This webpage was compiled on 6/15/2016
at the request of people curious about my injury. Since then I
have done extraordinary things in my life and I offer this
account of my injuries as motivation to others.
of the traumatic brain injury of Aaron Lephart 4/22/2006
is a copy of the text put on a friends website to outline my injury and
to keep fellow friends informed. These messages where originally sent
by my Mom Valorie to a group of friends via e-mail.
Daily report for 4-25-06
was out for a day ride on his motorcycle with three friends last
Saturday when he was in an accident around 10:30am. He lost control of
the bike at a left turn in the road that had a lookout point on the
bike went down and Aaron was thrown from the bike. He was air lifted to
Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. At that time they knew
brain sheer, a broken neck, broken back and a broken jaw in two places.
He arrived in a coma and remains so. He is not breathing on his
morning Larry and I met with two of his three trauma Dr.s . Here's
what they said:
brain has subdural bleeding and intervaticular hemoraging. There is a
drain to draw off excess fluid and to allow room for some swelling that
has taken place. He also has orbital fractures over the right eye and
sinus fracture (upper right cheek area) as well as the two breaks in
his jaw. He
has multiple right wrist fractures. He is running a temperature of 102
- 103 degrees and has the first stages of pneumonia. His body is
"posturing" which is not particularly good but expected. He has rib
fractures and his right lung has massive contusions. He remains on a
respirator. They want his right lung to get better because the back
surgery involves going in from the front, deflating the left lung and
remove the fractured pieces, insert a circular cage with a rod to
we were there today they put a feeding tube through his nose.
Dr.'s say his age, health and stamina are good qualities to help
"To Do" List for Aaron is as follows:
1. Monitor head injury and remove drain in 10 days when stable. Put a
cast on right wrist.
Next will be a trakeostomy so that the breathing tube in his throat can
be removed and not damage vocal cords.
When pneumonia is no longer an issue they will perform the back
The coma can last two weeks on the short end and years on the long
all we know at this point. Aaron needs complete rest and they don't
even want us to try to get him to respond to us as he needs to heal. So
we're just going to treat him like he's having a long nap. We'll stay
in touch by phone most of the time and see him every three days for the
next two weeks. There's lots of things for us to figure out like bill
paying on line, banking, state required paperwork etc. which will keep
us busy on the off days. Keep Praying !
Daily report for 4-26-06
7pm and Aaron had a good day. Dr. Phan saw that he was intentionally
moving his left arm and left leg. He is sure it was not posturing but
intentional movement. His temperature was up to 103.5 but an ice bath
and tylonal has brought it down to 100.8.
They biopsied his sputum and found two different bacteria bugs so he is
on antibiotics to address those particular bugs.
weren't able to get the feeding tube in his nose but the throat tube is
deep enough that they can feed him through that. His two feedings have
been tolerated well at 30 cc's an hour and "his guts are gurgling"
which means he's digesting the food. This is all good.
They are planning to do a repeat cat scan tomorrow morning to check the
Daily report for 5-1-06
didn't do the trake procedure today as they were deluged with trauma
patients at the hospital. It's slated for first thing tomorrow morning.
Aaron's skin felt normal today and tonight he still has no fever so
that's a good thing.
He's not breathing much on his own today. However he is less anxious
and doesn't have the restraints on his arms.
It may be involuntary reflex but he squeezed our hands today. I can't
tell you how comforting that is.
daily report 5-2-06
they put in the trake tube so Aaron is free of all foreign objects in
his mouth and throat. The procedure went well.
He remains on a
ventilator and has a low grade fever.
are talking about inserting a permanent feeding tube in his stomach.
It's called a peg tube or "G" tube. It's wider so there's less chance
of clogging and aids in better digestion. This will probable be
accomplished on Friday.
Aaron's daily report for
took Aaron off the ventilator today. The tube makes it easier for him
to breathe. His white blood count today is 17,900. Normal is 5,000. His
was 15,000 yesterday. High count means infection, as in the pneumonia.
daily report for 5-4-06
we thought Aaron looked the best we've seen him since the accident.
able to breathe on his own; however, the oxygen they are giving him is
mixed with moisture so his throat doesn't dry out. He actually looked
very peaceful as he seemed to drift in and out of deeper layers of
coma. On the shallow parts he would open his eyes (but not focus)
and squeeze his left hand. As he drifted back deeper, he was actually
Tomorrow they will put
in the permanent feeding tube
and when that's completed they can pull the tube that is now going in
his nose to his stomach. When that is out I think he'll do even better.
Other than the "egg" on
his head, a puffy right eye and a "Botox" upper lip, he looks pretty
much his normal self.
Aaron's Daily Report for
very late in the day, they did the "G" Tube procedure to put the
permanent feeding tube to his stomach. They have him temporarily on a
ventilator till the drug wears off that they gave him for the
procedure. That means the tube that ran in his nose to feed him is
finally out. He'll be much more comfortable without that.
Keep thinking positive thoughts
- someone's listening!
Aaron's Daily Report for 5-6-06
is resting well today and they've started feeding him through the tube.
His white blood count (infection measure) is down so the pneumonia is
We got a call today that
Dr. Phan feels ready to do the back operation. If his
regular Dr. (Powell) agrees he plans to do it Monday. They will be
going in from the front, deflating the left lung to clean out the
broken T-8 fragments and inserting a coil with a rod to stabilize it
with two screws on the top and two on the bottom. So please keep
positive thoughts on Monday that the skilled surgeons do a good
We have the cd from Jill
Pope that gives affirmation prior to surgery and we'll give it a go as
Aaron's Daily Report for 5-7-06
is opening his eyes and when we talk he is turning his eyes toward
was squeezing our hand and fussing in an agitated state today. We tried
to reassure him he will be okay and needs to relax and allow his body
to heal. There is no indication that he can speak and that could also
be because of his two jaw breaks.
The back surgery is
scheduled for tomorrow. The exact time is undetermined as
his status is "open ended" meaning that it will be whenever they can
fit it in. Perhaps it will be Tuesday if they can't get an O.R.
Tomorrow morning we will
be checking out sub acute care facilities. The one I
want is South Coast Hospital in Laguna Beach but they are full with no
possible openings till June and a nine person waiting list. They
offered us choices of Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Orange. We'll be
checking out the Orange one first and the others after that. They said
that if he's stable enough, he could be released for transfer as early
as Friday. This would probably be accomplished by ambulance rather than
air as there is very little working space in air to see to his needs.
The Drs. at the sub acute facility would be addressing his broken jaw,
broken right hand and orbital fractures and cheek area around the right
eye as well as his broken neck if something is required beyond the neck
Keep good thoughts.
Aaron's Daily Report for May 8,
up and wait was the order of the day. The surgery didn't happen. It
will be tomorrow afternoon. Following the back surgery, Dr. Wong will
come in and put a plate in his lower jaw and wire the jaw where it's
broken. In that way he won't be put under twice and he can recover from
both surgeries while in the coma. The orbital fracture over the right
eye will be referred to a plastic surgeon who specializes in eye
injuries. The bone is already trying to heal in the indented position
and eye function will have to be a determining factor as to the
procedure. He also has the broken right hand that has to be dealt
possible that he will be going to New Orange Hills, Chapman Ave,
Orange, CA for his sub acute care. Even though it's mostly old folks,
they have a good reputation for physical and occupational therapy. A
lot of the day was spent evaluating facilities and south Orange County
is sadly lacking in that regard.
the candles burning!
Aaron's Daily Report for May 10,
BEST news of the day is Dr. Powell was able to elicit a response from
Aaron when she asked him to stick out his tongue and to move his
toes!!!!!!!!! He is not out of the coma but is surfacing at times which
is common before a total awakening. He looked at us as we talked to him
and seemed overwhelmed with what we told him about where he is and
trying to assure him that everything will be all right - it will just
who has spent any time with Aaron knows he sets high goals for himself
and will knock down the door to get there. He's going to be facing some
real life lessons as he slowly progresses to recovery. With this
wonderful group of supporters I know we can help him over the bumps in
Tomorrows surgery is a
"biggie" toward making him right again. He'll have a couple
of days ahead where he'll probably be heavily sedated to keep him from
getting agitated. Hopefully, by Sunday he'll show more signs of
You've all been
wonderful in your support. He can count himself truly fortunate to have
so many friends
Aaron's Daily Report May 11,
After 6 ½ hours of
surgery Aaron is over a major hurdle on his road back.
back surgery was first and they were able to sit him up to test whether
he job was a success. It was! The jaw surgery followed and everything
went well with that as well. They put a tube in his left lung which
will remain for 3 - 5 days to keep it monitored.
He lost a fair amount of
blood but not enough to require a transfusion. They will monitor his
He will remain under the
anesthesia till around 7pm.
Thank you all for your
Aaron's Daily Report May 12, 2006
Today was pretty much a
down day for Aaron as he lets his body recover from yesterdays
abuse. He's on a pretty good morphine drip to get him over the pain of
recovery. He is opening his eyes and that's about it. They fitted him
for a brace today and when that's on they sit him up for very brief
periods of time. That way the back stays flexible.
he's down for the night he's without the brace. It will be interesting
to see when he will try to turn his body on his own.
those of you who know Aaron and how proud he is of his beautiful dental
crowns, Dr. Wong had to remove two of them to do the jaw repair. He
said they were loose anyway but I'm sure that will be the
thing on his "to do list" when Aaron's back with us for good!
Aaron's Daily Report May 13,
Aaron got his right wrist put in a cast. That's the last thing that the
trauma center needed to do. He still has a drain in his lung from the
surgery and when that is pulled out he will be eligible for outpatient
assignment to a sub acute facility. When he is out of the coma he will
then be assigned to rehab.
was less responsive when we were at the hospital today but I think that
is because of the morphine and pain. When we left I put Paul Simon on
CD for him to listen to and his breathing evened out. Way to
Aaron could be leaving
Palm Springs as early as Thursday but that depends on
all the pieces falling into place. Did I mention how much we LOVE the
friendly traffic and the fabulous road conditions on the drive to Palm
Springs? - NOT!
Daily Report May 15, 2006
low grade fever continues but it's not a major concern. Post op X-rays
of his jaw are being done tonight. His morphine drip has been lowered.
He had his eyes open and the nurse said " Can you close your eyes if
you're in pain? " He kept them open. Then she said "Can you close your
eyes?" AND HE DID! I hope you all take this as a gift for all your
prayers because you truly deserve to share in these recovery moments.
Daily Report for May 16, 2006
they removed the drain to his lung. That means that he will be placed
soon into a sub acute facility in Orange County. Our first choice was
South Coast Hospital in Laguna Beach but I know they are at capacity.
Our second choice is New Orange Hill on S. Chapman in Orange and third
is Garden Park on Haster St, Garden Grove. The discharge planner now
presents Aaron's medical papers and physical needs to these facilities
and they come back with a "yes,we can address these needs" or a "no,
our facility cannot provide these needs". The way we understand it
Monarch provides 100 days of physical therapy and it starts from the
day he enters the sub acute center. How a person in a coma who has his
jaw wired shut is expected to respond to physical therapy I have yet to
understand; however this is how it was explained to us.
we were there today, Aaron responded to Larry's request to move his
left arm, then left leg, then right leg and then right arm. He did all
those movements albeit just a little. I asked him if he wanted the
walkman music on and he blinked for yes so he is surfacing a bit each
day. By the time we left he was very tired.
Daily Report May 17, 2006
Aaron moved out of the trauma pod to the ICU Floor where he was visited
by Rick and Summar Ruelle and Almendra Johnson from Lockhart Phillips.
(Rick and Summar were with Aaron when the accident happened.) I'm
delighted to report that Aaron reacted immediately at the sound of
Rick's voice and tried to give a smile a couple times. He moved his
arms a lot and when Almendra put a Mariah Carey CD in his walkman he
really brightened up! It was a great visit and when they left Aaron was
This kind of stimulation
is exactly what he needs and
once he's in the sub acute facility and closer to everybody I hope
you'll all take time to visit him. We aren't withholding any
information from him so feel free to talk about anything that has a
I'm going out of town till Sunday
Larry will be holding down the fort and the Daily Reports. Thank you
for your continued interest and support.
Aaron's daily report 19 may 2006 (from his dad Larry)
Made the 2x2x2 trip to
Palm Springs to visit with Aaron today...2 hrs up x 2 hrs there x 2hrs
I got there Aaron had just had a bath and was warm and sleepy....Put
wet wash rag on his forehead as he seemed warm to me...Talked with Tim
(the person responsible for discharge/transfer of patients) told
him that we wanted Aaron to go to New Orange Rehab Center in Orange,
Ca...Tim called New Orange and came back and told that Vivian the head
nurse wanted to talk with me...Called Vivian and she informed me that
they had no room , but that they might
have on Monday or Tuesday of next week...Left it at that...Vivian needs
records, etc. from Palm Springs and then will make a decision on if
they can care for Aaron.
Went back to visit with
they were changing his bed....when they were done Aaron was again
sleepy and kept dozing off....He appeared to be tired and only
interested in sleeping..The night nurse from previous night said he was
following commands on moving hands/legs..He did manage to move his left
leg when I asked him to but it took awhile to do so.
Aaron must have days and nights mixed up as he is active for the night
nurse and somewhat unresponsive when I am there in the daytime...Aaron
is not on morphine only medications for a lower tract problem he has
from all the prior medications when he had pneumonia..Dr. Powell said
they should have this corrected soon.
Daily Report May 21, 2006
be going to see Aaron tomorrow but the night nurse said he's responding
to his name and follows her with his eyes. He doesn't like the trake
tube and tries to pull it out. He moves his left arm a lot. I think
that is his only way of expressing himself and he's trying to say he's
agitated. Then he slips back into his cocoon and all is quiet.
tomorrow will bring more good news. Even though progress is slow there
haven't been any set-backs so that's something to be grateful for.
Daily Report May
back in the OC!!! Today he checked out of Palm Springs at 3pm and arrived at his new residence at
5:15pm. He was very happy to see us there as
he was rolled in. There's precious little space in the three bed room
but we'll get his pictures and cards up tomorrow. They will do a formal
assessment of his medical needs tomorrow and set up a schedule for
whatever he's capable of doing. He stayed awake for over an hour while
we were there and was able to do the call button when they asked him to
push the button.
He really is getting
better each day and with
the extra stimulation of therapy, this will be very good for him. We
explained this is phase 2 of his journey home and it will be lots of
work on his part to progress out of there. When I look at the other
residents there in long term situations he will have much to be
thankful for even though it's hard to put it in that perspective. As
parents, we thank God that physically he's pretty sound and has all his
parts in tact.
We told him we'd bring
Barney for a visit and he gave a really big smile!
all of you out there who are reading this missive because your prayers
are being heard and we see the results. Thank you from the bottom of
Daily Report May
looked exhausted when we went to see him today. He responded but not
much as yesterday. I think this is a bit overwhelming. He did see
Barney and the dog was glad to see his buddy! We didn't stay long but
signed all the paperwork that's required.
On leaving, Matt
Cavanaugh was coming in to visit as he works close by and dropped in on
his lunch hour. He's been the secret gardener who's been mowing Aaron's
lawn and we really appreciate that!!
Tonight we're getting
some comfortable clothes together so he can actually dress again.
It is so great to have
him closer to home!
Daily Report May 25, 2006
so glad that Aaron is getting so much company to keep his mind alert.
brought clothes to put in his closet and lotion and chapstick as
requested. He wasn't as animated with us but that's okay - we're just
the parents - and that's in his character not to be animated with us!
As long as you guys can get him to smile and react, I'll be happy!
Aaron's Daily Report May 26, 2006
official. Aaron is OUT OF THE COMA!!! He has awakened enough times
being aware and able to respond to have it proclaimed that he is out!
The next step is capping the trake tube to seehow he does with the cap
on. He may be able to speak with the cap on. If that goes well the
trake tube will come out. After that the feeding tube comes out. Anyway
that's the sequence of events but no timetable as to when it happens.
Physical therapy is going to be getting him up more so that those back
muscles start to get strong again.
I agree with the nurse
today when she said "Aaron is truly blessed to be out of the coma as
fast as he is". There are many at that facility who have been there a
really long time.
I feel like a big weight
has been lifted
from our shoulders today and your prayers have lifted the burden
immensely. Thank you everyone for all your positive thoughts and
Larry and Valorie
our joy to walk in Aaron's room today and see him DRESSED in a shirt,
shorts and socks! Summar was there cheering him up. God, it was great
to see him looking his normal self. Each day we know we are blessed
with the fantastic progress he's making.
Before we left, Dee Ann
Pope, her mother, Dan Roberson and John and Laura Androsco
came too so it looked like a real fan club. (Maybe they should set up
LEPHART PARKING outside.) By the time we left, he was whipped! But
that's okay! All the stimulation is good for him. They have him on
antibiotics for the congestion and they pulled the catheter today to
see if he can produce urine on his own and function. Another step
have a request in to Monarch to either modify
the back brace to accommodate the trake or fit him for a new one.
Vivian, the case manager is a mover and shaker and she will get action!
They plan to cap the trake on Thursday. (Not soon enough for Aaron!)
He smiled a lot today -
that was cool!
Daily Report May 31, 2006
was really tired when we got there at 1:15 to see him. He's not putting
out junk from his trake but he complained his backhurt. Therapy arrived
and was doing leg lifts with him and eye exercises but then the
"morphine cocktail" arrived and he was pretty much wasted after that.
Therapy said they'd be back at 3:30 to work him again.
no word from Monarch on the brace modification so Icalled my helpful
lady at Blue Cross and left a voice mail that these are wasted therapy
days for his back.
Daily Report June 2, 2006
After days of faxing
requests for back brace adjustments and an orthopedic consult which never got answered
by Monarch (the group managing Aaron for Blue Cross) Vivian at New Orange
called the supervisor at Monarch. It seems
representative has had personal family problems so he gets to just sit
for a week waiting for her problems to go away before he can get the
therapy he needs. Suffice it to say words were exchanged and the
supervisor assured Vivian someone would be there today to adjust the
brace to accommodate a trake.
As it happened the
called and apologized as they were already committed for the entire day
(not really their fault) so they promised to be there at 10:00 Monday
morning to get Aaron into that brace.
As many of you know
Aaron had put in an order for a 2006 Corvette Z06 with an
agreement to pick the car up at the museum across from the factory in
Bowling Green, Kentucky on June 30th. Larry and I talked this over and
mulled on it while Aaron was in the coma and we came to the conclusion
that part the joy of this purchase was getting it at the factory and
driving it back with Larry. June 30th was way too soon to count on
Since that looked out of
the question, we called
the dealer and decided to cancelled the order. The dealer kept the
deposit on hold for when Aaron recovers. He could put it toward a 2007
model and we left it at that. Today I explained this to Aaron. He
clearly communicated with me that HE WANTS THAT CAR! He wants Larry to
go pick it up and bring it here. Needless to say that we will do
everything in our power to backstep and retrieve the order with the
dealer. When we phoned the dealer he had gone for the weekend so we
won't know till Monday if this can be done. The dealer was going to
take receipt of the vehicle himself and sell it so hopefully we can
still get it. This is why parents hair turns grey!!
that Aaron was complaining of back pain and I think that's do to the
sunken position of the mattress and being in bed all the time. They are
putting him on a time release pain patch which should help. I know he
wants the cast off his right arm. That is the gear shift hand and he
wants it working!
Daily Report June 3, 2006
therapy really gave Aaron an extensive workout this morning. By the
time we got there at 11:45 he was sweating. He has the trake capped and
can talk albeit guttural sounds. I did totally understand "I love you
mom" and "I love you dad" which were welcome sounds indeed!
deciphered many questions Aaron has including "Where are my two missing
crowns in my mouth?", " I want you to sell the CTS-V for me.", "Do I
still have a job?", "What were all my injuries?" Today we went over
everything regarding those questions. I'm sure he'll have many more.
all look forward to the brace getting on him Monday. Once he can sit up
it will help his back and also give him a different perspective from
which to observe this world. Perhaps if they take him to the physical
therapy room he'll realize more fully just how lucky he is.
Larry did his leg
exercises with him and he is getting stronger every day.
Thanks for the offers on
getting the "vette" here. First we have to find out if there is one!
You people are so
generous with your thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement. I will
be forever indebted!
Daily Report June 4, 2006
Aaron had his friend John and his family visit and Paco from work came
with his family. Aaron was trying to say something to me and he was
and looking like he was driving. After determining it wasn't his caddie
or vette I asked if it had to do with the accident. He was very excited
and emotional as he nodded and said "yes!" I asked if there was a car
at the accident that cut him off and he broke down in tears and sobbed
"Yes, yes!" Now I know that's what he's been trying to say the last
We got a copy of the
accident report yesterday
and the only two people the officer interviewed were Rick and Adam who
were on motorcycles behind Aaron and all they saw was he smoke from his
brakes locking. By the time Rick and Adam got to Aaron the people at
the scene had already phoned for help. I had asked a couple days after
the accident if there were motorcycles or cars art the lookout but
neither Rick, Summar or Adam remembered. I guess we'll never know who
they were but the whole incident makes more sense to me now.
will be a big day. Hopefully, the corvette will be available and Aaron
will get the brace on. He's talking more and more with the cap on the
Daily Report June 5, 2006
misunderstanding on my part I want to first clarify that in the report
I made yesterday Rick and Summar did not say they didn't remember any
car or motorcycle at the lookout point. They were entirely focused on
Aaron and his injury. I'm sorry to have miss-stated that fact.
we called the Corvette dealer and although he told us when we cancelled
the car that he would go ahead take take receipt of it, he did in fact
cancel it. I think his reasoning was that the '07s were coming in July
and he'd order one of them. So, we told Aaron today that it wads a
false pregnancy. He seemed okay with that in that timewise this gives
him a chance to heal and that they can order an '07 with the same
options and color. I'm surprised he took it so well.
today and fitted him correctly for the back brace and took it with them
to make the modifications. Hopefully, it will be back tomorrow. They
have him laying flatter on the mattress on the back people's
recommendation. He said it felt better that way.
afternoon the facility called to say they have an orthopedic consult
scheduled for the 8th of June to look at his wrist. Aaron wants the
cast off but it's not time yet. They need to see the x-rays from Palm
Springs so Larry and I will gain be making the awful drive tomorrow to
Palm Springs for the x-rays.
Daily Report June 6, 2006
it turned out we didn't have to make the Palm Springs run after all.
Vivian, the case manager said they can take x-rays today and send them
to the consult on Thursday and they said that would be fine.
Aaron got his brace back
with the cut out so all systems are go for therapy.
speech therapist is very pleased with Aaron and how hard he's trying.
She sees him at 100% when he leaves. Don'tcha think that made our day!
did leg lifts with him. I'm in charge of cleaning facial orifices.
Larry made a comment on his hair growing and he indicated he wants his
head shaved. I can see where it would be less to maintain when in bed
all the time. I told the nurses his wishes so don't be surprised if you
walk in to see a skin head!
Aaron was trying to say
we couldn't understand so I got the alphabet board out and he spelled
out "Dad rocks!" So cool!
Thanks for your visits
and support. Just a question - Where did the autographed picture of
Fabio come from?
Daily Report June 7, 2006
has a new bed to accommodate his height. Vivian, the case manager, felt
this new bed would be more comfortable. It's pretty awesome and can
handle up to 1000 pounds! They weighed Aaron yesterday and he was 164.
talking like a chatterbox today. What we didn't understand he spelled
out on the board so we communicated well. I can tell he's becoming more
normal as he had assignments for both of us. Check over his house, put
the motorcycle battery on a charger, and put an ad in the auto trader
to sell the CTS-V. Just like old times!
The story on the
autographed picture of Fabio is: Fabio came in to Lockhart Phillips
last week to get a new exhaust system so they took that opportunity to
get him to autograph a picture and card for Aaron. So now we know where
that came from!
Tomorrow is Aaron's
orthopedic consult for his
hand so he'll be going out of the facility for that. I'm not sure what
time that is so I'll call in the morning before we head over there.
watching that beer commercial, his favorite new saying is "You poke it,
you own it!" His CNA David thinks it's so funny to hear him say that!
Daily Report for June 9, 2006
was a good day in that Aaron is more able to communicate and we are
able to understand him. He's slowingdown to annunciate his words and it
makes it easier for him not to have to usethe alphabet board (although
it really helps when he's changed a subjectand we have no clue what
he's talking about!) His speech therapist gave him a good workout and
her efforts are paying off in better speech.
His arm consult
is Monday at 10:00 am and Larry and I will be at the doctor's office to
go in with him. Then the back brace people are coming at 1:00 pm to cut
some more of the top off as it still pushes on the trake. They are
hoping to ge thim to the therapy room by Wednesday to see if he can
stand between the bars and hold himself up and possible take a step.
He's really looking forward to that.
Each day is an
Daily Report June
boss Wendell came today and when we got thereat 4:00pm Aaron was very
emotional andtouched about Wendell's visit. He kept putting his fist on
his heart. That was a high point today.
Larry and I had gone
to Camp Pendleton to attend a luncheon for LtGen Carol Mutter USMC
(Ret). She was in town and we both served with Carol when she was a
2ndLt. (Larry pinned her 1stLt bars on). We're talking Old Corps folks
Aaron hardly used the
alphabet board at all today.
He's making great strides on his speech. His sense of humor is totally
in tact and it's funny to hear him crack jokes and then laugh at them
On a more serious side,
today he expressed to us
his appreciation for all the cards and prayers you readers have given.
He knows he is truly fortunate to have been given another chance at
and acknowledges that there is a kind God that brought him back from
where he was. For Aaron this is most profound and a most welcome
revelation. I've never heard him speak like this before!
in all a wonderful day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Daily Report June 12, 2006
arm consult was this morning at 10:00 so Larry and I headed up to
Anaheim to meet Aaron at the Dr.'s office. Somehow the numbers on Ball
Road switched out at one point and we
went far beyond where we were suppose to.
I called Vivian at New Orange and it turns out the ambulance was late
picking up Aaron and when they called the Dr. he said make it tomorrow
at 10:00 as he couldn't fit him in today. So we headed down to see
Aaron. He was all dressed and no one told him what happened. He was
somewhat upset but calmed down after we told him. Tomorrow they've
requested the ambulance at 9:00 and we'll try this again!
were talking about traveling in an ambulance and that they can only use
the sirens if it's a life or death situation and Aaron replied "I could
wave my arms and legs like this and they would think it was!" He still
has his humor which we love!
He's able to control the
bed adjustments, the fan, the tv and the dvd player so it's comforting
to know he's not helpless.
We were reading the many
cards he's received and he wanted us to thank you for
all your prayers and good thoughts. He said it touched his heart and
means so much. We thank you too - it's gotten us over the bumps!
Daily Report June 13, 2006
Yea, we finally
connected with the orthopetic surgeon and he removed Aaron's cast.
He was really glad to get it off and as we left the office there were
suckers for good patients so I gave him a banana dum-dum which he took
all the way down to the stick!!
We met up with him back
Orange and he 'd had a really good speech therapy session. He is doing
real well on the talking and we gave the desk his dental card so they
can try to arrange for someone to check the metal plate in his mouth
and if it is ready to come out. That will help his speech a great deal.
They tried to stand him
up yesterday and as we expected he
wasn't able to stand on his own. That only motivates him more to
exercise so he can stand. His legs are having spasms which is normal
after this kind of exercise when the muscles are trying to take the
He hasn't lost his sense
of humor. Not even able
to stand, he promised the Dr. not to play hockey or football for the
next six months!
Daily Report June 14, 2006
got to drink apple juice today. It was died green and after he drank it
they suctioned him to see if any went in his lungs. Looks okay!!! He
said it tasted Soooooooooooooo Good!
They capped the trake
if all goes well they will remove it next week. He wants so much so
soon and I have to keep reminding him that he's way ahead of many there
and not to be too hard on himself. There is a master plan here and a
sequence to follow.
Tomorrow we meet with
the planners at 10:30 am to go over the recovery plan.
That will give us something to
flow chart toward the exit door!
Daily Report June 15, 2006
Aaron was able to stand and hold
himself up for one minute three separate times this morning! He's
working on stamina.
had our meeting with the planners and Aaron gets a REALLY good report.
He's doing so well with the trake capped that they plan to remove the
trake on Monday. He's very pleased about that.
They said he's
doing so well that it won't be long before he's referred to acute
rehab. (Larry and I thought he's go home from here but apparently not).
So we put in our request that he go to Tustin Rehab as they have a
great reputation and I personally know an alumnus. (Right Nancy?) The
other rehab is in La Palma.
Larry shaved Aaron's
head at his request. He said the pillow just gets too hot. Don't be
surprised if you see a skin head!
Daily Report June 16, 2006
had a really good workout at physical therapy today and we were there to
see him stand four times (with assist) and hold it for about 30 seconds
each time. It will take a while to build up the stamina and his legs
have lost a lot of muscle but I'm sure he'll get there.
staff is so amazed with his progress and love talking about him. They
all comment how what a really nice person he is and that they know he
was that way before the accident as no one changes that much. He still
likes kidding everyone there.
Daily Report June
was very special in that Aaron's sister Amy was able to come down for the
weekend and finally see him. She's been taking care of her husband
Robbie but got his dad to stand in so that she could make it down for
Father's Day and to surprise Aaron. Believe me, he was surprised!!! He
cried, she cried, we cried - oh the humanity!!!!!
a great visit and looking forward to another tomorrow. They worked him
out good at therapy this morning and he really felt good about it
although he was really pooped when we got there at 12:30 pm.
Daily Report June
was just a wonderful day all around. Larry, Amy and I headed out to see
Aaron around noon armed with a lemon yogurt to surprise Aaron with.
Instead he surprised us with a gift for Larry for Father's Day and a
hand signed card to boot! He was so delighted to have put that one over
Larry got a wide
assortment of nuts - his favorite
snack. Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their Father's
Day to come see Aaron - some all the way from San Diego. Zoltan called
from Florida and a hand made card from two beautiful girls Hannah and
Jana. (Thank you Summar - Aaron's mystery shopper!) All in all, a day
is trake removal day and Amy will be there to have her last visit with
Aaron before heading back to Robbie up north. We've had a grand visit
with her and hopefully she's enjoyed some down time.
My heart is so full
today - for so many wonderful reasons. Bless you all!
Daily Report June 19, 2006
the trake is still in and will probably be in another week. This
morning Vivian, the case manager, presented a really good reason to
keep it in. We're trying to get an appointment with an oral surgeon to
evaluate the late in Aaron's lower jow and see if all the metal is
ready to be removed. If it is and they want to put him "out" for the
procedure, it would be better to uncap the trake and have him breathe
through that as opposed to something on the side of his mouth where
they are working.
She is also attempting
to arrange for a
consult by an ocular plastic surgeon to look at Aaron's right eye in
that it has healed in the sunken position and the eye is forced
slightly downward which may be contributing to his double vision.
Much as Aaron was ready
to have the trake out he agreed with Vivian's logic and has consented
to leave it in.
story: Outside Aaron's room is a lovely patio with roses planted all
around. However, one bush sat there in its black plastic pot and was
thirst as it wasn't receiving any water. Our daily
self-assignment was to water this poor plant. We mentioned to one of
the nurses that someone should plant the bush before it died and since
there is no more room for it he suggested we save it by taking it home.
Aaron thought this was a great idea - a memorial rose bush to mark this
adventure. After much thought as to how we would make the great escape,
we decided Father's Day would be a perfect day to bag it and carry it
out. So we did. We got it home and the tag on the bush said
"Silverado". I wanted to know what color that was so I called my local
nursery and told him I'd just acquired a rose plant with that name and
wanted to know the color. He couldn't find it right away and agreed to
call me back - which he did. He said it's a hybrid tea rose that has
shades of pink and lavender. He added whomever gave it to us presented
us with a fine gift. When we related this saga to Aaron, he replied "Oh
so now instead of a misdemeanor, it's a felony!" Thought you'd all
Daily Report June 20, 2006
was one of those days when Aaron was waiting for something to happen
it didn't. We're still waiting to hear from Monarch on the referrals so
time marches on. Bonnie, the speech therapist is doing an outstanding
job with Aaron and his reward today was yogurt. I'm so impressed that
he sincerely thanks each helper there when they do something for him.
He's come up with some pretty profound observations and some new
outlooks on life that will serve him well.
Aaron's Daily Report June 22, 2006
slow day. Vivian is trying to get a facial surgeon to evaluate both the
eye and the jaw. We got records faxed from Palm Springs as they didn't
send all of the reports.
Aaron's doing real well
on his speech
and the therapist was able to get a gag reflex three times today.
Things are coming back. Some of his memory is returning as well. The
only time he can't account for is the two weeks before the accident and
this morning he was able to recall something a week before - so that's
Aaron's Daily Report for
June 23, 2006
10:00 pm and we just got home. Went to New Orange at 10:00 am and found
Aaron in great back pain and he'd only slept 3 hours. We told Vivian we
wanted his back checked TODAY and to do whatever it took to get the job
done. After checking on availability of cat scans at local hospitals it
was decided to just take him to emergency at Western Medical. An
ambulance was called for transport and we headed out in our car to meet
him there. At 2:00 pm we got to Western and it took till 4:30 pm to get
the cat scan and 6:30 pm to get the Dr to come tell us that the back is
in tact and he has sprained the muscles in his back very badly. He
authorized a healthy shot of dilatin (?) and then we had to wait 2 more
hours for the ambulance to come take him back. We again headed back to
meet Aaron at New Orange and Larry had to beg to get someone to make up
his bed which had been stripped.
We finally got him
down and to say he was exhausted is a gross understatement. However, we
are all relieved that it's just a sprain.
Another thumbs up for
the Guy Upstairs!!!
Report for June 24, 2006
happy to report that Aaron's back pain is much improved over yesterday
this time. He awoke with pain this morning but during the course of the
day it moved down his back and when he called us at 9pm the pain was
pretty much gone. Hopefully with a good nights rest he will be back to
his old self tomorrow and ready for whatever the physical therapists
have for him Monday.
Daily Report June 25, 2006
Aaron's back felt so good he removed the pain patches and has gone
without. He had myriad visitors today and was pretty pooped when he
at 7pm. He had just awakened from a three hour nap.
Tomorrow will be therapy
as usual and he'll try to be back up to snuff.
Daily Report June 26, 2006
had a really good workout today with the occupational therapist in the
am and physical therapist in the pm. He's really having to concentrate
to get his left hand to work right in that it had the worse damage to
the nerves. When he sits up his head has a tendency to move forward and
he gets dizzy easily. His double vision doesn't help in that regard;
however the consult Wednesday may offer some insight on how to address
Baby steps, baby steps!
Daily Report July 1, 2006
great day! Aaron's friend Phil helped Aaron get into his laptop. He had
changed his password just before the accident and didn't remember it.
Phil was able to help him without losing all his stored info. Way to go
Phil!! Aaron is so pleased to be in touch with the outside world again.
Another step toward normalcy!!
Aaron went to PT and not
stood up seven times but also worked out on the hand bike that turns
the wheels. He did it for a half hour. He continued to stay in his
wheelchair after PT for a total of six (SIX!) hours!!!!!!!!!!
came and he had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, curry something and guava
juice. It's just before 5 pm now and he is slurring his words so I told
him to get to bed so they can put the feeding tube on him. He needs
both to build himself up. What a guy! He's on a roll now!!!
July 2nd Update
Aaron got into his wheelchair at 9 am and stayed in it till 2pm. I
think he may have over exerted himself yesterday as his stamina waned
by then. He has to wear these sheepskin lined "spaceboots" to stretch
the muscles up the back of his heel and while they really do the job,
they are extremely hot to wear. However, he bites the bullet and
endures knowing it's for his own good.
It's 9:30 pm and Aaron
just called. He's running a fever and they have him packed in ice. If
the fever keeps up in two hours, they'll call the doctor. Hopefully,
it's nothing to be alarmed about.
went to see Aaron this morning as his fever broke during the night.
He's being treated for a bacterial infection. His room was stifling;
however, while we were there the situation was being worked on. Vivian
came in the room following physical therapy to say the cat scan was
scheduled for 1:30 pm today!!!! I mentioned to Aaron that Dr. Wong did
the oral surgery in Palm Springs and another Dr. Wong would be removing
the metal. Aaron's reply was "Let's hope two Wongs' make it right!"
(Never a dull moment!)
The scan went well and
he was back by
3:30 pm so the speech therapist may be able to get a session in after
all. Hopefully, the metal will come out by the end of this week. Dr.
Wong will also be the person assessing and correcting the eye problem.
This is day 41 of his 100 days of insurance covered therapy and I think
he's doing really well. I think acute rehab is on the horizon but they
haven't given us any names of places to check out as yet. The a/c was
blowing cool when Aaron got back to his room!
awoke with a 102 fever again. Again the a/c was out in his room when we
got there but before we left it had been corrected. He was really tired
this morning but got dressed and groomed anyway.
He was to have therapy
this afternoon. He locked out his cell phone again or I'd let you know
if it happened.
walks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Today Aaron stood at the parallel
bars and took thirty steps! Even with the scabs on his feet he put
forth the effort. He's so excited! Everything that hints of giving him
his independence again is a major hurdle.
We talked to Dr.
Wong's office today. We are picking up a cd of Aaron's cat scan from
Western tomorrow and holding it until Monarch gets us an appointment
with Dr. Bose who will be the ocular man to evaluate Aaron's eye
problem. Then on July 18 he will have a hearing test with the
audiologist. July 19th will be his appointment with Dr. Wong to remove
the metal from his mouth. Another two weeks!! Aaron feels his teeth are
getting loose from the metal and we hate to see his crowns and dental
work go down the tube. He had to have two teeth taken out for the plate
to go in which will be costly enough to replace. Hopefully, everything
I think he overdid the walking yesterday as his feet ACHED today. He
still went to therapy but did leg weights and arm exercises. He's
really doing well transferring from bed to wheelchair on his own.
to the all-knowing Vivian (the case manager) Aaron has 100 days
allotted for sub acute and an additional 40 days allotted for acute
re-hab. Aaron has requested that I get this in writing from Monarch for
our well-being but that gives us more time to get all the clean up work
done on Aaron before he goes to acute rehab. When he gets there he can
devote all his allotted time to the issues of rehab. That was great
news. He may not even need the 100 days but it's nice to know it's
Aaron arranged for
donuts to be delivered to the
nursing staff this morning with a sign that said "To the most beautiful
nurses in the whole world from the cute guy in 106B!" Needless to say,
that kept everyone in good humor today!!!
had another great workout this morning and he is able to transfer from
bed to chair with a minimum of assistance. He also was able to stand at
the parallel bars and walk forward to the end. He would sit in the
chair and wheel back to the start. He did this several times and also
worked on arm strength and getting his shoulder muscles stretched so he
can stand erect.
Later this afternoon he
worked on sitting for longer time periods.
looking forward to having a full tray of food to eat either Sunday or
Monday with the therapist standing by. We're trying to get a swallowing
test done at the local hospital to see if different textures of food
are being processed correctly. If he passes that test he will go to
having breakfast in bed but lunch and supper will be in the dining
room! (Like a real person!) He looks forward to that!
Alan said it best:
"Aaron must be getting better. He's taken a turn for the nurse!"
July 8th Update
did another 30 steps in therapy and is using hand weights to strengthen
his arm muscles and build up the scapula muscles that need some help.
can tell he's getting well because he has several things going through
his mind and he wants answers for all of them. More like the old Aaron
we know and love.
Aaron sold a set of
rotors through his Stop
Force website and we've spent the last two days getting new passwords
to transfer money and get these rotors shipped out. Business continues
as usual with his crack staff assisting! (or is that cracked?)
was a day of rest for Aaron and he gave the sores on his feet a chance
to heal more.
He ate a bowl of
strawberry ice cream that he said was delicious!
further mentioned he would actually like to orally taste the nasty
looking stuff they feed in his "G" tube to see what it really tastes
like. Sounds like something out of a reality show!
I think Sundays give him
way too much time on his hands!!
Aaron had a really good workout, primarily with the arm weights on
pulleys. His left arm is looking much better.
Both Aaron's eyes are
tracking much better than ever but the ocular surgeon still has to deal
with it being lower.
Aaron had his first
complete meal. He ate whitefish, rice, peas, and baked apple with
cinnamon. He said it was DELICIOUS!!!!
a different note: A mass was requested for Aaron at Our Lady of Fatima
Catholic Church a while back and it's come to the top of the list and
will be at 7:00 am Thursday July 13, 2006. Everyone is welcome to
attend. It's at 105 N. La Esperanza, San Clemente, CA (949) 492-4101.
actually used a walker today to take some steps! He also worked on
sitting up for over an hour in his wheelchair. He also ate yet another
Tomorrow at 10:00 am he
is having the swallow
test at Western Medical. If he passes he will get three meals a day.
(Breakfast in his room and the other two in the dining room.) He's
really excited about that!!
in all progress is being made. Looking good!
July 12th Update
was yet another day filled with glitches (that's with a "gl") that
prevented the taste/swallow test at the hospital. The hospital accused
New Orange of forging the nurse's signature on the authorization and
then further explained it had to be signed by a doctor. That brought
the people at New Orange hot under the collar and an hour later the
case manager showed up from Monarch and all met in Aaron's room to
explain the situation to him. It is now scheduled for tomorrow and I'm
willing to bet that it goes off smoothly as many people are observing!
walked with the walker again and had a really extensive workout in the
PT room. He came back to his room exhausted and fought dozing off for
fear he'd miss his evening meal which he got.
He had a really good
Aaron had the swallow test. He passed in all areas except "thin
liquids" wanted to go down the windpipe rather than the throat. The
people at the hospital were astounded that he hasn't even reached his
three month anniversary of the accident and he's made such progress.
They commented this is usually a 9-12 month accomplishment. That made
Aaron feel real good! Anyhow, he will be given a modified tray for his
meals with milk, soda, water and the like withheld till he can easily
deal with it.
The foot lady is trying
a new salve that is
supposed to work miracles. He has to keep his feet covered for the
formal unveiling on Saturday to see if the stuff lives up to the
We went to the mass for
Aaron this morning. We are
actually Episcopalians and Aaron refers to us as "Catholic-lite". I was
surprised to see the only vested person was the priest. Everyone else
was in civilian clothes. I guess they've lightened up as well! It was a
has two appointments next week: Tuesday is
the audiology (hearing) test and Wednesday is Dr. Wong to deal with the
metal in his mouth. The following week he has a Tuesday appointment to
have Dr. Folmar say his right hand is okay. Wednesday morning he meets
with Dr. Dixon, the orthopedic surgeon to say his back is healed and
hopefully can go without the back brace. That same afternoon he will
meet with Dr. Bose to address the eye problem. We have lots to look
forward to in the upcoming weeks. (Makes me wish I had a chunk of the
ambulance transport business!)
got to New Orange to find Aaron having lunch in the activity room. In
the past Aaron was known as a "scarfer" when it came to eating. It's a
whole new world for him to dine like an aristocrat taking small bites
and chewing food thoroughly. He was tired by the time lunch was over.
He rested a while before rehab got hold of him. He's really giving it
his all to get the most from each and every day. Hopefully, tomorrow
will reveal some good healing on his feet.
had a GREAT day even though it was the weekend and nothing happens.
Phil and Veronica came down from San Francisco with CHOCOLATE! He was
able to eat a couple. He also had a great workout today and ate three
meals that actually looked pretty good. While Rick and Summar were
there we started talking about food and what Aaron missed most from
home. Aaron mentioned "buckeyes" (a peanut butter filled candy dipped
in dark chocolate) He told me I could skip the chocolate but would
really like the peanut butter centers so I came home and made a batch.
I'll deliver them in segments of six.
When Kristy came in to
check his foot sores we were all thrilled to see that in fact they are
healing well. She used some more of the magic stuff and wrapped them
again till Monday. The redness around the sores has really faded!
Thank you for the cards
and e-mails. Aaron really appreciates the support. It helps to know
he's not in this alone.
slept almost 12 hours last night. That's a first and a sign that he's
expending energy in match with his nutrition. He said he woke up
feeling GREAT!!! He also related that he did not feel worn out from
yesterdays heavy workout which further affirms that theory.
really likes the evening meal best as it is usually the best tasting
with the greatest variety. He has the food chopped up which makes it
easier to eat and to swallow. If anyone brings him food please make
sure it's not fine liquid like milk, soda or water. Although they put
these things on his tray, they add thickener to help him swallow it
down the correct pipe. He also has to concentrate on not talking while
he's eating so that he can focus on chewing and swallowing. I'm just
offering this as a heads up in case you visit during mealtime so you
know he's not snubbing you.
a call from Dr. Wong's office saying they want to cancel Wednesdays
appointment for the metal coming out of Aaron's mouth and change it to
the last Monday in July which would be after Dr. Bose evaluates Aaron's
frustration point is about at its limit as we again delay
something that needs to be done for two more weeks. On top of that,
Aaron asked me to look in his mouth after he'd eaten lunch to see if a
piece of tooth had broken loose. It turned out to be a piece of wire
that they used to wire his mouth shut which had been cut but left
wrapped around his tooth for later removal. It worked its way loose and
was cutting into the side of his mouth. We left before the removal
procedure was conceived by New Orange but it progressed from tweezers
to dykes to a lock cutter! It's no wonder that Aaron said his mouth was
Tomorrow we'll meet
Aaron for the hearing test which is also in Dr. Wong's office. I'll be
making some requests then.
we met Aaron at UCI where they did the hearing test. Since they don't
have anything to compare it to, it forms a basis from which to judge
where his hearing goes from here. The levels are a bit below normal but
nothing to be concerned about.
We followed the
to New Orange and Aaron went right to speech therapy for an hour with
Bonnie. He was ready to go back to his room for lunch but when we got
there Christine (the PT Lady) wanted him to sit up with the back brace
on, eat lunch and stay seated until PT at 1:30. The back brace
constricts Aaron's lungs (much like a corset) and he can't even speak a
complete sentence without pausing to get more air so Aaron was fatigued
beyond his limits and adamantly spoke his mind on the subject to
Christine. (This is while mom's ears burned and she wanted to quietly
sink into the wallpaper!) Aaron won out and had his lunch in bed
without brace. Mom and dad left about then.
Aaron called later to
say Christine got the final say as she worked his butt off in PT.
(Paybacks are hell!)
Laguna Seca is going on and Aaron's heart is there even if his body
isn't. He was able to walk the entire corridor from the PT room to his
room using the walker today. THAT WAS A BIGGIE!!! He also sat for a
couple hours in the wheelchair and again walked 20 more steps before
everyone agreed that was all they were going to get from him today. It
was a great workout!!
He'll sleep like a baby
the real July 20th report. I can't even keep track of days!
was able to walk from the PT room all the way down the hall into his
room and over to his bed today. He's doing really well in his walking,
coordination and his speech. The one thing that he is having to deal
with as he gets stronger and more assertive is a lack of patience.
Since he's getting better and faster he wants others (staff) to be the
same. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.
July 21st Update
seems to be some differences of opinion at New Orange. The speech
person and one of the PT men think Aaron should be moved to acute rehab
ASAP because he's doing so well. Larry, Aaron and I think that it is
important to have our three doctor appointments on Tuesday and
Wednesday so he can get cleared on his hand, out of the back brace and
see what the eye Dr. wants to do about his lower right eye. The
following Monday is the day he's suppose to get the metal out of his
mouth. We haven't even been contacted as to where they think he might
be sent so that we can go look it over. All this does is get Aaron
excited when the realization is that there's still work to be done.
This is so aggravating!!! Hopefully by the end of next week we'll have
some grasp of what will happen. In the meantime I'm filling out
paperwork to extend benefits.
Aaron walked extensively
and he's really glad that he's been upgraded to more ample portions on
his meals. He eats every scrap on his plate and honestly, for
institutional food it looks exceptionally good! He said last nights
crunchy chicken pieces with a sweet sauce was comparable to P. F.
Changs. (That's a pretty high rating!)
Jimmy Chance in
Savannah, GA has been an especially loyal follower of Aaron's reports
as his son James suffered a similar experience in the past. He got
surprised when Aaron phoned him to thank him for his support! Don't be
surprised if you hear some strange voice calling you as he knows how
wonderful everyone has been in their support! Thanks again from Larry
and me too!!!
walked more today and is actually sitting up in bed without the aid of
his brace. It isn't for very long as he still gets short of breath.
Once the brace is off for good he'll have to exercise to expand his
lungs because he hasn't used his full lung power in a long time. But
I'm sure that's an easy hurdle.
is looking forward to
having a real shower! I'm hoping it will be happening real soon for his
sake. That will truly make him feel human again!
I bowled in a senior tournament so Larry and Aaron spent quality time
over banana splits at New Orange. Sunday is a no PT day so he was able
to just relax and store up energy for the beginning of a big week ahead
with many Dr. appointments.
We're thinking positive!
Aaron's occupational therapist signed off on him as he's pretty much
mastered the required things in that respect so now he gets physical
therapy TWICE a day instead of once. He's stoked about that!! They
agree that he's doing really well with the walking so now he's taking
on personal activities as well.
Tomorrow he sees the Dr.
his right hand. Wouldn't you know it's been fine but today it got
swollen because he was practicing getting up and down. He got ice on it
right away so we hope it will be okay for tomorrow. The twenty minute
ambulance ride is $645 each way. (House calls might be cheaper!)
was suppose to be the back Dr. in the morning. However two Drs. that
Monarch found refuse to take him on as they didn't do the back surgery.
Does this mean he gets a roundtrip ambulance drive to Palm Springs to
see the Dr. who did the surgery? Let's see, two to three hours each
afternoon is the consult for his eye. So far that seems to be on track.
we met Aaron at the Dr. to look at his right wrist and as we expected
Dr. Folmar says it's completely healed. ONE DOCTOR DOWN!!! He returned
to New Orange in time for lunch and a bit of a rest before PT worked
him like a dog! When we talked to him just before 5pm he was slurring
his words; an indication that he's very tired.
Tomorrow afternoon is
the IMPORTANT consult with Dr. Bose about his right eye.
had the consult with Dr. Bose today at UCI. He went over the cat scan
and has decided that it would be best to leave the brow fracture as is.
It's healed in the sunken position but it's hardly visable and it
doesn't hamper his vision so best let it be. The dropped eye problem is
caused by the sinus fracture under his right eye and basically the
muscle that controls lift is pinched between two bones. He wants to go
in at the eye (no visible scars) and release that muscle hoping it
hasn't died from being pinched and putting a sling type insert under
the eye to prevent it from drooping again. He will make Aaron prism
glasses to wear for a while till the double vision dissipates. There
are no guarantees but the Dr. feels confidant he can help Aaron. We
were all impressed with his frankness and knowledge so the surgery will
take place as soon as the Drs. Wong and Bose can schedule the event
The ambulance drivers
all know Aaron now and compete
to take his ride. They say what a cool dude he is. I don't even want to
know what goes on in that wagon!!
All in all, an excellent
Aaron lost his speech therapist. She felt Aaron's time could best be
used in PT and she had done all she could for him so she signed off on
Larry asked Vivian when
Aaron might have the "G" tube
removed as he's eating about everything now and she said it can come
out now. He got a vicodin cocktail and Vivian came in and said "Are you
ready?" On what Aaron assumed was a count of three she said "One" and
pulled! It was out! Evidently the elastic stomach just closes over the
hole and that's it!!
Vivian also arranged for
Aaron to get a
10am snack, a 2pm and 8 pm snack in addition to his meals. Aaron
thought this was totally cool!
I told Vivian if Monarch
find a neurologist to take Aaron on, they might just as well drive him
to Palm Springs to have Dr. Pham sign off on him and she agreed. She'll
mention it to the case manager tomorrow. Still no word on an acute
rehab place but we're thinking it's very close.
Aaron got a really good
workout today and is really wiped out tonight so he'll be sawing logs
is walking in his normal shoes - not the spaceboots designed to keep
his heel muscles taut. He is trying to take a few steps without using
the walker. The sores on his feet are healing. The left foot should be
healed in one more week and two more weeks on the right foot. Those
were deep bruises from the accident and it's taken a long time to heal.
(Furthest from the heart for circulation)
so proud of
Aaron as he's keeping a very positive outlook and seeing the best in
every situation. This attitude will serve him well his whole life.
Aaron did a first. He got out of bed himself, edged his way to his
wheelchair and got in and proceeded to wheel himself all the way to the
PT room. The PT guy said how did you get here and Aaron told him. He
was impressed but told him of the dangers of going without his back
brace. It didn't detract from Aaron's pleasure in himself one bit!!
Another step towards independence!
signs are pointing toward the exit door!
rank the whole day about a 1 on a scale of 1 - 6. They withheld Aaron's
meals for the surgery at 1:00 only to find out that it was a consult
rather than the procedure. The ambulance got lost and was late by 45
minutes but the good Dr. saw him anyway. He ran a probe through his
nose and checked his vocal cords and there is no paralysis which is
really good news. In going over the cat scan the Dr. said "I see you
have sinus disease". News to us. Then he said "I see where you have had
a broken nose and left cheekbone in the past". News to us as well. It
was sort of a macabre version of THIS IS YOUR LIFE!!
when he got down to brass tacks, he wants to do the surgery at UCI and
keep him overnight for observation. He also intends to remove the trake
tube. So I filled out the papers and I will call him tomorrow when his
scheduling guy comes back to see what the date will be. I tried to
impress upon him the fact that we're getting short on time. He will be
assisting Dr. Bose on the eye surgery as well at a later time.
say that the entire Lephart family was totally bummed is an
understatement. When Aaron got back to New Orange he had a grilled
cheese sandwich waiting for him. Then the girl from PT went in the
kitchen and brought him an egg salad sandwich, tomato soup and fruit.
Then Vivian came in with a full tray completely covered with dishes of
tuna casserole, green beans, salad, ice cream and juices. It looked
like a raid on Hometown Buffet! By God, the kid ate it all!! We left at
4:00 so he could rest up for supper at 5:00!!!
today did not go as expected, I have to say Aaron (once he ate)
accepted the outcome with a greater understanding than he's shown prior
can I say - every day a holiday, every meal a feast!
Aaron got a new roommate. Aaron says he's a candidate for anger
management. We think dementia is involved.
much new on his Dr. status but he did two good workouts in PT.
10:30 pm and Aaron is now in his room alone.
roommate threatened him and after several phone calls between Aaron,
home and the nurses station I told the nurse at New Orange if they
didn't move that guy out of the room, I would be coming to stand watch
to make sure no harm came to Aaron. I'm not about to take any chances
after we've come this far. The nurse wasn't aware that the guy could
even get out of bed as he is an amputee; however I explained to her he
got out twice today by hopping on one leg. He was a transfer from
another room which would indicate to me that there's been trouble in
the past. I'm sorry that this man has anger issues but my level of
tolerance is pretty low at this point.
our arrival at New Orange today we were greeted by Vivian, the head of
nursing and the administrator. We got an apology from them over last
nights fiasco. The gentleman is now in another room and they explained
to his family he has to have 24 hour sitters if he is to stay there. He
evidently also struck a staff member last night in addition to the
Aaron evidently worked
out really hard this
morning because he appeared very tired when we visited him. He was set
up for another workout this afternoon so we let him rest.
He called tonight to say
they're moving another person in. He's hoping for Mariah Carey!
called today to say that Vivian told him they located a Dr. at UCI that
will take him on to review his back!!!!! Hopefully, he'll get in next
week to get out of the brace. Then he can work on expanding his lungs
so that they can totally inflate again. At present it takes a couple
breaths to complete a sentence. Aaron really feels the frustration at
how slow the wheels of progress move.
hoping the upcoming week brings results!!
Another slow day for
Aaron. He's really hoping the upcoming week shows some forward movement
in moving on to acute rehab.
an extremely tedious weekend Aaron was looking forward to a really good
work-out this morning. He waited.....and waited......and waited.
been on the phone to Blue Cross for 45 minutes this morning going over
whose been paid, what hasn't been paid, what's our responsibility etc.
so by the time we got to New Orange at 12:20 pm Aaron was pretty
frustrated that after doing nothing all weekend it was still nothing at
noon Monday! I went to the PT room and one of the trainers had just
come in from a Dr's. appointment and she was to have had Aaron this
morning. So they planned to give him two workouts this afternoon. This
is great in theory. However; when the stamina wanes, it's pretty much
I talked to Vivian about
his upcoming appointments and
she's trying to put a fire under the feet of Monarch to get these
approvals going and to tell us what re-hab places to look at. My two
direct phone calls to his Monarch case manager last week remain
unanswered. Can you tell I could spit nails?
The highlight of
everyone's day was Zoltan's calls from Key West - first to Aaron and
then to us. Your positive attitude and encouragement put a fresh smile
on Aaron's face and we enjoyed talking with you as well. I've never met
you but you're as comfortable as old shoes!
today I'd had enough and decided to declare war on Monarch. I called
Blue Cross and officially filed a grievance with Monarch and
specifically Summer - Aaron's case manager. I had left messages twice
last week for her to call me that went unanswered. I called her
yesterday morning at 9:15 am and she said "Oh, I was just getting ready
to call you!" Right! I expressed my dismay over how long it takes to
get approval for the upcoming surgeries and that he has been ready for acute
rehab for three weeks! Her reply was "I know how frustrating this is
for you but these things take time. I asked about rehab specifically
and she said it's being worked on.
Yesterday, I went on in
see Aaron at New Orange and told Vivian we're getting nowhere with
Summer. She promised to call Summer's supervisor and complain. Turns
out Summer told Vivian later that she told me Aaron's request for acute
had been turned down. (I can assure you that if that phone call really
happened you could have heard me in Ohio!) She outright lied. The
reason it was turned down is because of the trake. It got resubmitted.
the Blue Cross call today (45 minutes) where I aired it all, we headed
to New Orange. On the way, I got a call from Dr. Wong's office that the
surgery on his mouth has been upped to Monday Aug 21st. He goes in next
Wednesday for pre-op and checks in Monday morning on the 21st for a 1-2
day stay. Then we found out that his rehab HAS BEEN
APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact there is someone coming
tomorrow to assess his case. We also got a call from the back Dr. that
he has an appointment next Thursday!!!! AFTER WHAT HAD TO BE ONE OF OUR
DARKEST DAYS WE WERE REWARDED WITH ACTION AND DATES TO WORK WITH!!!!!
of the girls in the PT room decided today was the day that Aaron should
finally have a shower. They were nice enough to soap him up and scrub
him down too! It was a tough call but I think he enjoyed it!!!!
was able to transfer and sit down 10 times without a break this morning
and did equally well this afternoon. He is so stoked that things are
finally getting scheduled he had a smile a mile wide. (or was that
still from the shower?)
All in all, it was an
AND THE WHEELS JUST KEPT
Aaron was assessed today
and will be leaving New Orange tomorrow - yes, tomorrow for acute
interview was pretty cut and dry. Aaron will be working with four
different trainers a total of three intense hours every weekday and one
and a half hours on Saturday and Sunday. You would think three hours -
that leaves him the whole afternoon with nothing to do. WRONG!! Between
those sessions he will have time to rest before the next session.
Things like meals, dressing, daily care and wheeling or walking himself
to his next activity must also be factored in. They impressed upon us
that this is rehab "boot camp" and he's been approved for 14 days to
start. They have to report to his insurance every three days on what's
accomplished and what needs to be done. They also report any times that
sessions are refused even though it's because of fatigue.
this reason we have decided not to release the location of Aaron's
rehab facility. He wants to totally focus on the job to be done with no
outside distractions. When we visit, we'll take his laptop and he can
catch up on news then. (They mentioned that things can disappear there
because people come there on an outpatient basis as well and it's hard
to monitor personal possessions.) He'll still have his cell phone.
All his other
appointments at UCI will remain on schedule. The only date we don't
have yet is the eye surgery.
plan at this time, following rehab, is for Aaron to come to our house
to live at first. We are converting the downstairs dining room to a
bedroom so he can be close to everything (including the dog) and not
have to deal with stairs. When the time is right, he'll be spending
days with us and nights at his house. After that we're hoping for life
as usual. (Love that word usual!)
What a journey this has
been. I feel like we've all been on a caravan and our band of
supporters had a common goal. We couldn't have arrived at this point
without your prayers, encouragement and genuine interest.
will be the last daily report as such. I will give you updates every
Friday to let you know what progress has been made during the week. If
something happens of immediate importance, of course you will be
notified right away.
This event has
reconnected us with
friends, neighbors, relatives, former commanding officers (Larry's and
mine) and so many of Aaron's friends across this country through
motorcycle racing and Grand Prix rallies.
As the world news
becomes more and more ominous, I am comforted in knowing that the good
people outnumber the troublemakers who insist on their one day of
infamy. God Bless you all!!!
August 21rd Update
had the surgery this afternoon to remove the metal bars in his mouth from his broken jaw. Everything
went VERY WELL. The Dr. also checked his vocal
cords, and the area behind where the trak is to see if there's any
blockage. NONE FOUND. He's in recovery right now and after a reasonable
time period (few hours) they will remove the trak for good!
YEA!!!!!!! They will
keep him overnight and return him to rehab tomorrow.
eye surgery is scheduled for next Thursday Aug 31st at 8:15 am. With
the cat scan on his back pending, and pre op stuff for next weeks
surgery, the irons are all in the fire!
August 25th Update
It is with mixed
feelings and in somewhat a state of shock that we report AARON IS
all came about when Aaron returned to rehab following is surgery Monday
to remove the metal in his mouth and the trak removal. He went back to
rehab on Tuesday late in the day so nothing could be addressed until
Wednesday. The rehab place requested to Monarch an extension on his
stay there but it went unanswered for two days.
calls in to the case manager at Monarch. (Interestingly, Summer no
longer works there). His new case manager was Cheryl but every time I
left a message for her never received an answer. I finally called the
supervisor and she's out until Monday. Then the rehab place called me
Friday and said they finally heard from Monarch and that Aaron should
have been sent home following his surgery Monday at UCI but they won't
pay for another day of rehab beyond Friday!
Rehab felt very badly about this
but their hands were tied.
thought process went like this: Here's Aaron still in a back brace
because Monarch still hasn't authorized a new cat scan for the back Dr.
Aaron is scheduled for the long awaited eye surgery on Thursday Aug
31st. They are planning to send him home with not one word of
instruction, home evaluation, equipment needs or any word of where he
goes from here. His transport for the past four months has been on a
gurney by ambulance to accommodate the brace and they are not even
going to authorize his transportation home. This was about 12:00 pm.
3:00 pm rehab called and told me that Aaron is ready to be picked up. A
wheelchair and a walker were the only pieces of equipment Monarch
they would be delivered to our house at any time. This meant I would
stay home to receive the equipment while Larry checked Aaron out to
bring him home. At 4:00 the truck pulled in the driveway with Aaron
inside. Using a walker I had in the garage designed for a very short
person, Aaron was able to use it to get into the house. The authorized
wheelchair and walker were delivered around 8pm.
We have converted the dining
room to a bedroom so that Aaron doesn't have to deal
with stairs. He has been referred to outpatient therapy through Mission
Hospital and rehab faxed his records so that he will be evaluated
Monday to see is he is a candidate for their program. Amazingly, he
slept well last night. Barney, our cocker spaniel, is keeping close
watch on his buddy!
We're all still trying
to get over our
"kicked to the curb" feeling but will do our best with what we've got.
Aaron intends to give outpatient therapy all he's got.