies would create a huge mess…even worse than the AT&T divestiture debacle in the 80’s where nobody benefitted for a very long time, if ever.   It astonishes me that the PUC cannot wrap their arms around the fact that […]

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May 23, 2011

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Mike: Quips and Giggles

Mike has always been a funny guy and had a great sense of humor.  One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever gotten from Mike was the ability to laugh and to have a sense of humor.  His sense of humor has not left him…and when it shows itself I often wonder how much CNS damage […]

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May 22, 2011

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Mike Day 92: Getting Ready For Homecoming

Yesterday we began readying the house for Mike’s return home.  The kids, Deb, and I got together very early and descended on the bedroom.  With only 5 days to go, the countdown has begun and we need to get cracking! To say Mike has “stuff” squirreled everywhere would be an understatement.  A collector of all […]

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May 20, 2011

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Day 91 Mike: ShortTimers

It’s looking good for the 26th and D-Day (in this case, Discharge Day).  I’m a little scared the bedsore might throw a monkey wrench in…it suddenly started to have yukky drainage again.  I’ve insisted the wound care nurse evaluate it again today and I’m hoping that they can turn whatever has flared up around very quickly.  […]

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May 18, 2011

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Mike Day 89: (Almost) Out Of Exile

At last the exile that resulted from our very indulgent and unhealthy eating habits…which is all Mike’s heart attack is attributable to…is almost over.   As discharge became a sooner rather than later reality bearing down on us, I began to feel kind of unsettled about some open items relative to Mike’s daily existence that I […]

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May 13, 2011

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Day 84: Such A Great Day After All!

This morning, first thing, we visited the office of Pulmonary Associates…the critical care docs who cared for Mike for 2 months and brought him through so much illness it can’t be believed.  Dr. Jeff Marsh saw him…I had rather hoped it would be he and expressed same to nurse practitioner at Good Shepherd before she made the […]

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May 13, 2011

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Mike Day 84: He’s Fine. My Last Nerve Is Shot.

It looks like there is not much more time left with Mike spent in exile in one form of hospital or another.  The last week of May is right around the corner…worst case scenario, first week of June…and Mike should be coming home.  This, of course, depends on whether or not the medical people are giving […]

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May 11, 2011

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Mike Day 82: Marching (In Place)

Yesterday I arrived at the rehab expecting to see (a) the feeding tube gone (b) a wound vac on Mike’s bedsore to heal it in (optimally) 2 months and (c) an appointment made at an ENT to evaluate the condition of Mike’s vocal cords so we would know if we could pull the trach or not.  You see, […]

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May 10, 2011

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Mike Day 81: Success

Yesterday proved to be a success on many fronts. I arrived at the hospital and the first stop was in the office of the care manager.. she is appropriately titled. And wonderful. She assured me that my schedule ideas could be readily implemented. On the subject of trach removal she wanted respiratory involved. Off we […]

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May 9, 2011

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Mike Day 80: Planning and Waiting

Last Tuesday or Wednesday Mike’s care manager told me they are still looking at 3-4 weeks of inpatient therapy for him.  Some quick mental math tells me that this illness will have had him hospitalized for somewhere around 100 days.  The three weeks seems so close…and still so far away.  The reality of bringing Mike […]

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May 7, 2011

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Blog Under (Re)Construction!

Please pardon our appearance while I undertake some redecorating.  I like the fresher look…and I’ll keep posting, but you might see changes to the landscape from time to time.

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May 3, 2011

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Mike Day 74: Blessings Abound

So the oximetry sleep study for last night did not happen.  Mike was in no way tired, and in no way sleeping.  Well 5-6 am but that is all.  He was a little twitchy/rammy too.  I think overstimulated and not terribly tired because he powernapped in the afternoon, all thought of sleep went out the window.  So […]

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May 2, 2011

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Mike Day 73: Catching Up

Phew!  It’s been a bit since I’ve posted.  This isn’t because Mike is not doing well…on the contrary, he is improving and improving quickly!  I’ve been spending a lot of time at the rehab hospital and they don’t have a nearby hotspot…so no web access for my laptop and when I get home I am beat. […]

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April 26, 2011

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Mike Day 67: A Simply Lovely Day

Wow.  What huge progress Mike has made in a few short days at neuro rehab.  He walked 85 feet with the walker. It’s a bit clunky and he tires for sure…but I hearken back to February when we could barely get two eye blinks from him.  He walked with the assist of me and the nurse, no walker, […]

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April 25, 2011

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Mike Day 66: Rainbows

I’m reminded this morning, that after 40 days and nights of rain Noah saw a rainbow…a visible commitment from God and a reminder that He carries us safely through storms. I’m also reminded that last night as I began to despair, my daughter texted a photo…a distinct and brilliant rainbow in the East, clearly visible […]

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April 25, 2011

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Mike Day 66: What Is To Become Of Us?

Yesterday, again, was a day of many mixed blessings.  Mikey visited Mike right after church.  When I arrived at the rehab about 10 he was already there and Mike was in OT.  Unfortunately, when I headed back to Mike’s room,  I was greeted with the news that he was in therapy, his son was there, and that […]

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April 24, 2011

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Mike Day 65: Happy Easter

Good morning…and Happy Easter.  What a beautiful morning to commemorate the Resurrection!  This morning it is truly evident that Spring has sprung in Pennsylvania.  Day one at Rehab was really quite surprising to me.  I can’t say whether or not it is the increased movement and being out of bed more or just that Mike […]

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April 23, 2011

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Mike Day 64: A Jubilant Day 63 Report

First things first.  Mom…I visited the doc for my 30,000 mile checkup (though it feels more like 200,000 miles) and all seems well.  Ticker sounds good, BP not bad all things considered, EKG looks swell…waiting for results of blood work but don’t expect anything untoward to show up.  I’ll live to see another day I reckon.  (I am […]

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April 21, 2011

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Mike Day 62: A Fresh Start

After a good bit of crying over the outcome of the Highmark appeal yesterday, I had a revelation.  I realized my thinking on the whole topic of this brain injury pre-authorization was directionally incorrect. I was pretty much delusional in hoping Highmark would reverse their decision on these appeals in any reasonable fashion.   I was being naive […]

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April 20, 2011

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Mike: Day 61 Appeal Results

About an hour ago I received a call from Tammy at Highmark. She wanted to let me know that a hearing had been held yesterday regarding my appeal. Bear in mind this was a hearing I knew nothing of and was afforded no opportunity to participate in. She went on to explain that I would […]

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April 20, 2011

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Mike Day 61 Highs and Lows

Yesterday was a day of mixed blessings. As with almost every day I start by thanking God for another day above ground. I figure every one of those is a great day. I thank him for my many blessings, ask him to continue to heal Mike and to keep me healthy so I can take […]

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April 19, 2011

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Day 60: Addendum; Highmark again

I wonder if I should be calling them Lowmark rather than Highmark?   Though they were to have had something to me today.  I had nothing.  Nothing.    I believe they are doing their best to deny the request, but doing damage control in the background and until the damage control is done I won’t hear anything.  I DID hear […]

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April 19, 2011

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Highmark Stuff….

Looks like brain injury denials aren’t new to Highmark…  http://www.wvrecord.com/news/233958-ohio-doctor-challeges-denial-of-insurance-coverage-to-disabled-husband How ironic!  The Brain Injury Association is one of 13 charities walking in the Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community.  Seems the charities receive the proceeds from the walk.: http://www.biapa.org/site/c.iuLZJbMMKrH/b.6544967/k.886C/Highmark_Walk_for_a_Healthy_Community.htm http://www.walkforahealthycommunity.org/whc2/hbg/index.shtml

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April 19, 2011

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Mike: Day 60; The Highmark saga continues

Yesterday was a busy day for me.  It’s exactly 60 days since Mike’s MI and the medical shit storm that has rained down on our house ever since.  It seems, in the 60 days, the demands that this has created have increased rather than lessened and my life, my time is no longer mine or […]

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April 19, 2011

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Genealogical Deja Vu

Remember when I posted about my genealogy thing in a 55 minute post?  I’m still kind of weirded out by the  chance encounter that occurred.  Here’s the dealio…. In researching my Whildin ancestry I turned up several distant cousins over the last year.  These cousins were wonderful about filling in huge amounts of family history for me.  […]

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April 18, 2011

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Mike Day 59

Yesterday was pretty hard with Mike on a personal level.  I’ve been promising him for about three weeks he would be going to rehab.  On a daily basis, as his recovery has begun to escalate and he has become aware of his surroundings and his state, he has grown increasingly frustrated with his physical shortcomings.  He […]

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April 17, 2011

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Highmark…Huge Profits in 2011

I thought this article was interesting!  Highmark is certainly doing something right….for themselves! http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/03/bad_times_for_health_care_good.html

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April 17, 2011

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Part 5: Highmark Blue Shield, 55 Minutes (Mike’s Story)

On Monday April 11, 2011 I was in the most elated state I had been in for a while.   Mike had been approved for Good Shepherd’s brain injury/neuro rehab program by the Physiatrist, his entire cadre of Pulmonology/Critical Care docs, Therapy and ME!  Beyond that, he was deemed medically stable enough to move by the Critical Care […]

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April 17, 2011

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Part 4: 55 Minutes (Mike’s Story)

Mike came back to Good Shepherd Specialty on March 24.  His weaning from the ventilator was uneventful.  He has been off the vent…and is making progress toward being off the trach but it is complicated by his chronic obstructive sleep apnea.  Since his return to Good Shepherd, his progress has been amazing.  Not so very long ago […]

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April 17, 2011

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Part Three: 55 Minutes (Mike’s Story)

On March 3 we traveled by ambulance across town to Good Shepherd Specialty Hospital.  Mike was installed in a private room…isolation was necessary due to the MRSA but I am pretty sure all Good Shepherd’s rooms are private. Transfer was uneventful and we were looking forward to the future. Mike was marginally responsive during this time.  […]

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April 17, 2011

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Part 2 of 55 Minutes (Mike’s story)

I wish I could say the days just after February 18 were long gone and forgotten but they are permanently burned into my memory. Afraid to close my eyes for fear he would slip away, I began my vigil and my advocacy for my husband. We were in a private room filled with medical equipment […]

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